Glory of Death - Chapter 8

"Now what will be my fate? What will be my destiny after I die? Now where and what kind of body will I have in my next birth and what will be my condition then? What will be my fate if I enter the womb of a bitch, cat, monkey, sow etc.?" With such wailing thoughts, a man gets very agitated while leaving the body and thus his death gets dishonored. A man living a life devoid of self-control, delusion, attachment and unrighteousness will definitely experience this sorrow of future worries.
A self-controlled man never experiences the first sorrow of bodily pain.
A man of detachment never experiences the second sorrow of attachment to relatives.
A man of ethics never experiences the third sorrow of remembrance of sin.
And in this way a man of self-control, detachment and ethics never experiences the fourth sorrow of future worries because his death becomes hallowed and the incident of death for him is an event of the great union with God. Such a pious soul, by giving up his body lovingly surrenders to God so as to gain salvation hence there no longer remains the question as to what will happen to me.
“Do not ask where will I go after death?
I will go wherever he sends me.”
It is a law that whatever is the mental state of the being at the time of death, accordingly will he undergo post-death journey.
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"Yam yam vapi smaran bhavam tyajatyante kalevaram
Tam tam eva eti kaunteya sada tad bhava bhavitaha.
(Gita 8/6)
(Meaning: - Whatever being a man thinks of at the last moment when he leaves his body, that alone does he attain, O Kaunteya, being ever absorbed in the thought thereof.)
If a man for his entire life has kicked others, it is least amazing that he becomes a donkey in his next birth. If a man for his entire life has bitten others, he becomes a dog and those who have shown disgust to others, becomes a monkey. This is least amazing because there are no restrictions in a dog's and a monkey's body against biting and showing disgust to others.
What will be your next birth depends on what type of of life you are living in the present body.

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“Urdhvam gacchanti sattvastha madhye tishthanti rajasah
Jaghanya guna vrttistha adho gacchanti tamasah”
(Gita 14/18)
(Meaning: - Those who are fixed in Sattva go upwards; the Rajasikas remain in the middle; and the Tamasikas, abiding in the functions of the lowest Guna, go downwards.)
After leaving the body, a Satvik person gets elevation on a higher stratum in the next birth, a Rajasik person gets medium strata and a Tamasik person gets the birth in a body of low status.

What type of a body does a being get in his next birth after leaving the previous body and where does he go? Explaining this point, there are various theories put forth by various religious sects and saints.
Some believe that as soon as a being gives up one body, he immediately takes up another body based on his Prarabdha karmas (Deeds of Destiny) and psychic imprints. Others say that if the good or bad psychic imprints of a being get attached to wife, son, wealth, money, nation, society, power etc, such a being, instead of taking up a gross body, becomes a ghost entering the subtle body of psychic imprints (manaha shashthani indriyani, Gita 15/7) and it will take up a gross body only if his desires get fulfilled. It is said that Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilak has not yet got a gross (physical) body. Whether it is true or false only God knows.
Some others believe that after a sinful being leaves his body, aides of Yama (Lord of Death) with the help of burning iron tongs catch hold of this being and throw it into rivers of blood and pus. If the being has given a cow away in charity in his previous birth, a cow appears before it and this being crosses the river by catching hold of that cow's tail.
Some others opine that after a being dies; his body should be buried in a grave. When the Dooms Day arrives, (When? God alone knows!) A big bell tolls, which prompts the beings along with their bodies, buried in the graveyard to stand in front of God with joined palms. After he confesses all his deeds, the Lord judges that being’s previous deeds and gives it a high or a lowly body.
The Theosophical Society and Brahmakumaris believe that once a being gets a human body, all his consequent bodies too will be that of a human being. All its future bodies will be those of human only. He is never born in a body of species again, which is lower than that of human beings. Whereas in Shrimad Bhagwat, there are so many examples wherein Ahalya was transformed into a stone, Kuber Bhandari’s two sons Yamalarjun took the form of two trees. In the incident of Gajendra-moksha two Gandharvas were re-born as a crocodile and an elephant. King Bharat was re-born as a deer. In RamaCharitManas, Kagbhushundi took the form of a bird.
In this manner there are debatable opinions regarding where a being goes after giving up his previous body. None can assert boldly which theory is absolutely correct. Moreover, till today nobody's father, grandfather or uncle has communicated through a letter, telegram or telephone as to where they have gone after giving up their bodies.
The Lord, with great wisdom and compassion, has kept this aspect a top secret, and in that lies the well-being of us all. To run about here and there in order to know that subject which the Lord does not wish to disclose, is nothing but to act against the Lord’s wish. If one gets to know what a being was in his previous birth and which body he will assume after death, our lives will become unbearably sorrowful. One gains nothing by delving into the past and diving into the future. Wisdom lies in making best use of the present moments.
The man who reforms his present times and for his entire lifetime works for everyone’s welfare, need never worry as to where he will go after leaving his present body because in the BhagwadGita the Lord has very clearly promised authoritatively -

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Parth nai ' ve' ha na' mutra vinasas tasya vidyate |U
Nahi kalyankrut kaschit durgatim taat gachchati. ||
(Gita 6/40)
(Meaning: - O Partha, neither in this world nor in the next is there destruction for him; for, the doer of good, O my son, never comes to grief.)
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ksipram bhavati dharmatma sasvacchantim nigacchati |
Kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranashyati. ||
(Gita 9/31)
(Meaning: - Soon does he become a man of righteousness and obtains lasting peace. O Kaunteya, know for certain that My devotee never perishes.)
He who works for everyone’s well-being and harbors devotion to the Lord in his bosom never gets degenerated.