Thursday, June 10, 2010

What happens after death?

Have you ever thought or been curious that what happens when we die? Following text I read in “Vasistha’s Yoga”. I do not know if you believe in this or not, does not matter but it was very interesting to me so thought to put it here. May be you will like, surprise or think otherwise. Here it goes….

There are three types of human beings: the fool, one who is practicing concentration and mediation, and the yogi (or intelligent one). The last two type of human beings abandon the body by the practice of yoga of concentration and mediation and depart at their sweet will and pleasure. But, the fool who has not practiced concentration and meditation, being at the mercy of forces outside himself, experiences great anguish at the approach of death.

The fool experiences a terrible burning sensation within himself. His breathing becomes hard and labored. His body becomes discolored. He enters into dense darkness and sees the stars during day. He gets dizzy. He is confused in his vision; he sees the earth as space and the sky as the solid earth. He experiences all sorts of delirious sensations - that he is falling into a well, entering into a stone, riding a fast vehicle, melting away like snow, being dragged with rope, floating away like a blade of grass, etc. He wishes to express suffering but unable to do so. Gradually, his senses lose their power and he is unable to even think. Therefore he sinks in un-wisdom and ignorance.

Such is the order established in the beginning of the creation by the infinite consciousness. When life-breath does not flow freely, the person ceases to live. But all this is imaginary. How can infinite consciousness cease to be? The person is nothing but infinite consciousness. Who dies and when, to whom does this infinite consciousness belong and how? Even when millions of bodies die, this consciousness exists undiminished.

When there is cessation of the flow of the life-breath, the consciousness of the individual becomes utterly passive. Please remember that consciousness is pure, eternal and infinite: it does not arise nor cease to be. It is ever there in the moving and unmoving creatures, in sky, on mountain and in fire and air. When life-breath ceases, the body is said to be “dead” or “inert”. The life breath returns to its source- air and the consciousness freed from memory and tendencies remains as the self.

The atomic eternal particle which is possessed of these memories and tendencies is known as the Jiva, and it remains there itself, in the space where the dead body is. And they refer to it as “Preta” (departed soul). That Jiva now abandons its ideas and what it had been seeing till then, and perceives other things as in dreaming or day-dreaming. After a momentary lapse of consciousness, the Jiva begins to fancy that it sees another body, another world and another life-span.

There are six categories of such “departed souls”: bad, worse, worst sinners; good, better and best of virtuous ones. Of course, there are sub-divisions among these too. In the case of some of the worst sinners, the momentary lapse of consciousness may last a considerable time. The middle among sinners undergo terrible sufferings in hell and then are born in countless living species before they see the end of their agony. They might even exist as trees for a long time. The middling among sinners also suffer for a considerable time; and then born as worms and animals. The light sinners are soon reborn as human beings.

The best among the righteous ascend to heaven and enjoy life there. Later they are born in good and affluent families on earth. The middling among the righteous go to region of the celestials and return to the earth as children of priests, etc. Even righteous among the departed ones, after enjoying such heavenly pleasures, have to pass through the realms of the demi-gods to suffer the consequences of the iniquities they might have committed.

All these departed souls experience within themselves the fruits of their own past actions. At first there is the notion “I am dead”, and then “I am being carried away by the messengers of the God of death”. The righteous among them fancy that they are taken to the heaven and the ordinary sinners fancy that they are standing in the court of God of death where with the help of Citragupta (the hidden record of one’s deeds), they are being tried and judged for their past life.

Whatever the Jiva sees, that the Jiva experiences. For in this empty space of infinite consciousness there is nothing known as time, action etc. Then Jiva fancies. “The God of death has sent me to heaven(or hell)” and “I have enjoyed (of suffered) the pleasures ( or tortures) of the heaven (or hell)”, and “I am born as animal, etc., as ordained by God of death”.

At that moment, the Jiva enters into the body of the male through the food eaten; it is then transferred to the female and delivered into this world, where it undergoes life again in accordance with the fruitarian of past actions. There it grows and wanes like moon. Once again it undergoes senility and death. This goes on again and again till the Jiva is enlightened by self-knowledge.