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FEW words are needed in sending this little book out into
the world. It is the third of a series of Manuals designed to
meet the public demand for a simple exposition of
Theosophical teachings. Some have complained that our
literature is at once too abstruse, too technical, and too
expensive for the ordinary reader, and it is our hope that the
present series may succeed in supplying what is a very real
want. Theosophy is not only for the learned; it is for all.
Perhaps among those who in these little books catch their
first glimpse of its teachings, there may be a few who will
be led by them to penetrate more deeply into its
philosophy, its science, and its religion, facing its abstruser
problems with the student's zeal and the neophyte's ardour.
But these Manuals are not written for the eager student,
whom no initial difficulties can daunt; they are written for the busy men and women of the work-a-day
world, and seek to make plain some of the great truths that
render life easier to bear and death easier to face. Written by
servants of the Masters who are the Elder Brothers of our
race, they can have no other object than to serve our fellowmen.
In this brief, but brilliant, text on the afterlife, the third in a series of Manuals written by Besant and Leadbeater between 1892 and 1896, Besant presents the theosophical perspective on the various stages undergone by the soul after the death of the body. Her writing is clear, focused, and careful as it introduces technical terminology from the Sanskrit. The basic model is straightforward: first the body dies as its energy system (the etheric double) leaves it behind; as this body in turn dissipates, the astral body solidifies into seven layers that must each in turn dissipate before the soul can move on (all of this in the realm of Kamaloka--the desire realm); finally, the soul rises up to its highest mental level and enters a realm of peaceful dreaming (Devachan) where it regathers its energies before becoming incarnate yet again. Besant raises the question: if reincarnation is true, why can't we remember our past lives? Her answer is fascinating; namely, that we can only remember the unconscious potencies of our past lives and deeds when we attain the highest levels of awareness in this life--levels that give us access to the hidden material that can only appear when the conditions for useful memory permit. The analogy here is to the life of the Buddha in which he was only able to remember his past lives at the moment when his final enlightenment was unfolding.
This Manual is a little gem and it is highly recommended for those who believe that the soul survives the death of the body--for it is one thing to believe in immortality, it is another to attempt to delineate just what the post-death state might be like. Annie Besant has done as well as anyone I know of in doing so. Readers of this volume will certainly want to read the other six in the series.
Uploader's Note: One of the BEST books i have ever read!
Examples of the other materials available at www.TheOccult.bz:
Alchemy: Manfred M. Junius - Practical Handbook of Plant Alchemy. Frater Albertus - Alchemist's Handbook. Jean Dubuis - Spagyrics
Astrology: Rosicrucian Fellowship - Astrology Course, Donna Cuningham - Selected Topics in Chart Interpretation, Judith Bennett, Evangeline Adams - Astrology Your Place among the Stars
Buddhism: Dalai Lama - The Art of Happiness, Jan Westerhoff - Nagarjuna's Madhyamaka: A Philosophical Investigation, Taigen D. Leighton - Visions of Awakening Space and Time: Dogen and the Lotus Sutra, Bernard Faure - The Red Thread
Chaos Magic: Peter Carrol - Cthonos Rite, Phil Hine - Prime Chaos, David Michael Cunningham - Creating Magickal Entities: A Complete Guide to Entity Creation
Entheogens: Timothy Leary - The Delicious Grace Of Moving One's Hand, Mia Touw - The Religious and Medicinal Uses of Cannabis in China, India and Tibet, Terence McKenna - Alien Dreamtime, Philip H. Farber - Magick and Entheogens
Fourth Way: G.I. Gurdjieff - Beelzebubs Tales to His Grandson, P. D. Ouspensky - Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution, Keith Jarrett - Sacred Hymns of G.I. Gurdjieff
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Golden Dawn: Pat & Chris Zalewski - The Magical Tarot of The Golden Dawn, Pat Zalewski - Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries, Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero - Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition, Israel Regardie - The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic
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Qabalah: Kabballah Denning & Phillips - Entrance to the Magical Qabalah, Lon Milo Duquette- Qabalah for the Rest of Us, William Gray - Ladder of Lights
Lucid Dreams / Astral Projection: Tony Crisp - Lucid Dreaming, S. Laberge - A Course in Lucid Dreaming, Robert Monroe - Techniques for Astral Projection, Robert Bruce - Astral Dynamics
Rosicrucianism: Paul Foster Case - The True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order, Frances Yates - The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, Jennings Hargrave - The Rosicrucians
Satanism / Left-Hand Path: Michael A. Aquino - Temple Of Set, ONA - Naos: A Practical Guide to Modern Magick, Fraternitas Loki - Satan is Dead, Anton Szandor LaVey - The Satanic Mass
Tarot: Paul Foster Case - Tarot Fundamentals, Lon Milo DuQuette - Tarot Kabbalah & Oracles, P.D. Ouspensky - The Symbolism of the Tarot
Thelema: Theodor Reuss & Aleister Crowley - OTO Rituals & Magick, James Eschelman - The Mystical & Magical System of the A.'.A.'., The Equinox
Wicca: Rose Ariadne - Mastering The Magick Of Witchcraft, Cassadnra Eason - A Practical Guide to Witchcraft and Magick Spells, Scott Cunningham - Wicca A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
Yoga / Tantra: David Gordon White - Kiss of the Yogini, Swami Janakananda - Experience Yoga Nidra, David Coulter - Anatomy of Hatha Yoga