V. Life Between Death and New Birth
3 July 1906, Leipzig
To-day we shall study man from death to a new birth and follow how that which comes from a past life implants itself in the next one. After death man leaves behind his physical body and hands it over to the Earth as a corpse. If etheric body, the astral body and Ego grow out of the physical body. Immediately after death, the whole past life from birth to death stands before the soul simultaneously, like a long series of pictures. But this memory-tableau does not quite resembled experiences themselves which we had here on Earth. There, our experiences were linked up with feelings and soul-impressions, the soul was inwardly interested in them. Now however, all these experiences confronts the soul in a collection of external, objective experiences. Every pain, every joy once connected with them, are silent. This life picture faces the soul as if it were quite estranged from it. The feelings and moods are lacking. I see myself, my relatives and friends within an objective tableau, a panorama of pictures.
This picture stands before the soul until the etheric body separates from the astral body. The etheric body then becomes the second corpse which the human being leaves behind. The etheric body gradually dissolves in the universal ether of the cosmos. A clairvoyant to observes a person with course feelings in this condition, will observe that his etheric body needs a long time before dissolves. In the case of an idealist it will dissolve very quickly. But there will be hardly any dissolution after death in the case of occult disciple, or even of an initiate.
After the dissolution of the etheric body, the human being consists of astral body and Ego. The images of his life-panorama are of great importance, for they now become forces which impressed themselves upon the astral body. They transformed themselves as if they were some kind of nourishment for the astral body.
The causal body or spirit self, man's fifth member, grows out of this complex of forces. It is the causal body which man keeps throughout the Devachan-period and through all his incarnations. When man incarnated for the first time — at present, we no longer live under the same conditions — he only consisted of four parts: as physical, etheric body, astral body, and Ego. The causal body only existed as a germ. He took it along until the next incarnation. And with each incarnation the causal body grew. Each time the pictures of memory are impressed on the causal body, thus enriching it and make it more complex.
After passing through Kamaloca, the human being has his Ego and his causal body and is enveloped by his astral body. First you must live through his whole past life backwards, experience every smallest action in all its details. He must halt before each experience of his past life and live through it once more, backwards. Only then may he enter Devachan.
The fact that we live through every detail of our past life in reverse order, brings with it that we can only now have a true knowledge of our own actions, for we experience their effects on ourselves. In the case of every action we now experience the soul-condition of the person against whom the action turned. We experience the pains and joys which we caused to other people, we experience them from within. In Kamaloca there is nothing which we did to others which does not become our own experience. Here we must apply this sentence: you will reap what you sowed.
Take one example which applies to this retrogressive experience: vivisection. This is closely connected with the materialistic direction of modern science. The position of the Middle Ages would have thought it stupid to study life by cutting of a living body and destroy in life. At that time many people, and physicians in particular, were still clairvoyant and they could therefore see through the physical body. But this power of vision was lost and because we can no longer look into the inner depths of the human organism, people began to cut it up and to dissect it. But vivisectors cut into living life. After death Karma, the law of cause and effect, becomes active. The intention that leads to vivisection comes less into consideration. The vivisector must experience in himself the results of his deeds. In kamaloka he must now endure and live through every pain which he inflicted an animal. Later on the scientific intention which prompted him to vivisect will be interwoven with his Karma.
Everything evil that claims to man's personality is thus illuminated. This process is ended, the human being abandons his astral body and leaves it behind as a third corpse. He then continues to live with his Ego and his causal body. The astral body which he has laid aside is now no longer needed for his further states of existence.
Let us once more cast a glance on the effect of Kamaloca life upon the soul. If we have injured another person, we must experience this injury ourselves in Kamaloca; we feel the effects which this injury produced on the other. By going through this experience, we are warned for subsequent earthly life. Our experiences at Kamaloca are of a lasting time and are great upon the soul in the form of a strong writing. The clairvoyant can always perceive the astral corpses on the astral plane, for the dissolve slowly.
The soul then enters the Devachanic world. There, the human being can elaborate everything which he took in during his Kamaloca existence, everything engraved upon the soul. In the continental region of Devachan all our experiences changed the forces. In the atmospheric region of Devachan we experience once more all the feelings and moods which arose in us. The effects of our own deeds, the feelings and moods which we experience, stream into us and become capacities. In a subsequent earthly life all the experiences which we had during our proceeding earthly life appear in the form of capacities and talents. A feeling of unrestrained bliss is contained in this process of transformation of experiences into capacities. What thus streamed into us is the spiritual counterpart of the feeling of a brooding hen.
When everything stored up in the causal body has been transformed into capacities, man begins to tread the path that leads him back to the Earth. It is very interesting to observe clairvoyantly these souls that return to the Earth. The clairvoyant can see in them shapes, which resemble bells shooting with incredible speed through the astral plane in every direction. These forms arise through the fact that a returning human being must surround himself with new astral substance. It is new astral substance that gathers round man's nucleus and this may be compared with the following process: There are iron filings in a box a magnet underneath it. The filings arranged themselves in accordance with the direction of the forces streaming out of the magnet. The human being returning from Devachan, gathers astral substance from the astral plane from many different directions, and the substance arranges itself in a way which corresponds to his individual nature. This condition of shooting about before entering a new incarnation only last a short time, generally a few hours. The bell-shaped is a general one containing every shade of color. In this condition the human being consists of the Ego and of the causal body, and he must now form himself a new astral body exactly corresponding to what he developed in Devachan; US form and out of astral substance. His whole disposition thus obtains a coloring which corresponds to his transformed experiences.
The new etheric body must then be added. The astral substance seems to come shooting along of its own accord in order to be incorporated with man's structure, but is not the same in the case of the etheric substance. There are Beings who, to begin with, have nothing to do with man's individuality. They are called Mahadevas. Also outside Devachan they have a certain significance in human life. Man does not master his own body to the extent he thinks. Other beings dwell in his three bodies and are active within them. Man is completely at home and soul master only in the fourth part of his being, in his Ego. The mahadevas are among those Beings that live within man; they influence his etheric body and are able to give man the right kind of etheric body. Other beings then lead him to his parents and in accordance with hereditary conditions to that family and human germ which are most suited to the capacities and qualities of the reincarnated human being.
Very rarely indeed the new incarnated human being completely fits into his physical body. Many disharmonies are due to the fact that he does not entirely fit into it, many inner disharmonies. In the present time it is only possible to find a physical body which fits approximately.
When the suitable place for the incarnation has been found, the Lipikas, elemental Beings, lead the human being towards a suitable family and only at the moment of conception the astral body becomes enveloped with the etheric body. Even as the Mahadevas are connected with the etheric body, so the Lipikas are connected with the physical body. All these processes generally last only a few moments.
During the first months after conception, only the causal body is active; around the seventh week the ether body begins to be active and beginning with the seventh month the forces of the astral body begin to approach the human being.