Beyond Death: Does our after-life affect our present being?
"What is beyond death ?" It's a question which we think of often. It's a question for which we don't have a definite answer. After all, how can any one of us know that right This question has an exorbitant amount of answers. Ranging from afterlife theories, eternal peace to meeting with god and rebirths. It has been widely portrayed in pop-culture, classical literature and a wide number of fields. Here's exploring some of those answers and theories, Anthahkarana from our Perspectoverse.
"The Story of God - with Morgan Freeman" is said to be one of the best series ever made on the topic of religion. It explores different religions and their beliefs. The very first episode of this series talks about the very topic of "Beyond death."
In an episode on Egypt, Morgan Freeman travels to explore the beliefs of Egyptians pertaining to the after-life. It is said that Egyptians are the ones who introduced the after-life thought into their religious system. For the ancient Egyptians, the afterlife of the pharaoh [synonym to a modern-day king] was vital. It ensured the sun would rise each morning. They believed that the afterlife of the pharaohs provided essential power to sustain the living.
Contrarily, Mexicans believe afterlife in a different way. Each year, they celebrate a day to meet with the souls of the dead. It's literally called the day of the dead ! The history of this day dates back to the aztec ideas of the afterlife. It is portrayed as a holiday of joyful celebration rather than mourning. The multi-day holiday involves family and friends gathering to pay respects and to remember friends and family members who have died. These celebrations can take a humorous tone, as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed.
Although this might seem like a cheerful story, the story behind this is really dark. The Aztecs, same as Egyptians, believed that afterlife was essential to sustain the living. They believed without the power drawn from the death of the few, all life would come to an end. They deliberately made human sacrifices, so that people here could continue their worldly being.
As seen earlier, Pharaoh's afterlife played a significant role in the way Egyptians believe in the concept of what lies after death. Correspondingly, Jesus' crucifixion is what defines afterlife for the majority of Christians. In Morgan Freeman's own words - "For Christians, Jesus' blood sacrifice was the last that needed to be made. From then onward, all you had to sacrifice for eternal life were your selfish desires. In this way, the death of Jesus was transformed for Christians into the ultimate victory over death."
In addition to this, some Christians say that at the end of time, everybody will be raised up in a physical state on a new Earth. Some people feel that this simply refers to the idea that the whole person will be present in Heaven.
India is a land of many cultures. It has a plethora of religions and beliefs. The major religion in India, Hinduism - has the belief that our life doesn't end at our death. Hindus believe in reincarnation. 'Live a good life, and death gets you a new body with a chance for an even better life. Live badly, and you'll suffer the consequences in your next life.' And this is an eternal cycle - living, dying and being born again.
However, to one's surprise, rebirth is not the goal. The goal is to transcend rebirth and to reach what is essentially the god state. (Moksha)
Death is a familiar concept in the field of philosophy. Different facets of death are explored by various philosophers. Greek philosopher Epicurus' rendition of death is one of the more interesting ones among these. Although he doesn't exactly describe afterlife or the life beyond death, he shares his opinion on how these concepts could affect us now. He says that the obstacle to enjoying the peace of a tranquil mind is the fear of death. He proposes that 'If we are unable to feel anything, mentally or physically, when we die, it is foolish to let the fear of death cause us pain while we are still alive.' It is just that the fear of a good life after death shouldn't hinder us from enjoying the one we have.
Written by Anthakarana Shivamogga
Illustrated by Rishita Banerjee