Immediately after death, and particularly if cremation has taken place, the man, in his kama-manasic body, is as much aware and alert to his environment as he was upon the physical plane when alive. This phrasing permits latitude as to the extent of the awareness and of observation, for a similar latitude must be allowed for those on the physical plane. People are not all equally awake or equally conscious of circumstances or immediate experience. However, as most people are more conscious emotionally than they are physically, and live to a great extent focused in their astral vehicles, the man is quite familiar with the state of consciousness in which he finds himself. Forget not that a plane is essentially a state of consciousness and not a locality, as so many esotericism seem to think. It is recognized by the focused reaction of the self-conscious person who – constantly and distinctly aware of himself – is sentient to the theme of his environment and of his outgoing desires, or (where advanced people are concerned, functioning upon the more advanced levels of the astral plane) sentient of outgoing love and aspiration; the man is engrossed with what engrossed his attention and involved the kamic principle during his incarnated experience. May I again remind you that there is now no physical brain to respond to impacts generated by the inner man, and also that sex, as it is physically understood, is non-existent. Spiritualists would do well to remember this and so grasp the foolishness as well as the impossibility of those spiritual marriages which certain schools of thought in the movement teach and practice. The man, in his astral body, is now free from the strictly animal impulses which, upon the physical plane, are both normal and right, but which now have no meaning to him in his kamic body.
Therefore, taking the average man, what are his first reactions and activities after the restitution of the physical body to the universal reservoir of substance? Let me enumerate some of these reactions:
- He becomes consciously aware of himself. This involves a clarity of perception unknown to the average man whilst in physical incarnation.
- Time (being the succession of events as registered by the physical brain) is now non-existent as we understand the term, and – as the man turns his attention to his more clearly defined emotional self – there ensues invariably a moment of direct soul contact. This is due to the fact that even in the case of the most ignorant and undeveloped man, the moment of complete restitution does not pass unnoticed by the soul. It has a definite soul effect, something like a long and strong pull at a bell rope, if I might use so simple a simile. For a brief second the soul responds, and the nature of the response is such that the man, standing in his astral body, or rather in his kama-manasic vehicle, sees the experience of the past incarnation spread before him like a map. He records a sense of timelessness.
- As a result of the recognition of these experiences, the man isolates those three which were the three major conditioning factors in the life which has gone and which also hold the keys to his future incarnation which he will next initiate. All else is forgotten, and all the lesser experiences fade out of his memory, leaving nothing in his consciousness but what are esoterically called “the three seeds or germs of the future”. These three seeds are in a peculiar manner related to the permanent physical and astral atoms, and thus produce the fivefold force which will create the forms later to appear. It might be said that:
- Seed One determines later the nature of the physical environment in which the returning man will find his place. It is related to the quality of that future environment and thus conditions the needed field or area of contact.
- Seed Two determines the quality of the etheric body as a vehicle through which the ray forces can make contact with the dense physical body. It delimits the etheric structure or vital web along which the incoming energies will circulate and is related in particular to the special one of the seven centers which will be the most active and alive during the coming incarnation.
- Seed Three gives the key to the astral vehicle in which the man will be polarized in the next incarnation. Forget not, I am dealing here with the average man and not with the advanced human being, disciple or initiate. It is this seed which – through the forces it attracts – brings the man again into relation with those he previously loved or with whom he had close contact. It can be accepted as a fact that the group idea governs subjectively all incarnations, and that reincarnated man is brought into incarnation not only through his own desire for physical plane experience, but also under group impulse and in line with the group karma as well as with his own. This is a point which should receive more emphasis. Once this is truly grasped and understood, a great deal of the fear engendered by the thought of death would disappear. The familiar and the loved will still remain the familiar and the loved, because the relation has been closely established over many incarnations and – as the Old Commentary expresses it:
“These seeds of determining recognition are not unique to me and you, but also for the group; within the group they relate one to the other in time and space. Only in the lower three shall those related find their true existence. When soul knows soul and in the meeting-place within the Master’s call, these seeds shall disappear.”
It will be apparent, therefore, how necessary it is to train children to recognize and profit by experience, for this, once learnt, will greatly facilitate this third activity upon the astral plane after death.
- Having completed this “isolating of experience,” the man will then seek and automatically find those whom the third seed influence indicates as possessing a constant part in the group experience of which he is an element, consciously or unconsciously. The relation once again established (if those sought have not yet eliminated the physical body), the man acts as he would on earth in the company of his intimates and according to his temperament and point in evolution. If those who are closest to him and whom he deeply loves or hates are still in physical incarnation, he will also seek them out and – just again as he did on earth – he will remain in their neighborhood, aware of their activities, though (unless highly evolved) they will not be aware of his. I can give no detail as to reciprocal give and take or to the modes and methods of contact. Each person differs; each temperament is largely unique. I only seek to make clear certain basic lines of behavior pursued by man prior to the act or acts of elimination.
These four activities cover varying periods of time – from the angle of “those who live below,” though there is no time recognized on the part of the man on the astral plane. Gradually the lure and glamor (of a low or high order) wears off, and the man enters into the stage where he knows – because the mind is now more incisive and dominating – that he is ready for the second death and for the entire elimination of the kamic body or of the kama-manasic vehicle.
One of the things to remember here is that once restitution of the physical in its two aspects has taken place, the inner man is, as I have earlier said, fully conscious. The physical brain and the swirl of etheric forces (mostly somewhat disorganized in the case of the majority of men) are no longer present. These are the two factors which have led students to believe that the experiences of the man on the inner planes of the three worlds are those of a vague drifting, of a semi-conscious experience, or indicate a repetitive life, except in the case of very advanced people or disciples and initiates. But this is not the case. A man on the inner planes is not only as conscious of himself as an individual – with his own plans, life and affairs – as he was on the physical plane, but he is also conscious in the same manner of the surrounding states of consciousness. He may be glamored by astral existence or subject to the telepathic impression of the varying thought currents emanating from the mental plane, but he is also conscious of himself and of his mind (or of the measure of manasic life developed) in a far more potent manner than when he had to work through the medium of the physical brain, when the focus of his consciousness was that of the aspirant, but anchored in the brain. His experience is far richer and fuller than he ever knew when in incarnation. If you will think this out for a little, you will realize that this necessarily would be so.
It may therefore be assumed that the Art of Elimination is practiced more definitely and more effectively than was the restitution of the physical vehicle. Another point must also be considered. On the inner side, men know that the Law of Rebirth governs the experience-process of physical plane living, and they realize then that, prior to the elimination of the kamic, kama-manasic or manasic bodies, they are only passing through an interlude between incarnations and that they consequently face two great experiences:
- A moment (long or short, according to the attained point in evolution) wherein contact will be made with the soul or with the solar angel.
- After that contact, a relatively violent reorientation to earth life takes place, leading to what is called “the process of descent and calling,” wherein the man:
- Prepares for physical incarnation again.
- Sounds his own true note into the substance of the three worlds.
- Revitalizes the permanent atoms, which form a triangle of force within the causal body.
- Gathers together the needed substance to form his future bodies of manifestation.
- Colors them with the qualities and characteristics he has already achieved through life-experience.
- On the etheric plane arranges the substance of his vital body so that the seven centers take shape and can become the recipients of the inner forces.
- Makes a deliberate choice of those who will provide him with the needed dense physical covering, and then awaits the moment of incarnation. Esoteric students would do well to remember that parents only donate the dense physical body. They contribute naught else save a body of a particular quality and nature which will provide the needed vehicle of contact with the environment demanded by the incarnating soul. They may also provide a measure of group relationship, where the soul experience is long and a true group relation has been established.
These two critical moments are consciously faced by the discarnate man and he knows what he is doing within the limits set by his point in evolution.
Excerpted from “Esoteric Healing – Chapter VI – The Art of Elimination”
By Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul