What Happens in the Afterlife … and the Purpose of Purgatory and Hell … by C.W. Leadbeater

Published on 27 July 2016

  • Life in the Astral World after Death
  • The Drunkard’s or Sensualist’s Experience of the Afterlife
  • Why Suicide or Sudden Death Causes Suffering in the Afterlife
    • When Those who Die Suddenly Have Lived a Pure and Noble Life
    • When Those who Die Suddenly Have Lives a Low and Brutal Life
    • Difficulty that Suicides Have in Transcending the Astral Plane
  • The Purpose of Purgatorial and Hell World Suffering
  • Dangers Posed by Hell-Bound Souls to Embodied Humans

Dear Ones,

Here are excerpts from the writings of the learned Theosophist C.W. Leadbeater, written in the late 1890s and early 1900s.

LIFE IN THE ASTRAL WORLD AFTER DEATH

“The conditions of life after death are almost infinite in their variety, but they can be calculated without difficulty by any one who will take the trouble to understand the astral world and to consider the character of the person concerned. That character is not in the slightest degree changed by death; the man’s thoughts, emotions and desires are exactly the same as before. He is in every way the same man, minus his physical body; and his happiness or misery depends upon the extent to which this loss of the physical body affects him.

“If his longings have been such as need a physical body for their gratification, he is likely to suffer considerably. Such a craving manifests itself as a vibration in the astral body, and while we are still in this world most of its strength is employed in setting in motion the heavy physical particles. Desire is therefore a far greater force in the astral life than in the physical, and if the man has not been in the habit of controlling it, and if in this new life it cannot be satisfied, it may cause him great and long-continued trouble.” (1)

THE DRUNKARD OR SENSUALIST’S EXPERIENCE OF THE AFTERLIFE

“Take as an illustration the extreme case of a drunkard or a sensualist. Here we have a lust which has been strong enough during physical life to overpower reason, common sense and all the feelings of decency and of family affection. After death the man finds himself in the astral world feeling the appetite perhaps a hundred times more strongly, yet absolutely unable to satisfy it because he has lost the physical body.

“Such a life is a very real hell—the only hell there is; yet no one is punishing him; he is reaping the perfectly natural result of his own action. Gradually as time passes this force of desire wears out, but only at the cost of terrible suffering for the man, because to him every day seems as a thousand years. He has no measure of time such as we have in the physical world. He can measure it only by his sensations. From a distortion of this fact has come the blasphemous idea of eternal damnation.

“Many other cases less extreme than this will readily suggest themselves, in which a hankering which cannot be fulfilled may prove itself a torture.” (1)

WHY SUICIDE OR SUDDEN DEATH CAUSES SUFFERING IN THE AFTERLIFE

“It will be readily understood that a man who is torn from physical life hurriedly while in full health and strength, whether by accident or suicide, finds himself upon the astral plane under conditions differing considerably from those which surround one who dies either from old age or from disease.

“In the latter case the hold of earthly desires upon the entity is more or less weakened, and probably the very grossest particles are already got rid of, so that the Kâmarûpa [the “desire body”, seat of animal desires and passions – Wikipedia] will most likely form itself on the sixth or fifth subdivision of[39] the Kâmaloka, [beings in the Kâmalokic areas of the astral plane haven’t yet shaken free of desire (Kâma). In the Catholic Church this, the ‘edge of Hell’, is termed Limbus or Limbo (2)–Alice].  or perhaps even higher; the principles have been gradually prepared for separation, and the shock is therefore not so great.

“In the case of the accidental death or suicide none of these preparations have taken place, and the withdrawal of the principles from their physical encasement has been very aptly compared to the tearing of the stone out of an unripe fruit; a great deal of the grossest kind of astral matter still clings around the personality, which is consequently held in the seventh or lowest subdivision of the Kâmaloka. This has already been described as anything but a pleasant abiding-place, yet it is by no means the same for all those who are compelled for a time to inhabit it.” (3)

When Those who Suddenly Die Have Lived a Pure and Noble Life. “Those victims of sudden death whose earth-lives have been pure and noble have no affinity for this plane, and the time of their sojourn upon it is passed, to quote from an early Letter on this subject, either ‘in happy ignorance and full oblivion, or in a state of quiet slumber, a sleep full of rosy dreams’.” (3)

When Those who Suddenly Die Have Lived a Low and Brutal Life. “But on the other hand, if their earth-lives have been low and brutal, selfish and sensual, they will, like the suicides, be conscious to the fullest extent in this undesirable region; and they are liable to develop into terribly evil entities.

“Inflamed with all kinds of horrible appetites which they can no longer satisfy directly now they are without a physical body, they gratify their loathsome passions vicariously through a medium or any sensitive person whom they can obsess; and they take a devilish delight in using all the arts of delusion which the astral plane puts in their power in order to lead others into the same excesses which have proved so fatal to themselves.

“Quoting again from the same letter:—’These are the Pisâchas the incubi and succubæ of mediæval writers—demons of thirst and gluttony, of lust and avarice, of intensified craft, wickedness and cruelty, provoking their victims to horrible crimes, and revelling in their commission’[40].

“From this class and the last are drawn the tempters—the devils of ecclesiastical literature; but their power fails utterly before purity of mind and purpose; they can do nothing with a man unless he has first encouraged in himself the vices into which they seek to draw him.

“One whose psychic sight has been opened will often see crowds of these unfortunate creatures hanging round butchers’ shops, public-houses, or other even more disreputable places—wherever the gross influences in which they delight are to be found, and where they encounter men and women still in the flesh who are like-minded with themselves.

“For such an entity as one of these to meet with a medium with whom he is in affinity is indeed a terrible misfortune; not only does it enable him to prolong enormously his dreadful life in Kâmaloka but it renews for perhaps an indefinite period his power to generate evil Karma, and so prepare for himself a future incarnation of the most degraded character, besides running the risk of losing a large portion or even the whole of the lower Manas.”

“On this lowest level of the astral plane he must stay at least as long as his earthly life would have lasted if it had not been prematurely cut short; and if he is fortunate enough not to meet with a sensitive through whom his passions can be vicariously gratified, the unfulfilled desires will gradually burn themselves out, and the suffering caused in the process will probably go far towards working off the evil Karma of the past life.” (3)

The Difficulty that Suicides Have in Transcending the Astral Plane. “The position of the suicide is further complicated by the fact that his rash act has enormously diminished the power of the higher Ego to withdraw its lower portion into itself, and therefore has exposed him to manifold and great additional dangers: but it must be remembered that the guilt of suicide differs considerably according to its circumstances, from the morally blameless act of Seneca or Socrates[41] through all degrees down to the heinous crime of the wretch who takes his own life in order to escape from the entanglements into which his villainy has brought him, and of course the position after death varies accordingly.” (3)

THE PURPOSE OF PURGATORIAL AND HELLWORLD SUFFERING

“On this lowest level of the astral plane he must stay at least as long as his earthly life would have lasted if it had not been prematurely cut short; and if he is fortunate enough not to meet with a sensitive through whom his passions can be vicariously gratified, the unfulfilled desires will gradually burn themselves out, and the suffering caused in the process will probably go far towards working off the evil Karma of the past life.” (3)

DANGERS POSED BY HELL-BOUND SOULS TO EMBODIED HUMANS

“It should be noted that this class, as well as the shades and the vitalized shells, are all what may be called minor vampires; that is to say, whenever they have the opportunity they prolong their existence by draining away the vitality from human beings whom they find themselves able to influence. This is why both medium and sitters are often so weak and exhausted after a physical séance.

“A student of occultism is taught how to guard himself from their attempts, but without that knowledge it is difficult for one who puts himself in their way to avoid being more or less laid under contribution by them.” (3)

The above were excerpts from the writings of the learned Theosophist C.W. Leadbeater, written in the late 1890s and early 1900s.

In love, light and joy,
I Am of the Stars

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FOOTNOTES

(1) from the Project Gutenberg EBook of A Textbook of Theosophy, by C.W. Leadbeater, 1912 … http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/12902/pg12902-images.html … This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net

[paragraphing and subheads are mine. –Alice Clagett]

(2) “In the theology of the Catholic Church, Limbo (Latin limbus, edge or boundary, referring to the “edge” of Hell) is a speculative idea about the afterlife condition of those who die in original sin without being assigned to the Hell of the Damned .” … https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limbo … Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.

(3) from “The Astral Plane: Its Scenery, Its Scenery, Inhabitants, and Phenomena,” by C.W. Leadbeater, 1895, https://www.gutenberg.org/files/21080/21080-h/21080-h.htm

“This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net

[paragraphing and subheads are mine. –Alice Clagett]
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Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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C.W. Leadbeater, suicide, purgatory, purpose of purgatory, hell, heaven, afterlife, sensualists, drunkards,  kamaloka, limbo, limbus, Kâmarûpa, desire body, Theosophy, life after death, astral realm, astral world, sin, vice, cruelty,

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