Coma (HH 233)

A Talk by Alok Pandey from the “Tuesday Talks” series (AUDIO)


There is not a sphere of life that hasn’t been addressed and illumined by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. There are special spheres of human experience where our Science cannot yet reach and its instruments fail to register anything substantial. One such realm is death, another is of coma. Today we shall take up the issue of coma and what happens when we enter a state of unconsciousness.


Words of the Mother

May 28, 1960

K left his body. The operation had been extraordinarily, almost miraculously successful – one of those dreadful operations where they extract part of your body. He was quite all right for four days afterwards, then everything went wrong.

During the operation and just afterwards, I had simply put the Force on him, as I always do in such cases, so that everything would turn out for the best. Then a few days ago, during my japa, a kind of order came – a very clear order – to concentrate on him so that he would be conscious of his soul and able to leave under the best conditions. And I saw that the concentration worked wonderfully: it seems that during his last days he was ceaselessly repeating Ma-Ma-Ma* – even while he was in a semi-coma.

And the concentration grew stronger and stronger. The day before yesterday it became very, very powerful, and yesterday morning, around half past noon, it pulled me inward; he came to me in a kind of sleep, a conscious sleep, and I even said almost aloud, ‘Oh, K!’

It lasted fifteen minutes; I was completely within, inside, as if to receive him.

But there is something interesting: when I went down at 2 p.m., I found the family had come to inform me that they had been notified by telephone that he had died at 11:45 a.m. Myself, I saw him come at 12:30.

So you see, the outer signs … It’s not the first time I’ve noticed this – the doctors observe all the outer signs, then they declare you dead, but you’re still in your body!

In other words, he was still in his body.

So it’s probably during this period that people are ‘resuscitated,’ as they say. It must be during this period, for they have not left their bodies, they are not really dead, though the heart may give every appearance of having stopped. So K left his body at around half past noon, and officially it was at 11:45. Forty-five minutes later, in other words.

And it takes place very gently, very gently (when it’s done right), very gently, very gently, smoothly, without any shock.

So this morning they’re burning him.

When they’re in too much of a hurry to burn them, sometimes they burn them alive! … They should wait.

For there’s a consciousness of the form, a life of the form. There’s a consciousness, a consciousness in the form assumed by the cells. That takes SEVEN DAYS to come out. So sometimes the body makes abrupt movements when burned – people say it’s mechanical. It’s not mechanical, I know it’s not.

I know it. I know that this consciousness of the form exists since I have actually gone out of it. Once, long back, I was in a so-called cataleptic state, and after awhile, while still in this state, the body began living again’; that is, it was capable of speaking and even moving (it was Theon who gave me this training). The body managed to get up and move. And yet, everything had gone out of it!

Once everything had gone out, it naturally became cold, but the body consciousness manages to draw a little energy from the air, from this or that … And I spoke in that state. I spoke – I spoke very well, and besides, I recounted all I was seeing elsewhere.

So I don’t like this habit of burning people very much.

I think they do it here (apart from entirely sanitary considerations in the case of people who have died from nasty diseases), here in India, mainly because they are very afraid of all these little entities that come from desires, impulses – things which are dispersed in the air and which make ‘ghosts’ and all kinds of things. All desires, all attachments, all those things are like pieces that break off (each one goes its own way, you see), then these pieces gain strength in the surrounding atmosphere, and when they can fasten on to someone, they vampirize him. Then they keep on trying to satisfy their desires.

The world, the terrestrial atmosphere, is full of filth.

And people here are much more sensitive than in Europe because they are much more interiorized, so they are conscious of all these little entities, and naturally they’re afraid. And the more afraid they are, the more they’re vampirized!

I think that many of these entities are dispersed by fire – that creates havoc.

I know one person, a boy who died here, who was burned before he had left! He had a weak heart, and not enough care was taken – that is, they probably should not have operated on him. He was our engineer. He died in the hospital. Not a serious operation, an appendicitis, but his heart could not take up its natural movement.

But as he was accustomed to going out of his body, he didn’t know! He even used to make experiments – he would go out, circle around in his room, see his body from outside, observe the difference between the subtle physical and the material physical, etc. So he didn’t know. And it’s only when they burned his body …

I tried to delay the moment, but he was in the hospital, so it was difficult. I was in my room when they burned his body, and then suddenly I saw him arrive – sobbing – saying, ‘But … But I m dead. I DIDN’T WANT to die! Why am I dead, I DIDN’T WANT to die!’ It was dreadful. So I kept him and held him against me to quiet him down.

He remained there for years.

And whenever we used to have meetings to decide on the construction of something or on repairs to be made, for example, I always felt him there and he influenced those who were present.

He wanted to live again; I managed to give him the opportunity. He was very conscious; the child isn’t yet so.

But people are such fools, they are so ignorant! …

***

July 6, 1963

There was a case recently, with a very good friend of the Ashram, a man with an important position who has been very, very useful. He had to be operated on (I won’t tell the whole story, it would be too long); we received two or three wires a day, I followed the thing step by step. There was a very powerful force of destruction – it was a very grim battle – and there was a will to keep him, because in this body he had been very useful, he was still very useful and could still be very useful. He had a great faith, a great trust, and he was conscious (his consciousness was very sufficiently developed: I saw him constantly and constantly he came to me). He fell into a butcher’s hands; anyway, it was a wretched thing. Still, even though everyone expected him to leave his body, he held on and was constantly saying (we were kept informed by his son) and feeling that it was I who was keeping him alive. I could even see what they should have done and constantly I sent the formation, the thought, “But THIS is what should be done,” insistently. Finally they caught my thought, but I think (I can’t say, I don’t know the details, the small material details), I think probably they didn’t do exactly what they should have – that’s why I say they must have been butchers. Thus they performed three operations in a row, and after undergoing all that, he came to me (before also he used to come very often – they said he was drowsy all the time, in a semi-coma, but that’s not it: he was living inwardly), he came to me, totally conscious as usual, but he said, “I am afraid my body is irretrievably ruined, and if I survive now, instead of this body being a help and a tool of work, it will be a hindrance, an impediment, a source of difficulty, so I have come to ask to be freed – I prefer to enter a new body.” I answered immediately, “But as you are, you are useful, very useful; the position you occupy makes you very useful; you are totally conscious; it would be good if you could recover.” He listened, again insisted a little, I too insisted, and then he left.

The next morning, he was much better. I was hoping he had decided to stay, but we were without news for about twenty-four hours, till suddenly we were told he had stopped breathing and was being given oxygen. And then he left.

And I saw it so clearly: had he consented … (naturally, every being’s soul is free, it is free to decide), had he consented to stay on, I would have had enough power to keep him, to maintain his body in a condition good enough to keep him alive…

He was very conscious, with a lovely faith. He was an active man, very energetic (a short man). How active! And very energetic, with great authority, oh! … The idea of being dependent on people who would have to nurse him … he preferred to leave. He was conscious enough to know that the essence of his being, of his experience, is not lost – but still there is all that materially one has built painstakingly, and especially in his case, his position is the result of a whole life. I don’t know….

Begin again in a little baby? … (Mother shakes her head negatively) There’s the rub, you see. When Sri Aurobindo left, he said, “I will return in a being formed supramentally – entirely conscious, with full capacities.”

***

There was the case of C. He had learned to go out of his body, he knew how to do it: he would go about and see things; he would see, note things, and come back into his body. Then, when he was operated on, the doctors didn’t take the necessary precautions and the heart couldn’t withstand the shock of the operation: five days later, it was over. But he was in the habit of going out, so he went out and came to me (that’s how I knew it before they came to tell me he was “dead”). But he wasn’t at all aware of being dead: he had gone out of his body as he used to, and he came to me. he was with me. So then, it was quite fine, he remained peaceful. Then, at a certain point … (he died in hospital, and naturally, at that time nobody listened to me: they burned him much too soon – it would have been too soon anyway, because in his case, precisely because he had that practice, much precaution and time would have been required; but it was all rushed through), then all of a sudden, when they burned him (I didn’t even know the time of the cremation), he suddenly came into my room, you know, appalled … appalled, crying, miserable: “But I am dead! I didn’t know I was dead, but I am dead and they’ve burned me, they’ve burned me! …” Oh … it was horrible, horrible. So I calmed him down, told him to stay there, be calm, be with me, and that I would find him another body. And for a long, long time I had him consciously near me. Then I taught him to reincarnate – it was all done in detail. So I know …

The same thing with N.S. In his case also … He had fallen on his head and fractured it (he fell in a faint in the street, that’s how he died). He was taken to the hospital. But he went out and came to me right away (and so I knew: when I was told the accident had happened, I already knew something had happened because he had come to me). I kept him there, put him to rest, and he was quite peaceful – quite peaceful. They didn’t even consult me about the time when he should be burned or anything (of course, a family of doctors!). Then, suddenly, brrt! (gesture of bursting) he went out of my atmosphere abruptly, like that. And no more sign of him…. It took me DAYS to recontact him – and that was the shock he had when they burned his body. It took me days to find him again, put him back to rest, gather him together. And one part had disappeared; his whole consciousness didn’t return, because a part of his most material consciousness, of the material vital, must have been thrown out by the shock. I know it, because Albert’s father was operated on (it was more than a year later, maybe two), and when he was chloroformed, he suddenly saw N.S. in front of him (of course, even a part can take on the appearance of the whole being, Sri Aurobindo explained that, it’s like a photograph). He saw N.S., and N.S. asked him news of his family, news of his wife, news of his children, and he told him, “I worry about them.” It must have been the part tied to his family, which must have been separated from the rest of his being: when he came to me, he was complete, but afterwards, I don’t know what happened (gesture of bursting under the shock). And it was so concrete that when Albert’s father was woken up again, he said aloud, “But why are you cutting short my conversation with N.S.?” That’s how they found out. He told them, “But I was talking with N.S., why have you interrupted my conversation?”

So they found out….

I told her that there isn’t so much difference between what people call “life” and what they call “death”; the difference is very small, and grows still smaller when you go into the problem in depth and in all the details. People always make a clean cut between the two – it’s quite stupid: some living are already half dead, and many dead are VERY alive.

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