|Saturday, August 31, 2002||
APROPOS of Khushwant Singh’s "More about life after death" (August 17), there is no attempt on my part to change the mind-set of the author who is a stubborn disbeliever in life beyond death. But our books on philosophy, our religious scriptures and our mythological stories which suggest the continuity of life cannot be all wrong. According to Plato’s Theory of Reminiscence, our present knowledge is a recollection of what was learnt or known by the soul in a previous state.
Today efforts are being to investigate the theory scientifically on the basis of empirical evidence instead of philosophical logic and reasoning. If pre-existence should happen to be a fact, it is obvious that the only possible empirical evidence of it would consist of verifiable recollection of that existence.
Research findings also prove that many of us have had previous lives. Dr Jamuna Prasad, one of India’s top researchers in the field, said that in several cases of reincarnation there were birth marks which corresponded to injuries sustained by these people in their previous lives which caused their deaths. Dr Stevenson has studied many cases in Turkey where the places of injury as indicated by the birth marks have been corroborated by autopsy reports.
K.M. Vashisht, Mansa
The writer refers to one reader from Sangrur who had suggested to him some tips on knowing more about death and life after death. In this connection I would like to say that there is a great difference between knowing about a thing and to know a thing. This ‘about’ creates a philosophy. To know ‘about’ means to gain knowledge from books, from old and ancient saints and seers. But to know a thing like death means to encounter it, taste it, face it, experience it. No belief, no readymade, second-hand knowledge will help. Only by encountering, do we come to know it. All other knowledge about death is speculative.
Further the writer asks: "What is left after death"? This can be known only by living the life after death. But a rational and logical person like the writer who lives by intellect and reason retorts, "How can I taste it?" Obviously we cannot taste, cannot have a death that we have not earned, for which we have not been working. That’s why for us, death proves to be either a punishment or a reward. We can have a dog’s death or a god’s death. It all depends on us. If we live superficially then our death will be a dog’s death, but if we live intensely, instinctively, from the heart, intelligently, not intellectually, if we allow our whole being to be involved in everything we do then we die a god’s death.
Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism believe in the theory of reincarnation and say we are not suddenly here, we have a continuity. On the other hand, Judaism, Christianity and Islam believe that there is only one life, this very life. There is nothing beyond birth and death. Life is all. For the believers of the first theory, there is a long chain of lives to come, and, therefore, they feel enlightenment can be attained or postponed to another life to come in the future. While, for the other set there is only one life and, therefore, they feel their desires can be fulfilled in this life only. And we know desires can never be fulfilled. It is not in the very nature of desires. So, both the views are lopsided. They miss much. At the fag end of life, mind-boggling queries remain. Is there any life beyond death? This questioning shows that the posers of this query have not lived their present life fully, totally and intensely.
Chand Singh Yadav, Rewari
Fear not fear
Apropos of Gitanjali Sharma’s thought-provoking article "Fear not fear" (August 3). The six basic fears that plague human beings are: one, the fear of poverty; two, the fear of old age; three, the fear of criticism, four, the fear of loss; five, the fear of ill-health; and six, the fear of death. Every human being from birth to death is afflicted to some extent, by one or more of these basic fears.
To combat fear, one ought to develop confidence. The development of self-confidence recharges the mind and puts an end to the demon called fear.
P.L. Sethi, Patiala