Question: My only brother died last November and must now find himself in one of the lowest regions of the Desire World. Would you advise me to let him know that by a simple effort of the will he can prevent the matter of the desire body from forming itself into concentric layers, as it were, the coarser matter on the outside and the finer within? I mean to say that by an effort of will he could make the matter of the seven regions of the Desire World which form his desire body, come to the surface of that body, and by this means he would be able to contact at once all the seven regions of the Desire World instead of only the lower regions. There is, I believe, no serious objection to this use of will power. (Vol. II, #9)
Answer: This question refers to the fact that when death has taken place and man finds himself in the Desire World, the magnetic powers of the seed atom are spent, the archetype is dissolving, and therefore the centrifugal force of Repulsion forces the desire stuff of the desire body outward towards its periphery. The matter belonging to the lower regions is thrown off first by the process of purgation, which cleanses the man from all the evil acts of his past life. This is the result of the same natural law that in the physical world causes a Sun to throw off matter which then becomes planets. To interfere with this law would be disastrous to any human being even supposing it were possible, which it is not. So it is useless to attempt to help your brother in that manner.
It is different with the Initiate who goes to the Desire World during life. Then the seed atom of the desire body forms a natural center of attraction, or gravitation, which holds the desire stuff in that vehicle to the accustomed lines. Also it is different with anyone who performs the scientific exercises given in the Mystery Schools. Such a person is constantly purging his desire body of the coarser matter so that at death he is not affected to the same degree by the centrifugal force of Repulsion as those who have not had this training.
But there is another way in which we may help someone near and dear to us provided we have his cooperation. To make this clear it is necessary to mention first that the coarser the desire stuff in the desire body, the more tenacious is its hold upon a man; therefore expurgation by the force of Repulsion causes great pain, and that is what we feel in the purgatorial experience. If we were perfectly willing to let go and acknowledge out faults when the pictures of them appear in the life panorama instead of trying to make excuses for ourselves or being stirred anew by the anger and hate of the past, then it would involve much less pain to eradicate them from our desire body. If this fact can be impressed on one whom we are anxious to help, if we can get him into the state of mind where he is willing to acknowledge his wrongs and mistakes from the very bottom of his heart, then the process of purgation will be both shorter and less painful, and he will rise to the higher regions where the force of attraction holds sway in a much shorter time than otherwise.
The same result can be accomplished by prayer; also by kind thoughts, thoughts of upliftment and helpfulness, for these have the same effect on those who are out of the body as kind words and helpful acts have on people who live in this world.
Question: Will you please tell me just how we may best help those who have passed on? (Vol. II, #12)
Answer: We have often expressed our appreciation of the science of birth with its efficient methods of helping both the mother and the child when the latter is entering our earth-life, but we have also heartily deplored the lack of a science of death which would teach people how to help intelligently the Ego that is passing from earth-life into the unseen realms of nature. At such times we usually stand helplessly by, and often do in our ignorance the very things which are detrimental to the comfort of the Spirit then in transition. If people could only know how their moans and hysterical outbursts affect their dear departing ones, unselfish consideration would probably change their attitude and quiet their manner.
So far as the body is concerned it is not really dead until about three and one-half days after the Spirit has passed out of it, for the silver cord still connects it with the higher vehicles. During this time anything in the nature of a post-mortem examination, embalming, or cremation is felt by the Spirit almost as keenly as if still within the body. These are facts well known to all students of occultism, but they have perhaps not received the emphasis they deserve. We should remember that our attitude after that time continues to affect the Spirit, for our friends do not usually leave their accustomed places right away. Many stay in or near the home for a number of months after they have left the body and can feel conditions there even more keenly than when in earth-life. If we sigh, mourn, and moan for them we transfer to them the gloom we ourselves carry about with us or else we bind them to the home because of their efforts to cheer us.
In either case we are a hindrance and a stumbling block in the way of their spiritual progress, and while this may be forgiven in those who are ignorant of the facts concerning life and death, people who have studied the higher teachings are incurring a very grave responsibility when they indulge in such practices. We are well aware that custom used to demand the wearing of mourning and that people were not considered respectable if they did not put on a sable garb as a token of their sorrow. But fortunately times are changing and a more enlightened view is being taken of the matter. The transition to the other world is quite serious enough in itself, involving as it does a process of adjustment to strange conditions all around, and the passing Spirit is further hampered by the sorrow and anguish of the dear ones whom it continues to see about itself. When it finds them surrounded by a cloud of black gloom, clothed in garments of the same color and nursing their sorrow for months or years, the effect cannot be anything but depressing.
How much better then the attitude of those who have learned the higher teachings and have taken them to heart. Their attitude when a dear one makes the transition is cheerful, hopeful, and encouraging. The selfish grief at the loss is controlled in order that the passing Spirit may receive all the encouragement possible. Usually the survivors in the family dress in white at the funeral and a cheerful, genial spirit prevails throughout. The thought of the survivors is not, "What shall I do now that I have lost him (or her)? All the world seems empty for me." But the thought is "I hope he (or she) may find himself (or herself) to rights under the new conditions as quickly as possible and that he (or she) will not grieve at the thought of leaving us behind." Thus by the good-will, intelligence, unselfishness, and love of the remaining friends the passing Spirit is enabled to enter the new conditions under much more favorable circumstances, and students of the Higher Philosophy cannot do better than to spread this teaching as widely as possible. According to the Bible the redeemed of the Lord will finally vanquish the last enemy, death, and they will then exclaim, "O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory?" For those who have evolved spiritual sight there is of course no death, but even those who have studied the Higher Teachings may in a measure be said to have attained this great victory.
Question: Do those now passing overcome to rebirth again before the Aquarian Age? If they still have lessons to learn to fit them to live in that age, can they come back and learn them? (Vol. II, #17)
Answer: That all depends. The usual time between two births is a thousand years, so as to give people a chance of being embodied once as a man and once as a woman while the Sun is passing through each sign of the zodiac by precession, which takes about 2,100 years. This is done because the lessons during that period are so many and so different that they cannot be effectively learned in the same sexual type of body. Experiences are very different from the standpoint of a man and that of a woman. But this law is like all other laws of nature, it is not blind. It is under the dominion of four great Beings called the Recording Angels, and they have to do with all the details of human evolution. They see that everyone gets a chance to obtain as much experience as he or she can stand. If it is necessary for a person to remain the whole one thousand years in the invisible worlds, he remains. If not, he comes back sooner. Some people come back within a few hundred years because they have evolved to the point where they learn quickly. People who "live the life", who have assimilated their life experience before they leave here and are already doing a good deal of work in the invisible worlds, will not need to spend such a long time on the other side. They have put themselves definitely on the side of the Laws of God, and are therefore given greater opportunities for evolution by service.
This article was adapted from "The Rosicrucian Philosophy in Questions and Answers, Vol. II," by Max Heindel.