“When John was twelve years old his mother died, and neighbors laid her body in a tomb among her kindred in the Hebron burying ground, and near to Zacharias’ tomb. And John was deeply grieved; he wept.
“Matheno said, It is not well to weep because of death. Death is no enemy of man; it is a friend who, when the work of life is done, just cuts the cord that binds the human boat to earth, that it may sail on smoother seas. No language can describe a mother’s worth, and yours was tried and true. But she was not called hence until her tasks were done.
“The calls of death are always for the best, for we are solving problems there as well as here; and one is sure to find himself where he can solve his problems best. It is but selfishness that makes one wish to call again to earth departed souls. Then let your mother rest in peace. Just let her noble life be strength and inspiration unto you” (Aquarian Gospel 15:1-7).
If we think about it we will realize that spirit never reacts–the mind does; and usually that means the ego. This is especially true when we suffer loss or deprivation of any kind, and death is one of the most traumatic of losses. Somehow we are never ready for it, and its absolute finality from which there is no appeal is stunning. Death goes completely against our grain as immortal beings, it is an overwhelming denial of our true nature that naturally outrages our sense of right. However, we have taken upon ourselves an unnatural mode of existence through causal, astral, and physical embodiment–all piled in upon one another–and participation in earthly life. And the realization of this should be the frame of reference within which we react to the ways of life on earth. Matheno outlines to John the wise way to view the death of the body, telling him that “it is not well to weep because of death.” Why?
Death is no enemy of man; it is a friend who, when the work of life is done, just cuts the cord that binds the human boat to earth, that it may sail on smoother seas.
It is intriguing to notice that in the West physical immortality is set forth as the highest blessing, whereas in the East it is looked upon as an awful curse. This is because the West is simply ignorant of the three truths without which no intelligent understanding of human life is possible: 1) karma; 2) reincarnation; 3) evolution of consciousness. These three “facts of life” within the framework of the prevailing conditions of earthly life show that perpetual embodiment would certainly be a horror. Even if the body could remain in good health and optimum condition, the nervous system and brain could not withstand age-long embodiment. One of the reasons we sleep is to give them a respite from the wear of day-to-day life–even tranquil life. And the Great Sleep of death grants perfect rest to the world-worn mind and heart. The loss of prior memory from life to life is a great mercy. Imagine toiling along under the burden of the memories of the struggles of thousands of years of earthly embodiment. How weary we would become. Therefore our karmic force is divided into amounts that we can handle through the process of rebirth. In each life we are given only as much as we can handle. Sometimes that amount is heavy indeed to bear, but it is bearable, nevertheless. After working out karma according to our capacity for a single life, death comes to give us rest, respite, and refreshment in preparation for the next series of allotted lessons. As Matheno says, “when the work of life is done, [death] just cuts the cord that binds the human boat to earth, that it may sail on smoother seas.”
Understanding the “why” of death
Perhaps one of the ugliest aspects of ignorant religion in the West (Judaism and its offshoots, Christianity and Islam) is its absurd rationale about death. According to the “only one life” religions, we die because:
1) We are sinners and deserve to die so we can be kicked into eternal hell.
2) We are sinners and deserve to die so we can be kicked into Purgatory.
3) We are good and deserve to go to heaven.
4) God wants us to die.
5) We need to die in order to shock sinners into repentance.
6) We are “needed over there.”
7) There must be a good reason for it.
8) We do not know and should not care.
Who would not rebel against such silliness? Or worse, who would not detest a God who operates on such premises? The East has long said that Western religion is the doorway to atheism if not outright hatred of God. Anyone who thinks about the idiotic premises of Western religion has to reject it or go crazy. That is why most (if not virtually all) Jews, Christians, and Moslems do not think about their religion, but just “believe” and “accept” it. I am using the terms “Christianity” and “Christian,” but I should say “Churchianity” and “Churchian,” for Christianity is an Eastern religion that teaches karma, reincarnation, and the evolution of consciousness.
Karma is like the sand in an hourglass. When it runs out, the hour is over. When the stock of karma we brought with us into an incarnation is expended, death transfers us out of this world into another where we will be prepared for the next incarnation. Whether we die after a few minutes of earthly life or even after more than a century, it can only occur at the moment of the exhaustion of karma. Therefore Matheno says of Saint Elizabeth: “She was not called hence until her tasks were done.”
We do not just have physical, material, karma, we also have emotional and intellectual karma. These karmas can be worked out in astral and causal realms as well as the material world, so we go to those worlds to work out karmas that do not require physical embodiment. Consequently, “the calls of death are always for the best, for we are solving problems there as well as here; and one is sure to find himself where he can solve his problems best.” Perhaps the most complete and best-expressed exposition of this is found in the forty-third chapter of Autobiography of a Yogi entitled “The Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar” (Another valuable writing is Through the Gates of Death by Dion Fortune.) Wherever we find ourselves, in this world or another, it is exactly where we need to be to solve our karmic problems and gain real wisdom and evolve our consciousness. This is why meditation is so essential, for through meditation we accelerate the evolution of our consciousness and greatly reduce the need for incarnation, eventually attaining liberation from all confining worlds and enter into the perfect freedom of Spirit.
Harming the departed
It is but selfishness that makes one wish to call again to earth departed souls. Although death is meant to free us for further growth, it is possible to bind those who die to the earth plane, preventing their advancement and even causing them pain and distress. We do this in several ways: 1) through intense grief; 2) through wishing that they were not “gone” but were still with us; and 3) through attempting to draw them back into the orbit of earth life through spiritualistic communication.
It is not unusual for the newly-departed to remain for a while on earth, completely aware of their family and loved ones, even hearing their words and reading their thoughts. When they see the pain and distress produced by their death, they naturally try to comfort the grieving; being unable to do so, they experience terrible agony of heart and often refuse to pass on into the astral world and leave their dear ones comfortless. Being aware of the calling of the hearts of those who grieve they feel it would be heartless to leave them and pass on to other worlds. In time they may become earthbound and wander in sorrow and frustration. In some instances people pass on into the astral worlds that are very near the earth plane, but are drawn back earthward through the intervention of spiritualistic mediums and their “guides.” When this happens over and over, they, too, often become earthbound. And all of this takes place because of the misguided and uncomprehending selfishness of others.
Naturally we regret the loss of those we love, but our love should be illumined and wise. However much we may miss their physical presence, we should speed them on their way through prayers for their spiritual advancement. It is good to quietly think of them and mentally speak to them, telling them that we love them, but we want them to be free, and so they should pass on to higher world. This is our duty towards those we love. Otherwise we make them a sacrifice to our egoistic selfishness and disturb their needed rest and regeneration in preparation for their next life. “Then let your mother rest in peace.”
Do not forget
This does not mean that we forget those that pass through the gate of death. We should often remember them with love and appreciation, considering the time we had with them as a blessing from God, Whom we should thank for that association. Moreover, we should strive to be worthy of that blessing and work to make ourselves better persons because of having lived with them. As the Book of Common Prayer expresses it: “We bless Thy holy Name for all Thy servants departed this life in Thy faith and fear, beseeching Thee to grant them continual growth in Thy love and service” (“Fear” is the old English word for reverence.) As Matheno counseled Saint John: “Just let her noble life be strength and inspiration unto you.”
Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: The True Teacher