How does one begin to write about something one knows nothing about?

The more one tries to delve deep into the realms of the unknown, the more ignorant one gets. What happens to the soul after death? For how many days does it wander before it finally begins its journey towards heaven or hell? What is the concept of rebirth? Does the soul have the power to visit their near and dear ones and then return to the body before actually passing away?

The questions are unending and so are the answers. It is all a matter of what one wants to believe in; what comforts the mind.

Yet there have been multiple cases wherein people have shared their out of body experiences hence indicating the existence of a soul and the afterlife.

My curiosity was first awakened when I read Brian Weiss’s ‘Many Lives Many Masters’, a book which traces the story of Catherine, a young patient, who was suffering from haunting nightmares and persistent anxiety attacks. The book unfolds when traditional methods of therapy fail and Dr Weiss turned to multiple hypnosis sessions wherein Catherine begins to recall traumas of her past-life traumas and her which seemed to hold the key to her problems. This revelation dramatically alters the lives of Catherine and Dr Weiss, providing important information on the mysteries of the mind, the continuation of life after death and the influence of our past-life experiences on our present-day situations.

Does the soul reach out to those who have been left behind in order to comfort them and help them deal with their grief?

The Laws of The Spirit World’, by Khorshed Bhavnagri deals with this topic. The author speaks of Khorshed and Rumi, whose sons die in a car crash and consequently try and reach out to their parents through a process of automatic writing. According to the writings, there exist 7 realms of life in the spirit world. While level 4 is where good and bad, dark and light co-exist, levels 1 to 3 are darker worlds where sinners undergo punishment and levels 5 to 7 are holier worlds where good souls reap their rewards of leading a morally enriched worldly life through varying degrees of bliss and tranquillity. The goal of each soul is to raise from its existing realms to higher realms through acts of goodness, positive efforts, developing morally right behaviour and then getting liberation once and for all by transcending level 7.

Another case which gained popularity was that of Anita Moorjani, a cancer patient who stayed in a coma for 30 hours and her out-of-body experience. She claimed that she was aware of what was happening around her and beyond. She claimed that while she was in a coma, she could see her brother boarding the plane in India, coming to see her, her father’s friend in the hospital room and also the fact that she could see her father who had passed away many years ago, addressing her that it was not her time to die, after which she decided to return to her body. What is even more surprising is that within five days of coming out of the coma, her tumour shrunk to 70%, a phenomenon doctors failed to understand. She says that once she understood what caused cancer in her state of coma, her body healed.

A similar case is that of Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon by profession. The story unfolds in ‘Proof of Heaven’ where he falls prey to bacterial meningitis and lies in a coma for six days. While he is in a state of ‘deep sleep’, he is guided by an angelic presence who takes him from the underworld to heaven where he meets and speaks to God. Just when the doctors treating him decide to stop the treatment, his eyes pop open and he comes back. Post-recovery Eben knows of things he was not aware of, like the birth of a deceased sister he had never met. His recovery from this rare illness of the brain is considered to be a medical miracle. From a scientific non-believer point of view, Dr Eben Alexander now understands that God is real and that death is not the end of personal existence but only a transition.

Life after death, the idea of reincarnation, the existence of souls are all concepts one has no proof of.

So I now share my story. One night before my maternal grandfather passed away, my mother dreamt of him. It was a dream, unlike any other. Age had left him frail and he lacked the energy to walk without support. My mother distinctly remembers him standing in an open barren field erectly, wearing his favourite maroon sweater. Behind him, some distance away. stood a tall, lean and dark looking man. My mother, in her dream, reached out to my grandfather asking, “Dad where are you going? You’ll fall.” The response she received from his end was just silence and a smile. Then the dream ended. Strangely enough, my ‘masi’, who lives in the UK, also dreamt about him and in her dream, he too was wearing his maroon sweater. The next evening he passed away. Was it his soul who moved out of his body, coming to say its final farewell in the form of a physical body or was it his soul’s near-death experience; I cannot say.

Theories such as this cannot be related to one unless and until one experiences it personally.

– Ananya Yadav, Amity International School, Noida

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