The question of what happens to us after we pass away is perhaps the most wondered about and can never be answered. Fundamentally, it is about belief. Whilst we know for sure that after life there is death - however there are very different beliefs as to what happens to you once you leave this Earth.

There are those that believe that you simply die. And that is it. However, commonly all people do have some belief in terms of what happens to you once you die. Some believe that you go to heaven; others believe that your spirit is separated from your body and continues to exist temporarily in afterlife while it waits for resurrection. Other people believe in reincarnation. They believe that you are separate from your Soul and depending upon your deeds; you either go to a celestial realm, return as a human, to animal kingdom or go to hell.

These interpretations of the afterlife are correct from people’s perspective as they all denote that you should not seek to hurt living beings by thought, speech or deed.

Indeed, Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan, has said, “One cannot change his current life span but one can change his next life form. The ticket can be changed but death cannot be changed. At the time of death, whatever one is latched on to, that will be his condition in the next life – his next life will be decided by his state of opinion and intellect at the time of his death.”

If there is reincarnation then what precisely determines your next life?

Karmas which are sown by you in this present life are good (merit karma) or bad (demerit karma). Your internal reaction to the karmas that unfold in this life will determine what you are reborn as in your next life form: within the celestial realm, as a human being, as an animal or within hell. Thus, if you do not react and harbor ill will authentically during negative circumstances that affect you, you are cultivating credits towards a higher life form than if you reacted adversely to these circumstances.

Celestial Realm – If you have accumulated an abundance of merit karmas then you will achieve a birth in the celestial realm. During your human life you would have:

oNot enjoyed your own comforts and luxuries but gave them to others (superhuman conduct).

oConstantly helped others without any expectation in return.

oWhen others have caused you pain, you have not harbored ill will against them.

Human Life- When your merit karmas are greater than your de-merit karmas you will be reborn into a human life form. Being born as a human is very auspicious. It is only as a human that you can attain liberation. Even those that are in the celestial realm have to return to the human form in order to progress on their path to liberation! During your human life you would have:

oNot caused pain to any living being.
oHeld an inner intent to help others only.
oServed others by giving happiness, donations of food and medicine. This excludes your immediate family and relatives.
oEssentially, you have put the welfare of others above your own.

In other life forms, you only experience the effects of your karma whilst in the human form, one charges new karmas and experiences the effects of past karmas. Moreover, it is only in this life form that you can achieve salvation by “clearing” all accounts by reacting to all karmas with equanimity. This can be achieved by attaining the knowledge of the Self.

Animal Kingdom - when you have charged a higher level of the demerit karmas than merit karmas one goes to an animal life-form. This occurs during your human life when:

oCommitted selfish acts or being deceitful to the detriment of others eg: - by theft, deceit, adultery or fraud.

oYour thoughts and intentions have been to consume things that do not belong to you e.g.: - “Whose things shall I enjoy? Whose things shall I snatch? Where can I gather things from?”

Hell – When one has charged demerit karmas only with no merit karma in their current life then they will be confined to hell. This occurs when:

oOne has spent their entire life hurting others, deceiving others, taking that which does not belong to them.

oThose who, without any reason whatsoever accept for their own pleasure, enjoy or take that which does not rightfully belong to them.

oCauses unimaginable damage to others for no reason – not only do they benefit from it, but it causes a lot of damage to the other person.

oWhen a person commits extreme suffering and pain to others and derives happiness out of such conduct.

Thus, the question of what happens after life is a very important question as it focuses one’s mind to the ultimate goal – liberation, the freedom from cycle of birth and rebirth. It is only in the human life form that we can do so provided we live our life with equanimity (without attachment or abhorrence) and a firm intention not to hurt any living being through our thoughts, speech or actions.

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Author's Bio: 

Ambalal M. Patel was a civil contractor by profession. In June 1958, spontaneous Self-Realization occurred within Ambalal M. Patel. From this point on, Ambalal became a Gnani Purush, and the Lord that manifest within him became known as Dada Bhagwan. A Gnani Purush is One who has realized the Self and is able help others do the same. Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan used to go from town to town and country-to-country to give satsang (spiritual discourse) and impart the knowledge of the Self, as well as knowledge of harmonious worldly interactions to everyone who came to meet him. This spiritual science, known as Akram Vignan, is the step-less path to Self-realization