[Lucifer, Vol. I, No. 3, November, 1887, pp. 229-230]
As the Editors of Lucifer kindly invite questions concerning Theosophy and kindred subjects, an honest enquirer into these matters would welcome an answer to the following difficulty:
In his book on Esoteric Buddhism, Mr. Sinnett states that souls or spirits pass the long interval between the one incarnation and another in a sort of quiescent, and at least half-unconscious, state, losing enough of their identity to preclude their carrying any-recollection of one incarnation on to the next. In his novel, Karma, Mr. Sinnett represents one character, Mrs. Lakesby, gifted with more than usual powers, as being very fond, when she has the chance, of allowing her spirit to escape from the trammels of the body and meeting the spirits of departed—that is, dead friends—“and others” on the Astral plane where she holds agreeable converse with them.
How are these two statements reconcilable?
October 22nd, 1887.
Mr. Sinnett would probably reply that the answer could only be given fully by reprinting all that he has written in various published works, on the conditions of existence in Kama-Loka, and Devachan, and on the higher and lower aspects of Self. The normal course of events will conduct a human being who quits the material body through Kama-Loka to the Devachanic state, in which Mrs. Lakesby would not be able to interview him. But while in Kama-Loka she might at least imagine she did this, and, perhaps not too wisely, indulge in the practice of so doing. If we remember rightly, the Baron
in Karma, who is represented as knowing a good deal more than Mrs. Lakesby, gifted as she is, throws some discredit upon her view concerning the Astral plane and its inhabitants. At the best when a clairvoyant can gain touch with a soul in Kama-Loka, it is the lower self` remaining there, though it has left the body, that she deals with. And though that lower self may be very recognizable for people who have known it in the earthly manifestation, it will be lower than the lower self of earth and not higher because ethereal. That is to say on earth the living man is more or less under the guidance of his higher sell` But the higher has no longer any business to transact with the lower self of Kama-Loka, and does not manifest there at all.
Finally it must always be remembered that a romance, even though written by an Occultist, is a romance still, designed to suggest broad conceptions rather than to expound scientific and doctrinal details.