THE DIFFERENT CONDITIONS OF MAN'S LIFE AFTER DEATH
THE ASTRAL WORLD
Leipzig, 30 June, 1906
Yesterday I described the
astral world. To-day we shall deal with man's life after death in the
astral world. This will give us a basis for an understanding of reincarnation
We have seen that when we
die the following processes take place: The physical body remains behind
as a corpse; whereas during sleep the etheric body remains connected
with physical body, the etheric body, the astral body and the Ego go
out of the physical body at the moment of death. Immediately after death,
the whole earthly life unfolds itself in every detail before the soul
of the departed in the form of pictures. This process lasts for about
three days, until the next separation, namely that of the etheric body
from the astral body and the Ego. In the occult meaning we therefore
speak of two corpses. After a while, the etheric body remains behind
as a second corpse.
When the second separation
has taken place, the capacity of memory ceases — but not for always
— and a new condition begins for the human being. What is this
new condition? Man now experiences himself in the world which he enters
every night during sleep. But this after-death condition greatly differs
from the sleeping condition. Theosophical books sometimes describe death
as if it were a kind of sleep. But this is not the case; soon after death
man grows conscious of the astral world. Nevertheless there exists in
the proverb: Sleep is the brother of death. ... and this is justified.
This new state of existence is called life in Kamaloca.
We have seen that during
sleep the astral body works on the physical body and on the etheric
body in order to renew their forces. This work suppresses consciousness
during sleep and prevents us from having perceptions of the astral world.
After death the astral body is dispensed from this work indeed no longer to
restore fatigue, and for this reason it begins to grow conscious of
the astral world. Upon the Earth, this force was used for the reconstruction
of the physical body, but now it is free and exists in the form of consciousness.
When the astral body is no longer obliged to restore anything, it perceives
the images of the astral world. This also shows you why we should strive
after a sound sleep.
Observe physical life here
in this world, how everyone seeks to satisfy his senses. What a human
being enjoys, is enjoyed by his soul, but the organ which enables him
to enjoy is physical. If a person enjoys eating, the soul needs the
palate for its enjoyment. After death the longing for these enjoyments
continues to exist, whereas the organs no longer exist. The soul yearns
for good food, but the organ enabling it to taste it is lacking. The
longing can no longer be satisfied. The soul is like a wanderer suffering
terrible thirst looking in vain for water, for a possibility to quench
This state of existence
does not last forever, little by little the longings cease. Many religions
describe it as a life in purgatory. And old painter sometimes depicted
in other pictures with flames of fire. In fact, the soul suffers a burning
The further courses is that
the human being feels his last longings and lives through his whole
life backwards, as far as his birth; when he had no passionate longings.
Afterwards man enters Devachan. This is clearly indicated in the Gospel
verse: unless ye become like little children, ye cannot enter the kingdom
of God. — Little by little the human being must free himself from
everything which linked him up with the physical world. Kamaloca is
the condition in which he emancipates himself from everything which
chains him to the world of the senses. It is influenced entirely by
the sensory life in the physical world. If a person entirely submitted
to his senses, his life in Kamaloca will be long and difficult. Ordinarily
the Kamaloca-existence takes up about one third of the duration of earthly
life. Past life rises up before the soul in the form of images and beings
that torment us. In Kamaloca everything is reversed: what used to satisfy
us, is now want. Hot passion calls up the feeling of horrible chilling
Beings. And the burning thirst remains throughout. The more a human
being freed himself from physical life before death and the easier
his death, the more readily will he disaccustom himself to the world
of the senses. In the case of suicides this will be most difficult of all,
for they were the prey of an illusion: they do not consider that in
violently severing themselves from the life of the senses, they will
be seized by an unspeakable greed for their physical body, which would
keep them in close proximity to the physical world. A similar fate —
though in a weaker form awaits those who lost their life suddenly through
some accident. Such a sudden death also brings with it an avidity for
the physical world, for the physical body, but later on this will be
compensated in Devachan. When the soul has laid aside its earthly desires,
it enters the Devachan state of existence.
Spiritual science does not
teach us to turn away from life. The spiritual scientist may use the
following comparison: the soul resembles a bee that flies out to the
meadows to seek honey and bring it back to the hive. Here on earth the
soul gathers the honey of life which he brings to the altar of the Godhead
after death. The soul could never do this without a life in the physical
When man incarnates and begins
to see, he at first simply perceives through his eyes. Gradually spiritual
enjoyment grows out of this. Physical pleasure changes into spiritual
enjoyment. The savage with but a few incarnations enjoys the many colors
and the simplest sense-impressions. With each incarnation his senses
grow more refined. — If we had never enjoyed colours sensually,
we could never attain spiritual enjoyment of colors. The sensually enjoyment
is therefore a necessary deviation. We should enjoy the beauty of the
physical world. Similarly, sensual love gradually leads to the highest,
purest, spiritual love. The soul should transform every experience and
carry it up to the altar of spirituality. Nothing, really nothing, is
ever lost. Without the school of sensuality, we can never reach spirituality.
The Earth is not a valley of tears, it is a gathering place and the
human beings are — so the Bible says — messengers, Angels
of God, sent out to gather honey.
The human being is passing
through a process of transformation. Think of your childhood years!
How many thoughts and concepts approached you and how much you took in!
And how your thoughts and concepts changed from the 10th to the 20th
year! Your temperament undergoes a far weaker change. A passionate child
will still be passionate in old age. The temperament is engraved in
the human body. A choleric person has quite a different expression,
bearing and walk from a sanguine, melancholic or phlegmatic person.
We should strive, above all, to change our temperament to a certain
extent at least. This was a training Occult Schools. The whole trend
of life was changed in Occult Schools. The essential thing there was
to transform the will.
After death, our spiritual
connections and ties reach us as far as Devachan. Two people are intimate
friends and their friendship takes on more and more spiritual character.
Yet the physical body constitutes a certain obstacle. In Devachan this
friendship will find its full, pure expression.
Everything that we drew
out of our earthly life becomes interwoven with the soul, with the spirit.
This enables us to shape our next incarnation, as far as the body, and
earthly life is the expression of what we worked out for ourselves.
In the East there is a proverb which says: what you think to-day, you
During each incarnation
we thus work for the next one. In my next lecture I will describe man's
experiences in Devachan. Life in Devachan is not a dream-condition,
for the human being does not sleep through the spiritual world. There,
his consciousness is a much higher one, it is more alive than here on
Earth. In Devachan everything appears in a stronger light. We do not
lose our friends in Devachan; our connections with them are simply of
another kin — it is a far more intimate and spiritual union. Devachan
is a far more real state of existence than earthly life.