Forum February

Departing from this World - 1

from: Hazrat Inayat Khan:

'Aqibat, Life After Death'

(see also Counsellor)

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We love our body and identify ourselves with it to such an extent that we are very unhappy to think that this body, which is so dear to us, will some day be in the grave. No one likes to think that it will die and be destroyed.

But the soul is our true self. It existed before our birth and will exist after our death. That which holds the conception of ‘I’, a living entity, is not the body but the soul deluded by the body. The soul thinks that it is the body; it thinks that it walks, sits, lies down when the body does, but it does not really do any of these things. A little indisposition of the body makes it think, ‘I am ill.’ A slight offence makes it dejected. A little praise makes it think itself in heaven.

In reality it is not in heaven nor on earth; it is where it is. The soul's dwelling in the material body deludes it so much that it thinks, ‘I can live only on material food, can stand only on earth, can enjoy only material surroundings. Without these I am nowhere, I am nothing.'

There is a Persian saying: ‘Do not build a house on the ground of another.’ But this is what the soul does. Whatever it sees, the consciousness recognizes as itself. Its purity makes it reflect whatever is before it, and then it thinks, ‘This is I’, just as clear water reflects our image. The soul then wants everything to be very nice and pleasant for its comfort and vanity. It wants to see its objective self well dressed; then it wants very good things about it. It sets up a good house, and all through this life it is in pursuit of these things. .

Then when death comes this building raised on the sand is blown away. Its collected property is taken from it. This is a very, very great disappointment. It loses all that it took interest in. Its withdrawing into its pure self, and the scattering of all earth's deluding environment from its sight impresses it with the idea of death, to its greatest horror. This horror and disappointment are the only death there is, for the body is nothing but a covering put over our soul, and when it is gone we are not dead; just as we do not think that we are dead when our coat is worn out, or if someone tears our shirt.

The moment when a person dies is the only moment when he feels that he is dead. The impression of his dying condition, the hopelessness of the doctor, the sorrow and grief of the family, all make up this impression. After death, as he recovers from this impression, he gradually finds himself alive; for the life which kept him alive in his physical garb, of course feels strange in the absence of that garb. Yet it is not dead; it is even more alive, for that great burden has been removed which for a time had made him think that the physical garb was his life.

To whom the soul truly belongs,

to Him in the end she returns.


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