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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Life After Death: Two Stories from the Book "Realms of Light"



Two stories from the new book 'Realms of Light, Clairvoyant Experiences of Life After Death'.Cover Image: My late singer Louise Mc Connell (L) and I taking a mini-vacation by the ocean while on a concert tour in the mid-eighties. Photo by Glenn Williams. Graphics Design by Diana Souza.

Two Apologies: Stephen and Leslie

Our neighbor Stephen was an athletic, vibrant man in his early thirties when he suddenly "died" from a swift and fatal illness.

His house was on the other side of our back fence, so we saw quite a lot of him while he lived there. He and his wife were very sports-oriented, and they probably played every team sport I had ever heard of. He was healthy and muscular, and enjoyed being strong and physically fit. To balance this, he was sensitive and thoughtful, baked pies and cookies, cared for his houseplants like a mother hen, and was - in a very appealing and charming way - quietly fun loving and somewhat shy. Of medium height and build, he had a boyish look about him, with his fine, light hair and wonderful smile - his sweetness was both endearing and unusual, especially in a man of his age.

We spoke over the fence, or visited each other for an evening, or did various house projects together. He and his wife helped us lay down a new roof for our carport and we helped them build and paint a shed in their back yard. Unfortunately, I chose a color for the shed that everyone else hated; it matched one of Stephen’s ties. We ended up repainting the shed a different colour, amid much banter and laughter. On a more serious side of being and life, Stephen could always be counted on for various projects and emergencies. For instance, the time I was left holding a falling mulberry tree in the backyard. It was summer and all our windows were open, so I called out "Stephen, Stephen, help - the tree is falling over and I’m standing here holding it up. And it’s heavy..." And I heard in the distance "I’m commiinngg ...."

We often had discussions on the ego and its various traps, and the inner workings of the self and its world. One day Stephen quietly mentioned that he had investigated yoga and other disciplines of this nature when he was in his twenties. I offered to teach him how to meditate, and invited him to come to the philosophy classes and meditations held at my house. Stephen expressed a desire to learn meditation and to come to the classes, but somehow something, some activity or inner resistance, always seemed to intervene.

After living next door for a few activity-filled years, Stephen’s life and marriage began to unravel. We would sometimes meet outside, by his front garden. Even though still soft-spoken, I could see the depth of his inner turmoil and struggle. His almost unlined, young face seemed uncharacteristically furrowed and serious, as though he were now grappling with untried and difficult emotions for the first time - almost like a child still too innocent to comprehend the disappointments and inevitable pain of life. After some thought, I gave him a prayer to say - the Mercy Prayer of St. Faustina. The coming Sunday was the Day of Mercy. I told him that Christ Himself had promised St. Faustina that whoever said this prayer at the Hour of Mercy each day, would have their prayers answered - if their request was good for their souls and the souls of others. The Day of Mercy came only once a year, and certainly his prayers would be answered if he prayed on that day. He thanked me, and I later learned that Stephen had prayed and meditated in his own fashion, that Sunday afternoon between three and four p.m..

Some months later Stephen found a very special woman. And one day in the garden, he told me that they planned to marry within the year. I rarely saw him now, for he had moved some towns away. The last time I saw him, his last words to me were : "I’ve never been so happy." and he smiled his quiet, young smile. He was full of hope for the future and the joy of his new life, when he was suddenly and tragically, from our point of view - called to other realms.

This struck others as a senseless tragedy, a young man of such vitality and worth suddenly taken away by a rare and fatal illness. In this case, I was more happy for my friend Stephen than sad at my own loss, because I knew that he would immediately go to a very high realm.

A few days after Stephen’s death I was standing in the living room, on my way to the kitchen, when Stephen appeared to me in the woodpile by the coal stove. He was very transparent, mainly Light. I could barely make out his form. He was speaking very quietly and earnestly, and he said he was sorry that he had not come to our meditation and philosophy classes while he was on earth. He said "I wasn’t ready." - and then after a few more words that I could not hear, he disappeared.

His apology was very unexpected and surprising. His not coming to classes seemed like such a small thing, and certainly nothing to apologize for.

Some years later, in earth time, I was looking at a photograph of Stephen that his ex-wife had given me, which I keep on the music rack of the upright piano in the living room. It was a large photograph of Stephen at a pumpkin farm, pulling a little wagon full of pumpkins and dried corn, looking into the camera with such a sweet and unguarded expression. That night, when I looked at the photograph, he gave me a big, radiant smile - and I was inwardly led to understand that he had recently been told that he would soon be transitioned to an even higher realm. I looked inside and found the realm, and it was a beautiful one. I smiled back and sent him my Love - and my best wishes for the journey.

Leslie

Intelligent and articulate, attractive and spiritual - my friend Leslie was a beautiful person and carried much Light. When I think of her, the image of her smiling and laughing first comes to mind, and that image hangs, lingers there now, even as I write this.

In our many interactions over the years, I learned to admire and respect her. I always enjoyed Leslie’s ready wit, and her incisive observation of life and its events and meanings and those who participate in the seemingly endless intertwinings of destiny and desire that we call life. If one could imagine a person who lived a complex yet simple life simultaneously, a person who could be both serious and fun-loving, who ran through life like a speeding bullet and yet loved stillness - then one might be thinking of Leslie. My last meeting with her on earth was in Woolworth’s parking lot, looking at flowers. And my last memory of her is a radiant smile.

Leslie "died" while in her mid-forties, after a long illness. I was still too injured to visit with her, but towards the end of her last illness I sent her a large vase filled with bright and summer-coloured flowers. My last verbal message from Leslie was a grateful "thank you" for the bouquet.

Until I met her in the garden, a few days after she left for other realms.

She was standing in the holly bush near my piano studio - well, our visitors from other realms are unembodied, and on another vibrational level, they don’t need to be careful of where they stand - Stephen actually appeared in the woodpile near the coal stove. And my friend Leslie was very, very transparent, mainly Light; I could just barely make out her form. She was speaking to me, and I could hear her, but it was not clairaudience - the sound was not outside myself, nor was it an inner voice. I was hearing her speak in her own realm, and she was apologizing for something insignificant that she had said or done. It was so insignificant, that now I cannot remember what she said, only that it was an apology.

I do remember being very surprised, and wondering why she had come to see me in this way. I would not have been surprised had she appeared in the holly bush and told me all about her realm, whom she had seen, what she had done - or if she had just come to say ‘hello’ and had watched me work in the garden.

Up until these two meetings with Stephen and Leslie, which followed each other fairly closely in our earth time/space frame, I assumed that when we left for other realms - we left for those realms with a new perspective and a new, better understanding of our earthly existence - and then thought no more about it, we moved onward and upward.

It had not occurred to me that we would first revisit our friends - or I suppose enemies, if we have them - on earth, and try to make our reparations here.

I was very touched by both these meetings. From our earthly view, at least from my earthly view, neither of these apologies was necessary. It showed me how transparent those realms are, and that what is expected of us there is far beyond the expectations and natural abilities of earthly existence - unless one is perhaps a saint. So much is hidden from our view here, even our inner view is so clouded and veiled. Transparency while still on earth is not an easy thing to achieve, perhaps an impossibility. But these two meetings instilled in me the wish and intent - and the means - to at least try. Figaro Books
More about the author and her books is available on this site. By Laurie Conrad
Published: 7/29/2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

Life after Death

The question of whether there is a life after death is not an issue of scientific concern, for science only deals with the classification and analysis of sense data. While man has been conducting scientific inquiries and research, in the modern sense of the term, for only the last few centuries, he has been familiar with the concept of life after death since time immemorial.

Crucifixion of Jesus
Did Jesus Rise From the Dead? Discover the Facts From Scholars www.y-Jesus.com/Death
Is there any life for death; if so, what kind of life is it? This question lies far beyond the ken of our perception. We do not have the eyes with which we could see beyond the frontiers of worldly life and find out what lies on beyond it. We do not have the ears with which we could hear anything from beyond these frontiers. Nor do we have any instrument by which we could determine with certainty whether there is any life beyond death. Therefore, the question whether there is any life after death lies completely outside the province of scientific knowledge which is concerned with the classification and interpretation of sense data. Anyone who asserts in the name of science that there is no life after death, therefore, makes a very unscientific statement. Merely on the basis of scientific knowledge, we can neither affirm that there is a life after death nor deny it. Until we discover a dependable means of acquiring knowledge about this matter, the correct scientific attitude would be neither to affirm nor to deny the possibility of life after death. The question is beyond its jurisdiction.

When his body grows weak and he becomes apparently unconscious, the dying man gathers his senses about him and completely withdrawing their powers, descends into his heart. No more does he see form or color without.

He neither sees, nor smells, nor tastes. He does not speak, he does not hear. He does not think, he does not know. For all the organs, detaching themselves from his physical body, unite with his subtle body. Then the point of his heart, where the nerves join, is lighted by the light of the Self, and by that light he departs either through the eye, or through the gate of the skull, or through some other aperture of the body. When he thus departs, life departs; and when life departs, all the functions of the vital principle depart. The Self remains conscious, and conscious, the dying man goes to his abode. The deeds of this life, and the impressions they leave behind, follow him.

As a man acts, so does he become. A man of good deeds becomes good; a man of evil deeds becomes evil. A man becomes pure through pure deeds, impure through impure deeds.

A little reflection should help us to see that the question of life after death is not merely a philosophical question; it is deeply and intimately related to our everyday life. In fact our moral attitude depends entirely upon this question. If a person is of the view that the life of this world is the only life and that there is no life of any kind after that, he must develop a particular type of moral attitude. A radically different kind of attitude and approach is bound to result if he believes that this life is to be followed by another life where one will have to render account of all one’s acts in this world and, that one’s ultimate fate in the Hereafter will depend upon one’s conduct in worldly life. Let us try to understand this through a simple example. Consider the example of the people who lived in the Arabian peninsula before the appearance of the Prophet Muhammad. They were great lovers of gambling, wine, tribal feuds, plundering, and murdering. As they had no concept of an afterlife, why not enjoy themselves as they saw fit? But as soon as they accepted the belief in the One God and an afterlife, they became a much disciplined nation. They gave up their vices, helped each other when requested to do so, and settled all their disputes on the basis of justice and equality. The denial of life after death also has consequences in this world. When an entire nation denies belief in the afterlife, all kinds of evils and corruption are unleashed and the society is set on the path to ultimate destruction.

Now it is obvious that this difference between the approaches and attitudes of the two travelers results directly from their view of the nature of their journey and its end. Similarly, a person’s views in regard to life after death have a decisive influence upon his moral conduct in this world. The direction of every step that he takes in his practical life will depend upon whether he treats this worldly life as the first and last stage of life, or whether he also has in view the Hereafter and consequences of his conduct in this world or the next one. He will move in one direction in the first instance and in exactly the opposite direction in the other instance.

As a goldsmith, taking an old gold ornament, moulds it into another, newer and more beautiful, so the Self, having given up the body and left it unconscious, takes on a newer and better form, either that of the fathers, or that of the celestial singers, or that of the gods, or that of other beings, heavenly or earthly.

As a man acts, so does he become. A man of good deeds becomes good, a man of evil deeds becomes evil. A man becomes pure through pure deeds, impure through impure deeds.

There are very convincing reasons to believe in life after death.

First: All the prophets of God have called their people to believe in it.
Second: Whenever a society is built on the basis of this belief, it has been the most ideal and peaceful society, free of social and moral evils.
Third: History bears witness that whenever this belief has been rejected collectively by a group of people in spite of the repeated warning of the prophet, the group as a whole has been punished by God even in this world.
Fourth: The moral, aesthetic, and rational faculties of man endorse the possibility of life after death.
Fifth: God's attributes of justice and mercy have no meaning if there is no life after death.

A man acts according to the desires to which he clings. After death he goes to the next world bearing in his mind the subtle impressions of his deeds; and after reaping there the harvest of his deeds, he returns again to this world of action. Thus he who has desires continues subject to rebirth.
By Dhananjay Kulkarni

Monday, July 5, 2010

Life after death-Case study

On 11 September, novelist Dirk Wittenborn's wife went into labour as their city was convulsed with terror. He recalls how his private world and history were thrown together in the best and worst of all days.

It is just after nine o' clock in the evening. Ten hijackers in two Boeing 767 passenger jets have reduced the World Trade Centre to a 1.6 million-ton snarl of concrete, steel, and death, which burns like a funeral pyre 50 blocks south of where I am standing. And yet, horrified as I am by this tragedy, I find myself in a happy place.

My daughter, Antonia Lieselotte Wittenborn is 23 minutes old, and already she has a nickname - Lilo. She weighs 7lbs 13oz, has blue eyes, all her fingers and toes, and the way her black hair stands on end would make boxing promoter Don King jealous. She is, quite simply, perfect.

My wife, Kirsten, asks me if I want to hold our daughter. I am excited and nervous being introduced to a life so helpless and new. Lilo wails as the nurse hands her over to me. I am 49 years old, Lilo is my first and only child. I have never been what you would call a baby kind of guy. But something miraculous happens as I take her weight in my arms. Strangely and incredibly, my daughter stops crying, and I am stupefied and comforted by the realisation I am going to enjoy this.

It is the most perfect moment in my life. No thought or word touches us. All is right in the world, until something catches my eye out the eighth story window of New York University Medical Centre. I see an F-16 fighter jet, its wings laden with rockets, screaming low over the East River. In the starlight, the pilot lifts one wing as if to salute us, then banks up over the wounded skyline of Manhattan. The drama and exhilaration of my daughter's birth made me forget the horror of what happened to my city. For a moment, life eclipsed death. Now it and she are staring me in the face.

When the final count is in, 9/11 will have snuffed out 2,823 lives. The funeral pyre will burn into the winter. It will be nine months before the last of the rubble is removed from where those towers stood, and no matter what kind of monument they build, the damage that has been done cannot be repaired.

From the birthing classes I attended in the last months of my wife's pregnancy, I know that newborns can't see. But as Lilo looks up at me and the world she has inherited, wide-eyed and blind as I am to the future, I wonder: can she feel the tangle of souls and sadness that is in the air?

Our world was a decidedly different place three days earlier. At 8.43am, on 11 September 2001, I am snoring soundly in our East Village apartment, and my wife is lying next to me half awake. She remembers hearing the roar of jet engines overhead, and half-dreaming/ half-thinking 'That plane is flying very low.' Three seconds later, Kirsten hears an incredibly loud noise that sounds like thunder right outside our window. Fully awake now, Kirsten looks up. It isn't raining, and the skies are blue. For a millisecond, she thinks to herself, 'Could that plane have crashed?' But immediately dismisses the possibility. 'That's ridiculous,' she tells herself, and wakes me up. Ten minutes later, I am in the other end of our apartment, in the office I have been promising my wife for the last two months I am going to move out of so she can turn it into a nursery for the baby that isn't due until next week.

I call an old friend about the TV pitch I'm scheduled to make that afternoon. He greets me with, 'Are you watching TV?' I respond with an early-morning attempt at humour. 'Unlike some members of my profession, I don't write and watch TV at the same time.' He doesn't laugh. I hear a flat panic in his voice as he tells me what he is seeing on CNN. The jet my wife heard had in fact crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Centre.

I hang up and turn on the TV in my office. Stunned, I watch police and firemen arriving at the disaster scene that is a seven-dollar cab ride from my home. There is a gaping hole in the top of the tower, and it is on fire. Over the past nine months, I have imagined every possible worst-case scenario that could surround my daughter's birth... except for this. I am suddenly certain the minute my wife finds out what has happened, she is going to go into labour. I begin to think of ways I can keep the bad news from her. I'll unhook the cable TV, I'll say the newspapers were sold out, I'll disconnect the phone before any of our friends can call. I'll... when I glance back at the television screen and see the second plane explode into the side of the South Tower, I know there's no way I can protect my wife from what is happening to us.

She already knows. She sits with an untouched bowl of granola in her lap, staring at the television in the living room. People are jumping out of windows 80 storeys up to escape the fire. A third hijacked passenger jet has crashed into the Pentagon. The White House has been evacuated. The President is in Air Force One somewhere over America. They won't say where our Commander-in-Chief is going, or when he's going to land, but the message is clear; it's not safe any more anywhere in America.

My wife is German. Her parents were children during the Second World War. She grew up hearing stories of what it was like being bombed. 'All I was thinking is, World War III is breaking out, and I'm having a baby,' she says. She wants to go to the airport and fly to Europe and have the baby where it's safe. She is about to start packing her suitcase when the television tells us that all the bridges and tunnels in and out of Manhattan are closed. All the airports are shut down. All flights to anywhere have been cancelled. We feel trapped because we are.

As we sit next to one another in front of the TV, the South Tower collapses. I ask Kirsten how the baby's feeling. She tells me she is feeling fine and not to worry. She doesn't reveal that she is really thinking to herself, 'All my life, I've been terrified of the pain of labour, and now when I get to the hospital, there's not going to be any anaesthesiologist around for my epidural. Of course, at the same time I know I'm so lucky to be alive' ... Kirsten calls it 'dual-track thinking: 'This horrible thing is happening to all these people right before your eyes. But at the same time, all I was thinking about was the baby. I just kept telling myself, I have to grit my teeth and get through this.'

A call gets through to us. It is a wealthy and influential friend in New Jersey who has arranged to send a boat across the Hudson to ferry us to the Jersey side of the river. We can have the baby at his local hospital. I thank him for his concern and his generous offer but tell him without hesitation: 'We're having the baby in New York.' Part of my refusal stemmed from the fact that the way our luck was running, I was sure Kirsten would go into labour as soon as we cast off from shore in the boat, and I'd have to deliver our daughter mid-Hudson River. But part of me said no simply because I had had enough. I was tired of being bullied and scared. As corny as it sounds, my fear turned to anger - goddamit, New York was my home, and I wasn't going to run.

At 10 o'clock that night, my wife tells me she thinks her waters might have broken. We call our doctor. Predictably, he's not in the city. We are just falling asleep when the back-up doctor calls. Kirsten doesn't want to go to the hospital until she starts to feel contractions. When she tells the obstetrician her symptoms, he cuts her short. 'Get yourself to the hospital right now,' and adds theatrically, 'or there will be an aftermath.' We are not sure what he means, but it succeeds in making us even more panicky than we already are.

I run to the garage to get our car - it's locked. The garage attendants, like everybody else with any sense, have left the city. I am regretting not taking up my well-heeled friend's offer of the boat ride across the Hudson. All the streets south of 14th Street have been barricaded off and are being guarded by state policemen. I ask one if he can call up an ambulance. He politely tells me to call a cab. The streets are empty. Finally, I see an off-duty taxi. I wave a fistful of cash, and he takes us to the hospital 15 blocks away for $50. We pass through three more police barricades. At each checkpoint, I do not decrease my wife's anxiety by screaming out the window: 'Let us through, my wife is having a baby!'

The maternity ward is bustling with life. There are your usual nervous, expectant fathers and elated grandparents. But the surface of normalcy is undercut by a television in the waiting room tuned to CNN; there is no escaping what is now being called Ground Zero.

Kirsten is taken into an examination room. I am psyching myself up to help with the delivery. Thirty minutes later, my wife reappears looking exasperated and worried. We are told to go home and come back tomorrow for tests.

Overnight, the black wall of the hospital which had been papered with faces of the missing has turned into a shrine. My wife is re-examined and tested. Everything is fine, except the baby isn't quite ready to come out. We are sent home again. Our daughter is clearly in no rush to make her way into the world, and who can blame her. When we exit the hospital, the smell of burnt flesh is in the air. I hurry my wife to the car as I overhear someone say: 'They're unloading bodybags up the street.'

Kirsten wakes up at 4.30am on the morning of the 13th. She's in labour. With Kirsten doubled over in pain in the backseat of our car, I race through those same police barricades, shouting once again, 'My wife's having a baby!' The same cops are on duty. They look at me incredulously, as if to say, 'Again?'

The maternity ward that was half-empty is now overflowing. A young woman whose husband died in the Trade Centre has gone into labour three months early. Doctors fight to save a dead man's child. Kirsten is in serious pain now. The baby's skull is pressing against her vertebrae. Much to her relief, there is an anaesthesiologist available. Unfortunately, it is three hours before she gets her epidural.

We are in the birthing room with a nurse and a boyish-looking resident now. For the past three hours, Kirsten has had the three of us in her face screaming 'PUSH!' As Kirsten recalls, 'Just when I thought I was going to die and couldn't take any more everybody suddenly starts shouting, "You've done it! She's beautiful!"' After 16 hours of labour, Kirsten is exhausted and drenched in sweat. And yet, as Lilo suckles her breast, my wife glows.

The difference between actually watching a child being born and reading about it or seeing it on film is not unlike the reality gulf that separates those who were in New York City on on 11 September and those who watched it on the news. You just can't understand the impact of certain events unless you were there in person.

Kirsten sends me home from the hospital at 11 o'clock. I am too giddy to think about sleep. As I get in my car, I make up my mind to call up all of my friends and wake them with my good news. I am higher than cloud nine, until I pass by the temporary morgue in the Armory on 26th and Lexington. Husbands, wives, lovers and friends are claiming the dead. Suddenly, I feel guilty for being so deliriously happy.

In those first weeks after Lilo's birth, 9/11 is omnipresent. When our daughter is a week old, Kirsten and I strap Lilo to my chest and set off to introduce our daughter to her city. The sun is shining and the dog is on the leash. The air in our neighbourhood no longer tastes of dust and ash. But a half block into our first family outing, we are grimly reminded of those New Yorkers who raced off to the World Trade Centre to save lives and died. Twelve of the 27 firefighters at our local firehouse perished. Ladder Company 3 is draped in purple and black bunting. Flowers surround the photographs of the firemen who were lost that day. I recognise their faces, and remember walking past them when Kirsten was pregnant just a few weeks before. We regret we never said more than hello. We make a donation to a fund for the families of the dead firefighters. It hardly seems an adequate way for the three of us to say thank you.

A 'security alert' is announced just as I am about to drive out of the city to introduce Lilo to my 87-year-old mother. I find myself debating whether terrorists would be more likely to bomb the tunnel or the bridge. I choose the tunnel, and hold my breath until we're out the other side.

My wife and I take Lilo uptown on a shopping spree to Barneys, and buy her a ridiculously expensive have-to-have-it-cute faux leopard-fur bonnet trimmed in pink silk. I am thinking she can wear it when I show her off at a friend's upcoming wedding. I have no idea the bride's sister was killed on 11 September until we get a card in the mail telling us the nuptials have been postponed. More bad news in the mail. A friend of a friend who works at ABC opened a letter stuffed with anthrax. Postal workers are dying - terror is at our doorstep, literally. I wash my hands after I open the mail and before I touch my daughter. My brother, a physician, gives us a prescription for Cipro, in case the anthrax attacks become epidemic. He cautions us that the medication, if administered now, will deform our daughter's teeth. Lilo has only just learnt to smile.

Anthrax, rumours of terrorist plots to unleash biological and chemical weapons, and talk of 'dirty' nuclear bombs supercharge the fearfulness and paranoia we, like all first-time parents, feel for our newborn. We and our friends scare ourselves speculating what form the next attack will take. I keep imagining al-Qaeda infecting us with smallpox. Paranoia prompts me to do the unthinkable. I pass up an invitation to the Yankee Stadium to see the World Series.

My wife remembers feeling incredibly anxious about everything all the time. She tells herself she has to pack an emergency suitcase for us in case we have to run for our lives - bottled water, sneakers, warm clothes, canned food, Cipro. She never gets around to packing that bag. Perhaps because she knows if the terrorists do unleash a plague on us, Manhattan will be quarantined before we can get the car out of the garage. Kirsten watches CNN while she nurses Lilo. Every day, the news gives us new reason to be afraid. I wonder if we are infecting our daughter with our fears.

My wife cries whenever she reads the biographies of the 9/11 victims that are published daily in the New York Times. For the first time in her life, she finds herself worrying about dying. My wife confronts the fear that has infected all of us head-on. On an unseasonably warm afternoon in the first week of December, she and a friend whose son was born the day before 11 September take the babies to Ground Zero. They take each other's pictures. For my wife, visiting the scene of the crime makes her feel triumphant, yet humbled.

A few wekks later, Kirsten, Lilo and I are at the Christmas market in Union Square with two of our friends. It is the season to be jolly. Shoppers ignore the half-dozen lonely souls who are passing out leaflets protesting at the bombing of Afghanistan and the war against terrorism. We make small talk about the decidedly hawkish shift in America, and how differently normally liberal New Yorkers feel about this foreign conflict than they did about Vietnam. One of us notices a pram abandoned in the crowd. No one claims it. Suddenly, one of our friends seems to be having a panic attack. He wants to go home. We don't understand - we just arrived. We were having such a good time. We badger him to stay until he shares his paranoia. A pram in a crowd of Christmas shoppers. What a perfect way for terrorists to plant a bomb. I leave the Christmas market thinking to myself, 'This is absurd, ridiculous,' and then remember that's exactly what my wife told herself when she thought she heard a jet crash on the morning of 11 September.

Valentine's Day is our first real date since Lilo's birth. We begin dinner talking about who Lilo's godparents will be. By the end of the meal, we are having a highly anxious conversation about what will happen to our daughter if we both die simultaneously.

Living in New York is different now. It's not a question of if there's going to be another terrorist attack, but when. As Kirsten puts it: 'When I came to New York 12 years ago, it was a place of safety, invulnerability. That bubble burst.'

As I write this, Lilo plays at my feet. She has teeth, she stands. She says 'Da-da' and 'bye-bye' and sleeps with a pink elephant. In just less than a month, my daughter will have her first birthday. The party will be in New York City.

· Fierce People by Dirk Wittenborn is published by Bloomsbury at £9.99
© Guardian News & Media 2008
Published: 8/18/2002

Saturday, May 22, 2010

You are Immortal

Is there Life After Death?A few years ago I lived in London, Uk. My father got ill and was pronounced terminal. He was relatively alone in the country as he was divorced from my mother for about 15 years then and usually lived in Rome. I decided to stay in the hospital as it really didn't feel right for anyone to die alone.

After a few days, the doctors thought he would pass on in about a week or so. That night I could not sleep and went to the waiting room to have a break, around 4 am in the morning. Some voice kept telling me to go back to him and I did.

Sure enough, he was ready to go. I sat close with my treasured father and spoke to him about death and letting go, soft music played in the background as the candles I put up burned. It was beautiful, he died at peace and in company. Well, within a minute the phone by his bed rang, I nearly jumped out of my skin. It was 4.45am. My mother was on the end of the line.

She said, "Hello sweetheart, David and I will come and get you now."

I asked why and she replied, "Your father is dead, he woke me up to say goodbye and the sun shone straight in the room!"

How could the sunshine at 4.45am, in England in Winter? How on earth did my father wake her up? My mother never did know about life after death till then, and she was as shocked as any cynic could be. By Alexandra P. Brown
Published: 8/25/2001

Life after death:Case Study

On 11 September, novelist Dirk Wittenborn's wife went into labour as their city was convulsed with terror. He recalls how his private world and history were thrown together in the best and worst of all days.

It is just after nine o' clock in the evening. Ten hijackers in two Boeing 767 passenger jets have reduced the World Trade Centre to a 1.6 million-ton snarl of concrete, steel, and death, which burns like a funeral pyre 50 blocks south of where I am standing. And yet, horrified as I am by this tragedy, I find myself in a happy place.

My daughter, Antonia Lieselotte Wittenborn is 23 minutes old, and already she has a nickname - Lilo. She weighs 7lbs 13oz, has blue eyes, all her fingers and toes, and the way her black hair stands on end would make boxing promoter Don King jealous. She is, quite simply, perfect.

My wife, Kirsten, asks me if I want to hold our daughter. I am excited and nervous being introduced to a life so helpless and new. Lilo wails as the nurse hands her over to me. I am 49 years old, Lilo is my first and only child. I have never been what you would call a baby kind of guy. But something miraculous happens as I take her weight in my arms. Strangely and incredibly, my daughter stops crying, and I am stupefied and comforted by the realisation I am going to enjoy this.

It is the most perfect moment in my life. No thought or word touches us. All is right in the world, until something catches my eye out the eighth story window of New York University Medical Centre. I see an F-16 fighter jet, its wings laden with rockets, screaming low over the East River. In the starlight, the pilot lifts one wing as if to salute us, then banks up over the wounded skyline of Manhattan. The drama and exhilaration of my daughter's birth made me forget the horror of what happened to my city. For a moment, life eclipsed death. Now it and she are staring me in the face.

When the final count is in, 9/11 will have snuffed out 2,823 lives. The funeral pyre will burn into the winter. It will be nine months before the last of the rubble is removed from where those towers stood, and no matter what kind of monument they build, the damage that has been done cannot be repaired.

From the birthing classes I attended in the last months of my wife's pregnancy, I know that newborns can't see. But as Lilo looks up at me and the world she has inherited, wide-eyed and blind as I am to the future, I wonder: can she feel the tangle of souls and sadness that is in the air?

Our world was a decidedly different place three days earlier. At 8.43am, on 11 September 2001, I am snoring soundly in our East Village apartment, and my wife is lying next to me half awake. She remembers hearing the roar of jet engines overhead, and half-dreaming/ half-thinking 'That plane is flying very low.' Three seconds later, Kirsten hears an incredibly loud noise that sounds like thunder right outside our window. Fully awake now, Kirsten looks up. It isn't raining, and the skies are blue. For a millisecond, she thinks to herself, 'Could that plane have crashed?' But immediately dismisses the possibility. 'That's ridiculous,' she tells herself, and wakes me up. Ten minutes later, I am in the other end of our apartment, in the office I have been promising my wife for the last two months I am going to move out of so she can turn it into a nursery for the baby that isn't due until next week.

I call an old friend about the TV pitch I'm scheduled to make that afternoon. He greets me with, 'Are you watching TV?' I respond with an early-morning attempt at humour. 'Unlike some members of my profession, I don't write and watch TV at the same time.' He doesn't laugh. I hear a flat panic in his voice as he tells me what he is seeing on CNN. The jet my wife heard had in fact crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Centre.

I hang up and turn on the TV in my office. Stunned, I watch police and firemen arriving at the disaster scene that is a seven-dollar cab ride from my home. There is a gaping hole in the top of the tower, and it is on fire. Over the past nine months, I have imagined every possible worst-case scenario that could surround my daughter's birth... except for this. I am suddenly certain the minute my wife finds out what has happened, she is going to go into labour. I begin to think of ways I can keep the bad news from her. I'll unhook the cable TV, I'll say the newspapers were sold out, I'll disconnect the phone before any of our friends can call. I'll... when I glance back at the television screen and see the second plane explode into the side of the South Tower, I know there's no way I can protect my wife from what is happening to us.

She already knows. She sits with an untouched bowl of granola in her lap, staring at the television in the living room. People are jumping out of windows 80 storeys up to escape the fire. A third hijacked passenger jet has crashed into the Pentagon. The White House has been evacuated. The President is in Air Force One somewhere over America. They won't say where our Commander-in-Chief is going, or when he's going to land, but the message is clear; it's not safe any more anywhere in America.

My wife is German. Her parents were children during the Second World War. She grew up hearing stories of what it was like being bombed. 'All I was thinking is, World War III is breaking out, and I'm having a baby,' she says. She wants to go to the airport and fly to Europe and have the baby where it's safe. She is about to start packing her suitcase when the television tells us that all the bridges and tunnels in and out of Manhattan are closed. All the airports are shut down. All flights to anywhere have been cancelled. We feel trapped because we are.

As we sit next to one another in front of the TV, the South Tower collapses. I ask Kirsten how the baby's feeling. She tells me she is feeling fine and not to worry. She doesn't reveal that she is really thinking to herself, 'All my life, I've been terrified of the pain of labour, and now when I get to the hospital, there's not going to be any anaesthesiologist around for my epidural. Of course, at the same time I know I'm so lucky to be alive' ... Kirsten calls it 'dual-track thinking: 'This horrible thing is happening to all these people right before your eyes. But at the same time, all I was thinking about was the baby. I just kept telling myself, I have to grit my teeth and get through this.'

A call gets through to us. It is a wealthy and influential friend in New Jersey who has arranged to send a boat across the Hudson to ferry us to the Jersey side of the river. We can have the baby at his local hospital. I thank him for his concern and his generous offer but tell him without hesitation: 'We're having the baby in New York.' Part of my refusal stemmed from the fact that the way our luck was running, I was sure Kirsten would go into labour as soon as we cast off from shore in the boat, and I'd have to deliver our daughter mid-Hudson River. But part of me said no simply because I had had enough. I was tired of being bullied and scared. As corny as it sounds, my fear turned to anger - goddamit, New York was my home, and I wasn't going to run.

At 10 o'clock that night, my wife tells me she thinks her waters might have broken. We call our doctor. Predictably, he's not in the city. We are just falling asleep when the back-up doctor calls. Kirsten doesn't want to go to the hospital until she starts to feel contractions. When she tells the obstetrician her symptoms, he cuts her short. 'Get yourself to the hospital right now,' and adds theatrically, 'or there will be an aftermath.' We are not sure what he means, but it succeeds in making us even more panicky than we already are.

I run to the garage to get our car - it's locked. The garage attendants, like everybody else with any sense, have left the city. I am regretting not taking up my well-heeled friend's offer of the boat ride across the Hudson. All the streets south of 14th Street have been barricaded off and are being guarded by state policemen. I ask one if he can call up an ambulance. He politely tells me to call a cab. The streets are empty. Finally, I see an off-duty taxi. I wave a fistful of cash, and he takes us to the hospital 15 blocks away for $50. We pass through three more police barricades. At each checkpoint, I do not decrease my wife's anxiety by screaming out the window: 'Let us through, my wife is having a baby!'

The maternity ward is bustling with life. There are your usual nervous, expectant fathers and elated grandparents. But the surface of normalcy is undercut by a television in the waiting room tuned to CNN; there is no escaping what is now being called Ground Zero.

Kirsten is taken into an examination room. I am psyching myself up to help with the delivery. Thirty minutes later, my wife reappears looking exasperated and worried. We are told to go home and come back tomorrow for tests.

Overnight, the black wall of the hospital which had been papered with faces of the missing has turned into a shrine. My wife is re-examined and tested. Everything is fine, except the baby isn't quite ready to come out. We are sent home again. Our daughter is clearly in no rush to make her way into the world, and who can blame her. When we exit the hospital, the smell of burnt flesh is in the air. I hurry my wife to the car as I overhear someone say: 'They're unloading bodybags up the street.'

Kirsten wakes up at 4.30am on the morning of the 13th. She's in labour. With Kirsten doubled over in pain in the backseat of our car, I race through those same police barricades, shouting once again, 'My wife's having a baby!' The same cops are on duty. They look at me incredulously, as if to say, 'Again?'

The maternity ward that was half-empty is now overflowing. A young woman whose husband died in the Trade Centre has gone into labour three months early. Doctors fight to save a dead man's child. Kirsten is in serious pain now. The baby's skull is pressing against her vertebrae. Much to her relief, there is an anaesthesiologist available. Unfortunately, it is three hours before she gets her epidural.

We are in the birthing room with a nurse and a boyish-looking resident now. For the past three hours, Kirsten has had the three of us in her face screaming 'PUSH!' As Kirsten recalls, 'Just when I thought I was going to die and couldn't take any more everybody suddenly starts shouting, "You've done it! She's beautiful!"' After 16 hours of labour, Kirsten is exhausted and drenched in sweat. And yet, as Lilo suckles her breast, my wife glows.

The difference between actually watching a child being born and reading about it or seeing it on film is not unlike the reality gulf that separates those who were in New York City on on 11 September and those who watched it on the news. You just can't understand the impact of certain events unless you were there in person.

Kirsten sends me home from the hospital at 11 o'clock. I am too giddy to think about sleep. As I get in my car, I make up my mind to call up all of my friends and wake them with my good news. I am higher than cloud nine, until I pass by the temporary morgue in the Armory on 26th and Lexington. Husbands, wives, lovers and friends are claiming the dead. Suddenly, I feel guilty for being so deliriously happy.

In those first weeks after Lilo's birth, 9/11 is omnipresent. When our daughter is a week old, Kirsten and I strap Lilo to my chest and set off to introduce our daughter to her city. The sun is shining and the dog is on the leash. The air in our neighbourhood no longer tastes of dust and ash. But a half block into our first family outing, we are grimly reminded of those New Yorkers who raced off to the World Trade Centre to save lives and died. Twelve of the 27 firefighters at our local firehouse perished. Ladder Company 3 is draped in purple and black bunting. Flowers surround the photographs of the firemen who were lost that day. I recognise their faces, and remember walking past them when Kirsten was pregnant just a few weeks before. We regret we never said more than hello. We make a donation to a fund for the families of the dead firefighters. It hardly seems an adequate way for the three of us to say thank you.

A 'security alert' is announced just as I am about to drive out of the city to introduce Lilo to my 87-year-old mother. I find myself debating whether terrorists would be more likely to bomb the tunnel or the bridge. I choose the tunnel, and hold my breath until we're out the other side.

My wife and I take Lilo uptown on a shopping spree to Barneys, and buy her a ridiculously expensive have-to-have-it-cute faux leopard-fur bonnet trimmed in pink silk. I am thinking she can wear it when I show her off at a friend's upcoming wedding. I have no idea the bride's sister was killed on 11 September until we get a card in the mail telling us the nuptials have been postponed. More bad news in the mail. A friend of a friend who works at ABC opened a letter stuffed with anthrax. Postal workers are dying - terror is at our doorstep, literally. I wash my hands after I open the mail and before I touch my daughter. My brother, a physician, gives us a prescription for Cipro, in case the anthrax attacks become epidemic. He cautions us that the medication, if administered now, will deform our daughter's teeth. Lilo has only just learnt to smile.

Anthrax, rumours of terrorist plots to unleash biological and chemical weapons, and talk of 'dirty' nuclear bombs supercharge the fearfulness and paranoia we, like all first-time parents, feel for our newborn. We and our friends scare ourselves speculating what form the next attack will take. I keep imagining al-Qaeda infecting us with smallpox. Paranoia prompts me to do the unthinkable. I pass up an invitation to the Yankee Stadium to see the World Series.

My wife remembers feeling incredibly anxious about everything all the time. She tells herself she has to pack an emergency suitcase for us in case we have to run for our lives - bottled water, sneakers, warm clothes, canned food, Cipro. She never gets around to packing that bag. Perhaps because she knows if the terrorists do unleash a plague on us, Manhattan will be quarantined before we can get the car out of the garage. Kirsten watches CNN while she nurses Lilo. Every day, the news gives us new reason to be afraid. I wonder if we are infecting our daughter with our fears.

My wife cries whenever she reads the biographies of the 9/11 victims that are published daily in the New York Times. For the first time in her life, she finds herself worrying about dying. My wife confronts the fear that has infected all of us head-on. On an unseasonably warm afternoon in the first week of December, she and a friend whose son was born the day before 11 September take the babies to Ground Zero. They take each other's pictures. For my wife, visiting the scene of the crime makes her feel triumphant, yet humbled.

A few wekks later, Kirsten, Lilo and I are at the Christmas market in Union Square with two of our friends. It is the season to be jolly. Shoppers ignore the half-dozen lonely souls who are passing out leaflets protesting at the bombing of Afghanistan and the war against terrorism. We make small talk about the decidedly hawkish shift in America, and how differently normally liberal New Yorkers feel about this foreign conflict than they did about Vietnam. One of us notices a pram abandoned in the crowd. No one claims it. Suddenly, one of our friends seems to be having a panic attack. He wants to go home. We don't understand - we just arrived. We were having such a good time. We badger him to stay until he shares his paranoia. A pram in a crowd of Christmas shoppers. What a perfect way for terrorists to plant a bomb. I leave the Christmas market thinking to myself, 'This is absurd, ridiculous,' and then remember that's exactly what my wife told herself when she thought she heard a jet crash on the morning of 11 September.

Valentine's Day is our first real date since Lilo's birth. We begin dinner talking about who Lilo's godparents will be. By the end of the meal, we are having a highly anxious conversation about what will happen to our daughter if we both die simultaneously.

Living in New York is different now. It's not a question of if there's going to be another terrorist attack, but when. As Kirsten puts it: 'When I came to New York 12 years ago, it was a place of safety, invulnerability. That bubble burst.'

As I write this, Lilo plays at my feet. She has teeth, she stands. She says 'Da-da' and 'bye-bye' and sleeps with a pink elephant. In just less than a month, my daughter will have her first birthday. The party will be in New York City.

· Fierce People by Dirk Wittenborn is published by Bloomsbury at £9.99
© Guardian News & Media 2008
Published: 8/18/2002

Your Eternal Destiny: Life after Death

Have you given much thought to the future? On thing is certain; death is inevitable. Is there life after death or do just simply vanish?Have you ever given any thought about what tomorrow holds, or as a matter of fact even today? Have you considered that today may be your last day on this planet? Maybe the next hour may be your last. Your age has nothing to do with when it could happen. A run away truck, a drunken or careless driver, a freak electrical storm, sickness, the list of causes goes on and on. Sounds grim, but it is very factual.

Your life is not in your own hands. Call it what you want to, providence, lady luck, departure time, etc. The point is that at sometime your life is going to come to an end.

No matter which religion you follow you still have no guarantees as to how long you still might have. Lifestyle gives no guarantees. Smokers live to ripe old ages and abstainers from both tobacco and alcohol die young. Motor manufacturers have come a long way in building safer vehicles. Accidents happen. Still no guarantee.

The only thing that is guaranteed is that one day you will depart this life as we know it.

What then? Knowing that we are destined to die what should we be considering? Surely it is the quality of life that we currently enjoy? Or perhaps it is how much good I can do for others? Maybe it is to try and be a better person? All of these are good motives but should our question not be "Where will I spend eternity?" Most religions have some kind of belief in life after death.

There are various responses to the life after death issue. Besides the religious answers, some people say that they don’t believe in a life after death and that when you die that’s it… it’s over. No more feelings or consciousness, you are just dead. Strangely enough though, these same people, when faced with death quickly change their minds.

I watched a programme on National Geographic about an Airbus that ran out of fuel over the Atlantic Ocean en route to Portugal. The picture of fear, panic and hopelessness on the faces of most passengers told its own story. When actually faced with death the true beliefs come out. Why fear when after you die there is nothing? Why panic when you believed that after death there was no feeling? Why hopelessness when you never hoped in anything anyway? The Airbus never crashed but landed safely on some island. Everyone survived. But what now? Will they continue in denial now that the panic is over, or will they reconsider?

The truth is that all these brazen responses to the issue of death are merely fronts because most people don’t really have any real answers. Deep down inside they know that there is more but they don’t know what it is. They do not actually believe what they say.

I am sixty three years old and have had occasion to be at the bedside of a number of people during their last few hours on this earth. For some the fear, emotional agony and anxiety that manifested in the one breathing his last and also in family members, was quite disturbing. For others, the absolute atmosphere of peace that pervaded the room was beautiful. This included my own father. What made the difference?

The answer is: YOUR INNER HEART CONVICTION CONCERNING LIFE AND DEATH.

Let us go back to what people believe concerning life after death. I am not going to enter into a lengthy discussion on the various religions. Most beliefs are centered in one or other religion. Then there are those who do not believe in any form of after life. They have no belief system whatsoever, denying the existence of any form of higher being such as a god.

I have studied all of the main religions and can only come to one conclusion. There is only one that offers a definite answer… and that is Christianity. Many would disagree with that statement and for good reason. It would appear that Christianity is very disjointed with all the hundreds of different denominations and none agreeing with one another. The reason for this is very simple. They have a form of "Christianity" founded upon human principles which do not line up with the Truth. Each holds to a part of the truth and have then added rules and regulations according to their denominational stand. But true Christianity is not rules, regulations, rites and rituals controlled by man. It is a relationship built on love and trust between an almighty God and mankind.

If one goes back to the root of "Christianity" you will find it in the heart of God. The God of all creation. The God of the Bible. A study of the word Christian will reveal that it was first used in Antioch in about 45 AD to describe the followers of Jesus Christ. It never had a capital letter C and was actually a derogatory term used to mock those who believed in Jesus as the Messiah. God never called anyone a Christian. That term is used in a very broad sense today and it denotes people who go to a "church". Another misconception. For the purposes of this article God has made certain promises to "His church" concerning eternal life.

Back to your eternal destiny. Many people do not believe what is recorded in the Bible. This again comes from man’s various interpretations of the Bible trying to make it justify his belief system. Thus all the denominations, disagreements, confusion etc. None of this negates the validity of the Bible as God’s word to us. All through the years people have been trying to discredit God’s word but it has stood the test of time and it’s integrity still holds true. Written by many authors over many years yet all their writings blend into a beautiful love story. The infallible word of a loving God. A story of the unconditional, sacrificial love of God towards His creation.

My friend are you prepared to lay aside all of your prejudices, philosophies and pre-conceived ideas? Remember it is your eternal destiny we are talking about. Read on.

Now comes the most beautiful part of life’s dilemma… Jesus. Yes, Jesus Christ the Son of the living God. He, and only He, is the guarantee of a secure haven of peace for all eternity. Governments are passing laws forbidding the use of that Name. It is being removed from constitutions. They may be able to remove the Name, but the Person lives on for all eternity. A wise teacher and philosopher of old once said to a government trying to stop the use of the name of Jesus, "Let it be, because if this is from man it will soon die out, but if it is from God no one will be able to stop it." And no one has.

From His virgin birth to His death by crucifixion and subsequent resurrection many have tried to bring doubt into peoples’ minds concerning the truth about Jesus Christ. Many have been deceived into believing the lie but many have also believed the truth. If you are one of those who have been deceived, remember this: a lie can be changed but truth is truth and endures for ever.

Are you prepared to go through life being deceived or are you going to exchange the lie for the truth? It is your choice. Should you choose Jesus Christ then you have also exchanged death for life. With Him there is eternal life in which there is no longer any fear of death, for you will be with Him for all eternity. Each day can be lived to its fullest with no anxiety, fear or hopelessness.

Jesus said,"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

Should you choose Jesus you are in for the most exciting journey of your life. I made the choice at age 35. Today at age 63 I can say that I have never looked back I have a hope and an eternal future, and his name is Jesus.

There is a cost involved. You will have to surrender control of your life to Him. Think of it this way. He created you, so who better to direct your life than the author of life. The long term benefits far outweigh the cost. Think about it, long and hard. It is not a decision to be taken lightly. Your choice will determine where you will spend eternity.

Once you have made your decision to trust in Jesus then you need to visit www.tcitfh.co.za and read the article on Relationship with the Father. This will help you with what to do next.

Should you decide that it is just too much for you to believe then you have sealed your own fate for now. I say for now because God is patient and is waiting for you to have a change of heart. He does not want anyone to be left out of sharing in His wonderful promises. He has not written you off, because He loves you. I invite you also to visit us on www.tcitfh.co.za. I am not part of any denomination. I am simply proclaiming the truth about a loving God, creator of the universe, and His plan for your life. It does not matter what you believe in now or your station in life and not even the lifestyle you are in at present. Forgiveness and acceptance are yours. God has no favourites.

Jesus reigns over all the earth. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Know that in your darkest hour you can always call out to Him. JESUS LOVES YOU.

With much love,

The Church in the Father's Heart.
jack@tcitfh.co.za
http://www.tcitfh.co.za
http://www.fathersheartchurch.blog.tcitfh.co.za
http://www.inhousechurch.com
http://www.jackviljoensmessagebook.blogspot.com By Jack Viljoen

Life after Death

The question of whether there is a life after death is not an issue of scientific concern, for science only deals with the classification and analysis of sense data. While man has been conducting scientific inquiries and research, in the modern sense of the term, for only the last few centuries, he has been familiar with the concept of life after death since time immemorial.Is there any life for death; if so, what kind of life is it? This question lies far beyond the ken of our perception. We do not have the eyes with which we could see beyond the frontiers of worldly life and find out what lies on beyond it. We do not have the ears with which we could hear anything from beyond these frontiers. Nor do we have any instrument by which we could determine with certainty whether there is any life beyond death. Therefore, the question whether there is any life after death lies completely outside the province of scientific knowledge which is concerned with the classification and interpretation of sense data. Anyone who asserts in the name of science that there is no life after death, therefore, makes a very unscientific statement. Merely on the basis of scientific knowledge, we can neither affirm that there is a life after death nor deny it. Until we discover a dependable means of acquiring knowledge about this matter, the correct scientific attitude would be neither to affirm nor to deny the possibility of life after death. The question is beyond its jurisdiction.

When his body grows weak and he becomes apparently unconscious, the dying man gathers his senses about him and completely withdrawing their powers, descends into his heart. No more does he see form or color without.

He neither sees, nor smells, nor tastes. He does not speak, he does not hear. He does not think, he does not know. For all the organs, detaching themselves from his physical body, unite with his subtle body. Then the point of his heart, where the nerves join, is lighted by the light of the Self, and by that light he departs either through the eye, or through the gate of the skull, or through some other aperture of the body. When he thus departs, life departs; and when life departs, all the functions of the vital principle depart. The Self remains conscious, and conscious, the dying man goes to his abode. The deeds of this life, and the impressions they leave behind, follow him.

As a man acts, so does he become. A man of good deeds becomes good; a man of evil deeds becomes evil. A man becomes pure through pure deeds, impure through impure deeds.

A little reflection should help us to see that the question of life after death is not merely a philosophical question; it is deeply and intimately related to our everyday life. In fact our moral attitude depends entirely upon this question. If a person is of the view that the life of this world is the only life and that there is no life of any kind after that, he must develop a particular type of moral attitude. A radically different kind of attitude and approach is bound to result if he believes that this life is to be followed by another life where one will have to render account of all one’s acts in this world and, that one’s ultimate fate in the Hereafter will depend upon one’s conduct in worldly life. Let us try to understand this through a simple example. Consider the example of the people who lived in the Arabian peninsula before the appearance of the Prophet Muhammad. They were great lovers of gambling, wine, tribal feuds, plundering, and murdering. As they had no concept of an afterlife, why not enjoy themselves as they saw fit? But as soon as they accepted the belief in the One God and an afterlife, they became a much disciplined nation. They gave up their vices, helped each other when requested to do so, and settled all their disputes on the basis of justice and equality. The denial of life after death also has consequences in this world. When an entire nation denies belief in the afterlife, all kinds of evils and corruption are unleashed and the society is set on the path to ultimate destruction.

Now it is obvious that this difference between the approaches and attitudes of the two travelers results directly from their view of the nature of their journey and its end. Similarly, a person’s views in regard to life after death have a decisive influence upon his moral conduct in this world. The direction of every step that he takes in his practical life will depend upon whether he treats this worldly life as the first and last stage of life, or whether he also has in view the Hereafter and consequences of his conduct in this world or the next one. He will move in one direction in the first instance and in exactly the opposite direction in the other instance.

As a goldsmith, taking an old gold ornament, moulds it into another, newer and more beautiful, so the Self, having given up the body and left it unconscious, takes on a newer and better form, either that of the fathers, or that of the celestial singers, or that of the gods, or that of other beings, heavenly or earthly.

As a man acts, so does he become. A man of good deeds becomes good, a man of evil deeds becomes evil. A man becomes pure through pure deeds, impure through impure deeds.

There are very convincing reasons to believe in life after death.

First: All the prophets of God have called their people to believe in it.
Second: Whenever a society is built on the basis of this belief, it has been the most ideal and peaceful society, free of social and moral evils.
Third: History bears witness that whenever this belief has been rejected collectively by a group of people in spite of the repeated warning of the prophet, the group as a whole has been punished by God even in this world.
Fourth: The moral, aesthetic, and rational faculties of man endorse the possibility of life after death.
Fifth: God's attributes of justice and mercy have no meaning if there is no life after death.

A man acts according to the desires to which he clings. After death he goes to the next world bearing in his mind the subtle impressions of his deeds; and after reaping there the harvest of his deeds, he returns again to this world of action. Thus he who has desires continues subject to rebirth.
By Dhananjay Kulkarni