There are different theories about life after death. Subconsciously everyone feels connected to a close relative even after their death, as it becomes difficult to imagine life without them. Religion provides vivid explanations of how we remain connected even after death with our close relatives. The New Testament talks of Hades – the word for spirit state after death. Depending on the type of karma conducted by the living person, they move to hell or heaven.
According to scholar Charles Hodge, of Princeton Seminary- “The Christian’s heaven is to be with Christ, for we shall be like him when we see him as he is. Into his presence, the believer passes as soon as he is absent from the body, and into his likeness, the soul is at death immediately transformed; and when at the resurrection, the body is made like unto his glorious body, the work of redemption is consummated” (1860, 123). It is said the soul goes into a deep sleep until it is awakened at the time of great resurrection.
As per Hinduism the soul never dies. It passes from one body to other which is a process similar to changing worn-out clothes. At the time when the soul learns the entire spiritual lessens to relate Self to the Universal Self, it merges with the Cosmic energies.
In Hinduism, the time of death is very important because if the time is not appropriate the soul will have to wait for a long time to reach the destined place. The epic of Mahabharata mentions of the story where the leading warrior Bhishma, who was severely injured, chose not to die early. He postponed his death and waited for the sun to move from Dakshinayana to Uttarayana. It is believed that this time supports the growth of human consciousness. In Mahabharata, Lord Krishna explains about such beliefs that – the path to attain moksha or sufferings is completely dependent on previous life karmas. Unresolved karmas with earthy entities bound the soul to retain again take birth as a human in the earthly realms.
If a person dies in Dakshinayana, he may have to wait for the sun to move to Uttarayana to find a place to go. A soul that has performed all his spiritual duties as per his ancestor’s wishes will reach the Pitra Loka where he can meet all his ancestors and then maybe born again in the same family.
Pure souls meet their ancestors and then move on and merge with the Supreme Self as they are no more attached to anything earthy. Those who have been doing their karmas with complete devotion to any specified god, they will reach their God’s places – Lokas, and may have to take birth again on earth after completing their stay.
Those who fulfilled duties and devoted all their work to the supreme Lord and did not expect anything in return may merge with the Supreme. Those who committed all kind of sins to gain materialistic things in their life will attain birth in a place where they will have to pay back for their sins. Those who served other humans for pride or material benefits may be born at places, where they will get back what they served only in material terms.