This blog-post will obviously come across as morbid, but I feel understanding the process helps in removing the fear.
Following the unfortunate incident of the demise of our Yoga Guru, Dr. H.K.Rajesh Sir, one of our MSc Yoga batch-mates had shared an excerpt from Garuda Purana, which is one of the 18 Maha Puranas of Hindu scriptures that explains the process of death. I have shared that excerpt in this post.
In this current world where we want scientific evidence for everything, there is, naturally going to be a tendency to call it a myth / imagination. For those who need scientific explanation, there is a recent article on what scientists say about after-death journey.
*So, what happens after death?*
Death is actually a very interesting process!!
*Disconnection of the earth sole Chakras*
Approximately 4-5 hours before death, the earth sole chakras situated below the feet gets detached … symbolizing disconnection from the earth plane!! A few hours before an individual dies, their feet turn cold. When the actual time to depart arrives, it is said that Yama, the God of death appears to guide the soul.
*The Astral Cord*
Death severs the astral cord, which is the connection of the soul to the body. Once this cord is cut the soul becomes free of the body and moves up and out of the body. If the soul is attached to the physical body it occupied for this lifetime, it refuses to leave and tries to get into the body and move it and stay in it. We may observe this as a very subtle or slight movement of the face, hand or leg after the person has died. The soul is unable to accept that it is dead. There is still a feeling of being alive. Since the astral cord has been severed, the soul cannot stay here and is pushed upwards and out of the body. There is a pull from above … a magnetic pull to go up.
*End of the physical body*
At this stage the soul hears many voices, all at the same time. These are the thoughts of all the individuals present in the room. The soul on its part talks to his loved ones like he always did n shouts out “I am not dead” !! But alas, nobody hears him. Slowly and steadily the soul realizes that it is dead and there is no way back. At this stage, the soul is floating at approx 12 feet or at the height of the ceiling, seeing and hearing everything happening around. Generally the soul floats around the body till it is cremated. So, the next time if you see a body being carried for cremation, be informed that *the soul is also part of the procession* seeing, hearing and witnessing everything and everyone.
*Detachment from the body*
Once the cremation is complete, the soul is convinced that the main essence of its survival on earth is lost and the body it occupied for so many years has merged into the five elements. The soul experiences complete freedom, the boundaries it had while being in the body are gone and it can travel anywhere by mere thought. For 7 days the soul, moves about its places of interest like its favorite joint, morning walk garden, office, etc. If the soul is possessive of his money, it will just stay near his cupboard, or if he is possessive of his children, it will just be in their room, clinging on to them. *By the end of the 7th day,* the soul says bye to his family and moves further upwards to the periphery of the earth plane to cross over to the other side.
It is said that there is a big tunnel here which it has to cross before reaching the astral plane. Hence its said that the *first 12 days after death are extremely crucial.* We have to carry out the rituals correctly and pray and ask forgiveness from the soul, so that it does not carry negative emotions like hurt, hatred, anger, etc atleast from the near and dear ones. All the rituals, prayers and positive energy act like food for the soul which will help it in its onward journey. At the end of the tunnel is a huge bright light signifying the entry into the astral world.
*Meeting the Ancestors*
On the 11th & 12th day, Hindus conduct Homas and prayers and rituals through which the soul is united with its ancestors, close friends, relatives and the guides. All the passed away ancestors welcome the soul to the upper plane and they greet and hug them exactly like we do here on seeing our family members after a long time. The soul then along with its guides are taken for a thorough life review of the life just completed on earth in the presence of the *Great Karmic Board.*
It is here in the pure light that the whole past life is viewed !!
There is no judge, there is no God here. The soul judges himself, the way he judged others in his lifetime. He asks for revenge for people who troubled him in that life, he experiences guilt for all wrongdoings he did to people and asks for self punishment to learn that lesson. Since the soul is not bound by the body and the ego, the final judgment becomes the basis of the next lifetime. Based on this, a complete life structure is created by the soul himself, called the blue print. All the incidents to be faced, all problems to be faced, all challenges to be overcome are written in this agreement. In fact the soul chooses all the minute details like age, person and circumstances for all incidents to be experienced. Example : An individual had severe headache in his present birth, nothing helped him, no medicines, no way out. In a session of past life regression, he saw himself killing his neighbour in a previous birth by smashing his head with a huge stone. In the life review, when he saw this he became very guilty and asked for the same pain to be experienced by him by way of a never ending headache in this life.
This is the way we judge ourselves and in guilt ask for punishment. The amount of guilt in the soul, decides the severity of the punishment n level of suffering. Hence forgiveness is very vital.
*We must forgive and seek forgiveness!!*
Clear your thoughts and emotions, as we carry them forward to the other side too. Once this review is done and our blue print for the next life is formed, then there is a cooling period.
We are born depending on what we have asked for in the agreement. The cooling off period also depends on our urgency to evolve.
*We choose our parents*
and enter the mothers womb either at the time of egg formation or during the 4-5th month or sometimes even at the last moment just before birth. The universe is so perfect, so beautifully designed that the time and place of birth constitutes our horoscope, which actually is a blue print of this life. Most of us think that our stars are bad and we are unlucky but in actuality, they just mirror your agreement.
*Once we are reborn, for around 40 days the baby remembers its past life and laughs and cries by itself without anyone forcing it to.
* The memory of the past life is completely cut after this and we experience life as though we did not exist in the past.
*The agreement starts..*
Its here that we are completely in the earth plane and the contract comes into full effect. We then blame God/people for our difficult situations and curse God for giving us such a difficult life … So, the next time before pointing to the Divine, understand that our circumstances are just helping us complete and honor our agreement, which is fully and completely written by us. Whatever we have asked for and pre decided is exactly what we receive !! Friends, relatives, foes, parents, spouses all have been selected by us in the blue print and come in our lives based on this agreement.
*They are just playing their parts and are merely actors in this film written, produced and directed by us!!*
*Do the Dead need healing / prayers / protection ?*
The dead always need serious healing and prayers for a variety of reasons, the most important one being … To be free and not earthbound !! … that is stuck in the earth plane and unable to leave. There are many reasons for the soul to be earthbound like unfinished business, excessive grief, trauma on death, sudden death, fear of moving on to the astral plane, guilt, one of the most important being improper finishing of last rites and rituals. The soul feels it needs a little more time to wait and finish before moving on. This keeps them hovering on the earth plane. But the time is limited and it is very very important that they cross over within 12 days to their astral plane of existence, as the entry to the astral world closes a few days after this.
*Earthbound spirits lead a very miserable existence* as they are neither in their actual plane nor in a body to lead an earthly life. They may not be negative or harmful but they are stuck and miserable. Hence healing and prayers are of utmost importance during this period so that the departed soul crosses over to the designated astral plane peacefully. Prayers by the whole family is very vital to help the dead cross over. The protection of the soul to help it reach its destination in the astral world is achieved through prayers.
*Please Do Not Take Death Lightly …*
Now more than ever most souls are stuck on the earth plane due to lack of belief and family neglect. Finally, for someone who has lost a near and dear one, don’t feel sad … We never die, we live on, death does not end anything, it is just a little break before we meet again !!
(This article has been extracted from … *The Garuda Puranam*)