Kamaloka / Devachan

Man passes through the Kamaloka period which lasts roughly a third of the length of his earthly life — in reverse sequence. Assuming that a man dies in his fortieth year, he will pass through all the experiences he has gone through in life in the reverse order, beginning with his thirty-ninth year, then the thirty-eighth, the thirty-seventh, the thirty-sixth, and so on. He really does go through his whole life backwards, right to the moment of birth. 

This is what is behind the beautiful words of Christ, when He was speaking of man’s entry into the spiritual world or the kingdom of Heaven: ‘Except ye … become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven!’ In other words, man lives backwards as far as his first moments and being absolved of everything, he can then enter Devachan or the kingdom of Heaven, and be in the spiritual world from then onwards. This is difficult to imagine, as we are so very accustomed to time being absolute, like it is on the physical plane. It requires considerable effort to get used to this, but it will come.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 107 – The Being of Man and His Future Evolution: Lecture 6: Illness and Karma – Berlin, 26th January 1909

Translated by Pauline Wehrle


Green Tara of the Stars – Art of Carol Herzer

Previously posted on 10 december 2018


Hindrances to our development

What a human being experiences in the physical body is of value to him because he evolves to higher and higher stages as the result of what he achieves on earth. That is the essential point. On the other hand, between birth and death there are many inducements for individuals to create hindrances to their development, for example, everything that we do to injure our fellowmen. Every time when, at the cost of our fellowmen, we provide satisfaction for our own aims or embark for self-seeking reasons on a project that in some way affects the world, we create a hindrance to our development: Suppose we give someone a box on the ear. The physical and moral pain connected with it is a hindrance to our development. This hindrance would cling to us for all our subsequent lives in future epochs if we did not expunge it from the world. During the kamaloka period an impetus is given to a man to get rid of these hindrances to his development.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 109 – Rosicrucian Esotericism: Lecture IV: Man Between Death and Rebirth – Budapest, 6th June 1909

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond


Previously posted on 9 december 2018


Kamaloka is a time of renunciation for man because he must relinquish his desires to immerse himself in the spiritual world. This kamaloka period lasts longer or shorter depending on whether the human soul is ready to renounce his yearnings. What matters here is how man has already learned to regulate his passions and enjoy life despite refraining from such cravings. (German: zu verzichten). 

However, there are pleasures and desires of a lower and higher nature. Enjoyments and desires for the satisfaction of which the physical body is not the actual instrument of gratification, we call higher pleasures and aspirations. These do not belong to that which man has to get rid of after death. If a man still has something that draws him to physical existence – lower enjoyment – he remains in the astral region of kamaloka. Then, when nothing more draws him to these excesses, he becomes capable of living in the spiritual world. The soul’s sojourn in kamaloka lasts about a third of its past life.

It, therefore, depends on how old the person was when he died, i.e., how long he lived on earth. Yet the time in kamaloka is by no means just terrible and unpleasant. In any case, it makes the soul more independent of physical desires. The more he has already made himself independent in his life and taken an interest in contemplating spiritual things, the easier this kamaloka time will be for him. He thereby becomes freer and thus becomes grateful for this time. The feeling of deprivation in earthly life transforms into a sense of bliss in kamaloka. Paradoxical feelings arise for everything a person has learnt to love to do without during his lifetime in that it grows into enjoyment in kamaloka.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 108 – Die Beantwortung von Welt- und Lebensfragen durch Anthroposophie – Breslau, 2 December 1908 – (page 56,57)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger 




Kamaloka – How long does that last approximately?

Whereas here in life we can recollect all that we have experienced in our day-life, after death — after the time of the life-tableau is past — we obtain a memory of all our nights. This is an important secret which is revealed to us. We remember all our night-life. This review so presents itself that we really live backwards starting from the last night passed here in life, passing to the preceding one, and so on. In this way we experience the whole life again backwards, but as seen from the night-aspect. 

One experiences again in this retrospective recollection, what one has unconsciously thought and investigated. One really goes back through one’s life, but not from the day-aspect. How long does that last approximately? Now remember that we sleep away about one-third of our life. As you know, there are people who naturally sleep much more. But on an average we sleep away a third of our life. Therefore this retrospect also lasts about one-third of our earth-life, because we experience the nights. 

Rudolf Steiner – The Forming of Destiny and Life after Death: LECTURE 1: SPIRITUAL LIFE IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD AND LIFE BETWEEN DEATH AND REBIRTH – Berlin, 16th November 1915


Thirsting soul

The convenience of food, the taste of the dishes, the palatal pleasure is mental. The palate itself is physical. If the human being did not have the physical, he could not get the mental pleasure. If he had no physical ear, he could not hear, had he no physical eye, he could not see. We perceive everything that we perceive with the physical senses at first. The modern human being can perceive nothing without his physical senses. He is used to them. He is used to satisfying such wishes that can be satisfied by the sense organs. The habit to have wishes, to have pleasures, remains (after death), the means by which he can satisfy them disappear; tongue, eyes and ears disappear. He does no longer have them. Now he misses them after death. 

He is still thirsting for the pleasure, which can only be satisfied by the sense organ. The result is that the human being comes to a state of consciousness after death, which consists in breaking the habit of being satisfied only by the sense organs. The soul must stop asking for sensuous satisfaction, has to purify itself beyond that which satisfied it on earth and can be satisfied only by sensuous, physical means. That is kamaloka in the anthroposophical worldview. We know it as the purgatory. 

One can compare that not improperly, which the human being experiences there, to a feeling of burning thirst, to a kind of burning privation. This is the state after death. The suitable means is not there sensuous-physical after death; the organ is not there by which the thirsting soul can be satisfied. If a soul has finished this connection with the physical in the course of years in the kamaloka, it lives in the spiritual world, to which it belongs as soul. It takes that along into the spiritual world. The spiritual-scientific worldview calls this spiritual world devachan or spirit land.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 54 – Riddles of the World: Lecture XII: Reincarnation and Karma – Berlin, 15th February 1906