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Aug 01, 2020, 00:11 IST

You Can Live Forever

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All is not lost for those who want to live on, there is a simple way of ensuring that you live even after you die, writes Prakash Shesh

Most of us are terrified of death as we perceive it as the absolute end of our existence and identity. But, religions prophesise that our souls continue to exist and this thought gives us succour when we are alive.

Some schools of Hindu philosophy say that after karma is assessed, the soul temporarily resides in swarga or naraka, before being reborn in another body that may not necessarily be of a human being. The soul, it is believed, has to go through 86 such cycles before it can attain moksha and gain freedom from cycles of rebirth.

Islam says that the soul reaches an eight-storey structure that has seven gates and is accommodated in jannat or jahannum.

Christianity prophesises that according to one’s deeds, the soul is sent to heaven or hell and if necessary, to a purgatory where it could be cleansed.

Zoroastrianism says that the soul lingers near the lifeless body for three days until it departs for Yima, after getting to know if it is going to reside in paradise or hell.

Belief in rebirth, as in Hinduism, frees death of its terror by assuring us that we do continue to exist even after death, perhaps not in the same form.




What is surprising is the ease with which we accept these mathematical calculations — 86 births, seven gates, eight storeys, purgatories, three days of lingering and so on, especially since we have had no confirmation of this data from anyone who has returned from that world. We are the same persons who will postpone buying grocery because another shopping mall has declared a higher discount, next week. Like the classic theory of marketing management, are we being offered something that satisfies our need of somehow becoming immortal?

To be fair, Penny Sartori, an ICU nurse in Wales did keep meticulous data of patients who ‘died’ on the operation table but were revived in a few minutes and lived thereafter. Many patients talked of their out-of-body experiences and an extremely happy, floating state of the mind until they were jolted back into their bodies due to the revival. These near-death experiences have been certified as genuine and have been explained as hallucinations created by the brain which was still alive, though the heart had stopped.

Abraham T Kovoor, a medical doctor from Sri Lanka, who devoted his life to critically investigating cases of reincarnation, has reported that he did not find a single genuine case among the 60 that he wrote about. Susan Blackmore, after 25 years of research in parapsychology, concluded that there is no empirical evidence of an afterlife.

Brian Weiss, the highly acclaimed psychiatrist who worked at Yale and Columbia, has not been able to garner academic support from his colleagues for his theory of Past Life Regression.

There is thus no compelling data to even empirically hypothesise that there is any kind of life after death. All is not lost for those who really want to live on after death. The only realistic and altruistic way of doing so would be to donate your organs. Why not commit to that right away and attain immortality?

What is surprising is the ease with which we accept these mathematical calculations — 86 births, seven gates, eight storeys, three days of lingering and so on, especially since we have had no confirmation of this data■

 

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