Some writers, again, use Elementary as a synonym for Shell, and so cause increased confusion. The word should at least be restricted to the desire body plus lower Manas, whether that lower Manas be disentangling itself from the kamic elements, in order that it may be re-absorbed into its source, or separated from the Higher Ego, and therefore on the road to destruction.
Among the various conceptions presented by the Esoteric Philosophy, there are few, perhaps, which the Western mind has found more difficulty in grasping than that of Devachan, or Devasthan, the Devaland, or land of the Gods. And one of the chief difficulties has arisen from the free use of the words illusion, dream-state, and other similar terms, as denoting the devachanic consciousness—a general sense of unreality having thus come to pervade the whole conception of Devachan. When the Eastern thinker speaks of the present earthly life as Maya, illusion, dream, the solid Western at once puts down the phrases as allegorical and fanciful, for what can be less illusory, he thinks, than this world of buying and selling, of beefsteaks and bottled stout. But when similar terms are applied to a state beyond Death—a state which to him is misty and unreal in his own religion, and which, as he sadly feels, is lacking in all the substantial comforts dear to the family man—then he accepts the words in their most literal and prosaic meaning, and speaks of Devachan as a delusion in his own sense of the word. It may be well, therefore, on the threshold of Devachan to put this question of “illusion” in its true light.
In a deep metaphysical sense all that is conditioned is illusory. All phenomena are literally “appearances”, the outer masks in which the One Reality shows itself forth in our changing universe. The more “material” and solid the appearance, the further is it from Reality, and therefore the more illusory it is. What can be a greater fraud than our body, so apparently solid, stable, visible and tangible? It is a constantly changing congeries of minute living particles, an attractive centre into which stream continually myriads of tiny invisibles, that become visible by their aggregation at this centre, and then stream away again, becoming invisible by reason of their minuteness as they separate off from this aggregation. In comparison with this ever-shifting but apparently stable body how much less illusory is the mind, which is able to expose the pretensions of the body and put it in its true light. The mind is constantly imposed on by the senses, and Consciousness, the most real thing in us, is apt to regard itself as the unreal. In truth, it is the thought-world that is the nearest to reality, and things become more and more illusory as they take on more and more of a phenomenal character.