.. wer regions of this vast, invisible dimension exist astral people whose present pursuits are base, selfish, even sadistic. Where the person goes in the astral plane at sleep or death is dependent upon his earthly pursuits and the quality of his mind. Because certain seed karmas can only be resolved in earth consciousness and because the soul’s initial realizations of Absolute Reality are only achieved in a physical body, our soul joyously enters another biological body. At the right time, it is reborn into a flesh body that will best fulfill its karmic pattern.
In this process, the current astral body-which is a duplicate of the last physical form-is sluffed off as a lifeless shell that in due course disintegrates, and a new astral body develops as the new physical body grows. This entering into another body is called reincarnation: re-occupying the flesh. During our thousands of earth lives, a remarkable variety of life patterns are experienced. We exist as male and female, often switching back and forth from life to life as the nature becomes more harmonized into a person exhibiting both feminine nurturing and masculine intrepidness. We come to earth as princesses and presidents, as paupers and pirates, as tribals and scientists, as murderers and healers, as atheists and, ultimately, God-Realized sages.
We take bodies of every race and live the many religions, faiths and philosophies as the soul gains more knowledge and evolutionary experience. Therefore, the Hindu knows that the belief in a single life on earth, followed by eternal joy or pain is utterly wrong and causes great anxiety, confusion and fear. Hindus know that all souls reincarnate, take one body and then another, evolving through experience over long periods of time. Like the caterpillar’s metamorphosis into the butterfly, death doesn’t end our existence but frees us to pursue an even greater development. Understanding the laws of the death process, the Hindu is vigilant of his thoughts and mental loyalties.
He knows that the contents of his mind at the point of death in large part dictate where he will function in the astral plane and the quality of his next birth. Secret questionings and doubt of Hindu belief, and associations with other belief systems will automatically place him among like-minded people whose beliefs are alien to Hinduism. A nominal Hindu on earth could be a selfish materialist in the astral world. The Hindu also knows that death must come naturally, in its own course, and that suicide only accelerates the intensity of one’s karma, bringing a series of immediate lesser births and requiring several lives for the soul to return to the exact evolutionary point that existed at the moment of suicide, at which time the still-existing karmic entanglements must again be faced and resolved. Two other karmically sensitive processes are: 1.) artificially sustaining life in a wholly incapacitated physical body through mechanical devices, drugs or intravenous feeding; and 2.) euthanasia, mercy killing. There is a critical timing in the death transition.
The dying process can involve long suffering or be peaceful or painfully sudden: all dependent on the karma involved. To keep a person on life support with the sole intent of continuing the body’s biological functions nullifies the natural timing of death. It also keeps the person’s astral body earthbound, tethered to a lower astral region rather than being released into higher astral levels. An important lesson to learn here is that karma is conditioned by intent. When the medical staff receives a dangerously ill or injured person and they place him on life support as part of an immediate life-saving procedure, their intent is pure healing.
If their attempts are unsuccessful, then the life-support devices are turned off, the person dies naturally and there is no karma involved and it does not constitute euthanasia. However, if the doctors, family or patient decide to continue life support indefinitely to prolong biological processes, (usually motivated by a Western belief of a single life) then the intent carries full karmic consequences. When a person is put on long-term life support, he must be left on it until some natural biological or environmental event brings death. If he is killed through euthanasia, this again further disturbs the timing of the death. As a result, the timing of future births would be drastically altered. Euthanasia, the willful destruction of a physical body, is a very serious karma.
This applies to all cases including someone experiencing long-term, intolerable pain. Even such difficult life experiences must be allowed to resolve themselves naturally. Dying may be painful, but death itself is not. All those involved (directly or indirectly) in euthanasia will proportionately take on the remaining prarabdha karma of the dying person. And the euthanasia participants will, to the degree contributed, face a similar karmic situation in this or a future life.
Finally, there is exercising wisdom-which is knowing and using divine law-in the overall context of any situation For example, a vegetative person in a coma is on long-term life support in a hospital when a patient is brought in for emergency treatment requiring that same life support equipment. Weighing the two karmas, a doctor could dharmically unplug the comatose patient in order to save the other’s life. Moksha: Freedom From Rebirth Life’s real attainment is not money, not material luxury, not sexual or eating pleasure, not intellectual, business or political power, or any other of the instinctive or intellectual needs. These are natural pursuits, to be sure, but our divine purpose on this earth is to personally realize our identity in and with God. This is now called by many names: enlightenment, Self-Realization, God-Realization and Nirvikalpa Samadhi. After many lifetimes of wisely controlling the creation of karma and resolving past karmas when they return, the soul is fully matured in the knowledge of these divine laws and the highest use of them.
Through the practice of yoga, the Hindu bursts into God’s superconscious Mind, the experience of bliss, all-knowingness, perfect silence. His intellect is transmuted, and he soars into the Absolute Reality of God. He is a jnani, a knower of the Known. When the jnani is stable in repeating his realization of the Absolute, there is no longer a need for physical birth, for all lessons have been learned, all karmas fulfilled and Godness is his natural mind state. That individual soul is then naturally liberated, freed from the cycle of birth, death & rebirth on this planet.
After Moksha, our soul continues its evolution in the inner worlds, eventually to merge back into its origin: God, the Primal Soul. Every Hindu expects to seek for and attain moksha. But he or she does not expect that it will necessarily come in this present life. Hindus know this and do not delude themselves that this life is the last. Seeking and attaining profound spiritual relizations, they nevertheless know that there is much to be accomplished on earth and that only mature, God-Realized souls attain Moksha. God may seem distant and remote as the experience of our self-created karmas cloud our mind.
Yet, in reality, the Supreme Being is always closer to you than the beat of your heart. His Mind pervades the totality of your karmic experience and lifetimes. As karma is God’s cosmic law of cause and effect, dharma is God’s law of Being, including the pattern of Hindu religiousness. Through following dharma and controlling thought, word and deed, karma is harnessed and wisely created. You become the master, the knowing creator, not a helpless victim. Through being consistent in our religiousness, following the yamas and niyamas (Hindu restraints and observances), performing the pancha nitya karmas (five constant duties), seeing God everywhere and in everyone, our past karma will soften.
We may experience the karma indirectly through seeing someone else going through a situation that we intuitively know was a karma we also were to face. But because of devout religiousness, we may experience it vicariously or in lesser intensity. For example, a physical karma may manifest as a mental experience or a realistic dream; an emotional karmic storm may just barely touch our mind before dying out. The belief in karma and reincarnation brings to each Hindu inner peace and self-assurance. The Hindu knows that the maturing of the soul takes many lives, and that if the soul is immature in the present birth, then there is hope, for there will be many opportunities for learning and growing in future lives.
Yes, these beliefs and the attitudes they produce eliminate anxiety, giving the serene perception that everything is all right as it is. And, there is also a keen insight into the human condition and appreciation for people in all stages of spiritual unfoldment. Mandala on Karma and Rebirth in Dancing With Siva ————————————————– —————————— Religion.