[Funeral Ceremonies to Protect the Dead?]
Theosophist, August, 1883
Letter selection by “R…Jee C…Jee” | Editor’s Note by H.P.B.
I have to say a few words in connection with the interesting article on the “The Efficacy of Funeral Ceremonies” which has appeared in The Theosophist for June. . . .
The Editor says that “as no person’s Karma can be either lightened or overburdened with the good or bad actions of the next of kin of the departed one, every man having his Karma independent and distinct from that of his neighbour—no more can the departed soul be made responsible for the doings of those it left behind.” This is indeed most true; but the real question, to my mind, as to the utility or otherwise of funeral ceremonies . . . is whether the personality, placed as it is under such pitiable conditions, can or cannot be protected from the evil influences spoken of, until it gets dissolved in the natural course . . .
. . . is it too much to suppose that a ceremony performed by a living objective man for a few short hours could have a somewhat lasting effect . . . on the subjective personality of the dead, and that such ceremonies performed for only a few years successively could, as it were, furnish that personality with an armour—impenetrable by mediumistic and other evil influences—which would endure until the personality has had time to dissolve [in Kama-loka]? If this is really the case, the only question remaining is what is the maximum number of years during which the ceremonies should be repeated annually and after which thy may be stopped altogether?
The above, so far as I can conceive it, is the true rationale of obsequies and anniversary ceremonies, and I think it is advisable to obtain the Editor’s further opinion on the subject.
Editor’s Note. [H.P.B.]—A ceremony to furnish the shell “with an armour” against terrestrial attraction need not be repeated “a number of years” to become efficacious, could it but be performed by a person versed in the knowledge of the Magi of old. One such ceremony on the night of death would suffice. But where is the Mobed or priest capable of performing it now? It requires a true occultist—and these are not found at every street corner. Hence—it becomes useless to add ruin to the living, since the dead cannot be helped.