Question: Do the circumstances under which a person dies determine where he goes after he leaves the body?
Sri Chinmoy: That depends mainly on the consciousness of the individual, and this consciousness is the gradually accumulated achievement of his entire life. My good disciples will go to a very high plane immediately if they can think of me at the time of death. If a mother is killed while protecting her child, her soul will go to a high world. When a soldier dies defending his country if his country is attacked, he will go to a high world. In India there was a time when the wives threw themselves into the funeral pyre of their husbands. People may say that this is suicide, and granted it is. But in these cases the wives do not go to the lower inconscient worlds where people who commit suicide usually go. These wives had tremendous love and devotion for and oneness with their husbands, and God blessed their divine qualities and granted them the grace to go to the worlds where they would otherwise have gone according to the development of their souls. Again, there were other wives who were forced to do this by law. They did it out of fear, out of necessity, but not out of a feeling of love or oneness. For them, too, the treatment was not the same in the inner world as for those who willfully committed suicide. They, too, went to their respective places according to their soul’s standard. But those who gave their lives out of joy and oneness naturally created a strong connection with their husbands which will be maintained in future lives.