Just as the future condition of the individual is determined largely by the nature, character and strength of his desires, so is his life on the Astral Plane largely determined by his desires and ideals. The Astral Plane gives free expression to the ideals entertained by the individual in earth-life, and, in fact, may be spoken of as largely a reflection of those ideals. On the Astral Plane, our ideals tend toward a real manifestation. And this is true not only of high ideals but of the lowest as well.
This fact being understood, it will be seen that it is a logical necessity that the astral existance of the primitive peoples of the race shall be a reflection of the ideals and desires held by them during the period of earth-life—a dramatisation of their desire-ideals of their past life. In short, the Indian really finds his happy hunting grounds, and the other primitive peoples their particular paradise as pictured in their creeds and faiths. This, at first, seems somewhat shocking to the person whose ideals of heaven are modelled upon the realm of golden streets, where milk and honey flows. But a little thought will show that the conception of the golden streets is but a little higher in the scale than that of the happy hunting-ground, for it is purely material and reflects the ideals of a race whose desires are for glittering and costly things.
If one will but consider the emotional and intellectual nature of the primitive person, he will see that to surround such a Soul with the environment of the cultured civilised person would be to render him very unhappy. In fact, such a heaven would to him seem like a hell. One has but to imagine a savage in earth life placed in a palace with the surroundings fitted to the ideals of a person of high culture and refinement, to realise just how miserable the savage would really be. The same thing holds true on the Astral Plane. Nature is kind to the savage, as well as to the cultured person, and furnishes him with the environment in which he will feel the most at home, and in which he will find the greatest opportunity for self-expression.
This does not mean that on the Astral Plane there are elaborately arranged series of scenery and surroundings fitted for the tastes of each and every kind of soul. On the contrary, there is no such stage-setting whatsoever. Here is the secret—There is no scenery on the Astral Plane except that furnished by the thought-forms of the souls inhabiting it. Each soul carries his own set of scenery with it, in his imaginative faculties of mind. It follows, of course, that many souls of the same general ideals and tastes inhabiting the same sub-plane will carry the « same mental scenery with them. And, as the power of thought-transference is manifested strongly on the Astral Plane, each soul affects the general scenery of the others. In fact, the scenery of each sub-plane, or division thereof, represents the composite ideals and mental images of those inhabiting it. In earth-life, environment largely makes the man—on the Astral Plane, man makes his own environment, in accordance with the absolute and unvarying laws of Nature.
The Indian, during the short period of his sojourn on the Astral Plane, finds himself surrounded by all that makes life pleasant and harmonious for him. The clairvoyants among the old American Indians, who were able to penetrate the lower planes of the Astral Plane were thoughtful when they reported the existence of the happy hunting grounds of their departed brothers on the other side. True also were the reports of the shadowy forms which communicated with their former brothers on earth, to the same effect. The heaven-world of the Red Indian was precisely as his medicine-men had taught him it would be. Such a soul, awakening from the soul slumber, would find itself perfectly at home, surrounded by all that made life pleasant to it; great forests and plains, streams and rivers, plenty of buffalo and deer to be shot, and plenty of fish to be caught. All these things existed for such. But they existed only mentally. Like a very intense dream, these things appeared to such a soul—but it never realised that it was merely a dream. Dreams are true while they last, as the old writings inform us. And, as for that, the wisest of the race inform us that the phenomenal universe is really in the nature of a Dream of the Absolute—but it is none the less real to us. Even in earth-life, we sometimes experience dreams so real that we suffer as keenly, or enjoy as rapturously, in them, as if they were the only somewhat more substantial realities of the waking state.
These primitive souls spend a brief existence on the lower Astral Planes to which they have been attached and develop newer and fuller ideals and desires, which will blossom and bear fruit in their next earth-incarnation. Moreover, they wear-out and outlive certain of their lower desires and ideals and, in this way, make way for the spiritual evolution which is ever seeking to unfold on the Astral.
Each trip to the Astral Plane burns out a little more of the lower nature, and awakens a little more of the higher—otherwise, there would be no progress for the race in repeated lives. Each soul, no matter how undeveloped it may be, learns a little more of that feeling of unity and oneness, each time it is relieved of the stress of the physical body. So that, we may see, that even in these crude heavens of the primitive peoples, there is the opportunity and the certainty of progress. Happiness begets Love, and the soul responds to the stimulus.
The primitive soul abides but a short time on the Astral Plane to which it is attached. It soon wears out its limited opportunity for expression (although to the soul itself, eternities seem to have been passed). It soon feels the drowsiness of the sleep, which precedes rebirth overtaking it, and falling into a state of coma, it awaits the attraction of Karma which shortly leads it into a new body, to again study the lessons of life, and to live and outlive that which it finds within itself. The attraction of earth-life is strong in such a soul, and the law of attraction soon draws it back to the scenes of earth. There is no injustice or harshness in this—each soul gets that which it most desires, and that for which it most craves. The Law of Compensation is in full force here, as elsewhere, and eternal Justice reigns. All is well, even with such lowly souls—and they are all on THE PATH!
Life Beyond Death, Yogi Ramacharaka, Yogi Publication Society, Chicago, 1912