The Soul’s Journey After Death


Article by Craig Hamilton-Parker about the Soul’s Journey After Death.

Everything that exists is energy in motion. The only difference between soul and body, consciousness and matter is the rate of vibration. Only the Absolute–God in Primal State–does not vibrate and is at perfect peace. When God stirred, the universe was born.

The motion of energy at the time of what is known as Creation first manifested as cosmic light and cosmic sound. The vibration of this conscious energy became progressively grosser until it metamorphosed into the material world. The afterlife, which is a level of reality that vibrates at a higher rate to the material plane, therefore existed before the material universe. Similarly, consciousness and the life force itself are the vibration of energy at different frequencies.


Indian mysticism calls the life force that animates matter “prana.” (The Chinese call this same energy Chi.) It is the missing link between consciousness and matter. Prana is finer than atomic energy and permeates everything. It is the substance of the heavenly worlds and the life principle of the earthly world. Prana takes two forms: the cosmic vibratory energy that is omnipresent in the universe, structuring and sustaining all things; and the specific aura that sustains each human body or life form.

In short you, and I, are made of both matter and prana: body and spirit. I am able to see prana.


During the 1930’s, the famous American psychic visionary Edgar Cayce was able to give startlingly accurate medical diagnoses based upon the colors and information he perceived while in the astral state within his patients’ aura. A perceptive psychic will notice various colors in the aura that indicate a person’s state of mind and physical health. Students in my workshops, which have included nurses and doctors, report being able to sense hot or cold spots, and some have even learned to see and feel the “black spots,” or gaps, within another person’s auric structure.

The aura is in a constant state of flux, reaching out and pulling in depending on how we relate and react to the world. The color of the aura also changes constantly with every emotional experience and thought. There may be a dominant color that stays with the person throughout life, but many of the colors change from day to day

Soul's Journey After DeathFor the filming of ‘Spirit of Diana’ Craig and Jane were asked
to describe the journey of Diana’s soul after her death


When a person is ill, the colors of the aura go dark and pull in close to the body. When death comes, the aura withdraws into the body, ready to leave in what mystics call the astral body. This astral form of the human body is made of prana and looks like it is made of light.

There are three main sheaths that encase the soul:

The physical body

The physical body houses the spirit. It is a wonderful piece of organic machinery but is not the real you. The body is like a set of clothes. We put them it on when we are born and cast it aside when we die.

The physical body is animated by the prana life force of the astral body. It is connected at seven main points, called by the Sanskrit as chakras–which translates literally as “’wheel” although most people envision them as lotus flowers of light. The seven major chakras, or energy centers, correspond to the endocrine glands of the body. They run upward along the spinal chord.

Centered along the spine, the chakra points correspond with the base of the spine, just below the navel, just below the rib cage, the center of the chest, the top of the throat, the center of the forehead, and the very top of the head. As a person spiritually awakens, his life force becomes centered on the upper chakras. For example, a person mainly interested in sex and power will have their prana energy centered on the chakra at the base of the spine. A person focused on spirituality and enlightenment will have their prana energy centered on the crown chakra at the top of the head.

The astral body and the Soul’s Journey After Death

When I see the aura, I am looking at the outer part of the astral body. The Hindus call the astral body the Linga-Sharira, a Sanskrit word meaning “design body.” The Ancient Egyptians called it the Ka, the Greeks called it the pneuma, and the Jewish Kabbalistic doctrines call the astral bodies the five souls. Other terms include the etheric double, perisprit, doppelgänger, phantom, spook, and so on.

The astral body is an energy equivalent of the physical body. It has astral duplicates of all the internal organs, the nerves, the arteries, as well as the physical frame and even our familiar face. According to the Theosophists, this astral body also has a record of all the human memories experienced by the person. All living things, including plants, have an astral framework that is with us from birth and determines the growth and form of the physical being.


The part of the astral body that reacts with the physical body is sometimes called the etheric field. This can is seen by psychic people as a blue/red light that runs like a line around the body frame. It is most easily seen at the tips of the fingers when you look at them in a very low light. A technique I teach my students is to look between the gap that’s formed if you hold your two index fingers close together. In the subdued light you may see fine lines of light dancing between the two fingers. This is the etheric field of the astral body.

The astral body is also considered the seat of the emotions, so it is also sometimes called the emotional or desire body. Some people also call the higher function of the astral body the mental body. Other esoteric teachings refer to a number of distinct planes of the afterlife, each with its own corresponding “vehicle” of consciousness. Just as there are seven chakras, so too are there seven etheric sheaths that vibrate at different levels of spirituality.

The Causal Body After Death

According to Indian mysticism, the human being consists of three main bodies. The physical and astral bodies and a second spirit body called the causal body. The three body sheaths are the different vehicles of our consciousness. They clothe the inner being. Most people are only aware of the physical body and its limited five senses. The astral has the same form as the physical body but is made up of subtle matter (prana). The causal body, however, is of the form of an egg, a body of light. This is known as the intelligence and bliss sheath.

The three bodies roughly correspond to what we would call body, mind, and soul. Furthermore, each of the three bodies conforms to a state of consciousness. The physical body functions in the waking state, the astral body in the dream state, and the causal body in deep sleep state. The inner self that is housed by these sheaths exists in the fourth state of consciousness, that is the ever-wakeful state of pure awareness.

Only the causal body endures over many incarnations, whereas the physical and astral bodies are formed anew at each new birth. The causal body is the repository for all our karmic impulses. The yogis tell us that the causal body can alter reality, create worlds, and bring about materialization. However, even this body is not eternal. When a person attains full God, it too is dissolved into the infinite spirit.

For simplicity, I will call, in the web pages that follow, the astral and causal bodies and their parts “the body of light.”


When death comes, we discard the first sheath–the physical body. The body of light then exits via one of the chakras.

The chakras are like doorways. When we were preparing to be born, we entered the body of the baby form that our mother was growing. According to my spirit guide, who talks to my group during trance, this happens at the time of the quickening. Your spirit entered via one of the chakra points. Which chakra you chose to enter by depended upon how spiritually evolved you were.

If your soul state was still on the animistic level, or this is an early incarnation for you, you would enter through one of the lower chakras. If, however, you had spent many past lives in the quest for spirituality, you would enter through one of the higher chakras. This entry determines your motivations and life goals. Fortunately, every person also has the opportunity in life to develop their spirituality. When this happens, the prana rises gradually to the higher chakras.

At death, the body of light leaves through the highest chakra to which it can attain. In India, the eyes of a corpse are checked to see if they are looking upward towards the head. If so, it means that the departing spirit has exited via the crown center at the top of the head. When this happens, the spirit has attained enlightenment and immediately enters the highest heavenly state.


According to the Hindu yogic teachings of the Prashna Upanishad, the chakra through which the spirit leaves the body determines the course of its journey after death. The prana life force moves up the central subtle nerve channel in the spine and carries the spirit to its appropriate chakra doorway.

The spirit of a person who has spent his or her life in the pursuit of God consciousness passes out of the body through the crown chakra (known as the brahmarandhra or vidriti). Exiting the body through this chakra is extremely hard to accomplish, as the slightest hint of earthly desires will block the doorway. Departure through this chakra has been likened to trying to pass a thread through a very fine needle. It will jam if even one fiber of desire is sticking out.



Even the great gurus can flinch at the thought of death. Paramahansa Yogananda was one of the first great Hindu teachers to visit the west and he founded in 1920 the Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles. His own guru was Sri Yukteswar. On approaching his eighty-first birthday, Sri Yukteswar made the announcement that he would soon die. Suddenly, this great guru looked viably upset, but he soon regained his composure and remained in a blissful state throughout his death passage. Yogananda said: “For a few moments, he trembled like a frightened child.” Yogananda then quoted the words of another great guru: “Attachment to bodily resistance, springing up on its own nature, is present in slight degree even in the great saints.”


Three months later, Yogananda was staying at the Regent Hotel in Bombay. At three o’clock in the afternoon of June 19, 1936, the spirit of Sri Yukteswar appeared in Yogananda’s room. Yogananda’s spontaneous reaction was to embrace his old guru. To his amazement, he was hugging a real body. “Yes this is a real flesh-and-blood body,” explained Sri Yukteswar, “though I see it as ethereal, to your sight it is physical. From the cosmic atoms, I created an entirely new body… I am in truth resurrected–not on earth but on the astral planet. Its inhabitants are better able than earthly humanity to meet my lofty standards. There you and your exalted loved ones shall someday come to be with me.”

His guru then told Yogananda all about the heavenly worlds and gives us a few clues about what enlightened souls do when they are dead. “As prophets are sent on Earth to help men work out their physical karma, so I have been directed by God to serve on an astral planet as a savior. It is called Hiranyaloka or ‘Illuminated Astral Planet.’ There I am aiding advanced beings to rid themselves of astral karma and thus attain liberation from astral rebirths. The dwellers of Hiranyaloka are highly developed spiritually; all of them had acquired, in their last earth-incarnation, the meditation-given power of consciously leaving their physical bodies at death.”

Find Out More:

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References and Works Cited

  • Hamilton-Parker, Craig (2010) What To Do When You Are Dead Sterling imprint Barnes & Noble ISBN 978-1-4027-7660-1 (Languages: English, Dutch, Portuguese) BUY THE BOOK HERE


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11 comments… add one
  • Dulal Deb Dutta Jan 27, 2016, 4:49 am

    I am very much interested in Indian mysticism and would like an in depth knowledge about the subject can you please recommend which or if any prominent books and magazines for I know it will no doubt satisfy my appetite for knowledge.

    • Craig Hamilton-Parker Mar 22, 2016, 2:49 pm

      I suggest my latest book called ‘Messages from the Universe’ in which I explain Indian Mysticism and its correlations with Western Spiritualism.

  • Bonnie Dec 15, 2012, 3:29 pm

    You say in this article the chakra through which the spirit leaves the body determines the course of its journey after death. Where can you get an explanation of what it means to leave from each chakra.

    • Craig Hamilton-Parker Dec 17, 2012, 12:41 pm

      In India the objective is for the spirit to leave the body by the crown chakra at the top of the head. This is determined by the last thoughts at death which are in turn determined by your life’s work and karma. Many of the good books about Kundalini explain the roles of the chakras and how the individual becomes focused on a particular chakra during life and depending on thier spiritual growth. I know of no book that explains which chakras the spirit leaves at death. However as each chakras is associated with a different loka (afterlife plane) then I would expect that the spirit would move to the associated loka after death. I have a number of books about yoga on my online bookshop and will add a few suggestions on this topic in due course.

  • Elana Dewey Sep 20, 2012, 5:20 pm

    I would like to have a spiritual reading. How does one pay for your spiritual service? My life in this present time has been very difficult. I wanted to know what I signed up for in this lifetime. Am I on track?

  • Curious Sep 2, 2012, 11:02 pm

    When we merge back with God and they cycle of reincarnation ends, does that mean that we cease to exist as individuals?

    • Craig Hamilton-Parker Sep 3, 2012, 11:26 am

      I believe that every individual soul is destined to eventually merge with the absolute – God if you like. Although this is formless the individuality and its human story is not lost. This becomes like salt dissolved in water. The form is gone but the taste – the essence – still remains. Of course this idea poses even more difficult questions. For example, perhaps everything is already complete and we are already merged into the formless. What we think of as as own experience and individuality is just an illusion – this is the non-dualistic view of existence: that everything is all God – we are God moving from God and back into God. The process of becoming – and with it individuality – is also God.

      But of course there is then the big question about the existence of free will. Is this also an illusion. Animals are moved by instincts. Some humans are also instinctively driven but other appear to have a will that can embrace self-sacrifice, love, inspiration, morality and so on. Enlightened beings may have no free will but are at one with the divine and move effortlessly and at one with God’s will – if there is such a thing separate from human will.

      Buddha suggests that the self is empty of inherent existence – an illusion. This differs from some other Eastern teachings that say that there is an individual soul. Some say this is separate from God: God and man are separate entities. Others say they are one and the same: Atman is Brahman.

      So I cannot really answer the question only perhaps pose more difficult questions. However my inclination is to believe that we travel through life with a sense of individuality. This sense of individuality continues in the spirit world. We may incarnate again with the resonance of this individuality in a future life. Through this process we learn to love. Love surrenders and so eventually the love of the divine is so great that we surrender and become one with it.

      Through meditation we can transcend these beliefs and have direct experience of the true nature of self.

  • Patty Inman Aug 26, 2012, 9:04 pm

    I would be grateful for any information you can give me on your psychic development courses you do.

  • Rajesh Geer Aug 4, 2012, 4:56 am

    Namaskar, interesting article. Many people are gifted with refined psyche and can sense delicate phenomena. It is but a glimpse of what lies beyond our sense perceptions contained by a limited physical body. Many religions have answered the questions about after life but the real challenge is becoming a proper medium to experience for oneself. Many of the ancient Hindu scripts have answered life’s questions and the traditional yogis have often used their scriptures readily. Yet, there are now many new age yoga, which Aurobindo refers to as ‘new yoga’ and the ‘old yoga’, which are now offering modern considerations of similar subjects!!

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