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After dying do we meet all our dead relatives and ancestors ? Do we meet even our those ancestors whom we don't know ?

What does Hinduism say about this ? Whom do we meet after death - in heaven or hell ?

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  • Why the tag 'Mahabharata' has been used here?
    – LSSJ Broly
    Nov 6, 2022 at 15:14
  • We recognise each other by 5 senses. These are nonexistent once soul merged into ocean of Brahman. So the only communication maybe at the shradha of the Pitrs , communicating our gratefulness and desire for their well being. These Pitrs only exist in our mind channels. As spirit after paying prices of sin , merges completely. In the kriyas we sacrifice for their merging into ultimate peace.
    – ajitdas
    Sep 19, 2023 at 11:29
  • @ajitdas - you are only focusing of atma getting moksha. there are countless who do not get moksha. Until then pitrus etc. exist in spirit world, not just a figment of our imagination.
    – ram
    Dec 25, 2023 at 5:49

2 Answers 2

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The metaphysical concepts are currently under-research topics and don't take this answer as a fact. In fact, I've tried my best of scientific exploration of how much it is known about lokas, death, reincarnation, etc. and how they are interpreted in Hinduism. In case of any error, feel free to point out.


Almost all religions in the world accept the construct of heaven and hell (lokas). Interestingly, the determination of lokas after the death of the physical body is attributed to Karma or the action that they have performed which has pleased the lord.

Hinduism goes a step further and enlists 7 lokas (not only being limited to hell and heaven). Similarly, the determination of attribution of a specific lokas is determined by his/her karmas in the physical plane. There are pieces of evidence that certain souls or people even travel across lokas or get liberation after attending lokas without having to reincarnate back into the earth (as these lokas are temporary).


Vedanta: Upanishads and Vedas

Unfortunately, whether we meet our relatives or not - is not the goal of Hinduism. The Hindu texts have a main goal - the three questions of life: Who am I?, What is this world? and What is my purpose in this world?. The majority of the vedant texts deal with the problem of liberation and realization of self or atman. But they still acknowledge the idea of - lokas, reincarnation, the astral plane, and the meeting of the soul.

To perfectly answer your question - you'd need to look into the realms of Tantra and Yogachara.


Tantra: What are lokas?

Lokas are spaces similar to hell and heaven (7 lower and 7 higher + 1 physical plane), where human beings temporarily go to exhaust their fruits of karma, and when successfully neutralized enough to reincarnate back to earth - they come back.

They are usually known to be astral spaces. There have been claims of flashbacks in the brain after death in scientific literature in a dream-like state. This may be attributed to lokas only. (See the below section.)

In tantra yoga, it is possible to transverse various lokas (or even astral travel) through - Nidra Yoga (a hypnosis-like state often called lucid dreaming in Western literature).

Whenever you are using the subconscious mind—dreaming or employing its creative power of visions and visualization—you are to some degree in the astral world.

-- Read more: https://yogananda.com.au/py_talks/astral_world01.html

It is indeed possible to direct concentration to various nadis or chakras to experience certain lokas as certain tantric texts like - Mahanirvana Tantra, Uttara Gita, etc. have acknowledged. Usually, these practices are done at intermediate levels and are often used by yogis to check one's destiny into which lokas after death.

These lokas could be attributed to just a dream-like state before death, where you are dreaming - but NOT able to wake up to physicality as the physical body ceases to work, so it can be hypothesized to be a very real-like state because one experiences it deeply and not able to wake up (for simplicity in understanding, let's say), hence you get trapped in an illusion-like state - called loka.


NDE and OBEs

In scientific literature, NDEs refer to Near-death-like Experience or human experience post-death simulation, and OBEs refer to out-of-body experience which is one most frequently observed cases in NDEs where the subject comes out of the body and experiences the world in the astral body.

In tantra yoga and Vajrayana Buddhism like cultures it's possible to simulate death to a great extent and so - OBEs. They are usually practiced by advanced-level yogis.

It is usually reported that people often recount hell or heaven-like realms during NDE experiments. They see various gods/goddesses/deities (according to their culture and beliefs) in those states. Some of them even recount meeting their dead relatives too. [See here].

Unfortunately, these experiences are regarded as not real or as hallucinations of the mind during death (as noted in the Tantra section above). Thus, it is futile to think of death to meet old relatives or people. Therefore, lokas might be regarded as a consequence of the phenomenon of releasing all burdened emotions after death.


Why one cannot meet people after death?

Soul, according to the definition of Upanishads is usually regarded as an entity that witnesses a person's thoughts, emotions, feelings, actions, senses, memories, etc. It doesn't have any emotion or memories of its own, rather it witnesses those physical attributes of a person to which it is attached (like a person watching a movie, knowing he is NOT the actual participant in the scene - this has been explained well in Ashtavakra Gita very well). Hence, once after death it doesn't carry any memory of its own (as memory is an attribute of a physical brain) (see for references: Why don't we remember our past lives?).

As a rule of thumb, it can be said that it roughly chooses its next birth that suits well as a sequel to its previous birth during the time of death (It is a bit complex in Hinduism, out-of-the-scope of the present answer, let's assume if true). Hence the laws of Prarabdha karma. Hence, it is impossible to meet someone who has already reincarnated.

PS - However, it is important to note that - The astral body is acknowledged to carry manas to certain bodies that contain a little bit of memory information).


Is it possible to communicate with relatives? (Without meeting!)

There are two well-known ways:

  1. Parakaya Pravesha: It is a known Siddhi that is used to enter into a different body using Yogachara (Yogic Meditation). It is very well possible to enter into the body of a dead person through Parakaya Pravesha as demonstrated by notable people like Adi Shankaracharya. A firm development of such siddhis usually takes up to 2-7 years, in certain cases even a few weeks for experienced people. One can use samyama to enter into the dead bodies of the people and communicate with them.
  2. Brute force search: Certain psychology researchers like Dr Jim B. Tucker have propounded the idea that consciousness can be understood as something different from the Brain itself (similar to what I've discussed). Inspired by Vedanta, he conducted a 40-year-old study with 7-10-year-old children and found evidence of something that explains incarnation. All those have been well included in his book: Life Before Life. Apart from that, he later conducted a similar study in Europe and the US and documented the whole thing in his later book: Return to Life. Later researchers like Dr. Ian Stevenson cross-verified the research by conducting 25 years of study in the book: Children Who Remember Previous Lives and were successfully able to connect to the previous lives of the kids.

Advaita Vedanta: If the lokas are unreal, then where do we go?

Advaita Vedanta in Hinduism tells us a very important thing. Not only these realms or lokas are unreal, but the world where we live too. Upanishads like Mandukya Upanishad reveal that not only the world is unreal, it is in a dream-like state, and only upon the realization of that Turya (or 4th state) that we living in a dream and the whole world and people around are part of the dream, it is possible to get enlightenment (or Jivanmukta in Hinduism) and one will get liberation by waking up from it and know real ourselves, similar to out dreams.


In future?

The whole modern-day studies are very consistent with what our Upanishads have said and defined and are in line with them. Currently being a very hot area of research in both - psychology and parapsychology, maybe in the future we will have enough scientific resources that connect us to the past in previous lives (who knows?). But as Vedanta has already defined, all of the reality we experience are mere illusion, and realization of this world is only our primary goal.

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Quite possibly, but nobody knows for sure.

It may be said that you MAY NOT meet all your relatives, or be united with them in some loka or the other, but the POSSIBILITY CANNOT BE DENIED AS WELL.

To establish such a claim, we need to present a few pramanas. I am presenting some pramanas according to my capability, you may accept them or reject them.

You may meet your relatives/ancestors in swarga or on some other loka, or even be united in Bhuloka in a different life, playing different roles. Not all types of relationships may persist - the relationship may be transformed as well.

Needless to say, if you truly love your relatives, you would want to stay united-that's all, except praying for some special relations [ for example, Hus band and Wife may pray that they should be the same hubby and wife in all Janmas, etc]

As of now, I am presenting some pramanas from our scriptures and also from some anecdotal evidences.

Pramanas for you may meet

  1. Dharmaraja ascends to Heaven
  1. In this way, Yama, through his wise words, propagated the compassionate quality that he saw reflected in Yudhishthira's own form. This act spread Yudhishthira's fame far and wide.

  2. After that, the King, who was very dear to Sri Hari, climbed onto the chariot and ascended, crossing one higher world after another. He surpassed all other Kings and continued his journey onwards.

  3. Having reached the uppermost region of Indra loka, he was greeted by the Devatas who declared, "This is your place." There, he saw Duryodhana.

  4. Seeing Duryodhana seated resplendent with his brothers, Yudhishthira became filled with overwhelming anger and closed his auspicious eyes.

87-88) "Where are my brothers? Where is Draupadi? Where is Karna? Where are my relatives? Where are Dhrishtadyumna and the others? Where are Ghatotkacha and my other sons? Where are the Yadavas?" - Yudhishthira questioned the Devatas. They replied, "How does it concern you? Here, each experiences the fruits of their Karma alone, not others."

89-90) Upon hearing this response, Yudhishthira questioned, "Duryodhana, that sinner who destroyed the Earth, doubted everything, betrayed his friends, turned away from Sri Narayana and embraced atheism, a master of deceit and cruel to the core, a hater of Sri Vishnu and his devotees - how has such a person attained this supreme position?"

  1. "Why are my dear ones, who know all Dharmas, who have always taken refuge in Sri Narayana and who are dedicated to upholding Dharma, not to be seen here?"

  2. "Wherever those noble ones are, there I too must be. Even if it is Naraka, I cannot bear to be here with this sinner

Somewhere later in the same chapter:

  1. When the Devatas spoke thus, Dharmaraja took bath in river Ganga and gave up his physical body. He immediately attained a divine form and lost all his doshas such as anger and the other vices. 111) Dharmaraja saw all his relatives being seated close to their original forms. He saw a resplendent Bhima seated amidst the Maruts, next to Vayu.

Somewhere even later

  1. After that, all the Pandavas entered their own lokas with great joy, along with their original forms. They resided there with their wives amidst material comforts that never fell short.
  2. The Pandavas, being devotees of Sri Krishna, obtained his company there too! Sri Krishna too, just as earlier, remained there with Arjuna and the chariot
  3. The others too who were born with the Amsha of Devatas exhausted their Karma and merged with their moolaroopas. The Asuras exhausted their punyas and were born again on Earth.

POSSIBLE OBJECTION TO ABOVE : These can be said for devatas, this may or may not be applicable to humans.

Source: MBTN by Madhvacharya Interesting fact : There is an avatara of Durga Devi which is supposed to take place 36,000 years into Kali Yuga as said by Srimadacharya.

  1. To cause their downfall, and to cause the Mukti of sajjanas, the Avatara of Bhima took place as stated earlier. Durga will be born again in the family of a Brahmana and cause the destruction of all Asuras.

2) Some form of relationship continuity is still there, but maybe not always

The Yoga Tattva Upanishad which is linked to the Krishna YajurVeda. It is counted among the 108 Upnishads.

131(b)-134(a). That breast from which one suckled before (in his previous birth) he now presses (in love) and obtains pleasure. He enjoys the same genital organ from which he was born before. She who was once his mother will now be wife and she who is now wife is (or will be) verily mother. He who is now father will be again son and he who is now son will be again father. Thus are the egos of this world wandering in the womb of birth and death like a bucket in the wheel of a well and enjoying the worlds.

3) Anecdotes

There is an ashram at Kallar near Coimbatore which gives out Jeeva Nadi Readings. Here is an extract of the reading :

After the initial kadavul valzhu or homage that Agathiyar pays to Erai, Agathiyar addressed us in beautiful Tamil that we could comprehend easily.

Agathiyar teased us saying that we had come to hear him under the pretext of seeking answers regarding our daughter although he knew that it was out of love to hear him speak that made us request for this reading.

My wife had not seen the Kaanda Nadi but was blessed to have a reading through one of the many Aasi Nadi for me. After that single reading without even her presence, now she was actually hearing Agathiyar speak through the Nadi in real time for the very first time. She had always wanted to know why she came to the Siddha path and Siddha worship for some time now. What better moment than this to ask the Maha Guru himself? That was her very first question to Agathiyar. Agathiyar explained patiently. In one of the many past births, we had lived as husband and wife too. We used to pick fruits in the hills of Kuttralam and serve them to Agathiyar residing at the back of the Kuttraleswar temple close to Somalingar, before leaving to sell these fruits at the entrance to the temple.

When she was in pain during labor and delivery she had called out to Agathiyar. She then delivered a daughter safely. At the age of 2, we would leave our daughter with Agathiyar and tend to our stall. My daughter would then lovingly feed Agathiyar (murthy) to his delight. She received Agathiyar's blessings then. Agathiyar revealed that our daughter of past birth, who had delighted Agathiyar, has taken birth as our child in the present day too.

My wife too was reunited with me now for serving Agathiyar together with me in the past birth. Since we were in poverty then, Agathiyar blessed us to be born in Malaysia, what he terms as Bhoga Naadu, to reap the benefits and merits of having served him with love in the past.

Take the clue people ! It is not material stuff which may united you next time - take it to spirituality!

I myself have seen Nadi for a relative - where he is said to have treated his own siblings very badly, but was born with them again in this janma. One of my relatives next janma in Nadi was also told - that they would be born in the same lineage as well.

I have also come across somebody's experience which says their mother would be born into their lineage again, but I am not able to source it.

If you want to read your nadi - KINDLY NOTE THAT YOU NEED TO EXTENSIVELY SEARCH FOR GENUINE ONES. THERE ARE A LOT OF SCAMS AND I HAVE ALSO BEEN A VICTIM OF THEM. NADI IS TRUE BUT ASTROLOGERS CAN BE FRAUDS.

CONCLUSION:

It is possible to meet or be united with your relatives after death. But it may be said that the chances are slightly slim,but not deniable.

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