A Near Death Experience

By Dr. Subassh Rajoo, Md.

Reproduced from the ebook ‘Candles of Celebration’ available for free download on www.kriyayogamalaysia.org)

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Message from the Editor: I met Dr. Subassh in the first Kriya Yoga Seminar I organised back in 2006. A Buddhist could describe him as a Boddhisatva, a being who chose to be reborn on earth to help others achieve enlightenment. He has been a constant source of encouragement to me in my work as a voluntary organiser of Kriya Yoga Seminars by Rudra Shivananda in Malaysia. He has also encouraged me to persevere in my practice.

He is like a loving elder brother to me and my angel. Mutual friends have told me that his clinic is always packed with patients and I can see why. His kind and compassionate nature is like a fragrant flower attracting bees to it.

He had shared with me his Near Death Experience (“NDE”) and I have his permission to share it with you in this book.

It all happened when I was about 4 years old. I was staying in my grandmother’s house in India.  My mom and sister were there as well.

I used to study in the village school which was about two odd miles from my grandma’s house. I walked to school everyday with a close friend who was our maid’s son. One day, on our way back from school, we passed a big tree, as we always do, but on that particular day my friend somehow managed to frighten me. He pointed to the tree and told me that there was a terrible thing on the tree. I was so terrified that I developed high fever by the time I reached home.

My fever got worse and I was bedridden. My mother was sitting beside me and she was feeling devastated as she looked at my state. Suddenly, I was out of my body and I saw myself lying on a mat covered with a blanket. Only my face was exposed. My grandma and other ladies were sitting around me. I even observed an oil lamp at my head side.

I noticed that I was observing all this from a high vantage point as if I was at the ceiling level. I looked down at myself lying still and my loved ones sitting around me. All of them looked sullen. They must have thought that I was dying.

I was there near the ceiling watching my body and everyone down there, but who was “that me” watching from up there. That was not the physical me—but “me–the thought”. As I grew up, getting into Spiritual learning and practice–I believe “that-me”, who was watching from up there, could be “my-SOULSELF”. Perhaps I had an “Out-of-Body” experience.

Fortunately I managed to recover and when I was well enough, I went to the Palani hill temple to give thanks to GOD for my recovery. I am thankful to my childhood friend for creating the scene for this unexpected lesson on spirituality that had a great impact on me.

Through this experience, I have learnt that –We–the physical-self are “not-the-real-we”. I get to understand that the “me”  who  was up above, watching the scene below, is the real-me(the SOUL-ME).

I thank GOD for giving me this Insight.

Message from the Editor: I believe that Dr Subassh had a NDE. Dr Raymond Moody, MD was the pioneer of NDE and Dr Subassh’s story is consistent with the many stories which Dr. Moody wrote about in his book, ‘Life after Life’. In his book, Dr. Moody wrote about some common features in the experiences of people who had NDE, that is, they were clinically dead but revived by the doctors. Many experienced floating out of their bodies and looking down on their own bodies and on the doctors working on them. They could hear what the doctors said and later surprised them by recounting what was said to the doctors. The most common experience reported by them is the feeling of indescribable peace and bliss and being enveloped in a white light which is very bright but does not hurt the eyes. Most of them no longer fear death because they understand that life does not stop at death. They start to take life easier and generally live happier lives.

God has tried to show us through science that we are not merely our mind and body. The discovery and research into NDE is one such example. However, science has also made us unreasonable sceptics.

Once, I was talking to a friend whose brother was suffering from cancer. I explained NDE to her to show her that when someone’s time is up, dying is not something horrible but something beautiful. People who come back after an NDE felt extremely disappointed and sometimes even angry at their doctor for bringing them back to the confines of their body. Whatever sense pleasure that they can get from the body is hardly comparable to the bliss they felt when they were out of it.

However, she discussed this with her husband who was a medical doctor. Her husband explained that it was hallucination and even gave it a scientific name. Giving it a scientific name had somehow taken away the mystery of NDE for her.

However, I pointed out to him that the person doing the research was also a medical doctor. They had machines placed on some of the patients to measure their brain activity. These patients were brain dead when they had their NDE. They could not have imagined the event. Even so, they could not have seen through hallucination the surgical procedures done on them and the conversation of the operation team, with such clarity that they were able to astound their doctor by recounting them after they recovered.

Rudra Shivananda taught us that it is fine to be sceptical but do not let the scepticism prevent us from investigating the truth of a matter. In fact, that is how science works. When a scientist sets out to investigate a theory, he will create experiments to either prove or disprove that theory. He does not accept it or reject it outright.

We experiment on spiritual truths by going within ourselves. Our body is the laboratory. The ego can never understand spiritual truths because it is made of thoughts and experiences. In our daily life, our mind is filled with so many thoughts that it appears to be something tangible. We react based on our thoughts and experiences so naturally that we take them as our true ‘self’. It is like learning to drive. At the beginning we had to concentrate fully but after a few months, we can drive without much conscious effort. Driving has become part of our ‘self’.

Enlightenment starts with freeing ourselves from this bondage of seeing ourselves as our mind and body. The ego is merely thoughts. When we know this experientially, the ego will no longer exist. The ego will not like this because it is very scary to proof to ourselves that we do not exist. So scary that some will not even try and they even encourage others not to try.

Reading the scriptures merely add to the thoughts that we already have. Unless we are able to integrate the teachings into our own experience, scriptural studies will become a hindrance. We will become scholars instead of enlightened beings. Do you know see why most of us prefer reading than meditating? Reading is less likely to enlighten us!

How do we see that the ego is merely thoughts? One way is to experience an NDE like Dr Subassh!  

We do not have a choice over this, so we need to meditate and look within. We need to observe our thoughts. We will see that the thoughts arise within us randomly and out of our control. We can test this by trying to keep our mind focus on just a single topic while meditating. It would be impossible. After a minute or so, we will probably be thinking about something else. Or we can try to tell our mind not to think. Needless to say, most of us already know that this is an almost impossible feat unless one is a highly advanced being.

If we have no control over our mind, worse still is our control over our emotions. We cannot choose when we want to be happy or sad. When we are feeling moody, we just accept it as so and wait for the dark clouds to lift. It appears that we have already accepted the fact that we have no control over our emotions. This body that we think is ‘us’, operates based on natural laws beyond our control. We merely observe its workings and delude ourselves to think that we are in control. Do we control the beating of our hearts or our digestive systems?

Observing these in our meditation can be both confusing and liberating. The confusion is like facing a storm and we may feel like turning away. If we recognise that the ego is merely thoughts, then the question will arise; who gets enlightened? In the Buddhist sutra on emptiness, the ‘Heart Sutra’, it is said that in emptiness, there is no enlightenment. How can ‘thoughts’ be enlightened? They just fall away and lose their power.

 After braving the storm, we will experience the peacefulness of the calm after the storm. It is a worthwhile reward. Once we accept that we are not our thoughts, we finally recognise that we are not our ego. We become courageous. For instance, we are not moved when others ridicule or speak badly at us. They are merely throwing stones at the air; empty thoughts. We no longer see the need to defend our opinions because we know that we are not our opinions and if someone is able to convince us to let go of them, they are doing us a big favour indeed.

The next article on ‘The Living Computers’ expands on this article by giving an illustration of what the ego is.

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