Cremation or burial?
- QUESTION 8 - What does a Theosophist have to say about cremation?
[The Editors give here an answer from G. de Purucker in talking to a group of students at Point Loma some forty years ago]
- G. DE P. - It is a great help to the excarnating entity to have its decomposing physical body dissipated into its component atoms. Cremation is a help: it is a quick freeing of otherwise very strongly magnetic attractions to the living body that was. You see, the excarnating entity for a short time after death is almost physical, and all the lower part of the intermediate constitution still is in the atmosphere of the Earth. It is true that the spirit has already joined its parent-sun. It is true that the Reincarnating Ego is very soon to be withdrawn into the bosom of the parent-Monad. But the lower intermediate part, the human soul-part, still is in the atmosphere of the Earth, joined to the Kama-rupa; and if the physical body is allowed to decay, or if it is mummified as the Egyptians did it, there is a strong psychomagnetic attraction to that dead body.
- It was part of the being you know, part of its life, a deposit of its own essence; and, as I tell you, the attraction is tremendous. Therefore cremation, outside of what you have pointed out, has the added advantage of more quickly freeing the excarnating entity from earthly attractions; nor does the place where the ashes are buried or scattered have any conseqeunce whatever, none at all.
- (Editorial note: See also G. de P.'s The Esoteric Tradition, Il, 791: "The fact that the physical body is sometimes after death destroyed by fire, by cremation, has no effect on the life-atoms. Fire has no hold on the life-atoms, not even on the chemical atoms, as we know. Fire sets the chemical atoms free. Fire destroys the molecules composed of atoms, but the atoms themselves are untouched by fire. Fire is an electrical phenomenon. Its influence is usually disruptive, but it is also the great constructive builder of the Universe. This is why some of the ancients worshiped fire. It is in fact a manifestation on the lower planes of pranic electricity, or what we may more commonly call vital electricity."
- And again: E.T., II, 181: "It might be added here that one of the strongest arguments in favor of cremation of the physical cadaver or corpse of the human being lies in the fact that it aids the dissolution of the model-body, which thus is no longer attracted magnetically to the decaying corpse, and its dissolution is correspondingly hastened. Furthermore, the 'shade' or 'shell' likewise undergoes more speedy dissolution when there is no decaying physical corpse with which it can exchange life-atoms.")
Eclectic Theosophist, May 15, 1973