It is interesting to study the correlation between the messages of near death experiences and the pointers from ancient scriptures. Our confidence in the spiritual content of the afterlife experience increases when we find striking parallels between the two.

People who go through a near death experience (NDE) present explicit and implicit messages from the perception they receive on the other side. It has been noticed that while each one of them comes up with a unique presentation, there is a common thread running through them all, giving the experience a robust spiritual backbone. This is what gives the NDE the respect it deserves. To add strength to this matter, we find resounding support from the ancient scriptures of India and other places.

The ancient Indian culture is well known for its application to the esoteric side of life. Sages of those times had deep insight into several non-apparent issues of life, such as reincarnation. They have also dealt with the topic of moving into the universal consciousness from the conventional mind; this has a lot of parallels with the afterlife awareness characteristic of NDE.

Some NDE people report seeing their past lives while being on the other side. Surprisingly, those accounts quite often come from people who had never believed in reincarnation before the NDE. One such case was reported by Jean Allan in the case studies collected and presented by Jean Ritchie in her book “Death’s Door”. Those perceptions click with the presentations of the Masters like Buddha and Adi Shankara.

The Isha Upanishad talks about the Divine Essence being the Inner Ruler. It says, “The Self is enshrined in the hearts of all.” It goes on to state, “Those who see all creatures in themselves and themselves in all creatures know no fear, neither grief.” Now, we see this reflected exactly in the NDE of Evelyn vH (NDE no. 3179, “While out of my body I felt free; as though I had no boundaries. It seemed that I was part of everything and everything was part of me; as though we melted together and were one.”

In the 2nd chapter of the Bhagawad Gita, Lord Krishna says the following:
“The Self is neither born nor does It ever die. It is not extinguished when the body is dead. Just as a man casts off his worn-out clothes and puts on new ones, the Self casts off worn-out bodies and enters new ones. The Self is eternal, all pervading, stable, immovable and ancient.”

It is the awareness of these hidden truths the NDE people have on the other side; that is why they lose the fear of death.

Raymond Moody points out (in his book “The Light Beyond”) that many of the traits of NDEs are described by the Mormon leaders. One of them says, “The brightness and glory of the next apartment is inexpressible.” This is reflected in the oft repeated NDE statement of being engulfed by the bright and soothing, but not glaring, light. The experience of seeing relatives and friends after death is supported in the Journal of Discourses: “We have more friends behind the veil than on this side, and they will hail us more joyfully than you were ever welcomed by your parents and friends in this world, and you will rejoice more when you meet them than you ever rejoiced to see a friend in this life.” As is well known, this sentiment is often expressed by many NDE people.

In the Bible (Corinthians) the following lines occur: “We shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible.” Here again the serene feelings from NDEs are echoed.

There are many more such issues as above that one would like to include here but it would need a great deal more space than is available. If we are reflective, we not only read the above lines but read between them so our intuition moves in and takes charge. Then, we wholeheartedly imbibe the spiritual content of NDEs. Related matters are covered in the website

Author's Bio: 

Gopalakrishnan TC was born in Madras (now Chennai), India, in 1941. He received his doctoral degree in Coastal Engineering from the North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA in 1978; served on the research and teaching faculty of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, the North Carolina State University and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait. Aside from his professional involvements, he was interested in the philosophic issues of life for the last forty years or so. This led him to the messages of Ramana Maharishi, Lao Tzu, J Krishnamurthy, UG Krishnamurthy, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Eckhart Tolle, Marcus Aurelius and similar Masters. His book entitled “In Quest of the Deeper Self” is the outcome of his reflections on those and his wish to share the outcome with others.
Gopalakrishnan is a member of the International Association for Near Death Studies, Durham, NC, USA. He presented a paper at the 2011 conference of the Association on the theme "The Spiritual Content of Near Death Experiences". Functions as a freelance counselor for mental relaxation. Lives in Kodaikanal, a hill town in south India, with his family. Now he and his wife are both retired and currently involved in developing a fruit farm at a village 20 km from their residence.
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