In this blog, I have detailed the explanations given by the original Theosophy about what happens after to die, because I consider it very likely to be the most truthful explanation.

And to enrich the subject, I also attach the explanations given by other researchers, and in this article, I will put the explanations given by Mr. Sinnett.

Alfred Sinnett was an English journalist who had the privilege of being instructed by Master Kuthumi who taught him because the Master thought that Mr. Sinnett for his European nationality and his profession in the journalism, it would be easier for him to transmit to the Western world, the Eastern esoteric knowledge.

And the information that Mr. Sinnett gave about what happens after the dead, can be considered in three parts:

1) First Mr. Sinnett wrote an article (most likely at the request of Master Kuthumi) where he made a summary of what Master Kuthumi taught to him about this theme.

And this article was published in Theosophis magazine, which is the official journal of the Theosophical Society (Adyar), in March 1883.

2) Later, at the end of this same year, Mr. Sinnett published a book entitled "Esoteric Buddhism" where he copied this article and added a little more information.

3) Unfortunately, later, Mr. Sinnett, when he returned to Europe, wanting to continue communicating with Master Kuthumi, he began to practice the spiritism (and this despite the fact that Master Kuthumi had warned him not to do so).

And this is how some malicious entities of the astral cheated on him by making believe to Mr. Sinnett that they were his teacher and began to teach him false or deformed information.

And that is why in the following reprints of his book, Mr. Sinnett added an appendix where he put a summary of that distorted information.

_ _ _

What Mr. Sinnett wrote in his book, you can read at this link.

Here below, I am going to put the article that Mr. Sinnett wrote initially, more two others annexes.

  Table of contents:

1.   Alfred Sinnett’s article
2.   The reasons why the editor of the Theosophist magazine added some appendices.
3.   And the five appendices that were attached to the article.

Personally, I feel that Mr. Sinnett writes in a very complicated way, which makes it very difficult to understand what he says, and that is why I prefer to study directly the Mahatma Letters, but in spite of that, I put his text to enrich the blog with more documentation.

* * * * * * * * * *


By A Lay Chela

It was not possible to approach a consideration of the states into which the higher human principles pass at death, without first indicating the general framework of the whole design which is worked out in the course of the evolution of man.

The great majority of the blunders made by ordinary theological speculation on this subject are due to ignorance of this general design.

People have been led to regard the present physical life as the only one of its kind which a human soul is called upon to pass through.

They have next found themselves obliged to provide in Heaven or some sphere of punishment for all the rest of eternity, as they are reluctant to contemplate the notion of final annihilation even for their mere personal entities, unable to understand that unless specially qualified for perpetuation, they might tire of such entities in progress of millenniums.

Thus the Heaven of vulgar theology (not to speak of the Hell) is a congeries of inconsistent conceptions as fatally at war with each other as with the facts of the earth life they are supposed to supplement.

Heaven is treated as a place in which life is infinitely prolonged (an eternity which has a beginning but no end) and found enjoyable in the highest degree.

But each person is simply himself or herself as on earth in a new spiritual body, with recollection of the past life on earth, and perception of the continued life in progress here for the living friends and relatives left behind.

Now a Heaven which constituted a watch tower from which the occupants could still survey the miseries of the earth, would really be a place of acute mental suffering for Its most sympathetic, unselfish and meritorious inhabitants.

If we invest them in imagination with such a very limited range of sympathy that they could be imagined as not caring about the spectacle of suffering after the few persons to whom they were immediately attached, had died and joined them, still they would have a very unhappy period of waiting to go through before survivors reached the end of an often long and toilsome existence below.

And even this hypothesis would be further vitiated by making Heaven most painful for occupants who were most unselfish and sympathetic, whose reflected distress would thus continue on behalf of the afflicted race of mankind generally, even after their personal kindred had been rescued by the lapse of time.

The only escape from this dilemma for believers in a conventional Heaven, lies in the supposition that Heaven is not yet opened for business, so to speak, and that all people who have ever lived from Adam downwards are still lying in a death-like, annihilation-like, trance, waiting for the resurrection at the end of the world.

[The resurrection by the bye has an occult meaning which the present explanations may help to elucidate, but of that more anon].

Which of these hypotheses is most favored by ordinary theology we do not pretend to say, but Heaven must be recognized by that doctrine as either, open or not open yet for the reception of souls, and then one of the two lines of speculation above roughly indicated must be followed.

None the less, of course, would theology deny that either statement of the case was correct. No statement of any case which ordinary theology favors, ever is admitted to be correct by theologians if it is put in plain language which conveys a definite conception.

Now this brings us to a point of great importance in regard to these fragmentary teachings. The statements which have to be made are susceptible of being expressed in the plainest possible terms.

The language of occult philosophy may be as precise as that of physical science. It has not always been so, because a great deal of it has been employed to disguise the statements put forward, just as early astronomers would sometimes record their discoveries by means of  anagrams perfectly destitute of meaning on the surface.

But the obscurity of occult writing has never been due to the cloudiness or confusion of the ideas under treatment.

Thoroughly understood, all occult knowledge, within the range of ordinary human understanding, can be presented to the reader in language as lucid as a diamond, and no more than the facets of the diamond, need the edges of its separate assertions be blurred to make them fit.

The facts about the spiritual condition of life which for each human individuality travelling round the great circle of evolution, intervenes between everyone of its separate incarnations, are thus susceptible like the facts of objective existence, with which these essays have chiefly hitherto been dealing, of intelligible expression in terms which need not provide by intentional obscurity for any possible necessity of later withdrawal or qualification.

But of course the conditions of lives which are not objective are not so easily grasped as those which are paralleled by our own, and statements which may be perfectly definite as far as they go, may nevertheless be incomplete.

The world of effects is a strange and unfamiliar territory for most of us, and untrained imaginations might not follow a close description of its features. However, there fire living men, be it remembered, to whom its territory is not unfamiliar to whom its minutest details are no longer strange.

From these the information comes, which we are about to lay before the reader (1).

Rejecting the unscientific name which has become encrusted with too many misconceptions to be convenient, let us keep to the oriental designation of that region or state into which the higher principles of human creatures pass at death.

“Devachan” to begin with, makes no offer of eternal accommodation to the finite personalities of dying men.

It has already been explained that when the four higher principles escape from the body, i.e., from the lower triad, they divide in accordance with the affinities that have been engendered in them during their corporate life.

The lower reliquiae remain in the Kama-Loka or immediate vicinity or subtle atmosphere of the earth, and the higher two invested with a certain amount of consciousness by having assimilated all which is adapted to a superior state of existence, from the 5th principle, Manas or “animal" soul, pass into a temporary period of oblivion (2) from which they are, so to speak, born into “Devachan”.

Now in Devachan, that which survives is not merely the individual monad, which survives through all the changes of the whole evolutionary scheme, and flits from body to body, from planet to planet, and so forth; that which survives in Devachan is the man's own self-conscious personality (3), under some restrictions indeed, which we will come to directly, but still it is the same personality as regards its higher feelings, aspirations, affections, and even tastes as it was on earth.

Those feelings and tastes of course which were purely sensual will drop off, but, to suggest  a whole range of ideas by means of one illustration, a soul in Devachan, if the soul of a man who was passionately devoted to music would be continuously enraptured by the sensations music produces.

The person whose happiness of the higher sort on earth had been entirely focused in the exercise of the affections will miss none, in Devachan of those whom he or she loved.

But, at once it will be asked, if some of these lire not themselves fit for Devachan, how then?

The answer is that does not matter. For the person who loved them they will be there.

It is not necessary to say much more to give a clue to the position. Devachan is a subjective state. It will seem as real, as the chairs and tables round us; and remember that above all things to the profound philosophy of occultism, are the chairs and tables, and the whole objective scenery of the world, unreal and-merely transitory delusions of sense.

As real as the realities of this world to us, and even more so, will be the realities of Devachan to those who go into that state.

Now we fancy very few Western thinkers at the first glance will welcome this account of the heaven awaiting them beyond the grave, but we are not weaving merely pleasant fancies, we are describing natural facts, and to say that a condition of things is unacceptable to the imagination is to say nothing in disproof of its actuality.

As regards Devachan, however, a patient consideration of the place in nature which it occupies will show that this subjective isolation of each human unit is the only condition which renders possible any thing which can be described as a felicitous spiritual existence after death for mankind at large, and “Devachan” is as much a purely and absolutely felicitous condition for all who attain it as “Avitchi” is the reverse of it.

There is no inequality or injustice in the system. Devachan is by no means the same thing for the good and the indifferent alike, but it is not a life of responsibility, and therefore there is no logical place in it for suffering any more than in “Avitchi” there is any room for enjoyment or repentance (4).

It is a life of effects, not of causes; a life of being paid your earnings, not of laboring for them. Therefore it is impossible to be during that life cognizant of what is going on the earth.

Under the operation of such cognition there would be no true happiness possible in the state after death. But there is no true happiness possible, people will say, in the state of monotonous isolation now described!

The objection is merely raised from the point of view of an imagination that cannot escape from its present surroundings.

To begin with, about monotony: no one will complain of having experienced monotony during the minute or moment or half hour as it may have been of the greatest happiness he may have enjoyed in life.

Most people have had some happy moments at all events to look back to for the purpose of this comparison, and let us take even one such minute or moment, too short to be open to the least suspicion of monotony, and imagine its sensations immensely prolonged without any external events in progress to mark the lapse of time.

There is no room in such a condition of things for the conception of weariness.

The unalloyed unchangeable sensation of intense happiness goes on and on, not for ever, because the causes which have produced it are not infinite themselves, but for very long periods of time until the efficient impulse has exhausted itself. [See Appendix B]

As physical existence has its cumulative intensity from infancy to prime, and its diminishing energy thenceforward to dotage and death, so the dream-life of Devachan is lived correspondentially.

There is the first flutter of psychic life, the attainment of prime, the gradual exhaustion of force passing into conscious lethargy, semi-unconsciousness, oblivion and-not death but rebirth!

Rebirth into another personality and the resumption of action which daily begets new congeries of causes that must be worked out in another term of Devachan.

“It is not a reality then, it is a mere dream”, objectors will urge; the soul so bathed in a delusive sensation of enjoyment which has no reality all the while is being cheated by Nature, and must encounter a terrible shock when it wakes to  its mistake.

But in the nature of things, it never does or can wake. The waking from Devachan is its next birth into objective life, and the draught of Lethe has then been taken.

Nor as regards the isolation of each soul is there any consciousness of isolation whatever; nor is there ever possibly a parting from its chosen associates.

Those associates are not in the nature of companions who may wish to go away, of friends who may tire of the friend that loves them even if he or she does not tire of them.

Love, the creating force, has placed their living image before the, personal soul which craves for their presence, and that image will never flyaway. [See Appendix C]

There is a sense of unreality about the whole affair, to some people, which is painful to their mind at first no doubt; but this is certainly much more due to au imperfect grasp of the nature of the existence described on the part of people used merely to objective experiences, than to any inherent demerits in the scheme of existence provided for souls in their transition state in Devachan.

And we must remember that by the very nature of the system described there are infinite varieties of well-being in Devachan, suited to the infinite varieties of merit in mankind.

If “the next world” really were the objective Heaven which ordinary theology preaches, there would be endless injustice and inaccuracy in its operation. People to begin with would be either admitted or excluded, and the differences of favor shown to different guests within the all-favored region, would not sufficiently provide for differences of merit in this life.

But the real Heaven of our earth adjusts itself to the needs and merits of each new arrival with unfailing certainty. Not merely as regards the duration of the blissful state which is determined by the causes engendered during objective life, but as regards the intensity and amplitude of the emotions which constitute that blissful state, the Heaven of each person who attains the really existent Heaven is precisely fitted to his capacity for enjoying it.

It is the creation of his own aspirations and faculties. More than this it may be impossible for the uninitiated comprehension to realize. But this indication of its character is enough to show how perfectly it falls into its appointed place in the whole scheme of evolution. [See Appendix D]

Devachan being a condition of mere subjective enjoyment, the duration and intensity of which is determined by the merit and spirituality of the earth-life last past there is no opportunity while the soul inhabits it, for the punctual requital of evil deeds.

But Nature does not content herself with either forgiving sins in a free and easy way, or damning sinners outright, like a lazy master too indolent, rather than too good-natured, to govern his household justly.

The karma of evil (be it great or small) is as certainly operative at the appointed time as the karma of good. But the place of its operation is not Devachan, but either a new rebirth, or Avitchi, a state to be reached only in exceptional cases and by exceptional natures of evil men (5).

The subject being of paramount importance it may be left for a separate Fragment. [See Appendix E]

Generally, the rebirth into objective existence is the event for which the karma of evil patiently waits; and then, it irresistibly asserts itself, not that the karma of good exhausts itself in Devachan leaving the unhappy monad to develop a new consciousness with no material beyond the evil deeds of its last personality.

The rebirth will be qualified by the merit as well as the demerit of the previous life, but the Devachan existence is a rosy sleep, a peaceful night with dreams more vivid than day, and imperishable for many centuries and ages, as the loftiest mountains of the earth for the time abandoned.

It will be seen that the Devachan state is only one of the conditions of existence which go to make up the whole spiritual or relatively spiritual complement of our earth life.

Observers of spiritualistic phenomena would never have been perplexed as they have been if there were no other but the Devachan state to be dealt with.

For once in Devachan there is very little opportunity for communication between a spirit, then wholly absorbed in its own sensations and practically oblivious of the earth left behind, and its former friends still living.

Whether gone before or yet remaining on earth those friends, if the bond of affection has been sufficiently strong will be with the happy spirit still, to all intents and purposes for him, and as happy blissful, innocent, as the disembodied dreamer himself.

It is possible, however, for yet living persons to have visions of Devachan, though such visions are rare, and only one-sided, the entities in Devachan, sighted by the earthly clairvoyant being quite unconscious themselves of undergoing such observation.

The spirit of the clairvoyant ascends into the condition of Devachan in such rare visions, and thus becomes subject to the vivid delusions of that existence.

It is under the impression that the spirits with which it is in Devachanic bonds of sympathy has come down to visit earth and itself, while the converse operation has really taken place.

The clairvoyant's spirit has been raised towards those in Devachan.

Thus many of the subjective spiritual communications (most of them when the sensitives are pure-minded) are real, though it is most difficult for the uninitiated medium to fix in his mind the true and correct pictures of what he sees and hears.

In the same way some of the phenomena called psychography (though more rarely) are also real. The spirit of the sensitive getting odylised, so to say, by the aura of the spirit in the Devachan becomes for a few minutes that departed personality, and writes in the handwriting of the latter, in his language find in his thoughts as they were during his lifetime.

The two spirits become blended in one, and the preponderance of one over the other during such phenomena, determines the preponderance of personality in the characteristics exhibited.

Thus, it may incidentally be observed, what is called rapport is in plain fact, an identity of molecular Vibration between the astral part of the incarnate medium and the astral part of the disincarnate personality.

Meanwhile the average communicating “spirit” of the seance room is the denizen of that intervening region between Earth-life and Devachan which has been already referred to as Kama-Loka.

On the subject of “shells” or elementaries, so much has been written of late that this branch of the subject may be passed over lightly now.

The upper dual having won, in the struggle which takes place after death in the Kama-Loka between the two sets of principles, the lowest of all with a remnant of the 5th its more brutal memories and instincts alone remaining, continues to roam the subtle earth's atmosphere for a time (an empty shell though alive for a while to a certain extent).

A word or two of explanation however is required in reference to the complete two principled being which remains in the Kama-Loka, when the upper dual does not win in the struggle for possession of the late personality.

It might be imagined that such a being would be far more potent for the purposes of communication with still living people, than the shell, and so it might be if it remained in “Kama-Loka,” but the fact is that in such cases the surviving personality is promptly drawn into the current of its future destinies and these have nothing to do with this subtle earth's atmosphere or with Devachan, but with that “eight sphere” of which occasional mention will be found in older occult writings.

It will have been unintelligible to ordinary readers hitherto why it was called the “eighth sphere,” but since the explanation in these Fragments of the seven fold constitution of our planetary system, the meaning will be clear enough.

The spheres of the cyclic process of evolution are seven in number, but there is an eighth in connection with our earth (our earth being, it will be remembered, the turning point in the cyclic chain) and this eighth sphere is out of circuit, a “cul-de-sac” and the borne from which it may be truly said no traveler returns.

It will readily be guessed that the only sphere connected with our manwantaric chain, which is lower than our own, in the scale that has spirit at the top and matter at the bottom, must itself be no less visible to the eye and to optical instruments, than the earth itself, and as the duties which this sphere has to perform in our planetary system are immediately associated with this earth, there is not much mystery left now in the riddle of the  eighth sphere, nor as to the place in the sky where it may be sought.

The conditions of existence there, however, are topics on which the adepts are very reserved in their communications to uninitiated pupils, and concerning these we have for the present no further information to give.

Onestatement though it is definitely made, viz, that such a total degradation of a personality as may suffice to draw it, after death, into the attraction of the eighth sphere, is of very rare occurrence.

From the vast majority of lives there is something which the higher principles may draw to themselves, something to redeem the page of existence just passed from total destruction and here it must be remembered that the recollections of life in Devachan very vivid as they are, as far as they go, touch only those episodes in life which are productive of the elevated Bart of happiness of which alone Devachan is qualified to take cognizance, whereas the life from which for the time being the cream is thus skimmed, will be remembered eventually, in all its details quite fully.

That complete remembrance is only achieved by the individual at the threshold of a far more exalted spiritual state than that which we are now concerned with, and which is attained far later on in the progress of the vast cycles of evolution.

Each one of the long series of lives that will have been passed through will then be, as it were, a page in a book to which the possessor can turn back at pleasure, even though many such pages will then seem to him most likely, very dull reading, and will not be frequently referred to.

It is this revival eventually of recollection concerning all the long forgotten personalities that is really meant by the doctrine of the Resurrection of which the modern prayer books make so sad a hash.

But we have no time at present to stop and unravel the enigmas of symbolism as bearing upon the teachings at present under conveyance to the reader.

It may be worthwhile to do this as a separate undertaking lit a later period, but meanwhile to revert to the narrative of how the facts stand, it may be explained that in the whole book of pages, when at last the “resurrection” has been accomplished, there will be no entirely infamous pages; for even if any given spiritual individuality has occasionally during its passage through this world been linked with personalities so deplorably and desperately degraded that they have passed completely into the attraction of the lower vortex that spiritual individuality in such cases will have retained in its own affinities, no trace or taint of them.

Those pages will, as it were, have been clearly torn out from the book. And as at the end of the struggle after crossing the Kama-Loka, the spiritual individuality will have passed into the unconscious gestation state from which skipping the Devachan state it will be directly reborn into its next life of objective activity, all the self consciousness connected with that existence will have passed into the lower world, there eventually to “perish everlastingly,” an expression of which as of so many more modern theology has proved a faithless custodian, making pure nonsense out of psycho-scientific facts.

As already indicated, and as the common sense of the matter would show there are great varieties of states in Devachan, and each personality drops into its befitting place there.

Thence consequently he emerges in his befitting place in the world of Causes, this Earth or another as the case may be, when his time for rebirth comes.

Coupled with survival of the affinities comprehensively described as karma the affinities both for good and evil engendered by the previous life, this process will be seen to accomplish nothing less than an explanation of the problem which has always been regarded as so incomprehensible, the inequalities of life.

The conditions on which we enter life are the consequences of the use we have made of our last set of conditions,

They do not impede the development of fresh karma, whatever they may be, for this will be generated by the use we make of them in turn. Nor is it to be supposed that every event of a current life which bestows joy or sorrow is old karma bearing fruit.

Many may be the immediate consequences of acts in the life to which they belong ready-money transactions with Nature, so to speak of which it may hardly be necessary to make any entry in her books.

But the great inequalities of life as regards the start in it, which different human beings make, is a manifest consequence of old karma, the infinite varieties of which always keep up a constant supply of recruits for all the manifold varieties of human condition.

We have spoken of the three conditions in the world of effects, the state in which the principles liberated from the body are still in Kama-Loka, and physically in the atmosphere of the earth, the state of Devachan and the intervening state of gestation or preparation for the latter.

But the reader's conceptions on the subject will necessarily be vague without some indications as to the periods of time with which passage though these states is concerned.

Consciousness in the Kama-Loka even is not immediately reawakened after death. When a man dies, his soul or fifth principle becomes unconscious and loses all remembrance of things internal us well as external.

Whether his stay in Kama-Loka has to last but a few moments, hours, days, weeks, months or years, whether be dies a natural or a violent death; whether this occurs in youth or age, and whether the ego has been good, bad or indifferent, his consciousness leaves him as suddenly as the flame leaves the wick when it is blown out.

When life has retired from the last particle of the brain matter, his perceptive faculties become extinct for ever, and his spiritual powers of cognition and volition become for the time being as extinct as the others.

His mayavi-rupa may be thrown into objectivity as in the case of apparitions after death, but unless it is projected by a conscious or intense desire to see or appear to some one shooting through the dying brain, the apparition will be simply automatic.

The revival of consciousness in Kama-Loka is obviously, from what has been already said, a phenomenon that depends on the characteristic of the principles passing, unconsciously at the moment, out of the dying body.

It may become tolerably complete under circumstances by no means to be desired, or it may be obliterated by a rapid passage into the gestation state leading to Devachan.

This gestation state may be of very long duration in proportion to the ego's spiritual stamina, and Devachan accounts for the remainder of the period between death and the next physical rebirth.

The whole period is of course of very varying length in the case of different persons, but rebirth in less than a thousand and to fifteen hundred years is spoken of as almost impossible, while the stay in Devachan which rewards a very rich Karma, is sometimes said to extend to enormous periods.


In conclusion it may be added that this is a mere sketch of the state of things under examination, as complete as the writer is in a position to make it at present, but requiring a great deal of amplification as regards details which will no doubt become possible at some future time. Meanwhile the outline, as fur as it goes, may be relied upon as correctly drawn.


  1. The information is supplemented by copious appendixes which please consult.-Ed.
  2. Called in N°1 of Fragments of Occult Truth “gestation”.
  3. See Appendix A. Perchance, the “essence” of self-conscious personality would be a more comprehensive term.-Ed.
  4. The fine parable in Luke about Lazarus, the beggar, the rich man, and “Father Abraham”, would fall through, we are afraid, in the light of esoteric teachings. The only important truth therein contained is the statement about the “great gulf fixed” between Devachan, and Avitchi, and the earth. See Luke XVI. Vesicles 20-30.-Ed.
  5. While the ordinary, common place sinner will reap the fruits of his evil deeds in a following reincarnation, the exceptional criminal, (the so to speak aristocrat of sin) has Avitchi in prospect. Most of our everyday transgressions being due rather to circumstances over which we have little or no control, as well us to the utter vanity of the request. “Lead us not into temptation”, the Law of Retribution is there, with its finer sense of discriminative justice than ever found on earth, to act always unerringly in producing effects strictly adequating their real causes.

(Theosophist, vol. 4, p. 131-135)


The reason was due to Mr. Sinnett's own dissatisfaction in the article he wrote, and which motivated Master Kuthumi to provide more information.

And that is why Master Kuthumi wrote to Mr. Sinnett:

« This remark and such ways of looking at things might as well apply to the whole of Eternity, to Nirvana, Pralaya, and what not. Say, at once that the whole system of being, of existence separate and collective, of nature objective and subjective are but idiotic, aimless facts, a gigantic fraud of that nature, which meeting with little sympathy with Western philosophy, has, moreover, the cruel disapprobation of the best “lay chela.”

What for, in such a case, this preaching of our doctrines, all this up-hill work and swimming against the current?

Why should the West be so anxious then to learn anything from the East, since it is evidently unable to digest that which can never meet the requirements of the special tastes of its Esthetics.

Sorry outlook for us, since even you fail to take in the whole magnitude of our philosophy, or to even embrace at one scope a small corner (the Devachan) of those sublime and infinite horizons of “after life.”

I do not want to discourage you. I would only draw your attention to the formidable difficulties encountered by us in every attempt we make to explain our metaphysics to Western minds, even among the most intelligent.

Alas, my friend, you seem as unable to assimilate our mode of thinking, as to digest our food, or enjoy our melodies!
. . .
But you are wrong in pandering to the prejudices and preconceptions of the Western readers (no Asiatic will ever agree with you upon this point) when you add that "there is a sense of unreality about the whole affair which is painful to the mind," since you are the first one to feel that it is no doubt due much more to "an imperfect grasp of the nature of the existence" in Devachan — than to any defect in our system.

Hence — my orders to a disciple to reproduce in an Appendix to your article extracts from this letter and explanations calculated to disabuse the reader, and to obliterate, as far as possible, the painful impression this confession of yours is sure to produce on him.

The whole paragraph is dangerous, but I do not feel myself justified in crossing it out, since it is evidently the expression of your real feelings, kindly, though. »

(Mahatma Letters, N°25, p. 193 y 195)



It may be worth the reader's while to learn what Colonel H.S. Olcott has to say in his book, Buddhist Catechism (14th Edition) of the intrinsic difference between “individuality” and “personality.” Since he wrote not only under the approval of the High Priest, but also under the direct instruction of his Guru (Spiritual Master), his words will have weight for the student of Occultism. This is what he says, in his Appendix:

« Upon reflection, I have substituted “personality” for “individuality” as written in the first edition. The successive appearances upon one or many earths, or, “descents into generation” of the tanhaically-coherent parts (Skandhas) of a certain being, are a succession of personalities. In each birth the personality differs from that of the previous or next succeeding birth.

Karma, the deus ex machina, masks (or shall we say, reflects?) itself now in the personality of a sage again as an artisan and so on throughout the string of births. But though personalities ever shift, the one line of life along which they are strung like beads runs unbroken. 

It is ever that particular line, never any other. It is therefore individual, an individual vital undulation which began in Nirvana or the subjective side of Nature, as the light or heat undulation through aether began at its dynamic source; is careering through the objective side of Nature, under the impulse of Karma and the creative direction of Tanha; and tends through many cyclic changes back to Nirvana.

Mr. Rhys Davids calls that which passes from personality to personality along the individual chain, “character” or “doing.” Since “character” is not a mere metaphysical abstraction but the sum of one's mental qualities and moral propensities, would it not help to dispel what Mr. Rhys  Davids calls, “the desperate expedient of a mystery” [Buddhism Catechism, p.101] if we regarded the life undulation as individuality and each of its series of natal manifestations as a separate personality?

The perfected individual, Buddhistically speaking, is a Buddha, I should say; for a Buddha is but the rare flower of humanity, without the least supernatural admixture. And as countless generations (“Four Asankheyyas and a hundred thousand cycles.” Fausboll and Rhys Davids’ Buddhist Birth Stories, p.13) are required to develope a man into a Buddha, and the iron will to become one runs throughout all the successive births, what shall we call that which thus wills and perseveres?  Character? or Individuality; an individuality but partly manifested in anyone birth, but built up of fragments from all the births?

The denial of “soul” by Buddha (see Sanyutto Nikaya, the Sutta Pitaka) points to the prevalent delusive belief in an independent transmissible personality; an entity that could move from birth to birth unchanged, or go to a place or state where, as such perfect entity, it could eternally enjoy or suffer. And what he shows is that the “I am I” consciousness is, as regards permanency logically impossible, since its elementary constituents constantly change, and the “I” of one birth differs from the “I” of every other birth.

But everything that I have found in Buddhism accords with the theory of a gradual evolution of the perfect man, viz., a Buddha through numberless natal experiences. And in the consciousness of that person who at the end of a given chain of beings attains Buddha-hood, or who succeeds in attaining the fourth stage of Dhyana, or mystic self-development, in anyone of his births anterior to the final one, the scenes of all these serial births are perceptible.

In the Jatakattahavannana, so well translated by Mr. Rhys Davids, an expression continually recurs which I think rather supports such an idea, viz: “Then the blessed one made manifest an occurrence hidden by change of birth,” or “that which had been hidden by, &c.” Early Buddhism then, clearly held to a permanency of records in the Akasa, and the potential capacity of man to read the same when he has evoluted to the stage of true individual ENLIGHTENMENT. »
(Pages 54-57)


Having been asked:

-       "How then? Is there no change of occupation for souls in Devachan? Is one moment of earthly sensation only, selected for perpetuation?"

Our Masters reply in the negative. No, Devachan is no monotonous condition, in which some one or even two or more moments of earthly sensations are indefinitely perpetuated-stretched so to say, throughout aeons. For, this would be contrary to all analogies and antagonistic to the law of cause and effect under which results are proportioned to antecedent energies.

There are two fields of causal manifestations: the objective and subjective. The grosser energies (those which operate in the denser condition of matter) manifest objectively in the next physical life, their outcome being the new personality of each birth marshaling within the grand cycle of the evoluting individuality.

It is but the moral and spiritual activities that find their sphere of effects in Devachan. And thought and fancy being limitless) how can it be argued for one moment that there is any thing like monotony in the state of Devachan?

Few are the men whose lives were so utterly destitute of feeling, love, or of a more or less intense predilection for some one line of thought as to be made unfit for a proportionate period of Devachanic experience, beyond their earthly life.

So, for instance, while the vices, physical and sensual attractions, say, of a great philosopher, but a bad friend and a selfish man, may result in the birth of a new and still greater intellect, but at the same time a most miserable man, reaping the Karmic effects of all the causes produced by the “old” being and whose make-up was inevitable from the preponderating proclivities of that being in the preceding birth, the intermedial period between the two physical births cannot be (in nature's exquisitely well adjusted Laws) but a hiatus of unconsciousness.

There can be no such dreary blank as kindly promised, or rather implied by Christian Protestant theology to the “departed souls,” which, between death and “resurrection” have to hang on in space, in mental catalepsy awaiting the “Day of Judgment.”

Causes produced by mental and spiritual energy being far greater and more important than those that are created by physical impulses their effects have to be (for weal or woe) proportionately as great.

Lives on this earth or other earths, affording no proper field for such effects, and every laborer being entitled to his own harvest (they have to expand in) either Devachan or Avitchi.*

(* The lowest states of Devachan interchain with those of Avitchi.)

Bacon, for instance, whom a poet called: “The brightest, Wisest, meanest of mankind”. Might reappear in his next incarnation as a greedy money-getter, with extraordinary intellectual capacities. But, however great the latter, they would find no proper field in which that particular line of thought pursued during his previous life-time by the founder of modern philosophy could reap all its dues.

It would be but the astute lawyer, the corrupt attorney-general, the ungrateful friend, and the dishonest Lord-chancellor who might find, led on by his Karma, a congenial new soil in the body of the moneylender, and reappear as a new Shylock.

But where would Bacon, the incomparable thinker, with whom philosophical inquiry upon the most profound problems of nature was his “first and last, and only love,” where would this “intellectual giant of his race” —once disrobed of his lower nature— go to?

Have all the effects of that magnificent intellect to vanish and disappear?

Certainly not.

Thus his moral and spiritual qualities would also have to find a field in which their energies could expand them-selves.

Devachan is such field. Hence —all the great plans of moral reform, of intellectual research into abstract principles of nature, all the divine, spiritual inspirations that had so filled the brightest part of his life, would, in Devachan, come to fruition; and the abstract entity, known in the preceding birth as Francis Bacon, and that may he known in its subsequent reincarnation as a despised usurer (that Bacon's own creation, his “Frankenstein”, the son of his Karma) shall in the meanwhile occupy itself in this inner world, also of its own preparation, in enjoying the effects of the grand beneficial, spiritual causes sown in life.

It would live a purely and spiritually conscious existence (a dream of realistic vividness) until Karma being satisfied in that direction and the ripple of force reaching the edge of its sub-cyclic basin, the being should move into its next area of causes, either in this same world or another according to his stage of progression. . .Therefore, there is “a change of occupation,” a continual change in Devachan.

For that dream-life is but the fruition, the harvest time of those psychic seed germs dropped from the tree of physical existence in our moments of dream and hope; fancy glimpses of bliss and happiness stifled in an ungrateful social soil, blooming in the rosy dawn of Devachan, and ripening under its ever fructifying sky.

If man had but one single moment of ideal experience, not even then could it be, as erroneously supposed, the indefinite prolongation of that “single moment.” That one note struck from the lyre of life would form the key-note of the beings’ subjective state and work out into numberless harmonic tones and semi-tones of psychic phantasmagoria.

There, all unrealized hopes, aspirations, dreams —become fully realized, and the dreams of the objective become the realities of the subjective existence. And there, behind the curtain of Maya, its vaporous and deceptive appearances are perceived by the INITIATE, who has learned the great secret how to penetrate thus deep into the ARCANA OF BEING. . . . .


Objectors of that kind will be simply postulating an incongruity: an intercourse of entities in Devachan which applies only to the mutual relationship of physical existence!

Two sympathetic souls, both disembodied, will each work out its own Devachanic sensations, making the other a sharer in its subjective bliss. This will be as real to them, naturally, as though both were yet on this earth. Nevertheless, each is dissociated from the other as regards personal or corporeal association.

While the latter is the only of its kind that is recognized by our earth experience as an actual intercourse, for the Devachanee it would he not only some thing unreal but could have no existence for it in any sense, not even as a delusion: a physical body or even a mayavi-rupa remaining to its spiritual senses as invisible as it is itself to the physical senses of those who loved it best on earth.

Thus even though one of the “sharers” were alive and utterly unconscious of that intercourse in his waking state, stilI every dealing with him would be to the Devachanee an absolute reality. And what actual companionship could there ever be other than the purely idealistic one as above described, between two subjective entities which are not even as material as that etherial body-shadow —the mayavi-rupa?

To object to this on the ground that one is thus “cheated by nature” and to call it “a delusive sensation of enjoyment which has no reality” is to show oneself utterly unfit to comprehend the conditions of life and being outside of our material existence.

For how can the same distinction be made in Devachan —i.e. outside of the conditions of earth-life between what we call a reality, and a factitious or an artificial counterfeit of the same, in this, our world?

The same principle cannot apply to the two sets of conditions. Is it conceivable that what we call a reality in our embodied, physical state will exist under the same conditions as an actuality for a disembodied entity?

On earth, man is dual (in the sense of being a thing of matter and a thing of spirit), hence the natural distinction made by him mind (the analyst of his physical sensations and spiritual perceptions) between an actuality and a fiction: though, even in this life the two groups of faculties are constantly equilibrating each other, each group when dominant seeing as fiction or delusion what the other believes to be most real.

But in Devachan our Ego has ceased to be dualistic, in the above sense, and become a spiritual, mental entity. That which was a fiction, a dream in life, and which had its being but in the region of “fancy” becomes under the new conditions of existence —the only possible reality.

Thus, for us, to postulate the possibility of any other reality for a Devachanee is to maintain an absurdity, a monstrous fallacy, an idea unphilosophical to the last degree.

The actual is that which is acted or performed de facto: “the reality of a thing is proved by its actuality.” And the suppositious and artificial having no possible existence in that devachanic state, the logical sequence is that every thing in it is actual and real.

For, again whether overshadowing the five principles during the life of the personality, or entirely separated from the grosser principles by the dissolution of the body —the sixth principle, or our “Spiritual Soul,” has no substance, —it is ever Arupa; nor is it confined to one place with a limited horizon of perceptions around it.

Therefore whether in or out of its mortal body, it is ever distinct, and free from its limitations; and if we call its devachanic experiences “a cheating of nature,” then we should never be allowed to call “reality” any of those purely abstract feelings that belong entirely to, and are reflected and assimilated by, our higher soul, such: f. i., as an ideal perception of the beautiful, profound philanthropy, love, &c., as well as every other purely spiritual sensation that during life fills our inner being with either immense joy or pain.


“Devachan” is of course a state not a locality, as much as “Avitchi” —its antithesis [which please not to confound with Hell]. Esoteric Buddhist philosophy has three principal lokas so-called-namely

    1) Kama-loka,
    2) Rupa-loka, and
    3) Arupa-loka.

Or in their Iiteral translation and meaning:

1)   The world of desires or passions, of unsatisfied earthly cravings, the abode of “Shells” and Victims, of elementaries and suicides.
2)   The world of forms, i.e., of shadows more spiritual, having form and objectivity but no substance, and
3)   The formless world, or rather the world of no-form, the incorporeal, since its denizens can have neither body, shape, nor color for us mortals, and in the sense that we give to these terms.

These are the three spheres of ascending spirituality in which the several groups of subjective and semi-subjective entities find their attractions. The time having not yet come to speak of the latter two, we will merely notice the first one, namely the Karna-loka.

Thence it is, that all, but the remaining shells, the suicides and the victims of premature violent deaths, go according to their attractions and powers either into the Devachanic or the Avitchi state, which two states form the numberless sub-divisions of “Rupa” and “Arupa” lokas; that is to say, that such states not only vary in degree, or in their presentation to the subject entity as regards form, color, &c., —but that there is an infinite scale of such states, in their progressive spirituality and intensity of feeling; from the lowest in the Rupa, up to the highest and the most exalted in the Arupa-loka.

The student must bear in mind that personality is the synonym for limitation; and that the more selfish, the more contracted the person’s ideas, the closer will he cling to the lower spheres or being, the longer loiter and the plane of selfish social intercourse.


To use an antiphrasis —“Avitchi” is a state of the most ideal spiritual wickedness, something akin to the state of Lucifer, so superbly described by Milton. Not many though, are there who can reach it, as the thoughtful reader will perceive. And if it is urged that since there is Devachan for nearly all; for the good, the bad, and the indifferent, the ends of harmony and equilibrium are frustrated, and the law of Retribution and of impartial, implacable Justice hardly met and satisfied by such a comparative scarcity if not absence of its antithesis, then the answer will show that it·is not so.

“Evil is the dark son or Earth (matter) and Good —the fair daughter of Heaven” (or Spirit) says the Chinese philosopher; hence the place of punishment for most of our sins is the Earth —its birth place and play-ground.

There is more apparent and relative, than actual evil even on earth and it is not given to the hoi polloi to reach the fatal grandeur and eminence of a “Satan” every day.

(Theosophist, vol. 4, p.135-137)

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