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Death at the Door: Part 7

In part seven of this Indian tale, Savitri learns that though a soul is invisible, it is real.

Deepak Chopra

This article, the seventh in a 12-part series, is reprinted with permission of IntentBlog.

Note: While writing a new book on the afterlife, (Life After Death: The Burden of Proof) I kept being drawn back to stories that I'd heard in India as a child. In these stories the abstract issues of death, immortality, and eternity acquire a human face as ordinary people confronted the mystery of death. I hoped that reader will be intrigued by a world where heroes battle darkness in order to emerge into the light.

In this case the hero is a woman named Savitri, and the enemy she must defeat is Yama, the lord of death. Yama shows up in her front yard one day, waiting to take away her husband the moment he returns from his work as a woodcutter. Will she succeed? What strategy can possibly turn Death away from his inexorable mission?

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Part 7: (Begin at part 1 by clicking here.)

To tell the truth, what Ramana had been telling Savitri didn’t come as a total surprise. She had been raised to believe in the soul. She had heard about how the higher self, the “inward dweller” as Lord Krishna called it, is immortal. But these were faraway lessons.

“How do I know I have a soul?” she asked.

“You cannot know by seeing it or touching it,” Ramana said. “Your soul might whisper to you, but even then you could just be hearing echoes of your own voice.”

“So the soul may be a fiction, whereas death is totally real,” said Savitri, with a sinking feeling.

“The soul isn’t a fiction just because it’s invisible,” Ramana said. “Look.”

Suspended in a shaft of light was the outline of an intricate spider web anchored between two bushes. It gleamed and rippled with the slightest breeze.

“A spider made this web,” said Ramana. “You see his work but you don’t see the spider. He holds a tiny thread that tells him when anything lands in the web. Where has the spider gone? It doesn’t matter as long as the connection exists.”

Savitri couldn’t help being stubborn. “I still may be imagining I have a soul.”

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Deepak Chopra

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