I am standing on the sea shore. A ship is starting for the ocean.
I watch her go until she fades from the horizon.
Someone says, “She is gone.” Gone where?
The loss of sight is in me, not in the ship.
At the moment someone says, “She is gone,” others are watching her coming.
Other voices say, “Here she comes!” Such is death. Anonymous
The Law of Death
You live in a dying world. Everything in this world of matter (the Physical Plane) is continually dying, changing, undergoing transformation. Everything in the Astral World is undergoing continual death, change and transformation. All things in the Mental World (thoughts and ideas) change, perish and are renewed. On the formless mental subplanes (the Causal World) the archetypes last for a very long time indeed, but in the end even they have only a limited existence.
Every death leads to a birth, every change is a transformation, every giving-up is a chance for renewal.
There is a process called “Natural Death” and there is a slightly different process for victims of killings, war or sudden accidents, suicides, and those who die through prolonged illness.
The Natural Death Process begins when the Soul sounds the Note- of-Withdrawal, a mantram which comes down through the mental, astral and etheric-physical bodies. You begin to lose interest in this world; things that previously mattered so much no longer seem of interest. You feel that you are on the way out. When the Soul-Note-of- Withdrawal sounds strongly, you know that you are going to die.
How you live in this Physical World determines where you go in the after-death state (known also as the afterlife).
The Four Deaths
Death is actually fourfold; that is, you die four times during the Natural Death Process.
- First you die in your physical body.
- The Second Death occurs when you leave behind your vital body, the etheric-physical body. Then you are completely free of the Physical Plane and begin to live in the Astral World properly.
- The Third Death occurs when you die in your astral body. You then leave the Astral World and go to the Mental Plane (the “Seven Heavens”).
- The Fourth Death occurs when you leave behind your mental body on the lower Mental Plane and transfer your consciousness to the causal body (the microcosm), and you live as the Living Soul, Jīva, in the Kingdom of Souls (the formless part of Deva-Sthāna).
This is the process when everything goes according to the Natural Plan. But the exceptions nowadays are large in number, and very few go through with this plan.
The Death Experience
Death is a beautiful experience. It is birth that is painful. There is no pain or suffering in the process of death. In fact, no matter how much you were suffering before death, at the moment of death you are released from suffering and anguish. Death is a change, a transition, not an end or termination. It is like going out of one room, through a door into another room. This “going through the door” is death.
If you are an ordinary person dying a natural death, you may experience any of the following sensations:
- Going through a door, a passageway, a tunnel, a vacuum, a hole or a funnel.
- Falling into a cave, a pit or a well.
- Rushing through or falling headlong at an incredible speed, from darkness into Light. This is almost like a time-warp or going through a black hole.
- Going rapidly down a path in darkness, at the end of which you see a point of light which increases to a brilliance as you emerge.
If you are dying a natural death you may also hear sounds. The tunnel experience is visionary (from darkness to Light), while this death experience is auditory (from sounds to Silence). You may hear any number of sounds: loud popping in your head, ringing in your ears, roaring, drums, banging noises, the opening and shutting of doors, whistles, shouts, cymbals, bells, flutes, harps, the “swirling of many waters”, tides, musical instruments, thunder, and so on. Colours may also be seen. All of this you can experience also in astral projection and yogic meditation.
Many people do not experience the above sensations. Rather, they have a moment of “unconsciousness” and then suddenly find themselves outside the body, looking down upon it.
The situation is altogether different for a Yogī or a Mystic, for a person who is attuned to Higher Consciousness, Mystical Experience or Cosmic Consciousness. These people do not experience death as ordinary people do, but leave the body without a break in consciousness.
There is no need to fear death, as it holds no pain or terror. The actual death experience is painless and pleasant. You merely step outside your physical body. That is all.
The Final Astral Projection
Note that both the “tunnel effect” and the “unconscious effect” are experienced also in astral projection. For death and astral projection are basically identical; the only difference is that death is the final astral projection. In astral projection the Silver Cord is stretched like elastic, while at death the Silver Cord is snapped, broken.
The Silver Cord is the lifeline of the body, a stream of life-energy emanating from the back of the head of the astral body and attached to the solar plexus region of the etheric-physical body and hence to the physical body. So long as this Silver Cord is unbroken, the physical body remains alive. When it is broken, irreversible death ensues and the body starts decomposing.
Exit-Points from the Physical Body
- Crown Cakra for Rāja Yogīs, Gnostics (Knowers, Jñānis) and highly intellectual people.
- Heart Cakra for Mystics, Devotees and extremely religious people.
- Solar Plexus Cakra for highly emotional people.
In the process of Natural Death, the Soul collects the attention at one of these points before the death process begins.