WHEN a man or an animal dies a violent death, it is not an immediate separation that takes place between body and soul. There are many principles to be considered, each, as it were, incased in an outer, like a nest of Chinese boxes, or the spiral of a cone. And the lower consciousness can be reanimated in the physical body by physical means. This is the consciousness related to nerve-stimulation and reflex action, as involuntary gesture and all animal functions. It is only by degrees that the soul disengages itself, and its skirts linger long in the physical system, and can be detained artificially.
All the component elements of the body polarise to form a unity which is as a sun to the system. But this polarisation is fourfold, and the central and inmost point of radiance is not objective, but subjective. That which reflects is molecular; that which shines is non-molecular. Force, or spirit, is non-molecular. That, therefore, is alone one and indivisible, and it is subjective. When Psyche is one with the spirit, she too becomes subjective. It has been said, "All things are by infinite gradation, and Psyche is reached by innumerable degrees; so that they who have not penetrated to the inner, stop short at the secondary consciousness, and imagine that to be the subjective." Psyche, so long as existence 2 lasts, is a mirror to the spirit, she reflects, and is therefore molecular. But she is gradually in process of at-one-ment; she and the spirit mutually attract and permeate each other. She will, then, finally become non-molecular and entirely subjective. Therefore the higher the entity undergoing death, the easier the detachment of Psyche from the lower consciousnesses which enshrine her. For the nearer she is to being herself a radiant point, the nearer she is to unity and spiritual subjectivity. The
saint does not fear death because his consciousness is gathered up into Psyche, and she into her spouse. "The grave--that is the physical and astral consciousness--cannot retain the holy Virgin." The whole object of incarnation is to buildup a spiritual counterpart, subjective and substantial. Now, when once the radii of the physical and astral molecules have polarised a radiant point interior and superior to themselves, no injury or mutilation of the physical ego will affect the subjective ego. As a matter of fact, physical bodies are constantly changing and interchanging their particles; portions of other bodies are engrafted continually within them; but there is no change in the unity or continuity of the higher consciousness. This is because the true unity is not objective, but subjective. The true "Son of man" is "in heaven," and it is his body and anima bruta only which are on earth. Most of the mistakes of the materialists arise from understanding localities and things when they should understand conditions and principles. Of course a subjective entity cannot be localised in space or duration. Potentially the soul is always eternal, although brought into relation with the objective through time. It is therefore a mistake to suppose that the soul is in the body in the same sense as the watery humours of the body. The soul is in the body only in the sense in which Arche is in the universe; that is, she is interior to it in the fourth dimension, of which, objectively, no idea can be formed. If there were no other consciousness inherent in man than the lower consciousness of the cells, there could be no self-consciousness, or unity of thought. The cerebral sense would not be reflected in knowledge, and man would not be cognisant of his apprehensions and perceptions. Continuity of memory and will must belong to one, and must be positive and absolute, that is, when they relate to higher selfhood.
As regards the lower consciousness, it is easy to understand that in the case of violent death, death is not instantaneous. The stroke of the sword which divides the physical head from the physical trunk may indeed be instantaneous, but this physical separation does not constitute death, and this process is not really complete until the phantom is wholly disengaged. So long as it is present, of course, any physical aid given to the nerve-cells permits the manifestation of its forces. But when it has wholly abandoned the body such aid would be furnished in vain. The fluidic body is so tenuous and elastic that no mere separation of the physical frame would suffice to destroy its integrity.
123:1 Home, August 23, 1883. Referred to in Life of Anna Kingsford, Vol. ii, p. 136.
123:2 The state of manifested as distinguished from unmanifested being. E. M.