"In Wonders We Sail, Questing for the Answers in Veil"

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Afterlife : The Propeller Of Death And Rebirth

MOST OF THE WORLD'S spiritual traditions hold the belief that our unwholesome actions prevent the grace of God from touching our lives. In the Yoga Sutra (2:12-13) Patanjali tells us that birth in a particular species is the result of our previous karmas, which also dictate how long we live in that body and what fate awaits us there. Even traditions that do not entertain the idea of rebirth emphasize the importance of actions (karmas) in determining our destination after death. Hindus. Christians, and Buddhists all believe their saviors to be merciful, forgiving, omniscient, and capable of uplifting all souls, yet people from all three traditions still believe in the existence of hell and limbo. This suggests that there are some who never reach heaven despite God's grace and the savior's efforts. In short, it is our own actions that entitle us to heaven or condemn us to hell.

The yoga scriptures pay little attention to the idea of heaven and hell, but many secular text for example, the Puranas-paint a detailed picture of both realms, holding that after death most souls halt temporarily in one place or the other.Once there, they are assigned varying degrees of pleasure and pain. The pleasures of heaven seem preferable to the tormenting pain of hell, but even heaven is not free from suffering. Those who do not know how to manage jealousy and feelings of inferiority and/or superiority, for instance, still suffer even in heaven when they observe that others are entitled to different degrees of pleasure. Traces of desire and jealousy force such souls to create and cling to their personal hell even while in heaven. When their good karmas are exhausted, each soul falls back into the mortal world. Similarly, those in hell remain there until they have exhausted their had karmas,and then they, too, are reborn.

From the description of heaven and hell in the Puranas and related texts we can draw the following conclusions:

There are realms of awareness to which we go if we are not reborn right after death.

These realms are not permanent abodes. Unliberated souls may reside there temporarily during the transition from death to rebirth.

The ideas of pleasure and pain, which are simply conditions of the mind, continue to exist in these realms.

Although we reach these realms without a body, the experience of pleasure and pain is more intense there than it is in the mortal world, and this indicates that the mind still has the tools to fulfill its urges or suffer from them.

But do heaven and hell or any other realm in an imperceptible sphere really exist? According to religions, the answer is definitely yes; according to yoga, the answer is both yes and no.The afterlife realms exist for those with a strong belief in them, the yogis say, because through our convictions we shape various realities in the realm of our mind.We fail to live wholly in this realm, however, because of the limitations imposed on us by the phenomenal world, but when we die and lose contact with the phenomenal world these limitations are removed and all that remains is the workl of our convictions.Those who see their actions in terms of black and white and who are intent on punishment and reward are bound to go to either hell or heaven.Those whose conscience tells them that most of their actions are not so black and white, while the doctrinaire part of their mind insists that they are, wind up in limbo, known as preta or pishacha yoni. In the words of the Bhagavad Gita (4:24-25h "Worshipers of ghosts go to the realm of ghosts.Worshipers of the gods go to the realm of the gods. The worshipers of supreme truth, the pure Divine Being, attain the realm of the Divine."Thus, if our conviction dictates that heaven or hell is waiting for us after death, that is where we must go. More precisely: if we are Hindu we must go to the Hindu heaven or hell; if we are Christian we must go to the Christian heaven or hell; and so on.

The secular texts describe heaven and hell in detail, as well as the route leading to these realms. Such texts are however,not strictly yogic in nature, but are rather a mixture of religious practices,customs,superstitions,dogmas, philosophy,and psychology, along with some yogic disciplines.But if the yogic symbolism contained therein is deciphered properly,they offer a clear explanation of the dynamics of death and birth as well as the force that propels this process.

Other Articles On Karma and Afterlife In This Blog :
The Story of Jaigishavya

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this awesome information to us.


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