The Ka or "double" or somatic ego serves to bridge the gap between the physical and the psychic. It can be considered both as the etheric principle - a sort of subtle or higher or more Psychic grade of the Physical, a quasi-psychic physicality or "body", and as a Physical subgrade of the Psychic; i.e. a physicalised or physical-tending or quasi-physical psychic principle or "consciousness". Both are different ways of appreciating the same reality. Moreover, it would be simplistic to refer to only a single principle or level here. There are an indefinite number of possible resonances and connecting or intermediary planes (although seven is the standard number).
After death, the survival of the Double is not automatically assured. We have already considered the negative NDE or experience of "Hell", which is the double's experience of being swallowed by negative psychic forces. But it also possible for the double to survive this transition intact. As Mirra explains in one of her talks
"Q. If at the time of death the vital being is attacked in the vital world by hostile forces or entities, does it not look for a shelter somewhere?
Mirra: Yes, it is for this reason that in all countries and in all religions, it is recommended that for a period of at least seven days after someone's death, people should gather and think of him. Because when you think of him with affection (without any inner disorder, without weeping, without any of those distraught passions), if you can be calm, your atmosphere becomes a kind of beacon for him, and when he is attacked in the vital world by hostile forces (I am speaking of the vital being of course, not the psychic being [Higher Self] which goes to take rest) he may feel altogether lost...; then he sees through affinity the light of those who are thinking of him with affection and he rushes there. It happens almost constantly that a vital formation, a part of the vital being of the dead person (or at times the whole vital if it is well organised) takes shelter in the aura, the atmosphere, of the people or the person who loved him. There are people who always carry with them a part of the vital of the person who is gone...."
[Mirra, Collected Works vol 4, pp.204-5]
The above was spoken in 1951. A few years later (in 1953), when questioned about Spiritualism, Mirra elaborates:
"...(the) person (who) takes shelter vitally in your atmosphere....enters into a deep rest there, and it is not at all good to disturb it; and the best thing you can do is enfold this person with your love and leave him in peace.
Therefore, even if it were possible to en-ter into [Spiritualist] communication with him....it would be improper to do so. But usually, people who have the capacity to serve as a shelter....do not have this ridiculous idea of disturbing the rest of the one they love by tapping on a planchette - fortunately!"
[Collected Works vol 9. pp.362-3]
All this would seem to only defer the final confrontation, for eventually the person providing the shelter would also die. It may be however that two lower selves or doubles would be stronger and better able to cope than one lower self, and even make it through the negative zone to a higher a more paradisical one (or "heaven").
It may well be however that the prayers and ceremonies provided by the various religions - for example, the Catholic Mass for the dead, would help the double of the deceased to get through the dread lower zone straight away.
The Egyptians seem to have been quite proficient at such ceremonies. The following example is quoted from E. A. Wallis Budge.
"...(T)he relatives of the deceased had...a duty...to provide for the recital of certain prayers, and for the performance of a number of ceremonies over the dead body before it was laid to rest...in the tomb.....(T)he prayers of the priests caused the body to become changed into a sahu or incorruptible spiritual body which passed straight-away out of the tomb and made its way to heaven where it dwelt with the gods...."
[E. A. Wallis Budge, Egyptian Religion, pp.169-70 (Arkana, London & New York, 1987)]
Note here the emphasis on the body, on transmuting the physical body. In view of the close tying in of the lower self with the physical soma, it may well be that what is indicated here is a sort of magical ceremony to provide protection for the lower self, and aid it in getting through the negative regions and attaining "the heaven of the gods"
The Egyptians used the term "Ka" to designate the soul which remains in the tomb; i.e. the "double". And not only does it remain in the tomb, but it actually partakes of the physical offerings brought to it. As E. A. Wallis Budge explains:
"The funeral offerings of meat, cakes, ale, wine, unguents, etc, were intended for the ka; the scent of the burnt incense was grateful to it....In the remotest times the tombs had special chambers wherein the ka was worshipped and received offerings..."
[E. A. Wallis Budge, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, p.lxii (Dover Publications, New York, 1967 [originally published 1895])]
The Ka is indeed a rather strange concept. The fact that it partakes of physical offerings means that one can hardly consider it a "spirit" in the classic Western philosophico-religious sense of the terms; that is, a totally non-material entity, the very opposite of matter. For it has a certain material dependence.
In relation to this is the "false door" that is left in the tomb for the ka to come and go and eat of the food figured on the walls. This is so fascinating it is worth describing at greater length. As Egyptologist Henri Frankfort describes:
"...(A) large stone slab with a narrow groove in the middle formed the so-called "false door". Behind it, underground, was the sarcophagus chamber, where the body rested. In front of it was the of-fering table upon which food and drink were deposited. In the wall of the tomb chapel, covered with reliefs and paintings, the false door formed the focal point of the visitors' attention..."
[Henri Frankfort , Ancient Egyptian Religion, p.94 (Harper & Row, New York, 1961 [first publ 1948])]
It was this "false door" that enabled communication and intercourse between the living and the deceased's Ka to take place. Through their Ka-s, "the dead are still with us", as the Spiritualists would say. As Henri Frankfort explains:
"The Egyptians communicated regularly with their dead and concretely shared their company. They visited the tombs not only to make offerings to the Ka's, but...(also) on feast days for celebrations, including a meal where the dead were supposed to be present; this custom has in fact survived in Egypt to this day..."
If all this seems a little strange, it is worth pointing out that the practice of giving offerings to the deceased, and leaving his possessions in the tomb, was for all intents and purposes universal, although for the most part not performed with the sophistication that the Egyptians attained.
For example, the ancient Cretans "believed that the dead continued to live on in some way in their tombs or...(a) subterranean realm, where they still needed food and drink" [S. G. F. Brandon, The Judgment of the Dead, p.77 (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1967)]. Then there was "the Scandinavian belief that the barrow is the abiding place of the dead in bodily form" [[H. B. Alexander, "State of the Dead - Primitive and Savage" in Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, ed by James Hastings; T & T Clark, Edinburgh, 1908, 2nd Impression 1925, p.818]. The unpleasant custom of murdering the royal servants and concubines with the death of their king or queen, so they can continue to serve him or her in the afterlife, also stems from this belief.
Indeed, the practice of offerings to the deceased seems to be as old as man's awareness of death and after-life existence itself. From early Paleolithic times, we find grave offerings of food, possessions, ornaments, and tools.
This is not to say that Paleolithic people were only aware of the material aspect of the natural soul. They in all certainty also had rituals and beliefs pertaining to the higher soul principles, but in cultures in which knowledge was by word of mouth only, it is impossible to tell what these beliefs and practices were, except through analogy with modern tribal peoples.
Finally, it is worth quoting a passage from Mirra's works in which she seems to be describing something very like what the Egyptians were referring to, although of course using a different terminology:
"I had a very interesting experience. Did you know Benjamin (an old disciple who had just died)? His psychic being [Divine Soul] had left him quite some time ago, and as a result, to the surface consciousness he seemed a bit deranged. He wasn't deranged but diminished...and he lived out of habit...Then he left altogether; all the accumulated energy dwindled little by little...and what remained left his body....So they did as is always done; they cleaned his room, took out the furniture. Since then there had been no sight of him (on the occult levels). Yesterday evening, after dinner - which was about the same time he left twelve days ago - I was in concentration, resting, when suddenly here comes a very agitated Benjamin who tells me "Mother, they've taken all the furniture out of my room! What am I to do now!?" I told him gently "Do not fret, you don't need any-thing anymore." Then I put him to rest and sent him to join the rest of his being.
Which means it took twelve days for all the elements to form again. You see, they burned his body...(With cremation) the consciousness is flung violently out of his cells, (and) it took twelve days to form again. It wasn't his soul - it had already left - but the spirit of his body which came to me, the body consciousness gathered in a well-dressed, neat Benjamin with his hair neatly brushed. He was quite trim when he came to me, just as he would have been in life; he always wanted to be well groomed and impeccable to see me....So when he was ready, he came to reoccupy his room! And there was no furniture left, nothing!..."
[Mother's Agenda, vol 4, pp 24-25]
Here then is the explanation for the elaborate funerary rites of the Egyptians; the offerings of food; the false door through which the ka can come and go, in order to partake of its worldly provisions. For, quite obviously, the "consciousness of the body" was still thinking and understanding in terms of physical existence (Benjamin wished to present himself neatly to Mirra, just as if he were having a physical darshan [interview with the Spiritual Teacher]). So, since in these physical bodies we are accustomed to using doors to enter and leave rooms, so the spirit, the "consciousness of the body", has a "door" through which to arrive and depart.
The Egyptologist Henri Frankfort interprets the Ka as being of the nature of vitality or life-force, although he uses these terms in a manner different to that of yogic and occult theorists. Commenting on the Ka's dependence on funerary offerings of food, he writes:
"...(T)he mysterious character of life - namely that it is sustained by matter, although it is in-tangible...itself - led the Egyptians not to a materialistic interpretation of life, but to a spiritual view of food: the same word, Ka, which denotes man's impalpable vital force also means, in the plural, his sustenance. In the Memphite Theology...mentions immediately before the establishment of justice - therefore in a context of the highest order - that the Ka's were created, "they that make all sustenance and all food."
[Henri Frankfort, Ancient Egyptian Religion, p.91]
Interestingly, this same "sacred" reference to "food" also occurs in the Taittiriya Upanishad of India, which, as we have seen, is the text where the idea of a series or gradation of selves is first presented in systematic form. There, the lowest self is not called the elemental or physical self, but the "food" (Skt anna) self:
"This, verily, is the person that consists of the essence of food...It was only in the later and more world-negating metaphysics of Vedantins such as the monistShankara and his successors, that the divine "self made of food" degenerated into the "physical sheath", a meaning it still retains in the teachings of Indian Gurus and Theosophical writers today.
From food, verily, are produced whatsoever creatures dwell on the earth....(B)y food alone they live. And...into it they pass at the end. Food, verily, is the eldest born of beings. Therefore is it called the healing herb of all. Verily, those who worship Brahman [the Godhead] as food obtain all food..."
[The Principle Upanishads, ed & transl by S. Radhakrishnan, pp.542-3 (George Allen & Un-win, London, 1953)]
We could suppose then that in addition to the material aspect of food - which would in fact be the "body" of the food, and not its essential essence - there is also a "spiritual" or occult aspect. This is why one finds the universal practice of offering food to a deity, or to deceased ancestors. Even in the most orthodox Hinduism today, offerings of food - prashadam - are put before a representation (a painting or an idol) of the deity, and then only after the food has been offered to the deity may the human devotees partake of it. This is standard practice in two orthodox Hindu sects to the West - the Hare Krishna movement and the movement of Satya Sai Baba.
It is interesting to consider that there is a modern-day religious sect which undertakes Ka- offerings just as the Egyptians and many other traditional cultures did and do. This is the Mahikari-no-waza sect, a strongly nationalistic Japanese movement, foundered by a certain Yoshikazu Okado (1901-74), who later became known as Sukuinushisama ("Great Savior"). Sukuinushisama claimed to have received a revelation from the true God, telling him that the previous age of Water was over, and a new age of Fire had been inaugurated in. The Marikari teachings were thus claimed to be the Revelation of this Age.
Unlike the multitude of other Japanese religions that have sprung up in the last century, and with which Mahikari bears more than a passing resemblance, the Mahikari teachings spread to and established itself in the West, although the head-quarters remain in Japan.
The most interesting thing about the Mahikari movement is the ability of its followers to radiate a definite healing energy, called "True Light"; in a manner akin to Reiki, another recent Japanese religious phenomenon.
Unlike Reiki however, Mahikari constitutes a specific religion, the doctrines of which are expected to be adhered to by its practitioners. Theologically and pragmatically, it is not very different from the monotheistic traditions of the West and Middle East (Judaism, Protestant, and Catholic Christianity, Islam, etc). There is the same metaphysical existence of Creator-God and Soul, the same idea of the Prophet or Savior and the New Revelation, the same theological authoritarianism - "this is how it is". Where Mahikari differs is in its cultural background. In this respect it is like the Hindu Hare Krishna sect: an oriental belief which has nevertheless adopted the intellectual totalitarianism of Western and Middle Eastern religion, and thus found fertile ground in the minds of people already conditioned to accept authoritarian religion for its establishment here.
A consideration of Mahikari theology is obviously beyond the scope of this present book. What is of relevance for us is, as I have stated, their practice of Ka-worship.
Obviously, it is not surprising to find Ka-worship established as a central tenet of Mahikari dogma; it is after all a deeply entrenched practice in the civilisations of China and Japan, just as it was in the Egypt of five to three millennia ago. Yet whatever value or not Ka-worship may have had in these traditional civilisations, the accounts of it among practicing Mahikari Westerners have a certain unhealthy feel to them.
How Ka-worship occurs in Mahikari is like this. One sets up a special altar, upon which are placed tablets giving the names of one's deceased ancestors and relatives. During the ancestor ceremony, a bell is rung, and food is offered on trays.
All of which seems quite harmless. What is however disturbing are indications that the Ka-s tend to be-come obsessive when their needs are not regularly met. The following accounts, be it noted, are not from a book critical of Mahikari, but from Dr A. K. Tebecis' Mahikari - Thank God for the Answers at Last, the standard popular text espousing the Mahikari cause in Australia at least.
"More examples could be given, but I think the reader gets the drift. The setting up of altars and other such religious paraphernalia to the Ka establishes a psychic link between the living person and the Ka's clustered around the altar. The Ka itself is a being of a very low order, and will impose itself obsessively on whoever is foolish enough to establish a psychic connection with it. And inasmuch as the Ka is the "consciousness of the body", a kind of physically- and somatically-bound soul, it will parasitically merge, at an almost somatic level, with the person making the offerings, thus producing actual physical symptoms - and usually unpleasant ones at that (stomach ache, insomnia, alcoholic cravings, etc) - in the unfortunate person concerned.
ANCESTORS REALLY DO NEED FOOD
For a while after holding the inauguration ceremony for my Ancestors name-tablets and Alter I did not really notice any obvious changes in my life. In fact, I often wondered whether it was necessary to offer them food every day as I had been taught...
One evening,...I forgot to offer food to my ancestors....Whilst receiving True Light on the forehead (at the Mahikari centre),...I experienced a severe pain in my stomach and tears flowed from my eyes. The pain did not go away...
Late that evening I suddenly remembered that I had not offered food to my ancestors. Quickly I began to prepare their meal. Within minutes the pain in my stomach stopped completely...
MY ANCESTORS CRAVED FOR ALCOHOL
Recently,...I had been having cravings for alcohol. This all seemed very strange...as I hadn't really liked alcohol that much in the past.
Eventually I realised something was strange and decided to offer some alcoholic drink to my ancestors. It was incredible. As soon as I offered (them) a drink...all my craving...completely vanished.
ADMONITION FROM ANCESTORS
...(B)efore going to bed one night I closed my Ancestors Altar but forgot to turn off the light inside the Altar. Even though I was very tired...I could not sleep properly all night....(M)y wife spent a terrible night as well. We then discovered that the light was still on in the Ancestors Altar.
On another occasion...I had a very severe stomach ache and boring pain in my left ear! We realised then that we had for-gotten to offer food to our ancestors..."
[Andris K. Tebecis, Mahikari - Thank God for the Answers at Last, pp.109-113 (L. H. Yoko Shuppan, Tokyo, 1982)]
It is interesting to note that the identification of unhappy ghosts with evil spirits is an almost universal one. S. G. F. Brandon tells us that according to the Babylonians (whose view of post-mortem existence was very pessimistic):
"...the condition of the dead is somewhat ameliorated by mortuary offerings made for them by their relatives, and that to perish in some unknown place was the worst of fates, for it prevented the unfortunate one from descending to the place of the dead, and forced him to feed on scraps and offal left on the streets. This view of the condition of the unburied and uncared for dead inspired the widespread belief...that the shades of such became vengeful and plagued the living - disease and misfortune were attributed to the attacks of restless ghosts..."
[S. G. F. Brandon, The Judgment of the Dead, p.52]
Here we have the idea that the spirit which is not satisfied becomes a vengeful entity that attacks the living. And this in fact is exactly what has happened in the case of the Mahikari devotees. If they do not serve the entity's needs, it attacks them through actual physical symptoms!
There are of course differences between the Babylonian and the modern Mahikarite situation; the main one being, as I see it, that the attacks come only when one has previously opened oneself to the entity through erecting an altar and making offerings to it in the first place, whereas according to the Babylonians it was only those ghosts who were totally uncared for that became vicious beings.
It may be that the Babylonians were confusing the Ka with a more "psychic" negative entity, also derived from deceased humans, the Bhuta or evil spirit proper.
It is worth pointing out that the Chinese had a very similar conception of post-mortem ghosts to the Babylonians. As Laurence G. Thompson explains in his illuminating book on Chinese religion:
"In China...the vulgar notion of the soul would be that of a pale shadow of the living man...a grotesque caricature of his mortal form. Such ghostly apparitions have been a staple of Chinese stories from early Chou times (about 1000 b.c.e.) to the present. However there was a distinction made between such sinister apparitions and the benevolent souls of properly cared-for ancestors....(T)he former were called kuei, meaning demons, devils, and ghosts, while the latter were referred to as shen, meaning kindly spirits.Here we have the p'o as the yin or material soul which, like the Babylonian ghost, must be properly attended to if it is not to become a malevolent being.
Now the material or yin component of the soul (called p'o) was that which would turn into a kuei if not placated by suitable burial and sacrifices...."
[Laurence G. Thompson, Chinese Religion: an Introduction, p.10 (Dickenson Publishing Co, Inc, Encino, California, 1975, 2nd ed.)]
The Ka, being a somatic soul, requires a physical body of some sort to incarnate in. In the case of the Mahikarite, who foolishly opens him or herself to their influence, they choose his or her body, and, as we have seen from the evidence given by Mahikari practitioners and quoted in a fundamentalistic Mahikari book, the Ka's are even able to produce actual physical symptoms of discomfort when the person is a little tardy or forgetful in serving their needs.
The Egyptians, being far more occultly knowledgeable, may have been aware of the dangers of such a thing happening, for they provided a statue for each Ka to incarnate in. This incarnation was carried out with the aid of a priest, and was known as the ceremony of "The Opening of the Mouth", so called because it was, as E. A. Wallis Budge explains, able to
"procure the unlocking of the jaws and the opening of the mouth of the deceased, or of the statue which sometimes represented him...; and hereby was he enabled to partake of meat and drink offerings..."
[E. A. Wallis Budge, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, p.cxxxviii]
The ceremony itself is typically ritualistic, involving a long prayer and the invocation of the various gods, purification through water and incense, and offering of various unguents and food substances to the accompaniment of the words of the prayer.
The occult potency of such ceremonial practices should not be belittled; to give a modern ex-ample, it is standard knowledge among occult writers that a religious ceremony like the Catholic Latin Mass has great power, although with the introduction of the Mass in the vernacular rather than in Latin, much of the potency, especially that which was inherent in the mantric recitation of the Latin itself, was lost.
We have seen that the personality, or at least that aspect of the personality that we have termed the Ka, can be maintained indefinitely, just as it was during life, in all its psychological im-perfections. This is done in a very simple way. For the way to maintain the Ka is to keep feeding it with psychic-vital energy, that is, with the physical-psychic-vital energy in the offerings to it, and the psychic energy in one's own being as one makes the offerings.
The Egyptians certainly knew this fact well enough. As Budge explains
"The ka, as we have seen, could eat food, and it was necessary to provide food for it....(T)he Egyptians thought that the future welfare of the spiritual body depended upon the maintenance of a constant supply of sepulchral offerings. When circumstances rendered it impossible to continue the material supply of food, the ka fed upon the offerings painted on the walls of the tomb, which were transformed into suitable nourishment by means of the prayers of the living. When there were neither material offerings nor painted similitudes to feed upon, it seems as if the ka must have perished; but the texts are not definite on this point."The Ka must be fed and maintained! Here we have the explanation behind ancestor worship; the universally held practice (especially in the Orient) of honoring one's ancestors with regular little offerings and prayers. For although the other principles have long moved on to their own fates, the Ka of the ancestor usually remains "Earthbound", within the vicinity of loved-ones, as a kind of helping (or in some cases hindering) spirit. To maintain its existence as an autonomous entity, and to propitiate it if it is negatively inclined, a regular input of psychic energy - prayers and offerings - are necessary.
[E. A. Wallis Budge, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, p.lxiii]
And what happens if no offerings are given? Well, it appears that the Ka degenerates into a mere shade. Although, as Budge tells us, the Egyptian texts do not specify this eventuality, one does find among the peoples of the ancient Mediterranean world the intuition of this. We have already seen the pathetic fate of the uncared-for dead according to the ancient Babylonians: they become scavengers, feeding on scraps and offal in the streets.
The Homeric Greeks, like the Babyloninas, had a similarly pessimistic view of post-mortem existence, and supposed that only a mere wraith survives. As S.G.F. Brandon explains:
"Man is regarded as...compounded of three parts: his body, his thymos, and his psyche. The thymos was the conscious self, and the psyche something akin to the life-principle....With the dissolution of the body, the thymos was merged with the air, and the psyche, transformed into a shadowy replica of the living person...the eidolon, descended into Hades, which was conceived as an immense cavern or cavity below ground. There, with the wraiths of all the other dead, bereft of self-consciousness and capable only of chirping sounds, the eidolon lived on in dismal gloom. Such a state is remarkably like that of the Mesopotamian dead in kur-nu-gi-a (the "Land of No Return"), or that of the departed in the Hebrew She'ol..."
[S. G. F. Brandon, The Judgment of the Dead, p.81]
It is interesting to note here that it is not the higher principle, the thymos, which survives in some form, but the intermediate principle, the "psyche". Yet even the existence of the post-mortem "psyches", the eidolons, was of a very impoverished nature. When Odysseus descended into Hades and encountered the multitudes of dead, all appearing as they did when alive, he
"recognizes many whom he knew among these shades, (but) no communication...is possible until they drink of the blood of an animal which had been sacrificed. The fact is significant...: these eidola...have no memory until a fleeting restoration of consciousness is effected by imbibing blood, the substance of life."
We could say then that the Homeric psyche, as the quasi-vital principle which maintains a partial, impoverished existence after death, is comparable to the Egyptian Ka. And just as the Ka is dependent on the food-offerings of the living, from which it draws nourishment to sustain itself, so Homer's eidolons re-attained self-consciousness through drawing upon the vital-force and nourishment from the blood of a sacrificed animal.
To conclude; unless it is fortunate enough to belong to a culture where the "spirits" (Ka-s) of the dead are well cared for with numerous offerings, the fate of the Ka is not a happy one. Either it becomes a miserable scavenger of refuse, or it sinks into a quasi-existence, or perhaps it becomes a ghost or negative spirit.
Yet the Ka's pathetic post-mortem state is not an accurate reflection of its influence upon the consciousness while start a part of the embodied being. For the most powerful of the world-religions are actually Ka-inspired, as we shall see.
We have seen that the conception of the Soul current in the ancient Middle East and Mediterranean world was, essentially, the soul as Ka and as incarnate personality. Man is seen as a holistic unity of body and soul; there being no conception of a soul dualistically separate from the body, as in the modern Cartesian, and Greek Platonic and Hellenistic, idea of "Body and Soul", or "Spirit and Matter". It was uniformly believed that after death the body returns to the earth, and the soul or life becomes a pathetic shade which descends to the underworld. This shade can be identified with the Ka, the soul-principle which is bound to the body. Thus for the most part there was no conception among the early Mediterranean peoples - the ancient Egyptians being a glorious and unique exception - of any principle of "soul" higher than the life of the body, or the incarnate personality. Usually this meant the identification of the soul with the breath. This was a belief that persisted in the language long after such crude and limited conceptions of the soul had become redundant. So we have the Greek word pnuema, meaning both "air" and "spirit", and the Latin spiritus, from which is derived the English "spirit" and "inspiration" (literally "to breath in"). Usually, one or the other meaning would become dominant, and the other forgotten. Thus Pneuma has come to mean only physical air - e.g. "pnuematic tire" - and Spirit and Psyche only the non-physical or soul being.
Thus the ancient Mediterranean perspective was that man is a holistic unity of body and soul principle, and death of the body therefore meant death of the soul as well. Lest one might think it strange that so many peoples, with such magnificent cultural achievements, should have so crude and limited a metaphysical and occult knowledge, I need only point out that exactly the same applies in the modern materialistic West. This no doubt is the reason why the original Hebrew concept of the Soul as the "life of the body" has once again become popular at a grass roots level amongst intelligent Protestant Christians. Living as they are in a materialistic society which worships Science as its God and source of authority (or one of them), they take encouragement from the fact that as theories of consciousness and brain-functioning, both crudely reductionist materialism and philosophical dualism are currently out of favour, whilst holistic-materialistic theories, which see consciousness as the holistic product of and counterpart to the physical body, are in fashion.
So we had then, as we have now, a society which was metaphysically limited in its understanding. Yet whilst modern materialism denies any sort of individual after-life existence, the ancient Mediterranean world accepted at least the existence of the Ka, and indeed they had some knowledge of it. And, stemming from this, the entire Judeo-Christian religious tradition developed, as a Kaeic revelation.
Why is it that in these religions the concept of the after-life developed as a sort of physical resurrection of one's previous body? Why was there no conception of a purely spiritual after-life, such as was developed by the Hellenistic and Indian civilisations? The answer may be that the exoteric Judeo-Christian religion is essentially a religion of the Ka; an expression of the fear of death the Ka has; the fear of falling into the abyss, the underworld, hell. For full existence the Ka requires a physical body, hence the belief in bodily resurrection. And somehow it would have to be arranged that this body doesn't die, because otherwise with the resurrection the Ka has only scored a respite, not a permanent solution. So the resurrected body is said to be ageless, free of illness, that it will live forever in an eternal paradise, and so on. The whole thing is a total absurdity to the rational intellect, which has a far better understanding of how the world works than the child-like Ka. But for people with weak intellects, the fantasy-world Judeo-Christian paradise serves them fine.
Thus, although I'm not denying it contains other elements, I would say that the Judeo-Christian eschatology is seen as basically a wish-fulfillment and reality-avoidance fantasy on the part of the Ka.