MAN AND OTHER ORDERS OF EXISTENCE.
We have had occasion several times to refer to the planetary spirits, the early instructors, and, in a sense, the progenitors of man. Of all the higher states of spiritual existence, that of the planetary spirits is nearest to man. The highest of these is what is called in the language of some mystics of India, Adi-Buddha; it is the absolute reality underlying all existence, viewed as the sum total of all the spiritual energy and wisdom in the universe. It is synonymous with the Vedantic Prakriti or the Mula-Prakriti of the Sankhyas. Next in order of evolution comes the state of the Dhyani Buddhas, from which are evolved the celestial Bodhisatvas. The last of these states is that of planetary spirits, called by the Thibetan Buddhists, Dhyan Chohans. It is a common mistake to suppose that these different states are different beings, whereas each state contains within it innumerable individual beings. Just as the brain is the centre from which radiate numberless faculties, physical, intellectual, and aesthetic, so the different individuals producing their special effects on the universe form in their totality these states. It is not within the scope of this treatise even to outline the mysteries of higher spiritual existence; it will be enough to give here the broad features of the Dhyan Chohanic condition.
The Dhyan Chohans are the guardian spirits of the different planets, and in a sense their architects. Strictly speaking, they are not creators, though often taken to be so; they do not bring into existence worlds out of nothing, but they fashion the nascent worlds in obedience to the immutable law of evolution; in other words, a portion of the Cosmic law acts through the conscious exertions of these exalted beings, of whom there are two distinct classes, the ascending and the descending Dhyan Chohans. It is to be remembered here that the course of nature is governed by alternate periods of rest and activity, usually known as cosmic days and nights. The chain of these alternations is an endless one, as no beginning of eternity is possible. The analogy obtains throughout the whole scheme of Nature, even to our daily work and nightly rest. It is clear that at all points in the period of Cosmic activity there must be some human beings who, having perfected themselves beyond the highest limit consistent with any given condition of life, for instance our own, must pass on to the Dhyan Chohanic condition. These are the ascending Dhyan Chohans; there are others who evolved out of the infinite womb of Prakriti are coursing towards the outermost limits of existence, and are therefore called the descending Dhyan Chohans. The former class, it is evident, have been men, or rather, corresponding beings of a previous period of Cosmic activity; the latter will be men or beings analogous to them. In the domain of eternal law no injustice is possible; each unit of existence must pass through the same wheel of being. Recent theosophical teachings have been charged with Nihilism. When the Universe reaches its consummation everything retires into Nirvana; from this, it is inferred, that there is no individual immortality, but even a cursory glance at the doctrine of the Dhyan Chohans will show the groundlessness of such an inference. If all human beings were annihilated as individuals, the ascending Dhyan Chohans, the advanced entities of previous great cycles, would have been an impossibility.
During the first cycle of the existence of our planetary system a Dhyan Chohan has to be directly connected with the planet whereon the evolutionary tide is going to set in, and thereby give the necessary impulse to the development of human beings. The Dhyan Chohans are referred to in the India sacred writings by a variety of names. When incarnating himself on earth in the way mentioned above, the Dhyan Chohan is known as Manu-Svayambhu [self-existent]. He begets seven sons incorporeally, who are known as the seven Rishis, and are said to be his manasaputras, the children of the mind, or the fifth principle of the planet on which they appeared. All the adepts are the lineal spiritual descendants of these seven primeval sages.
Here our Master says:  "At the beginning of each Round, when humanity reappears under quite different conditions than those afforded for the birth of each new race and its sub-races, a 'planetary' has to mix with these primitive men, and to refresh their memories and reveal to them the truths they knew during the preceding Round. Hence the confused traditions about Jehovah, Armazes, Osiris, and Brahma. But that happens only for the benefit of the first race. It is the duty of the latter to choose the fit recipients among its sons who are 'set apart' — to use a Biblical phrase — as the vessel to contain the whole stock of knowledge to be divided among the future races and generations until the close of that Round." Statements as to Rounds apply on a smaller scale to Rings.
These seven Rishis are the first adepts of this planet and the prototype of all succeeding ones, each representing one of the seven classes of adeptship always existing on earth. Each of these types of adepts corresponds to one of these earthly Rishis, and also to one of the seven mysterious celestial Rishis, "the seven spirits of God" of the Kabalist. When the hierarchy of adepts is well established, the planetary passes out of this sphere, but continues to overshadow the highest adept, his chosen successor, until the passage of humanity to the next sphere, where the elected sage conducts the nascent race and nurtures it as a planetary himself. During the present Ring the elected individuality has several times appeared among men, and founded the principal religions of the world. It was Gautama Buddha in one sense, but not in others. This, however, is a mystery which we are not permitted to reveal.
According to the allegorical teaching of the Brahmans, these seven Rishis were the progenitors of the human race through the seven Pitris (literally, ancestors). They stand for the seven races to whom the esoteric truth is communicated by the adepts, the spiritual ancestors of the race.
Again the Master says: "Every race had its adepts; so with every new race — we are allowed to give them out as much of our knowledge as the men of that race deserve. The last of the races will have its Buddha as every one of its predecessors had; but its adepts will be far higher than any of the present race, for among them will abide the future Planetary, the Dhyan Chohan, whose duty it will be to instruct or refresh the memory of the first race of the fifth Round-men after this planet's future obscuration, or cycle of repose."
The higher adepts of the present day can consciously communicate with the Dhyan Chohans of different grades, and thus derive knowledge about those mysteries of Nature which are beyond the range of their immediate consciousness. The Adityas, or the sons of Aditi, the Measureless [the Infinite Prakriti, or Nature], are the Dhyan Chohans, considered as the earlier progeny of Cosmic evolution. The Adityas, according to Hindu Scriptures, are twelve in number, and really signify the twelve grades of Dhyan Chohans. By Hindu, as well as Buddhist, writers they are also termed the Dikpalas, or the protectors of the different directions of the heavens. The Dhyan Chohans preside at the destruction of planets as well as assist at their birth. In view of this office they are called the twelve Rudras. This word, although translated by Max Müller as "the howlers", really signifies burning with anger. The appropriateness of this epithet will be seen when we remember that, according to the teaching of the adepts, our earth will be destroyed, when the naked splendour of the sun will pour down upon it, by the removal of the protecting chromosphere. It is allegorically stated that twelve suns will shine in the heavens when our earth meets its destiny.
Besides these highly spiritual super-human orders of being, various others exist in Nature. "There are races," says Bulwer Lytton, "in the magnitude of space, unseen as animalcules in the world of a drop. For the tribes of the drop, science has its microscope. Of the hosts of yon azure Infinite magic gains sight, and through them gains command over fluid conductors that link all the parts of creation. Of these races, some are wholly indifferent to man; some benign to him; and some deadly hostile. In all the regular and prescribed conditions of mortal being, this magic realm seems as blank and tenantless as yon vacant air."
To the ordinary man, the occupants of the "space unseen" are unknown until death introduces him to them. Until the doors of his spirit are opened through this change in his constitution, he has little or no conception of their existence. But there are exceptions to the general rule. There are men and women peculiarly constituted, to whose vision unfold the gates of the unknown regions, and who consciously feel the influence of their ethereal neighbours. These are the mediums, clairvoyants, and seers of whom we hear. We have purposely left out of consideration the mystic whose awakened spiritual powers carry him through mysterious spheres of Nature. The influences felt by these classes of persons are not always of the same character. For some natures they are neutral, for others pregnant with the greatest evil. The miserable fate of a number of unhappy men and women who fall victims to these unseen influences, and are dragged down to the lowest moral level, with the loss of physical health, will be found recorded in the chronicles of Western Spiritualism. In view of the great pressure that Spiritualism — more or less known in all ages — has brought to bear upon modern thought, and the lamentable consequences which an intercourse with so-called visitants from another sphere has produced, we shall enter into a fuller account of the nature of the elementals and elementaries which, in the vast majority of cases of spirit manifestation, communicate through mediums. The intelligences controlling mediums are usually supposed to be the true egos of human beings, which survive death, and pass on to the other side.
But what is death? And what does the esoteric doctrine teach concerning it and man's course after he has experienced that change?
We have already seen how death was brought on this earth by the increasing materiality of man, and his consequent violation of the laws of spiritual life. Death, from being the painless transition from one state to another, became, by the accentuation of sensuality, the King of Terrors. It is also to be repeated, that in the beginning death did not generate elementaries, man's condition being such that material desires had little sway over him. When the grosser propensities of his nature dominated the higher ones to the extent that he experienced "the lusts of life", the prison of "the world of desires" was built, and a portion of the congeries of psychical forces, which centred in his personality during life, had to be exhausted there. These elementaries or so-called spirits thus brought into existence, were compelled by their earth-seeking tendencies to communicate with the physical nature of living persons with whom sympathy placed them en rapport. To quote the Master's words  on this point: —
" Rapport ", he says, "is in plain fact an identity of vibration between the astral part of the incarnate medium and the astral part of the disincarnate personality. . . . . As in music two different sounds, separately distinguishable, depend for their harmony or discord upon synchronous vibrations and complementary periods; so there is rapport between medium and control when their astral molecules move in accord. And the question whether the communication shall reflect more of the one personality or the other, is determined by the relative intensity of the two sets of vibrations in the compound wave of the Akasa. The less identical the vibratory impulses the more mediumistic and less spiritual will be the message."
It is seen above how the inclinations and aspirations of an individual govern his life after death. According to the Eastern philosophers, the dying thoughts are the most powerful agents in moulding the future of the individual; in fact, death itself is a miniature representation of all his acts and thoughts in life.
Krishna, who symbolizes the divine spirit in man, says that he who departs this life meditating on him attains to him, but in order to be able to keep the mind fixed on him at the time of death, one must have ceaselessly practised it and suppressed the wanderings of the sense. Or, as our Master says: 
"Such thoughts are involuntary, and we have no more control over them than we have over the eye's retina to prevent its perceiving that colour which affects it most. At the last moment the whole life is reflected in our memory, and emerges from all the forgotten nooks and corners, picture after picture, one event after another. The dying brain dislodges memory with a strong, supreme impulse, and memory restores faithfully every impression that has been entrusted to it during the period of the brain's activity. That impression and thought which were the strongest, naturally become the most vivid, and survive, so to say, all the rest, which now vanish and disappear for ever, to reappear but in Devachan. No man dies insane or unconscious, as some physiologists assert. Even a madman, or one in a fit of delirium tremens , will have his instant of perfect lucidity at the moment of death, though unable to say so to those present. The man may often appear dead, yet from the last pulsation, from and between the last throbbing of his heart and the moment when the last spark of animal heat leaves the body, the brain thinks, and the ego lives over in those few brief seconds his whole life.
Speak in whispers, ye who assist at a death-bed, and find yourselves in the solemn presence of death. Especially have ye to keep quiet just after death has laid her clammy hand upon the body. Speak in whispers, I say, lest ye disturb the quiet ripple of thought, and hinder the busy work of the past, casting its reflection upon the veil of the future."
The final stroke is sudden; consciousness leaves the body as instantaneously as the flame the wick. This unconsciousness of death lasts for some time and the ego proceeds to Devachan, leaving behind its shell in Kama Loka. The physical body of man takes some time to disintegrate after life has retired from it, similarly the astral counterparts of the man's material thoughts and desires are left behind in Kama Loka to be dissipated after the ego's passage into Devachan. Does the departing entity feel the ebbing away of its higher consciousness?
The Master replies: —
"No, it is not conscious of this loss of cohesion. It is dimly conscious of its own physical death — after a prolonged period of time. The few exceptions to this rule — cases of half-successful sorcerers, of very wicked persons passionately attached to self — offer a real danger to the living. These very material shells, whose last dying thought was self, self, self — and to live, to live, will often feel it instinctively. So some suicides — though not all. What happens then is terrible, for it becomes a case of post-mortem lycanthropy. The shell will cling so tenaciously to its semblance of life that it will seek refuge and a new organism — any beast, in a dog, a hyena, a bird, when no human organism is close at hand."
A clear comprehension of the subject of elementaries requires some knowledge of the nature of life and death. Man moves like a pendulum between the subjective and objective states; the forward swing ends in physical life, and the backward in Devachan. When the outgoing impulse exhausts itself, death supervenes, and the ego by degrees returns to the subjective condition to prepare itself for the next descent into objective life. The intermediate stage between Devachan and earth-life is Kama Loka, which it is hardly necessary to point out is not a locality.
When the ego or unit of consciousness retires from its outermost plane, the phenomenon called death takes place. Death is the turning point from one direction to another, and consequently is a state of comparative rest or unconsciousness. The functions of the conscious unit on the outermost plane, forming the physical body, slowly come to a state of rest; or, in other words, the body disintegrates as the ego marches backwards.
The final dissolution of the body marks the complete retirement of consciousness from the plane of physical existence. Until then there is always some connection between the body and the entity which passes on to the other side. Instances are known in which victims of violence, manifesting through mediums, have declared to a consciousness of pain, from autopsy.
The astral plane of consciousness through which the ego passes on its way to Devachan is the Kama Loka. When the ego has ceased to exercise its physical functions it takes up those which constitute its Kama Loka life. It is evident that this transfer of consciousness is the backward swing of the pendulum. The expansive force on the physical plane being absent, the entity in Kama Loka cannot of itself acquire any further knowledge on the physical plane. The greatest physicist will make no new observations in Kama Loka even on subjects which engrossed his earthly attention.
The plane of Kama Loka consists of the astral counterpart of physical existence. When the entity is properly established in Devachan, a process analogous to that of death takes place, and the astral functions are left to disappear in Kama Loka as the physical body disintegrated on earth. Such astral corpses are true shells. The analogy thus indicated may be pursued further.
Before leaving this subject, attention must be drawn to the ethical complexion of the communications with the dead, which are usually practised in séance rooms, and also by sorcerers. From time immemorial such communications have been forbidden as being unhallowed. It is only in these days, when spiritual knowledge is at its lowest ebb, that intercourse with the elementaries could be carried on so extensively. Too much stress cannot be laid upon the fact of the moral deterioration of mediums, but the real mischief that is done in most cases escapes detection. The absolute necessity for all aspirants to spiritual life to exercise their will with firm determination is universally admitted. One, not far removed either way from the general level prevalent around, can glide through life unobserved and untroubled. Ceaseless struggle has always been the fate of the eminently good. It is only the strongest characters that can pass through the trials and hardships which beset the path to those determined to be spiritual, while the weak always succumb with vain groans and lamentations. Under these circumstances it is not difficult to see how great an injury results to the medium from the subjugation of his will by any foreign influence. No man is a superfluity in Nature, as otherwise reason itself would be wanting in the universe. Each man has his own course to run; surrender of will is, in consequence, equivalent to a surrender of duty. From this it is clear that mediumship injures a man morally, more or less, according to his constitution; and as for the entities communicated with, the injury they suffer by intercourse with mediums is far more serious. The elementary, as we have seen, is in the position of a man who is trying to fall asleep and pass on to a different plane of consciousness. The greater the mental anxieties during the day, the greater the time needed for the approach of sleep; so the more earthly the life the longer the stay in Kama Loka. It is more cruel to disturb a human soul in its state of transition to the higher life than to outrage a dying man. Those who carefully consider even the few objections urged above, will find why all spiritual-minded men should be united in discouraging such unholy communion.
We have said that the ego after its stay in Kama Loka passes either to the state called Devachan or that called Avitchi, the two states in the esoteric doctrine which have been grossly materialized by dogmatic theologians as heaven and hell. In order to get a sufficiently correct notion of these states, it is necessary to understand the Law of Karma. It is generally known that in the Eastern systems of religious philosophy, vicarious atonement finds no place. Each act or thought carries with it its own reward or punishment. The causes set at work by the acts, thoughts, or words of an individual, will produce their effects, whether painful or pleasurable to him, quite independently of any extraneous interference. There is no power in the universe which can add to or take away from an individual's suffering or enjoyment, except himself. The Law of Karma is the rigorous application of causation to personal conduct. Karma consists of all acts, thoughts, and words, which result from motives of personal benefit; when they proceed from a purely unselfish motive, they do not condition a person's life, as that life by the dissolution of egoism becomes free from limitations and merges more and more into the unconditioned life, which is happiness itself. Absence of limitation or opposition is always productive of happiness. Karma, however good it may be, can only produce limited and temporary enjoyment. The absence of Karma, or elimination of personality from one's life, is the only road to that happiness which is permanent. This divine bliss eludes the grasp of those who search for it, but comes unsolicited to one who sacrifices self to duty.
As a necessary consequence of the septenary division of man, it is evident that we are capable of generating force on different planes of existence. The consideration of the working of Karma on all these planes is too complicated to be treated of here, and we shall, for the sake of convenience, adopt the trinitarian division. In this view of the case the Karma of an individual is divisible into three classes, physical, psychical, and spiritual.
The physical Karma would be the act itself; the psychical Karma, the intention or the mental counterpart of the act; the spiritual Karma has relation to the harmony underlying all Nature. From the law of spiritual dynamics, elsewhere stated, it is clear that this classification is in the order of ascending power. The Karmic value of an act is the resultant of these three sets of forces. Suppose, for instance, that two persons do acts having the physical effect of producing blindness in the next incarnation, but with quite different effects on the two other planes. The result of the combination in one case will make blindness the curse of one's life, and in the other, produce some spiritual development which would otherwise never have taken place. So long as a man is alive, his consciousness is confined to the lowest plane — therefore, the effects of his Karma on the higher planes remain only as germs; but when, after death, his consciousness, overcoming the pressure of his earthward tendencies (represented by his passage through Kama Loka), ascends to the higher state of psychic and spiritual existence known as Devachan, the germs begin to unfold themselves, and keep the individual in that state until the unsatisfied physical Karma counterbalances the psychic and spiritual forces, and produces the next descent into objective life. The operation of this law is to be recognized within a limited sphere, in the production of what Darwin calls the differentiation of species. A change of environment leads to the elimination of useless organs and development of new ones, if the animal at all survives the change of conditions. Here we see how a strong desire to live under a given set of circumstances forces the body to mould itself accordingly. Similarly, the body which the ego acquires in its next incarnation is exactly suited to the unsatisfied physical cravings which the ego has brought forward from its previous incarnation. Acting under the impulse of these inclinations, the birth-seeking ego is attracted by the human couple, whose physical frames are capable of generating the required physical body. That portion of a man's Karma which acts through inherited tendencies is what is commonly called the law of heredity.
The law of Karma has received a verification recently from a quite unexpected quarter. Mr. Galton, the well-known author of "Hereditary Genius," has lately brought forward another important work, entitled "Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development". Some curious statistics are therein collected relating to the life-history of twins. From the examination of a large number of cases, it is found that there are instances in which the life-history of twins is practically identical. Twins separated from each other by great distances are attacked at the same time by the same disease leading to the same ultimate result — death or recovery. On this, Mr. Galton justly observes: "We are too apt to look upon illness and death as capricious events, and there are some who ascribe them to the direct effect of supernatural interferences. Whereas the fact of the maladies of twins being continually alike shows that illness and death are necessary incidents in a regular sequence of constitutional changes." This is almost a literal translation of what the Hindu moralist says: "Disease and sorrow and mortification are the fruits which the tree of the mortal's own demerits bears."
The above-noted fact is quite intelligible on ordinary scientific hypotheses. Human twins of the same sex are not like the numerous progeny brought forth by a female animal at one birth. Unlike the latter, the former are born of the same ovum; hence the practical identity of the lives of twins. But there are equally numerous cases, and equally well authenticated, in which twins, though of the same sex, pursue courses of life having absolutely no points of contact. We quote one remarkable case out of a large number cited by Mr. Galton: "They (the twins) had had exactly the same nurture from their birth up to the present time; they are both perfectly healthy and strong; yet they are otherwise as dissimilar as two boys could be, physically, mentally, and in their emotional nature.
For all that is known to men of science, the causes which govern the origin of these two classes of twins are exactly the same. How then can this difference of result be explained? If heredity were the only factor in the problem, the nurture of twins being the same, they ought to present invariably a perfect similarity in all the acts and events of their lives; but the facts do not bear out the expected results. If it be contended that, in spite of all assertions to the contrary, the observation was defective which failed to recognize difference of nurture in the latter class of case, it would not be difficult to show the futility of such contention. Mr. Galton, by the strong pressure of evidence, is driven to hold that "there is no escape from the conclusion that Nature prevails enormously over Nurture". Take the case of the cuckoo, which never adopts a single characteristic of its foster-parents. It is clear that these considerations justify, form the scientific standpoint, the doctrine of Karma, by showing the operation of some forces upon an individual, other than those which act on his potential body, as existing in the bodies of his progenitors. Consequently, support is also derived therefrom by the doctrine which teaches the existence of the human entity independently of its physical encasement.
When a man's ego is deprived of its physical body by death, and is purged of his earthly thoughts and desires in Kama Loka, the conscious unit or higher self passes into the more spiritual state of Devachan, and there unfolds all the psychic and spiritual forces it has generated during life on earth. It progresses on those planes until the latent physical forces begin to assert themselves, and then it curves round to another incarnation. A slight reflection will show how each incarnation must be higher than the previous one, and how the psychic and spiritual forces generated by an individual produce two sets of effects, one determining his stay in Devachan, and the other governing his next incarnation.
The doctrine of reincarnation is the corner-stone of the esoteric philosophy, as well as of all archaic religions. It is founded on the natural fact that effects must be proportionate to causes. Energy stored up during a finite period of time can never produce effects stretching over an infinity of time. The thought-energy represented by the unsatisfied physical inclinations of an ego being, in its nature indestructible, requires physical existence to work itself out; hence the necessity of reincarnations. If any human ego is entirely devoid of physical tendencies and inclinations, it will not be under the necessity of further births and deaths on the physical plane. In the mystical language of the East, such an ego is said to burst the wheel of births and re-births ( sansara ) and attain Nirvana; when humanity collectively shall be perfected, and all physical possibilities realized, our earth itself, having completed its course, will pass into Nirvana.
Devachan is an exalted state which rewards our merits. Avitchi is its antithesis, where all spiritual and psychic wickedness bring about their own punishment. Each act or thought of an individual involved in it all its consequences, which in fact are but the unfoldment in time of the act or thought itself, although the limitations of our knowledge prevent us from foreseeing them all. It requires no outside agent to reward or punish us for our virtue or sin; we do it ourselves. When we intend to pass from one point of space to another, we do not consciously purpose to walk over all the intervening points, but nevertheless the one intention is involved in the other.
The spiritual states described above have been called the complements and supplements of our life on earth. An erroneous impression is produced by this as to the reality of Devachanic existence; but a correct apprehension of what reality is will remove such misconceptions. Compared to the absolute reality, all phenomena are unreal; but each step in advance toward reality is considered more and more real; in that sense Devachan, having fewer limitations of knowledge than our present life, is more real. It is true that the Deavachanic entity does not perceive things of earth, but all the physical facts it was acquainted with during life, unless grossly material, and therefore doomed to destruction in Kama Loka, exist in their spiritual counterparts in Devachan. Another objection to the reality of Devachan is the absence of judgment and power of comparing notes with others. This is, however, equally ungrounded, for judgment and comparison of notes are by no means a test of the reality of existence. The correspondences of these faculties in Devachan are determined by the altered character of the notions of time and space in that state. Our notion of space is governed by the sensation of muscular exertion, and that of time by the movement of bodies; but on the soul-plane these notions are governed by the similarity and unfoldment of thoughts. Persons having the same thought will in Devachan feel near each other, and a vast panorama of thought will unroll itself in Devachan within a space of time measurable by five or six movements of a pendulum. The experiences of dream-life serve to illustrate this point, but the analogy of dreams, which we consider unreal because less permanent than the incidents or ordinary life, should not be taken to taint Devachan itself with unreality. Another difficulty about this subject is whether the Devachanic entity can be communicated with by living men. We answer emphatically no, excepting under rare conditions. How is it possible for those who are not conscious of the existence of their own soul to be impressed by an entity which lives entirely on the soul-plane? We see in ordinary life that a great man is appreciated by his fellow-men according to their own characters; but when the most commonly recognizable similarity between men, namely, physical life and body, is wanting in the entity in Devachan, the possibility of intercourse is minimized. It must not, however, be concluded from this that the Devachanic entity does not affect earthly men at all; on the contrary, they are to us a perennial source of spiritual energy. The unfolding thoughts of a lofty spiritual character in Devachan will impinge upon the higher principles of the living who are at all receptive; but if the latter are not spiritual enough to be conscious of the working of the spirit, they will never be able to trace these thoughts to their parent source. So, a good man while in Devachan ceases to be good, but becomes goodness. The warning must here be given that the different spheres we have described are not localities, but states of existence corresponding to the different principles of the earth.
Further explanation of these states we give in the words  of our beloved Teacher: — "Arupa Loka, Rupa Loka, and Kama Loka are the three spheres of ascending spirituality, in which the several groups of subjective entities find their attractions. In the Kama Loka (semi-physical sphere) dwell the shells, the victims of accident, and suicides. This sphere is divided into innumerable regions and sub-regions corresponding to the mental states of the comers at their hour of death. . . . . Who in the West knows anything of the true Chilicosm out of the many regions of which but three can be given to the outside world? From Kama Loka there is the great Chilicosm. Once awakened from their post-mortem torpor, the newly translated "souls" go (all but the shells), according to their attractions, either to Devachan or to Avitchi. And these two states again are differentiating ad infinitum, their ascending degrees of spirituality deriving their names form the lokas (spheres) in which they are induced. For instance, the sensations, perceptions, and ideation of a Devachanee in Rupa Loka will of course be of a less subjective nature than they would be in Arupa Loka, in both of which the Devachanic experiences will vary in their presentation to the subject-entity, not only as regards form, colour, and substance, but also in their formative potentialities. But not even the most exalted experience of a monad in the highest Devachanic state in Arupa Loka — the last of the seven states — is comparable to that perfectly subjective condition of pure spirituality from which the monad emerges, to descend into matter, and to which, at the completion of the grand cycle, it must return; nor is Nirvana itself comparable to Paranirvana."
To sum up. The different orders of existence around us consist of seven classes, namely:
(a) Rupa-devas, the planetary spirits connected with the Rupa Loka. They are not of the highest order, being still within the dominion of Rupa (form).
(b) Arupa-devas, the higher planetaries presiding over the Arupa Loka, having no form; they are purely subjective beings.
(c) Pisachas, shells left in Kama Loka after the passage of the ego into Devachan.
(d) Mara-Rupa, shells of persons with abnormally material attractions, whose spiritual and psychic life, being a complete blank, cannot carry them on to Devachan.
(e) Asuras, elementals having human forms.
(f) Beasts, elementals of the lower order connected with the different elements and animals.
The last two classes will be developed into future men.
(g) Rakshasas (demons), souls, or astral forms of sorcerers, men who have reached the apex of knowledge in the forbidden art. Dead or alive, they have, so to say, cheated Nature, and will defy the order of the general evolution until our planet goes into obscuration, when they will have to turn round and fall into the main current, and have a fresh start in the course of life. The Atlanteans are often referred to by this name in Sanscrit writings.
Most of the magical feats performed by the dabblers in black magic are performed with the help of elementals, and in rare cases also with the aid of elementaries. The more potent evil forces in Nature are known only to the regular adepts in that evil science. Some depraved persons do by the help of black magic obtain husbands and wives from the elemental beings, which, having no definite forms, will readily bring to life the ideal they find present in the magician's mind. Elementaries of suicides, or victims of accident, specially those who die by lightning, are much sought after by black magicians: the reason for this preference is obvious. Black magic also gives to its votaries the power of obsessing living men and women. This vile art was at its height during the close of the Atlantean race period, when the everlasting struggle between the black magicians and the Adepts of the Good Law raged most fiercely.
Sorcerers and black magicians, the most powerful of those vile fraternities, attain at the conclusion of a great cycle of activity, what is called Avitchi-Nirvana. At the beginning of the next period of activity they commence a nameless life of spiritual wickedness, to be ended only at the next period of rest. The name of these beings of misery and horror, the cursed alike of man and god, is never pronounced or written, but they have nothing to do with the mortals who pass through the seven spheres. These are the habitants of the eighth sphere, which has sixteen grades. In the first fourteen of these the entity loses, after prolonged periods of suffering, its seven astral and seven spiritual senses. The mysteries of the last two grades are never communicated outside the sanctuary of initiation. It may be stated, however, that from the last, the entity, having lost the accumulated vile energy of its past, emerges as a new individuality, to begin a new course from the lowest rung of the ladder of life.
Explaining this subject of the so-called personal annihilation our Teacher says:  — "At this point the great law beings its work of selection. Matter, found divorced from spirit as far as that is possible, is thrown over into the still lower worlds, into the sixth 'gate' or way of re-birth in the vegetable and mineral worlds, and also in the primitive animal forms. From thence matter, ground over in the workshop of Nature, proceeds soulless back to its mother fount, while the egos, purified of their dross, are enabled to resume their progress once more on earth. It is here that the laggard egos perish by the million. It is the solemn moment of the survival of the fittest, the annihilation of the unfit. It is but matter (or material man) which is compelled by its own weight to descend to the very bottom of the 'circle of necessity', to then assume an animal form. . . . . Of course the monad never perishes, whatever happens."
To prevent a misunderstanding it is necessary to point out that what the Master says above does not warrant the belief in a retrogression of souls. A human spirit will never inhabit the form of an animal. In its descent through the 'circle of necessity' it loses all trace of humanity, and then the colourless monad beings to re-ascend through the different grades. It is as absurd to accuse a man of cannibalism if he eats a turnip grown in a graveyard, as to construe the esoteric doctrine expounded by the Master into a justification of the vulgar idea of the transmigration of souls.
: footnotes, referencing related information elsewhere in the classic theosophical teachings