The third Astral form with which we have to deal in studying these productions arising out of the composite nature of man, is the most terrible of all. It is at once apparent that when, in speaking of the persistence or impermanency of the Kama Rupa, it was pointed out that this depended upon the extent to which the Manasic essence succeeded in transmuting the kamic or permitted itself to become tainted with the desires of Kama, that there was a possibility of the whole of the reflected Lower Manas being dragged down to the kamic plane. That this is a real danger to every human being is a true and terrifying fact in nature. When it unfortunately occurs, the astral body of such an entity, though differing in degree only from the Kama Rupa proper, has enough distinguishing characteristics to entitle it to a separate place. It belongs to a distinct genus in this; that it has dropped out of the evolutionary impulse altogether, has no part in the general advance upon the human plane, and constitutes truly a "lost soul". It retains all of that reflected feeling of "I am I" which, though an illusion, is yet at the base of our earthly personalities. Consequently this entity has a feeling of personality as strong as while living; can think, act, and generate karma; can even reincarnate as a human monster, and is the source of many of those cases of true obsession which so largely help to fill that flower of our modern "intellectual" civilization — the insane asylum. It can and sometimes does relate occurrences of its past earth-life quite accurately, although its love of evil is so great that it nearly always resorts to falsehood, even in this particular. No one can have attended many spiritualistic seances without noticing how largely suicides and accidental deaths preponderate when genuine communications are had. For there are no accidents in nature, and those who are cut off in their prime, while not all by any means lost souls, are so cut off because of causes they themselves have generated, and with such there is, on account of the large amount of vitality suddenly transferred from the physical to their astral form (not to the Linga Sarira, but to the Kama Rupa), an intense desire to resume their earthly habits and occupations, and which only very slowly fades out. Such, together with really "lost souls", become "guides" to their poor mediums — in reality obsessing vampires, destroying both moral tone and physical vitality in their unfortunate victims. The "guide" of such an one, with whom the writer was at one time familiar, admitted to his intimates that he had been a pirate, although on ordinary occasions he was wont to parade as an ex-minister! In discussing his probable nature with a friend in the privacy of his office, the writer characterized the "guide" as a vampire, which fact was promptly reported to him at the next time he saw the medium; thus showing that these evil entities are entities, and not phantoms of the imagination, as materialists would fain classify them.
In taking up the next class of astral forms we have at length reached a more agreeable portion of our subject, where we no longer deal with the denizens of the lowest astral realms. For there the creative work of Manas was at best a blind, sub-conscious groping, so far below its own state had its essence become buried, even before reaching the physical plane. But now we come to a series of Thought Forms, ranging from those still subconsciously constructed, as in dream, to the Mayavi Rupa of the Adept, which he consciously creates, endows it with the necessary qualities, and transports it wheresoever he wills with the rapidity of thought. Perhaps the very faintest, most fleeting, of these forms are those creations by means of which we dramatize our thoughts in ordinary dream. For, when not viewing actual scenes in the Astral Light, which can only happen when the consciousness is partially or wholly awake on this plane, one only sees his own creations. It is true these creations are "subjective", so-called, but modern philosophy is fast beginning to realize that the subjective to the perceiver is a great deal more real than the objective. These dream creations of ours are actual entities, capable of functioning so long as our will holds them in existence, just as an universe objectivises itself so long as the great Cosmic will falters not nor wearies in its manvantaric projection. A step higher than these are those forms — true Mayavi Rupas — which the soul creates for itself when it abandons the body during sleep. For clothed in one of these, it can travel immense distances from the physical form without the danger to this which would result, should the Linga Sarira be attempted to be used. As the consciousness begins to awaken in these forms and upon these planes, there is often the memory of persons and places brought back and impressed upon the physical brain with sufficient distinctness to be remembered and recognised when awake. Thus the father of the writer dreamed that he was travelling along a familiar road until he came to and passed far beyond any point he had ever reached when awake. While exploring this to him new territory, he came to an object he had never before seen — a corduroy bridge. This novelty so impressed him that he vividly remembered the supposed dream. It chanced that sometime thereafter he removed from that State, and by the road he had taken when dreaming. At the point at which he dreamed he had seen the strange structure he found the bridge, exactly as he had seen it while dreaming.
To these semi-conscious dream forms we have to relegate those "wraiths" of the dying which appear so often to a distant person at the moment of death. For the consciousness of all of these dream forms is derived from the lower Manas, which has to win self-consciousness upon any plane before its consciousness upon it is anything more than a confused, uncertain dream. This self-consciousness has been partly gained in the case of clairvoyants, who actually visit other places clothed in these thought forms, when their physical descriptions are really accurate. Of course ordinary clairvoyance is simply seeing upon the astral plane by those who have evolved the power to transfer their self-consciousness to their astral organs, but there is a kind of clairvoyance which uses these forms, and which approaches somewhat the true Mayavi Rupa of the Adept.
This, the Mayavi Rupa or illusion body of the Adept, or of those who have won the right and attained the power to consciously create and inhabit it, is the next we have to consider. About it we ordinary mortals know very little. But it is evident that it is but a natural power to which the whole human race will attain in the course of its evolution, and which these advanced Ones have anticipated by the supreme efforts of an unselfish and purified will. That they can transport these bodies to any place, however distant, with the rapidity of thought, and make them both invisible to the ordinary eye, or apparently as solid and real as flesh and blood, has been well attested by the most competent witnesses. Not only did a Master do this, in a visit to Col. Olcott in New York while his physical body was in India, but he actually left behind him an article of his apparel when he disappeared, and which the Colonel still possesses. It will be claimed that such an event is only evidence to those who witness it, but this can hardly be so classified when we consider the really vast mass of testimony which shows that this projection of astral forms is only a natural power of every soul, and which we at present exercise feebly and unconsciously, while Adepts but do the same thing consciously.
Higher still than the Mayavi Rupa is the Nirmanakaya body, the form woven by those who have conquered every illusion of matter, who have won the right to Nirvana, but who refuse their reward in order to still toil, unseen and unfelt by those for whom they have sacrificed so much. It is from such high and holy Beings, clothed in their Nirmanakaya vestments, that genuine inspiration from spiritual sources comes. It is their duty and their delight to daily and hourly contend with the enemies of humanity by such help and inspiration, given in the hour of need. Yet by this is not meant a "communication" such as comes from "Summerland" by any means. For the inspiration in this case but obeys the universal law that all true power proceeds from within outwards, and so these always seem to come from the recesses of our own being, and are utterly indistinguishable from those which really do proceed from our own Higher Ego. So, unnoticed, except by the Adept clairvoyant, uncredited, un-thanked, do these highest and holiest of Earth-evolved beings proceed with their compassionate tasks.
There are higher forms yet, but they can hardly be classified as Astral. Such are the Augoeides, the Radiant Forms of our Divine Fathers in Heaven, spoken of by Bulwer Lytton; the Dharmakaya vestments of those Buddhas of spiritual selfishness how but gain Nirvana to "disappear forever from the hearts and memories of mankind", instead of donning the humble Astral robe of the Nirmanakaya. There is, too, that undescribed mysterious vestment which clothes us in our devachanic rest. But enough have been classified to show their common origin, their different uses and functions, and to enable the student to satisfactorily assign each to its proper place and plane of consciousness. Thus, in the case of table-tipping, slate-writing, etc., he will instantly know that the astral organ of some living and present person is the actual factor in the phenomenon; the intelligence, if any, being reflected from the minds of those present. If there be forms materialized, he may be sure that one or more Linga Sariras of those present have exuded and attracted to them enough of molecular matter and vitality to form a transient Rupa for a Kamic entity, or, perhaps, a lost soul to regain for a few moments those earth sensations and experiences for which it longs. Let a sensitive person observe the startling depression of vitality, as well as the horrible charnel-house smell remaining in the room after a genuine "materialization", and he will be at no loss to account for the source of the power or of the "conditions" necessary to accomplish the result. He may seek in vain among the paradoxes and platitudes of the so-called "communications" for evidence of any high or really spiritual entity, for Nirmanakayas do not seek the atmosphere of the seance room any more than does the ordinary man or woman the horrors of the morgue or dissecting rooms of our colleges, which are their nearest physical counterparts. And if there does come uncalled into his mind a suggestion to labor altruistically for humanity, a longing to live upon a higher, holier plane than that which he realizes he now occupies, he will not disturb or flatter himself by the thought that perhaps a Nirmanakaya is endeavoring to impress him, for he will realize that the plane of a Nirmanakaya, which is that of his own Higher Ego, is too near the Divine for any feeling of selfish proprietorship, of "this is mine and not thine", to mar the Unity of thought and purpose towards which we now feebly strive in our endeavors to "form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood". And if in his sub-conscious construction of these lower, transient entities, he finds a promise and prophecy of a time when he shall consciously and joyously take part in the creation or construction of such worlds as he now inhabits, then will his study of even these lowly, unscientific "astral forms" not have been in vain.
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