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How to Solve the Mystery of Life after Death

by Paramhansa Yogananda
Summer 2013 One Comment

The existence of life after death is the greatest mystery guarded by nature. No one is allowed, no matter how great a saint he might have been, to come back after death and tell the masses of people (or to tell anyone except perhaps a few devotees) of the life-eternal. Not one of the billions who have died since the world began has returned to life in the same body, and stood on a lecture platform and cried, “Behold, here I am, come back from the dead, and I now understand the mysteries of the hereafter.”

God does not want to influence anyone through the testimony of his saints, or by the miracles they perform. God wants his human children to awaken to their immortal soul nature by their own free will. Everyone must individually solve the mystery of life and death.

The paradox of delusion is that every individual is a mixture of the changeless soul and the changeable body. The soul is individualized Spirit, operating through a physical body. It is God Himself who has descended into the bodies of all His human children.  Individuals play many different parts through many incarnations, while remaining unchanged in their soul natures, but because they identify themselves with the limitations and changes of the body, they forget their true unchanging natures as souls.

The spiritual eye: pathway to soul consciousness
Solutions to the mystery of life and death must be received in direct contact with the Infinite in meditation. In meditation, by concentrating at the point between the eyebrows, you can behold the spiritual eye, the gateway to the infinite world of Spirit. The spiritual eye, when seen clearly, has three colors: a golden ring on the outside; inside of the golden ring, a dark blue globe; and inside of the blue globe, a white five-pointed star.

By concentrating deeply at the spiritual eye, you can induce the superconscious state. As you meditate more and more deeply, you will arrive at ever more profound levels of superconsciousness and your awareness of the body and its limitations will begin to fall away. In ecstatic communion with the Divine, you will experience the eternal life behind your mortal life. You will not only think but realize that you are formless, omnipresent, omniscient, and far above all bodily limitations and changes.

Any devotee who experiences the eternal life behind this mortal life lives forever; that is, he is conscious of his existence after his death, even if he has to experience several more incarnations on earth. Such a devotee has solved the mystery of life after death.

Why wait for death?
We came from the astral world and we shall return to it. We go to the astral world after death but why wait for death? It is important to spend more time in the astral world. If you can consciously go there now, you will certainly be able to go there consciously after death.

The life force is very strong in the eyes. By fixing your awareness at the point between the eyebrows with deep concentration, and by being able to hold the divine light, when it appears, for any length of time, you can gradually learn to send consciousness and life force through the spiritual eye into the Infinite.

Just as a baby chick breaks through its shell of limitation, by deep concentration at the spiritual eye and “intuitional heat,” your soul will break through the shell of finiteness. Your soul will then experience, not a region of chaos and dark sleep, but the astral world or “heaven” which souls visit after death, and where they enjoy temporary freedom from the sufferings of mortal life.

Your soul goes to the astral world now, when you are asleep, but you are not conscious of it. Live there now by deep concentration upon peace and calmness in meditation. By increasing the intensity of your concentration at the spiritual eye and the depth of your calmness, you can be in the astral world, free from the limitations of the cage of manifestation.

Communicating with departed loved ones
Communicating with departed loved ones, like the existence of life after death, is a closely guarded secret. Only selfless, patient, all-loving individuals are able to establish a link with departed loved ones after death.

To communicate with a departed loved one, concentrate deeply at the point between the eyebrows until you can see your spiritual eye with both closed and open eyes. You must be able to hold that concentrated state for as long as you desire. Then visualize the soul you want to meet and constantly broadcast to him to come into the light. Only good souls, who loved you and whom you love, should be invited.

If you have patience and strong personal zeal, eventually you will be able to see and speak to that image on the screen of the spiritual eye, as in a talking picture. With greater spiritual development you will be able to see, with open eyes, souls you once knew and loved. In true communication with a departed soul, one should not lose consciousness –– one should consciously commune with the invited soul. These states are usually devoid of exciting emotions.

Only by deep, incessant meditation can you bring your dear departed loved ones to you. It may take months, or even years, but if you are patient and keep increasing the depth of your call in meditation, you will succeed.

Contact saints through deep devotion
The fact that great saints, after their death, do not appear to the sight of the masses of people, does not mean that they appear to no one. Advanced devotees, by their devotion, can see or talk to saints in vision. With further spiritual development, they can see saints with open eyes, and talk to them or touch them, even as the advanced disciples of Jesus were able, by their deep devotion, to see and touch Jesus after his resurrection in the body.

In the case of Jesus, we have the testimony of his discerning disciples, and of Mary Magdalene, that Jesus Christ was resurrected in the flesh. Hundreds of years after the passing of Jesus, St. Francis used to meet him in the flesh almost every night in Assisi. We must believe his testimony, for certainly a saint as great as St. Francis could not lie. If such an experience was possible for St. Francis, then why is it not possible for anyone, by persistent devotional seeking, to see Jesus Christ?

Your true home is not here
Most people lose all interest in this world at the time of death. That is natural and right: after all, they are soon going to have to leave it. That mental disinvolvement at the approach of death should remind everyone of the need for being inwardly non-attached all through life, even while busily engaged in worldly activities.

Learn to live in this world as a guest. Your true home is not here. This world isn’t yours; it is God’s. He is the Doer, not you. The deed to the house you live in may be written in your name, but whose was it before you acquired it? And whose will it be after you die? This world is only a wayside inn, a brief halting place on the long journey to your home in God.

Think of yourself, then, as a visitor on earth. Of course, as long as you are here, try to be a good guest. Be on your best behavior. Act responsibly in discharging all of your earthly duties. Take good care of the things God has given you to use. Never forget for a moment, however, that they are His, not your own.

Death: a test of love
The ordinary mortal does not perceive the pre-natal and post-natal continuity of existence; hence he is afraid of death. But the wise, by meditation, shift their consciousness from the changes of birth and death to the changeless Spirit.

The wise man who has opened his spiritual eye, beholds all change as dancing on the bosom of changelessness. Because he sees the change called death as only an outwardly moving link in the chain of immortality, which is hidden from our view, he is able to live in the world without attachment, and with a happiness that nothing can destroy.

The wise never grieve for a soul who has departed from one body residence into another. It is attachment and selfish love which make one grieve for a departed loved one or friend. If we really love them, we will continue to love them after they are taken away from us to advance on their path of reincarnation.

In the sorrow of separation from their loved ones through death, fools cry for a while and then forget, but the wise find the impulse within themselves to seek their lost love in the heart of the Divine. Death teaches us to be in love with the Divine only, and not to be attached to the temples of flesh in which the Divine temporarily resides.

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One Comment »

  • Jill Lowy says:

    Death is only a phase of life. It is a transformation (trans-form) to another dimension and level of consciousness. As Yogis, we can experience the astral plane of existence through astral projection. Yogananda talks about his astral experiences in his “Autobiography of a Yogi”. Astral projection teaches us that we are more than our mortal bodies and are really souls projecting our consciousness on the physical plane. All of us have the ability to transfer our consciousness to the astral plane and experience the reality there. This experience enables us to connect with our loved ones who have passed and those in the future we have not yet met. Most importantly, it helps us to diminish our fear of death as one realizes through first hand experience that our consciousness continues apart from our body and the physical plane.

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