Imatges de pÓgina
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of but unreasoning and unintelligent devotion. Worshippers of Vishnu, both in his avatâr of Krishiņa and otherwise, as well as a few worshippers of Shiva, are to be found here, each wrapped up in the self-woven cocoon of his own thoughts, alone with his own god, oblivious of the rest of mankind, except in so far as his affections may associate those whom he loved with him in his adoration. Thus a Vaishnavite was noticed wrapped in the ecstatic adoration of the image of Vishnu to which he had made offerings during life. But some of the most characteristic examples of this plane are to be found among women, who indeed, it inay be remarked, form a very large majority of its inhabitants. Among others a Hindu woman was observed, who had glorified her husband into a divine being, and also thought of the child Krishna as playing with her own children, but while these latter were thoroughly human the child Krishna was obviously the semblance of a blue wooden image galvanized into life. Krishna also, however,

, , appeared in her Devachan under another form—that of an effeminate young man playing on a flute. Another woman, who was a worshipper of Shiva, had somehow confused the god with her husband, apparently looking upon the latter as a manifestation of the former, so that the one seemed to be constantly changing into the other. Some Buddhists also are found upon this subdivision, but apparently exclusively those who regard the Buddha rather as an object of adoration than as a great teacher.

The Christian religion also contributes many of the inhabitants of this plane. The unintellectual devotion which is exemplified on the one hand by the illiterate Roman Catholic peasant, and on the other by the earnest and sincere “soldier” of the Salvation Army, seems to produce a result very similar to those already described, for these people also are found wrapped up in contemplation of their ideas of Christ or the Virgin Mary respectively. For instance an Irish peasant was seen absorbed in adoration of the Virgin Mary, whom he imaged as standing on the moon after the fashion of Titian's “ Assumption,” and holding out her hands and speaking to him. A mediæval monk was found in ecstatic contemplation of Christ crucified, the intensity of his imagination being such as to reproduce the stigmata in his own body, and the blood dropping from the wounds of the figure of his Christ. Another inan seemed to have forgotten the crucifixion, and thought of his Christ only as glorified on his throne, with the crystal sea before him, and a vast multitude of worshippers among whom he stood with his wife and family. His affection for them was very deep, but his thoughts were more occupied in adoration of Christ, whom he imaged as constantly changing kaleidoscopically into and out of the form of the lamb bearing the flag which we often see represented in church windows. A rather more interesting case was that of a Spanish nun who died at about the age of nineteen or twenty. In her Devachan she carried herself back to the date of Christ's life on earth, and imagined herself as accompanying him through the chain of events recounted in the gospels, and after the crucifixion taking care of the Virgin Mary. It was observable, however, that her pictures of the scenery and costumes of Palestine were entirely inaccurate, for the Saviour and his disciples wore the dress of Spanish peasants, while the hills round Jerusalem were mighty mountains clothed with vineyards, and the olive trees were hung with grey Spanish moss. She thought of herself as eventually martyred for her faith, and ascending into heaven, but only to live over and over again this life in which slie so delighted. A quaint and pretty little example of the Devachan of a child may conclude our list of instances from this sub-plane. He had died at the age of seven, and was occupied in enacting in the heaven-world the scenes which his Irish nurse had described to him; he thought of himself as playing with the child Jesus, and helping him to make those clay sparrows which the power of the Christ is fabled to have vivified and caused to fly.

It will be seen that the blind unreasoning devotion of which we have been speaking does not at any time raise its votaries to any great spiritual heights; but it must be remembered that in all cases they are entirely happy and most fully satisfied, for what they receive is always the highest which they are capable of appreciating. Nor is it entirely without a good effect on their future career, for although no amount of mere devotion will ever develope intellect, yet it does produce an increased capacity for devotion, and in most cases leads also to purity of life. A person therefore who leads such a life and enjoys such a Devachan as we have been describing, though he is not likely to make rapid progress on the path of spirițual development, is at least guarded from many dangers, for it is improbable that in his next birth he should fall into any of the grosser sins, or be drawn away froin his devotional aspirations into a mere worldly life of avarice, ambition or dissipation. Nevertheless, a survey of this sub-plane distinctly emphasizes the necessity of following St. Peter's advice, “Add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge."

Fifth Sub-plane.The chief characteristic of this sub-division may be defined as devotion expressing itself in active work. The Christian on this plane, for example, instead of merely adoring his Saviour, would think of himself as going out into the world to work for him. It is especially the plane for the working out of great schemes and designs unrealized on earth-of great organizations inspired by religious devotion, and usually having for their object some philanthropic purpose.

It must be borne in mind, however, that ever as we rise higher greater complexity and variety is introduced, so that though we inay still be able to give a definite characteristic as on the whole dominating the plane, we shall yet be more and more liable to find variations and exceptions that do not so readily range themselves under the general heading.

A typical case, although somewhat above the average, was that of a man who was found working out a grand scheme for the amelioration of the condition of the lower classes. While a deeply religious man himself he had felt that the first step necessary in dealing with the poor was to improve their physical condition ; and the plan which he was now working out with triuinphant success and loving attention to every detail was one which had often crossed his mind while on earth, though he had been quite unable there to take any steps towards its realization. His idea had been that, if possessed of enormous wealth, he would buy up and get into his own hands the whole of one of the smaller trades-one in which perhaps three or four large firms only were now engaged ; and he thought that by so doing he could effect very large savings by doing away with competitive advertising and other wasteful forms of trade rivalry, and thus be able, while supplying goods to the public at the same price as now, to pay much better wages to his workmen. It was part of the scheme to buy a plot of land and erect upon it cottages for his workmen, each surrounded by its little garden; and after a certain number of years' service, each workman was to acquire a share in the profits of the business which would be sufficient to provide for him in his old age. By working out this system the devachanee had hoped to show to the world that there was an eminently practical side to Christianity, and also to win the souls of his men to his own faith out of gratitude for the material benefits they had received.

Another not dissiinilar case was that of an Indian prince whose ideal on earth had been Râma, on whose example he had tried to model his life and methods of government. Naturally down here all sorts of untoward accidents occurred, and many of his schemes failed, but in Devachan everything went well, and the greatest possible result followed every one of his well-ineant efforts-Râma of course advising and directing his work, and receiving perpetual adoration from all his devoted subjects.

A curious and rather touching instance of personal religious work was that of a woman who had been a nun, belonging to one not of the contemplative but the working orders. She had evidently based her life upon the text “ Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me," and now in Devachan she was still carrying out to the fullest extent the injunctions of her lord, and was constantly occupied in healing the sick, in feeding the hungry, and clothing and helping the poor—the peculiarity of the case being that each of those to whom she had ministered at once changed into the appearance of the Christ, whom she then worshipped with fervent devotion.

An instructive case was that of two sisters, both of whom had been intensely religious; one of them had been a crippled invalid, and the other had spent a long life in tending her. On earth they had often discussed and planned what religious and philanthropic work they would carry out if they were able, and now each is the most prominent figure in the other's Devachan, the cripple being well and strong, while each thinks of the other as joining her in carrying out the unrealized wishes of her earth-life; and it was noticed that in this case the image of each sister in the other's Devachan was at least to some extent vivified and real.

On this plane also the higher type of sincere and devoted missionary activity finds expression. Of course the ordinary ignorant fanatic never reaches this level, but a few of the noblest cases, such as Livingstone, might be found here engaged in the congenial occupation of converting multitudes of people to the particular religion they advocated. One such case which came under notice was that of a Mohammedan who imagined himself as working inost zealously at the conversion of the world and its government according to the most approved principles of the faith of Islam.

It appears that under certain conditions artistic capacity may also bring its votaries to this sub-plane. But here a careful distinc

. tion must be drawn. The artist or musician whose only object is the selfish one of personal fame, or who allows himself to be influenced by feelings of professional jealousy, of course generates no forces which will bring him to the devachanic plane at all. On the other hand that grandest type of art whose disciples regard it as a mighty power entrusted to them for the spiritual elevation of their fellows will express itself in even higher regions than this. But between these two extremes those devotees of art who follow it for its own sake or regard it as an offering to their deity, never thinking of its effect on their fellows, may in some cases find their appropriate Devachan on this sub-plane. As an example of this inay be mentioned a musician of a very religious temperament who regarded his compositions simply as offerings to Christ-compositions which themselves were very fine, and produced a magnificent arrangement of sound and colour in the matter of that subdivision. The result of this would certainly be to give him increased devotion and increased musical capacity in his next birth ; but without the still wider aspiration to help humanity this kind of Devachan might repeat itself almost indefinitely. Indeed, glancing back at the three planes with which we have just been dealing it will be noticed that they are in all cases concerned with the working out of devotion to personalities-either to one's family and friends or to a personal deity-rather than the wider devotion to humanity for its own sake which finds its expression on the next sub-plane.

C. W. LEADBEATER. (To be continued.)

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