Berlin, 9th October 1905
We will speak today about man's sojourn in Devachan between two
Again and again we must make clear to ourselves that this sojourn in
Devachan is nowhere else than where we ourselves are in physical life.
For Devachan, the astral and the physical world are nothing other than
three interpenetrating worlds. We can form the most correct idea of
Devachan if we think of the world of electric forces before
electricity had been discovered. There was a time when all this was
contained in the physical world, only it was then an occult world.
Everything that is occult has at some time to be discovered. The
difference between life in Devachan and that in the physical world is
that man in his present epoch is endowed with organs enabling him to
perceive the physical world but not with organs that enable him to
behold the phenomena of Devachan.
Let us imagine ourselves in the soul of someone living between two
incarnations. He has given over his physical body to the forces of the
earth and relinquished his etheric body to the life-forces.
Furthermore he has given back that part of his astral body into which
he himself has not worked. He then finds himself in Devachan. He no
longer has as personal possession what the gods had worked into his
etheric and astral bodies; all this has been cast aside. He now
possesses only what he himself has achieved in the course of many
lives. In Devachan this remains his own. All that man has done in the
physical world serves the purpose of making him more and more
conscious in Devachan.
Let us take the relationship of one person to another. It can be said
that this is simply a natural one, for instance the relationship
between brothers and sisters who have been brought together through
natural circumstances. It is however only partially natural, for moral
and intellectual factors are continually playing in. Through his Karma
man is born into a particular family; but not everything is
conditioned by Karma. The natural relationship, into which nothing
else is intermixed, we have in the case of the animals. In the case of
human beings there is always a moral relationship also, through Karma.
The relationship between two people can however also exist without
this being conditioned by nature. For instance a bond of intimate
friendship can arise between two people in spite of outer hindrances.
As a rather extreme case let us assume that they were at first
mutually somewhat unsympathetic to one another and that they found the
way to each other on a purely intellectual and moral basis, soul to
soul. Let us contrast this with the natural relationship between
members of a family. With the relationship of soul to soul we have a
powerful means of developing devachanic organs. In no way can
devachanic organs be more easily developed at present than by such
relationships. Such a relationship is unconsciously a devachanic one.
What a person develops in his present life in the way of soul faculty
through friendship of a purely soul nature, in Devachan is wisdom, the
possibility of experiencing the spiritual in action. To the extent to
which someone enters livingly into such connections he is well
prepared for Devachan. If he is unable to form such relationships he
is unprepared; for just as colour escapes a blind man, so does soul
experience escape him. To the degree to which man fosters purely soul
relationships do organs of vision develop in him for Devachan. So that
the statement holds good: Whoever lives and moves here in the life of
the spirit, will over there perceive just as much of the spiritual as
he has gained here through his activity. Hence the immeasurable
importance of life on the physical plane. In human evolution no other
means of awakening the organs for Devachan exists other than spiritual
activity on the physical plane. All this is creative and comes back to
us as devachanic sense organs for the devachanic world. As preparation
there is nothing better than to have a purely soul relationship with
other human beings, a relationship whose origin is in no way based
upon natural connections.
This is why people should be brought together into groups, in order to
unite on a purely spiritual basis. It is the will of the Masters to
pour life in this way into the stream of humanity. What takes place
with the right attitude of mind signifies for all the members of the
group the opening of a spiritual eye in Devachan. One will then see
there everything which is on the same level with what one had united
oneself with here. If on the physical plane one has attached oneself
to a spiritual endeavour, this actually is among those things which
retain their existence after death. Such things belong just as much to
the dead as to the one who has survived him. He who has passed over
remains in the same connection with the one still on earth and is
indeed even more intensely conscious of this spiritual relationship.
Thus one educates oneself for Devachan. The souls of the dead remain
in connection with those who were dear to them. The earlier
relationships become causes which have their effects in Devachan. This
is why the devachanic world is called, the world of effects and the
physical world the world of causes. In no other way can man build his
higher organs than by implanting the seeds for these organs on the
physical plane. For this purpose man is transferred to earthly
existence. What the much quoted phrase, To overcome separate
existence means, will now become clear to us. Before we descended to
physical existence we lived with the content of our astral body which
was brought about by a Deva. In earlier times sympathy and antipathy
in the human being were stimulated by the Devas; he himself was not
responsible. Then at the next stage man said to himself: Now I have
entered into the physical world as a being who must find his own way.
Formerly I was not able to speak the word I, now I have become for
the first time a separate entity. Previously I was indeed a separate
entity, but also a member of a devachanic being. On the physical plane
I am a separate entity for myself, an ego, because I am enclosed in a
The higher bodies flow into one another: for instance Atma is in truth
a one-ness for the whole of humanity, like an atmosphere shared in
common. Nevertheless the Atma of the single human being is to be
understood as if each one were to cut a piece for himself out of the
common Karma, so that, as it were, incisions are made in it. But the
separateness must be overcome. This we do when we form human
attachments of a purely soul nature. By so doing we do away with the
separateness and recognise the unity of Atma in everything.
By establishing such human relationships I awaken sympathy within me.
I then undertake the task of selflessly fitting myself into the world
plan. Through this the Divine is awakened in man. That is why we look
out into the world.
Today we are surrounded by physical reality, by sun, moon and stars.
What man had around him in the Old Moon existence, he has today within
himself. The forces of the Moon now live within him. Had man not
existed on the Old Moon he would not have possessed these forces. This
is why the Egyptian occult teaching in esoteric centres called the
Moon Isis, the Goddess of Fertility. Isis is the soul of the Moon, the
precursor of the Earth. Then all the forces lived in the environment
which now live in plants and animals for the purpose of reproduction.
As now fire, chemical ether, magnetism and so on are around us and
surround the Earth, so the moon was surrounded by those forces which
enabled man, animal and plant to propagate. The forces which at
present surround the Earth will in the future play an individualised
role in man. What now constitutes the relationship between man and
woman was on the Old Moon external physical activity, such as volcanic
eruptions are today. These forces surrounded man during the Moon
existence and he drew them in through his Moon-senses, in order to
evolve them now. What man developed on the Old Moon through involution
emerged on Earth as evolution. What man developed after the Lemurian
Age as the sexual forces, is due to Isis, the soul of the Moon, which
now lives on further in man. Here we have the relationship between the
human being and the present moon. The moon has left its soul with man
and has therefore become a mere slagheap.
While we are gaining experiences on the Earth we are gathering the
forces which during the next Planetary Evolution will become our own
being. Our present experiences in Devachan are the preparatory stages
for future epochs. Just as man today looks up to the moon and says:
You have given us the forces of reproduction, so in the future he
will look up to a moon that has arisen out of our present physical
earth and as a soul-less body of slag will circle round the future
Jupiter. On Future Jupiter man will develop new forces which today on
the Earth he takes into himself as light and warmth and all physical
sense perceptions. Later he will ray out everything which he had
previously perceived through the senses. Whatever he had taken in
through his soul will then be reality. So the theosophical conception
does not lead us to underrate the world on the physical plane, but to
understand that we must draw out of the physical plane what we need to
have, experiences which will later radiate outwards. The warmth of the
earth, the rays of the sun, which now stream towards us, will later
stream out from us. As at the present time the sexual forces emanated
from us, so it will be with these new forces.
Now let us make clear to ourselves the significance of the Devachan
conditions which follow one another. At first Devachan is only short.
But ever more and more spiritual organs are being formed in the Mental
Body, until at last when his comprehension has embraced the wisdom of
the Earth, man will have completely fashioned the organs of the
This will come about for the whole of mankind when all the
World-Rounds are completed. Then everything will have become human
wisdom. Warmth and light will then have become wisdom. Between the
Earth Manvantara and the following Planetary Evolution man lives in
Pralaya. Outwardly there is nothing whatever, but all the forces which
man has drawn forth from the Earth are within him. In such a
Life-Period the outer turns inwards. Everything is then present as
seed and its life is carried over to the next Manvantara. Broadly
speaking this is a similar condition to that in which we, in the
moment of retrospect, forget all that is around us and only remember
our experiences in order to preserve them in memory and later make use
of them. So in Pralaya mankind as a whole remembers all experiences in
order to put them to use once more.
There are always such intermediate conditions which, as it were,
consist of memories, and so the devachanic state is also an
intermediate one. The initiate already now sees before him those facts
which man only gradually has around him in Devachan. It is an
intermediate condition. All similar conditions are of an intermediate
nature. The initiate describes the world as it is on the other side,
in Devachan, in the intermediate state. When he gets beyond Devachan
and reaches a still higher condition he again describes an
The first stage of initiation consists in the pupil learning to
penetrate through the veil of the external world and to look at the
world from the other side. The initiate is homeless here on the earth.
He must build himself a home on the other side. When the disciples
were with Jesus on the mountain, they were led into the devachanic
world, beyond space and time; they built themselves a tabernacle
a home. This is the first stage of initiation.
At the second stage of initiation something similar occurs, but on a
higher level. At this stage the initiate has a state of consciousness
corresponding to the intermediate period between two conditions of
form (Globes), a state of Pralaya that comes about when everything is
achieved that can be achieved in the physical condition of form and
the Earth is metamorphosed into a so-called astral condition of form
The third stage of initiate-consciousness is that which corresponds to
the intermediate state between two Rounds, from the old Arupa-Globe of
the previous Round to the new Arupa-Globe of the following Round. The
initiate is in the Pralaya between two Rounds when he raises himself
into the third stage. He is then an initiate of the Third Degree. So
we can now understand why Jesus had to reach the third stage before he
could place his body at the service of Christ. Christ stands above all
the spirits who live in the Rounds. The initiate who had raised
himself above the Rounds could place his body at the service of
The human ego-consciousness was to be purified and healed through
Christianity. Christ had to raise and purify the self-centred ego, so
that when it has reached self-consciousness it may die selflessly.
This he could only do in a body which had become one with ... [Gap in
text ...]. Thus only an initiate of the third grade could sacrifice
his body for the Christ.
In our time it is extraordinarily difficult to attain to a complete
awareness of these lofty conditions. The profoundly wise Subba Row
had his own knowledge; he describes three such stages of
We see the moon as the lifeless residue of ourselves and we ourselves
have in us the forces which once gave the moon its life. That is also
the reason for the special sentimental mood in all poets who sing the
praises of the moon. All poetical feelings are faint echoes of living
occult streams deeply hidden in man.
A being can however become entangled in what should actually remain
behind as slag. Something must remain behind from the Earth that is
destined to become later what the moon is today. This must be overcome
by man. But someone can have a liking for such things and so unites
himself with them. A person who is deeply bound up with what is purely
of the senses, of the lower instincts, connects himself ever more
strongly with what should become slag. This will come about when the
is fulfilled, the number of the Beast. Then comes the
moment when the Earth must draw away from further planetary evolution.
If however the human being has connected himself too strongly with the
forces of the senses, which should now detach themselves, if he is
related to them and has not found the way to attach himself to what is
to pass over to the next Globe, he will depart with the slag and
become an inhabitant of this body of slag, in the same way as other
beings are now inhabitants of the present moon.
Here we have the concept of the Eighth Sphere.
Mankind must go
through Seven Spheres. The Seven Planetary Evolutions correspond to
the seven bodies.
Old Saturn corresponds to the physical body
Old Sun corresponds to the etheric body
Old Moon corresponds to the astral body
The Earth corresponds to the Ego
Future Jupiter corresponds to the Manas
Future Venus corresponds to the Buddhi
Future Vulcan corresponds to the Atma
Beside these there is an Eighth Sphere to which everything goes that
cannot make any connection with this continuous evolution. This
already forms itself as predisposition in the devachanic state. When a
human being uses the life on earth only to amass what is of service to
himself alone, only to experience an intensification of his own
egotistical self, this leads in Devachan into the condition of
Avitchi. A person who cannot escape from his own separateness goes
into Avitchi. All these Avitchi men will eventually become inhabitants
of the Eighth Sphere. The other human beings will be inhabitants of
the continuing chain of evolution. It is from this concept that
religions have formulated the doctrine of hell.
When man returns from Devachan, the astral, etheric and physical
forces arrange themselves around him according to twelve forces of
karma which in Indian esotericism are called Nidanas:
They are as follows:
the organising tendencies
names and form
what the intellect makes of things
contact with existence
thirst for existence
a sense of comfort in existence
the urge towards birth
what frees from earthly existence
* In the Sanscrit words j is pronounced as dj.
In the next lecture we shall study these important aspects of karma in