After Life


What happens to people killed forcibly by evil spirit??do they get birth immediately or need to get something done for settlement in afterlife??how to know if they r happy and settled????

—Nehar, India



Your questions prompt more questions than answers? In what manner did an evil spirit kill a person?!

In any case, and regardless of the circumstances of a person’s death, the question of how quickly a person is reborn is a complex question related to an individual’s own karma. It cannot be answered as a general question. So, too, then as to whether a person is “happy and settled!”

Here are some general guidelines from the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda:

1. MURDER. The karmic consequences to a person who is murdered depend on the karmic reasons for why the person was murdered to begin with AND to the person’s reaction to his murderer and to his own death. Being murdered could, in principle, satisfy a debt (if for example, I murdered YOU in a past life, you might end up murdering ME in this life). But most likely it wouldn’t end there because of the hatred between us would cause our fight to go on into future lives! The greater the intensity, pain, hatred and other emotions associated with one’s death the more likely one’s experience in the astral realm after death will NOT be pleasant or at least not conscious. Just as a person typically passes out in a traumatic accident and remembers nothing of the trauma, so too with death. This might mean such a person would incarnate rather soon because unable to remain conscious in the after death state of the astral world but this is not a guarantee by any means. If that person had suffered greatly for a long period even before his murder, he might need a longer rest after death before reincarnating. Sometimes the trauma is so great that a longer period is needed before the “vrittis” (the waves of feeling and intensity) can subside sufficiently to prepare one to be reborn.

2. AFTER DEATH ASTRAL LIFE. The astral experience depends on a person’s level of consciousness. There are heavenly states and hellish ones (both temporary, however: NOT eternal). The more awakened spiritually a person is means the less that person was bound by sense desires and bodily identifications. A spiritually conscious person lives more in the higher feeling states associated with virtue, goodness, calmness and intuition. Such a person can remain conscious in the astral world whereas a body-bound person is more like a fish taken out of water and who cannot therefore breath in the rarefied atmosphere of the astral world. One who is identified and therefore dependent upon material sustenance (food, water, air, sense indulgences) and who is deprived of the physical body simply is “blind” so-to-speak in the astral world. Such a one receives at the time of death and for a time immediately thereafter glimpses of the astral world owing to the increased intensity of awareness that might be triggered by the process of dying. He might see long lost relatives, for example. He might have glimpses into the important aspects of his earth life: a review, so to speak for the purposes of upcoming incarnations. But then he will soon fall asleep to rest and recuperate. When the time comes to be reborn (like the early pre-dawn each morning) he will begin to stir; perhaps uneasily — for the soul always remains awake and knows that it is time to return to human form to encounter more lessons in living. The length of time one receives in astral rest depends on many factors and cannot be generalized. Some are reborn almost immediately. Others might even receive a rest equivalent to several hundred years (those great souls, perhaps, who have labored mightily to serve and help others).

So you see, Nehar, one cannot truly generalize and therefore answer with any clarity your questions. I can tell you this, however: your positive thoughts and prayers for the soul of one who has left this earth are helpful and appreciated by the departed soul. This truth is affirmed by saints and masters everywhere. For in the astral world, most souls (not highly developed spiritually) cannot “help” themselves very much or perhaps at all. It is a time of rest; sleep; etc. But the conscious, elevated and prayerful energy sent to them can help them work off some of the burdens they have taken with them.

I hope you find this helpful.

In comfort and in peace, joy to you!

Nayaswami Hriman