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The ascended masters teach that devachan is the first three levels of the etheric octave. It is the place of wish-fulfillment, where the soul may be assigned between embodiments to play out unfulfilled desires and prepare for the next incarnation.

In Buddhism

Devachan is a Buddhist term meaning “dwelling place of the shining ones.” In Buddhism, it is the subjective ‘heaven’ state in which an individual lives between two earth ‘lives’ after the death of the gross physical body. In Buddhism and Hinduism, devachan is seen as a place where people experience the rewards of good deeds on earth. But it is not the ultimate goal, which is to reach the nirvana of formlessness, which is at a higher frequency than the heavenly paradises.

In Tibetan Buddhism, devachan is described as “the heaven of Avalokitesvara,” whom we call Kuan Yin. Avalokitesvara’s paradise is also known as Sukhavati, the realm of happiness. It is described in the smaller Sukhavati-vyuha as follows: In Sukhavati,

There is neither bodily nor mental pain for living beings. The sources of happiness are innumerable there.... That world is adorned with seven terraces, with seven rows of palm-trees, and with strings of bells. It is enclosed on every side, beautiful, brilliant with the four gems, viz. gold, silver, beryl and crystal. With such arrays of excellences peculiar to a Buddha country is that Buddha country adorned.[1]

In Theosophy

The term devachan is also used in Theosophy, but with a slightly different meaning. Theosophy sees devachan as the lower levels of the etheric plane. It says that devachan is a place of ignorance, where the soul is not even aware that it is not in the physical octave, not, as we say, alive. In The Key to Theosophy, Helena Blavatsky says:

Devachan is the idealized continuation of the terrestrial life just left behind, a period of retributive adjustment, and a reward for unmerited wrongs and sufferings undergone in that special life.[2]

In The Mahatma Letters, the Master K.H. says that people bring their good karma into devachan and leave their bad karma behind. People can reap their good karma in devachan. He says that devachan is a reward.

It is a state ... of intense selfishness [meaning dealing with the self and receiving the rewards that are due to that self], during which an ego reaps the reward of his unselfishness on earth.

If you have the good karma to experience such a reward, you can in many cases decide not to experience it. You have the choice to go on to even higher octaves if you do not want to spend your time in those lower etheric octaves.

In A Dweller on Two Planets

In A Dweller on Two Planets, Phylos the Tibetan defines devachan as the place where the soul “assimilates the fruits of active earth-life.” This is a state “where no one acts, but where the rewards of action in the preceding life are paid; it is the land of Lethe, where there is no pain, sorrow, sickness or agony, for these earthly conditions begun on earth, and they perforce must be finished on earth.”[3]

Levels of devachan

According to both Phylos and the Theosophical Society, there are different levels of devachan. The more advanced souls go to a higher devachan. Phylos says:

Let none suppose that the devachan of one that hath committed earth-binding errors, and must by these bonds again reincarnate, is anything like the great Life wherewith are crowned those who are faithful unto the death of that serpent in the heart, animal lusts.[4]

The lower devachan is where souls go who are not ready for instruction in the higher octaves. They need to play out desires that they had on earth. It is a realm where you may experience your unfulfilled desires, except that this does not include sensual desires. Your sensual desires or your lower nature and your karma are, so to speak, left at the door of the etheric octave.

At the point that the soul makes the transition—for whatever reason—the opportunity for the soul to act in the world of cause is closed. Now you have to go to the inner level for which you have fitted yourself. You may be assigned to levels of Light because you have contributed to the momentums of Light on planet earth. Or you may be assigned to levels of Darkness because you have contributed to the momentums of Darkness on planet earth.

In the first three levels of the etheric octave, there is also a “kindergarten” for souls. Here they learn the ABCs of cosmic law that their teachers and pastors on earth have not taught them.

The purpose of devachan

Both Phylos and the writings of Theosophy state that there is a beneficial purpose to the experience of what they call devachan. It is more than mere wish fulfillment. The soul also learns things which prepare her for her next life.

Devachan can be a very positive experience because by having your wishes fulfilled you may prepare to actually precipitate into action in the world of form the next time you embody some skills or talents that you have perfected by being in that place.

Also, after a soul has spent years or centuries in devachan fulfilling her desires, she may be free enough to come into embodiment with those desires at least partially fulfilled. Based on the desires and attachments she has resolved and worked through, she is liberated to enter a mission of greater self-giving and self-sacrifice, thereby earning meritorious karma toward her complete liberation.

Devachan exists because people need it. It is therapeutic. But it can also be a big waste of time. You may be missing your century and your moment on stage. Here or hereafter the soul must resolve her psychology. She cannot go forward in the cosmic scheme of things until she deals with the unresolved issues and desires of her past lives.

An experience of wish fulfillment in the lower etheric octave is necessary for some people’s soul evolution. But it is not the shortest distance between two points for those who are seriously on the path of the ascension, the soul’s reunion with God. The best place to go is the higher levels of the etheric where we can be with the ascended masters and be studying in their retreats.

We can also do that even as we lay our bodies down to rest at night and our souls journey in soul travel. The retreats of the seven chohans of the rays are open and you may journey there if you simply ask Archangel Michael to take you there as you fall asleep at night.

For more information

Elizabeth Clare Prophet, On Death, Discarnates and Malevolent Spirits III (audio recording).


Pearls of Wisdom, vol. 36, no. 25.

Lectures by Elizabeth Clare Prophet, May 3, 1991; August 22, 1991; March 24, 1992; December 20, 1992; May 4, 1997.

  1. Friedrich Max Müller, ed., The Sacred Books of the East, vol. XLIX (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1894), pp. 91–93.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy (London: Theosophical Publishing Society, 1893), p. 90.
  3. Phylos the Tibetan, A Dweller on Two Planets (Los Angeles: Poseid Publishing Company, 1920), pp. 266, 230.
  4. Ibid., p. 230.