Life After Death
“For certain is death for the born and certain is birth for the dead; therefore, over the inevitable thou shouldst not grieve.”- Bhagwat Geeta.
Is there a life after death? I was six years old when my best friend’s father died. I still remember his mother saying “May god follow him wherever he goes.” As a six year old, I had many questions about what that meant. I started wondering about it more when I was sixteen years old when my grandfather died. I asked many people and I found that different people have different beliefs about what life after death is like.
We are all souls and bodies of matter. Energy cannot be created, nor destroyed. It only transfers from one form to another. In this way, there have to be somewhere our souls should go after leaving the physical body.
But the main point of question is, whom should we believe? Anthropologists say that every culture believes in some type of afterlife. Dinesh D’Souza is an Indian American right-wing political commentator, author, and a filmmaker. In his article “Life after Death: The Evidence” he speaks about religious believers and how they believe about life after death on the basis of faith, while atheists deny a life after death on the basis of sense and reason. An atheist puts reason over religious beliefs. He wants proofs and scientific pieces of evidence to believe such things. “The absence of proof is not the proof of the absence, so the atheist’s denial of life after death, like the believer’s affirmation of it, is ultimately a faith- based position” (D’Souza). In the same article, he talks about how the belief of afterlife in America “runs as high as 75 percent”(D’Souza). This shows that it is a fairly common and engaging question among the people in the world. Another article by Michael Shermer, founder of The Skeptics Society, and editor-in-chief of its magazine Skeptic, mentions that “if we knew for certain that there is an afterlife, we would not fear death as we do, we would not mourn quite so agonizingly the death of loved ones, and there would be no need to engage in debates on the subject” (Shermer). His article “The Great Afterlife Debate” adds many scientific evidences to prove that when one part of the brain notices unusual illusions, another part of the brain translates those illusions to be external influences. Hence, the “abnormal is thought to be paranormal but in reality, it is just brain chemistry” (Shermer).
Vera Pereira has a Phd in Evolutionary Psychology from the Faculty of Psychology of the University of the Lisbon. Her article “Immortality of the Soul as an Intuitive Idea” explores the studies focused on the depiction of dead agents. The studies predicted that “when we try to imagine what it would be like to be dead, we would try to imagine what it is like to be an agent that is dead” through the means by which we explain the behavior of social agents in our daily lives(Pereira).
Let’s consider the evidence from physics. For the “Christian conception of life after death to be viable, there have to be realms beyond the physical universe that are quite literally outside space and time” (D’Souza). From a Christian perspective, God is immortal and heaven is his eternal realm. But in Newtonian physics these concepts made no sense, because “time was presumed to extend indefinitely into the past and the future, and space was presumed to stretch unendingly in all directions” (D’Souza).
Humanity has variety of different reasons for why people may believe in life after death. The article “Death beliefs and practices from an Asian Indian American Hindu perspective” by Rashmi Gupta, an assistant professor at San Francisco State University School of Social Work, explores Asian Indian cultural views related to death and dying. It includes studies which suggest that the influence of ethnicity and religion plays a huge part in the beliefs of life after death. Gupta talks about the beliefs of Asian Indian cultural rituals of pre and post death. In India, and other non- Western cultures, death is often described as good or bad. “Hindus believe that for the first year after death the Atman or soul of the deceased lives in the astral world until it finds another body. Also, several practices have emerged to facilitate the transition of the dying person to his/ her life”(Gupta). Post death rituals depends on the values of the culture. It is against the Hindu religion to put the deceased in a covered box or container while Christians place the body of the deceased in a coffin.
James Van Praagh is an American author and has written several books including the New York Times best seller, Talking to Heaven. He is a well known medium and he has talked to many spirits from the outside world. In the novel, he mentions a lot of his incidents where he talks to spirits to prove his findings about life after death. The novel reveals the fact that:
Within our physical body, there is another body usually called the astral, etheric or the spirit body which is the exact replica of our physical body. The big difference between our physical and etheric bodies is that the ethereal body’s molecules vibrate at a much faster and higher rate than the physical counterpart. During the transition called death, the etheric body is released or freed from the physical body (29-30).
Humankind has always believed in the existence of angels. The novel proves the existence of guardian angels. He calls our life as a blueprint which is mapped before we are born. When we get lost on our life’s path, usually a guide will help us get back on track. He suggests that the guides sends us messages to let us know of their existence. “If everything is going right and there seems to be no glitches, you are open to spirit and following your guidance. If, on the other hand, nothing seems to be working out, you are not listening to the guides and will end up on the wrong way” (Praagh 41).
The novel proves that there are spiritual laws, and one cannot interfere ot try to influence the spiritual or karmic progression. He explains life after death by saying that “When you pass over there is an expansion of consciousness. Our earth minds are a small part of that consciousness. The physical dimensions are not relative to the spiritual ones. As for memories of earth in the spirit world, the stronger the emotional connection the stronger the memory in spirit will be. When we die, we have a life review and feel everything what we have done and said” (101-102).
This novel provides an amazing insight on how life is after death. He also points out some other sensitive topics about suicide and meditation. Praagh discusses the spiritual point of suicide and says that whenever someone kills themselves, “the soul will have to go through and learn the experience again, having to return in any other lifetime with the same or similar ailment” (102).
With all this in mind and say anything about life after death from my point of view, I know that there is a life after death. This is possible for the mere fact that we are all forms of energy and energy cannot be created, nor destroyed. Therefore the soul has to transform into something after we all die. Keeping all this in my mind and after reading a lot of things about Life after death, I got answers to all of my questions which I was wondering since I was six.
Life After Death