The other day, I came across an interesting as well as intriguing article in the "Bangalore Mirror" and feel like to share it here. These astonishing images are said to show the human spirit (in blue) leaving the body in the 'death moment'.
The Russian scientist Dr Konstantin Korotkov claims that the pictures show the 'exact moment of death'.
The images show "the soul" gradually slipping out of the body before the patient's image turns red. Talk about an "out-of-body" experience... !!!
Soul, is the vital, immaterial, life principle, generally conceived as existing within humans and sometimes within all living things, inanimate objects, and the universe as a whole. Religion and philosophy have long been concerned with the nature of the soul in their attempts to understand existence and the meaning of life.
It is the immaterial aspect or essence of a person, conjoined with the body during life and separable at death. The concept of a soul is found in nearly all cultures and religions, though the interpretations of its nature vary considerably. The ancient Egyptians conceived of a dual soul, one surviving death but remaining near the body, while the other proceeded to the realm of the dead (See the article Egyptian soul for more details). The early Hebrews did not consider the soul as distinct from the body, but later Jewish writers perceived the two as separate. Christian theology adopted the Greek concept of an immortal soul, adding the notion that God created the soul and infused it into the body at conception. In Islam, the soul is believed to come into existence at the same time as the body but is everlasting and subject to eternal bliss or torment after the death of the body. In Hinduism each soul, or atman, was created at the beginning of time and imprisoned in an earthly body; at death the soul is said to pass to a new body according to the laws of karma.
Buddhism negates the idea of a soul, asserting that any sense of an individual self is illusory. In some Mahayana Buddhist schools, particularly Tibetan Buddhism, the view is that there are 3 minds: Very-Subtle-Mind, which isn't disintegrated in incarnation-death; Subtle-Mind, which is disintegrated in death, and is "dreaming-mind" or "unconscious-mind"; and Gross-Mind. Gross-Mind doesn't exist when one is sleeping, so it is more impermanent even than Subtle-Mind, which doesn't exist in death. Very-Subtle-Mind, however, does continue, and when it "catches on" or coincides with phenomena again, a new Subtle-Mind emerges, with its own personality/assumptions/habits and that someone/entity experiences the karma on that continuum that is ripening then. One should note the polarity in Tibetan Buddhism between shes-pa (the principle of consciousness) and rigpa (pure consciousness equal to Buddha-nature). The concept of a person as a tulku provides even more controversy. A tulku has, due to heroic austerities and esoteric training (or due to innate talent combined with great subtle-mind commitment in the moment of death), achieved the goal of transferring personal "identity" (or nature/commitment) from one rebirth to the next (for instance, Tibetans consider the Dalai Lama a tulku).
According to Jainism, Soul (Jiva) exists as a reality, having a separate existence from the body that houses it. Every living being from a plant or a bacterium to human, has a soul. The soul (Jiva) is differentiated from non-soul or non-living reality (ajiva) that consists of: matter, time, space, medium of motion and medium of rest. For Jains, Moksa - the realization of the soul and its salvation - are the highest objective to be attained. (Note: You can read the quotes on soul from Pancastikayasara, a 1st century CE Jaina text authored by Acarya Kundakunda). In another text, Bhavapahuda, gatha 64, Acharya Kundakunda describes soul as thus:
arasamaruvamagandham avvattam cedanagunasamaddam
This is translated as follows:
The soul is without taste, colour and cannot be perceived by the five senses. Consciousness is its chief attribute. Know the soul to be free of any gender and not bound by any dimensions of shape and size.
Hence the soul according to Jainism is indestructible and permanent from the point of view of substance. It is temporary and ever changing from the point of view of its modes. Māhavīras responses to various questions recorded in Bhagvatisūtra demonstrates a recognition that there are complex and multiple aspects to truth and reality and a mutually exclusive approach cannot be taken to explain such reality:
Gautama: Lord! Is the soul permanent or impermanent?
Mahavira: The soul is permanent as well is impermanent. From the point of view of the substance it is eternal. From the point of view of its modes it undergoes birth, decay and destruction and hence impermanent.
Sikhism considers Soul (atma) to be part of Universal Soul, which is God (Parmatma). Various hymns are cited from the holy book "Sri Guru Granth Sahib" (SGGS) that suggests this belief. "God is in the Soul and the Soul is in the God."The same concept is repeated at various pages of the SGGS. For example: "The soul is divine; divine is the soul. Worship Him with love." and "The soul is the Lord, and the Lord is the soul; contemplating the Shabad, the Lord is found." In Taoism the soul has two manifestations, the po (魄 pò) or yin soul and the hun (魂 hún) or yang soul. The pò is linked to the dead body and the grave, whereas the hún is linked to the ancestral tablet. There could be multiple pò and hún for each person. In more primitive religions (forms of animism and spiritism), the soul is often conceived as controlling both motor and mental processes; death, the cessation of these processes, is thus viewed as caused by the departure of the soul.
In Zoroastrian tradition, life is a temporary state in which a mortal is expected to actively participate in the continuing battle between truth and falsehood. Prior to being born, the soul (urvan) of an individual is still united with its fravashi, of which there are as very many, and which have existed since Ahura Mazda* created the universe. During life, the fravashi acts as a guardian and protector. On the fourth day after death, the soul is reunited with its fravashi, and in which the experiences of life in the material world are collected for the continuing battle in the spiritual world. In general, Zoroastrianism does not have a notion of reincarnation, at least not until the final renovation of the world. Pantheism denies the individuation of human souls, and materialism declares the soul nonexistent. One of the widespread concepts in religion is that of immortality, which almost always postulates the existence of a soul that lives apart from the body after death. In ancient Vedic thought, the individual soul was symbolized by fire.
In Hinduism, the Sanskrit words most closely corresponding to soul are "Jiva/Atma", meaning the individual soul or personality, and "Atman", which can also mean soul. The Atman is seen as the portion of the Brahman. God is described as the Supreme soul. Hinduism contains many variant beliefs on the origin, purpose, and fate of the soul. For example, advaita or non-dualistic conception of the soul accords it union with Brahman, the absolute uncreated (roughly, the Godhead), in eventuality or in pre-existing fact. Dvaita or dualistic concepts reject this, instead identifying the soul as a part and parcel of the supreme soul (God), but it never lose its identity. That is where we as an individual get an identity. According to the scriptures, this identity exists eternally; the soul never dies. It only transmigrates from one body to other body.
The Bhagavad Gita, one of the most significant puranic scriptures, refers to the spiritual body or soul as Purusha (see also Samkhya philosophy). The Purusha is part and parcel of God, is unchanging (is never born and never dies), is indestructible, and essentially indivisible. It is made up of three components:
The presence of a soul is perceived by its consciousness. According to the Bhagavad Gita, all living entities are soul proper. When the soul leaves the body, then it is called death. That means, death is transmigration of soul from one body to another body. Soul transmigrates from one body to another body based on their karmic [performed deeds] reactions.
Life and death: In theology, when referring to the soul, the terms "life" and "death" are different and thus distinguished from the common concepts of "biological life" and "biological death." Because the soul is said to be transcendent of the material existence, and is said to have (potentially) eternal life, the death of the soul is likewise said to be an eternal death. Thus, in the concept of divine judgment, God is commonly said to have options with regard to the dispensation of souls, ranging from Heaven (i.e. angels) to hell (i.e. demons), with various concepts in between. Typically both Heaven and hell are said to be eternal, or at least far beyond a typical human concept of lifespan and time. Religions which subscribe to non-monotheistic views, in particularly Dharmic religions, may have differing concepts, such as reincarnation, nirvana, etc.
Dr Walter Semkiw, who propounds the 'reincarnation theory', says it has rid him of the fear of death and instilled belief in karma. "I don't see death as anything to be worried about. I persist. It's important how you live your life and not hurt people because that will come back to you. So karma is real." His research also points toward group reincarnation. "It's like planning a prolonged holiday. If you were to go to the US for six months, wouldn't you make a list of friends you want to see and stay with? Reincarnation is like that, you play out relationships with family members and friends." The first time he explored the possibility of a past life, Dr Semkiw was bored. "I didn't believe in mediums, but it was winter in Chicago and there was nothing else to do."
The seal of approval upon his theories comes in the form of the Anne Frank-Barbo Karlen case. The Swede had memories of being Holocaust victim Anne Frank and the Anne Frank Foundation has recognised her as an official reincarnation. "This demonstrated that individuals can change religion, nationality and ethnic affiliations from one reincarnation to another, and observation that can foster world peace." Along with Karma, which is personal, Semkiw's evidences of reincarnation also propound 'Dharma', our life-purpose. This is, he says, to spread the evidence of reincarnation to remind people to live better lives.
Interesting, right... ?!! What say... ???
Dr Walter Semkiw is the author of two books, "Born again" and "Origin of the Soul".
*In Zoroastrianism, the Ahura Mazda is the beginning and the end, the creator of everything which can and cannot be seen, the Eternal, the Pure and the only Truth. In the Gathas, the most sacred texts of Zoroastrianism thought to have been composed by Zoroaster himself, the prophet acknowledged devotion to no other divinity besides Ahura Mazda.
The 'Death moment' (Picture courtesy: http://www.mirror.co.uk/). Incredible images of human spirit leaving the body in the 'death moment'.