By Dr. Tan Kheng Khoo
There are few ways in which one can visit the spirit world. The first
is the most common one. Every night when we are asleep, we go to the
spirit world, especially when we are in deep sleep and in delta wave.
However, we do not remember our visits to the spirit world most of the
time. If we have had a wonderful nightís sleep including periods of
dreamless sleep, we will wake up feeling thoroughly refreshed: this is a
good indication that our energy has been recharged in the astral. It will
be most fortunate if one can remember an astral dream. If we dream of
somebody who has died, and he appears in his prime and years younger, this
is the surest sign that we are in the astral. If we have a recurrent dream
of visiting a house, which is being modified, or altered, it would signify
that we are preparing our future house in the astral. Whenever you dream
of yourself flying you are in the astral. All these dreams are very clear
and lucid and we remember them for years after that. The second way we
visit the astral is by having a near-death-experience. In this instance,
the scenes depicted are also very vivid and extremely realistic: we meet
dead relatives and friends with vistas of lovely countryside plus
personages of white light, which exudes tons of love. The next method of
arriving at the astral is by the practice of out of body experience (OBE).
OBE can, and often do, land you in this physical world, like in another
country or in your relativeís place in the same town. But a skilful
traveller can project himself to the next realm without much difficulty
and this would be the astral. Of course, the surest way to arrive at the
astral is to have a physical death, and this is the subject of this
When we are about to die our energy levels become lower and lower, and our consciousness goes in and out of our physical bodies, i.e. the spirit leaves the physical body intermittently. This goes on until the final departure, when the silver cord is severed. This cord connects the physical body to the spirit body. When the cord is finally severed, all the subtle bodies will involute and aggregate at the heart chakra. To clairvoyant eyes a light is seen hovering over the heart chakra. Then after a short while the total spirit with all its attendant auric bodies will depart from the physical body through the 7th chakra i.e. at the top of the head where the anterior fontanelle used to be. While the spirit is congregating at the heart chakra, life will slowly withdraw from the body, starting at the toes and the feet. This paralysis will slowly move up to the legs, thighs and the torso. Then the final total paralysis will coincide with the withdrawal of the spirit from the body. At the final departure, the face usually depicts calmness and peace, especially if the body has hitherto been subjected to much pain. To clairvoyant eyes this cloud of smoke emitting from the top of the head will then reform into a figure that looks exactly like the dead body on the bed.
The Spirit World
After the spirit leaves the corpse for good, several things may happen. Some of them will be met by spirit guides in their earthly bedrooms, and they are quickly led away to the spirit world by these guides. At this point they may or may not be met by relatives or friends. After some greetings and catching up of events, the individual is then led away by the guides to a place for a rest. If the subject has been ill for a long time on earth, he will be sent to a convalescent home for a prolonged rest and healing. Some, however, will either go through a dark tunnel or climb up a flight of stairs towards the white light. Here, he will meet loved ones, i.e. dead relatives or friends who will happily greet him and explain the situation he is in. Then a life review will take place: it is at this juncture that the individual will see his good deeds or his mistakes throughout the life that has just passed. Or this review may take place at a later date, when the deceased has completely recovered from the ordeal of crossing over. Little acts of kindness appear to be of importance. Then he is taken to the realm where he has earned the right to reside. This entirely depends on how the individual performed in the recent life just passed. Each of the countless realms has its own specific vibration, and the spirit will go only to that pigeonhole that he deserves. During this period, he is looked after by his guide, and this looking after may go on for some time. For those who have died a violent death, quite often they do not realise that they are dead, and are therefore very confused. The deceased sees a crowd gathering around a dead body and he goes across to find out what the commotion is all about. He sees his loved ones crying and moaning away over his own corpse, and then he begins to shout to his loved ones to say that he is all right. But, alas, it is to no avail. They cannot hear him. This scenario repeats itself in his home until finally he gets the message that he is dead. So that when the guides come to help him cross over, there may be some difficulty here because the deceased may not realise that he is dead. It will take some time before the truth sinks in. Some of these individuals will remain earth bound for a long time. The spirits who tend to be earth bound are those who are very attached to their families, their homes, their business empires or other attachments. Some stay behind because they believe that they deserve to go to hell, due to wrong religious indoctrination. The most recalcitrant are those who continue to believe that they are not dead. These earth bound spirits will appear as ghosts to those who are able to see them. Some individuals who are spiritually developed may go straight to the right realm without a guide. These individuals die with full awareness, and the trip to his rightful realm is also taken with full awareness by himself.
The Astral and Higher Realms
The spirit world is composed of innumerable interpenetrating realms around the physical world. It is not geographically far away or way up from earth. It is interpenetrating and just around us. The spirit world of China is next to the physical China. The spirit world of America is just where physical America is and so on. There are numerous men-made classifications of the spirit world. Let us use the commonest classification, namely the astral, mental and spiritual: (a) the lower astral, (b) the middle astral, (c) the higher astral, (d) lower mental, (e) higher mental, (f) the lower spiritual, (g) the higher spiritual and so on.
The Lower Astral World (Hell or Purgatory)
Whoever goes to the middle astral must pass through to the lower astral. The guides accompanying the new spirit usually ask the spirit to close his or her eyes until they reach the middle astral. An occasional individual may stumble onto the lower astral on his own when not accompanied. He may see fearful things like depressed people cowed in a dark, dank atmosphere, crowded together feeling miserable and moaning and groaning. This place is not for him, but stumbling into this realm by mistake can give him quite a scare. These regions are usually called "hell or purgatory" by Christians and others. The punishment here is more an emotional and mental affair. If one has killed someone else by stabbing, this stabbing scene will be repeated over and over again. But this time the murderer will suffer the pain of the stabbing and not the victim. This scene will continue until the murderer is contrite and asks for forgiveness from the victim, and the suffering will cease when the period of retribution is over. The murderer can then be released from the lower astral. Imagine if one is a Hitler or a Stalin, the forgiving may take a long time. We have been informed that Hitler is still there (The Testimony of Light). During the whole period while one is suffering in the lower astral, there are many guardian angels or other higher beings who will continue to go down to help these sufferers to repent and to make them ask for forgiveness. Higher spirits as well as living beings are conducting this form of rescue throughout the day and night. For the latter, the work is most arduous, dangerous and harrowing. These living helpers are truly performing a Herculean task of servicing the dead.
What is the environment of the lower astral like? This "hell" is not a place of perpetual burning fire, as what the theologians would want us to believe. Instead, the territory is dark, damp and slimy. There is no warmth. In fact, it is decidedly cold. The atmosphere is shrouded with mist, and it appears as if there is a constant cloud over the place. There is no vegetation. Flowers and trees do not grow there. Most of the terrain is rocky and uneven. There is a great danger of sliding down the rocks to pools of muck, but one cannot drown in it. Nobody can die in the spirit world. Interspersed sparsely are small shanty shacks, which contain a few sticks of furniture that are most uncomfortable to use. Here and there are groups of bent, gnarled decrepit old bodies planning evil deeds to torture their fellow residents. There is an occasional isolated person who is seen crouched miserably by himself filled with anger. There are no birds or animals present. Most of them were humans before, but up to now they have remained unrepentant. Their crimes on earth keep coming back through their minds with constant regularity, but they still remain far from contrite. The atrocities they inflicted on their fellow men and women on earth are indeed heavy, and their stay here is the result of their earthly activities. As most of them are utterly hypocritical, they maintain an air of righteous anger at the way they are treated here, not realizing that they themselves are the authors of their own plight. Amongst them were prominent religious figures, politicians and multimillionaires, who dispensed millions to charity whilst on earth. The money that they gave away was ill gotten. Individually, they all look old composing of bags and bones, and their faces and bodies are gnarled and deformed with hardly any limbs being straight. Getting about is a great strain. Their evil deeds on earth have sculptured their present demeanour, facial characteristics and bodily deformity. Some of them have inhabited these hovels for centuries, and they are still unrepentant even after numerous attempts by higher beings to change their attitudes.
The Middle and Higher Astral
Now the middle astral proper. Where is it? Geographically, it is exactly where we are, except that it is interpenetrating our world. Why donít we see it? It is like the blades of a fan. When the blades are revolving slowly, we can still see the blades moving. If they go much faster, there will come a time when our eyes cannot see the blades. This is exactly what happens. The etheric and the more subtle bodies vibrate at a much higher speed than the physical body, and consequently our eyes cannot see these bodies, except those with clairvoyant sight. That means that the astral world is not up there. It is around us. In the same fashion the higher astral realm is not visible to the lower astral inhabitants. As there are innumerable grades of the astral, and as there are also the mental, the spiritual, and the celestial and cosmic consciousness and so on, the way to enter these higher realms is to increase our own vibrations to their rates. But we cannot increase our vibrations so quickly: it takes a lot of time and effort. Therefore, if one is interested to visit someone else in the higher realm, another being with higher vibrations must escort that person up. And then it is only for a limited time; otherwise, it gets too hot and stifling for that individual who must come back down to oneís own pigeonhole immediately. In crossing over from a lower realm to a higher one we inevitably come to an invisible border beyond which we cannot traverse. The air gets thinner as the vibration rate is higher. The light becomes brighter as we approach this border. Then after crossing the border, we begin to suffocate and feel faint. Then our strength fails us. At this point if our guide, who is of higher vibration does not help us, we have to return to our own realm.
Having been welcomed by relatives and friends and having gone through the life review, they gather at a concourse like a depot. Those who have recovered from the convalescent homes may join them there or go directly to their destinations. All of them would be allocated their respective pigeonholes: these are the communities of like mind within a set range of vibrations. Their guides escort all of them to their respective destinations. Like attracts like. In one pigeonhole, all the inhabitants vibrate at the same speed, and are at the same level of spiritual development. There are no freaks or miscreants in the community. They all mirror one another: the angry will be with the angry, the loving will remain with the loving.
Now that they are settled down they can start to learn about their new environment and either make new friends or renew old acquaintances. They will notice that everything is available to them as on earth except for motorised machines like cars, lifts and aeroplanes. There are also no policemen, bankers, brokers or taxi-drivers. There are no restaurants, food-stalls, and public or private toilets. They do not eat or drink and therefore there is no necessity to excrete waste. The air is superb and not contaminated. The vegetation is wonderfully fresh and the colours of the flowers are simply exquisite: the red is redder and the green is greener. The flowers are themselves a source of energy. If you were to cup the flowers with your hands, a surge of energy will go up your two arms. The colours give out different sounds. Each colour has its own sound. The fragrances and the perfumes are magnificent. Everything is so vivid. The sounds are sharper and the musical scale is much more than the eight note octave: there appear to be natural semitones and quartertones and the musical dimension is celestially beyond human ears. It seems to wrap around you: there are no jarring sounds and there is no hard metal music.
You donít have to eat or drink. But if you were in the habit of eating, the very thought of any food would make it appear to you straightaway. After eating half way, if one does not want to continue eating, whatever food is left over will simply disappear. Sex is required in the physical world because that is the way to replenish the species, but the spirit world is populated by the death of the people on earth. Therefore, there is no necessity for physical sex. However love in the astral is very much more intense and much more satisfying than on earth. Seeing that we can have almost anything we want by merely thinking of it, there is no end of experimenting, but certain objects have to be earned as well. For instance, if we want a house in a certain locality, we have to perform enough service to have permission to have it built there. So is the type of house. Of course, we could have earned that right even when we were on earth.
How do we travel about? There are four ways. The first is to walk about like what we are doing on earth. The second way is to glide along as we travel on a travelator. The third method is to fly. The last method is to think of a place and at once we are there. This method, however, needs some practice initially. There are no cars, trains or aeroplanes or any motorised vehicles: as they are not needed. Sleep is not necessary as we do not need to rest the etheric and astral bodies. There is no sun, neither is there any moon. There is an eternal sun that is never glaring or heat producing. It is soft and glowing. However, if a group of souls want to have some darkness to simulate night for some sleep, it can be done communally, but after some time, they realise that it is not required. Similarly whole communities can change the landscape by wishing for mountains, rivers and waterfalls etc. These take time to organise. However after many aeons, the wonderful landscape is already present and it does not seem to require improving. As one goes up higher the spiritual ladder (mental and spiritual realms), there will be no sexual differences and finally there will be no form.
There are numerous halls of learning for all interests and disciplines e.g. history, mythology, mathematics, painting, music etc. There is no shortage of teachers if you are willing to learn. All the information will be displayed before you in graphic forms and around you in three or four dimensions. All the sound system will be either stereophonic or sense around. The instructions will be up to our own individual level and no higher. What about recreation? You may play all sorts of ball games or swim or ski, anything that is involved with nature. Then those who are inclined to look after animals waiting for their masters, or to care for children who have preceded their parents, may find themselves pretty busy tending to these pets and children until their respective owners and parents arrive in the astral. For the more leisurely and those who are in for aesthetic appearance, they may adorn themselves with jewels, rubies and diamonds etc. These ornaments must be earned. Most of them are given for prolonged service. Apparently the deserving ones may pluck these ornaments from the ethereal clouds. The largest and most beautiful ones are worn by higher beings of thousands of years old.
The countryside in the astral is the most exquisite. Whatever one has seen on earth, those in the astral surpass the earth by a thousand times. The meadows, streams, trees and flowers and other plants are so well cultivated that one would need a thousand gardeners on earth to have the same effect. In the astral, merely a few specialists working with the mind will suffice. Of course these specialised gardeners would have had much training on the subject. They have an advantage with the weather. There are no rain, storms, snow and winds of any kind. The atmosphere is always perfect. The plants and flowers have their own energy and they more or less grow on their own. They emit such wonderful fragrances that the perfumes of France are like cheap perfumes. The vegetation also produces musical sounds befitting the environment. The water in the streams, ponds, lakes and sea do not wet the individual. The water just falls off like very, light mercury. One can dive into the sea for a swim and the minute one gets out of the water, one is dry!
Help From the Other Side
There are numerous people who are still very attached to the earth realm and their jobs are to assist the professional on earth in their specialties, e.g. scientists, doctors, artists, musicians and healers. The last category is now appearing in full force and with one compassionate healer there maybe several spirit doctors helping out at a session. Scientists, engineers and inventors are all being inspired by spirit guides without their knowledge. All this help is to foster knowledge and wisdom on earth so as to improve the conditions in this world. Whatever new discovery or exquisite piece of art that appears on earth must have its blueprint in the astral first. And these are the areas where scientists and artistic geniuses work constantly in the spirit world.
Lastly, let us discuss race, religion and relationships. We will soon find out that the colour of our skin is only relevant on earth, as it is related to the sun and its rays. As there is no sun in the astral, the etheric and astral bodies tend to have only one colour, and after sometime we find that we are dealing only with one race or one people. The colour of the skin is adorned mainly for the earth people to recognise them when they appear before them. If one is a rabid racist, the chances are that he will end up in the lower astral. Generally, the spirits in the middle astral do not discriminate between the races, as this difference will soon disappear. However, there are still small groups and communities that are still nostalgic for their own race and religious worship. These will aggregate in Chinatowns, Dutch or Eskimo communities or Jewish ghettos. Some congregate in churches, mosques, synagogues and temples. These forms of segregation will not last as they will soon realise that there are absolutely no racial or religious differences. Their religious beliefs are not tenable because there is no religion in the spirit world. Religion is man-made and it exists only on the planet earth. These so-called churches, temples and synagogues are not places of worship. They are venues for them to get together and to welcome some visitors from the higher realms or for communal meetings. There are no radios, newspapers or televisions to announce these occasions. The announcements are made telepathically to the individuals concern. The meetings are short, but the transmission of energy and blessing is tremendously powerful.
While on earth, we come to know our immediate families very well, and near the end of our life span we would find out that our constant companions and members of our families have been with us for more than one lifetime. Some close friends also come into this category. Some relationships have improved, but some have deteriorated. After death, one realises that quite a number of these relationships are soulmates. They are there to teach us. But if one is not interested to meet anyone in the astral one can easily avoid it. Do not agree to the meeting. To meet someone in the astral, both parties must agree. Of course, most of us would like to see how our loved ones are doing in another realm and the natural tendency is to try to see them.
Movements between Realms
When we are in the higher states of the astral, and we intend to descend to the lower astral or physical world we have to reduce our speed of vibration (like using a rheostat). This is so that we do not harm the beings in the lower realms; e.g. we may hurt them with our faster vibrating energy. If we want to ascend to the higher dimensions, the best is to be accompanied by a higher being, who will change our rate of vibration by just one touch. When we appear to the living, we would look our prime, mostly in the thirtyís. In fact, shortly after our arrival in the astral we would revert to our prime. After that we would look our prime wherever we go. Whatever we have lost e.g. a limb or an eye these will be restored accordingly. In other words we become whole again.
Two stories from the Middle Astral Realm:
1) A Swarm of Wasps
Different people are affected by different afflictions. This man has always entertained criticisms and irritations in his mind while on earth. He also bore states of depression and despondency passively. So while walking in the spirit world on a lonely path, suddenly wasps were attacking him, threatening to sting him, but they did not sting. In the spirit world our feelings and impressions are multiplied a hundredfold. However after suffering these attacks for sometime, he realised that the wasps represent the irritations and criticisms he had on earth. This was confirmed by a kindly guide. The guide told him that the irritations and criticisms were held as existing entities in his mind, but as he did not act on them verbally or physically, the wasps are not stinging him. After dealing with these negative traits, the wasps stop attacking him.
2) Thorn in the flesh
A very lonely man longs for human contact in the middle astral. In a city, groups of people were gathered with their friends (on a Friendship Day), but he was alone without a single friend. Then he noticed someone he knew on earth. This other man was rich and friendly on earth, but the subject would have nothing of him then, because he thought that this rich man was intellectually his inferior. So he ignored repeatedly all the attempts of this rich man to continue the friendship while on earth. The rich man tried for years, but the subject still remained adamant. Now he stood before him. The subject had now changed and needed the rich manís friendship. So the subject went forward to him. Both were beaming and ran to each other. However, as they embraced, the subject was stung by something. So he abruptly withdrew. The rich man thought that he was being rejected again, although this was not the case. A young lady showed some kindness towards the subject, and again she held out an outstretched hand to him, but the subject again suffered a pinprick in his hand. This incident was repeated many times over and over again with other individuals. Then finally a guide came to his aid. The guide showed him that there was not only a thorn in his palm but also there was one in his heart and many others all over his body. He explained that these thorns are produced by his irritability, vanity and mistrust of others while he was on earth. In order to remove these thorns, he must face his foibles steadily, because essentially he has excellent qualities for friendship. By facing his foibles he thus removed all the thorns and future contacts did not produce any pain!
The Mental Realm
The astral body will house the soul until it graduates from the astral world. At this point, it will lose its astral form and becomes a mental body. This transition is called the second death, and it is accompanied by lots of pain and anguish, as we have to relinquish all our emotions and their attendant memories. Having promoted ourselves into the mental realm, there is now no emotional suffering, joy and sadness. Of course, we can only reach this stage only after many more earthly incarnations and spiritual improvement while in the higher astral. Service and love are the components for improvement. Then at the final graduation to the mental realm, one has to shed all emotions. That means there will be no more anger, joy, depression, happiness and all other emotions once we move on to the mental realm. That is why, this process is called the second death. In the mental realm, we maybe in a form of a ball of light or just a mere consciousness. We are left with thoughts, concepts, memories and planning and other levels of consciousness. It is easier to tap the Akashic records from this level than the lower ones. Mathematics, mental gymnastics, and other intellectual games are our past time and recreations. All these will be performed without emotion. Every thought is an action. Every concept will be a plan or a blue print. As with the lower realms telepathy is the only form of communication. You just have to think of a person millions of miles away and he will know it and he might just turn up or you go over there instantly. From here onwards one climbs up the ladder to higher spiritual realms, which are beyond the scope of this article.
For the sake of completion, one classification (out of many) beyond the mental realm will be mentioned here:
1) The World of Adoration (Buddhic Plane)
2) The World of Pure Reason (Atmic Plane), where ideas and laws which govern creation are created.
3) The Will of Creation (Monadic Plane). That means Ďwillí is the supreme force of everything.
To summarise, the spirit world is not a far away place, but it is around and interpenetrating us. As we progress and increase our vibrations we merely disappear from one plane into another higher plane, but we still remain in that same geographical location. Being in the emotional astral realm every feeling and thought is exhibited, and we are unable to hide them, unlike on earth. Divine love on this plane is much more blissful and beautiful than the erotic love on earth. Of course, when you are in the lower reaches of the middle astral realms you may have anything you desire as in the physical e.g. eating, sleeping, smoking, drinking alcohol and even physical sex. But as you progress upwards in your astral vibrations, you will find that these pursuits will get less and less satisfying, as there is no actual physical body to appreciate these activities. There is no rain, hurricane, tornado or other climatical hazards. You can pursue any recreation, hobby or work that interests you. There will be teachers, libraries and laboratories etc to assist you. Or you can loaf and be idle as long as you want, but sooner or later you will catch on to some work that has always been interesting to you. You may stay a few years or even thousands of years in the astral. It all depends on your state of progress and how much work you brought back from earth to complete. When you are more developed you may want to help your friends and colleagues on earth while you are still in the astral. You are allowed this privilege only when you have earned enough karmic merit. However most of us who are in this stage of development stay between one to two hundred years in the astral. The very developed may want to go down in haste to complete a project he has or she has started. The decision to come back to earth is a weighty one, even for Bodhisattvas. The astral is definitely a much better place to be in.
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