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July 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.         June 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:May' 2018


Life after this life !

Rajesh Bhola

Nobody can aim to live forever, howsoever great and spiritually enlightened he/she may be. Death comes at its ‘proper’ time. Even the most enlightened beings are awake to this causality, and accept that the body will die.

As per traditional Hindu thought, life includes birth, ageing and death. The termination of biological functions however does not end the continuous journey of the soul. A journey which never ceases until one achieves the state of nirvana or salvation as we call it.

It’s strange, how it looks like our dear one sleeping when in reality that person has actually left us all mortals. It’s painful to bury/burn the body as we are so attached to our loved one that we start thinking this bodily guise as the person itself. But the truth lies much further and the experience of losing someone can leave us shattered.

But great enlightened persons did not die immediately after their enlightenment; they lived on for years, decades. One idea, which is widely accepted, is that these great beings went on living, to use up the last vestiges of karmic imperfection that still hung around them from their former existences. So, despite enlightenment which ends craving, and so affliction - did these enlightened people continue to experience all those years of affliction after their awakening?

Is the fruit of enlightenment then only really experienced after death? The idea that craving creates affliction, and the end of craving eliminates affliction—and that this effectively terminates the basis of life - has become an established doctrine in most schools of Hinduism, through the teaching on rebirth. If we go through the Hindu scriptures, it is very difficult to avoid the conclusion that birth in this life must be the result of craving in a previous life; and that the craving in this life will be cause of rebirth in a future life.

If birth is affliction, and affliction is caused by craving, then the craving must have occurred before birth. This standard interpretation, is thus indissolubly linked to the idea of rebirth. These thoughts culminate in the view that the end of craving leads to the end of the circle of rebirths. ‘Karmas’ are the basis for a metaphysical doctrine about cycles of life; and when enlightenment is achieved, there is emancipation, liberation, freedom from suffering, from the continuity of pain and affliction – and the attainment of a state of sublime reward (after death).

In traditional Hinduism cosmology, we are going round through life after life. A strong belief is also held that lives after birth can be in any of a large number of states of being – including the human, any kind of animal, and several types of supernatural beings. Rebirth is conditioned by the ‘Karmas’ (actions of body, speech and mind) of previous lives. The eternalists postulate an eternally existent self or soul: the ‘atman’ survives death, and reincarnates as another living being, based on its ‘karmic’ inheritance.

This is the idea that has become dominant in modern Hinduism. Some religions feel that rebirth is immediate, while others hold to the notion of a limbo (intermediate state), that can last up to forty-nine days. In some religions there is the belief that the time lag between two incarnations can be variable – from 50 years to 400 years; and may be even extended up to 1000 years, in case the subtle body is relegated to a negative existence. The subtle bodies stay in their respective planes, enabling them to undergo merits and demerits, in accordance with the law of ‘karma’.

What will be after life? I will go to heaven or hell? We people indulge and fear from such things.What will be after life? This no one knows in actual.There are many written scripts on it. But are they real? They may or may not be - who knows and cares. thinking about all these issues; why to waste this precious time? Why not spend more time enjoying and caring the nature or playing with the nature? Shake hands with the nature and create a lovely environment for all of us. Just falling sick of thinking about what will be after life makes your this life hasteful. Enjoy at present; do some creative work than wasting time thinking about future.

All said and done, it’s no news that we all have to leave this world one day and the least we can contribute to our living, to the wonderful opportunity we have all got to enjoy the life is by performing good deeds. Simple acts like making someone smile, motivating others, helping your mother in household chores, helping your siblings with a difficult subject, calling a friend with whom you have lost touch - every little act of selflessness counts. So that, when the time comes to bid adieu may we leave the world better than we found it. It may be difficult to find a way out of this labyrinth, of bringing an end to a succession of circlings through many incarnations. And our real concern should be how to live happily in the midst of this very life, just as it is. Our ‘karmas’ will then take us...wherever.