Life and death

Oasis

Is there life after death? This is a question, which sooner or later, every individual on this earth comes face to face with.

What is more, with the passage of time, it assumes more and more significance.

The emotional turmoil it can bring about can be extreme, as when a loved one dies or when one is faced with a debilitating disease or a terminal illness.

What lies on the other side appears an intractable mystery, one that through the ages has defied explanation.

Hindu philosophy believes in the theory of rebirth.

It tells us that in order to attain ‘moksha’ or liberation, we have to take many births, atone for all our sins and work slowly and steadily towards becoming one with the Supreme Being.

There are religions, which say that heaven and hell are real regions, that when a person dies, his deeds on earth will be examined and weighed.

His destination will be decided on the strength of his good deeds or his misdeeds on earth.

Each theory that has been put forward has its own merits and the right-minded will allow each person to be guided by his own preferences and his own judgement.

However, no single answer can be labelled as the ultimate truth. Death takes us to ‘an undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns’.

There are, of course, those have had near-death experiences and who speak, on regaining consciousness, of a region filled with helpful and benign spirits who welcome and guide you into higher realms of existence.

Here it would seem that the physical body is non-existent and is of no account.

Credible as these accounts sound, they still fall short of hard, scientific evidence and cannot be taken as irrefutable proof. 

What lies beyond continues to remain shrouded in intimidating darkness. Will the human mind ever be able to unravel completely the mystery of existence?

Scientific research has shown that part of the human brain is geared to seek communication with our true source.

In our best moments, we sense a numinous and benevolent intelligence that stretches much beyond human understanding. Call it what you will – Greater goodness, Higher Power or God – it exists and persists to the end of our lives. We are left with one of two alternatives; we can either choose to remain in doubt, or on the other hand, place faith in a higher being.

It is a hard, existential dilemma, but there is a solution, though it is not without limitations.

It consists in turning the basic question around and asking ourselves instead, ‘Is there life before death?’

This provides no definite answers to the riddle, but it points to a path that we can all follow. 

We should first live the life we have been gifted with in the best possible way.

It is by working hard, being honest and caring, and spreading joy and cheer that we experience happiness and peace.

And as all travellers know, it is by lighting up the pathway we tread that we overcome the hidden terrors of the dark.

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