Previous and next lives

The Yogi Philosophy teaches that Man will live forever, ascending from higher to higher planes, and then on and on and on. Death is but the physical symbol of a period of Soul Rest, similar to sleep of the tired body, and is just as much to be welcomed and greeted with thanks. Life is continuous, and its object is development, unfoldment and growth. We are in Eternity now as much as we ever shall be. Our souls may exist out of the body as well as in it, although bodily incarnation is necessary at this stage of our development. As we progress on to higher planes of life, we shall incarnate in bodies far more ethereal than those now used by us, just as in the past we used bodies almost incredibly grosser and coarser than those we call our own to-day. Life is far more than a thing of three-score and ten years–it is really a succession of such lives, on an ascending scale, that which we call our personal self to-day being merely the essence of the experiences of countless lives in the past.

The Soul is working steadily upward, from higher to higher, from gross to finer forms and manifestations. And it will steadily work for ages to come, always progressing, always advancing, always unfolding. The Universe contains many worlds for the Soul to inhabit, and then after it has passed on to other Universes, there will still be Infinitude before it. The destiny of the Soul of Man is of wondrous promise and possibilities–the mind to-day cannot begin to even dream of what is before the Soul. Those who have already advanced many steps beyond you–those Elder Brethren–are constantly extending to you aid in many directions. They are extending to you the Unseen Hand, which lifts you over many a hard place and dangerous crossing–but you recognize it not except in a vague way. There are now in existence, on planes infinitely higher than your own, intelligences of transcendent glory and magnificence–but they were once Men even as you are to-day. They have so far progressed upon the Path that they have become as angels and archangels when compared with you. And, blessed thought, even as these exalted ones were once even as you, so shall you, in due course of Spiritual Evolution, become even as these mighty ones.

The Yogi Philosophy teaches that You who are reading these lines have lived many lives previous to the present one. You have lived in the lower forms, and have worked your way arduously along the Path until now you are reaching the stage of Spiritual Consciousness in which the past and future will begin to appear plain to you for the first time. You have lived as the cave-man–the cliff-dweller–the savage–the barbarian. You have been the warrior–the priest–the Medieval scholar and occultist–the prince–the pauper. You have lived in Lemuria–in Atlantis–in India–in Persia–in Egypt–in ancient Rome and Greece–and are now playing your part in the Western civilization, associating with many with whom you have had relations in your past lives.

In closing this lesson, let us quote from a previous writing from the same pen that writes this lesson:

“Toward what goal is all this Spiritual Evolution tending? What does it all mean? From the low planes of life to the highest–all are on The Path. To what state or place does The Path lead? Let us attempt to answer by asking you to imagine a series of millions of circles, one within the other. Each circle means a stage of Life. The outer circles are filled with life in its lowest and most material stages–each circle nearer the Centre holds higher and higher forms–until Men (or what were once Men) become as gods. Still on, and on, and on. does the form of life grow higher, until the human mind cannot grasp the idea. But what is the Centre? The MIND of the entire Spiritual Body–the ABSOLUTE! And we are traveling toward that Centre!”

And again from the same source:

“But beyond your plane, and beyond mine, are plane after plane, connected with our earth, the splendors of which man cannot conceive. And there are likewise many planes around the other planets of our chain–and there are millions of other worlds–and there are chains of universes just as there are chains of planets–and then greater groups of these chains–and so on greater and grander beyond the power of man to imagine–on and on and on and on–higher and higher–to inconceivable heights. An infinity of infinities of worlds are before us. Our world and our planetary system and our system of suns, and our system of solar systems, are but as grains of sand on the beach of the mighty ocean. But then you cry, ‘But what am I–poor mortal thing–lost among all this inconceivable greatness?’

The answer comes that You are that most precious thing–a living soul. And if you were destroyed the whole system of universes would crumble, for you are as necessary as the greatest part of it–it cannot do without you–you cannot be lost or destroyed–you are a part of it all, and are eternal. ‘But,’ you ask, ‘beyond all of this of which you have told me, what is there–what is the Centre of it All?’ Your Teacher’s face takes on a rapt expression–a light not of earth beams forth from his countenance. ‘THE ABSOLUTE!’ he replies.