THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SPIRITISM

Allan Kardec

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CHAPTER 3

IN MY FATHER'S HOUSE ARE MANY MANSIONS

The different states of the soul in its spiritual wanderings. -The different categories of inhabited worlds. - Earth's destiny. - The cause of earthly miseries. - INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE SPIRITS: Superior and inferior worlds. -Worlds of tests and atonement. - Regenerating worlds. - The progression of the worlds.


1. Let not your heart be troubled: Ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself that where I am, there ye may be also (John, 14 : 1 - 3).



THE DIFFERENT STATES OF THE SOUL IN ITS SPIRITUAL W ANDERINGS



2. The house of the Father is the Universe. The 'different mansions' are the worlds which circulate in infinite space and offer the Spirits who incarnate on them dwelling places which correspond their progress.

Independently from the diversity of the different worlds, the words of Jesus also refer to the fortunate or wretched states of the soul in the spirit world. Conforming to whether the soul is more or less purified and detached from material lies, the ambient in which it finds itself will vary infinitely: in the aspects of things, in the sensations it feels and in the perceptions it has. While some cannot leave the ambient where they live, others raise themselves and travel all over space and the other worlds. While some guilty Spirits wander in darkness, there are others who have earned happiness, and these rejoice in a stale of shining brightness while they contemplate the sublime spectacle of the great infinity. Finally, while inferior Spirits are tormented by remorse and grief, frequently isolated without consolation, separated from those who were the object of their affections and punished by the iron gauntlet of moral suffering, the just Spirit, together with those he loves, enjoys the delights of an indescribable happiness. Also in that sense there are many mansions, although they are not circumscript or localised.

THE DIFFERENT CATEGORIES OF INHABITED WORLDS



3. As a result of Spirit teaching, we know that the conditions of the various worlds differ one from the other, with respect to the degree of elevation or inferiority of their inhabitants, amongst whom are those inferior to the inhabitants of Earth, both physically and merrily; some in the same category, yet others which are more or less superior in every aspect In the inferior worlds, existence is all material, passions are sovereign and morality is almost nil. At the same time as the soul is progressing the material influences diminish, to such an extent that in the elevated worlds life is, by way of saying, all spiritual.

4. In the intermediate worlds good is mixed with evil, one or the other predominating according to the degree of advancement of the majority of the inhabitants. Although it is not possible to make an absolute classification of the different worlds, we can at least divide them in general terms by virtue of the state in which they are in, and the destiny they bring with them, based on the most predominant features upon each planet in the following manner: primitive worlds, destined to receive the initial incarnations of the human soul; worlds of tests and atonements, where evil predominates; regenerating worlds, where souls who still have to atone may absorb new strength by resting from the fatigue of fighting; blessed worlds, where goodness outweighs evil; celestial or divine worlds, inhabited by purified Spirits, where only goodness exists. Earth belongs to the category of worlds of tests and atonements, which is why mankind lives encompassed by such misery.

5. Spirits who find themselves incarnated in any world are not bound to that same world indefinitely, nor do they go through all the phases of progress needed to achieve perfection in that one world. When they reach the maximum degree of advancement their world has to offer, they then pass on to a more elevated one, and so on successively till they reach the state of purified Spirits. These different worlds are stations where the Spirits find the elements they need for their progress that are in accordance to their degree of perfection. It is a recompense to ascend to a world of higher elevation, just as it is a punishment to prolong their stay in a miserable world, or to be relegated to another even more unhappy than the one they were forced to leave, due to persisting badness.



EARTH'S DESTINY. CAUSES OF HUMAN MISERY



6. Many are surprised that on Earth there is so much badness, so many crude passions, so many miseries and every kind of sickness. From this, they conclude, the human species is a very miserable one. This judgement comes from the very narrow point of view of those who emit it, which gives a false idea of the whole. We must consider, however, that in actual fact, the entirety of humanity is not all on Earth, but only a small fraction of the total. In effect, the human species covers all those endowed with reason who inhabit the innumerable orbs of the Universe. What then is the mere population of the Earth when compared with the total population of all the worlds? Much less than that of a very small village when compared with a great empire. The material and moral situation of terrestrial humanity is not surprising, when we take into consideration the destiny of the Earth and the nature of its inhabitants.

7. It would be a great mistake to judge all the inhabitants of a city by those who inhabit the lowest and most sordid places. In a hospital we see none but the sick and mutilated; in a prison we find gathered together all kinds of vileness, baseness and many vices; in unhealthy regions the inhabitants are, for the most part, pale, puny and sickly. Well then, picture the Earth as a combination of a suburb, a hospital, and an unhealthy place, because it is all of these put together. Then it can be understood why afflictions outweigh pleasures, for we do not send those who are healthy to hospital, nor do we throw those who have practised no wrong into houses of correction; neither can hospitals and houses of correction be places of delight.

So in the same way that the total population of a city is not to be found in us hospitals and prisons, we do not find the total population of humanity here on Earth. Just as the sick leave hospital when they are cured and those who have served their term leave prison, when Man is cured of all his moral infirmities he will also leave the Earth environment to go to happier worlds.


INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE SPIRITS. INFERIOR AND SUPERIOR WORLDS


8. In qualifying inferior and superior worlds there is nothing absolute. A world is relatively inferior or superior only in relation to those other worlds which may be above or below it on the scale of progression.

In taking the Earth as a comparison, we may get an idea of what an inferior world is like by supposing us inhabitants to be similar to the primitive races or members of the barbaric nations, examples of which are still to be found amongst us today, these being the remnants of the primitive state of this planet. In the most backward worlds the inhabitants are, to a certain extent, rudimentary creatures, having human form but devoid of all beauty. Their instincts have not yet softened to any sentiment of delicacy or benevolence, nor have they acquired any notions of justice or injustice. Brute force is the only known law. Without either industry or inventions, they pass their time in conquest of food. However, God does not abandon even one of His creatures; at the bottom of the darkest intelligence lurkes a seed, sometimes more, sometimes less developed, of a vague intuition of a supreme Being. This instinct is enough to make them superior one from the other and to prepare their ascension to a more complete life, for they are not degraded beings, but children who are growing. In between the inferior and elevated levels are innumerable others. From the pure Spirits, dematerialised and brilliant with glory, it is impossible to recognise the primitive beings they once were, just as from the adult it is difficult to recognise the embryo.

9. In worlds which have reached a superior level, the moral and material stale is very different from that which exists on Earth. As everywhere, the form is always human, but it is more beautiful, more perfected and above all else, purified. The body possesses nothing of the earthly materiality and consequently is not subject to the same necessities, sicknesses or deteriorations which the predominance of matter provokes. Due to the higher refinements, the senses are able to capture perceptions which the gross matter of this world obstructs. The specific lightness of body permits rapid and easy locomotion; instead of dragging painfully aver the ground the body floats, as it were, above the surface or glides through the air with no effort apart from that of desire, just as the angels are depicted as doing, or as the manes an the Elysian fields. According to his wishes Man keeps the features of his past migrations and shows himself to his friends as they knew him, except for the fact that he now radiates divine light, and is transfigured by interior impressions which are always of an elevated nature. In the place of countenances discoloured and dejected by suffering and passions, life and intelligence sparkle with splendour which painters have shown through the halo or aureole of the saints.

Very advanced Spirits suffer only slight resistance to matter, thus allowing body development to be extremely rapid, making infancy short and almost non-existent. With the absence of worry and anguish, life is proportionally longer than an Earth. In principle, longevity is in proportion the degree of advancement of each world. Death in no way conveys any horror of decomposition; far from causing terror, it is considered a happy transformation because there is no doubt as to the future. During life the soul, being no longer constricted by compact matter, expands itself and delights in a lucidity which places it in an almost constant state of emancipation and allows completely free thought transmission.

10. In these se blissful worlds relationships between peoples and individuals are always friendly, never perturbed by ambition to enslave their neighbour or make war. There are no masters nor slaves, none privileged by birth, only moral and intellectual superiority which establishes all conditions and which ulitmately gives supremacy. Autbority receives and deserves the respect of everyone, as it is only given to those who merit it and is therefore always exercised with justice. Man does not try to elevate himself above another but only above himself, by striving for perfection. His objective is to ascend to the category of pure Spirit, although this desire is never a torment but rather a noble ambition which induces him to study ardently in order to became an equal. In these worlds, all the delicate and elevated sentiments of human nature find themselves exalted and purified. Hate is unknown, as are petty jealousies and the covetous of envy. The ties of love and brotherhood hind all humanity each to the other so that the strong help the weak. Through a greater or lesser degree of intelligence, Man acquires possessions of a smaller or larger quantity. However, nobody suffers from want as no one needs to make atonement. In short, evil does not exist in these worlds.

11. Evil is still needed in your world in order to make known goodness; night in order to be able to admire light; sickness so as to be able to appreciate health. In those other worlds there is no need of these contrasts; eternal light, eternal beauty and eternal serenity of the soul offer proportional eternal happiness, free from the perturbations caused by the anguish of material life and the contact with evil creatures, who find no access to these realms. These are the things which cause the human Spirit most difficulty in understanding. Mankind has been sufficiently ingenious as to paint the torments of hell, but could never imagine the glories of Heaven. Why not? Because, being inferior, only pain and misery have been known and as yet the celestial brightness has never been seen, so one cannot speak of that which is unknown. However, while humanity is raising itself up and cleansing its soul, horizons are expanding and mankind begins to compare the goodness which is in front of him, as well as the badness which is behind him.

12. Meanwhile, the happy worlds are not specifically privileged orbs, as God is not partial to any one of His children. To each one He gives the same rights and the same opportunities wherein to reach these worlds. He makes each one start at the same point and gives no one more than another. Even the highest categories are accessible to all. It only depends upon the individual to conquer their place by means of work, so reaching it more quickly or remaining inactive for centuries and centuries in the quagmire of humanity. (This is a summary of the teachings from all the Superior Spirits.)


WORLDS OF TESTS AND ATONEMENTS


13. What more is there to say about worlds of atonements that you don't already know, since you have only to look at the one in which you live? The great number of superior intelligences amongst your inhabitants indicates that the Earth is not a primitive world, destined to receive beings who have recently left the hand of the Creator. The innate qualities which they bring with them constitute a proof of their having already lived and achieved a certain degree of progress. But the number of vices to which they are subject also shows their great moral imperfections. This is why God has placed them in an ungrateful world, in which they can make atonement through heavy work and the suffering of the miseries of life, until they deserve to ascend to happier planets.

14. Nevertheless, not all the Spirits who have incarnated on Earth came to atone. The races which are called savage were formed from Spirits who had only just left their infancy, and who found themselves, as it were, on an educational course for development through contact with more advanced Spirits. Later came the semi-civilized races, made up of the same Spirits as they travelled along their paths to progress. In general, these are the indigenous races on Earth, who will raise themselves little by little through the centuries, some of whom have already managed to reach an intelligent state equal to the more enlightened.

The Spirits who are in atonement are, if we may use the term, the exotic ones of the Earth; they have already lived on other worlds where they were excluded for persisting in wickedness, or for having been the cause of perturbation to the good people in those worlds. They therefore had to be exiled for a time to an ambient of more backward Spirits, so receiving the mission of helping them to advance as they bring with them more developed intelligences and the germ of the knowledge they have acquired. This then is how Spirits under punishment are found amongst the most intelligent races, and why the misfortunes of life seem so very bitter for them. This is because they have a higher degree of sensitivity and so are more highly tested by contrarieties and sorrows than the primitive races whose moral sense is still obtuse.

15. Consequently, the Earth offers an example of a world of atonement and although the variety is infinite, they all have one thing in common: they all serve as places of exile for those Spirits who rebel against the Law of God. This means that these Spirits have at one and the same time to fight against the perversity of man and the inclemency of nature, which is doubly arduous, but which will develop the qualities of heart and intelligence simultaneously. God then, in all His goodness, allows punishment to become something which will benefit the spirit. - SAINT AUGUSTIN (Paris, 1862)


REGENERATING WORLDS


16. Among the many scintillating stars in the blue canopy of the sky, how many worlds there are like yours, destined by God to serve for atonement and probation! But although there are some that are more miserable, there are also others that are happier, like those of transition which can be called worlds of regeneration. Each planetary vortex, moving in space round a common centre, drags with it its own primitive worlds of exile, probation, regeneration and happiness. We have spoken to you of worlds where newly-born Spirits are placed, when they are still ignorant of both good and evil, but where they have the possibility of travelling towards God, being in possession of themselves through free-will. We have also revealed to you the fact that ample faculties are given to each soul to enable it to practise good. But alas, there are those who succumb! So God, Who does not desire their annihilation, permits that they go to these worlds where from one incarnation to another they are purified and regenerated, returning worthy of the glory for which they were destined.

17. Regenerating worlds serve as transition phases between those of probation and happiness. The penitent soul finds calm and rest on them and can continue the purifying process. Beyond doubt, Man still finds himself subject to the laws that rule matter: humanity still experiences your sensations and desires, but is liberated from the ungoverned passions to which you are slaves, freed from pride which silences the heart, envy which tortures and hate which suffocates. On all sides the word 'love' is written; perfect equity resides over all social relationships; everyone recognises God and tries to travel in His direction by fulfilling His laws.

However, perfect happiness still does not exist in these worlds, only the dawning of happiness. There Man is still of flesh and blood, and because of this subject to vicissitudes from which only the completely dematerialized beings are liberated. He still has to suffer tests, although without the pungent anguishes of atonement. Compared to the Earth, these worlds are very pleasant, and many of you would be happy to inhabit them because they represent the calm after the storm, convalescence after cruel sickness. Nevertheless, being less absorbed by material things, Man perceives the future better, comprehends the existence of other pleasures, promised by God to those who show themselves worthy when death has once again released them from their bodies in order to bestow upon them the true life. Free then, the soul hovers above all the horizons; no longer the feelings of gross matter, only the sensation of a pure and celestial perispirit absorbing emanations direct from God, in the fragrance of love and charity coming straight from His breast.

18. But alas! Man is still fallible even in these worlds and the spirit of evil has not completely lost its empire. Not to advance is to fall back, and if Man is not firmly placed along the pathway to righteousness he may return again to a world of atonement where new and more terrible tests await.

So at night, at the time of prayer and repose, contemplate the full canopy of the sky and the innumerable spheres which shine over your head, and ask yourself which ones lead to God and ask Him for one of these regenerating worlds to open to receive you after your atonement here on Earth. - SAINT AUGUSTIN (Paris, 1862).


THE PROGRESSION OF THE WORLDS


19. Progress is a law of nature. All beings of creation, be they animated or not, have been submitted to this law through the bounty of God, Who wishes everything to be exalted and to prosper. Even actual destruction, which appears to Man to be the end of everything, is only a means of reaching a more perfect state through transformation, seeing that everything dies only to be reborn again, suffering no consequences from the annihilation.

At the same time as living beings progress morally, so the worlds in which they live progress materially. If we were to accompany a world during its different phases, from the first instant the atoms destined to its construction began to agglomerate, we would see it travelling along on a constantly progressive scale, although these steps would be imperceptible to each generation. It would offer its inhabitants a more agreeable home as these generations passed, according to the manner in which they themselves advanced along their pathway to progress. Nothing in nature remains stationary. So we find that together with Man, the animals who are his helpers, the vegetables, and the habitations are all constantly marching along parallel to one another. How glorious this idea is and so worthy of the grandeur of the Creator! It would be paltry and unworthy of His power if, on the contrary, He concentrated His solicitude and providence on an insignificant grain of sand, which is this planet, so restricting humanity to the few people who inhabit it!

According to this law, the world has been in a materially and morally inferior position to that which it finds itself today, and it will lift itself up in both these aspects so as to reach a more elevated degree in the future. The time has now been reached for one of these periodic transformations, which will move the Earth upwards from a world of atonement to that of a regenerating planet where men will be happy because God's laws will reign. - SAINT AUGUSTIN (Paris, 1862).


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