Vedic Recommendations on How to Help a Dying Person Return to God
As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth, and then to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.”
The Vedas, the first scriptures of mankind, instruct that the human form of life is one of 8,400,000 varieties of species in this universe and is very valuable. Only it gives us an opportunity to end the cycle of births and deaths and go back to our true home, to the spiritual kingdom of God.
Actually, one’s whole life should be a preparation for the final exam, when the spiritual soul leaves the material body. The inhabitants of heavenly or hellish planets and other forms of life, such as animals and plants, do not have this chance. After having spent the fruits of their bad or good karma, they return to the human form of life to take or not take advantage of another possibility to return home.
Death is a visible reality. No one can deny or ignore it. Ironically, although generation after generation dies, we are always surprised to hear that someone we know has passed away. This is due to the fact that who we really are is immortal spirit souls.
In the Vedas, the process of death, birth, reincarnation and ultimate liberation is very minutely described. Death is a mystery only to the uninformed or apathetic person. For the everliving souls, there is no death. Birth is the union of the soul with the gross body and death is the exit of the soul from the same physical body.
Srimad Bhagavatam, one of the vedic Holy Scriptures, says that a moment will necessarily and inevitably come when medicines, doctors, and prayers to God will not help to prolong life. Therefore, the correct actions of loved ones, friends, or a qualified spiritual person may be invaluable in guiding the soul to a better world.
We can hope for the best, but should be prepared for the moment when our effort and determination will be needed to properly bid farewell to this material world.
The Holy Scriptures, such as Garuda Purana, describe the stages of death and the proper behavior of the dying persons and the people around them. With this knowledge the fear disappears, and one can prepare to change the body by focusing on God.
Every person is very attached to this life. Since we are all eternal spirit souls we never die, but to fulfill our desires we must inhabit a body. Material desires need a material body, spiritual desires need a spiritual body and no desires don’t need a body. Whatever consciousness you develop in this life will be present at the time of your death and will take you to your next birth. The strongest desire at the time when the soul leaves the gross body determines one’s next incarnation.
Lord Krishna states in the following verses of Bhagavad Gita:
“And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt. “(Bhagavad Gita 8.5)
“From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kuntī, never takes birth again.” (Bhagavad Gita 8.16)
Thus, it is extremely important to be able to control the mind at the critical moment of quitting the material body and the help of our loved ones cannot be overestimated.
What a living being (soul) experiences during the process of death:
At the time of death, the soul sees the body from the inside and therefore it is very dark. A person sees the light emanating from Paramatma (the Supersoul located in the heart of every living being). When the soul moves along the central channel (nadi), it seems that it moves through the pipe, the tunnel at the end of which, the light is visible.
The primary light (the brightest one) is seen as soon as the senses are no longer functioning. At this moment, one can immediately call on God by name or prayer and unite with Him. The secondary light (a dimmer one) appears when the soul has not noticed the primary light and has already left the body. This is a second chance to return to God.
What the body experiences:
1. There is a heaviness in the whole body (the body is filled with lead), outwardly it looks like a loss of control over the muscles of the face (except for the eyes).
People next to the dying person can pray or just repeat the name of God.
2. Then there is a feeling of very strong cold, chills, turning into a feverish heat. Hearing and sight disappear (eyes become vacant).
People next to the dying person can pray, repeat the name of the Lord, and help the loved one prepare to meet with the light.
3. There is a feeling that the body is simultaneously bitten by thousands of scorpions, that it breaks into atoms. There is a separation of the subtle body from the physical one. Outwardly, this is seen as an increase in respiration and intermittent convulsive breathing with strong vibration. Now, the feelings are completely turned off, but the soul is still within the body near the heart chakra.
The one who is next to the dying person can remind them by addressing by name: “Do not be frightened! Now you will see the light, you need to focus on it, enter it. Pray to God!”
4.When the first two signs have passed, and the dying person has begun to breathe convulsively, the people next to the dying person can sing the names of God as loud as possible, since the dying person is at that time in total darkness.
If the dying person falls asleep, which is considered inauspicious, you can gently try to keep them awake.
With the last exhalation, the dying sees light in the region of the heart. As soon as they have stopped breathing, you should bow to their ear (not touching) and say loudly, calling them by name: “Now you will see a white light. Do not be afraid. The Lord has come for you. Now you will fly through the tunnel towards the light. Call Him by name, and say to Him: I am yours! Try to enter this light and you will see His form. As you fly through the tunnel, call Him loudly by name. He came to save you. “
This instruction can be repeated for 20 minutes. During this period, the light is visible to every person, and sometimes the light is visible up to 7 days. Seeing the white light in front of you, you can say to Him: “God! Accept me now. I am yours!”
5.If the dying person could not address God, and the soul has left the body, he sees his or her body and the relatives from the side. He sees their grief, their tears, lamentations, and feels frightened and lost at the same time. At this stage, the soul hears many voices, all at the same time. These are nothing but the thoughts of those present in the room. The soul, for its part, talks to his loved ones like he used to do and shouts “I am not dead!” but it cannot be heard. As a soul always loves the vessel in which it was held, it gets back in the body and tries very hard to move it and to remain there.
Ultimately, the soul realizes that the body is dead and there is no way back, at which point, it reaches to approx. 12 feet. i.e., the height of the ceiling and sees and hears everything that is happening.
The one who is next to the dying person can calm the deceased by addressing them by name: “You came out of your body. When you flew through the tunnel, you felt a strong vibration. Your consciousness is clouded. Now the vibration is silent, the mind is clear. You see your body from the outside, all of us, you see the light. Do not be afraid of anything. Forget about everyone and everything. Pray to the light that appears before you. This is your savior. “
6.Then, the light disappears, if the soul could not concentrate and enter it, it goes into the intermediate layers for 49 days, until a new incarnation. All 49 days, the loved ones have to talk to the dead, giving him instructions to remember God.
Generally, the soul will be there around the body until it is cremated. The soul in this state can come to you from anywhere in space, as soon as you remember them, so it is beneficial for the departed soul and yourself to call on it every day and give instructions. This should be done at the place associated with the deceased (bed, photo, etc.). Addressing by name, say: “Do not regret anything, turn to God with prayer, loudly call Him by name.”
At the time of dying it is good to:
1. Talk about God and His deeds or read spiritual writings.
2. Enjoy the possibility of deliverance. We must inspire the dying to meet with God.
3. Explain the process of liberation by meeting with the light, that the light is God, and that He came to save the one who leaves the body from new births and deaths. “Whatever happens – call on God.”
At the commemoration ceremony it is good to:
1. Sing the names of God.
2. Discuss His deeds.
3. Distribute food that has been offered to God.
4. Offer food to the deceased (a plate of food first offered to God is put in front of the photograph of the expired person and offered to the them mentally or aloud).
TODAY’S TIP: It is recommended to offer food and water to the picture of the deceased for 49 days after the soul has left the body. This food stuff should contain no animal products nor alcohol.
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