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HUMAYUN GAUHAR | 6 MARCH, 2016

Life After Death: Of Science, Scriptures and Mysticism


I received numerous letters after my last article. Unusually, only one was negative while many were positive and helped advance my thinking and adding to my knowledge bank. Some asked pertinent questions that I hope to try and find answers to after I am done with this second series of articles on the subject.

For me the question is not whether there is life after death. I am convinced that there is else all this is a total waste of time. I, for one, do not believe that the creation of the universe was an accident. How could it be if it required so many variables to be in perfect balance, balance that continues to this day? Some accident. My quest is to find scientific proof of that existence in the afterlife, its nature and purpose primarily to convince the doubters and to enhance my own knowledge which, I believe, is the most important purpose of human existence, not enhancing one’s bank account beyond one’s legitimate needs.

Scientists, even those who believe in the Supreme Creator, have quite correctly been hankering after proof of an afterlife that will stand the test of scientific scrutiny. That is how it should be for men of science, though science is not the only route that leads to such answers. It is far too limited because it is based on the need for repeated rigorous experimentation that is at any point in time far too dependent on man’s limited knowledge, his equipment and power of observation, experimentation and interpretation. When they can’t prove something they duck the question and call it by some other name, like ‘nothingness’ outside the universe, where they are now discovering that “everything is in nothing”.

Look, it has taken a century to discover gravitational waves that Alfred Einstein, who had no fancy science degrees or laboratories but only his incredible mind, had postulated a hundred years ago, and that too by chance because scientists happened to be looking in the right place of the cosmos at the right time and ‘saw’ the waves for a fleeting moment.

One of them, by the way, was a Pakistani lady scientist. These magnetic waves were created when two huge black holes collided more than a billion years ago but we saw it only now and that too at the speed of light, which, it was thought, nothing could go faster than. But thanks to the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland they have discovered that subatomic particles travel not only faster than the speed of light but can also go through matter.

I can already hear someone postulate that ‘ghosts’ are made of subatomic particles and that is how they go through walls – but then you never know. If someone who has died wishes to make an appearance on the earth plane they could have the power to form out of subatomic particles what looks like their physical bodies did before death, something that was suggested by the late great astrophysics scientist and author who worked for NASA, Arthur C. Clarke in one of his ‘Space Odyssey’ series. So let’s not make fun of it and keep an open mind.

Apart from the scientific, there is the much more powerful spiritual path as well that can lead to answers, but to explain spiritual answers to others, much less to persuade them, is to assume that they too have an active inner eye or mind’s eye and a certain degree of spiritual development and the humility to realize and accept that they don’t have all the answers. This is what sets one on the biggest quest of all. To find larger acceptability one has to have answers that the human mind can fathom because it finds them ‘rational’, which is why we feel comfortable by depending on scientific determination.

Last year two quantum physics experts, one British, one American, claimed that near-death experiences occur when the soul leaves the nervous system and re-enters the universe. The two scientists say that quantum substances form the soul and are part of the fundamental structure of the universe before returning back into bodies that have died for a while.

My good friend Ahmed Virk told me in Karachi on this recent visit that he had a near-death-experience after a horrific car crash in Germany. He saw a man lying sprawled on a grassy knoll that one usually finds on the sides of European highways. He was seemingly dead, his arms, legs and feet awry. A shoe was lying on the grass near him. Then he realized with a certain degree of bemusement (but not fright) that it was his shoe and he was looking at himself. Passersby and policemen revived him and he lived to tell me the tale.

God is great and so is science, but then God has to be the greatest scientist and pure mathematician there ever can be. Some believe that pure mathematics is the language of God. God knows best.

Damien Gayle wrote in London’s ‘Daily Mail’ on October 30 last year that two quantum physics experts, Dr. Stuart Hameroff, Professor Emeritus at the Departments of Anesthesiology and Psychology and the Director of the Centre of Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona “has advanced a quasi-religious theory… It is based on a quantum theory of consciousness he and British physicist Sir Roger Penrose have developed which holds that the essence of our soul is contained inside structures called microtubules within brain cells.” Hameroff and Penrose argue that, “our experience of consciousness is the result of quantum gravity effects in these microtubules, a theory which they have dubbed ‘Orchestrated Objective Reduction’ and call it Orch-OR.”

Those who have read my earlier article on Dr. Eben Alexander’s near-death experience of ten days or his book ‘Proof of Heaven’ will recall that as a scientist and neurosurgeon he too has talked about ‘microtubules’.

“Thus it is held,” continues Damien Gayle, “that our souls are more than the interaction of neurons in the brain. They are in fact constructed from the very fabric of the universe – and may have existed since the beginning of time.”

Wrap your mind around this: our souls are constructed from the very fabric of the universe. Makes me feel big. Or even before our universe and other universes were created it can be postulated that if our souls or consciousness come from the Creator, as He has said in both the Bible and Quran (which is the basis of the mystical philosophy ‘An al Haq’ meaning ‘I am the Truth and the Truth is God’, of which Mansur al Hallaj was the greatest exponent and was beheaded by a megalomaniac ruler goaded on by maleficent clerics) and the Creator has no beginning or end, then the fabric of the universe exists or existed in the Creator before it was used to create the universe. So is it that the universe is also constructed from the fabric of the Creator? If so, then the fabric of the universe is God, meaning that all creation and we exists within God. I could go mad continuing in this vein: many of you probably think that I have already gone mad.

Gayle says that “The concept is similar to the Buddhist and Hindu belief that the consciousness is an integral part of the universe – and indeed that it is really all there may be, a position similar to Western philosophical idealism.” Given these beliefs, “Dr. Hameroff holds that in a near-death experience the microtubules lose their quantum state, but the information within them is not destroyed. Instead it merely leaves the body and returns to the cosmos.”

Dr. Hameroff told the Science Channel’s documentary ‘Through the Wormhole’: “Let’s say the heart stops beating, the blood stops flowing, the microtubules lose their quantum state. The quantum information within the microtubules is not destroyed – it can’t be destroyed – it just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large.” My question then is: is it that only the information survives or does our soul-consciousness also survives as well? Surely our soul-consciousness cannot be the sum of the information we have gathered in the microtubules of our brains.

It has to be that our soul-consciousness survives in the next dimension where it is free of the bondage of the brain and body thus making its perceptions and understanding more powerful, even while the information gathered on earth is downloaded into the great supercomputer as it were of the ‘Great Cosmic Consciousness’ as I call it, which is the Creator. Otherwise, is a human being only an information-gathering vessel like a USB that is discarded after the information it contains is downloaded in the Great Cosmic Computer?

“If the patient is resuscitated, revived,” continues Dr. Stuart Hameroff in the documentary ‘Through the Wormhole’, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, ‘I had a near-death experience’.” Somewhat pathetic, what, considering that an amazing spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual experience is reduced to “the quantum information dissipates” from our microtubules into the universe and back in again if revival takes place. To find the answer to the question Humankind has consistently asked, I suspect that for greater understanding we will also have to consult the correctly preserved scriptures and involve mystical spirituality as well and try to marry them to science too and then think for ourselves.

“MIT physicist Max Tegmark is just one of the many scientists to have challenged [the Orch-OR theory], in a 2000 paper that is widely cited by opponents, the Huffington Post reports.” Frankly, newspapers matter little in this quest; science, divine scriptures and mystical spirituality do and the thought process most of all, so it is best to read these findings and reports directly if one can understand them. I, for one, don’t have the slightest doubt about existence after earthly death in some form – consciousness, energy, soul, spirit or whatever you choose to call it.

“Nevertheless,” says Damien Gayle, “Dr. Hameroff believes that research in to quantum physics is beginning to validate Orch-Or, with quantum effects recently being shown to support many important biological processes, such as smell, bird navigation and photosynthesis.”

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