Life after Death | Orthodox | 5

And what is common for all?

All peoples and all religions speak about certain, although an illusory, but still a life of a man after death.

The idea of complete destruction of the human being after the death of a body is quite rare.

The insurmountable psychological difficulty to believe that after his death a man vanishes into non-existence is common to peoples’ quests in all times and nations.

There exists a life after death!

And this is not just a conjecture, not a naïve belief and vague intuition, but, above all, the whole mankind emotional experience of the number of facts, convincingly testifying that the life of the person continues beyond the threshold of the earthy existence.

We find information, and often striking information, about it everywhere, wherever any literary sources are found.

This very idea runs through all of them: a personality continues to live after the death. The personality is not annihilated!

Quite remarkable in this respect is a story by K. Ikskul, published under the title “Unbelievable for many, but true event”.

The story makes a great impression with its sincerity and leaves no doubts in the reality of what was happening.

The most interesting in it is the fact of continuity of consciousness in transition from life here to life there.

Ikskul, describing the moment of his clinical death, writes, that at first he experienced heaviness, some pressure, and then suddenly he felt a certain lightness and freedom.

Then after seeing his body, he started guessing that the body was dead.

But he didn’t loose his self-consciousness, not for any moment.

“In our comprehension the word “death” is inseparably connected with the understanding of some extermination, termination of life.

How could I think that I was dead, that I didn’t lose my consciousness, not for any moment, when I felt myself the same alive person, hearing all, seeing, realizing, capable of moving, thinking, speaking?”

Then he tells us about his astonishment, when having found himself in the middle of the room and having seen a group of medical workers, he glanced over their shoulders – in the direction where they were looking at:

“There on the bed it was I who was lying…I called the doctor, but the atmosphere, in which I found myself turned to be quite unfit for myself;

it neither perceived nor reproduced sounds of my voice, and I became aware of my complete dissociation with everything around, felt my strange loneliness and fear and was panic stricken.

I made all efforts and tried announce myself, but these efforts drove me into the utmost despair.

“Don’t they see me?” – I thought with despair time and again.

I was approaching the people grouping over my bed, but nobody out of them either turned around, or paid any attention to me, I was examining myself with bewilderment, not understanding how they couldn’t see me, as I was just the same as before.

But I made an attempt to grasp hold of myself but my hand could only cut an air another time.”

And evidences similar to this one are many.

Sometimes posthumous feelings of a man happen to be connected with moments disastrous for himself, when in front of his eyes a disgraceful spectacle of sharing out his property is revealed.

Nobody spoke about the dead person, he was not needed to anyone already (as a thing which was only good for throwing it out to the rubbish as it was fit for nothing), all the attention was paid at the money and his belongings.

And you can imagine the horror of the “loving” relatives when they saw him coming back to life? Do you understand how he felt when he had to communicate with them!

An interesting story from his own life was told me by my neighbor Sergei Alekseevich Zuravlev (1913-1997), a teacher, who lived in Sergiev Possad.

I knew him to be a decent man, mentally quite normal and that is why I have no doubts in the credibility of his story.

When he was 20 and fell dangerously ill with typhus, he was running a temperature above 40 C, he was taken to hospital.

And suddenly at a certain moment he felt a big lightness and saw himself in the middle of the hospital room, where he was lying.

It was the First of May (Soviet holiday) and he remembered about his friends and instantly happened to be beside them.

They were enjoying the holiday, drinking vodka in the open air, talking, laughing, but his attempts to associate with them turned to be absolutely unsuccessful.

Nobody noticed him and nobody heard him.

Then he remembered about the girl he knew and happened to be near her in the same way.

He saw her sitting by a familiar young man, listened to their cordial conversation, but they didn’t pay attention at him either.

But all of a sudden he came to his senses – I am ill, - he thought;

and he saw himself in the hospital room, two medical nurses were standing near his bed with a stretcher and the doctor announced: “He is dead and he must be taken to the mortuary (morgue).

At that very moment Zuravlev felt an awful cold and heard a scream coming from the women: “He is alive!” After his coming back to life, Sergei’s temperature completely left him.

A day after he was released from the hospital.

But the more exciting was after that.

Sergei came back to his routine work and made a hint to his friends, saying he knew, how they had celebrated the First of May and what they were talking about.

They were extremely surprised and insisted of giving them an honest answer, who had provided him with these facts.

(Probably their debates were not intended for a broad public).

And the girl who was exposed by Sergei by telling her all the details of her conversation with another young man and her behavior with him, became very much bewildered.

Naturally a question arises:

if there is no soul, could it be that a dead body lying in a hospital room would learn everything about what was happening far beyond the walls of the hospital?

And here is one more incident, which a brother of Hegumenos Nikon (Vorobiev) – Vladimir Nikolaevich, experienced.

When he was 7, during a game in lapta (a ball game) he was accidentally struck on his head so heavily, that he fell down as a dead.

He told everyone that he saw himself very high above this place, he saw the boys that stood around his body perplexed, he watched one of them rushing to his home and his mother running out of their house screaming and crying.

She took hold of him and fiercely started plucking at him.

And there he saw such a beautiful sun and it was so good there, so joyfully, and when he regained he started crying as hard as he could,

but not because of the pain but because it was very despondently and unpleasant on earth, it was semidarkness like in some underground, though the day was quite sunny.

This was the event which was often spoken about by all the brothers of Vladimir Nikolaevich: Hegumenos Nikon, Alexander, Mikhail, Vasily.

These facts are incalculable.

They testify with utmost reliability to the presence of a soul in a man and to the continued life after death of the body.

And it is important to make it a note – it is the soul that is the source of thoughts, feelings, emotional experience, not the body.

Mind, heart (as a feeling organ), will - are in the soul, not in the body.

This was always stated by the religion.

Henri Bergson, a famous French philosopher of the end 19th – beginning 20th century – said that, a man’s brain is just a telephone station that transmits only, but it is not the source of information.

Information comes to the brain from somewhere and it could be apprehended and passed to by it differently.

It could work well and it could malfunction and fail completely. But it is a transmitting mechanism and it is not the generator of a man’s consciousness.

Today a vast range of facts completely confirm that Bergson’s idea.

Presently we see a great number of published books written by the authors saying about the unceasing life after the body’s death.

For instance, a book by Dr. Moudy – “Life after life” caused a real sensation in the United States: 2 million copies were sold literally during the first a year or two.

Books are seldom distributed at such a speed.

Many perceived it as a revelation.

And though such facts are always sufficient they were not known, people did not pay attention at them, considering them as a description of hallucination or manifestation of a mental abnormality of a person.

Here a doctor, a specialist, surrounded by the same specialists, speaks about facts and only facts. What is more he is the person who is not interested in the “propaganda of a religion”.

But in order to understand correctly everything that is connected with the phenomenon of that world, an Orthodox should read and study the woks by St. Ignatius Brianchaninov (+1867) – and in the first place his “A word about perceptual and spiritual vision of spirits”, “A word about death” and “ Addition to the word about death” (V.III).

In our religiously vague time they give a firm patristic background for correct understanding and evaluation of all the phenomena of spiritual life.