Question: What are ghosts? Are they the vital beings of dead people?

Sri Chinmoy: Most of them are dissatisfied vital beings. Satisfied ones do not do these things. That is why in India, people observe quite a few rites when someone dies. For one month, they actually feed the deceased. If somebody dies, they keep all kinds of food in front of their house for one month after, thinking that the man who has died is still hungry. We used to keep food for our father and mother. Very often a dog would come and eat the food, and sometimes we became annoyed. But the village brahmin gave us sound advice. He said, “Your father has taken the form of a dog and the dog is eating the food.” I observed it at least six or seven times with tears in my eyes thinking, “Oh, my father is eating.” The dog was eating the food and I used to look at the dog with such affection, because the brahmin had told us that the dog was eating on behalf of my father. Such village beliefs! I have seen it with my own eyes. When my father died and when my mother died, we observed this ritual for one month and then, after a month, we believed they were not hungry anymore.