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770121 - Conversation D - Bhuvanesvara

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His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

770121R4-BHUVANESVARA - January 21, 1977 - 17:27 Minutes

Rāmeśvara: He doesn't know what to call this state, so he considers it similar to a spiritual body. But anyway, it appears to be a subtle body. He says that, "People find themselves, when they're out of their physical bodies, that although they may try to communicate to others, no one seems to hear them, that they are also invisible to others, and that they lack solidity. People were walking . . ." He has a description of one man who was in a car accident. "People were walking up from all directions to get to the car accident. As they came by, they wouldn't seem to notice me. They would just keep walking with their eyes straight ahead. As they came very close, I would try to get out of their way, but they would walk right through me."

Prabhupāda: Car accident? He is lying down?

Rāmeśvara: His body is lying down, and somehow he experiences that he has left his body.

Prabhupāda: Yes, that is . . .

Hari-śauri: He's observing the whole scene.

Prabhupāda: Who?

Rāmeśvara: The man. The living being.

Prabhupāda: The man who suffered from the car accident?

Devotees: Yes.

Prabhupāda: So that is natural.

Hari-śauri: He described how he could see his body was trapped in the car and they were trying to pull his body from the car.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Rāmeśvara: Now this is also interesting.

Prabhupāda: Now, this, this is fact, that when this body is no more working, the subtle body carries the soul to another gross body. That they cannot see, but it acts. This science they do not know. Seeing is always not competent, material eye. Just like the example is given that flavor is carried by the air. It is being carried, but I cannot see. But it is being carried. That is transmigration of the soul. The soul is carried by the subtle body to another particular body, and according to his karma, under superior examination, the soul, a very small particle, one ten-thousandth part of the hair, he is put into the semina of the particular father, and he injects. So the soul takes place in the womb of the mother. She supplies the material to develop the next body. This is the process, transmigration. Then, when the body is complete to come out, then another body works. Another chapter begins: tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ (BG 2.13). So this is the process.

Rāmeśvara: And they have a description of how these people experience communication—talking or hearing. He says: "Hearing can only be called so by analogy." Mostly they say that they do not really hear physical voices or sounds. Rather, they seem to pick up the thoughts of the persons around them. As one woman put it, "I could see people all around, and I could understand what they were saying. I did not hear them audibly, as I am hearing you. It was more like knowing what they were thinking, but only in my mind, not in their actual vocabulary. I would catch it the second before they opened their mouth to speak." Like reading minds.

Prabhupāda: Mind is also material. Up to ether. Beyond that ether, there is soul.

Rāmeśvara: That was a description of one person who had this experience of being outside their body.

Prabhupāda: No, no . . . death means all previous experience forgotten. That is death. Otherwise there is no death.

Hari-śauri: Yes. The key here is that all these people actually came back into their bodies. They actually didn't . . .

Rāmeśvara: They didn't fully die.

Hari-śauri: It was just before . . .

Prabhupāda: They . . . it cannot die. There is no question of death. Simply changing the body.

Hari-śauri: But they didn't actually get to the point of transferral to another body.

Rāmeśvara: No. What's being described in this journal is that a man leaves his gross body, and then he exists in a very subtle state.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is subtle body.

Rāmeśvara: And then he goes back to the same gross body.

Prabhupāda: Not exactly the same, but another. This body is useless. By accident he loses, mutilated; it cannot be accepted.

Rāmeśvara: But somehow they revive him. Somehow he is revived.

Prabhupāda: Revived means the body was in order.

Rāmeśvara: Temporarily he left.

Prabhupāda: Otherwise, if the body is too much mutilated, it is impossible.

Rāmeśvara: Yes. This is just those rare cases where it is just like almost mutilated completely, but still, it is revived.

Prabhupāda: Yes. There are many cases. The asuras who had died, Sukrācārya used to bring them again in life, whose body was not mutilated.

Rāmeśvara: This article will have a great effect on people. They will be convinced that after death of this body there is still life.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā: na hanyate hanyamāne . . . (BG 2.20). Because the body is destroyed, that does not mean the soul is destroyed.

Rāmeśvara: But they are not giving the complete idea.

Prabhupāda: They have no . . .

Rāmeśvara: No. They are not explaining that from this subtle state you again enter another gross body.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Rāmeśvara: They are leaving with the idea that this is a new type of existence, and you remain on this subtle level.

Prabhupāda: No.

Rāmeśvara: And then you don't have to talk. You read minds.

Prabhupāda: If you remain in the subtle stage, that is ghostly life. That is ghost. And you make troublesome.

Rāmeśvara: Yes. Because you can't . . .

Prabhupāda: . . . enjoy the senses, material senses. You have the desire, but you have no instrument.

Hari-śauri: I had this experience myself of being out of the body. I was . . . of course, it was under intoxication, but I was floating in the air, and I could see my friends talking, and I could see my own body on the bed lying down. And again I came back.

Rāmeśvara: Sometimes in the West they call this "astral travel." That's the word they give.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Astral means subtle.

Rāmeśvara: Now they describe traveling in this subtle state. They say it is exceptionally easy. "Physical objects are no barrier, and movement from one place to another can be rapid, almost instantaneous."

Prabhupāda: Hmm. They can fly even.

Hari-śauri: Speed of the mind.

Rāmeśvara: And they say you can understand a person not by hearing his words but by catching the thoughts from his mind. These people report that kind of experience, that they can understand another man from his thoughts even before he speaks. But the most fantastic thing of all, which I'm not clear about, is they have a description . . . almost every person that they interviewed had the same experience of a very bright light. Now this is the way they describe it, "The first appearance of this light is very dim, but rapidly it gets brighter and brighter until it reaches an unearthly brilliance." Every person agreed that this light was actually a living being, and it had a definite personality. It was emanating a feeling of warmth and friendship, and it was asking them questions. And it describes the two main questions, "Are you ready to die?" "What have you done with your life to show me? What have you done with your life that is sufficient?" And then it goes on to say that all these people felt that this being who appeared to be like a luminous being was concerned with two things: how they had developed love and how they were searching for knowledge. Those two. Every one of them had this same description of a being of light; a luminous being.

Prabhupāda: That is fact. Because we are part and parcel of God, therefore there is illumination.

Hari-śauri: But what they describe is that as they were hovering on the subtle platform, this being came to them and, it describes, it showed them their past activities during their lifetime. But he discounts the . . .

Rāmeśvara: Here's the description of that, "The initial appearance of this luminous being and his questions are the prelude to a moment of startling intensity, during which this luminous being presents to the person a panoramic review of his life. It is obvious that this luminous being can see the individual's whole life and he doesn't need the information," but he is getting the dead man to reflect on his past life. It says that "The remembrance is extraordinarily rapid. Everything appears at once and can be taken in with one mental glance. Yet despite its rapidity, all the . . ."

Prabhupāda: That is happening in dream also. So many remembrances come together, it becomes topsy-turvied. Therefore we see all of a sudden, "Oh, it is done long, long ago."

Rāmeśvara: Yes. They say that the review, even though it's very quick, is incredibly vivid.

Hari-śauri: Find out where it discounts about punishment and reward.

Prabhupāda: One idea, another idea overlaps. Therefore it appears mysterious.

Rāmeśvara: Now, we're taught in the Bhāgavata that when a soul, when a living being quits his body, if he's in the human body he's either taken by the Yamadūtas or the Viṣṇudūtas. So this description of their encountering this luminous being, it doesn't seem to fit in with the description of the Bhāgavata.

Prabhupāda: No. Luminous when they are taken by Viṣṇudūtas.

Rāmeśvara: And he has incl . . . according to these people, this luminous being is inquiring from them how they have lived their life and is inquiring them about searching for knowledge and about developing love.

Prabhupāda: That is not . . . that is some imagination.

Rāmeśvara: Something imagination.

Hari-śauri: Thing is, they all report having that experience.

Rāmeśvara: In any event, they all report encountering another . . . a luminous being when they leave their body. Every one of them said the same thing. So if they're Christians, it describes that they were thinking that, "This must be Jesus coming to save me."

Prabhupāda: That may they think. There is no harm.

Rāmeśvara: They describe the light, "It was beautiful, and it was so bright, so radiant, but it did not hurt my eyes. It is not any kind of light you can describe on earth. I actually did not see a person within the light, yet it has a special identity. It definitely does. It was asking questions. It is a light of perfect understanding . . ."

Prabhupāda: The light is the rays. The person is there.

Rāmeśvara: Yes. They just could not see.

Prabhupāda: (aside) Who is he?

Hari-śauri: Somebody stuck his head through the fence. Why not read about the . . . about a review of the past life? There, this section here.

Rāmeśvara: But again, that's just subjective. These people whom encountered this luminous being, they did not feel that they were being judged. They just felt that he was their friend coming to help them. That is their description.

Prabhupāda: And how they can feel they are being judged?

Hari-śauri: Well, the idea is that they get . . .

Prabhupāda: That very, very subtle thing; they cannot imagine it.

Hari-śauri: They get shown this review of their life, but they don't feel that they're being judged on their sinful activities.

Prabhupāda: Then why different types of forms? Who is giving them different types of forms?

Hari-śauri: Well, the thing is these people have not reached the point of death, because actually they came back to life. So it's not in their karma that they were going to die at that time. So we couldn't figure out who this luminous being is.

Prabhupāda: When the judgment will be given . . . there was time still to live in their particular body. So after finishing that karma, then the next body.

Hari-śauri: So we couldn't understand who this luminous being was.

Rāmeśvara: Then he closes the article by giving references to many books which describe this.

Prabhupāda: Hmm. Which book?

Rāmeśvara: He first of all refers to Plato, the old Greek philosopher. In one of his books, Book Ten of the Republic, he describes a soldier. No . . . he gives a story which supports the idea of transmigration of soul.

Prabhupāda: Plato.

Rāmeśvara: Plato.

Prabhupāda: Hmm. That's a fact.

Rāmeśvara: Then he mentions that in the Bible there is no information, so you have to look elsewhere.

Prabhupāda: Read Bhagavad-gītā. (laughter)

Rāmeśvara: Unfortunately he has not come across the Vedas. I have already written a letter to some devotees in Los Angeles to meet this man and give him your Third Canto, Volume Four, which describes the movements of the living entity, development in the womb . . . I think he'll be shocked to read these things.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Rāmeśvara: He's also read this book called the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Prabhupāda: No, why not this Bhāgavatam, Bhagavad-gītā?

Rāmeśvara: Apparently he's not familiar with the Vedic writings. So . . .

Prabhupāda: So inform him.

Rāmeśvara: Yes. Anyway, the most significant thing is that it's been published in this journal, which is usually for middle class, nothing controversial. And now they have published life after death.

Hari-śauri: The testimony mounts.

Rāmeśvara: It shows that people are beginning to believe.

Prabhupāda: As they are reading our literature.

Hari-śauri: As Kṛṣṇa consciousness spreads . . . just like we see these different things happening in the world that are coming nearer to a religious way of life or a spiritual understanding, even though that may not be directly connected with our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, still, is that the cause, because there's an auspicious atmosphere that people are . . .

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Hari-śauri: . . . able to come nearer to that spiritual goal?

Prabhupāda: The Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is going on. That purifies.

Hari-śauri: So that's purifying the atmosphere.

Prabhupāda: That will help. That will help them.

Hari-śauri: Yes. (end)