04. DEATH AND INCARNATION

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  1. DEATH AND INCARNATION

Death is like sleep, and as sleep is essential to man, so also is death a necessary part of life.

Death is common to all. It is a necessary step forward towards life. The soul changes into a new abode, and thus death means no more than changing your coat or it may be compared with sleep.

The difference between death and sleep is that, after the first, one wakes up again in a new body, while in the latter one becomes conscious of the same body. Worldly people do not go into hysterics after one who goes to sleep at night, because they expect to see him awake again. Then why not exercise the same indifference when he sleeps the sleep of death, since he is bound to wake up again sooner or later in a new body? Thus the selfishness of not being able to satisfy their minds in the absence of the sight of their dear ones makes them weep, not so much the death itself.

Birth and deaths are gateways in the stream of life as it advances from one type of existence to another, both are equally necessary in greater life of the soul

In reality, no one is born and no one dies. This is all a dream. And what worth does a dream have?

Life does not end with death. Survival after death is as true as death after life.

Sorrow of the death is a form of selfishness.

Sorrow of death is due to the attachment to a particular form.

The human body can be compared to the fibers on the outer shell of a coconut. Hundreds of such hairs fall off, but the coconut water remains safe inside. Similarly, thousands of human bodies may fall, but the soul is immortal; it never dies. It is always living and eternal. –Meher Baba

Even after death Sanskaras and carried over in next birth

A person dies when his sanskaras are exhausted – spent in full. After a person dies his sanskaras snap the mind’s connection with the gross body, and at that time he receives such a shock that he forgets every incident of his past life. But even though the gross body drops, the mind and the subtle body remain full of sanskaras.

For the next forty to seventy hours after death, the attention of the sanskaras is centered mostly on the place where the body is kept. But after that, there is no connection whatsoever between the dead person and that place. Within the next eight or ten days, the spirit of the dead person experiences the subtle state of either heaven or hell according to his sanskaras.

After a person dies, many people perform rites and ceremonies for a long time, but all these are useless. No ritual is necessary after ten days; however, the best rites would be to feed either dogs or crows near the body because they have subtle sight and can see the spirit of the dead person. Crows and dogs are not subtle-conscious, but they have subtle faculties of perception and draw toward themselves the sanskaras of dead people.

Body is to the soul is like the waste material is to the food-a simile.

Baba asked Eruch, “what happens after you eat?’

Eruch said. “You digest you food and then defecate the waste.”

Baba explained, “The body is to the soul as the waste material is to the food. The body eventually becomes faces of the soul. How do you feel after you go to the toilet?’

“Relived and happy.”

“The soul, too feels happy and relieved to be free from body. That is how one should feel about anyone’s death.”

Astral world

Astral sphere is connecting link between gross world and subtle world. A person after his normal physical death remains in astral sphere for about 12 to 14 days and then he or she enters in hell or heaven state according to his or her sanskaras. In between the gross and subtle worlds there are seven sheaths which form so called world of astral. After disembodiment the soul experiences the world of astral in astral body. When soul gets embodied, the astral body is shed and with a new gross body it gets a fresh astral body. At the stage when soul experiences fully the first plane of subtle world, the astral sheath that linked the subtle with gross is snapped for good.

Male and female incarnation

After attaining the human form, as rule there is no reversion to animal forms, but human form may sometimes be male and some time female according to the sanskaras and the spiritual requirements of soul (jeevatma). The female form has the special prerogative that even the Sadgurus and The Avatars have to be born through female form. The male form has the prerogative that majority of the Sadgurus appear in male form. Woman can be saint and Sadguru, but The Avatar always appear in male form.

The needs involved in further development of the soul are related to the nature of its accumulated sanskaras. Therefore, these accumulated sanskaras really determine whether the soul (jeevatma) takes its incarnation in the East or in the West, or in the male form or in the female form or one cycle of existence or another.

Roughly speaking, today on the whole the East has developed more on spiritual lines than on material lines; with the result that eastern mind has a spontaneous aspiration for God.

An incarnation in the East usually brings with it a greater tendency toward spiritual life than an incarnation in the West and an incarnation in the west usually bring with it a greater tendency toward material life than an incarnation in the East. But Jeevatma had to experience the material as well as the spiritual aspects of life before it is freed from the fetters of divided life. Therefore, the same jeevatma has to incarnate in the East as well as in the West.

Facilities afforded by male and female incarnation respectively are not rigidly invariable. They change according to the cycle of existence as well as whether the incarnation in the East or in the West. In some ages men were more active, energetic and materially minded than women. In other ages, the reverse is true. In the past the women of the east were brave and intellectual. They considered no sacrifice too great for happiness and wellbeing of their husbands, and their spiritual humility extended to looking upon the husband as God-Himself. Now in the Eastern hemisphere the average man has greater spiritual inclination than the average woman, just as in the West the average woman of today has greater spiritual inclination than the average man. The joke is that in comparison with members of opposite sex, the same jeevatma shows varying degrees of superiority, inferiority or equality–with regard to spiritual or material matters, depending upon the cycle of existence, the sex of its body and the earthy sphere in which he takes incarnation.

The lessons readily learnt in male incarnation may not easily attainable through female incarnations, and the lessons readily learnt in female incarnations may not be attainable in male incarnations. As rule men excel in qualities of the head and will. They are capable of sound judgment and steadfast purpose. As a rule woman excel in qualities of heart. They are capable of intense love which makes them welcome any sacrifice for the loved one. It is due to this capacity of women for love that, in devotional references the name of female has invariable precedence, as when devotee sing of Radha-Krishna or Sita-Ram.

In qualities of heart women are usually superior to men, and in qualities of the head and will men are superior to women. The interesting point is that the same soul excels in the qualities of the heart or in other qualities of the head and will, according to whether it takes an incarnation in a female or man form. The alternate development of specific spiritual qualities goes through alteration between male and female forms, until the development is all-sided.

In order to have richness of experience, the male and female forms are indispensable but it is wrong to look upon on form as being superior to other. Jeevatma has to incarnate sometime in male form and sometime in female form otherwise the experience would remain one-sided.

Planes of Consciousness in the next Incarnation:

Persons on the spiritual planes of consciousness take birth having consciousness of the same plane, but the emergence of consciousness is very gradual, as when a person of gross consciousness dies and is reborn with consciousness of the gross world. The child gradually becomes aware, as it grows older, of the same old gross world according to past experiences of the gross. A child born with consciousness of a certain plane is not all at once conscious of the plane. The plane unfolds very gradually as the child gradually grows. Later in life this child, grown up as a man, gets established in the life of his respective plane of consciousness, as a man of the gross world gets established in his worldly life.

Thus, a person of the gross world dies to reincarnate conscious of the gross world. So also a person of the particular plane of consciousness reincarnates conscious of that respective plane of consciousness of his previous life. He may or may not make further progress in the planes of higher consciousness. Progress will depend on the help of a spiritual guide of a higher plane, or the grace of the Perfect Master, or on his own efforts in the life of that particular plane of consciousness.

The gross, subtle, mental spheres and God are all in you, in your human form. Do not try to find them in some other world. They are in you. It is the vision of consciousness that gives you the experience of other worlds.

In the gross world, the whole cosmos exists; also in the subtle and the mental worlds there are innumerable experiences. But the experiences you have of the gross world are different from those in the subtle world. You yourself do not change; all is in you. You do not go to “geographically” higher levels. As the angle of vision of consciousness changes, your high experience changes.

In the end you experience yourself as God which, in the ultimate experience, is the real experience. All other experiences of the gross, subtle and mental worlds are illusion. So are all the states of heaven, hell, limbo (astral), planes, and so forth. Do not seek them anywhere but within you. Eventually to become your own Self, you have to love Me. There is no other solution.

Loss of memory after death

At the time of the death, a great shock is felt resulting in the loss of memory. One completely forgets his past life. During death, the mind receives such a shock that it affects all the impressions  when again a child is born, the effect of the shock is dissipated, the mind opens, the link restarts and life begins functioning . The impressions that were covered are now uncovered and are used up in actions. The present life is nothing but result of the actions of the past life. Due to loss of memory you have forgotten those impressions and feel like it is starting a fresh life, but in fact you are continuing old life.

Past impressions of the mind, when they turn into actions in the present life, create new sanskaras. Mind is full of sanskaras and past sanskaras are to be expended. But along side new sanskaras crop up. Mind is freed and is bound, and it binds itself by freeing itself. This goes on and on until annihilation of the mind is achieved and liberation gained.”

From the physical of view, death does not involve annihilation of even the body, but physiologically it has become unfit to be continued dwelling place of the spirit, and has therefore lost all importance.  From point of view of the individualised soul as mind, death does not involve any loss whatsoever, as the mind and all its sanskaras remain intact. The individual in essence is thus in no way different. He has only cast off his external coat. Nevertheless, this severance from the physical body is fraught with two important consequences. It is a means of introducing the individual to a new type of existence, and it is also an incident of utmost importance because of side effects of the greatest practical consequences.”

Some people are particularly afraid of the exact moment of death because they anticipate unbearable pain at that instant. In reality, all physical suffering experienced during illness or just before death terminates at the moment of death. The process of the actual dropping of the body is quite painless, contrary to the superstition that a person experiences indescribable agonies in death.

However, the severing of the individual's emotional entanglement in the gross world is not found to be easy. The various religious rites observed after deaths have primarily the purpose of helping the departing individual disentangle him from these ties.

For instance, the repetition of the name of God or of scriptures, often practiced after the death of a person, has a wholesome effect both on those who have been left behind as well as on the one who has passed away, because they help to free both parties of their mutual sanskaric attachment to form.

On the other hand the lamentation and wailing that is often observed has a degrading and depressing effect both on those left behind as well as on the person who has passed away, for it tends to strengthen mutual attachment to form.

The thought or wish the dying individual holds at the moment of death has special importance in determining his future destiny. If the last thought is of God or the Master, the individual achieves liberation

Sudden accidental death

If a person dies by a sudden accident before his natural death, he immediately takes birth again and completes the remaining time of his past life after which he dies. Some live for one, two, three, and four or five years and after finishing the remaining period of their past life, they take another body according to the sanskaras of the life which ended suddenly by accidental death.  However they cannot live longer than it takes to complete this remaining time. This is why some children die- some in few days, some in few months, and some after few years.

Execution

If anyone is executed by the government, he enters a state of samadhi. It is temporary. For instance, when a person is being hanged, there is a clash during the execution between the functioning of inhalation and exhalation; becoming lifeless, the person enters a samadhi state. This type of samadhi has nothing to do with anything spiritual, for as soon as this state is over and according to the sanskaras of his past life, the soul takes rebirth. If he has murdered anyone, he must pay for those sanskaras of murder. If the person is innocent, yet is executed, he is then freed from the sanskaras of murder

It is quite different in the case of people who commit suicide by hanging. When a suicide’s samadhi finishes, he remains hanging – waiting between the astral and gross worlds. That person becomes a ghost and does not acquire another physical body for ages to come.

No retrograde incarnation

Once a soul acquires a human form, the general rule is an onward march through human incarnations only. A retrograde incarnation is extremely rare in the advancing self-fulfilment of the life-stream. It sometime results from flagrant misuse of occult powers. Retrograde incarnation is not a general rule but an extremely rare exception. Continuation of the human form without revision to any sub-human form is the normal occurrence. Even for gross violation of moral laws a corrective is provided by the same soul having to go through the opposite of what he has done or experiences. For example, a person who murders another for lust might himself be murdered for lust, either in the same incarnation or in the next, and thus realize the nefariousness of his heinous crime.

Hell and Heaven are states of mind not places

The state of soul (Jivatama), in the apparent gap between death and birth, is generally called hell or heaven. The states of heaven or hell are nothing but state of intensive experiences of the consciousness of the soul (Jivatma), experiencing either of the predominant counterparts of the opposite impressions while the Jivatma is disassociated from the gross body

Hell and heaven are mental states, not places. In these states the mind’s desire and the capacity to receive becomes extremely intense. For example: you die, you are dead. That means you leave the body, but you as soul continue. Your mind and your ego also continue and the impression in your mind is there.

In these hell or heaven of the mind’s desires and the capacity to receive become extremely extensive. After your death, your mind and your ego continue and impressions in your mind are there.

One of these is impression of drinking alcohol. Now this impression has to be wiped out by drinking. But here in this state without the body, the drinking process is only by thought and desire. The mental enjoyment is much more intense, however, it lasts longer. Here the thought is drink. Now you can enjoy drinking, just by thinking. But since the gross vehicle is not attached, you cannot get drink, because you have to drink gross wine to become inebriated.

According to Meher Baba: “The mind of soul (Jivatma) wears out the scars of the sanskaras, to some extent, due to sudden transplanting from one sphere to another, but for the greater part they remain intact. The individual would have been liberated if death has resulted in complete wiping out of all sanskaric scars on the mind. Mind would have been annihilated because you cannot survive without sanskaras. But this does not happen.

Every individual has to take all experience of pleasure and pain through the mind in the state, of gradually called in spiritual literature as heaven and hell, in order to spend the predominant opposite sanskaras. In fact the mind takes the experience of the counter-part of the opposite impressions gathered.

The hell and Heaven are not the places but they are the states of consciousness, to be experienced by mind through astral body (subtle form) experiencing suffering and pleasure.

Now suppose for example, the soul (Jivatma), during its earthly life has gathered 100 million sanskaras of relating to virtues and 80 millions sanskaras relating to vice. So therefore there is difference of 20 million sanskaras between good and bad and the predominant counter-part of the impressions of opposites is of that virtues. The soul (Jivatma) will therefore enjoy the state of heaven till the sanskaras are almost balanced. There will not be exact balancing of sanskaras. Then the Jivatama will return to astral plane if the situation is not readily available for him to take a birth. If his situation for taking rebirth is available then the soul (Jivatma) will automatically be attracted towards its future parents. It is also true the he is not required to wait in astral plane for a longer period.

When there is preponderance of evil sanskaras at death, Jivatama will have to go to hell state and exhaust the bad sanskaras through suffering. The intensity of suffering is thousand times more in the hell state than the intensity of suffering on gross plane. Upasani Maharaj has given one example. He says when in physical body if a scorpion has bitten you, you feel the pain to a certain extent. But in the Hell state you feel the pain as if thousand scorpions had bitten you.  Similarly the intensity of pleasure in the heaven state is thousand times more than that on the gross plane.

When the excess bad sanskaras are exhausted through suffering in the hell state, the evil sanskaras eventually tend to strike a balance with good sanskaras. It is as if a huge block of ice were placed on one pan of a balance, causing it to sink because of its excess over a smaller weight contained on the counterbalancing pan. As the great block of ice gradually melts and water spills, there is a tendency for two pans to come into balance.

Similarly, as the mass of evil sanskaras become attenuated through suffering, their preponderance begins to vanish and they almost come into balance with good sanskaras. This moment, when the two opposite types of sanskaras are almost in the state of balance, is the moment when the after-life of the individual terminates and he find himself precipitating into a new physical incarnation on the earth. He is precipitated into a new physical body because no further purpose is served in communication of his subjective absorption in the discarnate life. He is ripe to accumulate fresh experience in another gross body, and for this purpose he must adopt a vehicle which is suitable for the working out of his un-exhausted sanskaras.

A human being takes form or birth as medium to satisfy the demanding need of the consciousness of the soul (Jivatma). Thus, in the process of reincarnation the fully gross conscious human soul, fortified with fully developed subtle bodies (though unconscious of these) must necessarily experience countless varied experiences of impressions of opposites.

In some cases it happens that the soul (Jivatma) while exhausting an excess of evil sanskaras, in the hell state, may jump into a new incarnation in which good sanskaras tend to dominate. Thus a person who had been bad in his last life begins his new incarnation with a marked inclination toward asceticism.

Illustration.

Suppose a jeevatma has 100 million bad sanskaras and 80 millions good sanskaras, when it entered it the state of hell. After taking the experience of suffering in the hell state, the soul (jeevatma)  spent 22 millions of bad sanskaras and thus there is a balance of 78 millions of  bad sanskaras as against of 80 millions of good sanskaras in the mind. Now it will take birth under predominance of good sanskaras and therefore will be placed in wealthy and good family conditions in its new life.

Similarly if Jivatama spends more good sanskaras in the heaven state by enjoying more pleasure, it will naturally take new birth under predominance of bad sanskaras and thus will be places in a bad situation in its new life on earth.

A change over at incarnation from good to bad or bad to good should not be taken as a universal law. Reversal of individual nature is frequent, but cases are quite common in which the individual remains persistently good or bad for several incarnations. In such cases incarnation occurs before the opposite types of sanskaras has built up a sufficient current to flow to result in its predominance

The sanskaras are never in perfect balance till the very end. If they come to be in perfect balance. The individual would have got liberation. But the perfect balance between good and bad sanskaras cannot be affected without help of the Perfect Master or the Avatar. Complete poise can exist only when the two opposite classes of sanskaras are so qualitatively and quantativelly opposed that they exactly cancel one another. This is the state of Realisation. The sanskaras then cease as exist an opposing forces. This   exactly happens as in the game of tug-of-war; when the opposing parties stop pulling in opposing directions. The soul (Jivatama) takes birth when the opposite sanskaras are almost in balance nearing equalisation either in hell or heaven state. This can also be compared with the game of tug-of-war. In tug-of-war there is movement in the direction of greater pull but that motion represents only a small proportion of total energy spent for most of the energy is spent in neutralizing each other.

Time domain in subtle world

Time in the subtle world is not the same as time in the gross world due to the increased subjectivity of the state of consciousness; but through time in the subtle world is this incommensurable with the time in the gross world, it is strictly determined by the impressions accumulated in the gross world. However, the important fact is that the hell-state and heaven–state are far from being lasting, and after they have served the purpose in the life of the individualised soul they both come to an end (Normally this period ranges from 4 to 13 days from physical death of an individual)  

Real birth and Real death

There is one real birth and one real death. One is born once and really dies for once. Real birth is the birth of “drop” in the Ocean of Reality. It is the advent of individuality, born of individuality through a glimmer of the first most finite consciousness, which transfixed cognizance of limitation into the Unlimited. Real death is the consciousness getting free from all limitations. Freedom is really the death of all limitations. It is liberation. In between the real birth and death, there is no such reality as the so called births and deaths.

In the intermediate stages known as births and deaths is that of the limitations of consciousness which gradually wear off till it (consciousness) is free from all limitations. Ultimately, consciousness, totally free of all limitations, experiences the unlimited Reality eternally. Real dying is equal real living.

Aura and hallo

The aura and halo are two different things. No man can ever posses both aura and halo completely developed at one and the same time.

Like their respective shadows, every man, women, child and baby has an aura but very few individual have a halo in any of varying phases of its development, and still fewer possess a full halo. An aura is reflection of emotions of an individual mind. Halo begins to appear when the aura begins to disappear. The aura remains unaffected even when the person concerned drops his physical body. The subtle body has direct connection with aura.

Aura is the mental reflection of the aggregate impressions of thoughts and actions gathered by and stored in individual mind. As long as the impressions are there aura is always there.

The aggregate of individual impressions differ from one another, both quantativelly and qualitatively, yet every aura is comprised of seven colours common to all. These seven colours of individual aura represent the seven principal categories, corresponding to the aggregate impressions of each. For example, red would be most prominent colour in the aura of a man whose impressions are predominantly made o lustful actions. Likewise. Each aura differs in colour formation on the borders between every two prominent colours in it.

The halo begins to develop and an aura begins to disappear only after an individual starts advancing on the path to God-realisation. The halo becomes very bright only after an individual aura is on the point of disappearing.

In the seventh plane of Reality- there remains neither aura nor halo. When One who is God-realised usable to return as Perfect Master (Sadguru or Qutub) the halo is most bright and infinitely brighter than all the suns of the universe put together.

If, due to love for his Master, a man happens to see what appears to him as halo of the Master, it is not actual the halo but part of his own aura as is temporarily reflected  by effulgence of the halo of an illumined one or of a Perfect Master.

Without necessary being consciously advanced on the path, and merely as result of deep and sublime emotions, the aspirant may from time to time have glimpses of reflections of inner sights, reverberations, of the echoes of inner sounds, redolences of inner fragrance and distant shades of inner  ecstasies. All these are but trivialities.