What happens after we die? Where does our soul go?

Answer by Niraj Bidawatka

After death, the soul leaves the present body to occupy a new body. The body is like a car and the soul is its driver. Generally, an auto-mobile has a life of eight to ten years. When the car wears out, you buy a new car. Similarly, when the body gets old and is no longer fit and healthy, the soul leaves the body and assumes a new body.

Krishna, in the Bhagavad Gita, gives the example of a shirt, vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya. When your shirt gets worn out, you remove your old shirt and wear a new one. Similarly this body is like an outer covering of the soul. When the body gets old, the soul discards the old body to assume a new body.

So the answer to the first part of your question, “What happens after we die”, is that we take up a new body after death.

Now the second part of your question – Where does the soul go? – The soul remains in the material world and keeps transmigrating within the 84 lakh (8.4 million) species of life. This is called the cycle of birth and death. Please follow this link to get exact details about the transmigration of the soul within the 8.4 million species of life.

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However, if one devotes ones life to Krishna and completely surrenders himself to the will of Krishna, such a pure soul is transferred to one of the innumerable planets in the spiritual world, where there is no misery and no death. One becomes eternally happy when one is transferred to the spiritual world. Therefore, saintly personalities descend from the spiritual world to teach us how to transcend the cycle of birth and death and how to surrender unto Krishna, or God and thereby become eternally happy.

To sum up the second part of your question, “Where does the soul go?”, Krishna states in the Bhagavad Gita (14.18) that there are three destinations for a conditioned soul:

  1. Those who in the mode of goodness, they go to higher planetary systems, which are situated above svarga loka, or heaven. One has to die in such higher planets also. Even the four headed Lord Brahma, who is situated in the highest planet, has to die.
  2. Those who are in the modes of passion, remain in the middle planetary systems, i.e.bhu loka (earth), bhuvar loka and svarga loka (heaven).
  3. Those who are in the modes of ignorance, glide down to lower regions of the material world.

However, the pure devotees of the Lord, who have transcended the above mentioned three modes of material nature, go back to the spiritual world, where they enjoy eternal life full of knowledge and happiness. So chant Hare Krishna and go back home, back to Godhead because that is where the soul belongs to.

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