Chapter XI : Realities and Illusions
Pages covered : p. 483-487 (Volume I)
Continuing the discourse on the phenomenon of Suspended Animation and on the signs of real death as distinguished from the apparent death, the teachings of the Occult philosophy is given by the Teachers, by which students can discern the vast hiatus between Occult Science and modern Science.
Many a remarkable recorded cases of suspended animation in the 19th century is given. No doubt numerous cases of the phenomenon are recorded in the contemporary times also. We only have to seek them and bring them to light.
The remarkable case of the wife of a wealthy merchant in Moscow is cited. She was in a cataleptic state for seventeen days and the civic authorities of Moscow made attempts to dispose off the body. But the family members were wiser in that, having noticed that the decomposition of the body had not set-in, averted the funeral ceremony. After seventeen days she spontaneously revived and lived
Even our modern day medical profession would have pronounced her dead. This only shows that the medical profession even today is unable to be absolutely certain when exactly a person is really dead, as the occult inner-life dynamics are out of the reach of the methods of modern empirical science. What are the occult laws in operation in such cases ?
In cases of spontaneous re-animation of the dead, the recovery is due to an effort of the spirit of the dead person, which may be provoked by numerous causes. In such cases, as well in those cases in which the dead is brought back to life by the exercise of the will power of the thaumaturgist :
The astral body of the dead person has not parted from the physical body; the external functions are simply suspended; the subject is not really dead but in a state of torpor, and restoration is nothing but a recovery from it.
What do Kabalists say as contrasted with the views of modern medicine?
They say that death occurs at the instant when both the astral body (or the life-principle) and the spirit part for ever. Those who can see without error on inner hidden planes of being can know it.
Modern science, confined to the physical laws alone, cannot know the moment of separation of the inner from the outer man. Moreover, modern science denies both the astral body and the spirit, but admits nothing more than the life-principle. It, therefore, judges death when life is apparently absent. So, the criteria by which modern science judges death are : cessation of the functions of the heart and the lungs; setting-in of rigor mortis; and setting-in of decomposition of the body.
But the annals of modern medicine is full of recorded cases of “suspended animation” of people pronounced dead due to asphyxiation by drowning, inhalation of gases and other causes. Persons apparently dead due to drowning, even after 12 hours, have recovered.
There is still a most remarkable phenomenon of clear signs of death of those who go into somnambulistic trance. In such cases all the signs of clinical death are apparent.. Breathing and pulse are extinct, body heat has disappeared, muscles are rigid, eyes glazed and body colourless. A case of one Colonel Townhend is cited. He had a remarkable gift of dying any instant and recovering from death. He threw himself into trance before three medical professionals, who, finding all signs of death clearly present, were persuaded that he was dead. He then slowly revived and came back to life.
It may be noted that this power of voluntary suspended animation and revival after days and months of apparent death is quite common among Indian Yogis and Fakirs. They know practically the science of Life in both the physical and the metaphysical aspects.
Signs of Real Death
A man is not dead when the body is cold, stiff, pulseless, breathless, and even when displaying signs of decomposition. A man is not dead when buried, not afterwards, until a certain point is reached. That point is : when the vital organs have become so decomposed, that if re-animated, they could not perform their customary functions; the mainspring and the cogs of the machine, so to speak, are so rusted that they would snap upon turning the key. Until that point is reached, the astral body may be caused, without miracle, to re-enter its former tabernacle : either by its own will, or under the resistless impulse of the will of the one who knows the potencies of nature and how to direct them.
Limits of suspended animation and revival
How do Fakirs remain apparently dead for weeks and months and revive ? What are the limitations ? Prof. William Gregory’s Letters on Animal Magnetism is cited in which is described cases of most profound clairvoyant catalepsy, obtained by the famous 19th century Mesmerist, Baron Du Potet. The spirit is so far disengaged from the body that it is impossible to re-enter it without the effort of the mesmerizer’s will. The subject is practically dead, and, left to itself, the spirit would escape for ever. But the half-freed spirit is still tied to the body by a magnetic cord. It is described by the clairvoyants as appearing dark and smoky by contrast with the ineffable brightness of the astral atmosphere through which they look.
Once the magnetic thread is snapped, nothing can make the spirit to reanimate the body it has left. As long as the cord is intact, strong will of the mesmerizer can force it back into the body.
The great French Occultist, Eliphas Levy, says that resuscitation is possible while the vital organism remains undestroyed, and the astral spirit is within reach.
Making statues walk and talk.
The same knowledge and control of occult forces, by which a Fakir can temporarily leave the body and re-enter it at will, or force the astral spirit of the dead person to re-animate the body it has quit, as did Jesus, Elisha, Hierophants can also animate statues, make them walk and talk like living men, and even prophecy.
It is by the same knowledge and power that Paracelsus, the famous but misunderstood Occultist of 15th century Europe, to animate mandrogora (mandrake plants), Moses to cover Egypt with frogs and other pets, Aaron to turn his rod into a snake and a budding branch. There is nothing miraculous in this any more than the modern bio-chemists is able to culture a given kind of bacteria in his laboratory. The difference between the two is that the field of research of the former extended far into metaphysics and the latter is limited to physical and biological laws.
While modern science speculates on artificial intelligence, and creates it in robotics, still the hiatus between it and the truly human consciousness is impassable. But the ancients had the knowledge of infusing life and superior consciousness in inanimate objects making them talk, move about like living beings, and impart knowledge, prognosticate future events.
Ancient Theurgists and prophets performed wondrous feats by a thorough knowledge of the god-like powers of man who is the Micrcosm of the Macrocosm :
When the present perfected European civilization was yet in its formative years, Occult Philosophy, already hoary with age, speculated upon the attributes of man by analogy with those of the Creator, and great Occultists demonstrated to their pupils by the example of their own persons how far could the god-like powers can be developed in man, the Microcosmos.