This incident is from the days of my (Sri Paramahamsa Nithyananda Swamiji) spiritual journey before enlightenment.
I was near a small village in North India, a place near Varanasi, the spiritual headquarters of Hindus. Hindus traditionally visit Varanasi at least once in their lifetime. The city has a floating population of at least two hundred thousand people every day.
I was there with an old monk who had been hospitalized and was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). According to the vedic tradition, young monks take care of the elderly monks and sannyasis. As a young monk staying in that village, I started taking care of the elderly monk.
One day, while I was attending to him, suddenly it became obvious that the man in the bed next to his was about to die. He started struggling for life. I was able to see very clearly what was happening inside him. By that time I had had my deep spiritual experience or satori but I had not become fully enlightened, the realization of the purpose of my life had not happened. I was still seeking and my body was getting prepared for the explosion of energy that was to happen after enlightenment.
Several doctors were trying to give the monk critical medical care and support. The man was gasping for breath. I could see very clearly how death was happening in him. I could see very clearly how the life source was moving away from the body.
That is the strongest experience that has happened in my life outside my body. Inside my body, the strongest experience that happened was realizing the mission!
I was able to see what was happening, but I was not able to bear it.
An important thing you should know is, if you see somebody in physical pain, it will affect you only about thirty to forty percent. But if you see somebody in depression and you can relate to the person and feel the depression, it will affect you more, say around sixty percent. Further, if it is emotional pain and if you are able to connect and understand the pain, it will affect you much more, about eighty percent. The more subtle the pain, the more you will be affected.
I saw not only the physical, mental or emotional pains of the dying man, but I also saw the being level pain. It was almost like I was going through the pain myself. I wanted to just run away from there but the elderly monk got afraid and just held my hand begging me to stay. I had been taking care of him for two to three months, so he had got really attached to me.
Since a young age, I have loved serving monks. I used to take food and clothes from my house and give it away to the monks! Serving monks has always been my passion. I have always felt that this whole vedic tradition is alive even today only because of such monks. They have kept this science alive.
For doing research in any science, you need great support in many areas. For example, in the West, a lot of research happens in the outer world science because there are people and organizations to support it. If it is research on medicines, a pharmaceutical company may support the research. If it is some research related to space and astronomy, the government may sponsor and support it.
In the same way, in India, the whole country supports and sponsors spiritual science research. The whole country has taken up the responsibility to support an inner world scientist by providing him food, shelter and clothes so that he can continue his research in the inner world without spending time for basic outer world requirements. So I have always felt that it is my responsibility to take care of the monks and inner world scientists.
The elderly monk who I was taking care of in the ICU did not want me to leave because he was afraid seeing the man next to him dying. The man was going through such a hard time. It was like the whole six feet of his body was being torn apart! Imagine the pain if you have a small cut in your finger. Now imagine how painful it would be if the skin on your whole body is literally being peeled. It is something like a thousand scorpions stinging at the same time! I could clearly see the pain the man was going through.
On one side, the individual soul associated with all the unfulfilled emotions like desire, greed and guilt was undergoing terrible suffering. The individual soul wanted to stay in the body and fulfill these, but the body was tired and wanted to relax! It was a fight between the body and individual soul. It was as if the body wanted to leave but the individual soul was trying to hold onto it. If the right hand was gone, the soul was trying to hold onto the left. If the right leg was dead and gone, the individual soul was trying to hold onto the left leg. Whichever part of the body it could hold on to, the individual soul was trying to hold onto it. Part by part the body was dying. I saw that with the lower body there was not much struggle. But when it came to the upper body, the whole body was vibrating and pulsating with pain. Slowly the individual soul started moving out of the physical body.
Understand, when the breathing stops, that is the moment when the individual soul actually leaves the physical body.
When I saw the man dying, I could see that the individual soul was slowly moving out, layer by layer. I could see the soul suffering intensely when it went through the unfulfilled desires. The soul was literally being eaten by guilt when it realized, ‘I did not fulfill the purpose and mission of my life.’ Understand, you will remember the purpose of your birth only during death.
When you are born, your body travels through the birth canal of the mother, and because of the intense pain that you go through, you go into coma or the deepest unconscious state, and you forget the whole purpose of taking birth. It is like this: you booked the flight ticket and sat inside the aircraft also, but during the flight you were put in coma and so when you landed, you forgot all about why you came to that particular place! Only when you leave the place and board the flight again, you suddenly remember why you had come to that place!
In the same way, when you die, you feel the strong guilt of not fulfilling the purpose of your birth or what we call the prarabdha.
After passing through this guilt, next, all the pain experiences of your life will come up. So at the time of death, you first pass through physical pain, then through all desires, next through all guilt, then through all emotional pain and finally through all the pleasures that you experienced in this birth.
Normally, as soon as you reach the cosmic body or the sixth layer itself, you return to assume the next body, the next birth. The individual soul returns to assume the next body. Sometimes, rarely, you go beyond the sixth layer into the nirvanic body. Then you don’t come back to assume another body.
When you travel through these various bodies and experience your unfulfilled desires, deep guilt and intense pain, you decide strongly, ‘Let me take another body, another birth. When I do, I will not forget the purpose of my life and get caught in these illusive games. I will straightaway follow the path of Truth.’ But when you actually take birth the next time, again because of the intense pain during birth, you drop into coma and forget all about your decision!
Finally, the man died. But the experience left a strong scar in me. It left a very strong impression in my mind. The fortunate thing was that the elderly monk became alright and he was discharged from the hospital. I continued my journey, and after a few months, I had my own death experience and I became enlightened, thus realizing the mission and purpose of my life. My life as a liberated being started at the age of twelve itself when I had my deep spiritual experience. But the clarity about the mission, and what was exactly going to happen through my body, dawned when I became enlightened.
source: Living Enlightenment