The Nature of Death
Excerpts from other Writings
A Treatise on the Seven Rays:
The whole must be seen as of more vital importance than the part, and this not as a dream, a vision, a theory, a process of wishful thinking, a hypothesis or an urge. It is realized as an innate necessity and as inevitable. It connotes death, but death as beauty, as joy, as spirit in action, as the consummation of all good.
– Vol. V.
A Treatise on White Magic:
Death, if we could but realize it, is one of our most practiced activities. We have died many times and shall die again and again. Death is essentially a matter of consciousness. We are conscious one moment on the physical plane, and a moment later we have withdrawn onto another plane and are actively conscious there. Just as long as our consciousness is identified with the form aspect, death will hold for us its ancient terror. Just as soon as we know ourselves to be souls, and find that we are capable of focusing our consciousness or sense of awareness in any form or on any plane at will, or in any direction within the form of God, we shall no longer know death.
– Page 494.
A Treatise on the Seven Rays:
Ponder, therefore, upon this doctrine of abstraction. It covers all life processes and will convey to you the eternally lovely secret of Death which is entrance into life.
– Vol. V.
In this Rule, two main ideas are to be found, both of them connected with the first divine aspect: the thought of Death and the nature of the Will. In the coming century, death and the will most inevitably will be seen to have new meanings to humanity and many of the old ideas will vanish. Death to the average thinking man is a point of catastrophic crisis. It is the cessation and the ending of all that has been loved, all that is familiar and to be desired; it is a crashing entrance into the unknown, into uncertainty, and the abrupt conclusion of all plans and projects. No matter how much true faith in the spiritual values may be present, no matter how clear the rationalizing of the mind may be anent immortality, no matter how conclusive the evidence of persistence and eternity, there still remains a questioning, a recognition of the possibility of complete finality and negation, and an end of all activity, of all heart reaction, of all thought, emotion, desire, aspiration and the intentions which focus around the central core of man’s being. The longing and the determination to persist and the sense of continuity still rest, even to the most determined believer, upon probability, upon an unstable foundation and upon the testimony of others – who have never in reality returned to tell the truth. The emphasis of all thought on this subject concerns the central “I” or the integrity of Deity.
You will note that in this Rule, the emphasis shifts from the “I” to the constituent parts which form the garment of the Self, and this is a point worth noting. The information given to the disciple is to work for the dissipation of this garment and for the return of the lesser lives to the general reservoir of living substance. The ocean of Being is nowhere referred to. Careful thought will here show that this ordered process of detachment, which the group life makes effective in the case of the individual, is one of the strongest arguments for the fact of continuity and for individual, identifiable persistence. Note these words. The focus of activity shifts from the active body to the active entity within that body, the master of his surroundings, the director of his possessions and the one who is the breath itself, dispatching the lives to the reservoir of substance or recalling them at will to resume their relation to him.
– Vol. V.
First of all that the Eternal Pilgrim, of his own free will and accord, chose “occultly” to die and took a body or series of bodies in order to raise or elevate the lives of the form nature which he embodied; in the process of so doing, he himself “died” in the sense that, for a free soul, death and the taking of a form and the consequent immersion of the life in the form, are synonymous terms.
Secondly, that in so doing, the soul is recapitulating on a small scale what the solar Logos and the planetary Logos have likewise done, and are doing. The great Lives come under the rule of these laws of the soul during the period of manifestation, even though They are not governed or controlled by the laws of the natural world, as we call it. Their consciousness remains unidentified with the world of phenomena, though ours is identified with it until such time that we come under the rule of the higher laws. By the occult “death” of these great Lives, all lesser lives can live and are proffered opportunity.
– Vol. V.
June Message, 1940:
The forces of death are abroad today, but it is the death of liberty, the death of free speech, the death of freedom in human action, the death of truth and of the higher spiritual values. These are the vital factors in the life of humanity. The death of the physical form is a negligible factor in relation to these and is easily righted again through the processes of rebirth and of fresh opportunity…The destruction of the form in battle is of small importance to those who know that reincarnation is a basic law of nature and that there is no death.
A Treatise on White Magic:
You say there are as yet only beliefs as to immortality, and no sure evidences. In the accumulation of testimony, in the inner assurances of the human heart, in the fact of belief in eternal persistence as an idea in the minds of men, lie sure indication. But indication will give place to conviction and knowledge before another hundred years has elapsed, for an event will take place and a revelation be given the race which will turn hope into certainty and belief into knowledge. In the meantime, let a new attitude to death be cultivated and a new science of death be inaugurated. Let it cease to be the one thing we cannot control and which inevitably defeats us, and let us begin to control our passing over to the other side, and to understand somewhat the technique of transition.
– Page 500.
All I plead for is a sane approach to death; all I seek to make is a suggestion that when pain has worn itself out and weakness has supervened, the dying person be permitted to prepare himself, even if apparently unconscious, for the great transition. Forget not that it takes strength and a strong hold on the nervous apparatus to produce pain. Is it impossible to conceive of a time when the act of dying will be a triumphant finale to life? Is it impossible to vision the time when the hours spent on the death bed may be but a glorious prelude to a conscious exit? When the fact that the man is to discard the handicap of the physical sheath may be for him and those around him the long-waited-for and joyous consummation? Can you not visualize the time when, instead of tears and fears and the refusal to recognize the inevitable, the dying person and his friends would mutually agree on the hour, and that nothing but happiness would characterize the passing? That in the minds of those left behind the thought of sorrow will not enter and death beds shall be regarded as happier occasions than births and marriages? I tell you that, before so very long, this will be deeply so for the intelligent of the race, and little by little for all.
– Page 499.
It is interesting here to note that death is governed by the Principle of Liberation and not by that of Limitation. Death is only recognized as a factor to be dealt with by self-conscious lives and is only misunderstood by human beings, who are the most glimmered and deluded of all incarnated lives.
– Page 534.
When the nature of true Service is comprehended, it will be found that it is an aspect of that divine energy which works always under the destroyer aspect, for it destroys the forms in order to release. Service is a manifestation of the Principle of Liberation, and of this principle, death and service constitute two aspects. Service saves, liberates and releases, on various levels, the imprisoned consciousness. The same statements can be made of death. But unless service can be rendered from an intuitive understanding of all the facts in the case, interpreted intelligently, and applied in a spirit of love upon the physical plane, it fails to fulfill its mission adequately.
– Page 537.