Lower Devachan

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The Lower Devachan, or Rupa-Devachan according to Indian theosophical terminology, is the term used to describe the four lower realms of the spirit land, i.e. the spiritual world in the narrower sense. It corresponds to what we call the heavenly world, the kingdom of heaven or the heavenly paradise according to occidental tradition. The lower devachan is sometimes also called the world of the harmony of spheres or the world of inspiration. In Christian esotericism the Rupa-Devachan is also called the world of the Son (Lit.:GA 100, p. 205). The three lowest regions of the lower devachan correspond to the three outermost planetary spheres, beginning with the Mars sphere; the fourth region, in which the source of primordial thoughts lies, already extends beyond the planetary system (Lit.:GA 141, p. 178ff). This fourth and highest region is also called the Akasha. It is the home of the spiritual world memory, the Akasha Chronicle, in which the spiritual archetypes of all world events are inscribed.

The lower Devachan is divided into four regions:

  1. The spiritual archetypes of the physical world (Mars sphere).
  2. The archetypes of the living (Jupiter sphere).
  3. The archetypes of the soul (Saturn sphere).
  4. The source of the archetypal thoughts (Akasha Chronicle).

In the life after death man enters this heavenly world after he has cast off the last ties to the past earthly life in the soul world:

„And so also after death - this is therefore the time of detachment - the whole life runs backwards through the astral world, and you live through your life once more from backwards to forwards and conclude it with the first impressions of your childhood. But this happens much faster than here in the physical world and lasts about a third of your earthly life... If you bear in mind what has just been said, you will easily understand that man can really only enter the spiritual world - and by the spiritual world is meant what is called in the Bible the 'kingdom of heaven' - when he has first lived through his whole life backwards until childhood. And this is in truth the basis of Christ's words: "If you do not become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Then, when man has reached the stage of childhood again, he takes off the astral body and enters the spiritual world.

Now I must tell you about this spiritual world. This kingdom of heaven is even more different from the physical world than the astral world. But as everything can of course only be described in terms taken from this physical world, it is even more true than for the above description of the astral world that all these descriptions may only apply comparatively.

In this kingdom of the heavens, too, there is a trinity, as here on earth. Just as here we have the three states of aggregation: solid, liquid and aerial, and then divide the Earth into the continental, the oceanic and the aerial regions, so also in the spirit world, though as I have said only comparatively, three such regions can be distinguished; only the region of the continents is composed of something different from our rocks and stones. What is the solid ground of the spirit land there are the archetypes of everything physical. Everything physical has its archetypes, including man. For the clairvoyant, these archetypes look like a kind of negative, that is, one sees the space like a kind of shadow figure, and all around him is radiant light. But this shadow, corresponding for example to the blood and the nerves, is not uniform, whereas a stone or a mineral in the archetype makes an evenly empty space appear, around which a radiance of light can also be seen. As you walk on solid rocks on the Earth, so you walk there on the archetypes of physical things. The land of this spiritual world is composed of these. When man first enters this land, he always has a very definite sight: that is the moment when he beholds the archetype of his own physical body. There he first sees his own body clearly lying there. For he himself is spirit. This happens in a normal life on Earth about thirty years after death, and one has the basic feeling that this is you: From this realisation, Vedanta philosophy has coined the phrase "Tat tvam asi - That thou art" as a fundamental principle of knowledge. All such expressions are deeply drawn from spiritual cognition.

The second realm of the spiritual land is the ocean realm. Everything that is life here in the physical world, that is, everything that has an etheric body, is like a flowing element in the spirit land. Flowing, flooding life thus flows through the spirit land. It also gathers like in a sea basin, like the water in the sea, or rather, like the blood that flows through the veins and gathers in the heart.

And thirdly, we have the air region of the spirit land, which is formed by all passions, drives, feelings and so on. All this you have up there as external perception, like the atmospheric phenomena here on Earth. All this brews through the atmosphere of the Devachan. As a seer, you can thus perceive in the spirit land what is suffered here on Earth, and what joy reigns here. Every passion, every hatred and the like has an effect in the spirit land like a storm. A battle, for example, has such an effect that the seer has the experience of a thunderstorm in the Devachan world. Thus the whole spiritual realm is permeated with both wonderful joys and terrible passions. And so one can also speak of spiritual ears. When you have progressed so far that you have gained an insight into this devacha world, then these wafting phenomena can be seen and heard by you, and what is heard is the harmony of the spheres.

Thus we have characterised the realm of the spiritual up to this stage. But there is a fourth realm in the Devachan. We have seen so far:

the archetypes of all physical form
all life
all soul life, feelings and so on

 = continent
 = sea
 = aerial region

} of the Devachan

Now there is something in human life that cannot be created in the outer world, and the spiritual content of this forms the fourth realm of devachan. Every original idea belongs here, up to the creative genius. Everything that is original, that is, everything that man creates in this world, through which the world is enriched, all these archetypes form the fourth area of devachan. With this we have completed what is the description of the lower parts of the Devachan.

Beyond this there are three higher regions, which, however, man can only reach during life through higher initiation - that is, only the initiate - and which, after death, can only be perceived by more highly developed individualities. But when such an advanced initiate is able to enter this next higher region of the Devachan, what does he experience there? First of all, something which in secret science is called the Akashic Chronicle.“ (Lit.:GA 100, p. 51ff)


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: verlag@steinerverlag.com URL: www.steinerverlag.com.
Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold
steinerbooks.org - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.