All spiritual and religious traditions have their theories on what becomes of the dead. Christian tradition teaches of souls going to the gates of judgement where they will be sent to heaven or hell based on righteousness or sins manifest in life. Islam teaches a similar doctrine of blessing if one is a benevolent in life or punishment if one is malevolent in life. Mystical traditions also have similar doctrines that teach that at the time of death the soul embarks on a journey of recounting his or her life, owning up to one’s sins, facing judgement, and going on to an afterlife experience in correspondence with the quality of the life lived. Again, we find a universal truth in the things that cannot be readily understood by the objective mind, uniting the world in an understanding of the divi and the cycles of life.
Ancient Books of the Dead
Mystical traditions of the past, and some still practiced in the present, contain more elaborate mentions of the process of death and the afterlife. For example, ancient Egyptian beliefs, as dictated in the
Egyptian book of the Dead
, tell of the soul going with Anubis through a series of obstacles where the soul is made to disclose his or her sins prior to having his or her heart weighed against the feather of Ma’at on the scales of truth. If the soul is found to be a worthy voice of truth, then he or she is taken to Osiris to live a life of bliss. If the soul is unworthy, then it is sent to be devoured by a beast called the Ammit. The Egyptian Book of the Dead also contains a series of spells and invocations that charge amulets to protect the dead from harm and preserve elements of the soul for reunion and reincarnation.
Another mystical tradition on the process of death is contained in the
Tibetan Book of the Dead
, which contains a series of rituals performed by Tibetan Buddhist monks prior t, during, and after the time of death. The rituals, which typically last up to 49 days, have the intent of bringing healing and guidance to the soul during the time of transition. The book contains mantras that are chanted to help the soul safely detach from the body and detach from the temporal world as a whole. After death, the soul faces the choice of two lights: a blue light and a white light. Chanting and meditations performed by the monks are intended to help the soul move toward the blue light of eternal oneness with the creator, while the white light leads to reincarnation. For the Buddhist, judgement comes in the form of karma or dharma and the level of one’s attachment to the temporal world, which leads to reincarnation or the final ascension of the soul.
In all spiritual and religious traditions, the quality of the lives we live will definitely impact the quality of the afterlife for the soul. There is no getting around it. Living a life of righteousness and consciousness is imperative to living in abundance and peace in the temporal world and in the eternal world. What we have to be conscious of as humans is the fact that living in the now does not mean that we are excused from being held accountable for our choices and actions in the future. Whether we believe that we are going to face God at the gates of judgement, have our hearts weighed against the feather of truth, or be faced with our soul’s magnetism towards a life of ascension or eternal reincarnation we have be to be cognizant of the universal truth that in death we will account for everything that we have done in life, and the afterlife will manifest in judicial correspondence to the life we lived on the material plane.