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In the Next World: Actual Narratives of Personal Experiences by Some Who Have Passed On

In the Next World: Actual Narratives of Personal Experiences by Some Who Have Passed On
by A. P. Sinnett


Whether from the point of view of ordinary religious belief or from that reached by theosophical teaching, most people look forward to some kind of life hereafter, but are rarely enabled to frame conceptions of that life with any degree of detail. And it not infrequently happens that when people who have passed over get an opportunity, by the methods of ordinary mediumship, of communicating back to friends in physical life, they seem mainly desirous of reaffirming the familiar truth that to be happy hereafter one must be decently well behaved in this life. The warning as a rule makes no deep impression on the hearers, because no particular novelty surrounds the idea; In so far as it fails with so many people to become a commanding motive of action, that is probably due to the vague mist of uncertainty that envelops all future conditions of existence. If people who pass over would devote their efforts to giving us minute descriptions of the new circumstances in which they find themselves, that would make a much deeper impression on their friends here than can be produced by ethical sermons however earnest, however inspired by new knowledge and genuine conviction.

I have been for some years past in the enjoyment of opportunities favourable for getting free speech with friends who have passed over into the astral life. For many reasons it is impossible for me to go into minute detail concerning the circumstances under which these opportunities have arisen. For those who do not know me, the narratives I am about to record may seem tainted by a fictitious colouring, I can only say, for the benefit of those who do know me, and may trust my word, that the stories in all cases are here passed on just as I have received them, and are published in perfect good faith to meet what I hold to be a very widespread desire for definite information concerning the actualities of astral life.

Of course we must always remember that such astral life is not to be regarded as a fulfilment of the karma in each case engendered on the physical plane. In all earlier theosophical teaching it was so supremely important to establish, on a firm foundation, the great principle of reincarnation, with its attendant doctrine of karma, that the intervening phases of life on the astral and manasic planes were comparatively neglected, - with the result, indeed, of giving rise to some misapprehensions in regard both to the astral and devachanic conditions. Those of us who are the most earnest students of theosophical teaching and best situated for carrying on such study, are most fully appreciative of the insuperable difficulty of setting forth the whole volume of complex law governing human evolution all at once.

We need not regret the omissions that were inevitable in the beginning. We need not hesitate to welcome fresh information which fills up some of the gaps, even though in some cases this may dissipate impressions too hastily formed when information was incomplete.

As an introduction to the fragments of astral biography I propose now to give out, I must set before the reader in fairly intelligible shape the constitution of that vast region enveloping the earth that is referred to when we speak of the astral plane. Many of its characteristics have been vividly described in early theosophical writings, but for the purpose I now have in view it is desirable to remind the reader of the very definite way in which it is divided into sub planes. (Sub-concentric spheres would be a more appropriate phrase, but the usual term “plane” is more convenient, though we should never forget that the whole astral region with all its subdivisions is a huge concentric sphere surrounding the physical globe, as much a definite appendage to it as the atmosphere, and carried with it in its movement round the Sun.) A part of the great sphere is actually immersed or submerged beneath the solid crust of the earth. That is a terrible region with which only the very worst specimens of humanity have any concern, after passing on from the physical life. Two sub-planes of the astral are thus under ground – the first and second, numbering the series from below upward. The third lies just above the surface of the earth, and is still a region of varied discomfort, in which those whose personal characteristics are such as to require purification before they are qualified for existence on any of the superior regions, spend a time greatly varying in duration.

The fourth sub-plane is the first on which existence is altogether based upon the sensation of happiness, though its experiences are themselves subject to very great variety. The higher regions again are all conditions in which happiness is the background of consciousness, but in which different mental and moral attributes find their appropriate expression. Thus people in whom intellectual activity is the predominant characteristic are naturally drawn to the fifth sub-plane, while the sixth, affords scope for genuine devotional feeling if that is the predominant element in any given character. And just because life on the higher levels of the astral plane involves the principle that people are drawn together by their real sympathies, - not as in physical life by karma, that often, down here, puts people into close relations with antipathetic entities, - the seventh sub-plane is a region to which those gravitate who have been in life rulers of men in one way or another, not merely by high social rank, but by virtue of characteristics that have given them sway over others either in industrial or political life.

Of course we must always remember that from the higher levels of the astral plane it is possible for those belonging there to descend, at will, to any of the lower. They do this constantly when desirous of observing what goes on here on the physical plane. There is thus much freedom of intercourse among people on the higher levels of the astral world.


  • Introduction
  • G.R.'s Story
  • W.G.'s Experiences
  • A Wonderful Recovery
  • Experiences of H.S.
  • The Story of R.W.
  • J.P.'s Story
  • Bill Smith
  • M.M.'s Wonderful Narrative
  • A Happy Passing
  • X.Y.'s Enlightenment
  • The Troubles of S.O.
  • A Devout Priest
  • Conclusion
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