Once a group of seekers was going up to Bhaskarananda one by one to bow to him and touch his feet. When it was the turn of a certain man, the Master said to him, “You cannot touch my feet now; you are not pure. Your father has died. Go home; there will be a telegram for you from your family.” The man left for home immediately, with a sorrowful heart, and when he arrived at his own home, the messenger was waiting with a telegram from his mother. The telegram read: “Come home immediately. Your father has passed away.”
Commentary: When someone dies, usually the soul of the person first looks around its own dead body, then flies to the dear ones who are not around the body. There are various reasons why souls do this. Sometimes the souls want to see whether they were really needed by the world, so they watch to see whether or not their dear ones are crying for them. Sometimes they try to console their near and dear ones by telling them that it is God’s cosmic Law that they are fulfilling: nobody can stay on earth forever. Every soul has to leave the body after it has played its role on earth.
It is good to know what is happening all around, but if you will create undue suffering, by telling people, then it is not advisable to do so. Perhaps the Master could have told the seeker, “Go home quickly. You are needed there.” But telling him about his father’s passing and not allowing him to touch his feet was not correct from the highest spiritual point of view. He should have been allowed to go home and read the telegram. If everything is done in its due course, then we do not create sorrow in others before it is actually necessary.
In Indian tradition when someone dies, members of the immediate family are supposed to become impure for some time. God alone knows how difficult it is for a spiritual Master of the highest order to appreciate this kind of theory. Who can understand why Indians think that the dear ones are impure? I pray to God to bless all these foolish theories, along with the practitioners of the theories. First of all, one has the pain of losing one’s dear ones. Then at the same time he has to undergo humiliation for that very loss. No matter what kind of justification people give with regard to impurity invading the physical body of the dear ones — saying that an evil spirit possesses the body of the deceased after the soul has left, and because of their connection with him, the near and dear ones also become impure — from the spiritual point of view there is no truth in this theory. There is no justification at all.