8: Creation and Life After Death : 8.
The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :
Now, the Bhagavadgita still keeps God away from us a little bit, and does not want us to jump into God immediately, though much has been said about our relationship to creation and the existence of God as the Supreme Creator. There is a necessity felt by us to understand what happens to us after we quit this body. "Well, I understand what you say. Here I am, here in this vast world, this universe, and the Great God is there as the Creator. Yes, perfectly okay; but when I leave this world, what happens to me?" This is the subject of eschatology – the life after death subject. "When a person dies, what happens?" This was the question of Nachiketas as we have it recorded there in the Kathopanishad. What happens when we quit this world? When the soul leaves this body, where does it go?
Yam yam vapi smaran bhavam tyajatyante kalebaram,
tam tamevaiti kaunteya sadha tadbhavavitah (Gita 8.6) –
Here is a psychology of the transition of the soul from this body to another realm. Whatever be the determining force behind the psychic operation in us, especially at the time of the passing, that would decide our future. Precisely stated, whatever we deeply think at the time of passing will decide where we go and what we will be. Now, this may raise a question in our minds. "I must think some noble thoughts at the time of death so that I may go to some higher region, if not God Himself. So, I must have a holy thought in my mind, but I am not going to die today – everybody knows this. I will not die today, maybe after many, many years – so, there is time enough." Here is a terrible delusion in our minds.
Nobody will ever believe that today is the last day – it cannot be for obvious reasons. There are forms of logic which substantiate this view that it is not today definitely; it is not tomorrow either, and not the day after tomorrow. "These are frightening things, don't tell me all these things. Oh! The day after tomorrow, horror! It is after many, many years, thirty, forty, fifty years. So the last thought, if it is going to determine my future, I shall look after it afterwards; now, let me live any kind of life." This is a delusion. The last thought is not an isolated link, but the fruit of the tree of the whole life that we have led in this world. We cannot have apples from thistles, so if we have sown seeds of thistles, we know what will come out of it. Therefore do not be under the impression that the holy God-thought will come at the end when we have lived a life of abandon, distraction, deceit, and so on.
To be continued ...