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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Life After Death PART XIV (The Soul)

Death is the separation of the soul from the body. All the sorrow of man comes from the body. The sage has no fear of death, because he identifies himself with the All-pervading, Immortal Soul.
Karma and rebirth are the two great pillars of Hinduism as well as Buddhism. He who does not believe in these two great truths cannot grasp the essence of these two religions.
You can overcome pain and sorrow, if you know the meaning of sorrow, pain, suffering and death. The phenomenon of death sets the human mind to think deeply. All philosophy springs from the phenomenon of death. Philosophy is really study of death. The highest philosophy in India starts with the subject of death. Study the Bhagavad Gita, Kathopanishad and Chhandogya Upanishad, which treat of this. Death is a call to reflect and to seek the goal of Truth, the Eternal Brahman.
Death is nothing but the change of body. The soul throws it off like a used garment. Human life is getting purged and perfected in order to attain the final bliss. This takes place through myriads of births.

According to Hinduism, life is one continuous never-ending process. All change is only change of environment and embodiment. The soul is Immortal. It takes one form after another on account of its own actions. Hinduism is based on two fundamental doctrines, viz., the law of Karma and the law of transmigration. Death is only a necessary and passing phenomenon. Just as you move from one house to another, the soul passes from one body to another to gain experiences.
The soul which passes out of the body after death is termed ?Preta?, one that is bound on its onward march to the Beyond. The soul in its disembodied form hovers about its original and familiar places for ten days. It is in the form of a ghost during these ten days. The astral body takes shape from day to day with the formation of the head, eyes, and other limbs of the Linga Sarira, fed and nourished by the sesamum and water poured out in libation over the stones which represent the ancestors.

The soul is fully embodied on the eleventh day. It starts on its journey to the judgement seat of Lord Yama, the God of death. It takes one full year from the time of death to reach Lord Yama?s place. The path is beset with obstacles, distress and difficulties. The man who has done the most wicked deeds suffers more. But the difficulties can be removed and the journey be rendered easy and comfortable by the oblations and offerings given by the son of the deceased during the first year of the soul?s journey and by feeding pure and learned Brahmins. The son should offer rice-balls to the father, without weeping. Death is certain for those who are born, and birth is certain for the dead. This is inevitable. Therefore, you should not grieve over it. The ten days? rites should not be neglected. The son should perform the Sapinda ceremony on the twelfth day and the sixteen monthly offerings. The soul is sustained on its onward march to the judgement seat by the libations offered to it by the son.


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