Cremation

(1) These taints to which humanity is prone, are found in the soil, and their presence there is largely due to burial, down the ages, of millions of corpses. By the increased use of the processes of cremation, this condition will be steadily improved. Gradually, very gradually, the taint will thus die out. It is therefore highly desirable that there be as much propaganda as possible for the use of this method of disposing of the discarded physical vehicles of the souls who are passing out of incarnation. As the soil becomes less tainted, and as soul contact is established, we can hope to see a steady decrease in the number of those who succumb to the inherited taints.

(2) Much good will be brought about through the growing custom to cremate those forms which the indwelling life has vacated; when it is an universal custom, we shall see a definite minimising of disease, leading to longevity and increased vitality.

(3) It is a fortunate and happy thing that cremation is becoming increasingly the rule. Before so very long, burial in the ground will be against the law, and cremation will be enforced, and this as a health and sanitation measure. Those unhealthy, psychic spots, called cemeteries, will eventually disappear, just as ancestor worship is passing out, both in the Orient – with its ancestor cults – and in the Occident – with its equally foolish cult of hereditary position.

By the use of fire, all forms are dissolved; the quicker the human physical vehicle is destroyed, the quicker is its hold upon the withdrawing soul broken. A great deal of nonsense has been told in current theosophical literature about the time equation in relation to the sequential destruction of the subtle bodies. It should be stated, however, that the moment that true death is scientifically established (by the orthodox doctor in charge of the case), and it has been ascertained that no spark of life remains in the physical body, cremation is then possible. This complete or true death eventuates when the thread of consciousness and the thread of life, are completely withdrawn from the head and the heart. At the same time, reverence and an unhurried attitude have their rightful place in the process. The family of the dead person need a few hours in which to adjust themselves to the fact of the imminent disappearance of the outer and usually loved form; due care must also be given to the formalities required by the state or municipality. This time element has reference mainly to those who are left behind, to the living and not to the dead. The claim that the etheric body must not be rushed into the cremating flames, and the belief that it must be left to drift around for a stated period of several days, have also no true basis at all. There is no etheric need for delay. When the inner man withdraws from his physical vehicle, he withdraws simultaneously from the etheric body. It is true that the etheric body is apt to linger for a long time on the “field of emanation” when the physical body is interred, and it will frequently persist until complete disintegration of the dense body has taken place. The process of mummifying, as practised in Egypt, and of embalming, as practised in the West, have been responsible for the perpetuation of the etheric body, sometimes for centuries. This is particularly the case when the mummy or embalmed person was of an evil character during life; the hovering etheric body is then often “possessed” by an evil entity or force. This is the cause of the attacks and disasters which often dog the steps of those who discover ancient tombs and their inhabitants, ancient mummies, and bring them and their possessions to light. Where cremation is the rule, there is not only the immediate destruction of the physical body, and its restitution to the fount of substance, but the vital body is also promptly dissolved, and its forces swept away by the current of flame into the reservoir of vital energies. Of that reservoir it has ever been an inherent part, either in form or in a formless condition. After death and cremation these forces will exist, but are absorbed into the analogous whole. Ponder on this statement, for it will give you the clue to the creative work of the human spirit. If delay is necessary from family feeling or municipal requirements, cremation should follow death within thirty-six hours; where no reason for delay exists, cremation can be rightly permitted in twelve hours. It is wise, however, to wait twelve hours in order to ensure true death.

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