What Happens After Death?
Summary: When someone dies, we usually say they are 'No More'. This is not correct, as the person still exists, but not the way we used to know them. In the Yogic wisdom, the body is described as having 5 layers - 3 physical in nature, one transitory and one non-physical in nature. The karmic substance is what keeps one cemented to the physical body. When one dies, the physical body falls apart, but the mental and pranic body go on, depending upon how strong the karmic substance is. Once physical body is lost, the discerning power is completely lost- whatever quality you put in the mind, it will multiply manifold. This is what is referred to as heaven or hell. Heaven or hell are not any geographical locations, but experiential realities that a disembodied life is going through.
article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org
Life after death - what happens after death
Sadhguru: In Yoga, we see the body as five dimensions or five sheaths. The physical body is known as Annamaya Kosha. Anna means the food, so this is the food body. The next one is called Manomaya Kosha or the mental body. The third one is called Pranamaya Kosha which means the energy body. The physical, mental and energy body are all physical dimensions of life. For example, you can clearly see that the light bulb is physical. The electricity, the electrons that flow through the wire, are also physical. So is the light that emanates from the bulb. All three are physical. Similarly, the physical body is gross, the mental body subtler, and the pranic body even more subtle, but all are physical in existence. One’s karma is imprinted on the body, on the mind, and on the energy. The karmic imprint or karmic structure is the cement which holds you to the physical body. Although karma is a bondage, at the same time it is only because of karmic substance that you can hold on to the body and be here.
When someone dies, we say, “This person is no more.” That is not true. The person is no more the way you know them, but they still very much exist.
The next two dimensions are called Vignanamaya Kosha and Anandamaya Kosha. Vignanamaya Kosha is non-physical but related to the physical. Vishesh Gnana or vignana means extraordinary knowledge or knowledge of that which is beyond the sense perceptions. This is the etheric body. It is a transitory body — a transition from the physical to the non-physical. It is neither physical nor non-physical. It is like a link between the two. Anandamaya Kosha is the bliss body and is completely non-physical. It has no form of its own.
Is There Life After Death?
When someone dies, we say, “This person is no more.” That is not true. The person is no more the way you know them, but they still very much exist. The physical body will fall apart, but the mental and pranic body go on, depending upon the strength of the karma. To find another womb, the intensity of this karmic structure should come down, it should become passive. If the karmic structure has become weak because it has run its course, then it finds another body very easily. When one completes his allotted karma for this life, he will die just like that – without disease, accident or injury. That person may find another body within hours.
If one completes his life and dies peacefully, he need not hang around – it goes on immediately. However, if the karmic structure is very intense, unfinished, then it has to finish it. Now he needs much more time to find another body. This is what you are referring to as ghosts. They are more available to your experience because they have more intense karmic structures. There are innumerable such beings all around you, whether you know it or not, but you will not feel most of them because their karma is dissipated. They are just waiting for more dissipation before they find another body.
Where Do We Go When We Die?
This body is a piece of Earth that we have slowly picked up. Whatever we have picked up in body, we have to drop back atom by atom. When it comes to the mind, the discretionary intellect also gets dropped with the process of death. This whole information that is gathered – the subtler body and the subtler mind and the information that is referred to as karma, the software – is still intact, but the discretion is gone.
If you go into a pleasant state of existence, it is called heaven. If you go into an unpleasant state of existence, it is called hell.
Let us say today you read that the stocks are down and you lost so much money. But you have enough discretion to think, “Okay, it’s alright I’ve lost that, but I still have this. Let me be happy today,” and you can involve yourself in something and be happy.
If you lose this discretion, that is when you go into a compulsively depressed state. Now you will go by your tendencies, whatever kind of quality you have gathered. So when you lose your body, you also lose your discretionary intellect; after that you function just by your tendencies, whichever way they push you, depending upon the type of software you have.
Since there is no more discretion or discernment, if you put one drop of pleasantness into the mind of one who has left the body, this pleasantness will multiply a million fold. If you put one drop of unpleasantness, that unpleasantness will multiply a million fold. It is a little like with children – they go out to play until they are exhausted and cannot go on anymore, because they do not have the necessary discernment as to when it is time to stop.
After death, discernment is completely absent, even more than in a child. Then, whatever quality you put into the mind, it will multiply a million fold. This is what is being referred to as heaven and hell. If you go into a pleasant state of existence, it is called heaven. If you go into an unpleasant state of existence, it is called hell. These are not geographical locations but experiential realities that a life which has become disembodied is going through.