The Other Side, and Beyond
|Deivas (God) encased the human soul
successively in three bodies—the supra-spirit, or causal, body; the
subtle spirit body, seat of man's mental and emotional natures; and the
gross physical body. On earth a man is equipped with his physical
senses. A spirit being works with his consciousness and feelings and a
body made of energies. A causal-bodied being remains in the blissful
realm of supra-spirit.
The higher-heaven-realm inhabitants have already passed through the ordinary heaven state of the other side, where nearly all beings from earth must go at death; there they worked out many seeds of their past actions in the heaven state.
The other side, made of various subtle vibrations of light and color, is hundreds of times larger than the material cosmos. The entire physical creation hangs like a little solid basket under the huge luminous balloon of the other side. Just as many physical suns and stars roam in space, so there are also countless heavenly solar and stellar systems. Their planets have astral suns and moons, more beautiful than the physical ones. The heavenly luminaries resemble the aurora borealis—the sunny heaven aurora being more dazzling than the mild-rayed moon-aurora. The days and nights are longer on the other side than those of earth.
The other side is infinitely beautiful, clean, pure, and orderly. There are no dead planets or barren lands. The terrestrial blemishes—weeds, bacteria, insects, snakes—are absent. Unlike the variable climates and seasons of the earth, the other side maintains the even temperature of an eternal spring, with occasional luminous white snow and rain of many-colored lights. The other side abounds in opal lakes and bright seas and rainbow rivers.
The other side universe — not the subtler supra-heaven of Pure Spirit - is peopled with millions of spirit beings who have come, more or less recently, from the earth, and also with myriads of animals all residing on different heaven planets in accordance with karmic qualifications. Various vibratory regions are provided for good and evil spirits. Good ones can travel freely, but the evil spirits are confined to limited zones. In the same way that human beings live on the surface of the earth, worms inside the soil, fish in water, and birds in air, so spirit beings of different grades are assigned to suitable vibratory quarters.
Among the fallen dark angels expelled from other worlds, friction and war take place with mental vibratory rays. These beings dwell in the gloom-drenched regions of the lower astral cosmos, working out their evil karma.
In the vast realms above the dark astral prison, all is shining and beautiful. The heaven cosmos is more naturally attuned than the earth to the divine will and plan of perfection. Every astral object is manifested primarily by the will of God, and partially by the will-call of spirit beings. They possess the power of modifying or enhancing the grace and form of anything already created by the Lord. He has given His spirit children the freedom and privilege of changing or improving at will the heaven cosmos. On earth a solid must be transformed into liquid or other form through natural or chemical processes, but astral solids are changed into astral liquids, gases, or energy solely and instantly by the will of the inhabitants.
The earth is dark with warfare and murder in the sea, land, and air, but the heaven realms know a happy harmony and equality. Spirit beings dematerialize or materialize their forms at will. Flowers or fish or animals can metamorphose themselves. All spirit beings are free to assume any form, and can easily commune together. No fixed, definite, natural law hems them round—any astral tree, for example, can be successfully asked to produce an astral mango or other desired fruit, flower, or indeed any other object. Certain karmic restrictions are present, but there are no distinctions in the astral world about desirability of various forms. Everything is vibrant with Deivas' creative light.
No one is born of woman; offspring are materialized by spirit beings through the help of their cosmic will into specially patterned, astrally condensed forms. The recently physically disembodied being arrives in a spirit family through invitation, drawn by similar mental and spiritual tendencies.
The spirit body is not subject to cold or heat or other natural conditions. The anatomy includes a spirit brain of light, and six awakened centers in the spirit cerebro-spinal axis. The heart draws cosmic energy as well as light from the spirit brain, and pumps it to the spirit nerves and body cells. Spirit beings can affect their bodies by lifetronic force or by prayer vibrations.
The spirit body is an exact counterpart of the last physical form. Spirit beings retain the same appearance which they possessed in youth in their previous earthly sojourn; occasionally an spirit being chooses to retain his old age appearance. Unlike the spacial, three-dimensional physical world cognized only by the five senses, the heaven realm is visible to the all-inclusive sixth sense—intuition. By sheer intuitional feeling, all spirit beings see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. They possess three eyes, two of which are partly closed. The third and chief spirit eye, vertically placed on the forehead, is open. Spirit beings have all the outer sensory organs—ears, eyes, nose, tongue, and skin—but they employ the intuitional sense to experience sensations through any part of the body; they can see through the ear, or nose, or skin. They are able to hear through the eyes or tongue, and can taste through the ears or skin, and so forth.
Man's physical body is exposed to countless dangers, and is easily hurt; the ethereal spirit body may occasionally be cut or bruised but is healed at once by mere willing.
Beauty in the astral world is known to be a spiritual quality, and not an outward conformation. Spirit beings therefore attach little importance to facial features. They have the privilege, however, of costuming themselves at will with new, colorful, spiritually materialized bodies. Just as worldly men don new array for events, so spirit beings find occasions to bedeck themselves in specially designed forms.
Joyous spiritual festivities on the higher heaven planets take place when a being is liberated from the other side through spiritual advancement, and is therefore ready to enter the supra-heaven of the causal world. On such occasions the Invisible Heavenly Father, and the saints who are merged in Him, materialize Themselves into bodies of Their own choice and join the spiritual celebration. In order to please His beloved servant, the Lord takes any desired form. If the servant worshiped through devotion, he sees Deivas as the Divine Mother. To Jesus, the Father-aspect of the Infinite One was appealing beyond other conceptions. The individuality with which the Creator has endowed each of His creatures makes every conceivable and inconceivable demand on the Lord's versatility!
Friends of other lives easily recognize one another on the other side. Rejoicing at the immortality of friendship, they realize the indestructibility of love, often doubted at the time of the sad, delusive partings of earthly life.
The intuition of spirit beings pierces through the veil and observes human activities on earth, but humans cannot view the other side unless their sixth sense is somewhat developed. Thousands of earth-dwellers have momentarily glimpsed an spirit being.
The advanced beings in supra-heaven remain mostly awake in ecstasy during the long heaven day and night, helping to work out intricate problems of cosmic organization and the redemption of prodigal earthbound souls. When the supra-heaven beings sleep, they have occasional dreamlike spirit visions. Their minds are usually engrossed in the conscious state of highest bliss.
Inhabitants in all parts of the heavens are still subject to mental agonies. The sensitive minds of the higher beings in supra-heaven feel keen pain if any mistake is made in conduct or perception of truth. These advanced beings endeavor to attune their every act and thought with the perfection of spiritual law.
Communication for other side inhabitants is entirely by telepathy; there is none of the confusion and misunderstanding of the written and spoken word which earth-dwellers must endure. Just as persons on the cinema screen appear to move and act through a series of light pictures, and do not actually breathe, so the spirit beings walk and work as intelligently guided and coordinated images of light, without the necessity of drawing power from oxygen. Man depends upon solids, liquids, gases, and energy for sustenance; spirit beings sustain themselves principally by divine light.
Luminous raylike vegetables abound in the heaven soils. The spirit beings consume vegetables, and drink a nectar flowing from glorious fountains of light and from astral brooks and rivers. Just as invisible images of persons on the earth can be dug out of the ether and made visible by a television, later being dismissed again into space, so the Deivas-created, unseen astral blueprints of vegetables and plants floating in the ether are precipitated on the other side by the will of its inhabitants. In the same way, from the wildest fancy of these beings, whole gardens of fragrant flowers are materialized, returning later to the etheric invisibility. Although dwellers in the supra-heaven are almost freed from any necessity of eating, still higher is the unconditioned existence of almost completely liberated souls in the causal world, who eat nothing save the bread of bliss.
The earth-liberated spirit being meets a multitude of relatives, fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, and friends, acquired during different incarnations on earth, as they appear from time to time in various parts of heaven. One is therefore at a loss to understand whom to love especially;
one learns in this way to give a divine and equal love to all, as children and individualized expressions of Deivas. Though the outward appearance of loved ones may have changed, more or less according to the development of new qualities in the latest life of any particular soul, the spirit being employs his unerring intuition to recognize all those once dear to him in other planes of existence, and to welcome them to their new spirit home. Because every atom in creation is inextinguishably endowed with individuality, a spirit friend will be recognized no matter what costume he may wear, even as on earth an actor's identity is discoverable by close observation despite any disguise.
The span of life on the other side is much longer than on earth. A normal advanced spirit being's average life period is from five hundred to one thousand years, measured in accordance with earthly standards of time. As certain redwood trees outlive most trees by millenniums, so some spirit beings live much longer than the usual span of spirit existence. Visitors to the other side dwell there for a longer or shorter period in accordance with the weight of their physical karma, which draws them back to earth within a specified time.
The spirit being does not have to contend painfully with death at the time of shedding his luminous body. Many of these beings nevertheless feel slightly nervous at the thought of dropping their astral form for the subtler causal one. The spirit world is free from unwilling death, disease, and old age. These three dreads are the curse of earth, where man has allowed his consciousness to identify itself almost wholly with a frail physical body requiring constant aid from air, food, and sleep in order to exist at all.
Physical death is attended by the disappearance of breath and the disintegration of fleshly cells. Spirit death consists of the dispersement of lifetrons, those manifest units of energy which constitute the life of spirit beings. At physical death a being loses his consciousness of flesh and becomes aware of his subtle body in the spirit world. Experiencing spirit death in due time, a being thus passes from the consciousness of spirit birth and death to that of physical birth and death. These recurrent cycles of spirit and physical encasement are the ineluctable destiny of all unenlightened beings. Scriptural definitions of heaven and hell sometimes stir man's deeper-than-subconscious memories of his long series of experiences in the blithesome spirit and disappointing terrestrial worlds.
A human as an individualized soul is essentially causal-bodied. That body is a matrix of the ideas required by Deivas as the basic or causal thought forces from which He later formed the subtle spirit body of spirit elements and the gross physical body of physicalelements.
The elements of the spirit body are mental, emotional, and spiritual. The components are intelligence; ego; feeling; mind (sense-consciousness); instruments of knowledge, the subtle counterparts of the senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch; instruments of action, the mental correspondence for the executive abilities to procreate, excrete, talk, walk, and exercise manual skill; and instruments of life force, those empowered to perform the crystallizing, assimilating, eliminating, metabolizing, and circulating functions of the body. This subtle spirit encasement of elements survives the death of the physical body.
Deivas thought out different ideas within Himself and projected them into dreams. The Cosmic Dream thus sprang out decorated in all it’s endless ornaments of relativity.
In thought categories of the causal body, Deivas elaborated all the complexities of man's spiritual and physical counterparts. By condensation of vibratory forces, first subtle, then gross, He produced man's spirit body and finally his physical form. According to the law of relativity, by which the Prime Simplicity has become the bewildering manifold, the causal cosmos and causal body are different from the other side cosmos and spirit body; the physical cosmos and physical body are likewise characteristically at variance with the other forms of creation.
The fleshly body is made of the fixed, objectified dreams of the Creator. The dualities are ever-present on earth: disease and health, pain and pleasure, loss and gain. Human beings find limitation and resistance in three-dimensional matter. When man's desire to live is severely shaken by disease or other causes, death arrives; the heavy overcoat of the flesh is temporarily shed. The soul, however, remains encased in the spirit and causal bodies. The adhesive force by which all three bodies are held together is desire. The power of unfulfilled desires is the root of all man's enslavement.
Physical desires are rooted in egotism and sense pleasures. The compulsion or temptation of sensory experience is more powerful than the desire-force connected with spirit attachments or causal perceptions.
Spirit desires center around enjoyment in terms of vibration. Spirit beings enjoy the ethereal music of heaven and are entranced by the sight of all creation as exhaustless expressions of changing light. The spirit beings also smell, taste, and touch light. Spirit desires are thus connected with an spirit being's power to precipitate all objects and experiences as forms of light or as condensed thoughts or dreams.
Causal ( supra-spirit ) desires are fulfilled by perception only. The nearly-free beings who are encased only in the causal body see the whole universe as realizations of the dream-ideas of Deivas; they can materialize anything and everything in sheer thought. Causal beings therefore consider the enjoyment of physical sensations or astral delights as gross and suffocating to the soul's fine sensibilities. Causal beings work out their desires by materializing them instantly. Those who find themselves covered only by the delicate veil of the causal body can bring universes into manifestation even as the Creator. Because all creation is made of the cosmic dream-texture, the soul thinly clothed in the causal has vast realizations of power.
A soul, being invisible by nature, can be distinguished only by the presence of its body or bodies. The mere presence of a body signifies that its existence is made possible by unfulfilled desires.
So long as the soul of man is encased in one, two, or three body-containers, sealed tightly with the corks of ignorance and desires, he cannot merge with the sea of Spirit. When the gross physical receptacle is destroyed by the hammer of death, the other two coverings—spirit and causal—still remain to prevent the soul from consciously joining the Omnipresent Life. When desirelessness is attained through wisdom, its power disintegrates the two remaining vessels. The tiny human soul emerges, free at last; it is one with the Measureless Amplitude.
The causal ( supra-spirit ) world is indescribably subtle. In order to understand it, one would have to possess such tremendous powers of concentration that he could close his eyes and visualize the spirit cosmos and the physical cosmos in all their vastness—the luminous balloon with the solid basket—as existing in ideas only. If by this superhuman concentration one succeeded in converting or resolving the two cosmoses with all their complexities into sheer ideas, he would then reach the causal world and stand on the borderline of fusion between mind and matter. There one perceives all created things—solids, liquids, gases, electricity, energy, all beings, men, animals, plants, bacteria—as forms of consciousness, just as a man can close his eyes and realize that he exists, even though his body is invisible to his physical eyes and is present only as an idea.
Whatever a human being can only do in imagination , a causal being can do in reality. The most imaginative human intelligence is able, in mind only, to range from one extreme of thought to another, to skip mentally from planet to planet, or tumble endlessly down a pit of eternity, or soar rocketlike into the galaxied canopy, or scintillate like a searchlight over milky ways and the starry spaces. But beings in the causal world have a much greater freedom, and can effortlessly manifest their thoughts into instant objectivity, without any material or spirit obstruction or karmic limitation.
Causal beings realize that the physical cosmos is not primarily constructed of electrons, nor is the spirit cosmos basically composed of energy - both in reality are created from the minutest particles of Deivas-thought, chopped and divided by illusion, the law of relativity which intervenes to apparently separate the Noumenon from His phenomena.
Souls in the causal world recognize one another as individualized points of joyous Spirit; their thought-things are the only objects which surround them. Causal beings see the difference between their bodies and thoughts to be merely ideas. As a man, closing his eyes, can visualize a dazzling white light or a faint blue haze, so causal beings by thought alone are able to see, hear, feel, taste, and touch; they create anything, or dissolve it, by the power of cosmic mind.
Both death and rebirth in the causal ( supra-spirit ) world are in thought. Causal-bodied beings feast only on the ambrosia of eternally new knowledge. They drink from the springs of peace, roam on the trackless soil of perceptions, swim in the ocean-endlessness of bliss. Their bright thought-bodies zoom past trillions of Spirit-created realms, fresh bubbles of universes, wisdom-stars, spectral dreams of golden nebulae, all over the sky blue expression of Infinity!
Many beings remain for thousands of years in the causal cosmos. By deeper ecstasies the freed soul then withdraws itself from the little causal body and puts on the vastness of the causal cosmos. All the separate eddies of ideas, particularized waves of power, love, will, joy, peace, intuition, calmness, self-control, and concentration melt into the ever-joyous Sea of Bliss. No longer does the soul have to experience its joy as an individualized wave of consciousness, but is merged in the One Cosmic Ocean, with all its waves—eternal laughter, thrills, throbs.
When a soul is out of the cocoon of the three bodies it escapes forever from the law of relativity and becomes one with the ineffable Ever-Existent. Behold the butterfly of Omnipresence, its wings etched with stars and moons and suns. The soul expanded into Spirit remains alone in the region of lightless light, darkless dark, thoughtless thought, intoxicated with its ecstasy of joy in Deivas' dream of cosmic creation.
When a soul finally gets out of the three jars of bodily delusions,it becomes one with the Infinite without any loss of individuality. Christ was before he was born as Jesus. In three stages of his past, symbolized in his earth-life as the three days of his experience of death and resurrection, he had attained the power to fully arise in Spirit.
The undeveloped man must undergo countless earthly and spirit and causal supra-spirit incarnations in order to emerge from his three bodies. A soul who achieves this final freedom may elect to return to earth as a guide to bring other human beings back to Deivas, or may choose to reside on the other side. There a soul can assume some of the burden of the inhabitants' karma and thus helps them to terminate their cycle of reincarnation in the spirit cosmos and go on permanently to the causal supra-spirit realm. Or a freed soul may enter the causal world to aid its beings to shorten their span in the causal body and thus attain the Absolute Freedom.
The physical karma or desires of man must be completely worked out before his permanent stay in spirit worlds becomes possible. Two kinds of beings live on the other side. Those who still have earthly karma to dispose of and who must therefore reinhabit a gross physical body in order to pay their karmic debts could be classified, after physical death, as temporary visitors to the other side rather than as permanent residents.
Beings with unredeemed earthly karma are not permitted after spirit death to go to the high causal sphere of cosmic ideas, but must shuttle to and fro from the physical and spirit worlds only, conscious successively of their physical body of elements, and of their spirit body of subtle elements. After each loss of his physical body, however, an undeveloped being from the earth remains for the most part in the deep stupor of the death-sleep and is hardly conscious of the beautiful other side. After the spirit rest, such a man returns to the material plane for further lessons, gradually accustoming himself, through repeated journeys, to the worlds of subtle spirit texture.
Normal or long-established residents of the spirit universe, on the other hand, are those who, freed forever from all material longings, need return no more to the gross vibrations of earth. Such beings have only spirit and causal supra-spirit karma to work out. At spirit death these beings pass to the infinitely finer and more delicate causal supra-spirit world. Shedding the thought-form of the causal body at the end of a certain span, determined by cosmic law, these advanced beings then return to supra-spirit heaven, reborn in a new spirit body to work out their unredeemed spirit karma.
Just as most people on earth have not learned through meditation-acquired vision to appreciate the superior joys and advantages of spirit life and thus, after death, desire to return to the limited, imperfect pleasures of earth, so many spirit beings, during the normal disintegration of their spirit bodies, fail to picture the advanced state of spiritual joy in the causal supra-spirit world and, dwelling on thoughts of the more gross and gaudy spirit happiness, yearn to revisit the other side. Heavy spirit karma must be redeemed by such beings before they can achieve after spirit death a permanent stay in the causal supra-spirit thought-world, so thinly partitioned from the Creator.
Only when a being has no further desires for experiences in the pleasing-to-the-eye spirit cosmos, and cannot be tempted to go back there, does he remain in the causal supra-spirit world. Completing there the work of redeeming all causal karma or seeds of past desires, the confined soul thrusts out the last of the blockage of ignorance and, emerging from the final shell of the causal body, communes with the Eternal.
The interpenetration of man's three bodies is expressed in many ways through his threefold nature. In the wakeful state on earth a human being is conscious more or less of his three vehicles. When he is sensuously intent on tasting, smelling, touching, listening, or seeing, he is working principally through his physical body. Visualizing or willing, he is working mainly through his spirit body. His causal supra-spirit finds expression when man is thinking or delving deep in introspection or meditation; the cosmical thoughts of genius come to the man who habitually contacts his causal body. In this sense an individual may be classified broadly as 'a material man,' 'an energetic man,' or 'an intellectual man.'
A man identifies himself about sixteen hours daily with his physical vehicle. Then he sleeps; if he dreams, he inhabits in his spirit body, effortlessly creating any object even as do the spirit beings. If man's sleep be deep and dreamless, for several hours he is able to transfer his consciousness, or sense of I-ness, to the causal body; such sleep is revivifying. If a dreamer is contacting his spirit and not his causal body; his sleep is not fully refreshing.
Based on information imparted by Sri Yukteswar.
HERE for Spiritual Care to help victims of sudden death