The Lord is never angry, never takes revenge,
hates, condemns, punishes, throws anyone into hell, or tempts anyone;
thus never does evil to anyone.
(Emanuel Swedenborg in True Christian
Contents of this page:
1 Death and the Entrance into the Spirit World
Part 1 gives an overview of the hereafter
according to Robert Crookal, and a couple of other authors. Robert
Crookal was a retired geologist (1960’s) who collected numerous accounts
of astral travels and carefully analyzed and evaluated them. In
approximately 10 years he collected and wrote about over 750 different
cases. I also highly recommend the books of Michael Newton: Journey of
Souls and Destiny of Souls. This contemporary writer is a hypnotherapist
who developed his own hypnosis technique to reach the memories of the
2 The Hereafter according to Emanuel Swedenborg
Part 2 gives an overview of the hereafter
according to Emmanual Swedenborg (1653–1735). He is a highly reliable
source for information about the spiritual worlds, in spite of his
archaic use of words.
3 The Tibetan View of
Part 3 gives an idea about how Buddhists think
of death and what lies beyond.
Ascent of the Blessed from paradise and hell,
1 Death and the
Entrance into the Spirit World
(based upon several sources)
When a person dies the silver cord, which is an
energy cord that connects the soul with the physical body, ceases to
exist. The physical body is now under the influence of its spirits and
the four Elements which will decompose it and return it to the earth.
From near-death experiences we know that when people die, some of them
go through a dark tunnel towards a light at the end; others are
immediately greeted by already deceased friends and relatives; or they
are bathed in a brilliant light.
The way of dying has a strong effect
on the state of mind of the deceased immediately after passing over.
When a person dies a sudden death, as with an accident, he often has no
clue that he passed over. He thinks he is still alive and is puzzled why
he cannot do the things he used to do, or why people do not respond to
him. His consciousness is as clear as when he was in the physical body
just before he died.
When a person dies a natural death, he notices
that he leaves his body, but soon afterwards he goes ‘to sleep’. His
consciousness goes into a vegetative sleep which is more like being in
an undifferentiated state of mind for a while. In this state of mind he
can hang around in the neighborhood of the place where he passed over.
His nebulous consciousness is able to perceive the physical world
vaguely, and sometimes he will attach himself to objects, plants,
animals or people. In the esoteric teachings this is called the great
Sleep, caused by the Dark Angel, the Angel of Death. This initial
vegetative state can last from a couple of hours to several days.
When he leaves his place of passing over, he still thinks he is alive,
and visits the living, and sometimes he lives with them for a while. He
is still half or totally unconscious of his deceased state.
souls have little interest in what happens to their physical bodies once
they are dead. But they do like to hover around the place where they
died for a few days.
Some souls are still attached to the physical
world. They try to communicate with the living. In houses that have been
built over an earth’s energy spot, they are able to use that energy to
manifest himself to the living.
Some of the deceased are still so
much attached to the physical that they attach themselves to a living
person to enjoy, through that person, the earthly pleasures, like the
taste of alcohol, cigarettes, food and so on. Those souls used to be
habitual drinkers, smokers and even compulsive criminals. Such a
situation is always to the detriment of the living person, as the
deceased interferes with the energy body of that living person. Ailments
and disease will follow, sometimes quickly, sometimes gradually. Some of
the deceased have a grudge against a living person and will attach
themselves to him in order to cause harm. Others had such a strong
connection with for example a family member, that when they pass over
they attach themselves to that family member, because they cannot give
up the relationship they had with that person. This also causes harm to
the living person, and the deceased often does not realize that. Such
disturbed spirits are rare, and help is available from higher, caring
entities, who can assist in the adjustment process from the other side.
So, the deceased now knows that he has passed over. Some of the deceased
now create themselves a dream world based on that what they had expected
to find when they would die. Based on these expectations he creates
himself a heaven, a hell or any other place he likes. Here he indulges
himself in what he likes to do, like eating, feasting and so on, until,
after a while, he gets bored with it and realizes that heaven or hell,
as he imagined it, is a boring place, and that his expectations of these
places were childish constructs of his mind. More developed souls will
move much faster through this stage.
Many spirits will hear relaxing
music, allowing them to feel more "at home". Souls will find themselves
in an environment of houses, rooms, parks, nature and so on. These are
all places created by their mind that relate to the laces they have
lived in on Earth. This astral world is usually much nice, more
beautiful, more colorful, and much more euphoric.
Although the soul
itself is androgynous, it will usually adapt an outer appearance of male
or female in the spirit world. It is a question of what sex one wants to
Once the deceased wakes up from his dreamy
consciousness, and is clear and lucid, he is calm and feels free. In
this of mind he can also contact the living.
Souls arriving in this
world are greeted by soul mates, friends, guides. Initially guides might
be in the background when friends welcome the deceased soul.
the initial stages souls will speed to their destination. They arrive at
their own specific group of entities at their own maturity level. Group
placement is determined by soul level. The souls represented in these
cluster groups are intimate old friends who have about the same
awareness level. It is usually a small primary unit of entities who have
direct and frequent contact, such as we would see in a human family.
Contact with souls from other groups is also possible. Members of the
same cluster group are closely united for all eternity. They are often
composed of like-minded souls with common objectives which they
continually work out with each other. Usually they choose lives together
as relatives and close friends during their incarnations on Earth.
necessary the deceased will undergo a healing process and a
reorientation to its spiritual environment. The reorientation is a
substantial counseling session with one's guide. The newly refreshed
soul undergoes a debriefing of the life just ended. It is a
self-evaluation process. It also provides emotional release and
readjustment back into the spirit world. More advanced souls might skip
the orientation process, although they will meet and talk to their
guides. They are usually able to move on much quicker after their
arrival in the spirit world.
At a later time the soul will meet with
a group of wise beings, usually called the Council masters or Elders.
This board of review is generally composed of between three and seven
members. While the Council is not prosecutorial, they do engage in
direct examination of a soul's activity. Here the soul's higher self
will then show him his entire past life with the highs and lows, and he
will judge himself according to universal spiritual laws. Yes, there is
no one else to judge you than yourself. You can also not deceive
yourself in this regard, as your higher self is straightforward, knows
the truth, and shows you incontrovertible where you failed.
soul has spent time playing, studying, creating in the spiritual world
in order to enhance its development, it will eventually feel the need
again to reincarnate. This involves an orientation process too, during
which a soul will be shown a series of possible lives on Earth.
Hereafter according to Emanuel Swedenborg
When man dies, the breath and the systolic
movements of the heart stop. The physical body and soul (the astral and
mental body) immediately separate. After the separation, the soul stays
for a little while by the physical body.
Once out of the physical
body, consciousness is in the soul, and one is attracted to those souls
or angels who correspond to the person’s inner state of being. Now he is
in the World of Spirits, which is an intermediate world between the
heavens and hells. In the beginning he keeps the same appearance as he
had when he was in the physical body, but this will slowly change, as
his appearance will reflect exactly his inner sate of being. By this
other souls can see to which spiritual level one belongs. In contrast to
life in the physical world, one cannot hide anything in the spiritual
In general, the deceased does not know he has passed over
when he arrives into the World of Spirits. He thinks he is still in the
physical body. He still keeps his memory and continues to act as if he
is still in the physical world.
When more highly evolved beings
interfere, the deceased is shown his past life in all the details.
There are three states the deceased undergoes before he goes to heaven
The first state of the exteriors: this state is very much
like on the physical plane. The deceased does not know that he has
passed over and thinks he is still in the physical world. He meets old
friends that have already passed over before him. They show him places,
cities, people, and teach him about his new state of being, and the
world he is now living in. Most deceased are so ignorant that they think
they are already in heaven, because they think they have lived a moral
and civil life. They never considered that both the bad and the good
live a similar life outwardly, alike in doing good to others, attending
public worship, hearing sermons and praying. They are ignorant not
understanding that external deeds and external acts of worship are of no
avail, only the internal state of being from which the external acts
proceed is real.
The second state of the interiors: now he starts to
go into his own inner state of being. In the previous state he still
could pretend to be different than he actually is. Now he can only act
according to his true intentions. He thinks from his own will, from his
own affection, from his own love. As in this world there is no fear of
losing one’s face, or one’s reputation, he starts to speak and act
openly that which he otherwise would have kept secret or hidden in the
physical world. His good and wicked characteristics come out
The third state is of instruction: This state is only
for those who go to the heavens. They get instructions by angels of
different orders. After the instruction the deceased are clothed with
angelic garments, which are mostly glowing white as if made of fine
linen, and they are lead towards the heavens and introduced to
societies. Those who are spiritually well evolved have clothes that
sparkle like flames; less evolved ones have cloths that shine like
light; and lesser evolved ones have glittering or just white cloths. The
lowest have cloths of different colors.
Swedenborg divides the
spiritual world into three: The World of Spirits where the deceased
arrives and stays at most thirty years. As we have seen in the above he
receives help and teachings. There are three main sections of hells
where the souls create themselves environments in which they
continuously suffer, engage in heated discussions, act out their anger
and so on. There are three main sections of heavens too.
3 The Tibetan View of Death
Tibetan monks have studied the human being for
centuries and have come up with a clear understanding of what death is
and what happens after death. According to Buddhism, death is the
separation of the mind and body. Each living being has a mind or
consciousness which continues to exist after the death of the body, and
takes a new rebirth.
Usually the name Bardo is used for the
afterlife. The name bardo means "an interval between two things" and can
be used for any interval. In the context of the afterlife we call it the
Bardo of Becoming. As there is no physical world present anymore for the
soul to interact with, the desires of the individual carry the largely
helpless soul through a variety of emotional states. As the inner state
of the soul now immediately manifests itself, the soul will experience
pleasure, pain and other emotions depending on the inner qualities of
the soul. Nothing in the Bardo is real, it is all projected by the soul,
it is like a dream state where the soul creates what it wants to
The Tibetans say that immediately after death the soul
becomes unconscious for a short or long time.
When the soul awakens
it comes face to face with the Dharmakaya, the body of truth. It is an
all pervasive light, it is pure consciousness. With conscious effort the
soul should dissolve itself into the light, and thus enter a state of
light and bliss beyond the continual cycles of birth and death to which
most souls are subjected. It all depends, at that moment, if we can
become aware that this light is the true essence of our being. However
few beings have completed the necessary preparations to remain fully
aware during this state. To most souls the radiance of this light is too
overpowering and they shy away from it. An opportunity of enlightenment
has been lost, although it will present itself again later on but in a
more fragmented and fleeting way. The soul falls into darkness and
awakens in the next stage of the Bardo.
The soul awakens again and is
confronted with the brilliant light of the realm of the enlightened
beings, also called the realm of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities. All
Gods, Goddesses and mythical images become vividly alive within
consciousness. Because the ego is habituated to dualistic perception,
the soul tries to cling to the forms of the Peaceful Deities and is
repulsed by the Wrathful deities. When the mind perceives these deities
it should remember that it still has a dualistic impression of an "I"
experiencing the "other" (the deities). It should take this opportunity
to transcend the illusion of duality and recognize the deities as
projections of his own mind. In essence they are neither peaceful nor
wrathful, this is only a perception of the mind. But most souls get
confused and miss the opportunity to liberate themselves. The habitual
tendencies, like anger, hate, attachment, ignorance and so on, drive the
soul to the next stage in the afterlife: the six realms of samsara,
symbolized by the well known Wheel of Samsara, or Existence, or Birth
In it we see Yama, the god of death holding the Wheel. At
the center we see a cock, a snake and a pig. They symbolize the "Three
Poisons": ignorance (pig), which give rise to aversion (snake) and
attachment (cock). Snake and cock are sometimes taken for greed and
pride. All three keep the human being in a vicious circle of
self-sustaining suffering. In the circle around it are beings moving up
or down, symbolizing their progress or downfall in their spiritual
lives. When death strikes man goes to the afterlife which is divided in
six realms: the realm of the gods (Devas), the realm of the demi-gods (Asuras
or titans), the realm of the humans, the realm of the Hungry Ghosts or
continually frustrated spirits, the realm of the hell beings, and the
realm of the animals. This correspond more or less with the heavens and
hells of other religions.
Where the soul will go in the realms of
the afterlife, depends on how the person has lived and thus on his state
of mind. In other words, it depends on the karma he has generated. As
all the subconscious things in the soul are coming up, and depending on
what the strongest tendency inside us is, then one of the six afterlife
realms begins to predominate.
If the soul has lived a life in which
it has done a lot of good things for other people, it will go to the
realms of the gods (Devas). However they are under the illusion that
they have achieved the highest level. They are filled with pride,
condescension and self-righteousness. When jealousy is the strongest
feeling, the soul goes to the realm of the demi-gods, as they are always
fighting for what others have. They are bound by competitive
conditioning and underlying feelings of inadequacy. The Preta or Hungry
Ghosts realm is occupied by those beings whose hunger is insatiable, not
only for solid food but for subtle foods like knowledge and all forms of
stimulation. The animal realm is filled with those so confined by their
habitual tendencies that any threat to their narrow and frozen condition
sets off the "flight or fight" reaction (animals feel secure in their
habits and fear the unknown). The human realm is a combination of
floating anxieties about praise and blame, with hopes and fears rising
and falling, underlined by the painful reality of impermanence and
death. The realm of the hell beings is marked with catastrophic pain,
panic without rest. So you see, the six realms are a division of six
main psychological characteristics that keep the human mind bound to its
projections in the material world.
Although every ego may be
dominated by a particular psychological characteristic and dwell in one
particular realm during certain times, there will be a movement from one
realm to another, because we, as humans beings, contain all these realms
When in the Bardo one should wake up from those
dream states, or the projections of the soul, and start meditating to
make a connection with the divine. There is always the possibility of
experiencing the true nature of mind, and pure awareness. Only then the
soul can escape the realms of the afterlife.
However most souls
reincarnate again, as their desires and passions drive them to a new
physical body. It is said that the soul remains forty-nine days in the
afterlife before reincarnating again, but this number should be taken