What is death? Nobody seems to know. Those who died do not come back to tell us what death is. But everybody knows that death will catch up with them someday or the other. And everyone fears death. Some may say that they do not fear death but the fear of death is built into every human being ever since he started to walk on this earth. Men did not only fear death, they feared everything that they did not understand, even the darkness that they knew would be dispelled at the rising of the sun. Even if one does not fear death, the fear of how death will come to them, at least, must be there in the minds of most people; especially when we they see the different inexplicable ways that people die. The suffering that some undergo before they die. The mass death of innocent children dying in a fire. And as the time for death slowly draws nearer and nearer, there must be a tinge of apprehension in everyone’s mind, even the ones that boast of not being afraid to die.
What about the people who had near death experiences? Do not they know death? It is again doubtful whether they know death. They did not die to know death. They claim to know that they nearly died. It is only hearsay evidence. There is a claim of a near death experience. Then another surfaces and then another, of course far apart in space and time but strikingly same. They all relate that they have been led away by some unknown entities by mistake and, when the mistake is discovered, usually by another entity that maintains some sort of record as to who should be brought and who shouldn’t be, are sent back. This is the experience of the Oriental near death individual. A marked difference between the experience of the Westerner who usually sees a tunnel of light or darkness through which he passes. And this difference in the near death experiences between the Oriental and the Western makes it more suspect. Why should human beings who descended from the same root have different near death experience? He or she shares the same emotions, the same fears that the other does. Then why the difference? Could it be attributed to the fact that they do not share the same culture or the beliefs that they have regarding death. The Oriental, practically all of them, believe that there is a person who keeps track of the lives of people and that there is a kind of book of death wherein the specific time that a particular individual should die is recorded and that when the time is at hand an emissary is sent to bring that specific person to the throne of judgment, or whatever, where his acts of omission and commission are judged and he is sentenced accordingly. As such, his near death experience relates to his knowledge of the subject.
There is another curious but seemingly unexplained phenomenon that makes a telling difference in the near death experience of an Oriental and a Westerner. A Westerner almost always sees his body lying prone and the activities that are taking place around him. For example, when an operation takes place and a near death experience takes place. The individual, it seems, describes the operational procedure that was carried out and the surgical instruments that surrounded him during the operation. But this is not so in the case of an Oriental’s experience though the astral body and the silver chord are oriental concepts.
The question of life after death also is interesting. Every religion states that there is life after death. It is the kind of life that you are going to live after the death in this world that is the difference. The oriental believes that he will be reborn into this world as a human being till he attains his Karma and once he attains it he becomes one with (merges with) the godhead from whom he believes he originally came from. This is not the belief of the monotheist religions. They believe that once they die they are united with the godhead, not merge into him.
To be continued when further thoughts come into my mind ....