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Theosophical Siftings

Astral Bodies or Doppelgangers

Vol 5, No 10

Astral Bodies or Doppelgangers


by H.P. Blavatsky and Mabel Collins
Reprinted from "Theosophical Siftings" Volume 5 The Theosophical u!lishing Societ", #ngland

M. C. $reat confusion e%ists in the minds of people a!out the &arious 'inds of apparitions, (raiths, ghosts, or spirits) *ught (e not to e%plain once for all the meaning of these terms+ ,ou sa" there are &arious 'inds of "dou!les" (hat are the"+ H. P. B. *ur occult philosoph" teaches us that there are three 'inds of "dou!les", to use the (ord in its (idest sense) -irst, man has his "dou!le" or shadow, properl" so called, around (hich the ph"sical !od" of the foetus the future man . is !uilt) The imagination of the mother, or an accident (hich affects the child, (ill affect also the astral !od") The astral and the ph"sical !oth e%ist !efore the mind is de&eloped into action, and !efore the tm a(a'es) This occurs (hen the child is se&en "ears old, and (ith it comes the responsi!ilit" attaching to a conscious sentient !eing) This "dou!le" is !orn (ith man, dies (ith him, and can ne&er separate itself far from the !od" during life, and though sur&i&ing him, it disintegrates, pari passu, (ith the corpse) /t is this (hich is sometimes seen o&er the gra&es li'e a luminous figure of the man that (as, during certain atmospheric conditions) -rom its ph"sical aspect it is, during life, man0s &ital dou!le, and after death, onl" the gases gi&en off from the deca"ing !od") But, as regards its origin and essence, it is something more) This dou!le is (hat (e ha&e agreed to call Lingasarira, !ut (hich / (ould propose to call, for greater con&enience, " rotean" or " lastic Bod")" M. C. 1h" rotean or lastic+ H. P. B. rotean, !ecause it can assume all forms2 e.g), the "shepherd magicians" (hom popular rumor accuses, perhaps not (ithout some reason, of !eing "(ere3(ol&es", and "mediums in ca!inets", (hose o(n " lastic Bodies" pla" the part of materiali4ed grandmothers and "5ohn 6ings") *ther(ise, (h" the in&aria!le custom of the "dear departed angels" to come out !ut little further than arm0s length from the medium, (hether entranced or not+ 7ind, / do not at all den" foreign influences in this 'ind of phenomena) But / do affirm that foreign interference is rare, and that the materiali4ed form is al(a"s that of the medium0s 8Astral9, or rotean !od") M. C. :o( is this astral !od" created+ [Page 4] H. P. B. /t is not created2 it gro(s, as / told "ou, (ith the man and e%ists in the rudimentar" condition e&en !efore the child is !orn) M. C. And (hat a!out the second+ age 1

Theosophical Siftings

Astral Bodies or Doppelgangers

Vol 5, No 10

H. P. B. The second is the "Thought" !od", or Dream !od", rather2 'no(n among *ccultists as the Myvi Rpa, or "/llusion3!od"") During life this image is the &ehicle !oth of thought and of the animal passions and desires, dra(ing at one and the same time from the lo(est terrestrial Manas ;mind< and Kma, the element of desire) /t is dual in its potentialit", and after death forms (hat is called in the #ast ht, or 6=ma R>pa, !ut (hich is !etter 'no(n to Theosophists as the "Spoo'") M. C. And the third+ H. P. B. The third is the true !go, called in the #ast !" a name meaning "?ausal3!od"," !ut (hich in the trans-:imala"an schools is al(a"s called the "6armic !od"", (hich is the same) -or 6arma, or action, is the cause (hich produces incessant re!irths or "reincarnations)" /t is not the Monad, nor is it 7anas proper2 !ut is, in a (a", indissolu!l" connected (ith, and a compound of the 7onad and 7anas in De&achan) M. C. Then there are three dou!les+ H. P. B. /f "ou call the ?hristian and other Trinities "three $ods", then there are three dou!les) But in truth there is onl" one under three aspects or phases@ the most material portion disappearing (ith the !od"2 the middle one sur&i&ing !oth as an independent !ut temporar" entit" in the land of shado(s2 the third, immortal throughout the 7an&antara, unless Nir&ana puts an end to it !efore) M. C. But shall not (e !e as'ed (hat difference there is !et(een the 7="=&i and 6=ma 3R>pa, or as "ou propose to call them the "Dream !od"" and the "Spoo'"+ H. P. B. 7ost li'el", and (e shall ans(er, in addition to (hat has !een said, that the "thought3po(er" or aspect of the 7="=&i or "/llusion3!od"", merges after death entirel" into the ?ausal !od" or the conscious, thin"ing #go) The animal elements, or po(er of desire of the "Dream !od"", a!sor!ing after death that (hich it has collected ;through its insatia!le desire to live< during life2 i.e), all the astral &italit" as (ell as all the impressions of its material acts and thoughts (hile it li&ed in possession of the !od", forms the "Spoo'" or 6=m= R>pa. *ur Theosophists 'no( (ell enough that after death the :igher 7anas unites (ith the 7onad and passes into De&achan, (hile the dregs of the Ao(er 7anas or animal mind go to form this Spoo') [Page 5] This has life in it, !ut hardl" an" consciousness, e%cept, as it (ere, !" pro%"2 (hen it is dra(n into the current of a medium) M. C) /s it all that can !e said upon the su!Bect+ H. P. B) -or the present this is enough metaph"sics, / guess) Aet us hold to the "Dou!le" in its earthl" phase) 1hat (ould "ou 'no(+ M. C. #&er" countr" in the (orld !elie&es more or less in the "dou!le" or doppelganger) The simplest form of this is the appearance of a man0s phantom, the moment after his death, or at the instant of death, age C

Theosophical Siftings

Astral Bodies or Doppelgangers

Vol 5, No 10

to his dearest friend) /s this appearance the 7="=&i R>pa# H. P. B. /t is2 !ecause produced !" the thought of the d"ing man) M. C. /s it unconscious+ H. P. B. /t is unconscious to the e%tent that the d"ing man does not generall" do it 'no(ingl"2 nor is he a(are that he so appears) 1hat happens is this) /f he thin's &er" intentl" at the moment of death of the person he either is &er" an%ious to see, or lo&es !est, he ma" appear to that person) The thought !ecomes o!Becti&e2 the dou!le, or shado( of a man, !eing nothing !ut the faithful reproduction of him, li'e a reflection in a mirror@ that (hich the man does, e&en in thought, that the dou!le repeats) This is (h" the phantoms are often seen in such cases in the clothes the" (ear at the particular moment, and the image reproduces e&en the e%pression on the d"ing man0s face) /f the dou!le of a man !athing (ere seen it (ould seem to !e immersed in (ater2 so (hen a man (ho has !een dro(ned appears to his friend, the image (ill !e seen to !e dripping (ith (ater) The cause for the apparition ma" also !e re&ersed2 i.e), the d"ing man ma" or ma" not !e thin'ing at all of the particular person his image appears to, !ut it is that person (ho is sensiti&e) *r perhaps his s"mpath" or his hatred for the indi&idual (hose (raith is thus e&o'ed is &er" intense ph"sicall" or ps"chicall"2 and in this case the apparition is created !", and depends upon the intensit" of the thought) 1hat then happens is this) Aet us call the d"ing man A, and him (ho sees the dou!le B) The latter, o(ing to lo&e, hate, or fear, has the image of A so deepl" impressed on his ps"chic memor", that actual magnetic attraction and repulsion are esta!lished !et(een the t(o, (hether one 'no(s of it and feels it, or not) 1hen A dies, the si%th sense or ps"chic spiritual intelligence of the inner man in B !ecomes cogni4ant of the change in A, and forth(ith appri4es the ph"sical senses of the man !" proBecting !efore his e"e the form of A as it is at the instant of the great change) The same (hen the d"ing man longs to see some one2 his thought telegraphs [Page 6] to his friend, consciousl" or unconsciousl" along the (ire of s"mpath", and !ecomes o!Becti&e) This is (hat the "Spoo'ical" Research Societ" (ould pompousl", !ut none the less muddil", call telepathi$ impa$t) M. C. This applies to the simplest form of the appearance of the dou!le) 1hat a!out cases in (hich the dou!le does that (hich is contrar" to the feeling and (ish of the man+ H. P. B. This is impossi!le) The "Dou!le" cannot act, unless the 'e"3note of this action (as struc' in the !rain of the man to (hom the "Dou!le" !elongs, !e that man Bust dead, or ali&e, in good or in !ad health) /f he paused on the thought a second, long enough to gi&e it form, !efore he passed on to other mental pictures, this one second is as sufficient for the o%&e$tivi'ation of his personalit" on the astral (a&es, as for "our face to impress itself on the sensiti4ed plate of a photographic apparatus) Nothing pre&ents "our form, then !eing sei4ed upon !" the surrounding -orces . as a dr" leaf fallen from a tree is ta'en up and carried a(a" !" the (ind . and made to caricature or distort "our thought) M. C. Supposing the dou!le e%presses in actual (ords a thought uncongenial to the man, and e%presses it . let us sa" to a friend far a(a", perhaps on another continent+ / ha&e 'no(n instances of this occurring)

age D

Theosophical Siftings

Astral Bodies or Doppelgangers

Vol 5, No 10

H. P. B. Because it then so happens that the created image is ta'en up and used !" a "Shell") 5ust as in sEance3rooms (hen "images" of the dead . (hich ma" perhaps !e lingering unconsciousl" in the memor" or e&en the auras of those present . are sei4ed upon !" the #lementals or #lementar" Shado(s and made o!Becti&e to the audience, and e&en caused to act at the !idding of the strongest of the man" different (ills in the room) /n "our case, moreo&er, there must e%ist a connecting lin' . a telegraph (ire . !et(een the t(o persons, a point of ps"chic s"mpath", and on this the thought tra&els instantl") *f course there must !e, in e&er" case, some strong reason (h" that particular thought ta'es that direction2 it must !e connected in some (a" (ith the other person) *ther(ise such apparitions (ould !e of common and dail" occurrence) M. C. This seems &er" simple2 (h" then does it onl" occur (ith e%ceptional persons+ H. P. B) Because the plastic po(er of the imagination is much stronger in some persons than in others) The mind is dual in its potentialit"@ it is ph"sical and metaph"sical) The higher part of the mind is connected (ith the spiritual soul or Buddhi, the lo(er (ith the [Page 7] animal soul, the 6=ma principle) There are persons (ho ne&er thin' (ith the higher faculties of their minds at all2 those (ho do so are the minorit" and are thus, in a (a", %eyond, if not a!o&e, the a&erage of human 'ind) These (ill thin' e&en upon ordinar" matters on that higher plane) The idios"ncras" of the person determines in (hich "principle" of the mind the thin'ing is done, as also the faculties of a preceding life, and sometimes the heredit" of the ph"sical) This is (h" it is so &er" difficult for a materialist . the metaph"sical portion of (hose !rain is almost atrophied . to raise himself, or for one (ho is naturall" spirituall" minded to descend to the le&el of the matter3of3fact &ulgar thought) *ptimism and pessimism depend on it also in a great measure) M. C. But the ha!it of thin'ing in the higher mind can !e de&eloped . else there (ould !e no hope for persons (ho (ish to alter their li&es and raise themsel&es+ And that this is possi!le must !e true, or there (ould !e no hope for the (orld) H. P. B) ?ertainl" it can !e de&eloped, !ut onl" (ith great difficult", a firm determination, and through much self3sacrifice) But it is comparati&el" eas" for those (ho are !orn (ith the gift) 1h" is it that one person sees poetr" in a ca!!age or a pig (ith her little ones, (hile another (ill percei&e in the loftiest things onl" their lo(est and most material aspect, (ill laugh at the "music of the spheres", and ridicule the most su!lime conceptions and philosophies+ This difference depends simpl" on the innate po(er of the mind to thin' on the higher or on the lo(er plane, (ith the astral ;in the sense gi&en to the (ord !" St) 7artin<, or (ith the ph"sical !rain) $reat intellectual po(ers are often no proof of, !ut are impediments to spiritual and right conceptions2 (itness most of the great men of science) 1e must rather pit" than !lame them) M. C. But ho( is it that the person (ho thin's on the higher plane produces more perfect and more potential images and o!Becti&e forms !" his thought+ H. P. B. Not necessaril" that "person" alone, !ut all those (ho are generall" sensiti&es) The person (ho is endo(ed (ith this facult" of thin'ing a!out e&en the most trifling things from the higher plane of thought has, !" &irtue of that gift (hich he possesses, a plastic po(er of formation, so to sa", in his &er" age F

Theosophical Siftings

Astral Bodies or Doppelgangers

Vol 5, No 10

imagination) 1hate&er such a person ma" thin' a!out, his thought (ill !e so far more intense than the thought of an ordinar" person, that !" this &er" intensit" it o!tains the po(er of creation) Science has esta!lished the fact that thought is an energ") This energ" in its action distur!s the atoms of the astral [Page ] atmosphere around us) / alread" told "ou2 the ra"s of thought ha&e the same potentialit" for producing forms in the astral atmosphere as the sunra"s ha&e (ith regard to a lens) #&er" thought so e&ol&ed (ith energ" from the !rain, creates, nolens volens a shape) M. C. /s that shape a!solutel" unconscious+ H. P. B) erfectl" unconscious unless it is the creation of an Adept, (ho has a preconcei&ed o!Bect in gi&ing it consciousness, or rather in sending along (ith it enough of his (ill and intelligence to cause it to appear conscious) This ought to ma'e us more cautious a!out our thoughts) But the (ide distinction that o!tains !et(een the Adept in this matter and the ordinar" man must !e !orne in mind) The Adept ma" at his (ill use his 7="=&i R>pa, !ut the ordinar" man does not, e%cept in &er" rare cases) /t is called 7="=&i R>pa !ecause it is a form of illusion created for use in the particular instance, and it has Guite enough of the Adept0s mind in it to accomplish its purpose) The ordinar" man merel" creates a thought3image, (hose properties and po(ers are at the time (holl" un'no(n to him) M. C. Then one ma" sa" that the form of an Adept appearing at a distance from his !od", as for instance Ram Aal in Mr. (saa$s, is simpl" an image+ H. P. B) #%actl") /t is a (al'ing thought) M. C. /n (hich case an Adept can appear in se&eral places almost simultaneousl") H. P. B) :e can) 5ust as Apollonius of T"ana, (ho (as seen in t(o places at once, (hile his !od" (as at Rome) But it must !e understood that not all of e&en the astral Adept is present in each appearance) M. C. Then it is &er" necessar" for a person of an" amount of imagination and ps"chic po(ers to attend to their thoughts+ H. P. B) ?ertainl", for each thought has a shape (hich !orro(s the appearance of the man engaged in the action of (hich he thought) *ther(ise ho( can clair&o"ants see in "our aura "our past and present+ 1hat the" see is a passing panorama of "ourself represented in successi&e actions !" "our thoughts) ,ou as'ed me if (e are punished for our thoughts) Not for all, for some are still3!orn2 !ut for the others, those (hich (e call "silent" !ut potential thoughts . "es) Ta'e an e%treme case, such as that of a person (ho is so (ic'ed as to (ish the death of another) Hnless the e&il3(isher is a Dugpa, a high Adept in !lac' magic, in (hich case 6arma is dela"ed, such a (ish onl" comes !ac' to roost)

age 5

Theosophical Siftings

Astral Bodies or Doppelgangers

Vol 5, No 10

M. C. But supposing the e&il3(isher to ha&e a &er" strong (ill, (ithout !eing a Dugpa, could the death of the other !e accomplished+ H. P. B) *nl" if the malicious person has the e&il e"e, (hich simpl" means possessing enormous plastic po(er of imagination (or'ing in&oluntaril", and thus turned unconsciousl" to !ad uses) -or (hat is the po(er of the "e&il e"e"+ Simpl" a great plastic po(er of thought, so great as to produce a current impregnated (ith the potentialit" of e&er" 'ind of misfortune and accident, (hich inoculates, or attaches itself to an" person (ho comes (ithin it) A &ettatore ;one (ith the e&il e"e< need not !e e&en imaginati&e, or ha&e e&il intentions or (ishes) :e ma" !e simpl" a person (ho is naturall" fond of (itnessing or reading a!out sensational scenes, such as murder, e%ecutions, accidents, etc), etc) :e ma" !e not e&en thin'ing of an" of these at the moment his e"e meets his future &ictim) But the currents ha&e !een produced and e%ist in his &isual ra" read" to spring into acti&it" the instant the" find suita!le soil, li'e a seed fallen !" the (a" and read" to sprout at the first opportunit") M. C. But ho( a!out the thoughts "ou call "silent"+ Do such (ishes or thoughts come home to roost+ H. P. B) The" do2 Bust as a !all (hich fails to penetrate an o!Bect re!ounds upon the thro(er) This happens e&en to some Dugpas or sorcerers (ho are not strong enough, or do not compl" (ith the rules . for e&en the" ha&e rules the" ha&e to a!ide !" . !ut not (ith those (ho are regular, full" de&eloped "!lac' magicians"2 for such ha&e the po(er to accomplish (hat the" (ish) M. C. 1hen "ou spea' of rules it ma'es me (ant to (ind up this tal' !" as'ing "ou (hat e&er"!od" (ants to 'no( (ho ta'es an" interest in *ccultism) 1hat is a principal or important suggestion for those (ho ha&e these po(ers and (ish to control them rightl" . in fact to enter occultism+ H. P. B) The first and most important step in *ccultism is to learn ho( to adapt "our thoughts and ideas to "our plastic potenc") M. C. 1h" is this so important+ H. P. B. Because other(ise "ou are creating things !" (hich "ou ma" !e ma'ing !ad 6arma) No one should go into *ccultism or e&en touch it !efore he is perfectl" acGuainted (ith his o(n po(ers, and that he 'no(s ho( to commensurate it (ith his actions) And this he can do onl" !" deepl" stud"ing the philosoph" of *ccultism !efore entering upon the pra$ti$al training) *ther(ise, as sure as fate . :# 1/AA
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age I