Violent deaths as in accidents or mass catastrophes form a separate category from an inner point of view. The suddenness of the event may create confusion in the individual who is violently thrown out of the body. He may not realise at once that he is dismembered thereby making a part of his most elementary physical-vital consciousness linger in the earth atmosphere for a longer time. Sometimes these vital formations can hover around the spot of the disaster, enacting the scene over and over again, what some people perceive and label as ghosts. This formation can grow and prolong its life by feeding on the fear of people, thereby prolonging its own misery as well as of others. Of course this temporary vital formation should not be confused with the soul that sooner or later breaks through every sheath of bondage and ascends upwards to its true home and resting place.
In the case of mass deaths as in war or catastrophes, this vital-physical part thrown out in great numbers can form a considerable sticky mass in the earth atmosphere. This mass can itself become a nidus (nest or a breeding place) for the emergence of new and unknown diseases affecting the body and mind. Outbreaks of diseases following such mass catastrophes can multiply geometrically as the mass grows following more and more deaths, and are what are called epidemics. It is only the natural disintegration of this amorphous vital substance due to the cessation of the disaster or the intervention of an unseen higher force that can dissipate the sticky form and clear the earth-atmosphere of its illness, restoring health and peace once again. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) could have originated in such a way following the recent Gulf War just as an influenza epidemic followed the First World War.
Sudden deaths due to unforeseen accidents and violence cause much greater pain in those who are left behind and especially if the event is an untimely one (much before the average life expectancy). It has the power to radically influence one’s self-view and world-view. The western psychologists recognize the aspect of deep outer trauma to the emotional being that such events can cause. But if we probe deeper, quite often one can see that the event has over a period of time facilitated the emergence of the soul. Perhaps it is the very shock and helplessness of things that draws out the deeper entity since nothing else could cope better. Perhaps the event suddenly shakes us and we see the utter vanity of all our efforts. There are a good number of examples that we all encounter in our lives which repeatedly testify to this strange paradox wherein an outer misfortune serves a great and ultimately positive inner end. A middle-aged person once recounted his story. He lost his father when this man was still in his mid-teens (about fifteen years of age). His father, a man deeply devoted to God, died at the age of forty-seven in a car accident. Worse, the accident occurred within a couple of weeks after his return from a visit to his spiritual Master. The event shook the family and the boy for about a few months. Life became topsy-turvy and uncertain. But after the initial phase was over, one day the boy went quietly and sat in his father’s room where there was a corner dedicated to his master for meditation. As this lad sat ruminating about the uncertainties of life and future, he somehow struck at a thought. He wondered what his father would do in the face of life’s uncertainties. The answer that spontaneously came to him was that even his father would advise him to turn to God and seek help. Now instead of cursing God for the event, he started relating with Him praying for strength and peace and guidance and even worldly help of every kind. And the young boy began to perceive a hidden and benevolent Hand shaping his own and his family’s life in every way. The event changed him forever and for good!
But not all are fortunate enough to develop a spontaneous faith during their hour of crisis. And so what will apply in their case?
Well, the essential element is the same. It is to remind the person as to what his loved one would have truly wished and hoped for the one left behind. To fulfil those dreams and hopes and aspirations, to carry on with life as if in a logical continuation of a single effort of the great force of Life itself manifesting through different bodies, becomes a point of re-emergence of the sunken life force of those aggrieved. It gives us a sense of continuity and through completing the unfinished deeds of the departed, even a sense of victory over death. A classical example is the instance of Madame Curie, an atheist, who following the sudden demise of her husband due to a car accident, went on to complete his unfinished work which became a means for others to live on.
There is in each one of us something deep and true which may come out during hours of intense crisis and personal loss and by its emergence from within us, conquer suffering by an inner strength, conquer pain through a smile, conquer death through its inherent sense of continuity and immortality.
Therein lies the crucial role of a therapist. Counselling in such cases is a very delicate and sensitive thing. The counsellor has to be very sensitive to the personal pain as well as the outer difficulties that may arise due to the sudden event. But he must also know the direction towards which the being and consciousness of the person has to be gently led, the utility of all moments of deep pain and crisis, and assist, if he can, the delivery of the inmost soul through this dark and painful labour.
Abortion is another sensitive subject with certain religions at least. It hinges upon this singular issue that abortion is akin to taking life. But what when the choice is to be made between saving the mother’s life or the foetus? To say that abortion is unjustified under all circumstances and is sinful may lead to an act of a greater ignorance. Also, what about the emotional and other preparedness of the parents to receive the child? Is it better to necessarily bring the child to life and then condemn him to a worse fate? And what if one had the precise vision about the child and the entry of the soul? The tales of yore are full of such examples, for instance in the Mahabharata, Rishi Vyasa suggests to Dhritrashtra to destroy the new-born child (none other than Duryodhana). A similar story is recounted with regard to the birth of Shishupal, Jarasandh, and Ravana. In fact Ravana’s father, a sage himself, tells his wife that this womb is carrying a rakshasa and should therefore be destroyed. But the mother refuses. Although they are stories recounted in our ancient literature, such visions or intuition have been experienced by people all over the world. Unable to easily authenticate or prove such an event usually leads to the trivializing of this phenomenon at best or using it conveniently to justify infanticide at worst.
As to the time of entry, it refers to the moment when the soul enters in contact with the physical body. If the soul has accepted to take up a body for whatever purpose, then its decision needs to be given full importance and other considerations can be set aside. But if that has not yet happened then it is a different thing.
Here again occult knowledge comes to rescue us from the impasse. Taking life is wrong, especially human life. True, but this is based upon the principle that there is within living beings, especially the human, a conscious soul which is like a delegate divinity. This soul takes up a body for a certain human experience necessary for its growth. To take away life is therefore considered as if one is interfering with the divine plan of the soul. It is here that we need to have the precise knowledge about the time of ensoulment of the human body. According to certain traditions, it is perhaps after the third month that the soul chooses to come into contact with the human body while it is in the womb. As far as the formation of vital life-processes, it happens somewhere around the fifth month or so. And if a sustainable and viable living form is considered, that comes even later around the seventh month. This is of course one viewpoint and allows for exceptions depending on individual consciousness of the mother as well as the soul that is seeking an opportunity for being born once again. The final decision in this regard should be left to the physician and the expectant mother and not with the moral police force. A moral law devoid of wisdom and compassion is only a façade behind which hypocrisy thrives. There should be therefore no ethical, moral or spiritual objection to any abortion before the third month to say the least. Incidentally, even medically, the abortions are advised during the first three months only and very seldom later and only under exceptional circumstances. Most planned abortions take place in fact during the first month itself when the foetus has hardly formed beyond a mass or bundle of cells. So in essence there is neither any scientific basis in the moral argument, nor an occult basis. Considering all this and the benefit that it may bring to the living mother-to-be there should be no ethical objection for a timely abortion done to protect the physical and mental well-being of the woman. This is especially so in the case of unwed pregnancies which are on the increase now-a-days. To punish or condemn such a woman and the child-to-be with a life of shame and ignominy by forcing her to continue the pregnancy is nothing short of torture, a cruelty worse than that inflicted upon the yet-to-be-conscious unborn.
Viewed from a certain standpoint organ transplant is not only ethically justified but spiritually laudable. After all is it not an act of compassion and inner detachment? However although it may be justified as an act of compassion, it may not necessarily be an enlightened compassion.
The spiritual view is not confined to the outer and practical momentary good of an individual, but more importantly the inner good. Spiritual vision is not cabined within the confines of outer life as our rational mind is but looks at the complex play of forces in and around. Therein comes the difficulty. Should the body organ of an inwardly developed person be handed over to a criminal’s body for use or abuse later on? Does each organ, nay each cell have a consciousness of its own? And is not the whole body one and therefore isn’t it dangerous to dislocate it and thereby confuse the body consciousness?
A story is recorded of a heart recipient who started to get nightmares of violent deaths following the transplant. It was later discovered that the donor was actually a murder convict! The story is no more fantastic or improbable considering the knowledge we have now that memory does not reside in any particular area of the brain alone but is spread throughout the body! The cells are perhaps far more conscious than we imagine, their imprints more faithful and enduring than we understand. Would the soul, if consulted, agree to prolonging life at this cost?
Of course this may not matter in most cases wherein the donor and the recipient are both equally and largely part of the mass of our humanity, struggling and stumbling in the darkness of gross ignorance. To be more specific, before the process of individualisation, we live largely in the realm of an amorphous mass of humanity driven largely by certain subconscious instincts and needs. Here, interchange is the law since there is very little individuality. Since a lot of inner interchange takes place at this level, it does not matter whether there is an additional physical interchange. In fact a conscious act of donation, blood for example, is a very good preparation for this stage of inner self-development. It is a conscious recognition that we are all essentially one and that the manmade external barriers of caste and creed, nationality and religion have to be transcended by a larger sense of human unity. Organ donation like blood (the simplest and most common organ transplant is blood donation) is a physical reminder of this fact of unity and therefore good. Also there is an obvious difference between short-term exchange of the physical material as for example blood (where the cell life is relatively short) and the permanent replacement of an organ like the kidneys.
But there intervenes another stage of human development wherein the being gets crystallized and individualized so to say. At this point and as consciousness grows, we begin to become aware of the beneficial and harmful effects of our associations and interchange with others. At this stage we begin to exercise choices and are no more driven by certain fixed norms, social, religious or otherwise. We are no more part of a herd but a conscious humanity. At this stage, one cannot make general rules and it will depend upon each case. Those who feel that organ donation helps them grow or become wider in their consciousness may continue to do so. But some who are very sensitive are prone to suffer a change of inner and outer atmospheres. They have a different field of work and action and line of growth. These are the ones for whom organ donation or reception may not necessarily be good. As of now we do not consider these subtler psychological issues during organ transplant. A future psychology may well do so.
But finally we arrive at a still higher stage of internal self-development beyond the individual. We begin to pass beyond the realm of the normal humanity. At this stage we have to be very conscious of all interchange, psychological as well as physical. Certainly organ donation or receiving at this stage is not at all advisable. One has to get rid of a fearful attachment to the body, learn to calmly see all events as part of a larger plan, learn to look beyond life and death. Even if one feels that life has to be prolonged in the body for a certain higher purpose, it has to be left in the hands of that Higher Power rather than resort to desperate and dubious physical means. Great Masters who have not blinked twice before sacrificing their lives and bodies for the sake of human progress, have however, strange as it may seem, seldom indulged in organ donation. It is not because they are not compassionate but because their compassion works in a higher way, at a very different dimension than merely giving sanction to prolonging the old maladies in worn out bodies, especially when they see that death itself is a means adopted by Nature for performing the most radical organ transplant of the whole body. Why deprive the person of this total change into a completely new body by doing such patchwork upon the old?
Since so much depends on the level of consciousness of both the donor and the recipient, no general rule can therefore be made regarding this issue, with the solution differing from case to case.
The necessity of a post-mortem examination for forensic purposes in order to bring a culprit to task cannot be questioned. So also perhaps in the study of anatomy by medical students for the moment at least, although one hopes that one day better means may emerge for this kind of study. What is doubtful however is the need of post-mortem simply for legal purposes as for example in clear situations of accidents or where post-mortem is not likely to yield any useful information. It is also doubtful whether the method of post-mortem has really helped the cause of science. The rationale is that by studying the dead body we can establish the cause of death and grow wiser for the future. But the dead body reveals only a few physical signs, not the deeper inner cause or psychological antecedents of the illness. Unfortunately this method of enquiry into purely physical causes continues to haunt our science as a relic of our past stress upon reductionism. The whole approach has so completely biased us in favour of physical causes and their inter associations that we have for long remained blind to deeper psychological and even molecular causes. Now that we are waking up from the stupor of a purely material approach, we need to rethink about our methods of treating the dead the way we do in our hospital premises, mortuary and post-mortem tables. To mutilate a body that has served the ends of a higher consciousness in the name of science needs to be rethought. Science, yes, but what about the higher science that sees the body not as a mechanical but a conscious machine!
In other words, the stress on post-mortem is based on a model of man that believes the body to be an unconscious machine and illnesses having purely physical causes. But wisdom grows and today we are approaching a point where the inner causes are becoming more and more important than outer ones. That apart, the real question is that whether the body something like an automaton or a mechanical tool which has no reaction to its mutilation as long as the mind is asleep? Many are now beginning to believe that this is not true. The body has its own inherent consciousness and it takes time before the full connection of the soul is severed from the body. To mutilate a body during this crucial phase is to bring an inner pain and even some kind of a loss in terms of the riches of consciousness for the departing soul. The least that a dead man would want is to depart peacefully and gracefully rather than turn around and see the house he inhabited being broken into pieces because the dweller is going away! But science is yet to see the dweller and is yet to discover the consciousness of the body which is not just a lump of clay. Till it does that (as it must one day) the least we can do is to treat the body that has served as a vehicle for the soul with respect and a minimum of sensitivity expected from our human stature.
Resuscitation and Artificial Life Support
Resuscitation is about reviving those who have technically died. It is also sometimes about prolonging life in those who are living on the edge of life and death. Revival within a certain period of time before the cord of life is snapped is very much possible. Yogis in India have always known the art of returning from the land of the dead. What the ancient mystic knew how to do consciously through spiritual and occult means, the modern scientist does semi-consciously through material methods. However, a yogi may not wish to interfere with the processes of nature since he knows that in the strange and vast economy of nature, both life and death serve a certain common purpose. Nevertheless authentic instances do exist of a yogi’s intervention in reviving the dead, of bringing back to life – man or beast. As for prolonging life or saving from imminent death, one comes across many instances (such as the one quoted below) which medical science would call miracles and explain away as chance factors.
“The 14th of July is a remarkable day in the history of the world. On that day, we commemorate the French Revolution, ‘La Prise de la Bastille’ which took place 200 years ago. The same day in 1996, was a fearful and unforgettable day for me but in a different way.
“At 1.15 p.m. my husband had gone to the library and I was watching TV while my six-year-old son and nine-month-old daughter were playing. I went to the kitchen to drink some water when suddenly my son came rushing to say that the baby had put something in her mouth. I ran to her. She was crying a lot and was looking at me pathetically. When I opened her mouth wide, I could see a small cone shaped plastic object (it was part of a plastic toy) stuck in her throat near her ‘uvula’. I tried to remove it but in vain and her throat started bleeding. In course of time her crying decreased since she was suffocated. To my horror, I couldn’t see the ball anymore, it had descended further down her throat. A cold fear gripped me as I watched with frightened eyes my baby turning blue. With the help of my landlord, I rushed to the nearest private nursing home. There was no time to waste. Every second the baby’s condition was deteriorating. On my way to the clinic I kept calling to Her to save my child. On reaching the nursing home I rushed to the doctor’s chamber where we were stopped by a staff nurse. I pushed her aside in order to be attended to immediately.
“The doctor was busy talking to some people. I yelled to him to look at my child immediately and I babbled out what had happened. He asked me to relax and started checking her heart beat, her pulse, etc… I became jittery because I thought some more time was being wasted as he didn’t make any effort to remove the object from her throat. Finally, he turned solemnly to me and said, ‘I am sorry, but your baby died ten minutes ago.’
“’No!’ I cried out. I couldn’t believe it. It was too horrible to accept. Everything had happened too fast for me to digest. ‘You should have brought her here immediately, why did you delay? After everything is over you have brought her to me. What can I do now? You can take her away.’ I tried to convince him that I had rushed to the hospital immediately. If the baby had been ailing from some illness then it would have been understandable, but a baby who was very active and playing happily only a few minutes ago, was now lying lifeless. I realised that once dead, she is gone forever, nothing can bring her back. So I was determined that the doctor should try everything to revive her. I told him to remove the object from her throat, it could be that with the airway unblocked she would revive. He thrust his huge hand into her tiny mouth, struggled for a few minutes and removed it. He scolded me again for what had happened, perhaps because of his own frustration at not being able to do anything! It could be that with a proper heart massage, she would revive. He started massaging her heart, shaking her at times, but nothing happened.
“He lost hope, but not I. I pleaded and pleaded fearing that I would lose her forever. But it had already been almost 30 minutes since she had been declared dead. All he could tell me was that she was dead, and that I could take her away. But I kept fighting and kept hoping. ‘I am not taking her till something is done.’ The doctor calmed me down and began explaining many things to me.
“He made me feel her pulse and listen for her heartbeat. There was no heartbeat, no pulse. Then he opened one of her lifeless eyes and told me to watch the pupil which was not responsive to light. Then he lifted her hand and let it fall, it fell lifelessly on the examination table. He did the same with her leg. He declared that she had all the symptoms of a dead person. Fearing that he would stop trying, I kept insisting that he do something. Then quite suddenly, he lifted the child off the table and ran up the stairs to the operation theatre, followed by some junior doctors and other staff.
“In the operation theatre, the doctor started massaging her heart and gave the baby oxygen and intravenous drips.
“Outside the theatre I was praying for my baby’s life. I was praying to Her every second to save my child. At the human level everything had been tried and had failed. Now it was up to the Divine. Only She could do something. I had surrendered completely to Her. If she was saved then she would have a whole life to live, so much to do and be. Otherwise she would be gone forever. But with the ticking of time, my hope was fading.
“As the doctor did not come out even after half an hour, I finally lost all hope. I said to myself, ‘If that is Her decision I must accept it.’ At that time my husband arrived at the hospital. He did not know the seriousness of the situation. I felt more guilty since all this had happened in his absence.
“Inside the doctor was trying everything that medical science had to offer. After trying for about thirty minutes to no avail, he left the child for dead. He was coming out of the theatre towards me when one of the O.R. boys came rushing behind him to say that her heartbeat had started. The doctor rushed back to the theatre and started massaging her heart again.
“That morning at 2.00 a.m. she regained consciousness and opened her eyes. The nurse came running out and called me in. Inside my child was lying helpless with an oxygen mask strapped to her face and I.V. tubes in her hands and legs. Two staff nurses were holding her arms and legs so that the I.V. flow would not be interrupted. Now that she had survived, I wanted to check immediately whether her brain was affected so I called her name. She looked at me. I said, ‘Hello!’ hoping she would raise her hand for a handshake as I had taught her to do. She tried to lift her right hand. I was ecstatic for I knew my child was not only alive but mentally all right as well. She had heard me, and I knew the Grace had filled my life.
“After three days, just before leaving the hospital, we went to the doctor to express our gratitude. He said, ‘It’s I who should thank you for your persistence. Again and again, I told you she was dead. She had all the symptoms of death which I demonstrated to you. But you were commanding me and like an instrument in the hands of the Lord, I tried doing something which I thought to be impossible. God is great. It’s a miracle. Thank you for insisting, otherwise I would have committed a great sin. She is born again in my hospital.’”
Does this authenticate the scientist’s action? Yes and No. Yes in the sense that it authenticates the possibility and probably points to the fact that modern science has unwittingly entered the threshold of the occult domain. It is moving in areas of which it has as yet only a very superficial knowledge. This superficial knowledge mainly consists of the material side of the processes that form an interphase with life-energy and the vital worlds. These are powerful discoveries giving one an unprecedented capacity to manipulate life. And it is here that one has to be careful wherein comes the ‘No’ part of it. Power without full or deeper knowledge creates a dangerous imbalance and can be a very harmful thing. A commensurate inner development and deeper knowledge is needed. The material side of the processes known, the scientist has to also explore the other shore of boundlessness and all that is contained in between. This knowledge cannot come by studying material processes alone whose seams have already burst beyond the confines of our gross matter. We need to complement the knowledge of material processes with the knowledge of occult worlds whose material organization is different from our own.
It is therein that lies the knot of our difficulty. A precise knowledge is needed to know the actual will of the being, a knowledge of how far the dead (or near-dead) had walked away from the domain of life and material world and how much of his consciousness would be lost forever by this revival, a knowledge of what force comes back after the resuscitation, the vital being of the person under ALS or some other vital force masquerading from the other worlds and possessing or taking hold of the body. Instances of radical personality change, and that too for the worse following survival after prolonged and near fatal illness have been documented in history. What about prolonging life in a body that the soul has already decided to quit? What if life returns and continues but not the soul and the body becomes a prey for certain vital forces to feast upon during the interim period?
The answers would lie in expanding the base of our knowledge from the mere material chemistry to occult chemistry as well. That it would happen one day is the hope for the future. For if it does not then this blind and powerful material manipulation would be foredoomed to self-destruction.
 Golden Chain, February 1999