Re: Death and the Life Beyond
We all know that when a man dies his soul leaves his physical body, but even while he is alive this can happen too : his soul can withdraw from his body and travel through space in order to study the universe, or even go and visit friends in distant places to help and comfort them and reveal certain truths to them. However, although it is possible to leave one's physical body, very few people are capable of doing so. Even while they are asleep at night, their soul remains close to their body, learning nothing and doing nothing useful, so it is no wonder that they are incapable of going out of their body consciously, in broad daylight, and travelling through space before coming back again to take up their everyday activities.
You will probably say that you are in a hurry to learn how to withdraw your soul consciously from your physical body. Well, let me warn you that you must not be in too much of a hurry ! If you are not fully prepared beforehand you can put yourself in great psychic danger (obsessions, possession or madness) and, even, in mortal danger on the physical level. If you do not begin by purifying yourself and gaining full control of yourself and all your thoughts, feelings and inclinations, it is extremely dangerous to go out of your body and leave it without protection, at the mercy of whatever entity comes along : the results can be truly horrifying. This is why I have never talked much to you about astral projection ; this will come later, when you are ready for it. Those who want to go and study the question in occult literature are, of course, at liberty to do so, but I warn them that they are running a great risk.
If you prepare yourself for years, in particular by paying great attention to the question of purity the purity of what you eat, for instance, as well as that of your thoughts and feelings and if you persevere in the practice of all the different exercises that can help you to achieve self-mastery, one day your soul will be able to leave your body at will without the slightest risk. This is how genuine Initiates are able to travel to the outermost regions of space where they see and learn so much, and a very important element is that when they reunite with their physical bodies they remember all that they have seen and done. For there are people who, under certain conditions, withdraw involuntarily from their physical body the phenomenon may manifest itself as a sudden falling asleep in the middle of the day but when they return to their normal state they remember nothing of what they saw, heard or did, and that is a pity. So the question is to be able to withdraw from one's body in full awareness. But don't be im-patient ; you must begin by purifying yourselves and one way to do this is to use the prayer to the Angels of the Four Elements which I gave you a long time ago.
It is extremely difficult for your soul to leave your body if you have not learned detachment up to and including the ultimate detachment of death. So many people are incapable of leaving their physical body even at the moment of death : the bonds which bind them to it are too strong because they have never learned detachment ! While they lived on earth they were only interested in material questions, money and pleasure : is it surprising, then, that they are unwilling to give up all that ? For a long time they suffer dreadfully, prowling round their own lifeless body and clinging to the people and places they knew in their lifetime, until a servant of God comes to help them to free themselves. Others, on the contrary, leave their physical body instantly, with the greatest of ease and intense joy, as though they were simply taking off a garment. This is why schools of Ini-tiation have always taught their disciples how to be detached.
Perhaps you will say, 'I suppose that if you want to be de-tached you have to withdraw from the world and not frequent other people ?' Not at all ! There have been hermits and ascetics who understood detachment like that and hid themselves away in caves or mountain grottoes. They were convinced that they were very detached, but their detachment was often only ex-ternal. In the midst of their solitude they were plagued by all kinds of desires and lusts because the Devil took advantage of that solitude to pay them a visit ! The literature is full of stories of the temptations of saints and hermits ! No, it is not a question of abandoning everything, it is a question of understanding that true detachment is an inner attitude and that purity is the only way to achieve it.
The souls who incarnate on this earth are not always the same. It can happen, of course, that the same ones come back time after time in the course of the centuries, but it is not necessarily so. The earth, you see, is not the only place where creatures can go to train and develop. There are other 'earths' all over the universe where they can go for instruction. Just as creatures from other planets come to earth, with a particular mission to accomplish, and leave again once their work is done, so creatures from earth can be sent to other planets. It is the Twenty-Four Elders who are in charge of organizing all this coming and going.
When a man dies, the doors of the earth close behind him, he is caught up in other currents and he is not entitled to turn back. This is why it is not good to call up the dead : it hinders them in their evolution. We must pray for them and send them light to help them to evolve, but we must not cling to them and try to hold on to them ; above all, we must not try to bring them back once they have left the earth.
There are countless tales in ancient literature about the prac-tice of summoning up the dead. The custom was to slit the throats of animals and use their blood to evoke the souls of the dead. The Odyssey tells of how Ulysses called up the spirit of the prophet Tiresias from Hades to foretell his future. And in the Old Testament we read that Saul commanded the medium of En Dor to bring up the shade of the great Prophet Samuel, because he wanted to consult him about the war against the Philistines. This is what is known as 'necromancy', meaning to foretell the future (manteia, divination) by means of the dead (nekros). But you will notice that Samuel said to Saul, 'Why have you disturbed me by bring-ing me up ?' Great spirits who have already finished their life on earth do not want to be disturbed after death simply in order to satisfy the curiosity of the living : they are so far removed from such narrow, petty interests ! Of course, this does not mean that they have forgotten the living : they are willing to help them, but in other ways3.
3 On another occasion Omraam Mikhael Nivanhov said : And then again, when Jesus appeared to his disciples at the Transfiguration, the light of his body was so dazzlingly bright and radiant that they could not bear to look at it, and fell on their faces in fear. The Transfiguration was a manifestation in the physical dimension of his spiritual body, his Body of Glory. The time had not yet come for Jesus to detach his Body of Glory from his physical body and to live only on that level, but it could already manifest itself in all its radiance. There are people who have seen the Body of Glory of an Initiate in a moment of spiritual ecstasy and rapture : his face shone and light radiated from his whole being. By means of their Body of Glory Initiates are able to travel freely through space, cross mountain ranges and even journey to the centre of the earth, for no material obstacle can hinder its movement ; they can even use it to influence and help others from a distance. Even if the physical body of an Initiate is ill, he can still send help to others, for the physical body and the Body of Glory are two quite different things. His physical body can be dying, but his Body of Glory is still untarnished, alive and radiant, and with it he can reach out to other creatures at a great distance and instruct, advise and console them and give them his blessing.'
Of course, most human beings are not immediately freed from their earthly attachments at the moment of death : they remain attached to their family and friends (and enemies !), as well as to places and possessions. If they are not highly evolved, if their heart and soul have never had any great desire to discover other regions and advance towards God, they will go on clinging to these people and things. They become unhappy, wandering souls, unable to free themselves, even though luminous spirits try to help them. Those who have cultivated the virtues, on the other hand, and lived in love and light on earth, free themselves very rapidly from their bodies and rise to sublime spheres, where they are immersed in happiness and joy. From these heights they help and protect those they have left behind by sending them beneficial currents but, in spite of what many people think, they never ac-tually return to earth. Once dead they are very, very far from the earth and they don't come back.
You will ask, 'But then why do spiritualistic mediums believe that they can communicate with famous people from the past ?' Well, the truth is that they do not actually communicate with the people they evoke ; let me explain what happens. When a hvman being departs this world, he leaves some of his 'clothes' behind ; not, of course, his physical clothes, but his etheric and astral clothes. These clothes float in the atmosphere and are impregnated with his life-experience ; they are like empty shells or husks and can be animated and vivified by the fluids of those who take part in a spiritualistic seance in the hope of com-municating with the dead. As those who take part in these seances are not, generally speaking, very highly evolved, the fluids that emanate from them are very inferior and bear the mark of their passions, covetousness and sensuality and, because of this, they attract all kinds of shadowy beings which have not yet been absorbed by the centre of the earth and are still floating in the etheric and astral planes.
Ordinarily, the psychic atmosphere surrounding the earth is continually cleansed and the debris floating in it is sent to the centre of the earth. But it still contains a certain number of en-tities which we call larvae or elementals, and it is they that manifest themselves at seances to deceive and mislead human beings. And not only do they deceive and mislead them, but they also drain them of their energies by absorbing every drop of their vitality in order to stay alive as long as possible.
Even the lowest kinds of spirit are capable of entering the mind of a medium and speaking in the name of Moses, Jesus, Joan of Arc, or whoever else you choose to call up. But this does not prove that you are in touch with a very advanced being. Besides, very advanced spirits are certainly not going to be attracted to frivolous, inquisitive, sensual people such as one often finds at spiritualistic seances. The only entities that people like this can call up are the larvae, husks and shades of the lower astral regions. On the other hand, if pure, luminous, disinterested beings gather to pray together and radiate light into the world, some truly luminous entities may manifest themselves in their midst, but not at all in the same way as in a seance.
There are even some inhabitants of the psychic world who have been created by humans. Some of the well known characters of literature, for instance, or even saints who never actually existed, have become so famous and have been so vividly present in the minds of men that they have acquired, not physical, but fluidic reality. And this is how an egregor comes into existence.
An egregor is a psychic collective entity formed by the thoughts, wishes and fluidic emanations of all the individual members of a collectivity, a nation or a religion, for instance. The thoughts and desires of so many human beings working together towards the same goal form an egregor which is shaped, impregnated and nourished by that collectivity. We, in the Universal White Brotherhood, have our own egregor, just as all religions and spiritual movements and even political movements have theirs. Sometimes these egregors combat each other on high, each one wanting to be the strongest, and each one helps the community that has brought it into being, for it is a reservoir of tremendous forces. Each has its own symbolic form which is often that of an animal : bear, tiger, cock, eagle, dove, and so on. But the really vital thing to understand is how to form a powerful egregor capable of working in every region of the world and of helping and enlightening human beings. You must also be careful, though, for if you betray the ideal that an egregor represents it can punish you and reduce you to dust. This may astonish you, but an egregor may wreak vengeance on those who betray it.
Human beings really have no idea of how many different kinds of creatures inhabit the astral world. But whether they know them or not, they attract those to which they are bound by the law of affinity. And this is how, in spiritualistic seances, the participants attract beings from the astral ocean, rarely the spirits of the dead that they hoped for. You will say, 'Yes, but how can these creatures know the dead person so well that they manage to pass themselves off as his spirit ?' That is not difficult :it is all there, in the Akashic Records, the etheric Archives of the universe, and these entities can easily find out all they need to know. The only problem is that they often misread things and then they pass on false information.
Actually, this greatly depends on the person who seeks in-formation from the invisible world : someone who is very pure and luminous will receive correct answers, not because higher spirits descend to his level, but because he is able to rise and communicate with them on their own level. There are instances, as I have already mentioned, in which spirits have been forced down to earth, because they have been called by very powerful magicians who knew how to pronounce certain magic formulas. But this is not a normal, natural situation it is up to human beings to rise, by means of thought, to the level of the spirits : the spirits should not be obliged to return to earth.
There are two kinds of magic in this area : one which calls on higher beings in order to obtain blessings and favours from them, and this is called invocation, and the other which attempts to get the souls of the dead to appear in visible form, and this is known as evocation. But generally speaking, as I have already said, it is not possible to get the particular spirits one wants to appear, whether by invocation or evocation : other creatures assume their appearance or their voice in order to make mischief and mislead human beings.
So you must be very careful about all this. Personally, I have never recommended spiritualistic seances, never ; on the contrary ! I attended a few when I was young, but I very soon realized that the people who take part in them are slaves to their own sensuality, avarice and ambition. While claiming to communicate with their deceased friends and relations, they attract creatures from the astral world that cling to them in order to satisfy their own base appetites through them and that can never be shaken off again. This is why many spiritualist mediums have come to a bad end.
In conclusion, therefore, let the dead go their way in peace. Don't cling to your dying relations and friends, don't let your sorrow at their departure hold them down and, above all, don't try to communicate with them by calling them back. This only troubles them and prevents them from breaking free. Pray for them, send them your love, think of them becoming freer and freer and rising higher and higher towards the light. If you really love them, be sure that you will be with them again one day. That is the truth. How many times have I already told you this : where your heart is, there will you be one day.
Sevres, 6 March 1966
Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov