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In theosophy and anthroposophy, the Akashic records are a compendium of all human events, thoughts, words, emotions, and intent ever to have occurred in the past, present, or future. They are believed by theosophists to be encoded in a non-physical plane of existence known as the etheric plane. There are anecdotal accounts but there is no scientific evidence for the existence of the Akashic records.
A related concept is the Preserved Tablet (al-Lawhu 'l-Mahfuz) of Islamic theology, the heavenly preserved record of all that has happened and will happen.
The Sanskrit term akasha was introduced to the language of theosophy through H. P. Blavatsky (1831–1891), who characterized it as a sort of life force; she also referred to "indestructible tablets of the astral light" recording both the past and future of human thought and action, but she did not use the term "akashic". The notion of an akashic record was further disseminated by Alfred Percy Sinnett in his book Esoteric Buddhism (1883) when he cites Henry Steel Olcott's A Buddhist Catechism (1881). Olcott wrote that "Buddha taught two things are eternal, viz, 'Akasa' and 'Nirvana': everything has come out of Akasa in obedience to a law of motion inherent in it, and, passes away. No thing ever comes out of nothing." Olcott further explains that "Early Buddhism, then, clearly held to a permanency of records in the Akasa and the potential capacity of man to read the same, when he was evoluted to the stage of true individual enlightenment."
By C. W. Leadbeater's Clairvoyance (1899) the association of the term with the idea was complete, and he identified the akashic records by name as something a clairvoyant could read. In his 1913 Man: How, Whence, and Whither?, Leadbeater claims to record the history of Atlantis and other civilizations as well as the future society of Earth in the 28th century.
Alice A. Bailey wrote in her book Light of the Soul on The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 3 – Union achieved and its Results (1927):
The akashic record is like an immense photographic film, registering all the desires and earth experiences of our planet. Those who perceive it will see pictured thereon: The life experiences of every human being since time began, the reactions to experience of the entire animal kingdom, the aggregation of the thought-forms of a karmic nature (based on desire) of every human unit throughout time. Herein lies the great deception of the records. Only a trained occultist can distinguish between actual experience and those astral pictures created by imagination and keen desire.
The Austrian theosophist and later founder of Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner, used the Akashic records concept mainly in a series of articles in his journal Lucifer-Gnosis from 1904 to 1908, where he wrote about Atlantis and Lemuria, topics related to their purported history and civilisation, etc. Besides this, he used the term in the title of lectures on a Fifth Gospel held in 1913 and 1914, shortly after the foundation of the Anthroposophical Society and Steiner's exclusion from the Theosophical Society Adyar, Chennai.
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Other than anecdotal eyewitness accounts, there is no evidence of the ability to astral project, the existence of other planes, or of the Akashic Record.
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- Sinnett, Alfred Percy (1884). Esoteric Buddhism (5th ed.). Houghton Mifflin. p. 127.
- Olcott, Henry Steel. A Buddhist Catechism. London: Allen Scott and Company, 1881. 51–2, 79.
- Besant, Annie; Leadbeater, C.W. (1913). Man: How, Whence, and Whither?. Adyar,Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House.
- Aus der Akasha-Chronik. Partial edition of the work in English: Steiner, Rudolf (1911). The Submerged Continents of Atlantis and Lemuria, Their History and Civilization. Being Chapters From The Âkâshic Records. London: Theosophical Publishing Society. First complete English edition: Steiner, Rudolf (1959). Cosmic Memory. Englewood, New Jersey: Rudolf Steiner Publications.
- Steiner, Rudolf (1950). The Fifth Gospel. Investigation of the Akasha Chronicle. Five lectures given in Christiania, 1913. London: Rudolf Steiner Publishing.