Hello and welcome to episode 136 of The Ask Sri Vishwanath Show. Today is part two of what happens after death.
If you haven’t watched episode 135 then I highly suggest you watch and read that first so you can really understand this episode.
In the last episode we spoke about the sacrifice of Nachiketa. It’s a very powerful story about of the law of death treats everyone the same regardless of religion.
We spoke about his father’s sacrifices and how his son told him how wrong he was to sacrifice only his old lame cows and how he should be offering the best of what he had. He told his father that he was the best thing he created so why not offer him. With this the boy was spirited away to Yama’s chamber of death where he was offered 3 boons.
First the boy asked that his father would not be angry with him. The second was that his father would go to heaven and the third was the knowledge of what happened after death. Yama did not want to explain so he offered him all the treasures and desires in the world. Nachiketa kept turning down his offers because he knew these worldly desires would only cause the soul to waste away. All he wanted to know was what happened after death. As Yama had promised him 3 boons he then had no choice but to tell him.
Yama finally gave in and told the boy he was happy with his eligibility. Unless you are eligible this kind of information will not mean anything to you and will just fall through the cracks. The difference with Nachiketa was that he had the curiosity and a real desire to know these subtle truths. He had a steadfast commitment to attain this knowledge. He was offered riches and wealth that would be beyond the realms of most people’s dreams but he turned it all down in the quest for the subtle truth of the consciousness after death.
The important thing here is that you must say no too many things before you get to the real truths of life.
So what happens after death? Well we will go through that in the next couple of episodes. We’ll take it in parts and I’ll explain it in a way you can understand.
The spirit lives on
Krishna says “the self in the body is not slain even when the body is slain.” This is spiritual law. Yama says what dies with the body is not to be mourned and that which doesn’t die is worth paying attention to. So there is something which dies with death and something which does not. The spirit and its impressions do not die.
I want you to write this down: Destruction means nothing more than going back to the source. So what is the source? To explain this he asked Nachiketa if he could think of the sun if the word “sun” did not exist.
There are three important things in the above question
a) The gross external object – the sun
b) Thought – about the sun
c) The word – “sun”
This means that the word exists before the thought.
So words existed before thought and what are words? They are a combination of letters and what are letters? Letters are sounds. Therefore sound is the beginning of creation. Sounds became words and then words became thoughts then thoughts became objects.
He then went on to explain the sound symbol. When you say all creation started with sound, what is that sound? That sound is AUM. This is just a sound, it’s got nothing to do with belief or religion. Now don’t think of the letter A. Think of the sound. When you say A you don’t touch any part of your palate. It’s a root sound. The second sound is U. U starts from the root and goes all the way to the end of the sounding board. Then the last sound, M is made by closing your mouth and represents the end of the sounding board.
Yama explained that AUM is present in every sound made in this entire world. This AUM is the matrix of all creation. All the great ones meditate on this sound because it allows them to differentiate between the body, mind, intellect and the consciousness and it is the medium that is used to separate thought from sound.
AUM has a separate existence in thought the same way the water in a wave has a separate existence from that wave. As the thought disappears so does the body, mind and intellect.
We spoke in earlier episodes about meditating on AUM. You can sit and meditate on it and feel it vibrating through all parts of your body. I don’t want you to start watching stuff on chanting AUM because you’ll just get stuck up in it. Just keep it simple. Sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and concentrate on the sound vibrating through you. That’s it. No more, no less. You’ll find it really peaceful and enjoyable. Let the sound travel to every single part of you. It really helps you to get back to the consciousness.
I want you to visualise that you are walking on a street and you hear a sound. What do you do first? You turn around. What are you turning to? You are turning to the source. What is the source? The source is nothing but space. Sound brought space with it into existence.
So if this sound is someone calling you then what happens? They touch you. The sound then becomes touch that has been carried by air.
What happens after someone touches you from behind? Yama asked and then answered himself. The person reveals himself to you. You are able to see and identify the person. Touch evolved into form and from form manifested the planet Sun which gave rise to the element fire.
What do you do next after a person reveals his identity? You strike a conversation with him if necessary. You get to know him better – his likes and dislikes – his tastes. Form evolved into taste and from taste manifested the element water. Once you get associated with the person and get to know him better, what you do next?
You bond with him. Taste further evolved into smell and from smell manifested the element earth
Yama waited a few moments for Nachiketa to digest everything, and then he continued.
Thus earth, water, fire, air and space – the five elements of nature -evolved out of the five sensations of smell, taste, form, touch and sound.
These five sensations of sound, touch, form, taste and smell gradually evolved into the “I consciousness”. I Consciousness means awareness associated with sound, touch, form taste and smell. This consciousness had three properties associated with it.
The first is called the Tamasic guna (property) which means awareness related to the association with the five objects of sensations. Thus the five human organs of nose, tongue, eyes, skin and ears which are related to the sensation of smell, taste, sight, touch and sound evolved out of the tamasic nature of the ‘I consciousness’.
The second property of the ‘I consciousness’ is called Rajasic guna which means awareness related to the association with instruments of action and knowledge. From the skin evolved the instruments of action- First the hands manifested and from them came the faculty of strength; then the feet manifested and from them came movement; then the generative organs manifested and from them came the ability to reproduce. Blood vessels manifested and from them evolved the stomach and from it arose hunger and thirst. Then the heart manifested and out of it evolved the instrument of knowledge- the intellect.
The third property of the I consciousness’ and the most important property is called Sattvic guna – the ability to rise beyond the mind and the body awareness and associate oneself with the ultimate source – the cosmic intelligence. In this state of awareness your daily activities are guided by the power to discriminate between the real and the unreal – between knowledge and ignorance.
So everything single object you see in this world both mobile and immobile is equal to consciousness +nature of the object (which could be sattvic, rajasic or tamasic borrowed from the five elements of earth, air,fire,space and water)
The important thing to know is that these elements are only appearances. The only thing that actually exists is the consciousness. If we could not smell our nose would have no meaning, if there was no light outside then our eyes would have no meaning, if there was no sound then our ears would make no sense. The same goes for ther senses. That’s why they are all borrowed from the consciousness.
So when we die everything goes back to these five elements because that is what they are. Throughout life we collect these attributes that we see as appearances. These appearances are borrowed and in the end we have to give them back so the only thing that carries on is the consciousness.
Recently a study was done and the results were that Bhutan was the happiest country in the world. This is because people in that country meditate on death every morning. Because of this they have so few desires and they are happy.
So I would like you to meditate on AUM for a few minutes every day. It will allow you to become detached and travel light. Then when the time comes for you to dump that baggage and pass on you will be ready. Death is one of the few sure things in this world so we must be prepared for it.
In the next episode we will talk further about Yama and how he describes the consciousness moving to another container. Until then you keep asking questions and I’ll keep answering them.