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Q: Guruji, when we die the body and breath are left behind and our mind, memory, soul are still together with the impressions. Do the intellect and ego also still stay with us? Can we use our intellect to calm our mind then?
Sri Sri: The impressions of the intellect and the cravings and aversions of the mind go with the subtle body. So when you die what happens is for sometime the soul is in confusion, it does not know. It has just come out of the body but it does not know what to do. It doesn’t want to get into the body because the body appears like very gray matter, very dark and completely unbearable. So it doesn’t want to get into it, it feels very bad and averse to its’ own body most of the time. Sometimes they go in. So the soul is out there and very peaceful, the soul is totally at peace. They see people crying, wailing. It tries to tell them, ‘hey I am okay, don’t worry’, but they cannot communicate. There is a tradition to keep the light burning at the bedside of the body. It’s in Christian tradition as well, right? It’s in the Hindu tradition as well. Why you keep a light burning near the head so that when the soul suddenly looks at that light and knows that it is light. Let it be reminded that it is light, if it is still craving for something. Just to remind the soul that the nature of the soul or spirit is light, a lamp is kept or a candle is kept burning near the body. It’s not for us, it’s for the soul because the soul can still see, and smell. It has lost the sense of touch but smell and light are still there; smell, sight and sound all three will be there. So the ancient tradition is just before cremation the son or daughter; son usually, takes the head of the person into his lap and in the ear he says, ‘you are light, you are soul, you are not the body. Drop all your attachment to this body’, he tells them. And then the body is given a bath and then taken to cremation. These words are all in Sanskrit, and people simply repeat it in Sanskrit without knowing it because the priests tell them to say these things. To tell the departed in his ear that, ‘the five elements will go back to five elements. You are not just these five elements you are light, you are soul, you are spirit, you’re free and you move on now.’ This is what you say in the ear of the corpse, in case the soul is still hanging around and it does. It does hang around because it doesn’t know what to do. So it takes nearly ten days for the soul to get use to this other plain where it has gone. And once it reaches that plain of ancestors, one day there is one year for us. Our one year is just one day and one night for them in that realm. So there are three levels or lokas there also; one is Vasuloka, second is Rudra, and then Aditya. Three lokas are there and so they remain in this for some time. And there are three different Devas, they take them to those places. Someone who is a pious and died in a very good life they are taken direct to these lokas and three angels called Pururava, Ardrahva, and Vishvadeva. Three different Devas come and take the soul according to the level. It’s interesting! So in a yearly ceremony that is done, the day you remember the ancestors. First you invite these angels to bring them to you, for you want to honor them. These angels, they are the custodians. So you tell them ‘Visvadeva you bring my father, my mother or my grandfather or grandmother for this ceremony. Bring them for I would like to honor them.’ Ancient people knew all these so well, they had access to those realms. Even today people do this, they do the ceremonies and they do all this.