More About Death:
What to do at the time of other's death:
Your Friendly Concerned
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Once when Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura was opening a new centre in a house that had been given for the use of the Gaudiya Mission, a ghostly incident occurred.
He was staying in a room on the second floor. One brahmacari was in attendance, reading Srimad Bhagavatam while he worked at his desk. That brahmacari suddenly saw a bone hand float in through the window. He cried out and fainted. When Srila Bhaktisiddhanta inquired the cause for his alarm, the brahmacari told what he'd seen, but Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati didn't seem to take it as very important. He told the brahmacari to chant Hare Krishna, and to not cry unintelligibly.
Thereafter the hand again appeared and floated into the room as if to grasp the neck of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati. This time the brahmacari chanted Hare Krishna and then fainted. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati revived the brahmacari, saying, "Don't faint. Chant and read Srimad Bhagavatam." When the hand came again, the brahmacari did just that. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta saw the hand and chanted, "Haribol!", and the hand disappeared. He then said to the brahmacari, "No need to worry, that ghost is now delivered."
So that baba went on his tour, and when returning, he passed by those small, narrow side roads. From down one he heard the sweet sound of kirtan. He thought, "There is a festival of Harer Nama! It sounds ecstatic. Let me see this. After all, this is Krishna's own holy dhama - what can be the harm in passing this way?"
So he went down that street, and soon came upon a group of men and women chanting the Hare Krishna mantra to khol (mridanga drum) and karatalas (hand cymbals). They all looked like pukka Vaishnavas. The baba happily joined in the kirtana. After some time they offered him a place to sit for honouring prasad, but he told that he had to return. So they rolled prasad into a banana leave and gave him.
He arrived at the guest house in ecstasy. "It was wonderful!" he began telling that proprietor. "I went down your forbidden narrow street on my way back here, and saw the most wonderful harer nama kirtan festival. And just see - they've given nice prasad!" He unrolled the leave - there was only hunks of raw meat inside.
After about 250 meters there's a hump back bridge that crosses the river, I stood for a second or two on top of the bridge looking back to the path where I'd come, the chapel shimmering in the moonlight in the distance, headstones visible. But there was now wind, no breeze, and not a tree moved. For the next two or so miles home still there was no breeze and the full moon lit the way and I quickly walked with focus, to get home.
During this night I had this dream, that there was this woman, who was
gesturing to me to come toward her. Now bear in mind that I was at that
time a strict brahmacharin (celibate monk) it puzzled me why a women, especially
clad as she was with frizzed out hair, top-less, and with long finger-nails
would be calling a brahmacharin.
The situation was something like a railway station there were two ticket type boxes one each side of the entrance/exit. She stood a little beyond that beckoning me saying, "...come here!" Feeling somewhat lost, and puzzled I replied to her, "What do you want mataji?" To which she laughed like a demoness (cackling). Suddenly I felt myself being drawn toward her, even though I couldn't stop it..........
Then suddenly two brahmins (a dark skinned one with Ramanuja style tilak, and a fair skinned Indian with distinct Madhwa style tilak) appeared from her side but to the left near the tick boxes. One was carrying an achaman cup - with which he splashed me with its waters, the other carried a small plant of maybe three or five inches resembling a Tulasi seedling. As the waters hit me I awoke to find my panchapatra over turned, and the waters all over my pillow, but no Tulasi.
Even in the morning I looked high and low for that Tulsi leaf, but it wasn't there.
The next morning I mentioned it to Krodeshwar prabhu the Temple President, who casually mentioned "oh yeah, where this house is, it used to be an Abo' burial site, there's a few of them on the property.... but the boys' are pretty good."
You can bet I had a really good night sleep, or what was left of it after that.
Anyway one night both myself and Purushottam prabhu woke up, looked around the room, and both saw that there was no-one there in the room, that everyone had left, and we felt that we were the last two there. So we individually wiped our place where we slept as was our system, with the bucket and cloth in the corner. Rolled up our sleeping bags and proceeded to go upstairs to get ready for Mangal arati at 4:30am.
As we opened the Theatre room door Braja-jana prabhu
the temple guard stopped us and asked where were we going. We replied up-stairs
to get ready for the morning program, to which he replied, "What at mid-night???"
He then ushered us back into the room despite our pleas that the room was empty and everyone had gone. the to our surprise when we opened the door and looked in EVERYBODY was still there, all over the floor.
To this day I'm amazed how we both saw that the floor was clear, and we step by step followed the process of wiping our places, rolling up the sleeping bags and leaving the room, with seeing anyone one there. Somehow or another the bhuta who we since found out resides in that room had covered us over, and got us out of the room, as he wanted.
Anyway, Braja-jana prabhu had changed his residence and had moved to
the newly acquired Chaitanya College and resumed his night duties as temple
guard. Then when many of the devotees were up and the place again deemed
secure he would take rest for a few hours.
On this morning he was laying there, in his sleeping bag, but was awoken by the intense feeling that someone was standing over him, looking at him.
When he in fact opened his eyes, to his surprise there was the ethereal form of the Pink lady, dressed in a ball gown kind of attire, crouched beside him, not inches away from his face, looking directly at him.
Scarring here as much as himself he let out one blood curdling scream of Krishna and leapt about a metre in the air, to which she was seen gliding down the corridor.
I sat with one older lady devotee and the girl and asked her questions about what she had been forced to undergo, and why she thought it might be happening.
She told that the "personality" came when she was asleep, and held her down and threatened her with her life. He told her she was a bad person and that's why he was coming for her, and that she deserved it.....etc.
After some consultation with her father and mother we began to set up for a yajna in their house.
At first everything was okay. Then as we began to recite the bhuta nirvaranam mantras the girl became disturbed. Then some of the people at the back of the room said they felt something brush past them, cold and heavy and the atmosphere in the room suddenly changed.
Then as we invoked Agni the fire began to flare and spit sparks right out of the fire - during the Purusha Sukta yajna I felt that as I was chanting that the air was being denied to my lungs and I was becoming weak, I stopped for a second and began chanting hare krishna in my mind to gain control, and we proceeded. Then we planned to go through the house, and it seemed like this was the last straw - suddenly the door leading out to the hall slammed closed, and then as I began to sprinkle water about the place there became this incredibly powerful and rancid smell in the room. For a moment I became the focus as my mouth felt as if it were being blocked, and I was being choked by the smell of dry stale urine. Again we gained composure and went through the place, but then as I left the house I was hit in the chest by something, which felt like a stone, but there was nothing there on the ground - the next day I broke my ankle and came down with an undiagnosable "Flu".
I was sitting waiting for a bus to Canberra, and was reading a book on Raghavendra Tirtha swami, the incanration of Prahlad maharaj. Then suddenly my mind became extremely turbulent, like when you open a door and wind rushes in and blows everything everywhere. All kinds of non-sense thoughts came to mind, out of sequence and crazy-like. Then I saw this lady about five or six feet away from me, standing in the middle of the room talking jiberish to herself. I cast a side-long glance in her direction and from facing the other direction immediately turned around and began to walk toward me saying words that no-one could understand.
I intently chanted the Nrsimha bija mantra; ugram biram maha ghoram.......and it was like she was redirected onto someone else, and followed a couple of people as they traversed through the terminal. Lord Narasimhadev ki jaya.
I think our very first encounter was when we were standing at the gate and tried to take a neighbours cat down the path - the cat freaked out and scratched Mandy on the arm really bad. The landlords, who lived down stair told us that they had a cat for a while and when they moved there it ran away. Also they bought another one too and it wouldn't come into the house - like it really freaked out and would come in. It was as if something in the house scarred them away. And we felt that without anyone saying anything. We tried several of the neighbours cats, but no cat would come in that house.......
Then one night the heavy breathing began, sometimes if you were alone in the room you would feel it on the side of your face, and a presence as if someone was very close. In the late evening sometimes you could hear the same heavy breathing, almost snoring coming from the corner of the bed room, but not the side where the bed was, nor a wall that was habitated on the other side by neighbours, but in the corner where the sofa was near the closed window which always remained dark.
Once I was running up the stairs when I was physically stopped by a force on the stairs. Whoever it was it was strong enough to stop me as I ran - it was kinda freaky as you couldn't see anything there.
Often you could see what appeared to be seeing of shadows moving in the rooms but there was no light that was causing it. We checked everything.
Our last night there was ended by a creepy journey to St. Andrews church.
The amazing thing was that when we got to the church epecting it to be
open the church doors surprised us at being locked. Desperate to take shelter
of something, some one Holy to stop our fears we went all around the church
checking the doors, but they were all locked tight. Lights were on, as
it was only about 7pm, and all the fonts outside were dry, where they normally
keep holy waters.
We consciously began to pray, even though outside the church, and then Vicki was inspired to try the door again, but then it was open. Nervously we all went in and sat down. Vicki pulling a seat down for the person next to her. Lots of freaky things, and then the priest came and we told him everything.
The next evening quite late the priest came around to the house. First he began to chat with us and ask us ask us where and what had happened. He then began chanting some prayers and throwing around sanctified waters - but he advised us not to stay there that night.
The priest's visit throwing water around seemed to do some good, but we were still too freaked out to live there any longer.
We all kinda looked at each other and no-one said a word. At the top
of the hill we all stopped for a rest, and we were all pretty silent. then
one of my friends said - "Did you see that bloke?"
"What did he look like?" asked another.
"Come on there was onlt one bloke we passed going up the hill, and we all saw him!" another said.
He was just like a gnome, about three feet or four feet tall, really old looking face, big nose, impish look, and big pointed ears - and carrying the bundle. But he wore a Trilby hat, and a rain-coat - must have been on his way Gnome!!!!!
Each time I went past the area known as "Radha kund" my mind would freak out, and fear would over momentarily take me, cold and goosey....the shelter of the Holy name being my only solace.
He was a 16 year old English boy who joined the temple. He did have a history, we later found out of mental challenges, which would have made him more suseptable to this kind of thing. Anyway, after being at the Manor for a short time he totally changed. From being a 16 year odl English speaking boy to speaking like a 40 year old Polish man, and walking dragging one leg, and with one pupil of his eye large and the other small.
There was a always a bad smell that followed him everywhere, an unclean smell.
With understanding, compassion and kindness, we took him into the office and tried to give him some prasadam and have an open conversation with him. When we tried (Virabhadra and myself) to suggest to him that he has to be strong and preach to the mind he replied, "...we have to listen to the mind, mind is like guru he knows best, mind is my friend....)
Then as I was talking to him I could feel an overbearing presence pushing down on me, and he sat there grinning from ear to ear, but with his eyes almost with a blank and cloudy stare. In my mind I began chanting the Nrsimha prayers and it broke the tension. the other prabhu ended up calling his parents who came and collected him the next day, which was when we found out about a previous history of mental problems.
Later that evening we gave him some prasadam, and as soon as it touched his lips he fell unconscious on the floor. then this aweful smell became so strong, like a gas - and we lifted him up and carried him out to the bhakta office.
Today ( 9th november 1999. ) my mother rang me from England to tell me that my aunt (her elder sister) Kit had passed away after collapsing in the street last Thursday, which would correspond to Wednesday evening Thursday morning here.
I did a Narayan Bali for her and since that she hasn't been here.
This ugly, huge ghost might not have killed me as he angrily screamed he would, but he certainly gave me a hard time for fighting back with the Holy name - which he really didn't want to hear. Hey but, if I hadn't have had the Holy Name who knows what would have happened to me - could have become one of the millions one sees wandering the streets in their shinny suits and werewolf appearance mumbling to themselves and hurling abuse at passers by.......!
If you have any TRUE Ghost experiences please send them to us here
Otherwise, although the spirit is within the name, if the sound we vibrate is based on any other conception, it may only take us to that layer of conception. This is quite scientific; it is not unreasonable. The mere word krsna is not the holy name. What is important is the meaning of that sound and the depth of meaning, the deep conception of the meaning of the name. That is everything - it is all-important in serving our purpose.
There's a nice story that illustrates this point. When our spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, was a young boy, both he and his father, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, went to visit the holy place of Kulinagrama, which is located in the Hooghly district near Calcutta. Kulinagrama was a village where the great devotee Haridasa Thakura, as well as other famous Vaisnavas, used to live, and was the home of four generations of devotees.
A Haunted Temple
They went to visit that ancient holy place, and just on the outskirts of Kulinagrama, as they were entering the village, they passed by an old temple. Suddenly a man came out of the temple and humbly asked them, "Please stay the night here. In the morning you may enter the village and take darsana of all the places there." Bhaktivinoda Thakura and our guru maharaja, who at that time was a young boy, stayed the night in that temple house.
Just after nightfall, as they were resting, Bhaktivinoda Thakura experienced something unusual. He found that brickbats were being thrown about from different directions. He thought, "How is this happening and why? Who would throw big brickbats like this?" Then he had some apprehension that there might be ghosts living there, creating disturbances. He began loudly chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. After some time, the disturbance disappeared, and Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta passed the rest of the night there peacefully.
In the morning, they entered the village and began visiting different holy places. After some time, one of the local gentlemen noticed them and said, "You entered our village early this morning. Where do you come from? And where did you spend the night?" Bhaktivinoda Thakura explained, "We stayed in that temple just outside the village there." One of them said, "Oh! How could you stay there? So many ghosts live there and throw stones and bricks at anyone who passes by that place at night. How could you stay there?" Then Bhaktivinoda Thakura said, "Yes, you are right. But when I found such a disturbance there, I began to loudly chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, and subsequently the problem disappeared." The men of the village then asked Bhaktivinoda, "Who are you, and where are you coming from?"
Then they came to know that he was Bhaktivinoda Thakura. They had already heard of him, and some of them had read his books. They welcomed the two of them, and showed them all the holy places they had not yet seen. At one point, they said to Bhaktivinoda Thakura, "The gentleman who was formerly the priest of that temple was transformed into a ghost after his departure. Since that time, we have regularly seen the disturbances caused by that ghost. Why did he become a ghost? As the priest of that temple, he used to regularly chant the holy name of Krsna. We are witness to that fact; we have all heard him. Why was he turned into a ghost? We cannot understand this. Please explain."
Bhaktivinoda Thakura told them that the priest must have only repeated the syllables of the name, the nama-aksara. What he was producing was only a mayik sound, a physical, lip-deep sound. It did not have the spiritual essence; the life of the name was absent when he was chanting. It was nama-aparadha, offensive chanting. Bhaktivinoda asked them, "What was his character?" They said, "He was not a good man. He committed many sinful acts. That we know. But we can't deny the fact that he used to chant the name of the Lord almost always.
How could he become a ghost?"
Bhaktivinoda Thakura explained that the physical sound of the name is not the name proper. The priest had been committing offenses to the holy name (nama-aparadha), and as a result became a ghost. They asked, "Then how can he be released from that wretched condition?" Bhaktivinoda said, "If he meets a bona fide sadhu who has a genuine connection with Krsna, and he hears the real name, or the proper explanation of Bhagavad-gita or Srimad-Bhagavatam from his lips, then he may be released from his ghostly condition. It is mentioned in the scriptures that this is the only way to become free from the entanglement of material nature." After this discussion, Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati left Kulinagrama.
From that day on, all the troubles caused by the ghost at the temple in Kulinagrama ceased. The villagers were astonished. One of them said: "That priest who had become a ghost must have been released from his ghostly condition after hearing the holy name chanted by Bhaktivinoda Thakura. When the trouble began, Bhaktivinoda loudly chanted the name, and gradually, by hearing the holy name of Krsna from his holy lips, that suppressed soul has been liberated from his condition as a ghost ."
After that, many people journeyed to see Bhaktivinoda Thakura. They would tell him, "We are confident that you are a great Vaisnava - after hearing the holy name of Krsna from your lips, a ghost has been released." This story was published in the newspapers, and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada used to recount this story of his own experience with Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
The point is that simply the external sound of the name is not the real name. The most important thing is the spiritual realization backing the name - that is the real name. Otherwise, a tape recorder can pronounce that holy name of Krsna. Even a parrot can pronounce the name - but the physical sound is not the thing itself. In the background there must be spiritual truth, which is conscious. That super-knowledge is beyond the knowledge of this mundane plane.
sent to me by Jagannath Sharan dasa
Chapter Four, Part Five:
[ - by Sri Hanumatpresaka Swami ]
Ghosts are just fellows who have subtle bodies of manas (mind) and buddhi (intelligence) but relatively no gross bodies. It works like that. Each different species of body is a different mix of the three subtle and five gross ingredients. Of course, cats have a lot of tactile energy (prana) in their bodies. They can jump like mad. Ghosts are usually somnabulistic dudes. They died in great fear or great distress so they are wandering around the dream world "looking for their gold".
In the USA we are very much in the mode of passion - nothing too high, nothing too low, "Just the facts, Mam". In South America and India experiences of subtler beings are much more common.
Off the top of my head I can remember three ghost stories from reputable sources but I'll just include one. Maybe we can put something more in later books if anybody is intereted. These are included just to convince us about the existence of the subtler physical planes. Then it is easier to understand the position of the spiritual plane.
My friend Bhakta Saranga Swami was living in New Mexico (The Land of Enchantment) before he joined ISKCON. His girl-friend was a native American. She purported to see peoples "auras", thoughts. One time he was sitting in her living-room with her and her two cats watching a booring TV show. Then she said, "There's a ghost moving across the room and boy is this one strange looking".
My friend said, "Cut it out. Stop it".
She said, "You don't believe me do you?".
He said, "No. Stop it.".
She said (he told me), "Then just look at the cats."
He looked at the cats who were on the floor side by side at the foot of the couch and almost jumped out of his skin. They were sitting there crouched on the floor but they were both looking at something move across the room. Their heads were moving completely in synch from left to right looking at something he couldn't see.
Rarely some of the ghosts aren't somnambulists. Some are quite aware and intelligent and can cause big problems. The Vedas list many different "species" of these subtle beings.
My friend Rohini kumar was in Mexico in a village about 1972 when they were visited at times in night by duendes, dwarves. He and four other people once saw them run across their courtyard jump to the top of an eight foot wall and disappear. They were about two or three feet tall with little jackets with little buttons. The next day they asked the local people about this and they laughed and said, "Yes, we know them. They are duendes. They live in the forest and keep to themselves. Usually only rarely does anybody see them. But because you are new and foreigners they are curious. They are like children they usually don't cause any problems for anybody".
Citreshvara is an ISKCON "Ghost Buster". He comes from a tantric family in Orissa that traditionally busts ghosts. He was asked to exorcise one new member of the temple in Australia who was obviously possessd. "Who is his closest authority?", He asked, "Because when the ghost leaves it will try to go to him". "The New Devotee Program Director," they answered but he's a long distance away driving a vehicle here". "Physical distance doesn't matter. These fellows operate on mental, emotional distance. Is he strong minded?", asked Citeshvara. I know him, Janananda. He personally told me this event. He is a very literal, down-to-earth guy. But while driving the car the ghost attacked him. He didn't know at all what was going on and only later confirmed the event and the timings. Ghosts - Beings with only psychological coverings.
Courtesy of India Divine: http://www.indiadivine.com/pigs45.htm
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