Someday we all will be corpse with our bodies either buried in the ground or burnt with our ashes in an urn. The big question is does the body cease after that? Is there really a life after death?
It is said that good human beings get heaven after death, but if heaven is a place of perfection, how can anyone be good enough? According to ancient Hindu Puranas, those who do good work in life go to heaven and those who do sins, reach hell. And, it is Yamraj, the death God who decides the fate of every human being and his final destination – hell or heaven.
So how does the soul reaches Yamraj in Yamlok? This story is about that. The 47-day journey from death to Yamlok has been mentioned in the Garuda Puran explaining how a human being after death receives the final judgment.
As per ‘Garuda Puran’, the person who is going to die can’t speak, even if he wants to. In his last moments of life, a ‘drivyadrishti’(enlightenment) generates within him and he is able to understand the entire world. All his senses are destroyed at this stage and his body goes stiff.
In the final moments, the saliva starts to drip from mouth and the dying human can see Yamduts (Yamraj’s messengers), who look terrifying. They are defined in ‘Garuda Puran’ as dark like crows, their faces are shapeless and their nails are their weapons. Terrified by their looks, the dying person starts to urinate or pass motion and finally succumbs to death.
Yamduts, in fact, scare the soul about the tough time it will face, if it gets hell as a judgment by Yamraj.
This is the time, when the soul starts remembering the sins it had committed when alive. According to ‘Garuda Puran’, even a lie is considered a sin as per Yamraj and if people have not prayed to god to forgive them for it, they don’t get moksha and therefore no heaven. Murder, theft etc. are crimes that can never be forgiven, come what may.
The soul is unable to walk on sand that is hot like fire and it remains hungry. This is the time when the Yamduts start beating the soul with a lash. The soul falls down several times, faints and then wake up to walk again during this process.
Yamraj after deciding the fate of the soul and showing it where it would finally stay, he sends the soul to its place of death. The soul is sent back to find out if its family members are offering last prayers for its peace or not. If they follow proper rituals for the soul’s departure, it comes back to Yamlok. However, if the family members do not offer last rites, the soul keeps wandering and resides in vacant silent places like forests.
As per ‘Garuda Puran’, after a person’s death, his family members must do ‘pind dan’ within 10 days.