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The Devachanic Plane.

Its Characteristics

and Inhabitants


C W Leadbeater




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The Secret Doctrine by H P Blavatsky


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London :

Theosophical Publishing Society,

26, Charing Cross, London,







Few words are needed in sending this little book out

into the world. It is the sixth of a series of Manuals

designed to meet the public demand for a simple exposition

of Theosophical teachings. Some have complained that

our literature is at once too abstruse, too technical, and

too expensive for the ordinary reader, and it is our hope

that the present series may succeed in supplying what is

a very real want. Theosophy is not only for the learned ;

it is for all. Perhaps among those who in these little

boohs catch their fast glimpse of its teachings, there may

be a few who will be led by them to penetrate move

deeply into its philosophy, its science and its religion,

facing its abstruser problems with the student s zeal and

the neophyte s ardonr. But these Manuals are not

written for the eager student, whom no initial difficulties

can daunt ; they are written for the busy men and women

of the ivorh-a-day world, and seek to make plain some of

the great truths that render life easier to bear and death

easier to face. Written by servants of the Masters who

are the Elder Brothers of our race, they can have no

other object than to serve ourfellow-men.




Introduction. The investigation The place of Devachanin

evolution Difficulties of expression i

Characteristics. A beautiful description The bliss of

Devachan Its intense vitality The devachanic sense

Surroundings The sea of light The colour-language of the

Devas The great waves The rupa and arupa planes The

action of thought The formation of artificial elementals

Thought-forms The sub-planes The akashic records 6


I. Human. The embodied Adepts and initiates Those

in sleep or trance 28

The disembodied Their consciousness Is the deva

chanic life an illusion ? The qualities necessary for

devachanic life How a man first gains Devachan 33

The four rupa levels, with examples on each - 46

The three arupa levels - 65

II. Non-Human. The elemental essence What it is

The Veiling of Atma The four elemental kingdoms

How the essence evolves 74

The Devas Their divisions 82

III. Artificial 86

Conclusion. The still higher planes - 87




IN the introduction to the manual recently issued on

The Astral Plane, I remarked that "a good deal of in

formation on the subject of this realm of nature is to be

found scattered here and there in our books, but there

is not, so far as I am aware, any single volume to which

one can turn for a complete summary of the facts at

present known to us about this interesting region." It

seems evident that this remark applies with even

greater force to the plane next above the astral that

of Devachan or Sukhavati. There is indeed a most in

structive chapter on the subject in that indispensable

text-book of every Theosophical student, Mr. Sinnett s

Esoteric Buddhism ; but though nothing which we have

since learnt has in any way contradicted the lucid ex

position of the devachanic state there given, it is never

theless true that such investigations as we have been

able to make during the thirteen years which have

elapsed since it was written have placed us in possession

of a considerable body of additional information as to

details. It will be readily understood that there are

many minor points about which Mr. Sinnett could not

venture to trouble his Adept correspondent, which are

nevertheless of the greatest interest to humanity, since

by far the greater part of its existence is passed upon

the plane under consideration a plane which is in fact

the true and permanent home of the reincarnating ego,

each descent into incarnation being merely a short

though all-important episode in its career. The object

of this manual then is to present a summary of the

facts about Devachan at present known to us ; and, as

previously in the case of the astral plane, I am requested

by our investigators to say that, while they deprecate

the ascription of anything like authority to their state

ments, they have felt it due to their fellow-students to

take every precaution in their power to ensure accuracy.

Indeed, I may say that in this case also " no fact, old

or new, has been admitted to this treatise unless it has

been confirmed by the testimony of at least two inde

pendent trained investigators among ourselves, and has

also been passed as correct by older students whose

knowledge on these points is necessarily much greater

than ours. It is hoped therefore that" this account,

though it cannot be considered as complete, may yet be

found reliable as far as it


I will not here reproduce the remarks made in the pre

vious manual as to the absolute necessity, to the student

of Occultism, of a definite realization of the fact that

nature is divided into various great planes, each with

its own matter of different degrees of density, and each

interpenetrating those below it though these observa

tions are quite as applicable to the study of the

devachanic plane as to the astral : I will simply refer

the enquirer on that matter to the introduction to

Theosophical Manual No. V., and recapitulate here

only so far as to remind the reader that Devachan is

the third of the five great planes with which humanity

is at present concerned, having below it the astral and

the physical, and above it the buddhic (sometimes,

though perhaps less appropriately, called the sushuptic)

and the nirvanic. As just now remarked, it is the plane

upon which man, unless at an exceedingly early stage

of his progress, spends by far the greater part of his

time during the process of evolution ; for, except in the

case of the entirely undeveloped, the proportion of the

physical life to the devachanic is rarely much greater

than one in twenty, and in the case of fairly good

people it would sometimes fall as low as one in forty.

It is therefore well worth our while to devote to its

study such time and care as may be necessary to

acquire as thorough a comprehension of it as is possi

ble for us while encased in the physical body.

Unfortunately there are practically insuperable

difficulties in the way of any attempt to put the

facts of this third plane of nature into language

and not unnaturally, for we often find words insuffi

cient to express our ideas and feelings even on this

lowest plane. Readers of The Astral Plane will re

member what was there stated as to the impossibility

of conveying any adequate conception of the marvels of

that region to those whose experience had not as yet

transcended the physical world ; one can but say that

every observation there made to that effect applies with

tenfold force to the effort which is before us in this

sequel to that treatise. Not only is the matter which

we must endeavour to describe much further removed

than is astral matter from that to which we are accus

tomed, but the consciousness of that plane is so

immensely wider than anything we can imagine down

here, and its very conditions so entirely different, that

when called upon to translate it all into mere ordinary

words the explorer feels himself utterly at a loss, and

can only trust that the intuition of his readers will

supplement the inevitable imperfections of his descrip


To take one only out of many possible examples,

it would seem as though in Devachan space and time

were non-existent, for events which here take place in

succession and at widely-separated places, appear there

to be occurring simultaneously and at the same point.

That at least is the effect produced on the consciousness

of the ego, though there are circumstances which

lavour the supposition that absolute simultaneity is the

attribute of a still higher plane, and that the sensation

of it in Devachan is simply the result of a succession

so rapid that the innnitesimally minute spaces of time

are indistinguishable, just as, in the well-known optical

experiment of whirling round a stick the end of which

is red-hot, the eye receives the impression of a con

tinuous ring of fire if the stick be whirled more than

ten times a second ; not because a continuous ring

really exists, but because the average human eye is

incapable of distinguishing as separate any similar im

pressions which follow one another at intervals of less

than the tenth part of a second.

However that may be, the reader will readily

comprehend that in the endeavour to describe a con

dition of existence so totally unlike that of physical

life as is the one which we have to consider, it

will be impossible to avoid saying many things that

will be partly unintelligible and may even seem

wholly incredible to those who have not personally ex

perienced the devachanic life. That this should be so

is, as I have said, quite inevitable, so readers who find

themselves unable to accept the report of our investi

gators must simply wait for a more satisfactory account

of Devachan until they are able to examine it for

themselves : I can only repeat the assurance that all

reasonable precautions have been taken to ensure


The general arrangement of the previous manual

will as far as possible be followed in this one also, so

that those who wish to do so will be able to compare

the two planes stage by stage. The heading " Scenery


would however be inappropriate to Devachan, as will

be seen later ; we will therefore substitute for it the

title which follows.


Perhaps the least unsatisfactory method of approach

ing this exceedingly difficult subject will be to plunge

in medias res and make the attempt (foredoomed to

failure though it be) to depict what a pupil sees when

first the devachanic plane opens before him. I use the

word pupil advisedly, for unless a man stand in that

relation to a qualified Master, there is but little likeli

hood of his being able to pass in full consciousness into

that glorious land of bliss, and return to earth with

clear remembrance of that which he has seen there.

Thence no accommodating "


" ever comes to

utter cheap platitudes through the mouth of the pro

fessional medium ; thither no ordinary clairvoyant ever

rises, though sometimes the best and purest have

entered it when in deepest trance they slipped from the

control of their mesmerizers yet even then they have

rarely brought back more than a faint recollection of an

intense but indescribable bliss, generally deeply coloured

by their personal religious convictions.

When once the departed ego, withdrawing into himself

after what we call death, has reached that plane, neither

the yearning thoughts of his sorrowing friends nor the

allurements of the spiritualistic circle can ever draw

him back into communion with the physical earth until

all the spiritual forces which he has set in motion in his

recent life have worked themselves out to the full, and

he once more stands ready to take upon himself new

robes of flesh. Nor, even if he could so return, would

his account of his experiences give any true idea ot the

plane, for, as will presently be seen, it is only those

who can enter it in full waking consciousness who are

able to move about freely and drink in all the wondrous

glory and beauty which Devachan has to show. But

all this will be more fully explained later, when we

come to deal with the inhabitants of this celestial realm.


In an early letter from an eminent occultist the

following beautiful passage was given as a quotation

from memory. I have never been able to discover

whence it was taken, though what seems to be another

version of it, considerably expanded, appears in Beal s

Catena of Buddhist Scriptures, p. 378.

" Our Lord BUDDHA says : Many thousand myriads

of systems of worlds beyond this is a region of bliss

called Sukhavati. This region is encircled within

seven rows of railings, seven rows of vast curtains,

seven rows of waving trees. This holy abode of the

Arhats is governed by the Tathagatas and is possessed

by the Bodhisattvas. It has seven precious lakes, in

the midst of which flow crystalline waters having seven

and yet one distinctive properties and qualities. This,

O Sariputra, is the Devachan. Its divine udambara

flower casts a root in the shadow of every earth, and

blossoms for all those who reach it. Those born in

this blessed region who have crossed the golden

bridge and reached the seven golden mountains they

are truly felicitous ; there is no more grief or sorrow in

that cycle for them."

Veiled though they be under the gorgeous imagery

of the Orient, we may easily trace in this passage some

of the leading characteristics which have appeared

most prominently in the accounts of our own modern

investigators. The " seven golden mountains " can

be but the seven subdivisions of the devachanic plane,

separated from one another by barriers impalpable, yet

real and effective there as " seven rows of railings, seven

rows of vast curtains, seven rows of waving trees "

might be here : the seven kinds of crystalline water,

having each its distinctive properties and qualities,

represent the different powers and conditions of mind

belonging to them respectively, while the one quality

which they all have in common is that of ensuring to

those residing upon them the utmost intensity of bliss

which they are capable of experiencing. Its flower

indeed " casts a root in the shadow of every earth,"

for from every world man enters the corresponding

Devachan, and happiness such as no tongue may tell is

the blossom which burgeons forth for all who so live as

to fit themselves to attain it. For they have " crossed

the golden bridge" over the stream which divides this

realm from Kamaloka ; for them the struggle between

the higher and the lower is over, and for them, there

fore, is " no more grief or sorrow in that cycle," until

once more the ego puts himself forth into incarnation,

and the celestial world is again left for a time behind.


This intensity of bliss is the first great idea which

must form a background to all our conceptions of

Devachan. It is not only that we are dealing with a

world in which, by its very constitution, evil and

sorrow are impossible ; it is not only a world

in which every creature is happy : the facts of the

case go far beyond all that. It is a wTorld in which

every being must, from the very fact of his presence

there, be enjoying the highest spiritual bliss of which

he is capable a world whose power of response to his

aspirations is limited only by his capacity to aspire.

How this can be so we must endeavour to make clear

later on ; the point to be emphasized for the moment

is that this radiant sense not only of the welcome

absence of all evil and discord, but of the insistent,

overwhelming presence of universal joy, is the first and

most striking sensation experienced by him who enters

upon the devachanic plane. And it never leaves him

so long as he remains there ; whatever work he may

be doing, whatever still higher possibilities of spiritual

exaltation may arise before him as he learns more of the

capabilities of this new world in which he finds himself,

the strange indescribable feeling of inexpressible delight

in mere existence in such a realm underlies all else this

enjoyment of the abounding joy of others is ever present

with him. Nothing on earth is like it, nothing can

mage it ; if one could suppose the bounding life of

childhood carried up into our spiritual experience and

then intensified many thousandfold, perhaps some faint

shadow of an idea of it might be suggested ; yet even

such a simile falls miserably short of that which lies

beyond all words the tremendous spiritual vitality of

the devachanic plane.

One way in which this intense vitality manifests itself

is the extreme rapidity of vibration of all particles and

atoms of devachanic matter. As a theoretical proposi

tion we are all aware that even here on the physical

plane no particle of matter, though forming part of the

densest of solid bodies, is ever for a moment at rest ;

nevertheless when by the opening of astral vision this

becomes for us no longer a mere theory of the scientists,

but an actual and ever-present fact, we realize the


universality of life in a manner and to an extent that

was quite impossible before ; our mental horizon widens

out and we begin even already to have glimpses of

possibilities in nature which to those who cannot yet

see must appear the wildest of dreams.

If this be the effect of acquiring the mere astral vision,

and applying it to dense physical matter, try to imagine

the result produced on the mind of the observer when,

having left this lower plane behind and thoroughly studied

the far more vivid life and infinitely more rapid vibrations

of Kamaloka, he finds a new and transcendent sense

opening within him, which unfolds to his enraptured gaze

yet another and a higher world, whose vibrations are as

much quicker than those of our physical plane as vibra

tions of light are than those of sound a world where the

omnipresent life which pulsates ceaselessly around and

within him is of a different order altogether, is as it

were raised to an enormously higher power.


The very sense itself, by which he is enabled to cognize

all this, is* not the least of the marvels of this celestial

world ; no longer does he hear and see and feel by

separate and limited organs, as he does down here, nor

has he even the immensely extended capacity of sight

and hearing which he possessed on the astral plane ;

instead of these he feels within him a strange new

power which is not any of them, and yet includes them

all and much more a power which enables him the

moment any person or thing comes before him not only

to see it and feel it and hear it, but to know all about it

instantly inside and out its causes, its effects, and its

possibilities, so far at least as that plane and all below

it are concerned. He finds that for him to think is to

1 1

realize ; there is never any doubt, hesitation, or delay,

about this direct action of the higher sense. If he

thinks of a place, he is there ; if of a friend, that friend

is before him. No longer can misunderstandings arise,

no longer can he be deceived or misled by any outward

appearances, for every thought and feeling of his friend

lies open as a book before him on that plane.

And if he is fortunate enough to have among his friends

another whose higher sense is opened, their intercourse

is perfect beyond all earthly conception. For them

distance and separation do not exist ; their feelings are

no longer hidden or at best but half expressed by

clumsy words ; question and answer are unnecessary,

for the thought-pictures are read as they are formed,

and the interchange of ideas is as rapid as is their

flashing into existence in the mind.

All knowledge is theirs for the searching all, that is,

which does not transcend even this lofty plane ; the

past of the world is as open to them as the present ;

the akashic records are ever at their disposal, and

history, whether ancient or modern, unfolds itself before

their eyes at their will. No longer are they at the

mercy of the historian, who may be ill-informed, and

must be more or less partial ; they can study for them

selves any incident in which they are interested, with

the absolute certainty of seeing " the truth, the whole

truth, and nothing but the truth." If they are able

to stand upon the higher or arupa levels of the plane

the long line of their past lives unrolls itself before them

like a scroll ; they see the karmic causes which have

made them what they are ; they see what Karma still

lies in front to be worked out before " the long sad

count is closed," and thus they realize with unerring

certainty their exact place in evolution.


If it be asked whether they can see the future

clearly as the past, the answer must be in the

negative, for though prevision is to a great extent

possible to them, yet it is not perfect, because wherever

in the web of destiny the hand of the developed man

comes in, his powerful will may introduce new threads,

and change the pattern of the life to come. The course

of the ordinary undeveloped man, who has practically

no will of his own worth speaking of, may often be

foreseen clearly enough, but when the ego boldly takes

his future into his own hands, exact prevision becomes



The first impressions, then, of the pupil who enters

the devachanic plane in full consciousness will proba

bly be those of intense bliss, indescribable vitality,

and enormously increased power. And when he

makes use of his new sense to examine his surround

ings, what does he see ? He finds himself in the

midst of what seems to him a whole universe of everchanging

light and colour and sound, such as it has

never entered into his loftiest dreams to imagine.

Verily it is true that down here " eye hath not seen,

nor ear hath heard, neither hath it entered into the

heart of man to conceive " the glories of the devachanic

plane : and the man who has once experienced them in

full consciousness will regard the world with widely

different eyes for ever after. Yet this experience is so

utterly unlike anything we know on the physical plane

that in trying to put it into words one is troubled by a

curious sense of helplessness of absolute incapacity,

not only to do it justice, for of that one resigns all hope


from the very outset, but even to give any idea at all of

it to those who have not themselves seen it.

Let a man imagine himself, with the feelings of intense

bliss and enormously increased power already described,

floating in a sea of living light, surrounded by every

conceivable variety of loveliness in colour and form

the whole changing with every wave of thought that

he sends out from his mind, and being indeed, as he

presently discovers, only the expression of his thought

in the matter of the plane and in its elemental essence.

For that matter is of the very same order as that of

which the mind-body is itself composed, and therefore

when that vibration of the particles of the mind-body

which we call a thought occurs, it immediately extends

itself to this surrounding devachanic matter, and sets

up corresponding vibrations in it, while in the

elemental essence it images itself with absolute exacti

tude. Concrete thought naturally takes the shape of

its objects, while abstract ideas usually represent them

selves by all kinds of perfect and most beautiful

geometrical forms ; though in this connection it should

be remembered that many thoughts which are little

more than the merest abstractions to us down here

become concrete facts on this loftier plane.

It will thus be seen that in Devachan anyone who

wishes to devote himself for a time to quiet thought,

and to abstract himself from his surroundings, may

actually live in a world of his own without possibility

of interruption, and with the additional advantage of

seeing all his ideas and their consequences fully worked

out passing in a sort of panorama before his eyes. If,

however, he wishes instead to observe the plane upon

which he finds himself, it will be necessary for him

very carefully to suspend his thought for the time, so


that its creations may not influence the readily impres

sible matter around him, and thus alter the entire con

ditions so far as he is concerned.

This holding of the mind in suspense must not be con

founded with the blankness of mind towards the at

tainment of which so many of the Hatha Yoga practices

are directed : in the latter case the mind is dulled down

into absolute passivity in order that it may not by any

thought of its own offer resistance to the entry of any

external influence that may happen to approach it a

condition closely approximating to mediumship ; while

in the former the mind is as keenly alert and positive as it

can be, holding its thought in suspense for the moment

merely to prevent the intrusion of a personal equation

into the observation which it wishes to make.

When the visitor to the devachanic plane succeeds

in putting himself in this position he finds that

although he is no longer himself a centre of radiation

of all that marvellous wealth of light and colour, form

and sound, which I have so vainly endeavoured to

picture, it has not therefore ceased to exist ; on the con

trary, its harmonies and its coruscations are but grander

and fuller than ever. Casting about for an explana

tion of this phenomenon, he begins to realize that all

this magnificence is not a mere idle or fortuitous display

a kind of devachanic aurora borealis ; he finds that

it all has a meaning a meaning which he himself can

understand ; and presently he grasps the fact that what

he is watching with such ecstasy of delight is simply

the glorious colour-langauge of the Devas the expres

sion of the thought or the conversation of beings far

higher than himself in the scale of evolution. By

experiment and practice he discovers that he also can

use this new and beautiful mode of expression, and by


this very discovery he enters into possession of another

great tract of his heritage in this celestial realm the

power to hold converse with, and to learn from, its

loftier non-human inhabitants, with whom we shall

deal more fully when we come to treat of that part of

our subject.

By this time it will have become apparent why it

was impossible to devote a section of this paper to the

scenery of Devachan, as was done in the case of the

astral plane ; for in point of fact Devachan has no

scenery except such as each individual chooses to make

for himself by his thought unless indeed we take into

account the fact that the vast numbers of entities who

are continually passing before him are themselves

objects in many cases of the most transcendent beauty.


If the visitor wishes to carry his analysis of the plane

still further, and discover what it would be when

entirely undisturbed by the thought or conversation of

any of its inhabitants, he can do so by forming round

himself a huge shell through which none of these

influences can penetrate, and then (of course holding

his own mind perfectly still as before) examining the

conditions which exist inside his shell.

If he performs this experiment with sufficient care,

he will find that the sea of light has become not still,

for its particles continue their intense and rapid vibra

tion, but as it were homogeneous ; that those wonderful

coruscations of colour and constant changes of form are

no longer taking place, but that he is now able to

perceive another and entirely different series of regular

pulsations which the other more artificial phenomena

had previously obscured. These are evidently universal,


and no shell which human power can make will check

or turn them aside. They cause no change of colour,

no assumption of form, but flow with resistless re

gularity through all the matter of the plane, outwards

and in again, like the exhalations and inhalations of

some great breath beyond our ken.

There are several sets of these, clearly distin

guishable from one another by volume and by period

of vibration, and grander than them all sweeps

one great wave which seems the very heart-beat

of the system a wave which, welling up from un

known centres on far higher planes, pours out its

life through all our world, and then draws back in

its tremendous tide to That from which it came. In

one long undulating curve it comes, and the sound of

it is like the murmur of the sea ; and yet in it and

through it all the while there echoes a mighty ringing

chant of triumph the very music of the spheres. The

man who once has heard that glorious song of nature

never quite loses it again ; even here on this dreary

physical plane of illusion he hears it always as a kind

of undertone, keeping ever before his mind the strength

and light and splendour of the real life above.

If the visitor be pure in heart and mind, and has

reached a certain degree of spiritual development, it is

possible for him to identify his consciousness with the

sweep of that wondrous wave to merge his spirit in it,

as it were, and let it bear him upward to its source. It

is possible, I say; but it is not wise unless, indeed, his

Master stands beside him to draw him back at the right

moment from its mighty embrace ; for otherwise its

irresistible force will carry him away onward and

upward into still higher planes, whose far greater glories

his ego is as yet unable to sustain ; he will lose conI?

sciousness, and with no certainty as to when and where

and how he will regain it. It is true that the ultimate

object of man s evolution is the attainment of unity, but

he must reach that final goal in full and perfect con

sciousness as a victorious king entering triumphantly u pon

his heritage, not drift into absorption in a state of blank

unconsciousness but little removed from annihilation.


All that we have hitherto attempted to indicate in

this description may be taken as applying to the lowest

-subdivision of the devachanic plane ; for this realm of

nature, exactly like the astral or the physical, has its

seven subdivisions. Of these four are called in the

books the rupa planes, while the other three are spoken

of as arupa or formless the reason for these names

being that on the rupa planes every thought takes to

itself a certain definite form, while on the arupa sub

divisions it expresses itself in an entirely different

manner, as will presently be explained. The distinction

between these two great divisions of the plane the

rupa and the arupa is very marked; indeed, it even

extends so far as to necessitate the use of different

vehicles of consciousness.

The vehicle appropriate to the four rupa levels is the

mind-body, out of the matter of which the Adept forms

his Mayavirupa, while that of the three arupa levels is

the causal body the vehicle of the reincarnating ego, in

which he passes from life to life throughout the whole

manvantara. Another enormous distinction is that on

those four lower subdivisions illusion is still possible

not indeed for the entity who stands upon them in full

consciousness during life, but for the person who passes

there after the change which men call death. The


higher thoughts and aspirations which he has poured

forth during earth-life then cluster round him, and make

a sort of shell about him a kind of subjective world of

his own ; and in that he lives his devachanic life, seeing

but very faintly or not at all the real glories of the plane

which lie outside. On the three arupa subdivisions no

such self-deception is possible ; it is true that even there

many egos are only slightly and dreamily conscious of

their surroundings, but in so far as they see, they see

truly, for thought no longer assumes the same de

ceptive forms which it took upon itself lower down.


The exact condition of mind of the human inhabitants

of these various sub-planes will naturally be much

more fully dealt with under its own appropriate heading ;

but a comprehension of the manner in which thought

acts in the rupa and arupa levels respectively is so

necessary to an accurate understanding of these great

divisions that it will perhaps be worth while to recount

in detail some of the experiments made by our explorers

in the endeavour to throw light upon this subject.

At an early period of the investigation it became evi

dent that on the devachanic as on the astral plane there

was present an elemental essence quite distinct from the

mere matter of the plane, and that it was, if possible,

even more instantaneously sensitive to the action of

thought here than it had been in that lower world.

But here in Devachan all was thought-substance, and

therefore not only the elemental essence, but the very

matter of the plane was directly affected by the action

of the mind ; and hence it became necessary to make

an attempt to discriminate between these two effects.

After various less conclusive experiments a method


was adopted which gave a fairly clear idea of the

different results produced, one investigator remaining

on the lowest subdivision to send out the thought-forms,

while others rose to the next higher level, so as to be

able to observe what took place from above, and thus

avoid many possibilities of confusion. Under these

circumstances the experiment was tried of sending an

affectionate and helpful thought to an absent friend.

The result was very remarkable ; a sort of vibrating

shell, formed in the matter of the plane, issued in

all directions round the operator, corresponding ex

actly to the circle which spreads out in still water

from the spot where a stone has been thrown into

it, except that this was a sphere of vibration ex

tending itself in three (or perhaps four) dimensions

instead of merely over a flat surface. These vibra

tions, like those on the physical plane, though very

much more gradually, lost in intensity as they passed

further away from their source, till at last at an

enormous distance they seemed to be exhausted, or

at least became so faint as to be imperceptible.

Thus every one on the devachanic plane is a centre

of radiant thought, and


all the rays thrown out

cross in all directions without interfering with one

another in the slightest degree, just as rays of light do

down here. This expanding sphere of vibrations was

many coloured and opalescent, but its colours also

grew gradually fainter and fainter as it spread away.

The effect on the elemental essence of the plane was,

however, entirely different. In this the thought imme

diately called into existence a distinct form resembling

the human, of one colour only, though exhibiting many

shades of that colour. This form flashed across the

ocean with the speed of thought to the friend to whom


the good wish had been directed, and there took to

itself elemental essence of the astral plane, and thus

became an ordinary artificial elemental of that plane,

waiting, as explained in Manual No. V., for an oppor

tunity to pour out upon him its store of helpful influ

ence. In taking on that astral form the devachanic

elemental lost much of its brilliancy, though its glowing

rose-colour was still plainly visible inside the shell of

lower matter which it had assumed, showing that just

as the original thought ensouled the elemental essence

of its own plane, so that same thought, plus its form

as a devachanic elemental, acted as soul to the astral

elemental thus following closely the method in which

Atma itself takes on sheath after sheath in its de

scent through the various planes and sub-planes of


Further experiments along similar lines revealed the

fact that the colour of the elemental sent forth varied

with the character of the thought. As above stated,,

the thought of strong affection produced a creature of

glowing rose-colour ; an intense wish of healing, pro

jected towards a sick friend, called into existence a

most lovely silvery-white elemental ; while an earnest

mental effort to steady and strengthen the mind of a

depressed and despairing person resulted in the pro

duction of a beautiful flashing golden-yellow messenger.

In all these cases it will be perceived that, besides

the effect of radiating colours and vibrations produced

in the matter of the plane, a definite force in the shape

of an elemental was sent forth towards the person to

whom the thought was directed ; and this invariably

happened, with one notable exception. One of the

operators, while on the lower division of the plane,

directed a thought of intense love and devotion towards


the Adept who is his spiritual teacher, and it was at

once noticed by the observers above that the result was

in some sense a reversal of what had happened in the

previous cases.

It should be premised that a pupil of any one of

the great Adepts is always connected with his Master

by a constant current of thought and influence, which

expresses itself on the devachanic plane as a great

ray or stream of dazzling light of all colours violet

and gold and blue ; and it might perhaps have been

expected that the pupil s earnest, loving thought would

send a special vibration along this line. Instead of

this, however, the result was a sudden intensification

of the colours of this bar of light, and a very distinct

flow of magnetic influence towards the pupil ; so that it

is evident that when a student turns his thought to the

Master, what he really does is to vivify his connection

with that Master, and thus to open a way for an addi

tional outpouring of strength and help to himself from

higher planes. It would seem that the Adept is, as it

were, so highly charged with the influences which sus

tain and strengthen, that any thought which brings

into increased activity a channel of communication

with him sends no current towards him, as it ordinarily

would, but simply gives a wider opening through which

the great ocean of his love finds vent.

On the arupa levels the difference in the effect of

thought is very marked, especially as regards the ele

mental essence. The disturbance set up in the mere

matter of the plane is similar, though greatly intensified

in this much more refined form of matter ; but in the

essence no form at all is now created, and the method

of action is entirely changed. In all the experiments

on lower planes it was found that the elemental pro22

duced hovered about the person thought of, and awaited

a favourable opportunity of expending his energy either

upon his mind-body, his astral, or even his physical

body ; here the result is a kind of lightning-flash of the

essence from the causal body of the thinker direct to

the causal body of the object of his thought ; so that

while the thought on those lower divisions is always

directed to the mere personality, here you influence the

reincarnating ego, the real man himself, and if your

message has any reference to the personality it will

reach it only from above, through the instrumentality

of the Karana Sharira.


Naturally the thoughts to be seen on this plane are

not all definitely directed at some other person ; many

are simply thrown off to float vaguely about, and the

diversity of form and colour shown among these is

practically infinite, so that the study of them is a

science in itself, and a very fascinating one. Anything

like a detailed description even of the main classes

among them would occupy far more space than we

have to spare ; but an idea of the principles upon

which such classes might be formed may be gained from

the following extract from a most illuminative paper

on the subject written by Mrs. Besant in Lucifer for

September, 1896. She there enunciates the three


principles underlying the production of thought-

}rms that (a) the quality of a thought determines its

colour, (b) the nature of a thought determines its form,

(c) the definiteness of a thought determines the clear

ness of its outline. Giving instances of the way in

which the colour is affected, she continues :

" If the astral and mental bodies are vibrating under


the influence of devotion, the aura will be suffused with

blue, more or less intense, beautiful and pure according

to the depth, elevation and purity of the feeling. In a

church such thought-forms may be seen rising, for the

most part not very definitely outlined, but rolling

masses of blue clouds. Too often the colour is dulled

by the intermixture of selfish feelings, when the blue is

mixed with browns and thus loses its pure brilliancy.

But the devotional thought of an unselfish heart is

very lovely in colour, like the deep blue of a summer

sky. Through such clouds of blue will often shine out

golden stars of great brilliancy, starting upwards like a

shower of sparks.

" Anger gives rise to red, of all shades from brickred

to brilliant scarlet ; brutal anger will show as

flashes of lurid dull red from dark brown clouds,

while the anger of noble indignation is a vivid

scarlet, by no means unbeautiful to look at though it

gives an unpleasant thrill.

" Affection sends out clouds of rosy hue, vary

ing from dull crimson, where the love is animal in its

nature, rose-red mingled with brown when selfish, or

with dull green when jealous, to the most exquisite

shades of delicate rose like the early flushes of the

dawning, as the love becomes purified from all selfish

elements, and flows out in wider and wider circles of

generous impersonal tenderness and compassion to all

who are in need.

" Intellect produces yellow thought-forms, the pure

reason directed to spiritual ends giving rise to a very

delicate, beautiful yellow, while used for more selfish

ends or mingled with ambition it yields deeper shades

of orange, clear and intense "

(Lucifer, vol. xix. p. 71).

It must of course be borne in mind that astral as well


as mental thought-forms are described in the above

quotation, some of the feelings mentioned needing

matter of the lower plane as well as of the higher before

they can find expression. Some examples are then

given of the beautiful flower-like and shell-like forms

sometimes taken by our nobler thoughts ; and especial

reference is made to the not infrequent case in which

the thought, taking human form, is liable to be con

founded with an apparition :

" A thought-form may assume the shape of its pro

jector ; if a person wills strongly to be present at a

particular place, to visit a particular person, and be

seen, such a thought-form may take his own shape, and

a clairvoyant present at the desired spot would see

what he would probably mistake for his friend in the

astral body. Such a thought-form might convey a

message, if that formed part of its content, setting up

in the astral body of the person reached vibrations like

its own, and these being passed on by that astral body

to the brain, where they would be translated into a

thought or a sentence. Such a thought-form, again,

might convey to its projector, by the magnetic relation

between them, vibrations impressed on itself" (p. 73).

The whole of the article from which these extracts

are taken should be very carefully studied by those who

wish to grasp this very complex branch of our subject,

for, with the aid of the beautifully-executed coloured

illustrations which accompany it, it enables those who

cannot yet see for themselves to approach much more

nearly to a realization of what thought-forms actually

are than anything previously written.


If it be asked what is the real difference between the


matter of the various sub-planes of Devachan, it is

not easy to answer in other than very general terms,

for the unfortunate scribe bankrupts himself of adjec

tives in an unsuccessful endeavour to describe the

lowest plane, and then has nothing left to say about

the others. What, indeed, can be said, except that

ever as we ascend the material becomes finer, the

harmonies fuller, the light more living and transparent ?

There are more overtones in the sound, more delicate

intershades in the colours as we. rise, more and more

new colours appear hues entirely unknown to the

physical sight ; and it has been poetically yet trul}

said that the light of the lower plane is darkness

on the one above it. Perhaps this idea is simpler

if we start in thought from the top instead of the

bottom, and try to realize that on that highest

sub-plane we shall find its appropriate matter en

souled and vivified by an energy which still flows

down like light from above from a plane which lies

away beyond Devachan altogether. Then if we

descend to the second subdivision we shall find that

the matter of our first sub-plane has become the

energy of this or, to put the thing more accurately,

that the original energy, plus the garment of matter of

the first sub-plane with which it has endued itself, is

the energy of this second sub-plane. In the same way,

in the third division we shall find that the original

energy has twice veiled itself in the matter of these

first and second sub-planes through which it has

passed; so that by the time we get to our seventh sub

division we shall have our original energy six times

enclosed or veiled, and therefore by so much the

weaker and less active,. This process is exactly analo

gous to the veiling of Atma in its descent as monadic


essence in order to energize the matter of the planes of

the cosmos, and as it is one which frequently takes

place in nature, it will save the student much trouble

if he will try to familiarize himself with the idea.


In speaking of the general characteristics of the

plane we must not omit to mention the akashic records,

which form what may be called the memory of nature,

the only really reliable history of the world. Whether

what we have on this plane is the absolute record itself

or merely a devachanic reflection of something higher

still, it is at any rate clear, accurate, and continuous,

differing therein from the disconnected and spasmodic

manifestation which is all that represents it in the astral

world. It is, therefore, only when a clairvoyant pos

sesses the vision of this devachanic plane that his

pictures of the past can be relied upon ; and even then,

unless he has the power of passing in full consciousness

from that plane to the physical we have to allow for

the possibility of errors in bringing back the recollec

tion of what he has seen.

But the student who has succeeded in developing

the powers latent within himself so far as to en

able him to use the devachanic sense while still in

the physical body, has before him a field of his

torical research of most entrancing interest. Not

only can he review at his leisure all history with

which we are acquainted, correcting as he examines it

the many errors and misconceptions which have crept

into the accounts handed down to us ; he can alsa

range at will over the whole story of the world from

its very beginning, watching the slow development of

intellect in man, the descent of the Lords of the Flame,.


and the growth of the mighty civilizations which they


Nor is his study confined to the progress of humanity

alone; he has before him, as in a museum, all the

strange animal and vegetable forms which occu

pied the stage in days when the world was young ; he

can follow all the wonderful geological changes which

have taken place, and watch the course of the great

cataclysms which have altered the whole face of the

earth again and again.

Many and varied are the possibilities opened up

by access to the akashic records so many and so

varied indeed that even if this were the only advan

tage of the devachanic plane it would still transcend

in interest all the lower worlds ; but when to this

we add the remarkable increase in the opportunities

for the acquisition of knowledge given by its new

and wider faculty the privilege of direct untram

melled intercourse not only with the great Deva

kingdom, but with the very Masters of Wisdom them

selves the rest and relief from the weary strain of

physical life that is brought by the enjoyment of its

deep unchanging bliss, and above all the enormously

enhanced capability of the developed student for the

service of his fellow-men then we shall begin to have

some faint conception of what a pupil gains when

he wins the right to enter at will and in perfect

consciousness upon his heritage in the bright realm

of Sukhavati.



In our endeavour to describe the inhabitants of Deyachan

it will perhaps be well for us to divide them

into the same three great classes chosen in the manual

on the astral plane the human, the non-human, and

the artificial -though the sub-divisions will naturally

be less numerous in this case than in that, since the

products of man s evil passions, which bulked so largely

in Kamaloka, can find no place here.


Exactly as was the case when dealing with the lower

world, it will be desirable to subdivide the human in

habitants of the devachanic plane into two classes

those who are still attached to a physical body, and

those who are not the living and the dead, as they are

commonly but most erroneously called. Very little

experience of these higher planes is needed to alter

fundamentally the student s conception of the change

which takes place at death ; he realizes immediately on

the opening of his consciousness even in the astral, and

still more in the devachanic world, that the fulness of

true life is something which can never be known down

here, and that when we leave this physical earth we are

passing into that true life, not out of it. We have not

at present in the English language any convenient and

at the same time accurate words to express these condi

tions ; perhaps to call them respectively embodied and

disembodied will be, on the whole, the least misleading

of the various possible phrases. Let us therefore pro

ceed to consider those inhabitants of Devachan who

come under the head of


Those human beings who, while still attached to a

physical body, are found moving in full consciousness

and activity upon this plane are invariably either ini

tiates or Adepts, for until a pupil has been taught by

his Master how to form the Mayavirupa he will be un

able to move with freedom upon even the rupa levels

of Devachan. To function consciously during physical

life upon the arupa levels denotes still greater advance

ment, for it means the unification of the Manas, so that

the man down here is no longer a mere personality,

more or less influenced by the individuality above, but

is himself that individuality trammelled and confined

by a body, certainly, but nevertheless having within

him the power and knowledge of a highly developed


Very magnificent objects are these Adepts and ini

tiates to the vision which has learnt to see them

splendid globes of light and colour, driving away all

evil influence wherever they go, and shedding around

them a feeling of restfulness and happiness of which

even those who do not see them are often conscious. It

is in this celestial world that much of their most impor

tant work is done more especially upon its higher

levels, where the individuality can be acted upon

directly. It is from this plane that they shower the

grandest spiritual influences upon the world of thought;

from it also they impel great and beneficent movements

of all kinds. Here much of the spiritual force poured

out by the glorious self-sacrifice of the Nirmanakayas is

distributed ; here also direct teaching is given to those

pupils who are sufficiently advanced to receive it in

this way, since it can be imparted far more readily and

completely than on the astral plane. In addition to all

these activities they have a great field of work in con

nection with devachanees, but this will be more fitly

explained under a later heading.

It is a pleasure to find that a class of inhabitants

which obtruded itself painfully on our notice on the

astral plane is entirely absent here. In a world whose

characteristics are unselfishness and spirituality the

black magician and his pupils can obviously find no

place, since selfishness is of the essence of all the pro

ceedings of the darker school. Not but that in many

of them the intellect is very highly developed, and con

sequently the matter of the mind-body extremely active

and sensitive along certain lines ; but in every case

those lines are connected with personal desire of some

sort, and they can therefore find expression only through

Kama-Manas that is, the part of the mind-body which

has become almost inextricably entangled with Kama.

As a necessary consequence of this limitation it follows

that their activities are confined to the astral and

physical planes, and thus is justified the grand old de

scription of the heaven-world as the place " where the

wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at



In thinking of the living inhabitants of Devachan,

the question naturally suggests itself whether either

ordinary people during sleep, or psychically developed

persons in a trance condition, can ever penetrate to this

plane. In both cases the answer must be that the

occurrence is possible, though extremely rare. Purity

of life and purpose would be an absolute pre-requisite,

and even when the plane was reached there would be

nothing that could be called real consciousness, but

simply a capacity for receiving certain impressions.

As exemplifying the possibility of entering the devachanic

state during sleep, an incident may be mentioned

which occurred in connection with the experiments

made by the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society

on dream consciousness, an account of some of which

was given in their Transaction on Dreams. It may be

remembered by those who have read that Transaction

that a thought-picture of a lovely tropical landscape

was presented to the minds of various classes of sleepers,

with a view of testing the extent to which it was after

wards recollected on awaking. One case which was

not referred to in the account previously published, as

it had no special connection with the phenomena of

dreams, will serve as a useful illustration here.

It was that of a person of pure mind and consider

able though untrained psychic capacity ; and the effect

of the presentation of the thought-picture to her mind

was of a somewhat startling character. So intense was

the feeling of reverent joy, so lofty and so spiritual were

the thoughts evoked by the contemplation of this

glorious scene, that the consciousness of the sleeper

passed entirely into the mind-body or to put the same


idea into other words, rose on to the devachanic plane.

It must not, however, be supposed from this that she

became cognizant of her surroundings upon that plane,

or of its real conditions ; she was simply in the state of

the ordinary devachanee after death, floating in the sea

of light and colour indeed, but entirely absorbed in her

own thought, and conscious of nothing beyond itresting

in ecstatic contemplation of the landscape and

of all that it had suggested to her yet contemplating it,

be it understood, with the keener insight, the more

perfect appreciation, and the enhanced vigour of

thought peculiar to the devachanic plane, and enjoying

all the while the intensity of bliss which has so often

been spoken of before. The sleeper remained in that

condition for several hours, though apparently entirely

unconscious of the passage of time, and at last awoke

with a sense of deep peace and inward joy for which,

since she had brought back no recollection of what had

happened, she was quite unable to account. There is

no doubt, however, that such an experience as this,

whether remembered in the physical body or not,

would act as a distinct impulse to the spiritual evolu

tion of the ego concerned.

Though in the absence of a sufficient number of

experiments one hesitates to speak too positively, it

seems almost certain that such a result as this just

described would be possible only in the case of a person

having already some amount of psychic development ;

and the same condition is even more definitely neces

sary in order that a mesmerized subject should touch

the devachanic plane in trance. So decidedly is this

the case, that probably not one in a thousand among

ordinary clairvoyants ever reaches it at all ; but on the

rare occasions when it is so attained the clairvoyant, as


before remarked, must be not only of exceptional

development, but of perfect purity of life and purpose :

and even when all these unusual characteristics are

present there still remains the difficulty which an un

trained psychic always finds in translating a vision

accurately from the higher plane to the lower. All

these considerations, of course, only emphasize what

has been so often insisted upon before the necessity of

the careful training of all psychics under a qualified

instructor before it is possible to attach much weight totheir

reports of what they see.


Before considering in detail the condition of the dis

embodied entities on the various sub-planes of Devachan,

we must have very clearly in our minds the broad

distinction between the rupa and arupa levels, of which

mention has already been made. On the former the

man lives entirely in the world of his own thoughts,

still fully identifying himself with his personality in the

life which he has recently quitted ; on the latter he is

simply the reincarnating ego, who (if he has developed

sufficient consciousness on that level to know anything

clearly at all) understands, at least to some extent, the

evolution upon which he is engaged, and the work that

he has to do. It should be remembered that every

man passes through both these stages between death

and birth, though the undeveloped majority have so

little consciousness in either of them as yet that they

might more truly be said to dream through them.

Nevertheless, whether consciously or unconsciously,

every human being must touch his own ego on the

arupa level of Devachan before reincarnation can


take place : and as his evolution proceeds this touch

becomes more and more definite and real to him. Not

only is he more conscious here as he progresses, but the

period he passes in this world of reality becomes longer;

for the fact is that his consciousness is slowly but

steadily rising through the different planes of the


Primitive man, for example, would have compara

tively little consciousness on any plane but the physical

during life and the lower astral after death; and indeed

the same may be said of the quite undeveloped man even

in our own day. A person a little more advanced would

perhaps begin to have a short devachanic period (on

the rupa levels, of course), but would still spend by far

the greater part of his time, between incarnations, on

the astral plane. As he progressed the astral life

would grow shorter and the devachanic life longer, until

when he became an intellectual and spiritually-minded

person he would pass through Kamaloka with hardly

any delay at all, and would enjoy a long and happy

sojourn on the higher of the rupa levels. By this time,

however, the consciousness in the true ego on the

arupa levels would have been awakened to a very con

siderable extent, and thus his conscious life in Devachan

would divide itself into two parts the later and

shorter portion being spent on the higher sub-planes in

the causal body.

The process previously described would then repeat

itself, the life on the rupa levels gradually shortening,

while the higher life became steadily longer and fuller,

till at last the time came when the consciousness was

unified when the higher and lower Manas were indissolubly

united, and the man was no longer capable

of wrapping himself up in his own cloud of thought,


and mistaking that for the great heaven-world around

him when he realized the true possibilities of his life,

and so for the first time truly began to live. But by

the time that he attains these heights he will already

be an initiate, and will have taken his future progress

definitely into his own hands.


It has frequently been urged, as an objection to the

Theosophical teaching on the subject of the hereafter,

that the life of the ordinary person in Devachan is

nothing but a dream and an illusion that when he

imagines himself happy amidst his family and friends,

or carrying out his plans with such fulness of joy and

success, he is really only the victim of a cruel delusion :

and this is sometimes unfavourably contrasted with

what is called the solid objectivity of the heaven

promised by Christianity. The reply to such an objec

tion is twofold : first, that when we are studying the

problems of the future life we are not concerned to

know which of two hypotheses put before us would

be the pleasanter (that being, after all, a matter of

opinion), but rather which of them is the true one ; and

secondly, that when we enquire more fully into the

facts of the case we shall see that those who maintain

the illusion theory are looking at the matter from quite

a wrong point of view.

As to the first point, the actual state of the facts is

quite easily discoverable by those who have developed

the power to pass consciously on to the devachanic

plane during life; and when so investigated it is found

to agree perfectly with the teaching given to us by the

Masters of Wisdom through our great founder and

teacher Madame Blavatsky. This, of course, disposes


of the " solid objectivity


theory mentioned above.

As to the second point, if the contention be that on the

lower levels of Devachan trutli in its fulness is not yet

known to man, and that consequently illusion still exists

there, we must frankly admit that that is so. But that

is not what is usually meant by those who bring

forward this objection ; they are generally oppressed

by a feeling that the devachanic life will be more illu

sory and useless than the physical an idea which

further consideration will, I think, show to be in


Let it be clearly grasped first of all that such illusion

as there is inheres in the personality, and that when

that is for the time dissipated no illusion remains.

(Of course 1 am using the word illusion in its ordinary

everyday meaning not in that metaphysical sense in

which all is illusion until the absolute is attained.) It

will be seen, as our account of the plane progresses,

that this illusion differs very much on different levels,

and that it steadily diminishes as the soul advances.

Indeed, we may say that just as it is only the child

down here who constantly "makes believe," so it is

only the child-soul who surrounds himself again and

again with an illusory world created by his own


In point of fact, the Devachan of each person is

exactly suited to him ; as he becomes more real, it be

comes more real also. And we ought in fairness to

bear in mind, before inveighing against the unreality of

Devachan, that we are, after all, at the present moment

living a life which is still more unreal. Is it contended

that on that plane we make our own surroundings, and

that they have therefore no objective existence ? But

surely that argument cuts both ways : for even down


here the world of which a person is sensible is never

the whole of the outer world, but only so much of it as

his senses, his intellect, his education, enable him to take

in. It is obvious that during life the average person s

conception of everything around him is really quite a

wrong one empty, imperfect, inaccurate in a dozen

ways ; for what does he know of the great forces

etheric, astral, devachanic which lie behind every

thing he sees, and in fact form by far the most import

ant part of it ? What does he know, as a rule, even of

the more recondite physical facts which surround him

and meet him at every step that he takes ? The truth

is that here, as in Devachan, he lives in a world which

is very largely of his own creation. He does not realize

it, of course, either there or here, but that is only

because of his ignorance because he knows no


It may be thought that there is a difference in the

case of our friends that here we have them really

with us, whereas in Devachan what we have is only an

image of them. which we ourselves make. This latter

statement is true only of the lowest planes, and if the

friend is an entirely undeveloped person ; but, once

more, is not the case exactly the same down here ?

Here also we see our friend only partly we know

only the part of him which is congenial to us, and

the other sides of his character are practically non

existent for us. If we were for the first time, and with

the direct and perfect vision of the devachanic plane,

to see the whole of our friend, the probability is that he

would be quite unrecognizable : certainly he would not

be at all the dear one whom we had known.

Not only is it true that as a man becomes more

real himself his Devachan becomes more real ; it is also


a fact that, as the man evolves, the image of him in

his friend s Devachan becomes more real too. This

was very well illustrated by a simple case which

recently came under the notice of our investigators.

It was that of a mother who had died perhaps twenty

years ago, leaving behind her two boys to whom she

was deeply attached. Naturally they were the most

prominent figures in her Devachan, and quite naturally,

too, she thought of them as she had left them, as boys

of fifteen or sixteen years of age. The love which

she thus ceaselessly poured out upon these images

in Devachan was really acting as a beneficent force

showered down upon the grown-up men in this phy

sical world, but it did not affect them both to the same

extent not that her love was stronger for one than the

other, but because there was a great difference between

the images themselves. Not a difference, be it under

stood, that the mother could see ; to her both appeared

equally with her and equally all that she could possibly

desire : yet to the eyes of the investigators it was very

evident that one of these images was a mere thoughtform

of the mother s, without anything that could be

called a reality at the back of it, while the other was

distinctly much more than a mere image, for it was

instinct with living force. On tracing this very in

teresting phenomenon to its source, it was found that

in the first case the son had grown up into an ordinary

man of business not specially evil in any way, but by

no means spiritually-minded while the second had

become a man of high unselfish aspiration, and of con

siderable refinement and culture. His life had been

such as to develope a much greater amount of con

sciousness in the ego than his brother s, and conse

quently his higher self was able to energize the image


of himself as a boy which his mother had formed in her

Devachan to put something of himself into it, as it


A large number of similar instances were revealed by

further research, and it was eventually clearly estab

lished that the more highly a man is developed along,

spiritual lines, the more truly is his image in his,

friend s Devachan informed by a ray from his higher!

ego, even though the personality down here in incarna

tion may often be entirely ignorant of its action.

Thus as the man rises his image becomes more really

himself, until in the case of an Adept that image is fully

and consciously entered and used as a means of raising

and instructing the pupil who has formed it. Of this

more will be said later ; but meantime it is abundantly

evident that, as man evolves, the illusions which clung

round his spiritual childhood drop away, and he draws

ever nearer and nearer to the reality which lies behind


In this manner, and in this manner only, is com

munication possible between those who still live on

earth and those who have passed into this celestial

realm. A man s higher self may be informing his

image in a friend s Devachan, and yet the living man

here on earth may know nothing of it, and therefore

remain quite unable to communicate with his departed

friend ; but if the living man has evolved his conscious

ness to the point of unification, and can therefore use

the powers of the ego while still in the physical body,

he can enter at will and in full consciousness into that

image of his, and can speak once more face to face

with his friend, as of yore : so that in such a case the

" devachanic dream "

is no longer an illusion, but a

living reality.


Is it said that on the devachanic plane a man takes

his thoughts for real things ? He is quite right ;

they are real things, and on this, the thought-plane,

nothing but thought can be real. There we recognize

that great fact here we do not ; on which plane, then,

is the delusion greater ? Those thoughts of the devachanee

are indeed realities, and are capable of pro

ducing the most striking results upon living men

results which can never be otherwise than beneficial,

because upon that high plane there can be none but

loving thought.

Another point worth bearing in mind is that this

system upon which nature has arranged the life after

death is the only imaginable one which could fulfil its

object of making every one happy to the fullest extent

of his capacity for happiness. If the joy of heaven

were of one particular type only, as it is according to

the orthodox Christian theory, there must always be

some who would weary of it, some who would be incap

able of participating in it, either from want of taste in

that particular direction, or from lack of the necessary

education to say nothing of that other obvious fact,

that if this condition of affairs were eternal the grossest

injustice must be perpetrated by giving practically the

same reward to all who enter, no matter what their

respective deserts might be.

Again, what other arrangement with regard to

relatives and friends could possibly be equally satis

factory ? If the departed were able to follow the

fluctuating fortunes of their friends on earth, happiness

would be impossible for them ; if, without knowing

what was happening to them, they had to wait until

the death of those friends before meeting them, there

would be a painful period of suspense, often extending

over many years, while the friend would in many cases

arrive so much changed as to be no longer sympathetic.

On the system so wisely provided for us by nature

every one of these difficulties is avoided ; a man decides

for himself both the length and the character of his

Devachan by the causes which he himself generates

during his earth-life; therefore he cannot but have

exactly the amount which he has deserved, and exactly

that quality of joy which is best suited to his idiosyn

crasies. Those whom he loves most he has ever with

him, and always at their noblest and best ; while no

shadow of discord or change can ever come between

them, since he receives from them all the time exactly

what he wishes. In point of fact, as we might have

expected, the arrangement really made by nature is

infinitely superior to anything which the imagination of

man has been able to offer us in its place.


The greater reality of the devachanic life as compared

with that on earth is again evidenced when we consider

what conditions are requisite for the attainment of this

higher state of existence. For the very qualities which

.a man must develope during life, if he is to have any

Devachan after death, are just those which all the best

and noblest of our race have agreed in considering as

really and permanently desirable. In order that an

aspiration or a thought-force should result in existence

on that plane, its dominant characteristic must be un


Affection for family or friends takes many a man

into Devachan, and so also does religious devo

tion ; yet it would be a mistake to suppose that all


affection or all devotion must therefore necessarily find

its post-movtem expression there, for of each of these

qualities there are obviously two varieties, the selfish

and the unselfish though it might perhaps reasonably

be argued that it is only the latter kind in each case

which is really worthy of the name.

There is the love which pours itself out upon its

object, seeking for nothing in return never even think

ing of itself, but only of what it can do for the loved one ;

and such a feeling as this generates a spiritual force which

cannot work itself out except upon the devachanic plane*

But there is also another emotion which is sometimes

called love an exacting, selfish kind of passion which

desires mainly to be loved which is thinking all the time

of what it receives rather than of what it gives, and is

quite likely to degenerate into the horrible vice ofjealousy

upon (or even without) the smallest provocation. Such

affection as this has in it no seed of devachanic deve

lopment ; the forces which it sets in motion will never

rise above the astral plane.

The same is true of the feeling of a certain very large

class of religious devotees, whose one thought is, not the

glory of their deity, but how they may save their own

miserable souls a position which forcibly suggests that

they have not yet developed anything that really deserves

the name of a soul at all.

On the other hand there is the real religious devotion,

which thinks never of self, but only of love and grati

tude towards the deity or leader, and is filled with

ardent desire to do something for him or in his name ;.

and such a feeling often leads to prolonged Devachan

of a comparatively exalted type.

This would of course be the case whoever the deity

or leader might be, and followers of Buddha, Krishna,.


Ormuzd, Allah and Christ would all equally attain their

meed of devachanic bliss its length and quality depend

ing upon the intensity and purity of the feeling, and

not in the least upon its object, though this latter

consideration would undoubtedly affect the possibility

of receiving instruction during that higher life.

Most human devotion, however, like most human

love, is neither wholly pure nor wholly selfish. That

love must be low indeed into which no unselfish

thought or impulse has entered ; and on the other hand

an affection which is usually and chiefly quite pure and

noble may yet sometimes be clouded by a spasm of

jealous feeling or a passing thought of self. In both

these cases, as in all, Karma discriminates unerringly ;

and just as the momentary flash of nobler feeling in the

less developed heart will receive its devachanic meed,,

even though there be nought else in the life to raise

the soul above the astral plane, so the baser thought

which erstwhile dimmed the holy radiance of a real

love will reap its due reward in Kamaloka, interfering

not at all with the magnificent celestial life which flows

infallibly from years of deep affection here below.


It will be seen, therefore, that many undeveloped

and backward egos never consciously attain the deva

chanic state at all, whilst a still larger number obtain

only a comparatively slight touch of some of its lower

planes. Every ego must of course withdraw into its

true self upon the arupa levels before reincarnation ;

but it does not at all follow that in that condition it

will experience anything that we should call conscious

ness. This subject will be dealt with more fully when


we come to treat of the arupa planes ; it seems better

to begin with the lowest of the rupa levels, and work

steadily upwards, so we may for the moment leave on

one side that portion of humanity whose conscious exis

tence after death is practically confined to the astral

plane, and proceed to consider the case of an entity who

has just risen out of that position who for the first

time has a slight and fleeting consciousness in the

lowest subdivision of Devachan.

There are evidently various methods by which this

important step in the early development of the ego may

be brought about, but it will be sufficient for our pre

sent purpose if we take as an illustration of one of them

a somewhat pathetic little story from real life which

came under the observation of our students when they

were investigating this question. In this case the agent

of the great evolutionary forces was a poor seamstress,

living in one of the dreariest and most squalid of our

terrible London slums a foetid court in the East End

into which light and air could scarcely struggle.

Naturally she was not highly educated, for her life had

been one long round of the hardest work under the least

favourable of conditions ; but nevertheless she was a

good-hearted, benevolent creature, overflowing with

love and kindness towards all with whom she came into

contact. Her rooms were as poor, perhaps, as any in

the court, but at least they were cleaner and neater

than the others. She had no money to give when sick

ness brought need even more dire than usual to some

of her neighbours, yet on such an occasion she was

always at hand as often as she could snatch a few

moments from her work, offering with ready sympathy

such service as was within her power.

Indeed, she was quite a providence to the rough,


ignorant factory girls about her, and they gradually

came to look upon her as a kind of angel of help and

mercy, always at hand in time of trouble or illness.

Often after toiling all day with scarcely a moment s

intermission she sat up half the night, taking her turn

at nursing some of the many sufferers who are always

to be found in surroundings so fatal to health and

happiness as those of a London slum ; and in many

cases the gratitude and affection which her unremitting

kindness aroused in them were absolutely the only

higher feelings that they had during the whole of their

rough and sordid lives.

The conditions of existence in that court being such

as they were, there is little wonder that some of her

patients died, and then it became clear that she had

done for them much more than she knew ; she had

given them not only a little kindly assistance in their

temporal trouble, but a very important impulse on the

course of spiritual evolution. For these were un

developed egos pitris of a very backward class who

had never yet in any of their births set in motion the

spiritual forces which alone could give them conscious

existence on the devachanic plane ; but now for the

first time not only had an ideal towards which they

could strive been put before them, but also really

unselfish love had been evoked in them by her action,

and the very fact of having so strong a feeling as this

had raised them and given them more individuality,

and so after their stay in Kamaloka was ended they

gained their first experience of the lowest subdivision

of Devachan. A short experience, probably, and of

by no means an advanced type, but still of far greater

importance than appears at first sight ; for when once

the great spiritual energy of unselfishness has been


awakened the very working-out of its results in

Devachan gives it the tendency to repeat itself, and

small in amount though this first outpouring may be,

it yet builds into the ego a faint tinge of a quality

which will certainly express itself again in the next life.

So the gentle benevolence of a poor seamstress

has given to several less developed souls their intro

duction to a conscious spiritual life which incarnation

after incarnation will grow steadily stronger, and react

more and more upon the earth-lives of the future.

This little incident perhaps suggests an explanation of

the fact that in the various religions so much import

ance is attached to the personal element in charity

the direct association between donor and recipient.


This lowest subdivision of Devachan, to which the

action of our poor seamstress raised the objects of her

kindly care, has for its principal characteristic that of

affection for family or friends unselfish, of course, but

usually somewhat narrow. Here, however, we must

guard ourselves against the possibility of misconcep

tion. When it is said that family affection takes a

man to the seventh devachanic sub-plane, and religious

devotion to the sixth, people sometimes very naturally

imagine that a person having both these character

istics strongly developed in him would divide his

devachanic period between these two subdivisions, first

spending a long period of happiness in the midst of his

family, and then passing upward to the next level,

there to exhaust the spiritual forces engendered by his

devotional aspirations.

This, however, is not what happens, for in such a


case as we have supposed the man would awaken to

consciousness in the sixth sub-division, where he would

find himself engaged, together with those whom he had

loved so much, in the highest form of devotion which he

was able to realize. And when we think of it this is

reasonable enough, for the man who is capable of

religious devotion as well as mere family affection is

naturally likely to be endowed with a higher and

broader development of the latter virtue than one whose

mind is susceptible to influence in one direction only.

The same rule holds good all the way up ; the higher

plane may always include the qualities of the lower as

well as those peculiar to itself, and when it does so its

inhabitants almost invariably have these qualities in

fuller measure than the souls on a lower plane.

When it is said that family affection is the character

istic of the seventh sub-plane, it must not therefore be

supposed for a moment that love is confined to this

plane, but rather that the man who will find himself

here after death is one in whose character this affection

was the highest quality the only one, in fact, which

entitled him to Devachan at all. But love of a far

nobler and grander type than anything to be seen on

this level may of course be found upon the higher subplanes.

One of the first entities encountered by the investiga

tors upon this sub-plane forms a very fair typical

example of its inhabitants. The man during life had

been a small grocer not a person of intellectual

development or of any particular religious feeling, but

simply the ordinary honest and respectable small

tradesman. No doubt he had gone to church regularly

every Sunday, because it was the customary and

proper thing to do ; but religion had been to him a sort


of dim cloud which he did not really understand,,

which had no connection with the business of everyday

life, and was never taken into account in deciding itsproblems.

He had therefore none of the depth of

devotion which might have lifted him to the next subplane

; but he had for his wife and family a warm

affection in which there was a large element of unselfish

ness. They were constantly in his mind, and it was for

them far more than for himself that he worked from morn

ing to night in his tiny little shop ; and so when, after a

period of existence in Kamaloka, he had at last shaken

himself free from the decaying astral body, he found

himself upon this lowest subdivision of Devachan with

all his loved ones gathered round him.

He was no more an intellectual or highly spiritual man

than he had been on earth, for death brings with it no

sudden development of that kind ; the surroundings in

which he found himself with his family were not of a

very refined type, for they represented only his own

highest ideals of non-physical enjoyment during life ;

but nevertheless he was as intensely happy as he was

capable of being, and since he was all the time thinking

of his family rather than of himself he was undoubtedly

developing unselfish characteristics, which would be

built into the ego, and so would reappear in his next

life on earth.

Another typical case was that of a man who had died

while his only daughter was still young ; here in

Devachan he had her always with him and always at

her best, and he was continually occupying himself in

weaving all sorts of beautiful pictures of her future.

Yet another was that of a young girl who was always

absorbed in contemplating the manifold perfections of

her father, and planning little surprises and fresh


pleasures for him. Another was a Greek woman who

was spending a marvellously happy time with her

three children one of them a beautiful boy, whom

she delighted in imagining as the victor in the Olympic


A striking characteristic of this sub-plane for the last

few centuries has been the very large number of

Romans, Carthaginians and Englishmen to be found

there this being due to the fact that among men of

these nations the principal unselfish activity found its

outlet through family affection ; while comparatively

few Hindus and Buddhists are here, since in their case

real religious feeling usually enters more immediately

into their daily lives, and consequently takes them to a

higher level.

There was, of course, an almost infinite variety among

the cases observed, their different degrees of advance

ment being distinguishable by varying degrees of

luminosity, while differences of colour indicated re

spectively the qualities which the persons in question

had developed. Some were lovers who had died in

the full strength of their affection, and so were always

occupied with the one person they loved to the entire

exclusion of all others ; others there were who had been

almost savages, one example being a Malay, a low

third-class pitri, who obtained a slight experience of

Devachan in connection with a daughter whom he had


In all these cases it was the touch of unselfish

affection which gave them their Devachan ; indeed,

apart from that, there was nothing in the activity of

their personal lives which could have expressed itself on

that plane. In most instances observed on this level

the images of the loved ones have in them but the


faintest glimmer of real vitality, owing to the fact that

naturally in the vast majority of cases their individuali

ties have not been developed into activity on this plane.

Of course wherever such development has taken place

the image would be vivified by a ray of the higher self of

the person whom it represented, and much benefit

might be derived by the devachanee from his intercourse

with it.

Before passing on to consider the higher levels it

would be well perhaps to refer to the way in which

consciousness is recovered upon entering the devachanic

plane. On the final separation of the mind-body from

the astral a period of blank unconsciousness supervenes

varying in length between very wide limits analogous

to that which usually follows physical death. The awak

ening from this into active devachanic consciousness

closely resembles what often occurs in waking from a

night s sleep. Just as on first awakening in the morning

one sometimes passes through a period of intensely de

lightful repose during which one is conscious of the sense

of enjoyment, though the mind is as yet inactive and

the body hardly under control, so the entity awakening

on the devachanic plane first passes through a more

or less prolonged period of intense and gradually increas

ing bliss before his full activity of consciousness on that

plane is reached. When first this sense of wondrous

joy dawns on him it fills the entire field of his con

sciousness, but gradually as he awakens he finds himself

surrounded by a world of his own creation presenting

the features appropriate to the sub-plane to which he

has been drawn.


The dominant characteristic of this subdivision

5 1

appears to be anthropomorphic religious devotion. The

distinction between such devotion and the religious feeling

which finds its expression on the second sub-plane of

the astral lies in the fact that the former is purely

unselfish, and the man who feels it is totally uncon

cerned as to what the result of his devotion may be as

regards himself, while the latter is always aroused by

the hope and desire of gaining some advantage through

it ; so that on the second astral sub-plane such religious

feeling as -is there active invariably contains an element

of selfish bargaining, while the devotion which raises

a man to this sixth devachanic sub-plane is entirely free

from any such taint.

On the other hand this phase of devotion, which con

sists essentially in the perpetual adoration of a personal

deity, must be carefully distinguished from those still

higher forms which find their expression in performing

some definite work for the deity s sake. A few examples

of the cases observed on this sub-plane will perhaps show

these distinctions more clearly than any mere descrip

tion can do.

A fairly large number of entities whose devachanic

activities work themselves out on this level are drawn

from the oriental religions ; but only those are included

who have the characteristic of pure but comparatively

unreasoning and unintelligent devotion. Worshippers of

Vishnu, both in his avatar of Krishna and otherwise, as

well as a few followers of Shiva, are to be found here,

each wrapped up in the self-woven cocoon of his own

thoughts, alone with his own god, and oblivious of the

rest of mankind, except in so far as his affections may

associate with him in his adoration those whom he

loved on earth. A Vaishnavite, for example, was noticed

wholly absorbed in the ecstatic worship of the very


same image of Vishnu to which he had made offerings

during life.

Some of the most characteristic examples of this

plane are to be found among women, who indeed form

a very large majority of its inhabitants. Among others

there was a Hindu woman who had glorified her hus

band into a divine being, and also thought of the child

Krishna as playing with her own children, but while

these latter were thoroughly human and real the child

Krishna was obviously nothing but the semblance

of a blue wooden image galvanized into life. Krishna

also appeared in her Devachan under another form

that of an effeminate young man playing on a flute;

but she was not in the least confused or troubled

by this double manifestation. Another woman, who

was a worshipper of Shiva, had confounded the god

with her husband, looking upon the latter as a manifes

tation of the former, so that the one seemed to be

constantly changing into the other. Some Buddhists

also are found upon this subdivision, but apparently

exclusively those who regard the Buddha rather as an

object of adoration than as a great teacher.

The Christian religion also contributes many of the

inhabitants of this plane. The unintellectual devotion

which is exemplified on the one hand by the illiterate

Roman Catholic peasant, and on the other by the

earnest and sincere " soldier " of the Salvation Army,

seems to produce results very similar to those already

described, for these people also are found wrapped up

in contemplation of their ideas of Christ or his mother

respectively. For instance, an Irish peasant was seen

absorbed in the deepest adoration of the Virgin Mary,

whom he imaged as standing on the moon after

the fashion of Titian s "

Assumption," but holding out


her hands and speaking to him. A mediaeval monk

was found in ecstatic contemplation of Christ crucified,

and the intensity of his yearning love and pity was

such that as he watched the blood dropping from the

wounds of the figure of his Christ the stigmata

reproduced themselves upon his own body.

Another man seemed to have forgotten the sad story

of the crucifixion, and thought of his Christ only as

glorified on his throne, with the crystal sea before him,

and all around a vast multitude of worshippers, among

whom he himself stood with his wife and family. His

affection for these relatives was very deep, yet his

thoughts were more occupied in adoration of the Christ,

though his conception of his deity was so material that

he imaged him as constantly changing kaleidoscopically

backwards and forwards between the form of a man

and that of the lamb bearing the flag which we often

see represented in church windows.

A more interesting case was that of a Spanish nun

who had died at about the age of nineteen or twenty.

In her Devachan she carried herself back to the date

of Christ s life upon earth, and imagined herself as

accompanying him through the chain of events re

counted in the gospels, and after his crucifixion taking

care of his mother the Virgin Mary. Not unnaturally,

perhaps, her pictures of the scenery and costumes of

Palestine were entirely inaccurate, for the Saviour and

his disciples wore the dress of Spanish peasants, while

the hills round Jerusalem were mighty mountains

clothed with vineyards, and the olive trees were hung

with grey Spanish moss. She thought of herself as

eventually martyred for her faith, and ascending into

heaven, but yet only to live over and over again this

life in which she so delighted.


A quaint and pretty little example of the Devachan

of a child may conclude our list of instances from this

sub-plane. He had died at the age of seven, and was

occupied in re-enacting in the heaven-world the religious

stories which his Irish nurse had told him down here ;

and best of all he loved to think of himself as playing

with the infant Jesus, and helping him to make those

clay sparrows which the power of the child- Christ is

fabled to have brought to life and caused to fly.

It will be seen that the blind unreasoning devotion

of which we have been speaking does not at any time

raise its votaries to any great spiritual heights ; but it

must be remembered that in all cases they are entirely

happy and most fully satisfied, for what they receive is

always the highest which they are capable ot appreciat

ing. Nor is it without a very good effect on their future

career, for although no amount of mere devotion such

as this will ever develope intellect, yet it does produce

an increased capacity for a higher form of devotion,

and in most cases it leads also to purity of life. A

person therefore who lives such a life and enjoys such

a Devachan as we have been describing, though he is

not likely to make rapid progress on the path of spirit

ual development, is at least guarded from many dangers, for it is very improbable that in his next birth he

should fall into any of the grosser sins, or be drawn

away from his devotional aspirations into a mere

worldly life of avarice, ambition or dissipation. Never

theless, a survey of this sub-plane distinctly emphasizes the necessity of following St. Peter s advice, " Add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge.""


The chief characteristic of this subdivision may be

. 55

defined as devotion expressing itself in active work.

The Christian on this plane, for example, instead of

merely adoring his Saviour, would think of himself as

going out into the world to work for him. It is

especially the plane for the working out of great schemes

and designs unrealized on earth of great organizations

inspired by religious devotion, and usually having for

their object some philanthropic purpose. It must be

borne in mind, however, that ever as we rise higher

greater complexity and variety is introduced, so that

though we may still be able to give a definite charac

teristic as on the whole dominating the plane, we shall

yet be more and more liable to find variations and ex

ceptions that do not so readily range themselves under

the general heading.

A typical case, although somewhat above the average,

was that of a man who was found working out a

grand scheme for the amelioration of the condition

of the lower classes. While a deeply religious man

himself, he had felt that the first step necessary

in dealing with the poor was to improve their phy

sical condition ; and the plan which he was now work

ing out in Devachan, with triumphant success and

loving attention to every detail, was one which had

often crossed his mind while on earth, though he had

been quite unable there to take any steps towards its


His idea had been that, if possessed of enormous

wealth, he would buy up and get into his own hands

the whole of one of the smaller trades one in which

perhaps three or four large firms only were now

engaged ; and he thought that by so doing he could

effect very large savings by doing away with competi

tive advertising and other wasteful forms of trade


rivalry, and thus be able, while supplying goods to

the public at the same price as now, to pay much

better wages to his workmen. It was part of his scheme

to buy a plot of land and erect upon it cottages for his

workmen, each surrounded by its little garden ; and

after a certain number of years service, each workman

was to acquire a share in the profits of the business

which would be sufficient to provide for him in his old

age. By working out this system the devachanee had

hoped to show to the world that there was an eminently

practical side to Christianity, and also to win the souls

of his men to his own faith out of gratitude for the

material benefits they had received.

Another not dissimilar case was that of an Indian

prince whose ideal on earth had been the divine herokin^,

Rama, on whose example he had tried to model

his life and methods of government. Naturally down

here all sorts of untoward accidents had occurred, and

many of his schemes had consequently failed, but

in Devachan everything went well, and the greatest

possible result followed every one of his well- meant

efforts Rama of course personally advising and direct

ing his work, and receiving perpetual adoration from all

his devoted subjects.

A curious and rather touching instance of personal

religious work was that of a woman who had been a nun,

belongingtoonenot of the contemplative but of the work

ing orders. She had evidently based her life upon the

text " Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least

of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me," and now

in Devachan she was still carrying out to the fullest

extent the injunctions of her Lord, and was constantly

occupied in healing the sick, in feeding the hungry,

and clothing and helping the poor the peculiarity of the


case being that each of those to whom she had ministered

at once changed into the appearance of the Christ,

whom she then worshipped with fervent devotion.

An instructive case was that of two sisters, both of

whom had been intensely religious ; one of them had

been a crippled invalid, and the other had spent a long

life in tending her. On earth they had often discussed

and planned what religious and philanthropic work

they would carry out if they were able, and now each

is the most prominent figure in the other s Devachan,

the cripple being well and strong, while each thinks of

the other as joining her in carrying out the unrealized

wishes of her earth-life ; and in this case the image of

each sister in the other s Devachan was at least to some

extent vivified and real.

On this plane also the higher type of sincere and

devoted missionary activity finds expression. Of course

the ordinary ignorant fanatic never reaches this level,

but a few of the noblest cases, such as Livingstone,

might be found here engaged in the congenial occu

pation of converting multitudes of people to the parti

cular religion which they happened to advocate. One

of the most striking of such cases which came under

notice was that of a Mohammedan, who imagined him

self as working most zealously at the conversion of the

world and its government according to the most

approved principles of the faith of Islam.

It appears that under certain conditions artistic

capacity may also bring its votaries to this sub-plane.

But here a careful distinction must be drawn. The

artist or musician whose only object is the selfish one

of personal fame, or who habitually allows himself to

be influenced by feelings of professional jealousy, of

course generates no forces which will bring him to the


devachanic plane at all. On the other hand that

grandest type of arj: whose disciples regard it as a

mighty power entrusted to them for the spiritual eleva

tion of their fellows will express itself in even higher

regions than this. But between these two extremes

those devotees of art who follow it for its own sake or

regard it as an offering to their deity, never thinking of

its effect on their fellows, may in some cases find their

appropriate Devachan on this sub-plane.

As an example of this may be mentioned a musician

of very religious temperament who regarded all his labour

of love simply as an offering to the Christ, and knew no

thing of the magnificent arrangement of sound and colour

which his soul-inspiring compositions were producing

in the matter of the devachanic plane. Nor would all

his enthusiasm be wasted and fruitless, for its result

would certainly be to give him increased devotion

and increased musical capacity in his next birth; but

without the still wider aspiration to help humanity

this kind of Devachan might repeat itself almost

indefinitely. Indeed, glancing back at the three planes

with which we have just been dealing we may notice

that they are in all cases concerned with the working

out of devotion to personalities either to one s family

and friends or to a personal deity rather than the

wider devotion to humanity for its own sake which

finds its expression on the next sub-plane.


So varied are the activities of this, the highest of the

rupa levels, that it is difficult to group them under a

single characteristic. Perhaps they might best be

arranged into four main divisions unselfish pursuit of


spiritual knowledge, high philosophic or scientific

thought, literary or artistic ability exercised for unsel

fish purposes, and service for service s sake. The

exact definition of each of these classes will be more

readily comprehended when some examples of each

have been given.

Naturally it is from those religions in which the

necessity of obtaining spiritual knowledge is recognized

that most of the population of this sub-plane is drawn.

It will be remembered that on the sixth sub-plane we

found many Buddhists whose religion had chiefly taken

the form of devotion to their great leader as a person ;

here on the contrary we have those more intelligent

followers whose supreme aspiration was to sit at his

feet and learn who looked upon him in the light of a

teacher rather than as a being to be adored.

Now in their Devachan this highest wish is fulfilled ;

they find themselves in very truth learning from the

Buddha, and the image which they have thus made of

him is no mere empty form, but most assuredly has in

it a ray which is really part of himself. They are

therefore beyond doubt acquiring fresh knowledge

and wider views ; and the effect upon their next life

cannot but be of the most marked character. They

will not, of course, remember any individual facts that

they may have learnt (though when such facts are

presented to their minds in a subsequent life they

will grasp them with avidity and intuitively recognize

their truth), but the result of the teaching will be to

build into the ego a strong tendency to take broader

and more philosophical views on all such subjects.

Thus it will be seen that the Devachan enjoyed on

this higher subdivision very definitely and unmistak

ably hastens the evolution of the ego ; and once more


our attention is drawn to the enormous advantage

gained by those who have in their Devachan the figures

of real, living and powerful teachers.

A less developed type of this form of instruction is

found in cases in which some really great and spiritual

writer has become to a student a living personality, and

has taken on the aspect of a friend, forming part of the

student s mental life an ideal figure in his musings.

Such an one may enter into the pupil s Devachan, and

by virtue of his own highly evolved ego may vivify the

devachanic image of himself, and further illuminate the

teachings in his own books, bringing out of them the

more hidden meanings.

Many of the followers of the path of wisdom among

the Hindus find their Devachan upon this plane that

is, if their Gurus have been men possessing any real

knowledge. A few of the more advanced among the

Sufis and Parsis are also here, and we still find

some of the early Gnostics whose spiritual development

was such as to earn for them a prolonged stay in this

celestial region. But except for this comparatively

small number of Sufis and Gnostics neither Moham

medanism nor Christianity seems to raise its followers

to this level, though of course some who nominally

belong to these religions may be carried on to this subplane

by the presence in tneir character of qualities

which do not depend upon the teachings peculiar to

their religion.

In this region we also find earnest and devoted

students of Occultism who are not yet so far advanced

as to have earned the right and the power to forego

their Devachan for the good of the world. Among

these was one who in life had been personally known to

some of the investigators a Buddhist monk who had


been an earnest student of Theosophy, and had long

cherished the hope of being one day privileged to receive

instruction directly from its adept teachers. In his

Devachan the Buddha was the dominant figure, while

the two Masters who have been most closely concerned

with the Theosophical Society appeared also as his

lieutenants, expounding and illustrating his teaching.

All three of these images were very fully vitalized and

informed by the power and wisdom of the great beings

whom they represented, and the monk was therefore

definitely receiving real teaching upon occult subjects,

the effect of which would almost certainly be to bring

him actually on to the Path of Initiation in his next


Another instance from our ranks which was encountered

on this level illustrates the terrible effect of harbouring

unfounded and uncharitable suspicions. It was the

case of a devoted and self-sacrificing student who

towards the end of her life had unfortunately fallen into

an attitude of quite unworthy and unjustifiable distrust

of the motives of her old friend and teacher, Madame

Blavatsky ; and it was sad to notice how this feeling

had shut out to a considerable extent the higher

influence and teaching which she might have enjoyed

in her Devachan. It was not that the influence and

teaching were in any way withheld from her, but that

her own mental attitude rendered her to some extent

unreceptive of them. She was of course quite uncon

scious of this, and seemed to herself to be enjoying the

fullest and most perfect communion with the Masters,

yet it was obvious to the investigators that but for this

unfortunate self-limitation she would have reaped far

greater advantage from her stay on this level.

It will be understood that since there are other


Masters of wisdom besides those connected with our

own movement, and other schools of occultism working

along the same general lines as that to which they

belong, students attached to some of these are also

frequently met with upon this sub-plane.

Passing now to the next class, that of high philosophic

and scientific thought, we find here many of those

nobler and more unselfish thinkers who seek insight

and knowledge only for the purpose of enlightening and

helping their fellows. We are of course not including

as students of philosophy those men, either in the east

or the west, who waste their time in mere verbal

argument and hair-splitting a form of discussion which

has its roots in selfishness and conceit, and can there

fore never help towards a real understanding of the

facts of the universe ; for naturally such foolish super

ficiality as this produces no results that can work them

selves out on the devachanic plane.

As an instance of a true student noticed on this subplane

we may mention one of the later followers of the

neo-platonic system, whose name has fortunately been

preserved to us in the surviving records of that period.

He had striven all through his earth-life really to master

the teachings of that school, and now his Devachan

was occupied in unravelling its mysteries and in endeav

ouring to understand its bearing upon human life and


Another case was that of an astronomer, who seemed

to have begun life as a Christian, but had gradually

under the influence of his studies widened out into

Pantheism ; in his Devachan he was still pursuing these

studies with a mind full of reverence, and was un

doubtedly gaining real knowledge, apparently from

the Devas who are concerned on this plane with the


distribution and administration of stellar influences.

He was lost in contemplation of a vast panorama of

whirling nebulae and gradually-forming systems and

worlds, and he appeared to be groping after some dim

idea as to the shape of the universe, which he imagined

as some vast animal. His thoughts surrounded him as

elemental forms shaped as stars, and one especial

source of joy to him consisted in listening to the stately

rhythm of the music that pealed out in mighty chorales

from the moving orbs.

The third type of activity on this plane is that highest

kind of artistic and literary effort which is chiefly

inspired by a desire to elevate and spiritualize the race.

Here we find all our greatest musicians ; on this subplane

Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Wagner and others

are still flooding the heaven-world with harmony far

more glorious even than the grandest which they were

able to produce when on earth. It seems as if a great

stream of divine music poured into them from higher

regions, and was, as it were, specialized by them and

made their own, to be then sent forth through all the

plane in a great tide of melody which adds to the bliss

of all around. Those who are functioning in full con

sciousness on the devachanic plane will clearly hear

and thoroughly appreciate this magnificent outpouring,

but even the disembodied entities of this level, each of

whom is wrapped up in his own thought-cloud, are

affected also by the elevating and ennobling influence

of its resonant melody.

The painter and the sculptor also, if they have

followed their respective arts always with a grand,

unselfish aim, are here constantly making and send

ing forth all kinds of lovely forms for the delight

and encouragement of their fellow-men the forms


being, of course, artificial elementals created by their

thought. And not only may these beautiful concep

tions give pleasure to those living entirely upon this

plane ; they may also in many cases be grasped by the

minds of artists still in the flesh may act as inspirations

to them, and so be reproduced down here for the

elevating and ennobling of that portion of humanity

which is struggling amid the turmoil of physical life.

One touching and beautiful figure seen upon this

plane was that of a boy who had been a chorister, and

had died at the age of fourteen. His whole soul was full

of music and of boyish devotion to his art, deeply

coloured with the thought that by it he was expressing

the religious longings of the multitude who crowded a

vast cathedral, and yet was at the same time pouring

out to them celestial encouragement and inspiration.

He had known little enough save for this one great gift

of song, but he had used that gift worthily, trying to

be the voice of the people to heaven and of heaven to

the people, and ever longing to know more music and

render it more worthily for the Church s sake. In his

Devachan his wish was bearing fruit, and over him was

bending a teacher in a form evidently made by his

mind from the quaint angular figure of a mediaeval St.

Cecilia in a stained glass window, and this thoughtimage

was vivified by a Deva, who through it taught

him greater music than he had ever dreamed on earth.

Here also was one of earth s failures for the tragedy

of the earth-life leaves strange marks sometimes even

in " the heavenly places." He was alone in Devachan ;

in the world where all thoughts of loved ones smile

upon man as friends, he was thinking and writing in

solitude. On earth he had striven to write a great

book, and for the sake of it had refused to use his


literary power in making mere sustenance from paltry

hack-work ; but none would look at his book, and he

walked the streets despairing, till sorrow and starvation

closed his eyes to earth. He had been lonely all his

life in his youth friendless and shut out from family

ties, and in his manhood able to work only in his own

way, pushing aside hands that would have led him to a

wider view of life s possibilities than the earthly para

dise which he longed to make for all. Now, as he

thought and wrote, though there were none he had

loved as personal or ideal helpers who could make part

of his devachanic life, he saw stretching before him the

Utopia of which he had dreamed, for which he had

tried to live, and the vast thronging impersonal multi

tudes whom he had longed to serve ; and the joy of

their joy surged back on him and made his solitude a

heaven. When he is born again to earth he will surely

return with power to achieve as well as to plan, and the

devachanic vision will be partially bodied forth in

happier terrene lives.

Many were found on this plane who during their

earth-stay had devoted themselves to helping men

because they felt the tie of brotherhood who rendered

service for service s sake rather than because they

desired to please any particular deity. They were

engaged in working out with full knowledge and calm

wisdom vast schemes of beneficence, magnificent plans

of world-improvement, and at the same time they were

maturing powers with which to carry them out here

after on the lower plane of physical life.


We now pass from the four lower or rupa levels of

Devachan, on which the personality functions, to the


three higher or arupa levels, where the reincarnating

ego has his home. Here, so far as he sees at all, he

sees clearly, for he has risen above the illusions of

personality and the refracting medium of the lower self,

and though his consciousness may be dim, dreamily un

observant and scarcely awake, yet his vision is at least

true, however limited. The conditions of consciousness

are so far away from all with which we are familiar

down here that all terms known to psychology are use

less and misleading. This has been called the realm of

the noumenal in contrast with the phenomenal, of the

formless in contrast with the formed ; but it is still a

world of manifestation, however real when opposed to

the unrealities of lower states, and it still has forms,

however rare in their materials and subtle in their



This, the lowest of the arupa sub-planes, is also by

far the most populous of all the regions with which we

are acquainted, for here are present almost all the sixty

thousand millions of egos who are said to be engaged in

the present human evolution all, in fact, except the

comparatively small number who are capable of func

tioning on the second and first sub-planes. Each ego

is represented by an ovoid form, the auric egg at first

a mere film, colourless and almost invisible, of most

tenuous consistency; but, as the ego developes, this body

begins to show a shimmering iridescence like a soapbubble,

colours playing over its surface like the chang

ing hues made by sunlight on the spray of a waterfall.

Composed of matter inconceivably fine, delicate and

ethereal, intensely alive and pulsating with living fire,


it becomes as its evolution proceeds a radiant globe of

flashing colours, its high vibrations sending ripples of

changing hues over its surface hues of which earth

knows nothing brilliant, soft and luminous beyond the

power of language to describe. Take the colours of

an Egyptian sunset and add to them the wonderful

softness of an English sky at eventide raise these as

high above themselves in light and translucency and

splendour as they are above the colours given by the

cakes of a child s paint-box and even then none who

have not seen can image the beauty of these radiant

orbs which flash into the field of the devachanic sight as

it is lifted to the vision of this supernal world.

All these causal bodies are filled with living fire

drawn from a higher plane, with which the globe

appears to be connected by a quivering thread of

intense light, vividly recalling to the mind the words

of the Stanzas of Dzyan, "the Spark hangs from the

Flame by the finest thread of Fohat ;

" and as the

ego grows and is able to receive more and more from

the inexhaustible ocean of Atma-Buddhi which pours

down through the thread as a channel, the latter

expands and gives wider passage to the flood, till on

the next sub-plane it might be imaged as a water-spout

connecting earth and sky, and higher still as itself a

great globe through which rushes the living spring,

until the causal body seems to melt into the inpouring

light. Once more the Stanza says it for us: "The

thread between the Watcher and his shadow becomes

more strong and radiant with every change. The

morning sunlight has changed into noon-day glory.

This is thy present wheel, said the Flame to the

Spark. Thou art myself, my image and my shadow.

I have clothed myself in thee, and thou art my vahan


to the day, Be-with-us, when thou shalt rebecome

myself and others, thyself and me."

The egos who are connected with a physical body

are distinguishable from those enjoying the disembodied

state by a difference in the types of vibrations set up

on the surface of the globes, and it is therefore easy to

see at a glance whether an individual is or is not in

incarnation at the time. The immense majority,

whether in or out of the body, are but dreamily semi

conscious, though few are now in the condition of mere

colourless films ; those who are fully awake are marked

and brilliant exceptions, standing out amid the less

radiant crowds like stars of the first magnitude, and

between these and the least-developed are ranged every

variety of size and beauty of colour each thus repre

senting the exact stage of evolution at which it has


The majority are not yet sufficiently definite, even

in such consciousness as they possess, to understand

the purpose or the laws of the evolution in which they

are engaged ; they seek incarnation in obedience to the

impulse of the Cosmic Will, and also to Tanhd, the

blind thirst for manifested life a desire to find some

region in which they can feel and be conscious of living;

they put forth as groping, waving tentacles into the

ocean of existence the personalities which are them

selves on the lower planes of life, but they are as yet in

no sense aware that these personalities are the means

whereby they are to be nourished and to grow. They

see nothing of their past or their future, not being yet

conscious on their own plane. Still,, as they are slowly

drawing in experience and assimilating it, there grows

up a sense that certain things are good to do and others

bad, and this expresses itself imperfectly in the con6g

nected personality as the beginning of a conscience, a

feeling of right and wrong : and gradually as they

develope, this sense more and more clearly formulates

itself in the lower nature, and becomes a less inefficient

.guide of conduct.

When the personality belonging to an ego in this

undeveloped condition has completed its Devachan on

the rupa levels, it yields up to the higher individuality

whatever it has assimilated and transmuted, itself dis

integrating and leaving the ego as the sole survivor,

the real and enduring man. But at that moment,

before it puts itself forth again into embodied exist

ence, the ego has a flash of consciousness, showing the

results of the life that is completed, and something of

what will follow from that life in the next ; for a moment

all that there is of the man is in the arupa world, and

thence it again descends. These glimpses may be said to

be the opportunities of the ego. At first it makes little

of them, being so dimly conscious and so poorly fitted to

apprehend facts and their inter-relations ; but gradu

ally the power to appreciate what is seen increases,

and later the ability comes to remember the flashes of

the past and to compare them, and thus to mark out

the road which is being traversed, and estimate the

progress made and the direction in which it is going.

In this way the most advanced egos of this subplane

develope to a point at which they are engaged

in studying their past, tracing out the causes set going

in it, and learning much from the retrospection, so that

the impulses sent downwards become clearer and more

definite, and translate themselves in the lower con

sciousness as firm convictions and imperative intuitions.

It is perhaps scarcely necessary to repeat that the

thought-images of the rupa levels are not carried into


the arupa world ; if an ego conscious on this plane has

been surrounded by the images of less developed in

dividualities who were dear to him on earth, he comesinto

contact with them in this higher region as they

really are, and will find them irresponsive to him here,,

because they have not yet developed their conscious

ness on this loftier plane. This, however, can be but

an exceedingly rare case, and even when it occurs the

ego experiences no sense of loss, for the ties that are

only of the personality have no power over him ; his

true relations are with other individualities, and these

endure when the personality vanishes, so that on the

arupa levels each ego knows his real kindred, sees

them and is seen in his own royal nature, as the true

immortal man that passes on from life to life, with

all the ties intact that are knit to his real being.


From the densely-thronged region which we have

been considering we pass into a more thinly-populated

world, as out of a great city into a peaceful country

side ; for at the present stage of human evolution only

a small minority of individuals have risen to this loftier

level where even the least advanced is definitely selfconscious,

and also conscious of his surroundings.

Able at least to some extent to review the past through

which he has come, the ego on this level is aware of

the purpose and method of evolution ; he knows that

he is engaged in a work of self-development, and recog

nizes the stages of physical and post-mortem life through

which he passes in his lower vehicles. The personality

with which he is connected is seen by him as part of

himself, and he endeavours to guide it, using his knowledge

of the past as a store of experience from which

he formulates principles of conduct, clear and immu

table convictions of right and wrong. These he sends

down into his lower mind, superintending and directing

its activities. While he continually fails in the earlier

part of his life on this sub-plane to make the lower

mind understand logically the foundations of the prin

ciples he impresses on it, he yet very definitely succeeds

in making the impression, and such abstract ideas as

truth, justice and honour become unchallenged and

ruling conceptions in the lower mental life.

There are rules of conduct enforced by social, national

and religious sanctions, by which a man guides himself

in daily life, and yet which may be swept away by some

rush of temptation, some overmastering surge of passion

and desire ; but there are some things an evolved man

cannot do things which are against his very nature ;

he cannot lie, or betray, or do a dishonourable action.

Into the inmost fibres of his being certain principles

are wrought, and to act against them is an impossibility,

no matter what may be the strain of circumstance or

the torrent of temptation ; for these things are of the

life of the ego. While, however, he thus succeeds in guid

ing his lower vehicle, his knowledge of it and its doings

is often far from precise and clear. He sees the lower

planes but dimly, understanding their principles rather

than their details, and part of his evolution on this

plane consists of coming more and more consciously

into direct touch with the personality which so imper

fectly represents him below.

It will be understood from this that only such egos

as are deliberately aiming at spiritual growth live on

this plane, and they have in consequence become largely

receptive of influences from the planes above them.


The channel of communication grows and enlarges, and

a fuller flood pours through. The thought under this

influence takes on a singularly clear and piercing quality,

even in the less developed, and the effect of this in the

lower mind shows itself as a tendency to philosophic

and abstract thinking. In the more highly evolved the

vision is far-reaching : it ranges with clear insight over

the past, recognizing the causes set up, their working

out, and what remains still unexhausted of their


The egos living on this plane have wide opportunities

for growth when freed from the physical body, for here

they may receive instructions from more advanced

entities, coming into direct touch with their teachers.

No longer by thought-pictures, but by a flashing

luminousness impossible to describe, the very essence

of the idea flies like a star from one ego to the other,

its correlations expressing themselves as light waves

pouring out from the central star, and needing no separ

ate enunciation. A thought is like a light placed in a

room ; it shows all things round it, but requires no words

to describe them.


This, the most glorious level of the devachanic world,

has but few denizens from our humanity, for none but

Masters and initiates dwell on its heights. Of the

beauty of form and colour and sound here no words

can speak, for mortal language has no terms in which

those radiant splendours may find expression. Enough

that they are, and that some of our race are wearing

them, the earnest of what others shall be, the fruition

of which the seed was sown on lowlier planes. These


have accomplished the manasic evolution, and have

unified self-consciousness ; from their eyes the illusion -

veil of personality has been lifted, and they know and

realize that they are not the lower nature, but only use

it as a vehicle of experience. It may still have power

in the less evolved of them to shackle and to hamper,

but they can never fall into the blunder of confusing it

with themselves. From this they are saved by carry

ing their consciousness through unbroken, not only

from day to day but from life to life, so that past lives

are not so much looked back upon as always present

in the consciousness, the man feeling them as one life

rather than as many.

From this highest level of the arupa world come

down most of the influences poured out by the Masters

as they work for the evolution of the human race, act

ing on the individualities of men, shedding on them the

inspiring energies which stimulate spiritual growth,

which enlighten the intellect and purify the emotions.

Hence genius receives its illumination ; here all upward

efforts find their guidance. As the sun-rays fall every

where from one centre, and each body that receives

them uses them after its nature, so from the Elder

Brothers of the race fall on all egos the light and life

which it is their function to dispense ; and each uses as

much as it can assimilate, and thereby grows and

evolves. Thus, as everywhere else, the highest glory

of the devachanic world is found in the glory of ser

vice, and they who have accomplished the manasic

evolution are the fountains from which flows strength

for those who still are climbing.



When we attempt to describe the non-human inhabi

tants of the devachanic plane, we at once find ourselves

face to face with difficulties of the most insuperable

character. For in touching the arupa levels we come

into contact for the first time with a plane which is

cosmic in its extent on which therefore may be met

many an entity which mere human language has no

words to portray. For the purposes of our present

paper it will probably be best to put aside altogether

those vast hosts of beings whose range is cosmic, and

confine our remarks strictly to the inhabitants peculiar

to the manasic plane of our own chain of worlds. It

may be remembered that in the manual on The Astral

Plane the same course was adopted, no attempt being

made to describe visitors from other planets and sys

tems; and although such visitors as were there only

occasional would here be very much more frequent, it

is obviously desirable in an essay for general reading to

adhere to the same rule. A few words, therefore, upon

the elemental essence of the plane and the sections of

the great Deva kingdom which are especially connected

with it will be as much as it will be useful to give here ;

and the extreme difficulty of presenting even these

comparatively simple ideas will conclusively show how

impossible it would be to deal with others which could

not but be far more complicated.


It may be remembered that in one of the earlier

letters received from an Adept teacher the remark was


made that to comprehend the condition of the first and

second of the elemental kingdoms was impossible

except to an initiate an observation which shows how

partial must be the success which can attend any effort

to describe them down here upon the physical plane.

It will be well first of all that we should endeavour to

form as clear an idea in our minds as possible of what

elemental essence really is, since this is a point upon

which much confusion often seems to exist, even

amongst those who have made considerable study of

Theosophical literature.


Elemental essence, then, is merely a name applied

during certain early stages of its evolution to monadic

essence, which in its turn may be defined as the out

pouring of Atma-Buddhi into matter. We are all

familiar with the fact that before this outpouring

arrives at the stage of individualization at which it

ensouls a man, it has passed through and ensouled in

turn six lower phases of evolution the animal, vege

table, mineral and three elemental kingdoms. When

energizing through those respective stages it hassometimes

been called the animal, vegetable or

mineral monad though this term is distinctly mis

leading, since long before it arrives at any of these

kingdoms it has become not one but many monads.

The name was however adopted to convey the idea

that, though differentiation in the monadic essence had

already long ago set in, it had not yet been carried to the

extent of individualization. Now When this monadic

essence is energizing through the three great elemental

kingdoms which precede the mineral it is called by the

name of "elemental essence."



Before, however, its nature and the manner in which it

manifests itself on theyarious planes can be understood,

the method in which Atma enfblds itself in its descent

into matter must be realized. We are not now dealing

with the original formation of the matter of the planes

by aggregation after a universal pralaya, but simply

with the descent of a new wave of evolution into matter

already existing.

Before the period of which we are speaking, this

wave of life has spent countless ages evolving, in a

manner of which we can have very little comprehension,

through the successive encasements of atoms, molecules

and cells : but we will leave all that earlier part of its

stupendous history out of account for the moment, and

consider only its descent into the matter of planes

somewhat more within the grasp of human intellect,

though still far above the merely physical level.

Be it understood then that when Atma, resting on any

plane (it matters not which), on its path downward into

matter, is driven by the resistless force of its own evo

lution to pass onward to the plane next below, it must,

in order to manifest itself there, enfold itself in the

matter of that lower plane draw round itself as a body

a veil of that matter, to which it will act as soul or

energizing force. Similarly, when it continues its de

scent to a third plane, it must draw round itself some of

its matter, and we shall have then an entity whose body

or outer covering consists of the matter of that third


But the force energizing in it its soul, so to

speak will not be Atma in the condition in which it

was upon the higher plane on which we first found it ;


it will be that Atma pins the veil of the matter of the

second plane through which it has passed. When a

still further descent is made to a fourth plane, the entity

becomes still more complex, for it will then have a body

of the matter of that fourth plane, ensouled by Atma

already twice veiled, in the matter of the second and

third planes. It will be seen that, since this process

repeats itself for every sub-plane of each plane of the

solar system, by the time the original force reaches our

physical level it is so thoroughly veiled that it js small

wonder that men often fail to recognize it as Atma at



Now suppose that the monadic essence has carried

on this process of veiling itself down to the atomic level

of the devachanic plane, and that, instead of descending

through the various subdivisions of that plane, it

plunges down directly into the astral plane, ensouling

or aggregating around it a body of atomic astral matter;

such a combination would be the elemental essence of

the astral plane, belonging to the third of the great

elemental kingdoms the one immediately preceding

the mineral. In the course of its two thousand four

hundred differentiations on the astral plane it draws to

itself many and various combinations of the matter of

its several subdivisions ; but these are only temporary,

and it still remains essentially one kingdom, whose

characteristic is monadic essence involved down to the

atomic level of the devachanic plane only, but manifest

ing primarily through the atomic matter of the astral


The elemental essence which we find on the deva

chanic plane constitutes the first and second of the

great elemental kingdoms, but the principle of its for

mation is the same as that described above. A mass

of monadic essence (the expression is materialistic and

misleading, but it is difficult to see how to avoid it)

carries on the process of veiling itself down to the

atomic level of the buddhic plane, and then plunges

down directly into the devachanic plane, ensouling a

body of atomic devachanic matter that is, of the

matter belonging to the highest of the arupa levels

and so becomes the elemental essence of the first great

kingdom. In this its simplest or natural condition, be

it understood it does not combine the atoms of the

plane into molecules in order to form a body for itself,

but simply applies by its attraction an immense com

pressing force to them. In the course of its differentia

tions it aggregates around itself various combinations

of the matter of the second and third sub-divisions, but

it never loses the special and definite characteristics

which mark it as the elemental essence of the arupa levels.

The second great kingdom, whose habitat is the rupa

division of Devachan, is formed upon a very similar

principle. The essence of the first kingdom, after evolv

ing through various differentiations during ages whose

length is unknown to us, returns to its simplest condi

tion not of course, as it was before that evolution, but

bearing within it all that it has gained throughout its

course ; and it then puts itself down directly into the

fourth sub-division of Devachan the highest of the

rupa levels drawing to itself as a body some of the

matter of that sub-plane. That is the simplest condition

of the elemental essence of the second kingdom, but as

before, it takes on in the course of its evolution garbs

many and various, composed of combinations of the

matter of the lower sub-planes.


It might naturally be supposed that these elemental

kingdoms which exist and function upon the devacharic

plane must certainly, being so much higher, be further

.advanced in evolution than the third kingdom, which

belongs exclusively to the astral plane. This however

is not so ; for it must be remembered that in speaking

of this phase of evolution the word "higher" means

not, as usual, more advanced, but less advanced, since

here we are dealing with the monadic essence on the

downward sweep of its arc, and progress for the ele

mental essence therefore means descent into matter

instead of, as with us, ascent towards higher planes.

Unless the student bears this fact constantly and clearly

in mind, he will again and again find himself beset by

perplexing anomalies, and his view of this side of evo

lution will be lacking in grasp and comprehensive


The general characteristics of elemental essence were

indicated at considerable length in the manual on The

Astral Plane, and all that is there said as to the number of

subdivisions in the kingdoms and their marvellous im

pressibility by human thought is equally true of these

devachanic varieties. A few words should perhaps be

said to explain how the seven horizontal subdivisions of

each kingdom arrange themselves in connection with the

sub-planes of Devachan. In the case of the first king

dom, its highest subdivision corresponds with the first

sub-plane of Devachan, while the second and third subplanes

are each divided into three parts, each of which

is the habitat of one of the elemental subdivisions. The

second kingdom distributes itself over the rupa levels,

its highest subdivision corresponding to the fourth subplane,

while the fifth, sixth and seventh sub-planes are

each divided into two to accommodate the remainder.



So much was written in the earlier part of this manual

as to the effect of thought upon the devachanic elemen

tal essence that it will be unnecessary to return to that

branch of the subject now ; but it must be borne in

mind that it is, if possible, even more instantaneously

sensitive to thought-action here than it is on the astral

plane, the wonderful delicacy with which it responds to

the faintest action of the mind being constantly and

prominently brought before our investigators. We

shall grasp this capability the more fully if we realize

that it is in such response that its very life consists

that its progress is due to the use made of it in the

process of thought by the more advanced entities whose

evolution it shares.

If it could be imagined as entirely free for a moment

from the action of thought, it would be but a formless

conglomeration of dancing infinitesimal atoms instinct

indeed with a marvellous intensity of life, yet making

no kind of progress on the downward path of its involu

tion into matter. But when by the thoughts of the

beings functioning on those respective planes it is

thrown on the rupa levels into all kinds of lovely forms,

and on the arupa levels into flashing streams, it receives

a distinct additional impulse which, often repeated,

helps it forward on its way. For whenever a thought

is directed from those higher levels to the affairs of

earth, it naturally sweeps downward and takes upon

itself the matter of the lower planes. In doing so it

brings into contact with that matter the elemental

essence of which its first veil was formed, and so by

degrees habituates it to answering to lower vibrations ;


thus, very gradually, proceeds its downward evolution

into matter.

Very noticeably also is it affected by music by the

splendid floods of glorious sound of which we have

previously spoken as poured forth upon these lofty

planes by the great masters of melody who are carrying

on there in far fuller measure the work which down

here on this dull earth they had only commenced.

Another point which should be remembered is the

vast difference between the grandeur and power of

thought on this plane and the comparative feebleness of

the efforts that we dignify with that name down here.

Our ordinary thought begins in the mind-body on the

rupa levels and clothes itself as it descends with the

appropriate astral elemental essence ; but when a man

has advanced so far as to have his consciousness active

in the true ego upon the arupa levels, then his thought

commences there and clothes itself first in the elemental

essence of the rupa levels, and is consequently infinitely

finer, more penetrating and in every way more effective.

If the thought be directed exclusively to higher objects,

its vibrations may be of too fine a character to find

expression on the astral plane at all ; but when they do

affect this lower matter they will do so with much more

far-reaching effect than those which are generated so

much nearer to its own level.

Following this idea a stage further we see the thought

of the initiate taking its rise upon the buddhic plane,

above Devachan altogether, and clothing itself with the

elemental essence of the arupa levels for garment,

while the thought of the Adept pours down from

Nirvana itself, wielding the tremendous, the wholly

incalculable powers of regions beyond the ken of mere

ordinary humanity. Thus ever as our conceptions rise


higher we see before us wider and wider fields of

usefulness for our enormously increased capacities,

and we realize how true is the saying that the work of

one day on levels such as these may well surpass in

efficiency the toil of a thousand years on the physical



So much of the little that can be expressed in human

language about these wonderful and exalted beings was

written in The Astral Plane that it is unnecessary to go

at length into the subject here. For the information of

those who have not that manual at hand I will repeat

here somewhat of the general explanation there given

with reference to these entities.

The highest system of evolution connected with this

earth, so far as we know, is that of the beings whom

Hindus call the Devas, and who have elsewhere been

spoken of as angels, sons of God, etc. They may in

fact be regarded as a kingdom lying next above

humanity in the same way as humanity in turn lies

next above the animal kingdom, but with this important

difference, that while for an animal there is no possi

bility of evolution through any kingdom but the

human, man, when he attains the level of the Asekha,

or full Adept, finds various paths of advancement open

ing before him, of which this great Deva evolution is

only one (see article on " The Steps of the Path," in

Lucifer for October, 1896).

In Oriental literature this word " Deva "

is frequently

used vaguely to mean almost any kind of non-human

entity, so that it would often include DHYAN CHOHANS

on the one hand and nature-spirits and artificial

elementals on the other. Here, however, its use will

be restricted to the magnificent evolution which we are

now considering.

Though connected with this earth, the Devas are

by no means confined to it, for the whole of our

present chain of seven worlds is as one world to

them, their evolution being through a grand system of

seven chains. Their hosts have hitherto been recruited

chiefly from other humanities in the solar system, some

lower and some higher than ours, since but a very

small portion of our own has as yet reached the level at

which for us it is possible to join them : but it seems

certain that some of their very numerous classes have

not passed in their upward progress through any

humanity at all comparable with ours.

It is not possible for us at present to understand very

much about them, but it is clear that what may be

described as the aim of their evolution is considerably

higher than ours; that is to say, while the object of

our human evolution is to raise the successful portion

of humanity to the position of the Asekha Adept by

the end of the seventh round, the object of the Deva

evolution is to raise their foremost rank to a very

much higher level in the corresponding period. For

them, as for us, a steeper but shorter path to still

more sublime heights lies open to earnest endeavour ;

but what those heights may be in their case we can

only conjecture.


Their three lower great divisions, beginning from the

bottom, are generally called Karnadevas, Rupadevas,

and Arupadevas respectively. Just as our ordinary

body here the lowest body possible for us is


the physical, so the ordinary body of a Kamadeva is

the astral ; so that he stands in somewhat the same

position as humanity will do when it reaches planet F,

and he, living ordinarily in an astral body, would go

out of it to higher spheres in a Mayavirupa just as we

might in an astral body, while to enter the causal

body would be to him (when sufficiently developed) no

greater effort than to form a Mayavirupa might be to us.

In the same way the Rupadeva s ordinary body would

be the Mayavirupa, since his habitat is the four rupa

levels of the devachanic plane ; while the Arupadeva

belongs to the three higher levels of that plane, and owns

no nearer approach to a body than the Karana Sharira.

Above the Arupadevas there are four other great

classes of this kingdom, inhabiting respectively the four

higher planes of our solar system ; and again above and

beyond the Deva kingdom altogether stand the great

hosts of the DHYAN CHOHANS, but the consideration of

such glorified beings would be out of place here.

Each of the two great divisions of this kingdom

which have been mentioned as inhabiting the devachanic

plane contains within itself many different classes ; but

their life is in every way so far removed from our own

that it is useless to endeavour to give anything but the

most general idea of it. I do not know that I can

better indicate the impression produced upon the minds

of our investigators on the subject than by reproducing

the very words used by one of them at the time of the

enquiry :

" I get the effect of an intensely exalted con

sciousness a consciousness glorious beyond all words ;

yet so very strange; so different so entirely different

from anything I have ever felt before, so unlike any

possible kind of human experience, that it is absolutely

hopeless to try to put it into words."


Equally hopeless is it on this physical plane to try to

give any idea of the appearance of these mighty beings,

for it changes with every line of thought which they

follow. Some reference was made earlier in this paper

to the magnificence and wonderful power of expression

of their colour-language, and it will also have been

realized from some passing remarks made in describing

the human inhabitants that under certain conditions it

is possible for men functioning upon this plane to learn

much from them. It may be remembered how one of

them had animated the angel-figure in the Devachan of

a chorister, and was teaching him music grander far

than any ever heard by earthly ears, and how in another

case those connected with the wielding of certain

planetary influences were helping forward the devachanic

evolution of a certain astronomer.

Their relation to the nature-spirits (for an account

of whom see Manual V.) might be described as some

what resembling, though on a higher scale, that of men

to the animal kingdom ; for just as the animal can

attain individualization only by association with man,

so it appears that a permanent reincarnating individu

ality can normally be acquired by a nature-spirit only

by an attachment of somewhat similar character to

members of some of the orders of Devas.

Of course nothing that has been, or indeed can be,

said of this great Deva evolution does more than brush

the fringe of a very mighty subject, the fuller elabora

tion of which it must be left to each reader to make for

himself when he developes the consciousness of these

higher planes ; yet what has been written, slight and

unsatisfactory as it is and must be, may help to give

some faint idea of the hosts of helpers with which man s

advance in evolution will bring him into touch, and to


show how every aspiration which his increased capa

cities make possible for him as he ascends is more than

satisfied by the beneficent arrangements which nature

has made for him.


Very few words need be said upon this branch of our

subject. The devachanic plane is even more fully

peopled than the astral by the artificial elementals

called into temporary existence by the thoughts of its.

inhabitants ; and when it is remembered how much

grander and more powerful thought is upon this plane,,

and that its forces are being wielded not only by the

human inhabitants, embodied and disembodied, but by

the Devas and by visitors from higher planes, it will at

once be seen that the importance and influence of such

artificial entities can hardly be exaggerated. It is not

necessary here to go over again the ground traversed in

the previous manual as to the effect of men s thoughts

and the necessity of guarding them carefully ; and

enough was said in describing the difference between

the action of thought on the rupa and arupa levels to

show how the artificial elemental of the devachanic

plane is called into existence, and to give some idea of

the infinite variety of temporary entities which might

be so produced, and the immense importance of the

work that might be, and constantly is, done by their

means. Great use is made of them by Adepts and

initiates, and it is needless to say that the artificial

elemental formed by such powerful minds as these is

a being of infinitely longer existence and proportionately

greater power than any of those described in dealing

with the astral plane.


In glancing over what has been written, the prominent

idea is not unnaturally a humiliating sense of the utter

inadequacy of all the attempts at description of the

hopelessness of any effort to put into human words the

ineffable glories of the heaven-world. Still, lamentably

imperfect as such an essay as this must be, it is yet

better than nothing, and it may serve to put into the

mind of the reader some faint conception of what awaits

him on the other side of the grave; and though when

he reaches this bright realm of bliss he will certainly

find infinitely more than he has been led to expect, he

will not, it is hoped, have to unlearn any of the informa

tion that he has here acquired.

Man, as at present constituted, has within him

principles belonging to two planes even higher than

Devachan, for his Buddhi represents him upon what

from that very fact we call the buddhic plane, and his

Atma upon that third plane of the solar system which

has usually been spoken of as the nirvanic. In the

average man these highest principles are as yet almost

entirely undeveloped, and in any case the planes to

which they belong are still more beyond the reach of

all description than was Devachan. It must suffice to

say that on the buddhic plane all limitations begin to

fall away, and the consciousness of man expands until


he realizes, no longer in theory only, but by absolute

experience, that the consciousness of his fellows is

included within his own, and he feels and knows and

experiences with an absolute perfection of sympathy

all that is in them, because it is in reality a part of

himself ; while on the nirvanic plane he moves a step

further, and realizes that his consciousness and theirs

are one in a yet higher sense, because they are all in

reality facets of the infinitely greater consciousness of

the LOGOS, in Whom they all live and move and have

their being ; so that when " the dewdrop slips into

the shining sea " the effect produced is rather as though

the process had been reversed and the ocean poured

into the drop, which now for the first time realizes that

it is the ocean not a part of it, but the whole. Para

doxical, utterly incomprehensible, apparently impos

sible ; yet absolutely true.

But this much at least we may grasp that the

blessed state of Nirvana is not, as some have ignorantly

supposed, a condition of blank nothingness, but

of far more intense and beneficent activity ; and that

ever as we rise higher in the scale of nature our

possibilities become greater, our work for others *ver

grander and more far-reaching, and that infinite

wisdom and infinite power mean only infinite capacity

for service, because they are directed by infinite love.







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