This post contains information about death and the journey of the soul from both the yogic and Sikh perspectives.
The Yogic Concept of Death
There are Ten Bodies which comprise the human being incarnate. The soul (the spiritual body) is the finite part of the spirit. The subtle body is the capsule which carries the soul; the soul leaves the body in the capsule of the subtle body. The subtle body reflects the clarity of your commitment, your Dharmic faith and practice.
At the moment of death, the mental body (positive, negative and neutral) tries to send a final impression, a message to the dying person; this reflects the samskaras, the unbalanced impressions and residues left over from the karma of the person’s life. These residues may cause the dying person to attach him or herself to past memories, hopes, regrets, etc., thus interfering with the soul’s liberation. The practice of meditation is the most effective way of resolving these conflicts, and shedding these desires, frustrations and attachments, both positive and negative.
The soul is given a choice, between a warm, cozy, dark space, and a cool, quiet, white snowy light. This is called the magnetic field; if your Dharmic commitment is strong, you will naturally choose the white, snowy path, and you will continue on your spiritual evolution. Choosing the warm, cozy space leads to re-incarnation and more karma. Your spiritual teacher can guide you through the magnetic field; he has the power to extend his consciousness, to penetrate to the third ether, and pass your soul into the fourth ether, during the ambrosial hours of the Amrit Vela.
The soul, on its journey of passage, must pass through and escape the earth’s magnetic field. Those souls who do not are called ghosts. One of the advantages of cremation is that it denies the soul this vehicle of attachment.
The Sikh Concept of Death
The Guru speaks of the cycle of reincarnation, the 8.4 million species of beings, and the ways in which actions, karmas, bind the soul to to this cycle. The soul is not subject to death—death is merely the turning of the page in the book of the soul’s journey from God, through the created universe, back to God again.
The Guru instructs us to live with the constant remembrance of death, living the Rehit Maryada. We are to act and interact as if we are about to die in the next instant. We are to maintain a preparedness of mind, a meditative attitude, so that, if we were to die in the next instant, we would be ready to answer for our actions in the Presence of the Dharm-Raj, the Lord of Dharma, the Righteous Judge. Regret and attachment will bind us to the cycle of reincarnation, while meditative balance and detachment will allow us to pass through the stages of release, as our soul finds its way to its true home in God.
This is an excerpt from “Victory and Virtue” published by Sikh Dharma International
Visit the SDI Marketplace to purchase “Victory and Virtue”
Here is another article on the Sikh Death Ceremonies and Protocols