What Happens After We Die?

So there is a reveting and a relevant discussion between Yudhishthira and Sri Krishna in Mahabharatam.

Relevant, I say is because death is a common factor and probably the only fact that we all agree upon, without an argument.

This is the only sure thing in life after birth, isn’t it?

Besides, there are multiple discussion in Mahabharatam, all in a dialogue form. All of them are very engrossing and literally unputdownable! Please read when you get time. I promise that you wouldn’t regret spending the time on that book.

Okay, coming back to the question in discussion about what happens after we die?

Yudhishthira asks Krishna: How can we possibly suffer or enjoy anything after we die? We leave our body here, so how do we suffer our doings?

Who suffers after we die?

A fitting question, isn’t it? The one we all might have thought about, one time or the other.

This question brings relevance to the death rituals. The charity that follows after the cremation, is all explained in their discussion.

Not going into it, but the very question of who suffers and how can we suffer after we lose our body is something that caught my interest.

So Krishna says to Yudishtra: sure, you do leave your body here. But after death, you take another one. And that will look exactly the same as one that you had when you were alive.

It is Just like how you take a dream body and suffer or enjoy the dream. However the dream body may appear different or same as the one that you already have. But the parallels are drawn to bring your attention to the fact that taking a body is possible after death.

And that body that we acquire after our death would be both invisible and invincible therefore none of our grieving family could see it. But we would see them grieving and we will also long to be with them. That yearning and the attachment wouldn’t disappear with the lifeless body lying on the floor.

After this, there is a long discussion about how Yama would choose to take us through the rest of the journey, all depending upon what we acquired during our lifetime (not wealth, you know that right?😜)

How he may appear before us( with folded hands or with a noose) is all on us(Krishna’s saying, not mine)

Logically, if we look into it, are we carrying our body along with us to the dream state? Of course not. Our body is lying more like a corpse in sleep when we dream. So we aren’t carrying it to our dream. Parallely, we also have a body there in the dream.

So with that, if we put two and two together, it makes sense. Think on it. Food for thought, maybe 😉

Image credit: internet

Deep-Seated Subconscious Patterns- VASANAS

Have you ever wondered why two people interpret the same event in a different way?

Scientists say that every individual lives in his or her own perceived world, which is, in some ways, quite different from the real world. Now who would know the real world, even if there is one. It would be like one blind person asking another one about the real world, is it not?

Okay, let’s go back to our previous question on interpreting the same event differently. Science has some answers , so do the Scriptures.

From the Bhagavad-Gita, I understand the process to be the below,

Sensory Faculties get the information to the MIND. Mind receives the information and interprets according to its Vasanas. This information is forwarded to the next in authority, which is the BUDDHI. Buddhi approves or disapproves of the information. Upon the approval of the Intellect, BODY acts. These ACTIONS again strengthen the Vasanas.

samsara.png

If that is the process, then lot happens at the mind level depending upon the vasanas we carry. That makes two people look at the same object/person/event in a different or in their own unique way. Meaning OBJECTS/PEOPLE/EVENTS does not really have the power to disturb us. They do not make us anxious. Our IDENTIFICATION with them does the job.

When we associate with an object through thoughts, we successfully create a new subconscious pattern, VASANA which will drag our mind and we will have no control thereafter.

So that means Nothing in this world can bring us Happiness or Sorrow but our Identification with them.

Our individual mind creates, sustains and projects what it fancies in congruence with the mental impressions. With the same power, we can engage the mind-intellect in the contemplation of the SELF.

For the Intellect(Buddhi) to withdraw its identifications with the lower faculties, the senses, it needs to focus inwards-towards something which is more constant, unchanging, and omnipresent. This process is also called by our Seers as YOGA DHARANAM.

Swami Chinmayanada once said on the above-mentioned subject,
Pure awareness, poured into the moulds of Vasanas, when frozen with Ignorance becomes the multiple worlds of Name and Form-recognized, craved for and fought over to acquire and to possess-Everywhere by Everyone.

Ignorance will give place for knowledge only when we first pay attention to everything that is changing, evolving and disappearing before us. Inward-looking then would be a cakewalk 😉

His Symbols and Our Interpretations

pic

The world is full of symbols. However you decode them so is your life. Spirituality is not free of concepts. Now is there a right way of decoding it. Have we ever questioned this to ourselves? What we do in the name of religion is it the right way to reach the Ultimate reality “The God”? Or are we doing it according to our beliefs and convenience?

Are we the one to show the light to the One who lightens our whole World inside out?

Are we the one to feed the One who feeds the whole World?

Are we the one to quench the thirst of the One who fills the rivers and water bodies?

Are these not symbols to understand the sookshmaarth. Are we not literally translating and thereby failing to understand the deep meaning of the symbols. Bhagavet Gita shlok 26 in Chapter 9 says

Patram Pushpam Palam Toyam

Yo Me Bhaktya Prayacchati

Tad Aham Bhaktyupahrtam

Ashnami Prayatatmanah

Literal Translation is: He who offers me a leaf, flower, fruit or water with love/devotion. I accept that offering of such pure hearted souls.

We call God the ultimate truth for a reason. He is not like us entangled in the gunas .He is beyond it and equating him to the beings obsessed over the sensory objects is CRIMINAL.

Gita says Ishwara sarva bhutanam Hrd-dese rjuna Tisthatithe If God is in everything then why would he ask for anything from here. There is nothing that is not him in this universe. Then what is he intending to communicate by this verse. That is where Tatva Jnanis like Shankaracharya, to name one has defined this beautifully.

Patram—the Leaf, our wavering MIND

Pushpam—-the flower, our blossomed Intellect

Phalam—-the fruit, our fruits of actions (both levels: physical and mental)

Thoyam—the water, our Chittam

He is asking us to surrender that wavering mind, intellect, karma phalam and chittam to him. Since you are a part of the supreme Reality, he is asking us to connect to him. Now that makes sense, if you do not get the leaf, fruits or water it is okay. But you are in control of your subtle body and that is what you can offer to him.

So, the symbol or concepts that were brought to existence is to remind us of our Real Identity. When we light the lamp, it is to remind us to shun that ignorance and to bring knowledge or light to be one with the Truth. When we offer water, it is to remind us that as water takes the form of the vessel it is in. So can your chittam take the form of GOD(devoid of thoughts..Silence is his language). Offering flowers symbolises the Buddhi devoid of Aham Aakaram.

If we revisit our practices to understanding God, we might end up understanding Us. The only reason we all look up to “he” is to attain peace and to silence that blabbering head. We can do that and that is what Vyasa Maharishi is trying to teach us in this Divine conversation between Krishna (Consciousness) and Arjuna (Mind).

Desires makes Man Mystique and drives him to Mysticism

What is Man? Is he not a bundle of Desires.

If DESIRE maketh the man. Then, what is this desire?

If we look into Upanishads they say desire springs from our vasanas, our deep-seated mental impressions that are carried forward with rebirths.Psychoanalysis says with drive born of desire gives birth to arousal and actions.

Have you ever wondered why does this make the most evolved species on this planet mystique? It is because our desires, thought or actions are different, considering we being equipped with the same mental faculties.

We as humans are constantly learning from our surroundings, experiences and society. These propel our desires too other than our inbuilt mental impressions. They sometimes can end up riveting in diametrically opposite desires (coming in conflict with each other) which creates conflict. Not many understand their mental faculties which lead them into physiological and psychological problems

Can we fulfil all our desires? Not all desires are fulfilled for reasons like they being innate depravity of our nature or against societal norms. Such are either sublimated or repressed which can lead to tension, anxiety and even depression.

Though born of the same blood, each perceives a situation/thing in more than one way (in his or her own way). Not even identical twins think alike. As we perceive the world so we act which makes us different from other species. Perhaps the development of the Prefrontal Cortex explains this. Also, this makes the concept of right and wrong foreign.

Now old scriptures do have an answer to this mystery and science second the same. They ask us to be detached from our thoughts and that help us make an unbiased decision.

Now the word detachment frightens us and many have interpreted this word in zillion ways, making it a Yogins right. Battling the internal and external conflicts few decide not live a compromised life and continue on their journey to self-knowledge, choosing Mysticism.

I marvel at such strong desire to go beyond the intellect to understand the meaning of life. It might sound to many like a wild goose chase but simple small steps can take us to the less travelled side of life. It shall equip us with the strength to lead a more positive life.