"That is another great lesson. Spirituality can never be attained unless all material ideas are given up. ... What is in the senses? The senses are all delusion. People wish to retain them [in heaven] even after they are dead — a pair of eyes, a nose. Some imagine they will have more organs than they have now. They want to see God sitting on a throne through all eternity — the material body of God. ... Such men's desires are for the body, for food and drink and enjoyment. It is the materialistic life prolonged. Man cannot think of anything beyond this life. This life is all for the body. "Such a man never comes to that concentration which leads to freedom."
We have identified ourselves with our bodies. We are only body, or rather, possessed of a body. If I am pinched, I cry. All this is nonsense, since I am the soul. All this chain of misery, imagination, animals, gods, and demons, everything, the whole world all this comes from the identification of ourselves with the body. I am spirit. Why do I jump if you pinch me? ... Look at the slavery of it. Are you not ashamed? We are religious! We are philosophers! We are sages! Lord bless us! What are we? Living hells, that is what we are Lunatics, that is what we are!
We cannot give up the idea [of body]. We are earth-bound. ... Our ideas are burial grounds. When we leave the body we are bound by thousands of elements to those [ideas].
According to Swami Vivekananda, if there is life after death, it is not anything we can imagine. How can it be? We are alive, not dead right now, and all we have known is being in a body. Quite clearly, the body stays after death. That means that we do not have eyes or a nose or hands or any parts of the body after death - we leave that physical container behind.
And there we have it: nobody has any idea what it's like being dead. This has huge implications. Specifically, that whatever religious organisations may tell us, they have no more of a clue as to life after death than anybody else.
Why do we even want to know if there is a life after death? Certainly we cannot imagine what it would be like, if we accept that we won't have a body. So why do people all over the world talk about a life after death? And does it matter?
To me, I don't care if there is a life after death. What I really care about is this life and what I do with it. I am a seeker of truth; a seeker of reality. So what I've learn't is that almost everything is transitory, including me. Truth is not something so malleable that it changes all the time. Not by my definition.
To me Truth with a capital T is something eternal. It's something that doesn't change. So it can't be related to the body, which, in my 72 years, I've seen change substantially over time. So what is it related? What is it that's unchanging?
That of course, is the challenge: finding the answer to that question. I can say this much: I know that I have to look inside me for that which is eternal, which doesn't change. It's what I refer to as the creative force which brought the molecules together to form me, sustained this form until the end and then allows those molecules to disperse again. From dust we came and to dust we go - that's the physical body. But the creative force which currently sustains me, doesn't turn to dust; it's not a set of molecules, It's what activated those molecules which constitute my body.
And that power, that creative force, is within me right now, so it must be possible to be aware of it, to connect with it and experience the real detachment from the endless distractions of the physical world.