From *Brahma-Sutras* 4.2.17.
Commentary by Swami Vireswarananda, Adwaita Ashram, Mayavati:
This Sutra says that though the illumining of the top of the heart is common to both, yet the knower of the Saguna Brahman, through the grace of the Lord who abides in the heart, departs through the skull only, while others depart through other parts.
From *Chandogya Upanishad*:8.6.6.
There are a hundred and one nerves of the heart; one of them penetrates the head; going up along that, one attains immortality; the others serving for departure in various directions.
From *The Mahabharata*, Santi Parva, Section CCXCVIII
Parsara said: That man is regarded as righteous who meets with dissolution when the Sun is in the northern declension, and at a time and under a constellation both of which are sacred and auspicious
From *The Bhagavad Gita*, Ch.8
Verses 5, 6,10,13,15 & 16
Translations and comments by Swami Shivananda
The Divine Life Society, Rishikesh
And whosoever, leaving the body, goes forth remembering Me alone, at the time of death, he attains My Being: there is no doubt about this. 5
Whosoever at the end leaves the body, thinking of any being, to that being only does he go, because of his constant thought of that being. Verse 6
At the time of death with unshaken mind, endowed with devotion, by the power of Yoga, fixing the whole life-breath in the middle of the two eyebrows, he reaches that resplendent Supreme Person. 10
[Note: The Yogi gets immense inner strength and power of concentration. His mind becomes quite steady through constant practice of concentration and meditation. He practices concentration first on the lower Chakras, Viz., Muladhara, Svadhisthana, and Manipura. He then concentrates on the lotus of the heart (Anahata Chakra). Then he takes the life-breath (Prana) through the Susumna and fixes it in the middle of the two eyebrows. He eventually attains the resplendent Supreme Purusha (Person) by the above Yogic practice. This is possible for one who has devoted his whole life to the practice of Yoga.]
Uttering the one-syllabled Om (AUM, the Brahman or the Supreme Reality), and remembering Me, he who departs, leaving the body, attains to the Supreme Goal. 13
Having attained Me these great souls do not again take birth (here) which is the place of pain and is non-eternal; they have reached the highest perfection (liberation). 15
(All) the worlds, including the world of Brahma are subject to return again, but he who reaches Me has no rebirth. 16
*From other sources*:
Your wealth will remain on earth; your cattle will remain in the stables, Your wife will come till the entrance door, your relatives and friends will come till the cremation ground, your body will accompany you till the funeral pyre, but on the way beyond this life only your Karmas will accompany you.
Dhanaani Bhoomau Pashvascha Goshthe
Bharyaa Gruh Dwaare Swajan Smashaane
Karmaanu Go Gacchati Jeev Ek
From *The Mahabharata*
Aswamedha Parva, Section XVII
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli
How does the body dissolve away and how is another body acquired?
Enjoying Prakriti for sometime, how does Jiva (embodied soul)
cast off the particular body (which Prakriti or Nature gives)?
Urged by Kasyapa, the emancipated sage answered those questions one after another.
The emancipated sage said: Upon the exhaustion of those acts capable of prolonging life and bringing on a fame which are done in a particular body that Jiva (embodied soul) assumes, the embodied Jiva, with the span of his life shortened, begins to do acts hostile to life and health. On the approach of destruction, his understanding turns away from the proper course. The man of uncleansed soul, after even a correct apprehension of his constitution and strength and of the season of both his own life and of the year, begins to eat at irregular intervals and to eat such food as is hostile to him.
[Note: Food that is beneficial in the summer is not so in winter or that which is beneficial in youth is otherwise in old age, or food that does not suit his constitution (Prakriti).]
At such a time he indulges in practices that are exceedingly harmful. He sometimes eats excessively and sometimes abstains altogether from food. He eats bad food or bad meat or takes bad drinks, or food that has been made up of ingredients incompatible with one another. He eats food that is heavy in excess of the measure that is beneficial, or before the food previously taken has been digested.
He indulges in physical exercises and sexual pleasure in excess of the due measure, or through avidity for work, suppresses the urgings of his corporeal organism even when they become pronounced. Or, he takes food that is very juicy, or indulges in sleep during daytime. Food that is not properly digested, of itself excites the faults, when the time comes. [Note: The faults are three, viz., Wind, Bile and Phlegm (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). When existing in a state of harmony, they produce health. When one of these faults is excited, or two, or all three, then indisposition sets in. They are called Dosha or faults, because of their liability to be excited and produce disease. From the excitement of such faults in his body, he gets disease ending in death itself.
Sometimes the person engages in perverse or unnatural acts like a hanging (for bringing about his death). Urged on by the Wind which becomes violent, the heat in the body, becoming excited and reaching every part of the body one after another, restrains all the (movements of the) vital breaths. Know truly that excited all over the body, the heat becomes very strong, and pierces every vital part where life may be said to reside. In consequence of this, Jiva, feeling great pain, quickly takes leave of its mortal casement. Know, O foremost of regenerate persons, that when the vital parts of the physical organism become thus afflicted, Jiva (embodied soul) slips away from the body, overwhelmed with great pain.
All living creatures are repeatedly afflicted with birth and death. It is seen, O chief of Brahmanas, that the pain which is felt by a person when casting off his bodies is like what is felt by him when first entering the womb or when issuing out of it. His joints become almost dislocated and he derives much distress from the waters (of the womb). Urged on by another violent wind, the wind that is in the body becomes excited through the cold, and dissolves away the union of matter (called the body) into its respective elements numbering five.
The wind that resides in the vital breaths called Prana and Apana occurring within this compound of the five primal elements, rushes upwards, from a situation of distress, leaving the embodied creature. It is even thus that the wind leaves the body. Then is seen breathlessness. The man then becomes destitute of heat, of breath, of beauty, and consciousness. Deserted by Brahman (for jiva is Brahman), the person is said to be dead.
By those ducts through which he perceives all sensuous objects, the bearer of the body no longer perceives them. It is the eternal Jiva who creates in the body in those very ducts the life-breaths that are generated by food. The elements gathered together become in certain parts firmly united. Know that those parts are called the vitals of the body. It is said so in the Sastras (scriptures). When those vital parts are pierced, Jiva, rising up, enters the heart of the living creature and restrains the principle of animation without any delay.
The creature then, though still endued with the principle of consciousness, fails to know anything. The vital parts being all overwhelmed, the knowledge of the living creature becomes overwhelmed by darkness. Jiva then, who has been deprived of everything upon which to stay, is then agitated by the wind. He then, deeply breathing a long and painful breath, goes out quickly, causing the inanimate body to tremble.
Dissociated from the body, Jiva, however, is surrounded by his acts. He becomes equipped on every side with all his auspicious acts of merit and with all his sins. Brahmanas endued with knowledge and equipped with the certain conclusions of the scriptures, know him, from indications, as to whether he is possessed of merit or with its reverse. Even as men possessed of eyes, behold the firefly appearing and disappearing amid darkness, men possessed of the eye of knowledge and crowned with success of penances, behold, with spiritual vision, Jiva (individual soul) as he leaves the body, as he is reborn, and as he enters the womb.
It is seen that a Jiva has three regions assigned to him eternally. This world where creatures dwell is called the field of action. Accomplishing acts good or bad, all embodied creatures attain to the fruits thereof. In consequence of their own acts, creatures acquire even here superior or inferior enjoyments. The Doers of evil deeds here, in consequence of those acts of theirs, attain to Hell. This condition of sinking with the head downwards, in which creatures are cooked, is one of great misery. It is such that a rescue therefrom is exceedingly difficult. Indeed, one should strive hard for saving oneself from this misery.
Those regions where creatures dwell when they ascend from this world, I shall now declare truly. Do thou listen to me with attention. By listening to what I say, thou shall attain to firmness of understanding and a clear apprehension of (good and bad) acts. Know that even those are the regions of all creatures of righteous deeds, viz., the stellar worlds that shine in the firmament, the lunar disc, and the solar disc as well that shines in the universe in its own light. Upon the exhaustion, again, of their merits, they fall away from those regions repeatedly. There, in heaven itself, is the distinction of inferior, superior, and middling felicity. There, in Heaven itself, is discontent at sight of prosperity more blazing than one’s own. Even these are the goals which I have mentioned in detail.
... To Be Contd...........