“Enq: I perceive in the quotation you brought forward a little while ago from the Buddhist Catechism a discrepancy that I would like to hear explained. It is there stated that the Skandhas – memory included – change with every incarnation. And yet, it is asserted that the reflection of the past lives, which, we are told, are entirely made up of Skandhas, “must survive”.
At the present moment I am not quite clear in my mind as to what it is precisely that survives, and I would like to have it explained. What is it? Is it only that “reflection”, or those Skandhas, or always that same EGO, the Manas?
Theo: I have just explained that the reincarnating Principle, or that which we call the divine man, is indestructible throughout the life cycle; indestructible as a thinking Entity, and even as an ethereal form.
The “reflection” is only the spiritualized remembrance, during the Devachanic period, of the ex-personality, Mr. A. or Mrs. B. – with which the Ego identifies itself during that period.
Since the latter is but the continuation of the earth-life, so to say, the very acme and pitch, in an unbroken series, of the few happy moments in that now past existence, the Ego has to identify itself with the personal consciousness of that life, if anything shall remain of it.
Enq: This means that the Ego, notwithstanding its divine nature, passes every such period between two incarnations in a state of mental obscuration, or temporary insanity.
Theo: You may regard it as you like. Believing that, outside the ONE Reality, nothing is better than a passing illusion – the whole Universe included – we do not view it as insanity, but as a very natural sequence or development of the terrestrial life.
What is life? A bundle of the most varied experiences, of daily changing ideas, emotions, and opinions.
In our youth we are often enthusiastically devoted to an ideal, to some hero or heroine whom we try to follow and revive; a few years later, when the freshness of our youthful feelings has faded out and sobered down, we are the first to laugh at our fancies.
And yet there was a day when we had so thoroughly identified our own personality with that of the ideal in our mind – especially if it was that of a living being – that the former was entirely merged and lost in the latter.
Can it be said of a man of fifty that he is the same being as he was at twenty? The inner man is the same; the outward living personality is completely transformed and changed. Would you also call these changes in the human mental states insanity?”
H. P. Blavatsky