here is a question which ever comes to the mind of
those who indulge in speculations regarding “the other
side”—that question which is voiced in the words of the familiar old hymn: “Shall we know eaoh other there'” This query is rooted in the very heart of human love and affection. Heaven, even if it furnished every other joy and satisfaction, would not be heaven to the average person if it did not also furnish companionship and association with those loved in earth life. The soul instinctively craves for the society not only of those close to it by ties of the love of man and woman, but also of those to which it is bound by the relationship of parent and child; brother and sister; friend and friend. Without this assurance of continued companionship and association, heaven would seem a very bleak and cold place to the average human soul.
We are glad that the Yogi teachers have been very explicit and plain upon this subject, and that their students may find that this hope and desire of the human heart has a full and rich realization in the facts of life on the Astral Plane. Not only do we “know each other there,” but we are naturally bound by Astral bonds of attraction to those whom we love; and to those
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with whom we are in sympathy, even though we had never known them in earth life. More than this, there is, on the Astral Plane, the possibility of a far nearer and closer companionship between kindred souls than earth-life ordinarily witnesses. With the dropping and discarding of the sheaths of the physical body, the soul becomes capable of a far closer relation to kindred souls than it ever experienced on the physical plane. The Astral fires having burnt up the dross of the lower attractions, the soul is able to function on much higher planes of association. On the Astral Plane, soul may meet soul in close communion and comradeship and the dreams and longings of earth-life, which were found impossible of realization on that plane, now become the ordinary incidents of the new life of the soul. That for which the soul has longed for in vain on earth, now is found in its richest fruition.
To realize just what this means, it is necessary but to think of the highest ideals entertained by the soul, in earth-life, regarding the relationships between human beings. Though these ideals are seldom lived up to in earth-life, nevertheless they abide with the soul constantly, and it is one of the tragedies of earth-life that these ideals always seem “too good to be true.” The love of man and woman, of the right kind, always has as its background this ideal affection and desire, and yet how seldom does the ideal escape being dragged in the mud. The relationship between parent and child, between brothers and sisters, between friends, seldom is found to approach the ideal which dwells ever in the human heart. So true is this ideal— so constant is its presence—that when, in earth-life, we see a companionship which seems even partially to comply with the ideal requirements, our deepest feelings are touched. In fiction, in poetry, in song, in the drama, we find that the picture of the realization of this ideal touches springs of emotion and sympathy which lift us up to higher planes of thought and life. What then must be the joy, the bliss, the happiness, the satisfaction, of a life on a plane of being in which this expression
is the only natural one, and where the ideal becomes the real is actual expression?
Yes, we do, indeed, “know each other there.” Not only the “other” whom we may have in mind, but also many “others” with whom we are in natural soul harmony. Those who are bound together by the bond of earth love, relationship, and friendship—providing that there really is a bond of attachment of any degree between them—have full opportunity to manifest their mutual affection and harmonic attraction on the higher Astral Plane. The highest that the human imagination can picture as possible in such companionship, is but as a faint shadow to the actual reality of the experience. It is useless to attempt to paint a picture of these scenes and relationships, for there are no words with which to express the truth. The answer to the inquiry must necessarily be: that each soul that asks the question turn its mental gaze inward, and find the picture, painted in the imagination, of the highest possible bliss that would be possible in such a state and condition, and then consider that even this imaginary picture falls a thousand times short of the reality.
It is only in the harmony of music, or the rhythmic cadences of the best poetry, or the lines of some great work of art, that the earth-dwelling soul may catch a glimpse of the truth of Love on the higher Astral Plane. These things at times cause to rise in the soul faint hints of what the soul actually experiences on those higher planes of being. This is one of the reasons why music, art, and poetry are able at times to lift us above the material environment in which we are dwelling. In the flashes of Cosmic Conscience which occasionally come to souls of spiritual enlightenment, there is included a realization of this feature of the association of souls on the higher planes. Well has the Western poet expressed the difficulty of stating, in ordinary words, the truth of this realization of the truth—in broken measures and stammering tongue:
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“As in a swoon, one instant.
Another sun, ineffable, full dazzles me.
And all the orbs I knew, and brighter, unknown orbs.
One instant of the future land. Heaven’s land.
I cannot be awake, for nothing looks to me as it did before.
Or else I am awake for the first time, and all before has been a mean sleep.
When I try to tell the best I find, I cannot;
My tongue is ineffectual, on its pivots,
My breath will not be obedient to its organs,
I become a dumb man.”
“Words from a man who speaks from that life must sound vain to those who do not dwell in the same thought on their own part. I dare not speak for it. My words do not carry its august sense; they fall short and cold. Only itself can inspire whom it will, and behold! their speech shall be lyrical, and sweet, and universal as the rising of the wind. Yet I desire, even by profane words, if sacred I may not use, to indicate the heaven of this deity, and to report what hints I have collected of the transcendent simplicity and energy of the Highest Law.”
The difficulty in explaining to the earth-dweller the nature and character of the companionship of the higher planes of the Astral, is that his mind insists upon thinking in terms of place, whereas there is no “place” on the Astral—merely conditions and states, as we have explained. To dwell in the “same place” as the loved one, on the Astral Plane, means simply to dwell in the same state or condition of being, and thus be brought into a closer relationship, a greater degree of nearness, than nearness in space can furnish. There is a greater “in touchness” by reason of this harmony of Astral condition than the earth-dweller can imagine. Only the advanced soul can begin to comprehend this mystery of Astral Life. It can be pictured only faintly by reference to the state of soulful “oneness” experienced at times
by lovers, when it seems as if the limitations of the flesh have been transcended, and the two souls have blended into one. This is far more than mere nearness in space or place—and yet even this but faintly indicates the ideal condition of the Astral Life.
It may be questioned by some, how souls enjoying this companionship, if they happen to dwell on different planes of Astral being, can be in the same state or condition in which the experience is rendered possible. The answer is simple to one who is familiar with the highest occult truths. It is this: the soul on the higher planes feels the sympathetic attraction of the soul on the lower plane, and, answering it, establishes a psychic connection (akin to a highly exalted form of telepathy) between the two, and thus renders possible the experience of the closest mental and spiritual relationship and companionship, which experience far transcends the companionship of two souls in the flesh. Moreover, as we have explained in a previous chapter, the soul on the higher plane may actually visit, with all of its soul-being, another soul on a plane lower than itself. In this, and other ways, companionship between disembodied souls of the Astral Plane is manifested. There is no “lonesomeness,” or loneliness for souls who crave sympathy on the Astral. There is nothing that is high, and ennobling, in earth-life, that has not its magnified correspondence on the Astral Plane—only the dross being left behind.
There is a natural law which operates on the Astral Plane, as well as upon the material plane, and this law regulates and controls everything on that plane. The disembodied soul does not part with Nature, when it leaves the earth-life—but, rather it rises to a plane of Nature which is fuller, richer, and sweeter in every way than the best of which the earth-dwelling soul dreams. The dross of materiality burned away by the Astral vibrations, the soul blossoms and bears spiritual fruit in the new life. There is one word, which, above all others, expresses the spirit-meaning, and purpose of the higher planes—and the
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phenomena thereof—that word is love! And that Love is the “Perfect Love which casteth out all Fear”—and its blossom is Joy—and its fruit is Peace!