Meher Baba

Lower spirits are those beings without physical forms whose sanskaras remain to be wiped out. They cannot progress after death until their unfinished sanskaras are worked out. As a consequence, they wander about on the lower Astral plane. For this reason, they are a source of harassment to living people.

Suppose a man is destined to have a life span of forty years, but he commits suicide when he is thirty. Consequently, for the remaining ten year period of unexpressed sanskaras, his spirit inhabits the lower planes, and at times is seen by some people as a spirit or ghost.

To hold seances or to talk with the dead is no great thing, because such spirits are always among us on this living plane. There are advanced yogis and munis who converse with these ghosts who have committed suicide, as well as with the spirits of the higher planes. These advanced souls communicate without using a medium. They live on both levels.

2 June 1925, Meherabad, LM2 p720

Ghosts are people who have committed suicide and have no body. They enter another body, and then make the body of whomsoever they enter do as they wish.

15 December 1927, Ahmednagar, LM3 p994

Although the Gross is the outcome of the Subtle and is dependent on the latter, the Subtle is completely independent of the Gross...

To begin experiencing gradually but with full consciousness the Subtle universe means getting initiated into the first mystical journey. In other words, when a soul, through the media of the mind and the Subtle organs, begins to experience in full consciousness the Subtle sphere - just as a man of the world experiences, through the media of the mind and the Gross organs, the Gross sphere in full consciousness - he can be said to have entered the Path and acquired some gnosis.

Of the seven stages or planes of the first journey, the first four belong to the Subtle sphere. But this does not mean that communications with and glimpses of the spirits of the dead amount to an experience of the Subtle sphere.

In a way, even an ordinary dream is also a subconscious experience of the Subtle, because everyone necessarily makes an actual use of one's Subtle body in the dreaming state. But be it noted, through that body one experiences different sensations and happenings pertaining to the Gross only. In other words, the ordinary dreaming state is the experiencing of the Gross through the Subtle means in the subconscious state.

Of course the case regarding communications with the spirits of the dead is not the same as that of the dreaming state. Just as a man in the ordinary dreaming state uses his Subtle body subconsciously, and thereby experiences different sensations pertaining to the Gross sphere, so in certain cases a man can consciously so use his Gross organs as to get the experiences of the Semi-Subtle sphere. And this amounts to being able to have communications with, or getting glimpses of, the spirits of the dead. Therefore spirit communication is the experience of the Semi-Subtle through the Gross means in the conscious state. It is not at all a mark of advancement on the divine Path, as it has nothing to do with the gnosis, the Subtle sphere and the planes.

There lies a world of difference between the Subtle and the Semi-Subtle. The Semi-Subtle is the link between the Gross and the Subtle spheres. The spirits of all human beings (with the exception of those who have gone beyond the fourth plane, or the stage of the first journey) come to this Semi-Subtle sphere. And according to their sanskaras, they either go to heaven or to hell, from which they again return to the Semi-Subtle sphere, without, however, necessarily being aware of it.

It is the spirits that are in the 'waiting room' of the Semi-Subtle sphere who are likely to enter into communications with those who are in the Gross sphere. They may either be on the point of going to heaven or hell, or may have finished their terms of pleasure and pain in heaven or hell, as the case may be. Or they may be directly awaiting reincarnation following the last physical death. But it is only these spirits that can be communicated with, though not always with a mathematical precision as believed by many.

As to the various descriptions of the conditions prevailing in the Semi-Subtle sphere and in heaven or hell, which are purported to come from such spirits, some of these are in some way or other true. But it is not proper to attach importance to them. The Semi-Subtle sphere, and even heaven and hell, and the respective happiness and sufferings in them, are not of real existence. The experiences in the Semi-Subtle are like those in a dream. And heaven and hell are nothing but states in which the jeevatma (individual soul), according to his good or bad sanskaras, experiences Subtle enjoyments and miseries respectively through the Subtle organs. When the jeevatma gets Self-realised, heaven and hell are found to have been imaginary existences, just as one, who in the dreaming state enjoys and suffers, finds the dream experiences devoid of reality when one gets up.

Worldly people can never enter into communication with higher spirits, i.e. spirits belonging to the Subtle, Mental and Super-Mental spheres. For though the spirits of the Subtle and also, in some cases, of the Mental spheres, have to reincarnate, they don't have to stay in the Semi-Subtle sphere at any time. Spiritually advanced persons can, of course, communicate with advanced disembodied spirits, but they do not do so, for it is unnecessary. Spirituality has nothing to do with spiritism or communication with the spirits of the dead.

from notes dictated by Meher Baba, before March 1930, ST p8-9
Another version: Ms 2:3 p8-15, IL p18-21

There are three worlds or planes, and corresponding to them, there are three bodies, the Gross, the Subtle and the Mental. These worlds or planes should not be mixed up with the idea of place or sphere. The purpose of evolution is served with the attainment of the human form plus full consciousness. Simultaneous with the human body, the Subtle and Mental bodies make their appearance.

There is also another body, called the Astral body, which persists long after death, and belongs to the Sub-Subtle or lower of the seven regions of the Subtle plane. It is connected with both the Subtle and Gross planes or worlds. The Astral body is exactly the replica of the human body in all details. As is the Astral body, so will be the Gross body. The former is vapory or smoky in appearance, unlike the Subtle body, which has form, but no defined organs.

The experience of heaven and hell, enjoyment and suffering, is undergone by this body, and no sooner are the sanskaras acquired while in the Gross body spent up, than the Astral body is destroyed, leaving faint impressions on the Subtle body.

1930s? Aw 15: 3 & 4 p62

If you see Chanji with your Gross eyes, you see his figure _ no circle, no colors surrounding him. But if you concentrate and can see him through your Subtle eyes, you can see his Astral form without color or mark, a faint form, a bit blue or grayish. If, however, you have developed Mental consciousness and see him through your Mental eye, you see him in the form of a circle with seven colors, all blended together in one. This can only be seen by a master.

Colors are due to sanskaras created by imagination. Why seven colors? When the first clash between Energy and the Heavens or Space (Pran and Akash) took place, it created a spark, a circle which had seven colors. All such sparks have seven colors.

No one knows that even before the electron, there is one form in the beginning. But what name to give it? The clash of Energy entering Space created this first form.

11 July 1936, Rahuri, LM6 p2021

Garrett Fort: What about Astral journeys?

Baba: Astral journeys are taken by persons consciously and unconsciously, but those that really matter are the ones done consciously. You actually experience being aloof from the Gross body and having a Subtle body, and seeing with the eyes of the Subtle body, and smelling with the nose of the Subtle body.

In a dream when you sleep, this physical body is not used, and yet you see, smell, hear, taste, etc. You do it all with the Subtle body, but not consciously.

When you do it consciously, you actually experience being aloof from the body. You smell, you eat, you hear, you feel, doing it all as concretely as you do with the Gross body, not vaguely as in dreams. You can then actually feel the body as a cloak - you take it off and put it on like a garment. Actually - this is not just imagination.

14 March 1937, Nasik, LM6 p2138
Another version, LA p181

Garrett Fort: What is meant by possession?

Baba: There are certain cases where the Gross body is compelled to drop before the person's sanskaras are completely used up. Such is the case when a person commits suicide. The body is gone, but the momentum of all the impressions goes on. The person is now a ghost. The ghost wants to drink, eat, etc., very, very badly. So much so that it takes to unnatural resources by entering someone else's body. It awaits its opportunity. When it finds you drinking it satisfies its desire by drinking through you, your body. When it has to experience anger, then when you are angry it experiences it through you, your body. This is a fact.

14 March 1937, Nasik, LM6 p2139

Why be afraid of ghosts? A ghost means a human being without a body, and in that bodiless state he has to remain as long as the sanskaras of his previous birth last. Then he takes another birth.

Ghosts are miserable. They have desires, like any of us. They try to come in contact with human beings to fulfill their desires. When it is dark and silent, their Subtle, smoky bodies become transparent. You have Gross, Subtle and Mental bodies. They have only Subtle and Mental bodies. but these are not as limited as the Gross. When stretched out, their Subtle body stretches out in all directions - upward and sideways. That makes you shiver and scream when you see them like that. Depending on their surroundings, darkness and quietude, they can be seen. Their bodies can enlarge and shrink. That is why in dreams the Subtle bodies go anywhere, stretching out and out. They can also be photographed in suitable conditions, depending upon the surroundings, time, light, and the photographer.

These discarnate spirits wish to contact living human beings. If Rano, a heavy smoker, has no body, and for some reason becomes a ghost, she does not get another physical body until certain sanskaras are spent. They may be spent in one year or a million years. All depends on the contacts made to spend one's sanskaras.

For instance, Rano has her craving for smoking cigarettes. She sees Kitty smoking. She, too, wants to smoke, and tries to contact Kitty to have a cigarette. But contact with a Gross body by the Subtle body is almost impossible. Kitty feels the presence of a Subtle body and is scared. But poor Rano only wants to have a smoke. In some instances, she, Rano the ghost, becomes so desperate that she waits until Kitty nods to sleep even the tiniest little bit, and then smokes through Kitty's Gross body.

The Subtle can enter any Gross body or thing. When it enters you, you don't even know it, and are not at all affected. But it can only enter your body when you are not conscious, when you are sleeping. How many spirits have been drinking tea through Norina when she is not conscious? But the spirit has no hold, it does not reside in you or possess you, but just goes like the wind. And it only happens sometimes. Don't think about it, or you will go mad. It is of no importance, so trivial, so insignificant.

Sometimes you feel angry for nothing. This might be some spirit wanting to spend sankaras of anger through you. But this is so unimportant, not worth thinking about. Our bodies are full of germs, but we don't think about it. If we did, and tried to picture it in our minds, we would go mad.

Masters are so bothered by these spirits, you have no idea. They want to touch me for liberation, and they do.

11 November 1940, Ceylon,
LM7 p2636-2637

Don't be afraid of ghosts. They don't do any real harm. The atmosphere is full of impressions. Sometimes when you think you feel the presence of a spirit, it is not the actual spirit but the impressions of the place that you feel.

December 1942, Lonavla, LM8 p2825

An Aura... is the mental reflection of the aggregate impressions of thoughts and actions gathered by and stored in an individual mind. As long as the impressions are there, an Aura is always there, as an envelope of Subtle atmosphere comprised of seven colors, which remain more or less prominent according to the nature of each individual's impressions.

No two men are alike in all respects, and yet all have common physical features. Similarly, the aggregates of individual impressions differ from one another, both quantitatively and qualitatively, yet every Aura is comprised of seven colors common to all.

These seven colors of an individual's Aura represent the seven principal categories corresponding to the aggregate impressions of each individual. Thus every individual Aura is an image of a circle of seven colors. Each Aura differs from the others in its proportion of each of the seven colors, according to the individual's predominant impressions.

Likewise each Aura also differs in the color formation on the borders between every two predominant colors in it. For example, red would be the most prominent color in the Aura of a man whose impressions are predominantly made up of lustful actions.

PL p58

There is no Astral world as such. The Astral world is not a portion of the Subtle world. However, in between the Gross and the Subtle worlds there are seven sheaths which form the so-called world of the Astral, and this serves as a link between these two worlds. A Gross-conscious soul may be said to have an Astral body, which links the Gross with the Subtle.

The Astral may be called the imprint of the Subtle over the Gross, which imprint is neither Gross nor Subtle. In sleep, in the ordinary dream state, one experiences the impressions of the Gross world with the Subtle body subconsciously, and not with the Astral body. All experiences in the world of the Astral, experienced through the medium of the Astral body, are as insignificant as dreams.

After disembodiment, the soul experiences the world of the Astral in the Astral body. This may be said to be the Astral journey of the soul. When the soul gets embodied, the Astral body is shed, and with a new Gross body it gets a fresh Astral body. But as long as it does not get embodied, its Subtle and Mental bodies undergo the experiences of the state of heaven or hell through the medium of the Astral body, in accordance with the impressions that were accumulated while it was in an embodied state.

The spiritual Path begins only with the involution of consciousness, when the soul begins to experience the first plane of the Subtle world, and not when it just has access to the Astral phenomena from the Gross world. At the stage when the soul experiences fully the first plane of the Subtle world, the Astral sheath that linked the Subtle with the Gross is snapped for good.

from notes dictated by Meher Baba, GS p294-295For more about the Aura, and an explanation of the Halo, see PL p56-60.

For more about the Aura, and an explanation of the Halo, see PL p56-60.

Index - Book One

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