On death, burials, cremations, funerals and resurrection

This article discusses an assorted range of post-mortem topics : the difference between sleep and death, the state just before death, the difference between cremation and burial, the need for funeral ceremonies, and resurrection.

A quick synopsis of the cycle of rebirth is in order.  Human beings (aliens ignored for now) are constituted of five sheaths of varying gradation of the substance of consciousness.  At the time of birth, the psychic being fashions together the subtler sheaths from the material of Universal nature and fuses with the physical sheath of an embryo.  Gradually, in this newborn child, the soul begins to put forth a rudimentary mental and vital personality which is further shaped under the combined influence of heredity and cultural environment.   With aging, psychological as well as physical, the body wears out and eventually death occurs.  At the time of death, the life currently lived flashes before the psychic being, at which point it decides the conditions for the next birth[1].  After this, the psychic being dissolves the link with the physical body and exits leaving an elemental consciousness which persists in the body for a few days.   The exit points through which the life-force escapes the body are conventionally called the Nine gates (Nava Dwara)[2].  One who has attained Self-realization exits through the tenth gate at the top of the head (anterior fontanelle or Brahmarandhra).  This is denoted as Kapala Moksha (i.e. liberation through the head).  For those who are not enlightened, the psychic being requires a few years (in earth-time) to liberate itself from the shambolic formation of earthly desires which have accrued in the vital and the mental sheath[3].  Once the psychic being is  thus unencumbered, it finally retires to the psychic world to rest until the next incarnation.   There are innumerable variations possible within this general process.

State just before death

These are insights from Ramana Maharshi on the state just before death.

Disciple: What is the state just before death?

Ramana Maharshi: When a person gasps for breath it indicates that the person is unconscious of this body; another body has been held and the person swings to and fro. While gasping there is a more violent gasp at intervals and that indicates the oscillation between the two bodies due to the present attachment not having been completely snapped. I noticed it in the case of my mother and of Palaniswami.

Disciple: Does the new body involved in that state represent the next reincarnation of the person?

Ramana Maharshi: Yes. While gasping the person is in something like a dream, not aware of the present environment.

Evidently the soul passes through a series of subtle experiences, and Sri Bhagavan’s touch generates a current which turns the soul back from its wandering into the Heart. The samskaras, however, persist and a struggle is kept up between the spiritual force set up by His touch and the innate samskaras(desires and dispositions), until the latter are entirely destroyed and the soul is led into the Heart to rest in eternal Peace, which is the same as Liberation. Its entry into the Heart is signified by a peculiar sensation perceptible to the Mahatma – similar to the tinkling of a bell.  When Maharshi attended on Palaniswami on his death-bed, He took away His hand after the above signal. But Palaniswami’s eyes opened immediately, signifying that the spirit had escaped through them, thereby indicating a higher rebirth, but not Liberation [4].

Difference between sleep and death

According to the Mother, there are two differences between sleep and death. After death, the link to the physical body is cut and consequently, one can no longer return to the body in case one has nighmarish encounters in the occult worlds.  Secondly, the domain of consciousness that one ventures into after death is distinct from the domain that one enters during sleep.

Disciple: Is there a difference between sleep and death, or are they the same?  … When you are asleep, you aren’t in your body: everything else goes out just as it does at the time of death, doesn’t it?

Mother Mirra: The cataleptic state of trance is like death, yes, except for the link (i.e. the silver cord) that remains – only a link remains, but otherwise one has entirely gone out. Actually, the body becomes cataleptic only when one has entirely gone out; otherwise everything that is most material in the vital remains.

Disciple: I mean, aren’t the places you go to in sleep the same as the ones you go to in death?

Mother Mirra: No, no, no. Most of the time in sleep, with very few exceptions, one is in contact with all that rises up from the subconscient: a cerebral subconscient, an emotive subconscient, a material subconscient; this is what produces ninety-nine percent of the dreams people have. Sometimes – usually – the mind goes wandering, but ninety-nine and a half percent of the time, one remembers nothing when it returns, because the link is not properly established.

The purpose of sleep is to re-establish contact with the consciousness of Sachchidananda(i.e. the higher triple worlds out of the seven worlds). But I don’t think one person in a hundred does so! They enter into unconsciousness far more than into Sachchidananda.

Yet no two sleeps are the same, mon petit! And it’s the same with deaths, no two are the same. But sleep and death are different because … they are different states. As long as you have a body, you are not in the same state as when you are ‘dead.’ There is a period of seven days after the doctors declare you ‘dead’ when you are still in an intermediary state; but the actual state of death itself is completely different because there is no longer this physical base[5].

After death, one enters the “domain of death”, which is a region of the vital world.  (see Cosmology for an overview of various occult worlds)

Mother Mirra: Generally, “domain of death” is the name given to a certain region of the most material vital into which one is projected at the moment one leaves one’s body. The part – how to put it? – of one’s life that’s usually the most conscious is projected there at the moment of death. Well, that region, that material vital world is very dark, it is full of adverse formations having desires at their centre or even adverse wills, and these are very, very elemental entities which have a very fragmentary life and are like vampires, in the see that they feed on all that is thrown out from human beings. And so, at that moment, from the shock of death – for very few die without a shock, go out consciously, in full knowledge of the thing, there are not many such – usually it is an accident: a last accident; well, at that shock of death, those entities rush in upon this, upon this vitality that goes out, and feed upon it. So long as a person is alive, they cannot touch him. For, you have all had the experience of a nightmare in which, when the situation becomes really very dangerous, suddenly you wake up – you come back into your body, for the body is your protection. In the physical they can do nothing to you but when you are completely outside the physical (and even this link I spoke about serves as a protection to a certain extent when you go out), but if the links are broken and you are entirely without a body, well, unless you take advantage of special circumstances… as for instance when a person is much loved by others who are yet alive; if at that moment these people who love him concentrate their thought and love on the departed one, he finds a refuge therein, and this protects him completely against those entities; but one who passes away without anyone’s having a special attachment for him, either because he is surrounded by people he has harmed and who do not love him or by people who are in a terribly unconscious state – he is like a prey delivered to these forces. And that indeed is an experience that’s difficult to bear[6].

 Cremation vs burial

The human consciousness is an amalgam of concentric sheaths, and amongst these, the one closest to the physical body is called the elemental consciousness.  This elemental consciousness continues to persist in the body for a few days even after the heart-beats have stopped and the soul has departed.  The Mother Mirra Alfassa estimated a period of seven days for its existence, while the Bardo Thodol (Tibetan Book of the Dead) puts the duration at three and a half days[7]. If the body is prematurely cremated before this elemental consciousness has departed, the disembodied soul receives a shock wave.   It is for this reason that the Mother recommended waiting for a few days before cremation[8].

For ordinary humanity, it doesn’t matter whether the body is buried or cremated, but for those who have attained Enlightenment, burial is recommended because the body continues to be charged with higher vibrations long after physical death.

Photo by janale1 via Flickr (creative commons). Click image for source

Purpose of funeral ceremonies

Disciple : If at the time of death the vital being is attacked in the vital world by hostile forces or entities, does it not look for a shelter somewhere ?

Mother Mirra: Yes, it is for this reason that in all countries and in all religions, it is recommended that for a period of at least seven days after someone’s death, people should gather and think of him. Because when you think of him with affection (without any inner disorder, without weeping, without any of those distraught passions), if you can be calm, your atmosphere becomes a kind of beacon for him, and when he is attacked by hostile forces (I am speaking of the vital being of course, not the psychic being which goes to take rest), he may feel altogether lost, not know what to do and find himself in great distress; then he sees through affinity the light of those who are thinking of him with affection and he rushes there. It happens almost constantly that a vital formation, a part of the vital being of the dead person (or at times the whole vital if it is well organised) takes shelter in the aura, the atmosphere of the people or the person who loved him. There are people who always carry with them a part of the vital of the person who is gone. That is the real utility of these so called ceremonies, which otherwise have no sense.

It is preferable to do this without ceremonies. Ceremonies are, if anything, rather harmful, for a very simple reason: When you are busy with a ceremony, you think more about that than about the person. When you are busy with gestures, movements, with the following of a ritual, you think much more of all that than of the person who is dead. Moreover, people perform these ceremonies most of the time for that very reason, for they are almost always in the habit of trying to forget. The fact is that one of the two principal occupations of man is to try to forget what is painful to him, and the other is to try to seek amusement in order to escape boredom. These are the two principal occupations of humanity, that is, humanity spends half of its time in doing nothing true.

And when people get bored (some do not absolutely need to keep busy, or they have the misfortune of being rich) they do silly things ! The origin of all excesses, all human stupidity is “ennui”, what is called dullness, the state in which you are like a damp rag: you do not react to anything and are compelled to whip yourself (figuratively) just to make yourself move and get along[9].

Resurrection

What exactly happens when a person who is declared clinically dead suddenly wakes up and scares the hell out of everyone ?  These are some insights from Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

Disciple : Is it possible to revitalize the dead?

[…]

Sri Aurobindo : That is possible. Just as you can revive a drowned man by pulling his physical organs into function again, that is, by resorting to physical devices life can be restored. If you know how to reintroduce the power that sets the organs to action, after the body is wounded or dead, you can revive the man.

The real question is whether it is the being of the man that comes back to life, or it is some other spirit that wants to live and gets hold of the body. Both are possible, because revival is done in two ways : One, is to bring back the spirit of the man which is still not far away, the other is to get some other spirit that consents to come[10].

In another Q&A, the Mother elucidates on the partial exteriorizations which provide the illusion of resurrection.

Disciple: I was seriously ill, unconscious for two hours, and I had the impression that I had gone over to the other side, that I was in a different world. When I came back to myself, I had the impression of having made a long journey in a world quite different from the one where I normally lived.

Mother: It was a partial exteriorisation; it was not a total exteriorisation which indeed causes death. If one goes out entirely, that is, if there is a complete separation from the body and one is really dead, and then one comes back, that causes such an intense suffering that one cannot forget it. It is said that babies cry when they come into the world because the first contact with air makes them cry, but I think it is something else. The re-entry into the body causes a kind of friction, for what goes out has to be something very material if it is to bring about death, something even more material than the subtle physical, and this friction is extremely painful. Otherwise one may be externally unconscious, but one is not dead for all that. It is only when something extremely material goes out of the body and all ties are broken that there is truly “death”. And that is why (I believe we are beginning to discover it) people do not die till six or seven days after their death. That is, they are not “dead” as long as the body remains intact, but only when a part of the body begins to decompose. Hence during this period, someone who has the necessary knowledge, power and capacity may “raise” a person in such a state. I believe this explains most of the cases of “miraculous” resurrection[11].

References

  1. The Mother.  Collected Works of the Mother. vol 5, pp 215-16, 261-65.
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_eye; and Bhagavad Gita http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/Gita/verse-05-12.html.
  3. Sri Aurobindo.  Letters on Yoga, SABCL vol. 22, p 458.
  4. Talks with Ramana Maharshi, Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam, 2003, p 210.
  5. Mother’s Agenda. August 5, 1961.
  6. The Mother.  Collected Works of the Mother. vol. 6, p 55.
  7. Tibetan Book of the Dead, Book 1, Part 1.
  8. Mother’s Agenda. May 28, 1960, September 7, 1968, July 4 1962, August 10, 1963.
  9. The Mother.  Collected Works of the Mother, vol. 4, pp. 204-205.
  10. A.B.Purani.  Evening Talks, Third Series, 16th January, 1939.
  11. The Mother.  Collected Works of the Mother, vol. 4, p 142.

 Related

  1. How one can face the Death and Loss of a dear one? : from the NextFuture magazine of the Sri Aurobindo Society.
  2. On suicide, euthanasia, and capital punishment
  3. Physical marks appearing after injuries sustained in dreams
  4. When does the soul enter the body?
  5. The Aurobindonian model of Karma
  6. Explaining out-of-body and near-death experiences
  7.  Does population growth invalidate reincarnation?
  8. Cases of reincarnation across religions
  9. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on Astrology
  10. The existence of vital signs during sleep or coma
  11. Ghosts explained
  12. Birthmarks due to reincarnation
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68 thoughts on “On death, burials, cremations, funerals and resurrection

  1. mike

    So, when we read about some of these after-life stories [or NDE’s] where people are met by dead relatives, friends etc, who escort them to some heaven somewhere. What exactly is going on with that??? What realm are these dead ppl coming from??? These ppl don’t get attacked by vital remnants as far as l know. They’re just guided to some kind of safe zone and protected by dead relatives. So, what sort of ppl is The Mother refering to??? ls she talking about earthbound spirits that need help to move on???
    l’m not sure if spiritualists etc have got it right [probably not] but they describe heavens and paradises where we go after death. l assume we continue to live at the level [astral/vital or mental plane] we are compatible with, in relation to the state of our consciousness on leaving this world.
    l’ve read some books by people who are able to exteriorise at will or are taken into these other worlds by so-called guides and they describe places that are heavily populated with the dead.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      I can’t find the exact quote but somewhere Sri Aurobindo says that after death, one rises to the plane of consciousness which corresponds to one’s earthly development (lesser developed go only up to the vital, more conscious go to the psychic). Therefore, a broad categorization of the post-mortem journey would be as follows:

      1) Primitive souls: These are coarse beings who never exhibited any control over their senses during life. Such people never enter the psychic world but are reborn immediately after a brief stay in the vital worlds. In terms of Hindu scriptures, they get stuck in what’s known as the Preta Loka (world of ghostly spirits )
      2) slightly developed souls: They may advance slightly higher into the higher vital heavens where they exist for many years before being reborn. In Hindu scriptures, this is probably the equivalent of Pitri Loka (world of ancestors). See the Gita 9:25 for Pitri Loka.
      3) conscious souls: They shed their vital and mental sheaths, and rest for several years (relative to earth-time) in the psychic world before being reborn.
      4) liberated souls: They are pure beings. They do not need to shed their vital or mental sheaths and also do not need to rest. They can be reborn as per the Divine Will.

      Coming to the popular NDE stories, it seems to be a case of partial exteriorization, where you still retain the link to your body as the Mother states above (otherwise you would have felt some pain on returning). If you enter into contact with the Pitri Loka (world of ancestors) you may meet the relatives and friends you had known before. As for the illumined beings who guide you in NDEs, they are probably liberated souls who chose to remain in the earth’s atmosphere to guide the dead through their journey.

      There are some pertinent comments in the Agenda June 24, 1961 on this topic:

      Every night, at the same hour, I was working to construct – between the purely terrestrial atmosphere and the psychic atmosphere – a path of protection across the vital, so that people [who have died] wouldn’t have to pass through it (for those who are conscious but without knowledge it’s a very difficult passage – infernal.)

      Satprem: Is one snatched up by the vital zone upon leaving the body?
      Mother: No, it depends. It depends entirely upon the way people die: on the way they leave their bodies, on what is around them, on the atmosphere created for them. If they call me, then it goes well. There have been very, very few cases, a quite minimal number, when people have called (not very sincerely) and their call hasn’t had much effect. But even these people have a protection.

      Sri Aurobindo on heaven and hell:

      “The movement of the psychic being dropping the outer sheaths on its way to the psychic plane is the normal movement. But there can be any number of variations; one can return from the vital plane and there are many cases of an almost immediate birth, sometimes even attended with a complete memory of the events of the past life. Hell and Heaven are often imaginary states of the soul or rather of the vital which it constructs about it after its passing. What is meant by hell is a painful passage through the vital or lingering there, as for instance, in many cases of suicide where one remains surrounded by the forces of suffering and turmoil created by this unnatural and violent exit. There are, of course, also worlds of mind and vital worlds which are penetrated with joyful or dark experiences. One may pass through these as the result of things formed in the nature which create the necessary affinities, but the idea of reward or retribution is a crude and vulgar conception which is a mere popular error.”
      (SABCL vol. 22, Letters on Yoga, Section on Rebirth, p 437)

      and a conversation on the same

      Disciple : Is not the “heaven” in which man’s soul is sup¬posed to enjoy after death different from this plane of the smaller gods?
      Sri Aurobindo : The “heaven” of the religions is quite different thing. It is the heaven of the vital plane. But apart from this religious “heaven”, the plane of the vital is full of charm and splendour of its own. I am not speaking of the perverse hostile vital world which generally comes in contact with our physical plane Apart from that there are beings that have a splendour and greatness and knowledge of their own. Much of the poetry and art comes from that plane.
      (Purani, Evening Talks, Second Series, p 276)

      Reply
      1. Sandeep Post author

        I can’t find the exact quote but somewhere Sri Aurobindo says that after death, one rises to the plane of consciousness which corresponds to one’s earthly development…

        Found the place. Its in the Life Divine, chapter on “Rebirth and Other worlds”

        For the postmortal state of the soul must correspond in some way to the development of the being on earth, since this after-life is not a free upward return from a temporary downward deviation into mortality, but a normal recurrent circumstance which intervenes to help out the process of a difficult spiritual evolution in the physical existence. There is a relation which the human being in his evolution on earth develops with higher planes of existence, and that must have a predominant effect on his internatal dwelling in these planes; it must determine his direction after death and determine too the place, period and character of his self-experience there.

        It may be also that he may linger for a time in one of those annexes of the other worlds created by his habitual beliefs or by the type of his aspirations in the mortal body. We know that he creates images of these superior planes, which are often mental translations of certain elements in them, and erects his images into a system, a form of actual worlds; he builds up also desire worlds of many kinds to which he attaches a strong sense of inner reality: it is possible that these constructions may be so strong as to create for him an artificial post-mortal environment in which he may linger.

        […]

        But there are also the true vital worlds,—original constructions, organised developments, native habitats of the universal life-principle, the cosmic vital Anima, acting in its own field and in its own nature. On his internatal journey he may be held there for a period by force of the predominantly vital character of the influences which have shaped his earthly existence,—for these influences are native to the vital world and their hold on him would detain him for a while in their proper province: he may be kept in the grasp of that which held him in its grasp even in the physical being.

        […]

        Ordinarily, the normally developed human being, who has risen to a sufficient power of mentality, might be expected to pass successively through all these planes, subtle-physical, vital and mental, on his way to his psychic habitation. At each stage he would exhaust and get rid of the fractions of formed personality structure, temporary and superficial, that belonged to the past life; he would cast off his mind sheath and life sheath as he had already cast off his body sheath: but the essence of the personality and its mental, vital and physical experiences would remain in latent memory or as a dynamic potency for the future. But if the development of mind were insufficient, it is possible that it would not be able to go consciously beyond the vital level and the being would either fall back from there, returning from its vital heavens or purgatories to earth, or, more consistently, would pass at once into a kind of psychic assimilative sleep coextensive with the internatal period; to be awake in the highest planes a certain development would be indispensable.

        (Life Divine, CWSA vol. 21-22, pp 827-832)

  2. mike

    Sandeep. thanks for digging that up. Makes things much clearer.
    l have read some of it before – but how easily we forget lol.
    l remember reading about certain religious fanatics [born again fundamentalists mostly] going to some vital/astral region after death and creating their own little worlds, with a bearded God on his Throne and throngs of angels in eternal attendance.
    l think Mother once said She had much difficulty convincing some of the dead that they were living in a fantasy world over there.
    “Ordinarily, the normally developed human being, who has risen to a sufficient power of mentality, might be expected to pass successively through all these planes, subtle-physical, vital and mental, on his way to his psychic habitation”
    ln the above, do you think ‘normally developed human being’ refers to ordinary people or just those with a sufficient mental understanding in yoga? l can’t imagine this being the general process for the ordinary masses, no matter how intelligent they are. Of course. l suspect Sri Aurobindo might mean that they spend a certain length of time in these planes before finally reaching the Psychic.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Mike: ln the above, do you think ‘normally developed human being’ refers to ordinary people or just those with a sufficient mental understanding in yoga?

      If we restrict the definition to those with mental understanding of Yoga, we would be indiscriminately eliminating several thoughtful individuals who have lived outside India in the past centuries! I think “normally developed human being’ may mean those who have cultivated some power of compassion or introspection, who have felt devotion for the Divine, who have stood up courageously against injustice – basically those who have at least in a few moments in their incarnation sought to live by their psychic being.

      The following passage from the Agenda, May 21, 1969 is quite insightful and humorous:

      Mother: In the beginning … (Théon knew a lot of things – I don’t know how he came to know them, but I verified them and found them to be correct), in the beginning, the span of time between two lives is very long, and it’s a sort of assimilative sleep in which the consequences of what one has learned develop inwardly. Then, as the psychic being is formed and as one grows more conscious, rebirths take place more and more closely, until the time when rebirth becomes the result of a choice: at a precise place, for a specific length of time. And then, depending on what the psychic being wants to do, depending on the action it has to do, the new birth may be near or distant. There, we have all possible differences. But in the formative stage, that’s how it is: very distant rebirths. So then, I’ve often wondered … You see, Théon says there is a psychic STATE in which those beings rest (it’s true, there is such a place, I know it), but many people, especially at the beginning of their evolution, are quite tied down to the earth; I have seen quite a few people in trees, for instance. Very often I saw them in trees; often, while following someone [with the inner vision], I saw him enter into a tree; and often, while looking at a tree, I saw someone in it. I saw others who were … oh, people clinging to a place they were interested in: for instance, I saw a man who was interested in nothing but his money, which he had hidden somewhere, and as soon as he left his body, he went there, settled there, and refused to budge from there! … Incidentally (laughing), it had a curious result: it led people to discover the place! You see, it caused movements of forces, and some people felt it and thought, “Oh, there must be something here.”

      Reply
  3. mike

    Yes, your right sandeep, obviously there are lots of people outside yoga who must have a fairly well-developed Psychic Being and would be ‘normally developed human beings’.
    I didn’t realise that the gap between lives was longer if your at the beginning [young soul, l suppose]. Thanks for that bit of info.
    l’ve heard a few stories about misers and there money. Apparently, some psychic had gone out of his body and was watching one of these misers on some astral plane. He was ferociously guarding his money from anyone who went near his house [astral house] and even though people were disappearing in front of him he just thought they were using magick tricks in order to steal his money, LOL. No-one could help him.
    l read about a lawyer who was under the knife in a medical operation and suddenly went out of his body. First thing he saw, l think, were loads of dead people surrounding by fog-like clouds, whom he was told were suicides who were in a sort of half-conscious dream-like state, because of what they had done. l believe Sri Aurobindo also says that suicides comes back into worse conditions too. And yet, you have the likes of spiritualists telling people that suicides don’t suffer in the afterlife!!!

    Reply
  4. Sandeep Post author

    The Persian poet Rumi on Death

    Our death is our wedding with eternity.
    What is the secret? “God is One.”
    The sunlight splits when entering the windows of the house.
    This multiplicity exists in the cluster of grapes;
    It is not in the juice made from the grapes.
    For he who is living in the Light of God,
    The death of the carnal soul is a blessing.
    Regarding him, say neither bad nor good,
    For he is gone beyond the good and the bad.
    Fix your eyes on God and do not talk about what is invisible,
    So that he may place another look in your eyes.
    It is in the vision of the physical eyes
    That no invisible or secret thing exists.
    But when the eye is turned toward the Light of God
    What thing could remain hidden under such a Light?
    Although all lights emanate from the Divine Light
    Don’t call all these lights “the Light of God”;
    It is the eternal light which is the Light of God,
    The ephemeral light is an attribute of the body and the flesh.
    …Oh God who gives the grace of vision!
    The bird of vision is flying towards You with the wings of desire.

    http://www.rumi.org.uk/poems.html#Our%20death%20is%20our%20wedding%20with%20eternity.
    (Mystic Odes 833)

    Reply
  5. Sandeep Post author

    Abraham De Moivre (1667-1754) British Mathematician of French descent

    “The manner of de Moivre’s death has a certain interest for psychologists. Shortly before it, he declared that it was necessary for him to sleep some ten minutes or a quarter hour longer each day than the preceding one: the day after he had thus reached a total of something over twenty-three hours he slept up to the limit of twenty-four hours and then died in his sleep.”

    from (John Daintith. Biographical encyclopedia of scientists, p 185)

    Reply
  6. ipi

    About spiritism, I think, I can say this much for the present. It is quite possible for the dead or rather the departed – for they are not dead – who are still in regions near the earth to have communication with the living; sometimes it happens automatically, sometimes by an effort at communication on one side of the curtain or the other. There is no impossibility of such communication by the means used by the spiritists; usually, however, genuine communications or a contact can only be with those who are yet in a world which is a sort of idealised replica of the earth-consciousness and in which the same personality, ideas, memories persist that the person had here. But all that pretends to be communications with departed souls is not genuine, especially when it is done through a paid professional medium. There is there an enormous amount of mixture of a very undesirable kind – for apart from the great mass of unconscious suggestions from the sitters or the contributions of the medium’s subliminal consciousness, one gets into contact with a world of beings which is of a very deceptive or self-deceptive illusory nature. Many of these come and claim to be the departed souls of relatives, acquaintances, well-known men, famous personalities, etc. There are also beings who pick up the discarded feelings and memories of the dead and masquerade with them. There are a great number of beings who come to such seances only to play with the consciousness of men or exercise their powers through this contact with the earth and who dope the mediums and sitters with their falsehoods, tricks and illusions. (I am supposing, of course, the case of mediums who are not themselves tricksters.) A contact with such a plane of spirits can be harmful (most mediums become nervously or morally unbalanced) and spiritually dangerous. Of course, all pretended communications with the famous dead of long-past times are in their very nature deceptive and most of those with the recent ones also – that is evident from the character of these communications. Through conscientious mediums one may get sound results (in the matter of the dead), but even these are very ignorant of the nature of the forces they are handling and have no discrimination which can guard them against trickery from the other side of the veil. Very little genuine knowledge of the nature of the after-life can be gathered from these seances; a true knowledge is more often gained by the experience of individuals who make serious contact or are able in one way or another to cross the border.

    (Sri Aurobindo. CWSA Letters on Yoga, vol. 22, p 484)

    Reply
  7. Samir

    Does this apply to animals as well? Do they enter the “domain of death” and roam the vital worlds before rebirth? What effect does being killed and eaten by a predator have on the consciousness of an animal?

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Difficult to say anything precise but one can reach some tentative conclusions based on SA&M’s remarks

      Samir: Do they enter the “domain of death” and roam the vital worlds before rebirth?

      Animals live by instinct and have a rudimentary vital mind. It is only in Man that the perversion of mind begins as the Mother says in the Agenda June 1958, (CWMCE vol 9, p 299) and (CWMCE vol 4, p 292). If there is no perversion, the vital sheath would not have any accumulation of downward earthly desires(greed, lust and other vasanas), in which case animals would not need to suffer in the vital world. She also said, “Except for very rare cases, animals are not individualised and when they die they return to the spirit of the species. ” (CWMCE 15:137). If the animal is individualised, I presume it is ready to be born as a human being.

      Animals do have dreams as seen here but those dreams are (my opinion) most likely to be subconscious dreams (i.e. a rerun of the day’s events). There are also putative reports of animals committing suicide.

      Given all that, I don’t think they enter the vital worlds before rebirth. Animal souls may return to the “spirit of the species” and then be reborn as another species.

      Samir: What effect does being killed and eaten by a predator have on the consciousness of an animal?

      It may not matter. It could be the same result if the death is violent or due to aging.

      Slaughter-houses are usually surrounded by a putrid odour and according to the Mother, there are vital beings which feed off the vitality being released over there. She said once: “each one (chicken) had a little vital force which escaped when its throat was cut, and so that Kali was feeding upon all that: she was very happy.” (CWMCE vol. 6, p 65)

      She also said that when an animal is sacrified “the rudiment of consciousness which is in the chicken, goes straight to the Divine who magnifies it; while the man who has offered the chicken to obtain some benefit or other is not even heard.”( CWMCE vol. 8, page 80)

      For comparative purposes, see Animal views in Buddhism

      Reply
  8. Mansee

    I was watching some pictures of Thackeray’s last rites, which made me think –
    – What happens with celebrities when they die. They pull such strong emotional reactions from the masses, how the disintegration (unfolding?) of their vital sheath is affected?

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      They probably suffer more than ordinary people because of the incessant mourning and crying. They may not be able to continue immediately on the onward journey.

      (For those who dont have context, she is referring to Bal Thackeray who died recently)

      Reply
  9. mike

    “There is after death a period in which one passes through the vital world and lives there for a time. It is only the first part of this transit that can be dangerous or painful; in the rest one works out, under certain surroundings, the remnant of the vital desires and instincts which one had in the body. As soon as one is tired of these and able to go beyond, the vital sheath is dropped and the soul after a time needed to get rid of some mental survivals passes into a state of rest in the psychic world and remains there till the next life on earth.
    One can help the departed souls by one’s good will or by occult means, if one has the knowledge. The one thing that one should not do is to hold them back by sorrow for them or longings or by anything else that would pull them nearer to earth or delay their journey to their place of rest.

    ***

    It may happen to some not to realise for a little time that they are dead, especially if the death has been unforeseen and sudden, but it cannot be said that it happens to all or to most. Some may enter into a state of semi-unconsciousness or obsession by a dark inner condition created by their state of mind at death, in which they realise nothing of where they are, etc., others are quite conscious of the passage. It is true that the departing being in the vital body lingers for some time near the body or the scene of life very often for as many as eight days and, in the ancient religions, mantras and other means were used for the severance. Even after the severance from the body a very earthbound nature or one full of strong physical desires may linger long in the earth-atmosphere up to a maximum period extended to three years. Afterwards, it passes to the vital worlds, proceeding on its journey which must sooner or later bring it to the psychic rest till the next life. It is true also that sorrow and mourning for the dead impede their progress by keeping them tied to the earth-atmosphere and pulling them back from their passage.”

    http://www.aurobindo.ru/workings/sa/22-24/eng_1_8.htm

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      I believe you are referring to this post Memory transference in organ transplant recepients?

      Yes, as per the excerpt given by Mike below, they also might go through some pain when their organs are prematurely harvested.

      There is an incident in the Agenda of a man who suffered after he was prematurely burned!

      Mother: There was the case of C.[[An engineer of the Ashram. Mother already spoke of this case in Agenda I of May 28, 1960. ]] He had learned to go out of his body, he knew how to do it: he would go about and see things; he would see, note things, and come back into his body. Then, when he was operated on, the doctors didn’t take the necessary precautions and the heart couldn’t withstand the shock of the operation: five days later, it was over. But he was in the habit of going out, so he went out and came to me (that’s how I knew it before they came to tell me he was “dead”). But he wasn’t at all aware of being dead: he had gone out of his body as he used to, and he came to me. he was with me. So then, it was quite fine, he remained peaceful. Then, at a certain point … (he died in hospital, and naturally, at that time nobody listened to me: they burned him much too soon – it would have been too soon anyway, because in his case, precisely because he had that practice, much precaution and time would have been required; but it was all rushed through), then all of a sudden, when they burned him (I didn’t even know the time of the cremation), he suddenly came into my room, you know, appalled … appalled, crying, miserable: “But I am dead! I didn’t know I was dead, but I am dead and they’ve burned me, they’ve burned me! …” Oh … it was horrible, horrible. So I calmed him down, told him to stay there, be calm, be with me, and that I would find him another body.

      http://mother-agenda.narod.ru/Agenda_8/1967-10-04.htm

      Reply
      1. Mansee

        Thanks for the link Sandeep. I had not read the post, so posed the question. it is well-discussed there. And thanks Mike for giving the text from Mother.

  10. mike

    “Given the fact that organ transplants are always done within hours after doctors have diagnosed outer signs of physical death, it is of relevance to note the Mother’s observation that there is a “spirit of the form” which persists in the body even after outer signs of death (14).

    It is conceivable that it is the premature organ harvesting which is intensifying the memory transfer from the donor to the receiver. As the Mother expatiated on death and cremation:

    “(People in India) are in too much of a hurry to burn the dead, sometimes they burn them alive!… They should wait for there’s a consciousness of the form, a life of the form assumed by the cells, which takes seven days to come out. And that is why sometimes the body makes abrupt movements when burned — people say it’s mechanical. It’s not mechanical, I know it’s not.

    “So I don’t like this habit of burning people very much.

    I think they do it here (apart from entirely sanitary considerations in the case of people who have died from nasty diseases), here in India, mainly because they are very afraid of all these little entities that come from desires, impulses — things which are dispersed in the air and which make ‘ghosts’ and all kinds of things. All desires, all attachments, all those things are like pieces that break off (each one goes its own way, you see), then these pieces gain strength in the surrounding atmosphere, and when they can fasten on to someone, they vampirize him. Then they keep on trying to satisfy their desires (15).”

    Hence, it is conceivable that these fragments of the donor’s vital sheath, which are imbued with the living memories of impulses and desires, attach themselves to the heart and find a new home in the organ transplant recipient, thereby inducing the memory transfer.”

    Reply
  11. mike

    l had to post this quote from Sujata’s book – Mirra The Occultist, because it made me laugh so much. l mean the part about the dead disciples.
    l’d also like to get some of those grapes lol.
    Online version:
    http://www.aurobindo.ru/workings/sujata/sujata_mothers_chronicles_3.pdf

    “This vital world is the land of the Life Heavens on the one hand: “Just imagine, for example, that you are very tired and need to rest,” Mother said to Satprem who always needed to take rest after his night’s sleep! “If you know how to exteriorize yourself and enter consciously the vital world, you can find there a region similar to a miraculous virgin forest where all the splendours of a rich and harmonious
    vegetation are assembled, with such magnificent mirrors of water and an atmosphere so filled with this living, vibrant vitality of plants!”
    Mother frequently went there for a walk. Once, she met Prahlad, who had died some time back. He was the son of Dr Agarwal, the ophthalmologist. “Two days ago,” she related to Satprem in October 1968, “the day before yesterday, I went for a stroll in a forest of the vital…. My little child, it was beautiful! Oh, a magnificent forest, and then such a well-kept forest, so clean! Oh! It was fine. A truly magnificent place, truly magnificent.” Her expression showed how breathtakingly beautiful it was.
    “Well then, I suddenly see a youngish Pralhad there, a mere lad, coming towards me and telling me, l don’t know, can’t find the religion.’ ” She mimicked his despairing tone of voice. Then laughingly said, “So I told him, ‘You don’t need any religion!’
    “He said, ‘Oh, there is another man here who also can’t find a religion.’
    “And that was Benjamin!” He was a football player in Nolini’s batch; a Pondicherian Christian, Benjamin yet lived in the Ashram where he did a part of the tailoring work for the inmates; he died in 1963. I remember how, during the war years, he and Moni25 used to entertain us with French patriotic songs.
    Mother continued, “I said, ‘He is an idiot! He doesn’t need to find a religion!”‘ She laughed again, struck by the incongruity of the situation. “There you are…. Benjamin lost in a marvellous forest — it’s beautiful, you know — because he can’t find a religion! And Pralhad looking for a religion!”
    Then Mother wished to send a comforting word to Prahlad’s grieving mother, “Be consoled, Prahlad is in a very nice place!”
    She remarked, “He was very well. He was very well dressed.” In life the boy used to be dressed rather slovenly.
    “Oh, how ridiculous it all is!”
    After a silent contemplation Mother said again, “Oh, what a beautiful forest, my child. Trees as I have not seen except in Japan. Trees like columns, rising straight, planted in rows, superb! Pale green grass, light, so very light. Grass on the ground; air, lots of air; and at the same time there are only trees — a forest. Not thick, not smothered.” She saw the forest again in her mind’s eye.
    “Well then, in this superb place, instead of rejoicing, the imbecile,” Mother assumed a wailing voice, “1 don’t know what happened to me, I have no religion’!” She laughed outright.
    “Then I told him, ‘But you should rejoice! No religion…. You are in a place much finer than all the religions.”‘
    She said anew, “There is such a life there, such a Beauty, so much richness and plenitude that you wake up full of force, together with an absolutely marvellous feeling of energy, even if you have remained there but one minute.”
    She added in her precise way, “There are regions like that — not very many, but some.
    “The vital world is a world of extremes. If, for instance, you eat a bunch of grapes in the vital world, you are so nourished that you can remain thirty six hours without feeling hungry.” Because grape is the fruit of life.
    One day this happened in our presence. Mother was seated in her chair and we were on the carpet in front of her. Silence reigned in the room. Mother’s eyes were wide open, but I could see that she was deep in contemplation; Satprem also was in meditation. Then suddenly Mother spoke to him. “Somebody has just brought from both sides at once,” she made a gesture to her right and left, “one dish of grapes and another dish of grapes, like this. There was one for you and one for me.” A being from the Vital had brought them. He was like me, I dare say, always happy to be able to serve Mother.
    “Those grapes” — quite frequently the vital world’s food — “are of incomparable beauty. There were two bunches; one was big, the other not so big. I don’t know for whom was the bigger one, and for
    251. Moni or Suresh Chakraborty was a revolutionary from Bengal. He came to Pondicherry in 1910 with a letter from Sri Aurobindo to arrange a residence for him.
    whom the other? They were brought on both sides: one was on a dish, the other on a square of white paper. I assumed that the one on the square white paper was meant for me.
    “Pretty! Beautiful! Grape that turns golden, you know — transparent and golden — when it ripens. Grape big like this.” Her index and thumb were about five centimetres apart.
    We, of course, had seen neither the being nor the bunches of grapes! Mother added, “When one is asleep, that is, when the body is in a state of trance, one can eat. You can feel the taste when you are outside the body. And it’s very nourishing, it gives strength. I don’t know how many times I have happened to eat… and mostly grapes…. Such grapes!”
    “A world of extremes.” And how! You can find there not only the Life Heavens but the Valley of the False Glimmer as well. It is a dangerous world. “Only a trained occultist with the infallible tact born of long experience can guide himself without stumbling or being caught through the maze,” wrote Sri Aurobindo. Mirra, as we know, was certainly a trained occultist and much more. Even otherwise “Mirra is born free” as said Sri Aurobindo. Her unbound soul could, like the proverbial swan, separate milk from water. She easily discerned the real nature of this zone; and with the’ sunlight of her clear vision dispersed its shimmering mists and fogs.
    “On the other hand,” said Mother, “there are many unpleasant places in the vital world where it is better not to go. You can also run into things, enter places that will wrest all the energy from you in a minute, and at times leave you sick or even disabled.”

    Reply
  12. Sandeep Post author

    It is said above in the article “This elemental consciousness continues to persist in the body for a few days even after the heart-beats have stopped and the soul has departed”

    Along these lines, the Brahma Sutra (Vedanta Sutra) IV.2.11 states that bodily warmth belongs to the subtle body since it is not felt in the body after death… the subtle body persists as long as one does not attain final release; it does not originally belong to the Atman (according to Shankara’s Upadesa-sahasri 1.5.10)

    from (Sengaku Mayeda, A thousand teachings – the Upadesasahasri of Sankara, SUNY Press, 1992, p 28)

    Reply
  13. sujata

    It is quite fear full that after death we donot have protection of our body and need to take rest in others aura. Does it happen to all , or knowledge of persons or somthing other matters???

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Turmoil after death certainly happens in case of those who are Tamasic by nature. One must practice a little Yoga to ensure safe passage. Isn’t it said in the Bhagavad Gita that even a little practice can save one from the great danger (Gita 2:40) “svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt”

      Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Number of days should be taken as approximate because time flows differently in the occult worlds. How would you define “day” in a world where a sun doesn’t exist or always shines ?

      Live in the present. Think about life and death will be smooth.

      Reply
  14. sujata

    I read in ‘Letters on Yoga Volume 1″ by Sh Aurobindo ..
    ….
    It is when the vital gets broken up, some strong movements of it, desires, greeds, may precipitate themselves into animal forms, e.g., sexual desire with the part of the vital consciousness under its control into a dog or some habitual movement of excessive greed may carry part of the vital consciousness into a pig. The animals represent the vital consciousness ..

    Please explain above … what will happen to psychic world to rest…?? Is it postponed??? it is simultaneous process?? ….

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      yes, its a simultaneous process. The psychic being separates from the vital being after a period of agony. The former goes to the psychic world and the latter either dissolves or merges with some animal consciousness.

      Reply
      1. sujata

        Then.. will it ever unite with the original one??? Or the psychic one has to rest till its remaining part return from earth and vital world??

      2. Sandeep Post author

        The vital being doesnt need to reunite with the psychic being. We get a new vital sheath in each incarnation.

      3. sujata

        Thanks…
        I am sorry to ask so many questions But.. WHo r we ??? the Vital one or the psychic one..

      4. Sandeep Post author

        At the core, we are the psychic being. Keep reading “The Letters on Yoga” and you will get it 🙂

    1. Sandeep Post author

      Letters on Yoga, see Section on Rebirth for a brief allusion to pitriyana

      Also see Collected Works of the Mother, vol 8, p 24Oct 1956, page 333

      Reply
  15. ihaiva

    Thanks for the references. With regards to ancestors, it seemed to me from Sri Aurobindo’s letter* as if there was a shift from a Vedic psychic/spiritual approach to a physical/vital ritualism – *’The Pitriyan is supposed to lead to inferior worlds attained by the Fathers who still belong to the evolution in the Ignorance. By the Devayan one gets beyond the Ignorance into the light. The difficulty about the Pitris is that in the Puranas they are taken as the Ancestors to whom the Tarpan is given – it is an old Ancestor worship such as still exists in Japan, but in the Veda they seem to be the Fathers who have gone before and discovered the supraphysical worlds. ‘ I also found the answer given by the Mother very informative about the many possibilities for the soul after leaving a body – including transference in the case of highly evolved souls. So thanks once again for the references.

    Reply
  16. mike

    ” Very little genuine knowledge of the nature of the after-life can be gathered from these seances; a true knowledge is more often gained by the experience of individuals who make serious contact or are able in one way or another to cross the border.”

    ipi, l just wanted to thank you for posting that important letter by SA. Some very important points to remember there…. especially the point above….

    Reply
  17. mike

    “A contact with such a plane of spirits can be harmful (most mediums become nervously or morally unbalanced) and spiritually dangerous”

    Also, l’ve known two mediums who ended up in a bad way because of these contacts. One was the president of the main spiritualist centre in a large city who had a nervous breakdown on stage when she channeling something.
    The other turned out to be morally corrupt – a paedophile. l’ve know others who seemed sane enough, though. One actually said she saw me entering clouds above my head [it was actually the Spiritual Opening that you get in Yoga, l think] and had never seen anything like it in 20 years of mediumship. This was the only clairvoyant that has ever seen this. l think she was allowed to see it at that time in order to give me some confirmation of what l was going through. l think she was one of those sincere mediums that SA mentioned. She certainly had a cleaner [if that’s the right word] look about her than most….

    Reply
  18. Sandeep

    An answer from the Mother

    Q. Does one become conscious of his true being at the time of death?

    Mother: One does not necessarily become more conscious than when he is alive. There is no reason why the mere fact of physical death should make men conscious of their true being. The only thing that happens in death is that the connecting link between the physical and the vital is cut. But why, because of this fact, should one who is ignorant become suddenly full of knowledge or one unconscious become conscious? There is not a sufficient explanation here of changing so much after death.

    On the contrary, many people find the body a very good refuge, a fort, into which they run when they feel or scent danger in the vital. But a vital without a body does not necessarily bring about benefits. A man who is stupid in life remains stupid after death. To think otherwise is like saying that if a man has a coat of a certain colour his inner being undergoes a change.

    http://overmanfoundation.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/talks-of-the-mother-recorded-by-a-b-purani

    Reply
  19. mike

    lt’s strange but l’ve been coming across a lot of this after death and out-of-body stuff lately. l’m even reading a couple of books at the moment by a man who has been leaving his body for around 40+ years. lt just started spontaneously and then he learned to leave at will – he does mention the help of guides, though.. He describes his visits to these worlds and describes how the inhabitants live and what state of consciousness their in..
    He confirms what Mother says, and he says there are millions of little self-created world’s where the ppl go after death – seems lot but considering how vast the astral universe is, perhaps not, lol….
    He saw how alcoholics, drug addicts etc.. spend their time in similarly created bars and other seedy haunts in the astral domains after they leave here; in a depressingly repetitive cycle..
    His name is william buhlman for any interested:

    hxxp://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=buhlman

    Reply
      1. mike

        Hi sujata, l should have mentioned that he describes the above experiences in his second book ‘Adventures ln the Afterlife’.
        hxxp://www.amazon.co.uk/Adventures-Afterlife-1-William-Buhlman/dp/1453786058/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411409995&sr=1-1&keywords=buhlman

        Another author who has been leaving his body for about 40 years through meditation [apparently out-of-body experiences were just a by-product] has described his travels in these dimensions in great detail – Jurgen Ziewe. He has video interviews on his website and some very good descriptions of the other worlds.
        His book: hxxp://www.amazon.co.uk/Multidimensional-Man-Jurgen-Ziewe/dp/1409224252/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411410315&sr=1-1&keywords=ziewe

        His website:
        hxxp://www.multidimensionalman.com/Multidimensional-Man/Life_after_death_on_the_lowest_dimension.html

      2. mike

        Here is an excerpt from the first one:

        Most souls remain in their new surroundings because they believe they have arrived in heaven. Instead, they have unknowingly placed themselves within the confines of a highly structured, thought-created environment. After a sense of repositioning I’m standing on a busy sidewalk in an urban setting at night. I steady myself as my perception adjusts to the new surroundings. My attention is drawn to a flashing neon sign and loud music coming from a local bar. The lights beckon me to step through the swinging door. The smell of cigarettes and stale beer is overpowering. Every bar seat is filled and I feel a distinct energy of desperation and boredom mixed with self-loathing. Someone in the corner puts some coins in a jukebox and the melody of a sad country song fills the room. Men and woman in various stages of intoxication stagger around the bar. My attention is directed to a thin, middle-aged man sitting at the crowded bar. He raises a tattooed hand to get the attention of the barmaid. She refills his mug and pours him a side of whiskey. He nods and throws back the shot, chasing it with a chug of beer. “This human has been sitting here for eight Earth years. This is what he loved to do when he had a physical body. Now, money and time are no longer obstacles to his obsessions. He eventually will leave, but only to move to another bar and pursue his addiction in a slightly different environment. And so the cycle goes. Many of these souls will travel from bar to bar in a vain attempt to recreate their past physical life. Some have been here for decades, reliving their past and refusing to let go. The addictive-personality imprint continues long after death. Like minds are drawn together in collective realities to pursue their obsessions; humans find it difficult to escape the ingrained habits of their own minds.”

      3. mwb6119

        This is actually very interesting to me Mike. Lately I have been wondering about the process of death. I have even thought of practicing astral projection. I have had contact with Robert Bruce (Australia)in the past. Are you familiar with him. He does recommend the same person (William Buhlman) in his books.

      4. mike

        Yes, it’s weird mark, as you say, of late l’ve suddenly become very interested in Astral Projection [exteriorisation of course, in Mother’s words]. l truly feel that a lot of answers will only be found through entering the other worlds consciously [l think She says in the savitri post how we have to gain knowedge of all planes – obvious, l suppose, in an integral Yoga]. l know that Mother advises us not to go out until we have a degree of purity. But, over the years l’ve been going out of my body quite often in a spontaneous fashion and l’ve seen SA and Mother with me so often over there, that l know l have their guidance and full protection [l mean, if people like robert bruce and william buhlman etc.. have been doing it for 40+ years without any problems, well…] . Mother even gave the method of going out through the heart centre, so it’s not exactly forbidden.
        Of course, l believe we have better guidance and protection through SA and M.
        Yes, l’ve got a couple of books by robert bruce. Although, l think the best is probably by the author l mentioned above – jurgen ziewe. l think he’s probably more advanced.
        Unfortunately, l think some of these astral projectors haven’t gone as high as they imagine [intermediate zone comes to mind], which makes it all the more important to have the right Guides. l know if SA or M are called when out of body, they’ll be their like a lightening bolt – l’ve personally experienced that.
        So, l’ve been practicing projection lately and l had a very interesting one recently. l must have gone to a higher astral plane l think. l even thought l’d died because it was so real, and it lasted a lot longer than usual – l really believe this might have been down to using some of William Buhlman’s techniques [he’s the only one that mentions them].

      5. mwb6119

        Agreed Mike, persons like Robert Bruce are intermediary. None the less, they (or he) is sincere in his quest – I met with him on-line, a very sincere, and very experienced soul.

        Astral travel has never been natural for me in the past. Usually when the “falling” sensations begin I back off. Also, I have spider fear. And spiders are in that astral region. They have been in my dreams since my youth and have always been the cause of nightmares. So, here i am trying once more to see if I can penetrate these other worlds.

        Having surpassed mid-life, I am more so concerned with passing on. Perhaps now I will have better luck with this work…I now have a much better sense of lifes potentiality than before…then, I was locked into the material/economical stratagem.

        BTW, I question the marketing of such things as astral travel. I mean, how to put a price on such a thing? and on holistic services, etc…? I cannot fathom this. Not against it per se but practically, I do not understand it. People are selling these services, so there is an obvious trend for it.

  20. mike

    Yes, mark, l feel most of these Astral experts are sincere too. l feel some might have been deceived, based on what they say.

    “Astral travel has never been natural for me in the past. Usually when the “falling” sensations begin I back off”

    Most of the well-known authors on this subject who have been leaving their bodies for many years [30-40+ years] have said they weren’t natural OBE’ers and had to work hard at it in the beginning. l’m not sure about robert bruce, but William Buhlman, Robert Peterson etc. found it very difficult.
    l agree there’s a lot of commercialism around anything paranormal these days, especially in the so-called ‘workshop’ area – which seems to be growing area – they have to charge something, l suppose.
    Certain psychics charge ridiculous amounts of money just for a reading.
    l’m of the opininion that any God-given gift should not be charged for. Not so much the selling of books, though.
    There was a famous healer in cyprus [l mentioned him here before] who had exceptional abilities like the Mother from birth [he could leave his body at will etc..], who was vehemently opposed to charging anything for his help. His life story is in the book ‘The Magus of Strovolos’ – which M.P.Pandit mentioned in an article on healing.
    lt sounds like your fear of spiders is a past-life phobia of some kind. Or perhaps, some childhood trauma. l know you’ve mentioned it before, just not sure where.
    l believe a lot of these astral experts say things like this can be healed through astral travel. Do they actually attack you in these nightmares??

    Reply
    1. mwb6119

      Mike: “Do they actually attack you in these nightmares??”

      They are independent creature, I have no control over them. I usually sense that they are coming after me, or going to jump on me, or something like this – but I am so afraid that I wake up before they have the chance to do anything. Here is an example: I was in a long hallway and the walls and ceiling were full of spider legs – like hairy tarantula legs wriggling. I did recently have a lucid dream where the spiders appeared and I had a power to remove them from the dream – almost like a magician wielding a magic wand. …Yes, these dreams go back to my childhood.And I fear spiders in waking life. So does my mother. I have no remembrance of childhood traumas…

      Yes, I imagine I will have to work hard at this OBE. But I feel ready. I did take a class with R Bruce two years ago (a very nice man, warm hearted, service oriented, practical) – I didn’t reach OBE, but I did make some progress. I still have a book of his, a program for reaching OBE. I like it as it is well structured. He had us purchase a Hemi Sync CD program by Monroe which I just started using again. …I’m also working with the late Moshe Feldenkrais who developed a “movement based learning method.” This assists with making the body supple and also developing the imaginal body – to my understanding the imaginal and pranic bodies are the same. The effects achieved would be closely related to those achieved by practicing pranayama.

      I’ve also become a vegetarian, stopped watching television (accept for selected movies/dvds), celibate, and read Savitri regularly, sadhana….

      Yes, Agreed that many of them become deceived. I basically take what I need and that’s it. I don’t get caught up in their ideologies. One concern I have with R Bruce is that he recommends activating the chakras. I know SA does not recommend this – read that somewhere in Synthesis.

      Mike, how has your OBE experience developed? Was it difficult too?

      Reply
  21. mike

    “I did recently have a lucid dream where the spiders appeared and I had a power to remove them from the dream – almost like a magician wielding a magic wand. …Yes, these dreams go back to my childhood.And I fear spiders in waking life. So does my mother”

    jf you’ve had this all your life it certainly sounds like some past-life trauma. Possibly you and your mother both went through the same thing in that life [died in this way, l mean.]. Anyway, it looks like you’ve been given the power or knowledge to destroy it, aka the lucid dream – probably through the Mother’s Grace. As you likely know, lucid dreams have been used to defeat long-standing fears and phobias.

    “He had us purchase a Hemi Sync CD program by Monroe which I just started using again. ”

    l’ve never used the hemi-synch stuff [although, l’m trying the isochronic sounds at the moment [on youtube]. Only difference is that you don’t need headphones with these.
    lt’s strange how Monroe started out with that first technique of imagining a point above his head [where the Higher 3 chakras are] and dragging down what he calls the ‘vibrations’. Strange, because this is where THE SHAKTI is in the Yoga.
    l’ve experienced these ‘vibrations’ he talks about, just before leaving my body. l’m not sure if there is a connection between the Force that SA talks about and these vibrations that monroe mentions but, l wouldn’t be surprised [l’ve actually seen a large ball of energy above my head while concentrating there]. ln my experience, though, the Force descends at anytime – sitting, sleeping, walking, talking etc.. and lt tends to makes us more conscious in sleep – which is what this astral projection stuff is all about l think. At least, l’ve read that M and SA tell us we should try to become ‘conscious in sleep’. l can’t see any difference between that and exteriorizing outside the body IMO – l mean, one automatically leads to the other, and if they’re referring to Lucid Dreaming that is just an out-of-body experience housed in a dream., or rather we are astrally projected inside a dream scenario. We can come out of the lucid dream into the astral world proper by using certain methods or mental commands. A few of these astral projection authors talk about it.

    “Yes, Agreed that many of them become deceived. I basically take what I need and that’s it. I don’t get caught up in their ideologies. One concern I have with R Bruce is that he recommends activating the chakras. I know SA does not recommend this – read that somewhere in Synthesis.”

    Yes, same here. l don’t need there belief-system, really, There are aspects l agree with, of course. But, this out-of-body thing try to use within the guidelines of the Yoga – as a necessary introduction to knowledge of the other worlds. ln fact l offer it to SA and M for the Yoga and ask them to help me out of my body at night or whenever l attempt this. l believe they have helped.
    Yes, l stay away from any kind of chakra activation techniques that some ‘astral projectors’ go into. This is the way of tantra, l believe, through Kundalini in the old traditional sense. As you say, SA indicates that the chakras are opened by the Descending Force in His Yoga, so we don’t need to concern ourselves with the activating them ourselves.
    ln my own case, mark, years ago l used to attempt to leave the body using various techniques. The main one was at the third-eye centre, l think. l would look at the blank screen there and after a while l would see a road [usually] and l would go down this road until l found myself out-of-body. l dropped the practice for quite a while, until now. l feel l’m in a better state to continue at the moment. lt’s the only way l’m going to get any real answers, l think.
    l’ve used many methods since then, like visualizing a favourite place, spinning or swaying the astral body. Robert Bruce’s favourite technique of pulling ourselves out by climbing a rope [all types of vizualizing, really]. l did use a Lucid Dream mask for quite a while, with some success.
    The third-eye method seemed to come naturally, though, and the others were more difficult. These days l usually wake up in a highly charged vibrational state [only a few times l’ve had ‘sleep paralysis and just rolled out of my body] and then head for the front door and down the street oe wherever. But, for the past two years or so, these experiences have become more conscious overall. l believe William Buhlmans ‘commands’ have helped a lot. As soon as l leave the body l say ‘Control Now’, then ‘Awareness Now’ which have really improved my state of consciousness in these experiences. They have to be said straight away, though. Also, if we feel a bit foggy or dull it helps to say ‘Clarity Now’.

    Reply
    1. mwb6119

      Mike: “As you likely know, lucid dreams have been used to defeat long-standing fears and phobias.”

      That was my first lucid dream where I confronted the spiders. I have little control over lucid dreaming now. Hoping that will begin to change with practice.

      “lt’s strange how Monroe started out with that first technique of imagining a point above his head [where the Higher 3 chakras are] and dragging down what he calls the ‘vibrations’. Strange, because this is where THE SHAKTI is in the Yoga.”

      Don’t know much about Monroe yet. …I have not yet had any experiences above the head, or rather, any I can remember as such at this point: Shakti, the force, superconscient. Until now I have focused solely upon the psychological aspects of the process (and bringing the Psychic to the surface), only because I had not sensed I was ready for the higher aspects – although I did read about those topics quite a bit. I’m wondering why I think I am ready for lucid dreaming and OBE. If I am merely driven by personal enthusiasm, then this won’t go very far. But if it is a directive from SA & M now, then I will most assuredly make progress. By comparison, today things are opening up that were still tightly closed two years ago, which is a good indication for me to proceed with this now.

      *For fifteen years (’94-’09) I had a series of “big” dreams as Jung called them. Dreams about transcendence, transformation, and cosmic consciousness, etc. Upon awaking from these dreams usually I was left with a very strong impression – and I still remember most of them.

      This line by SA has given me support:

      “The sleep consciousness can be effectively dealt with only when the waking mind has made a certain amount of progress.” SA

      Thank You Mike:)

      Reply
  22. mike

    ““The sleep consciousness can be effectively dealt with only when the waking mind has made a certain amount of progress.” SA”

    Thanks for the quote mark, l hadn’t seen that before. At this point in my sadhana it makes sense.
    lt’s strange that we have both felt the urge to study astral projection at this time.

    Reply
  23. Kai

    One thing I would like to mention about Robert monroe is his experiences with his past selves and how they assist his progress.Somewhere in his book he describes how he meets his past self in another life.It was little difficult to grasp because I was under the belief that before incarnation the existing personality completely disintegrates and cease to exist.I think he also mentioned about simultaneous incarnation at different points of time.
    I can understand that time’s arrow is not strictly flowing from past, present to future in other realities but difficult to grasp the idea of simultaneous incarnations.

    Robert Bruce’s techniques works after some practice, but didn’t help to go to deeper realities.May be it would become possible when occult faculties develops by yogic techniques over a period of time.

    Reply
  24. mike

    “I can understand that time’s arrow is not strictly flowing from past, present to future in other realities but difficult to grasp the idea of simultaneous incarnations.”

    Actually visiting your previous lives isn’t as impossible as it sounds – once you reach a certain level of consciousness. l don’t know if monroe was able to do this, because l think there can be a lot of imagination at work in these things, unless we’ve reached a particular degree of realisation. And l’m not sure on what level his guides were coming from either.
    But, if you read the book ‘The Magus of Strovolos’ [the life story of the famous Healer and Mystic from cyprus] you’ll see that he was constantly doing this through astral projection, and described his past lives in detail.He said He could visit all His past lives at will – from what l know about him, l’m inclined to believe it.
    Yes, l believe the personality dissolves after some time, but the acrual memories of that life are stored in the psychic consciousness and also the akashic records [if you believe in them]. Of course, if you read these akashic records at the astral level, l think there might be a lot of misinformation. l believe, to get any real accuracy, we have to read them with the psychic consciousness.

    ” Robert Bruce’s techniques works after some practice, but didn’t help to go to deeper realities”

    What deeper realities do you mean??
    Of course, just leaving the body and entering the astral or mental worlds probably isn’t going to bring the Highest Realisations – we probably need to enter the overmind and supermind world’s for that, l suppose.
    lt just answers a lot of questions we won’t get here, that’s all.
    Yes, l believe kundalini and the chakra’s have to be fully awakened before we have access to the the deepest realities. Although, some believe we can have God-Realsation without these things. l don’t think SA and M would agree, though, and they themselves spoke about their own full kundalini awakenings – it has to be part of an lntegral Yoga, l think.

    Reply
  25. Kai

    I think monroe here refers to the interaction of his present selves with his other selves and it is not a memory of past life.I am not sure if his other selves are existing simultaneously in different time periods or surviving personalities of past lives, any way I find it considerably differs from the known concepts of reincarnation.May be the incarnations are multiple, simultaneous in multi dimensions in different time periods.Traditional idea of reincarnation could be only a fragment of the truth.It is all complex and difficult to grasp by intellect.

    By deeper realities I meant going beyond subtle physical, lower vital, higher vital and lower mental planes.I think only spiritually advanced persons can go beyond these realms. I think wandering in subtle physical and lower vital does not have any impact on spiritual progress and on the contrary is dangerous unless protected by advanced beings like SA and Mother. I remember somewhere Mother saying that lower vital is a place of inferno and having a physical body itself protects from the dangers.

    Reply
  26. mike

    “I think wandering in subtle physical and lower vital does not have any impact on spiritual progress and on the contrary is dangerous unless protected by advanced beings like SA and Mother. I remember somewhere Mother saying that lower vital is a place of inferno and having a physical body itself protects from the dangers.”

    Yes kai, l couldn’t agree more. Mother said there were dangerous places on lower astral [probably up to mental as well] that we should stay away from – this is why their guidance over there is important. Even Madam Theon lost an eye when protecting someone on those planes.
    l’m a little dubious about the beliefs of certain astral projectors, and l think some have been deceived, although others have been doing it without any problems for around 40 years – obviously they have the necessary protection, l suppose.

    “I think monroe here refers to the interaction of his present selves with his other selves and it is not a memory of past life”

    Yes, that is confusing lol.

    This is something that Daskalos [the cypriot mystic l mentioned above] said on the subject of past lives. There might be something in it that corresponds to monroe’s ideas:

    “‘Whatever has been imprinted on the Universal Mind will always exist. Suppose, for example, I wish to contact a master who lived four thousand years ago, let us say he lived in Egypt as Rasadat. Since that time the entity that manifested as Rasadat has incarnated over twenty-five times. Is Rasadat at this moment alive or is he a dead entity? Both Rasadat, as well as all his other incarnations, are alive within the Universal Memory. Subconsciously we are linked to all our incarnations and whatever incarnation we bring to consciousness is a living entity. Rasadat is alive because the entity that emanated him is alive. Socrates may have incarnated many times. Perhaps he is alive today in another body, in a different culture, with a different name. It is possible, however, to bring up Socrates from the pool of Universal Memory and even semi-materialize him in front of us and converse with
    him irrespective of the fact that today the entity that incarnated as Socrates may be in another body.’
    ‘Is it possible,’ I asked, ‘that Socrates would act and talk in the same way as the entity who was once Socrates but is presently somebody else?’
    ‘No. You must bear in mind that Socrates within the Universal Memory is a living elemental and not a human being. The self-consciousness that was Socrates is no longer there. If I bring Socrates and converse with him, he will have the intelligence and knowledge of the Socrates of that period. He will not be able to offer more than Socrates knew during his life.
    ‘”The God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob is not a God of the dead but of the living,” said Christ.
    ‘How many do you think understood what He meant? He was not talking of the self-conscious soul of the patriarchs, but of the then self-conscious personalities.’
    ‘Daskale,’ I persisted, ‘who can awaken the elemental of a past incarnation?’
    ‘Either the person himself or a master. However, masters as a rule are reluctant to tell you of your past lives lest they awaken in you old weaknesses and habits.’
    Daskalos then explained that it is possible for a master to read one’s past lives like pages from a book. He can do so by ‘coordinating’ his consciousness with the elemental of a person’s past life and experience the sentiments and thoughts of that elemental. Unless past incarnations are still alive, such a feat would be impossible. ‘The pages in our book of incarnations are not dead leaves but living elementals,’ Daskalos said.
    ‘When, then, can we have memories of past lives without a disturbance on the present self-conscious personality?’ I asked.
    ‘Each Researcher of Truth will learn the way slowly and patiently. At first we will feel our past incarnations intuitively until full memory is recovered. The memories will come as the present self-conscious personality is more closely in atunement with the permanent personality. Then, like good actors, we will be able to remember the roles we have performed. The Earth is the theater within which every one of us plays his various roles in order to learn and progress towards perfection.
    ‘When we look back without being disturbed at what we see, it is time and safe to remember. Before we can safely remember, we must first transcend the idea of Good and Evil. In the meantime Divine Mercy has shut the door of past memories in order to give us a chance to proceed in our path without the interference of past imperfections and weaknesses.’
    ‘You said that our past incarnations are living elementals within the Universal Memory. If so is it also possible to contact a past incarnation-elemental and effect changes on its behavior?’,
    ‘Let me answer your question by telling you of a personal experience in this life. A few months ago I wanted to observe myself giving a talk in the psychic world. I remember my Master (Yohannan) saying to me, “You shall give a talk and yet it will not be you.” So I withdrew, sat back, so to speak, and listened to my talk. As I was observing myself I detected certain mistakes I made. The Master brought to me, with mathematical precision, the elemental of myself as I had given the talk in the psychic world months in the past. It was like a recording of myself on a video tape. Could I intervene and make corrections at the moment I realized my errors? No. I did not have the right or power to add
    or subtract anything. At that moment I was simply coordinated with the one who was giving the lesson, the elemental of myself. I relived the lesson as an observer. Someone other than myself could have listened to the same talk had he coordinated himself with that elemental.
    ‘It is possible, however, that I can create a new elemental of myself and make the appropriate corrections. This is different. But whatever has been imprinted cannot be erased, and what is imprinted is alive. Perhaps this could offer us an explanation of the meaning of hell and paradise. An elemental of myself may exist in a hell of its own making which can affect and tyrannize the present personality when the latter has not transcended its past problems. That is again the reason why Divine Mercy has shut the door towards the past, so that we will not be adversely influenced from the life of ourselves as elementals which we have left behind in a hell or a paradise. However, we should keep in mind that the present personality is always linked through the law of Karma to the living shadows of its past.’
    ‘The subject you have raised today,’ Daskalos concluded, ‘is inexhaustible. I hope our discussion has given you some basic ideas on the nature of the psychonoetic worlds.”

    Reply
  27. mike

    Forgot to mention that ‘Elemental’ means ‘Thought-Form’, and ‘Permanent Personality’ would be ‘Psychic Being’ in lntegral Yoga.

    Reply
    1. mwb6119

      Mike: “…and ‘Permanent Personality’ would be ‘Psychic Being’ in lntegral Yoga.” I like “Permanent Personality.” Makes more sense then “Psychic Being.” 🙂

      Reply
  28. mike

    Yes mark, l think for many outside this Yoga it would definitely make more sense – although, the word ‘personality’ doesn’t sit comfortably with me because, l suppose, l’ve always associated it with ‘Ego’.

    Reply
  29. Brian from Arizona

    Dear Sandeep, some time ago, for reasons I am unable to explain, I found myself compelled to contemplate the phenomenon of death at great length. I sensed that an important part of this exploration seemed to hinge on understanding the manner in which death emerges (from a cosmological perspective). This eventually brought me to review commentary on the Katha Upanishad and other resources, but not able to find full satisfaction for a nagging need for more knowledge on this topic, I eventually dropped the matter. But recently, I experienced – if you can please excuse my use of the term – a unexpected vision of sorts, which seemed to suggest that Death as we commonly know it, is quite misunderstood. Based on that experience, it now seems to me that what we typically view as a fearful symbol of chaos and darkness is actually the manifestation of an awesome conscious power, wielded with great precision and elegance by a being of vast intellect – one that at times may employ even the most monstrous of sadistic killers as its secret instruments.

    Although I feel a great sense of the rightness about these perceptions, I worry that I could have somehow allowed myself to have been misled, so I was wondering if you or any of your readers might know offhand of any additional source material that might better facilitate my ability to arrive at a better understanding. If not, that’s entirely ok, I certainly don’t wish to foist my own research responsibilities upon others – it’s just that I don’t seem to be having much luck on my own 🙂

    An additional note – one aspect of my “death overview” experience was an unambiguously clear indication that those who depart should be honored and memorialized in a careful and reverent manner – even those among us who would seem to be quite wicked. For this reason, I found the section in this post with Mother’s commentary about the purpose of funeral ceremonies to be most helpful. Indeed, there is a fascinating and extremely well-documented incident that occurred some years ago here in the USA about events that transpired after a young man attended a funeral service with a great deal of unresolved anger and hostility towards his departed grandfather: http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2015/11/the-demonic-case-of-the-pennsylvania-rain-man/

    Kind regards,
    Brian from Arizona

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      I would love to know if there is a police report to back up the story of the Stroudsburg Rain Main.

      I was wondering if you or any of your readers might know offhand of any additional source material that might better facilitate my ability to arrive at a better understanding.

      More source material from Sri Aurobindo or anyone ? There is a quote from Rabindranath Tagore but I don’t know if its based on personal experience like yours

      “Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”

      Reply
      1. Brian from Arizona

        I have not seen the police report, but am fairly certain that one must have been submitted. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that it follows a pattern that is typically employed for these kind of things, in which seemingly impossible events tend to be summarized in a relatively bland, general manner that minimizes exposure of the reporting authority to incredulous mockery and ridicule. Nevertheless, a re-enactment of this incident was done here in the US on a nationally syndicated tv show years ago – it used to be freely available for viewing on youtube, but alas, is no longer. But if memory serves, the policemen and jailers who witnessed the events were actually interviewed for that show and recounted what they had witnessed.

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