Guruji, what exactly is death? Where do the ones who die go?
Will we ever meet our near and dear ones who have left us behind due to death? Were they subconsciously aware that they would die and depart from this world?

Death is a change of the physical bodies inhabited by the soul at various times. You have often heard the statement: I am not this body, nor am I this mind or intellect, I am the soul – the Self. The soul or the stream of consciousness continues even after the physical death. It is the soul – the Self that takes birth in different physical forms. When we die, there is no death to our Self – our soul. It is only the physical body that has stopped its functioning.

As I said, death happens only to the body and so, the soul is very much intact and alive. It remains a mute witness to the various births and deaths it has to undergo, in order to complete its karmic equations. According to our ancient Vedic Scriptures (the most ancient knowledge known to exist on earth), after the event of death, the soul goes on to any of the following regions, based on its level of evolution and the further development that may be required by the soul:

Seven positive regions:

  • Satya
  • Tapas
  • Jana
  • Maha
  • Swarga
  • Bhuva
  • Bhu

Seven negative regions:

  • Atala
  • Vitala
  • Sutala
  • Talatala
  • Rasatala
  • Mahatala
  • Patala

Whether we meet our near and dear ones after they have departed from earth may be a matter of debate. But it is a fact that all souls come together on earth in order to settle their karmic equations with each other. If the karmic equations are not settled in this lifetime, then the individual souls will be required to assume another physical body in another lifetime, to work out their karmas and also to settle the unfinished business between the two souls.

Since we have forgotten our past lives, we may not be able to interpret the experiences we have with each other in this life, as being part of the unfinished business between us (karma). Sometimes, the reincarnated souls become aware of their past lifetimes. However, whether one is aware or not, it is necessary for us to behave lovingly and compassionately towards all beings because every person or creature that crosses our life-paths has a karmic equation to settle with us. Keeping this fact in mind, it would be ideal for us to evolve ourselves into loving and kind human beings, with compassion towards all God’s creations.

Your question – whether the departing ones are aware of their impending death – is a very relevant question. The whole purpose of spiritual sadhana is to ensure that we attain spiritual realisation and a oneness with the whole of the universe. Some of us understand the goal of life very early in life, while some understand it at the fag-end of their lives. Some others, may not even understand it when they are on their death-beds. So, it is important to consider spiritual sadhana as an integral part of one’s life. Every child should be trained to think so. We must utilise this unique human birth towards our soul-evolution. Engage in spiritual sadhana earnestly.

As you continue with your sadhana, you shall reach higher and higher stages of spiritual evolution. For those who achieve the right level of spiritual evolution, all signs of the impending death will be seen clearly. One can then prepare for death in a smooth and evolved manner. In this context, you may read my Guru – Swami Rama’s book “LIFE HERE AND HEREAFTER” which clearly outlines the signs of impending death.

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