What are Ananda's opinion on the afterlife? Is there a Spiritual realm in which we can contact the dead? Upon discovering Ananda I have had a difficult time finding these answers. I consider myself a Spiritualist and do attend a Spiritualist church, does Ananda offer any similar teachings?
—Christopher Eaton, United States of America
Ananda follows the teachings of Yogananda, who in many ways teaches ancient yoga knowledge, confirmed by his own inner realization.
Concerning afterlife: our soul is a part of God, just as the wave is a part of the Ocean. It is encased in three bodies: physical, astral (made of energy), and causal (made of thought). When a person “dies,” nothing dies: our soul is eternal, our life everlasting. That person simply sheds his physical body like a coat, and with his astral body he enters into the astral realm. He remains fully himself, maintaining his character and his state of consciousness. In other words, he is not suddenly an angel, or a wise being. The “afterlife” (where he goes to) can vary extremely, depending on how the person lived, how his vibration is: he might go to astral hells or astral to paradises, or to anything in between. But that afterlife situation doesn’t last forever….
After some time desire pulls that soul again down to earth. And on and on the journey goes, for many lives, each one being like a class in a school in which the soul learns important lessons. In time, with evolution, that soul journey continues up to the causal realm, and finally to the realm of the Infinite Spirit, God. That’s the blissful “afterlife” to which the yogi aspires. That’s where Ananda’s teachings lead the seekers, not to any lower astral or causal state.
About contacting the “dead”: yes, it is possible. Yogananda himself contacted his “dead” mother with certain techniques, but then taught it is better not to do so: it’s better to leave the souls alone. Death is a divine instrument to sever our human attachments, in order to expand our love. The only proper way to enter into the “afterlife realm,” the astral and causal worlds, is through meditation. The “telescope,” as Yogananda called it, which allows you to look and enter there naturally, is the spiritual eye, the point between the eyebrows.
There is a wonderful chapter, free in the internet, which talks about the afterlife. It is from Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, the chapter “Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar.” You will enjoy it, and maybe the whole book. Here it is:
Another book I’d recommend to you as a Spiritualist is Swami Kriyananda’s How to be a True Channel : http://www.crystalclarity.com/product.php?code=BHBTC It too talks about the afterlife, about being a medium, about channeling, and the possibilities and dangers connected with it.
In divine friendship, jayadev