I have a very old friend (late seventies) and other than being old, is in mostly good health. In his mind there is nothing here for him in this world (wife the only family). His parting would really not be missed for the most part, but he knows that, according to the Christian religion, "suicide" is the unforgivable sin. His question is "what if his "organ donation" after being terminated went to save someone’s life". In your opinion, does that mean anything towards his salvation?
Dear Gordon, I will offer you information from Paramhansa Yogananda’s path of Kriya Yoga, to answer your questions — please understand that these teachings may conflict somewhat with traditional Christian teachings. No offense meant, but you have asked us, so here goes:
We are sorry to hear that you think that your elderly friend would not be missed if he died. You mention that his wife is still alive — surely she (and also you, as his friend) love him and would not wish him to die, before it is his time to die. We hope that this is the case, but of course we don’t know the dynamics of their marriage or of your friendship with him.
In any case, all life is precious and should never be thrown away heedlessly!
Regarding suicide, there is no such thing as an unforgivable sin — even suicide. There is nothing we can do or not do which could keep us forever apart from the loving God, who is our Creator and loves us eternally. We are irrevocably and forever a part of God and will eventually merge the God-part of ourselves (our souls)—back into the great Oneness of God.
It is never beneficial to commit suicide, an act that causes extremely unpleasant consequences in the afterlife and in future incarnations. However, these unpleasant consequences cannot last forever. Even if we have to learn the hard way, we eventually will learn how very precious life is! We learn not to negate life by taking away anyone’s life — most especially our own.
Regarding organ donation. One would think that this would a loving and unselfish act on anyone’s part. However, my teacher, Swami Kriyananda (Yogananda’s direct disciple) recommended that we not agree to donate our organs to be transplanted into another body. He explained it in this way: the time surrounding our death (both before, during, and after) is very sacred and should not be interrupted harshly by an act such as organ harvesting.
We have no need to offer our organs in the hope of claiming eternal salvation. Salvation from what? Hell? If we have misbehaved badly in any one given lifetime, we can go temporarily to an unpleasant part of the astral world after death. But it is only temporary, designed to teach us not to do that again!
We live eternally, no matter what. Death does not take away our immortal souls! So soon enough, we reincarnate, to try again to learn life’s important lessons, which, when learned successfully, will offer us endless bliss, in freedom and oneness with God.
Our “schooling” may be very lengthy (many, many lifetimes), but eventually we will learn the reality of our own immortality and of our eternal life in God. In fact, we already have it! We just need to realize it fully. This is a large part of the essence of Yogananda’s amazing path of Self-realization.