International Conference on Science & Spirituality – Paper: Life after Death

Posted: 12.08.2010

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Sri Sathya Sai International Centre for Human Values


International Conference on Science & Spirituality – The Growing Interface ►2010 ►New Dehli

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Is There Life After Death?

All living beings have to pass through two stages in life. The first is taking birth and the second is that of dying. We all know above birth and death, as both are events we experience in our life. For thousands of years the question about previous births and transmigration has been discussed, and more and more people are asking the same question now. Almost all religions of the world accept some type of life after death, because man has been trying to solve the question of what he was before and what he will be in the hereafter. This question was answered by realized souls when they had their own experience and realization of this. They discovered that there is life before birth and also life after death. We live in the present, the middle part after birth and before death. There cannot be anything in the present, if it did not exist in the past and it cannot be in the future either if it is not existing in the present moment. Their reply to the question is based on their own self realization and experience of the truth. However, it is difficult for us to realize the truth as we are not realized souls; we do not have the direct experience of it.

Views of Philosphers

The philosophers and intellectuals had tried to give the answers and are divided in their conclusions, as logic is bound to lead to different opinions. But there is no division among the realized souls.

The philosophers have answered their question, by accepting the previous birth and transmigration and our life is in between them. Some who have opposed it, rejected it, and said, neither there is previous birth nor transmigration; there is only life we live in the present. In this way there is clear division among those who believe in soul and those who do not believe in soul. But the believer and non-believer accept consciousness. Both the non-believer does not believe that the consciousness disappears at the time of birth. According to him, due to the combination of some substances the consciousness is created in the body and it finishes when the body is dead. These two ideologies are rivals for the last several centuries. This question is not resolved as the second section of non-believer is using logic, which is not suitable for reaching a conclusion on such a complex issue as continued existence of the soul.

Experiments in Para-psychology

This is the Age of Science. Scientists are trying to find out answers for the last so many years and some of them are still trying to find them out. They have established a branch of psychology known as Para-psychology and tried to find out about the existence of soul, about previous birth and transmigration. Scientists have been forced to think about the soul, which is not a physical or material entity. It is difficult for them to accept it. If they accept that in this Universe along with matter some non-physical matter also exists then only will they accept previous birth and transmigration. So far scientist may not have recognized the existence of the soul, but this enquiry has helped to open the doors for entry into the subtle world. It has helped us to go deep into the sphere of sub-conscious, conscious and unconscious Mind.

There is an old story in which King Pradeshi had tried to find out about the soul. A thief was to be hanged, so the king tried to find out about the soul, by cutting the thief’s body part by part. But the King was unable to find the soul.

Memories of Past Lives

The most important proof of previous birth and transmigration is the memory of past lives. Some children recall incidents of their past lives at the time of birth. Dr. Stevenson and other Para-psychologists have collected many such examples of previous lives, analyzed them and put forward new facts on the subject of rebirth. The narrations given by the children about their past lives were wonderful. These narrations have been examined and were found to be true.

Astral Photography

This is the age of experiments. Everything is examined on the basis of experiments. Some photographs of Astral body have been taken. These have helped in the progress of understanding from gross body to Astral body. It has been revealed to the scientists that this gross body is not the last truth. There is a vast subtle world inside.

Aura Photography

Aura photography has proved to be a successful step in this direction. The photograph of a leaf which was just plucked from a tree and the photographs of the same leaf after a few hours are quite different. In later photographs the leaf aura is very weak and it is completely extinguished after a few hours, as compared to the aura at the time of plucking the leaf from the tree.

The Jain Belief

Jain Agamas accept the invisible soul. Matter and anti-matter theory takes us close to the acceptance of the theory of transmigration. According the theory Syadvad (The word syadvada comes from two roots. Syat means "may be", whereas vada means "assertion") and Anekantvad (anekāntavāda is the compound of two words anekānta which means manifoldness and vāda means "assertion") there matter is not alone but there exists its opposite (which today’s scientists call anti-matter). If there is light, there must be darkness also. When we talk of consciousness, we have also to accept the existence of matter. Jainism accepts soul as a permanent entity. Soul is the main substance and remains the same while the body changes. Therefore, soul is never destroyed. The soul gets a new body by its own acquired karma from among the chain of 84 lakh species of living beings. Detailed description of these different living beings is given in Jainism. When all the karmic accumulations are destroyed the soul becomes free from the bondage of birth and death. This is called Moksha or Salvation.

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Footnotes:
[Swami Dharmananda Jain]
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