By Tara Katir, Hawaii
What happens and where do we go when we die? People do want to know. Eventually this life will come to a close and the answer will be revealed through personal experience. In the meantime, After Death, How People Around the World Map the Journey After Life by Sukie Miller, Ph.D. (235 pages, Simon & Schuster, US$12), offers an intriguing glimpse into the unseen worlds inhabited after death. Interviews with shamans, priests and religious leaders from Brazilian and African tribes, Mahapatras from Varanasi's funeral ghats and the indigenous peoples of North America provide a transcultural understanding of what Miller defines as four progressive stages after death: Waiting, Judgment, Possibilities and Return.
Then there are those who already experienced death and came back to tell about it. Over 300 individual experiences are chronicled in The Truth In The Light by Dr. Peter Fenwick (278 pages, Berkeley Books, US$12). Fenwick is president of the British branch of the International Association for Near-death Studies. Profound love, light and "living" outside the body were among the experiences shared by all. Each subject was transformed in some way. "During the whole of this experience," one shared, "I was not afraid and the feeling that remains with me is one of peace and certainty that there is no need to fear death."1Ú4
SIMON & SCHUSTER, 1230 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS, NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10020 USA; BERKELEY PUBLISHING GROUP, 200 MADISON AVENUE, NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10016 USA. ORDER THE BOOKS AT: www.hindu.org/reading/