The Theosophist, 1960
THERE is an ancient Greek saying that
there is neither life nor death but simply becoming visible and
invisible. For many people only the visible side of life is real and
what they call “my life” is the span between birth and death. We are
so concentrated on the waking state of our consciousness that we
often forget that there are other and even more important states of
consciousness. In moments of inspiration, admiration and high
devotion we contact such higher states and feel the wholeness of
life. Things of the outer world are then seen in their right
perspective and the reality of the inner worlds becomes more and
If one considers these two as isolated
facts one will not grasp their deep meaning. Only in trying to
understand life in its wholeness, in its visible as well as in its
invisible part, shall we become aware of its grandeur and beauty.
Then everything is seen in its right place and life and death are
not any more felt as contrasts but as means for a high purpose.
There is a constant dying and being born everywhere, even in the human body where old cells are expelled and replaced by new ones all the time. As Jeans has said: “Matter is not a state, matter is a process.” We are living in a world of becoming and not of being; fortunately so, because there would be no possibility of any progress if life were static and not dynamic, constantly changing....
Birth and death are like two gateways, the one at the entrance to the earth, the other at the entrance of higher worlds, both opening the road to wide fields of experience for the human soul.
Goethe is said to have said shortly before he passed over:
He knew that there is no death, no end
but only a change, a new opportunity for wider and higher
Real love is independent of any outer
circumstances. Oceans and continents may separate people who love
each other. It will not affect their love in the least. They will
remain united invisibly. Through experiences like these they learn
to appreciate the value and importance of the invisible which
surrounds us constantly and penetrates our everyday life. The more
we are able to consider the visible and the invisible as only two
aspects of the one life the better we shall understand the meaning
of life and death, the coming into the visible out of the invisible
and the returning into the invisible from the visible.
The Angel of Birth and the Angel of
Death are like twin-brothers, co-operating to help and sustain man
in the most decisive moments of his earthly life. During his
pilgrimage on earth he is protected by his guardian angel so that he
is never without contact with the angelic kingdom. If only mankind
would recognize and realize more fully this co-operation of the
angels with men it would be more ready to co-operate with them and
there would soon be less misery and suffering in the world because
the angels never judge, never condemn but are always ready to help
and to bless even those who have gone farthest astray. They know
about the wholeness and holiness of birth and death as the two
aspects of the one life.
To judge or to condemn means not to have
Our contact with the beloved ones who have passed over is beyond suffering because it is beyond time. We are more one with them than we were as long as they still lived on earth because the contact is a constant one, independent of day and night, waking and sleeping. They have other means to reach us than they had on earth even if we, still bound by the physical body, cannot feel their presence always. If we understood perfectly the meaning of death we would not mourn but be glad for those whom the Angel of Death has touched, because for them it means a liberation from heavy fetters.
The expression “to pass over” is a very beautiful one. Death is the passing over from the visible shore of life to the invisible one. In the German language, death is called Heimgang, a “going home,” which it is in fact. The earth is not our home. It is a school where we have to learn certain lessons and which we enter by being born in a physical body. When we leave this body again, when we “die,” we go home again into the spheres from which we have come. Our earthly life is only a transitory state though it is an important one.
Brother Life and Brother Death are our
comrades and helpers. How safe would we be if we would understand
their real nature and purpose! Death would become to us not an enemy
to be feared but a loving friend to whom we are dear. We would take
death quite naturally even if it does not come as a liberator after
long physical illness and suffering but quite suddenly and
unexpectedly or bereaving us of beloved children when they are still
young. Birth and death are governed by the laws of Karma and
Reincarnation and these laws are manifestations of Divine Love, the
supreme law of all laws. We would be perfect and our lives would be
perfect if we were able to follow this law implicitly.
C. Jinarajadasa has said:
Life in its purity is beautiful
everywhere. It is only man who by distorting it makes it ugly and
often nearly unbearable for himself and for others. In the angelic
kingdom there is neither ugliness nor suffering. Why? Because the
angels are following the divine laws and are one with them.
Therefore their world is a world of beauty, harmony and love and to
be touched by an angel means to be blessed - even being touched by
the Angel of Death!
It is, so to say, his death-song but a song free of all disharmony and fear, a song freed of all earthly toil and opening the door to eternity. In calling death the real ultimate purpose of life Mozart must have seen in it not an irrevocable end but, as Goethe did, a transformation. He must have known or felt that his unique creativeness would find higher and more perfect possibilities to express itself after he had laid down his physical body. But every human being gets such opportunities according to his or her capacities and qualities. Why then be afraid of death if one sees in it its true nature and not in the distorted picture and description given by some religions?
Heaven and hell are our own creations and we shall only reap what we have sown. A man who has never felt any love would feel most unhappy in a sphere where love reigns supreme. A man who on earth has never had any sense of beauty would feel a stranger in a world of spiritual beauty. A man who has been full of disharmony would be unable to respond to the harmony of the higher worlds. Each man gets what he deserves, not only during the span of time between birth and death but everywhere and always, and according to the divine law of love it will under all circumstances be for his best. Fear of any kind is only caused by ignorance.
For him who tries to live according to the Law of Love there are no obstacles which do not become means for inner growth, steps on the way to perfection. He becomes more and more religious in the widest sense of the word, because his knowledge of the truth becomes greater and greater. As Bacon has said:
If the fear of death could be abolished one of the darkest clouds which hovers over humanity would be dissipated. The difficulty is that everybody has to do this for himself so that the process of dissipation is a very slow one but each individual who succeeds in overcoming this fear is contributing to the liberation of humanity from one of its nightmares, because his own fearlessness can be an encouraging example and become a stimulation for others to become fearless themselves.
The time of illness and more or less
serious pain which so often precedes the passing over can be a real
ordeal but what is called death properly is in any case a getting
free from physical limitations, a moment of highest solemnity and
deep mystery. When we are mourning we think of our loss and not the
gain of the beloved one who has entered a higher realm of being, so
that every mourning is a manifestation of egoism. If we really
understood the meaning of death we would be full of gratitude that
the beloved one has been freed and would help him or her by radiant
thoughts and feelings of joy to enter as smoothly as possible into
the other world which is still invisible for most of us.
The angels are children of light in perfection, men are on the way to become such. The deeper man understands life in all its many aspects the greater will become his admiration of the invisible and his mastery of the visible and the more will he realize that he himself belongs to both, that he is not only a citizen of the visible world but of the invisible too, that his true home is not on earth but in heaven, that death is not an end but a beginning.
As Shelley has said so wonderfully: