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Hindus/leaving life through top skull


   It is mentioned in scriptures that one nerve,in human body, is ended in the skull. A Yogi should close all holes of body and pressurize the Prana to go to the skull(nerve hole) and leave the body. By this there is no need of rebirth.   My Question is: Is it necessary for all enlightened to have this exercise otherwise they would not be liberated?


ANSWER: Dear Jagat,

Thank you for your question.

Unfortunately, this kind of metaphysical speculation has never interested me very much because it is nearly impossible to verify except by dying.

In the Katha Upanishad Yama, the God of Death, declines to tell Nachiketa what happens after death. Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita says one's last thought at the moment of death determines one's course after death. This applies to ordinary persons identified with the body/mind only, however.

The essence of enlightenment is realizing that the jiva, that dynamic pattern of karma that reincarnates, is nothing but a play of consciousness for a limited time. Since enlightenment shifts identity from the jivatman to the Paramatman, the precise mechanism of the death of the body and the various activities of the mind are unimportant. There is no going or coming for the Atman that is everywhere always equally.

Furthermore, we see that some special souls reincarnate intentionally to help others, and they are born enlightened. In the life of Sri Ramakrishna, for example, Swami Vivekananda, whom Ramakrishna knew to be one of the Seven Rishis, took a body to help Ramakrishna with his mission on earth. Swami  Brahmananda, the first President of the Ramakrishna Order, was also considered one of the Ishwarakotis, Eternal Companions of God Incarnate.

I expect that enlightened souls do shed the body through the mechanism you describe whether or not they have practiced this particular type of visualization. However, I have known saints who at the moment of death simply saw God/dess come to take them to wherever God/dess takes people. It is all a wonderful and perplexing mystery, and I'm afraid I do not have a better answer for you.

Best wishes,

Brother William

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: So you mean there is no need to perform this practice.

What is the status of an enlightened one after accidental death if his last thought was about his family and attachment to his progeny ?

Dear Jagat,

Thank you for you for your follow-up questions.

I would never say any spiritual practice is unnecessary simply because what may be unnecessary for one may be useful for others. One beauty of our tradition is that there are many practices available for different temperaments and needs.

Again, your metaphysical question about what happens at or after death falls outside my area of expertise and interest. If I had to speculate, I would say the enlightenment experience would automatically override any tendency toward attachment to anyone or anything in the phenomenal world. When you know absolutely that all that is merely temporary patterns of Consciousness playing through all those forms, the persistance or not of one form or another seems supremely unimportant.

Best wishes,

Brother William


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William Schindler, a.k.a. Brother William


I can answer questions about Vedanta philosophy, Patanjali Yoga philosophy and practice, Tantra, Bhagavad-Gita, Upanishads, Vivekachudamani (Shankara`s Crest-jewel of Spritual Discrimination), Advaita (non-dualism), the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda tradition, Goddess worship, meditation practice, Hindu monasticism (sannyasa), and Sanskrit.


I've been studying and practicing Vedanta and Tantra since 1969.

I'm the founder and spiritual director of Ashram West, a gay spiritual community based on traditional Hindu Tantra. I have been a member of the Vedanta Society of Southern California since 1969.


I hold a B.A. in Sanskrit (UC Berkeley 1975) and an M.A. in clinical psychology (Antioch University 1986).

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