Every human is composed of two elements - prakrita or body, the physical form and sukshma/jivatma, the motivating energy which is metaphysical and invisible, only experienced as soul. When a person dies, deha or the physical form decomposes, but the jivatma, soul or invisible form transmigrates as part of the renewal process of the universe. It is the oorjam or chaitanya which drives the human to function. In Death and After, V R Krishna Iyer, former justice of the Supreme Court, says "physical termination is not physical extinction''...''death is not termination of life; it is only a punctuation".
A verse in the Bhagwad Gita says:
"Never was the spirit born; neither will it cease to be;
It is beyond time; ends and beginnings are dreams;
Birthless, deathless and changeless remains the spirit forever;
Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems."
The soul is the energy of life; it can neither be created nor destroyed. It is indestructible. In metapsychosis the energy gets transmitted from one medium to another. Ancients practised this transfer of energy (transmigration of souls.
The Gita says, ''In death, all are not equal - circumstances, age, maturity of the deceased - all these factors determine post-death conseque-nces.'' One who has led a full life is completely satisfied, with no unfulfilled desires nor regrets; who has led a happy life - when he dies, his soul gets an eternal sleep and it goes millions of miles above the stratosphere and reaches the land of bliss; joining the celestial world with the ancestors. En route it has only to pass through some correction centres (listed in the Garuda Purana) to answer some omissions or commissions while alive, which any mortal is bound to commit. Once desires are completely exhausted, the birth- death cycle ends with God-realisation. In the land of bliss the departed souls do not enjoy heavenly life forever. They come back to the cycle of life depending on their actions.
The spirit of one who commits suicide is not qualified to leave this world and so the spirit wanders and wanders as a floating ghost until someone gives it an ethereal transmission. No one wants to communicate with a floating spirit.
Depending upon the circumstances as above, the character and nature of the ghosts differ. A ghost is always a ghost and it is a dreaded thing. Depending upon their potency, ghosts can be friendly or unfriendly, harmful or benign. The nature of the ghost depends upon its origin. Ghosts are known by several names depending on their potency and characteristics.
They are referred to variously as ghosts, goblins, gnomes, ghouls, vampires, witches, imps, werewolves and pishachas or wild spirits. There are several manifestations possible in the period after death and these remain a mystery to us. They can be revengeful, cruel, harmful or they could be entirely harmless and soft depending on their origin. There are also a rowdy bunch of ogres, demons and dwarfs who do no harm nor kill, but are mischief-mongers and play pranks to unnerve a person. On the other side, there are sweet angels (equivalent to devatas of Hindu mythology) who constitute the hierarchy and potency of ghosts. The bodhisattvas, too, come in this category.
Source: The Times of India