[On the Variety of After-Death States]
Theosophist, September, 1882
Article Selection from “Letters on Esoteric Theosophy” | Note by H.P.B.
. . . When les espirits souffrants I am describing—to borrow a phrase from the French spiritists—though I do not think the French spiritsts have yet realized exactly to what class of entities the phrase applies,— find themselves offered that partial return to life that mediumship affords them, they are tempted to overload their Karma, so to speak, to assuage their thirst for life at the unwholesome spring to which they are invited. If they were of a very material sensual type in life, the enjoyments they will seek will be of a kind, the indulgence of which in their disembodied state may readily be conceived even more prejudicial to their Karma than similar indulgences would have been in life. In such cases, facilis est descensus. Cut off in the full flush of earthly passions which bind them to familiar scenes, they are enticed by the opportunities which mediums afford them to gratify these vicariously. They are the Pisachas, the Incubi and Succubi of mediæval writings, the demons of third, gluttony, lust, and avarice, elementaries of intensified craft, wickedness, and cruelty, provoking their victims to crimes and revelling in their commission.1 They not only ruin their victims, but their own future, and the Ego which might, if burdened with no heavier load than it accumulated for itself during life, have ripened by degrees into a spiritual regeneration, is hopelessly dragged down by the infamy of its after-life, and lost for ever. . . .
1. The variety of states after death is greater, if possible, than the variety of human lives upon this earth. As remarked further on, not all, by any means, become pisachas, nor are they all Earth-walkers. The victims of accident are generally exempt from this curse, only those falling into the current of attraction who die full of some engrossing earthly passion; the Selfish who have never given a thought to anyone but their own selves. Overtaken by death in the consummation—whether real or imaginary—of some master-passion of their life, the desire remaining unsatisfied even after a full realization, and they still craving after more, such can never pass beyond the earth’s attraction to wait for the hour of deliverance in happy ignorance and full oblivion. Among the “suicides” those to whom the statement of the writer applies in full are that class who commit the act in consequence of a crime, to escape the penalty of human law, or of their own remorse. Natural law cannot be broken with impunity; the inexorable causal relation between action and result has its full sway, but in the world of effects—the Kama-loka; and every case is met there by an adequate punishment, and in a thousand ways which would require volumes to describe them even superficially. In one of the future numbers of this magazine will be given quotations from the Buddhist Scriptures, and the Hindu Shastras concerning this subject with volume, page, and verse for easier verification.