The most amazing thing is that despite much Christian propaganda and mundane "scientific" bluff none of these things are new. Rather in the ancient Vedik literatures such as Vedanta Sutra (Govinda Bhasya) they have been openly discussed for thousands of years.
The basic teachings of the Vedas accept and allow such phenomenon without it breaching the integrity of their philosophy. For the bottom line in the Vedic philosophy is, that we are not these bodies, rather we are spiritual beings that for sometime remain in these material tabernacles. More than that, we are spiritual beings that have desires; those desires gather around them elements according to their teleological choice (free will).
From the first mis-understanding the pure spiritual soul makes in identifying himself as the mind, intelligence, or even body - the material temporal elements he becomes engrossed in what is called degrees of false-ego.
Ego, is the proper understanding of who we are as spiritual beings. False-ego means to identify ourselves as being something different or extra from that - the mind, intelligence and material body.
As soon as we do that we are in trouble.
Some foolish persons seem to think that we have a soul. That couldn't be further from the truth.
Actually we are soul.
An interesting depiction of that looks at how things are developed by you or I; first there's a desire to do something or to change something which is already established. That is our teleological free will.
What we desire, well that is another thing, eh?
Depending if the soul is identifying as a spiritual being, who is eternal, full of knowledge and wisdom, and is always blissful in knowledge of one's self realisation of his position in the universe one makes conscious spiritual choices accordingly, to remain detached from worldly affairs and engaged in propagation of spiritual values.
One who identified the mind, intelligence and body as himself tries to make temporal arrangements for that.
In either case, the soul desires; from those desires (be they material or spiritual) pursuit of achievement takes place. One sees what one wants in one's "mind's eye" - the mind is like a TV or Video and allows one to enact visionary goals into external reality. That is done by employing the discriminatory intelligence to make simple judgements called sankalpa and vikalpa (accepting and rejecting). These judgements are simply made according to how one is guided by intelligence.
Thus intelligence is one of the most important factors in existence. Intelligence doesn't mean necessarily book knowledge, mostly it means association. With whatever we associated we discriminate on those values. "A man is known by his association".
With whatever we associate, those qualities we take on.
We make conscious choices and choose to do this or that, to think this way or that, to act that way or this, to go here or there.
It can be a subtle thing though. Often we repeat things in our mind subtly conditioning how we think, which by repartition create habit patterns in the way we think. Such habits when established through accepted repartition formulate the how we will plan to execute the desires, through the forum of the mind.
The intelligence further accepts some values and rejects others and makes its plan to fulfil the desires of the soul - be they good or bad, permanent or temporary. To execute these plans the mind introduces the senses.
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International.
...here the soul is depicted as being like a passenger seated in the chariot, the intelligence has the reigns, which are connected to the senses, represented here as different coloured horses, by the mind. The intelligence can at anytime allow, or pull up any of the the senses through the power of the controlled mind.
In this way we make our decisions, to do or not to do, as if being forced to act under the modes of nature with which we have subtly chosen to associate.
By such repartition habits are formed, those habits become our behaviour, which in turn is known externally as our character, which is in turn where we fit, or do not fit in, in the world.
Such a soul who has been identifying with his body all his life can be in for quite a shock when suddenly one finds himself outside the body.
With others it has become almost fashionable to try to astral travel, meditate on coming out of the body and see it as being different from the soul, re-birthing, or have near death experiences. Many topical books have been written from different perspectives on these subjects.
From what I've read of these actually many of them are not too far wrong. there are however, some misunderstandings due to cultural conditioning etc., which are often soon cleared up.
Mostly when experiencing these phenomenon there is a feeling of great peace and bliss, free from the anxiety of this troubled world. They feel self satisfied and happy in knowing that they are part of the greater universe etc. What is being experienced here are some of the aspects or attributes of the spirit soul.
Alas due to various attachments that have been formed to places, projects, family members, etc., which remain as binding factors for the soul to this world, we remain "Earth-bound".
In studies done in many countries on hundreds of NDE subjects of various ages, genders, educational and social status, it has been surprisingly similar in the experiences that have occurred.
What has mostly been experienced has been a separation of the body from the soul, then a floating compelling action that they have little or no control over. the subject goes through seeing the many aspects of their lives flashed before them as if on a screen, wherein attachments and attitude is revealed. Then there is the feeling of well-being, lightness, satisfaction, and being drawn to a light at the end of a tunnel.
When they reach the light, which is amazingly blissful, and satisfying they are approached by other souls who are like guides. These guides relate to the subjects that there are areas of their lives that need working on / dealing with, or things that should return to do, etc. Those who return usually are endowed with some spiritual insight.
Those who do not have unresolved issues are taken on to the next "weigh station".
In Vedanta Sutra it is said:
Vedanta Sutra IV Adhyaya. I Pada, XIII Adhikarana, sutra 17 -Pada II, X Adhikarana, sutra 21.
.....if one is not so pious be taken down one of the 72,000 nadis (arteries - as in arterial roads) that are mentioned in the Vedanta sutra, each of which, like a predestined door to your future, has your designated destiny behind it. Some people have experienced NDE (near death experiences, where guides have been contacted, declarations made, directions given, before returning to this world. Srila Baladev Vidyabhushana in his Govinda bhasya commentary on Vedanta Sutra says that they cannot return to the spiritual world until all their works are completed(Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad 4:4:6.) The description is there of the soul venturing down long nadis (subtle tunnels or arteries - arterial routes) having one's life flashing before one as one goes there as if in a sleeping or dreaming state. It is described that just as in a palace there may be a door, couch, and light that fills it so the soul enters into that realm in a peaceful state and experiences the state of Brahman. Her it is clearly defined that the jiva souls in essence is neither of these things, he's not of the gross or subtle body, not of the nadis, and not of the resting place in brahman, all of which are temporal places. There he is tended by appointed assistants who share with him spiritual enlightenment, often giving direction, and resolve of how he can improve the quality of life which he/she, due to material attachments is forced to return to. However, Vedanta Sutra makes it clear that the same person in one sense does not return. "When a jiva enters to the Brahman, he enters like a jar full of salt water, with covered mouth, plunged into the Ganges. When he awakens from sleep, it is the same jar, taken out of the river with the same water in it. In the same way the jiva, covered by his desires, goes to sleep and for the time being puts off all sense activites and goes to the resting place, namely, the Supreme Brahman, and again comes out of it, in order to get further experience. He does not become similar to the Brahman, like the person who has obtained release. Thus we learn from this four fold reason that the same soul which had gone to sleep, awakes into the same body."(Govinda Bhasya - Vedanta sutra 3rd Adhyaya 2nd Pada, 6th Adikarana sloka 10.)
Those souls who are worthy of reform, the sinful, are taken to the Plutonic realm of the Yamaraj by his accomplices at the speed of mind to experience what they had done to others. Others, like you and me who survived a NDE return to our Earthly realm, usually changed and with a mission to enliven and awaken those in similar situations.
Scientists to Study Near-Death Experiences
SOUTHAMPTON, UNITED KINGDOM, November 30, 2001: Dr. Sam Parnia, a physician at Southampton General Hospital, has been given approval to conduct a large scale study on this experience. A pilot project on 63 patients who were revitalized after cardiac arrests revealed that four of these patients reported encounters with pre-deceased relatives or tunnel journeys. Patrick Tenney, a patient whose heart stopped ten years ago, vividly recalls, "It was beautiful, one of the most wonderful things I've ever seen. I floated or walked down the tunnel, moved into another tunnel -- it wasn't very long -- and I stood there and saw a huge mass of color." Dr. Parnia is hopeful that the study will help the medical community and society to make a more informed decision about euthanasia. BBC Radio 4 reports and an opinion poll with 1000 participants revealed that 10% of people have had an "out of body experience."
Courtesy of http://www.hinduismtoday.com/
Terminal Reslessness references
A myriad of slightly different perspectives of NDE
Ghost busting services
If you have had any NDE's please let us know the details, maybe we can make a page for them, with your permission.