What happens after the final liberation?
When the final liberation takes place, the physical body survives for a maximum period of twenty-one days. The body can only survive for this long because it is not protected and it is not nourished by anything, there is no circulation, respiration or prana. This body only survives on man’s will to live, so, because the liberated man has become completely oblivious of the body, disintegration or death takes place. If you have no interest in your body, you cannot remain with it. Although jivanmuktas or liberated saints may no longer have any need for a body, some of them still incarnate because they have not yet permanently removed themselves from the cycle of rebirth. Jivanmuktas incarnate, paramahamsas incarnate, and so do rishis and saints. Only videhamuktas do not incarnate. Videhamuktas are those who have become completely free from the tentacles of life and the superficial structures of body consciousness. Some of the saints from the Christian, Hindu, Jain and Muslim traditions have been videhamuktas. And some of the saints of Greece, who were called cynics, have also been videhamuktas.
There is one important thing that people are unable to understand, and that is that liberation is a continual process. You are already liberated, but at a subtle level, not completely. If you were not liberated, then you would be behaving like a cow, a buffalo or a donkey. As the process of liberation continues, more and more light becomes vivid before you and things become better and clearer. Liberation is not like magic, in which you remove something and another thing appears in its place. It is always going on.
Ask a scientist to explain what the liberation of energy is and at what point the liberation takes place. He won’t be able to explain it. He might say, “Well, it is a thing in the making.” Liberation is a continuous process and it has already occurred when the spirit was liberated from the mineral kingdom to the herbal kingdom. Then again it was liberated from the herbal kingdom to the animal kingdom. Then it was liberated from the animal kingdom to the human kingdom. Again it was liberated from the lower human kingdom to the higher intelligent human kingdom. And then it was liberated from the higher intelligent human kingdom to the spiritually intelligent kingdom, as many people are. Liberation is actually another name for the outcome of evolution.
When the guru dies, can the disciple still communicate with him?
Communication is possible depending on the depth of the disciple’s spirit. If his faith is very strong and dynamic, then he will be able to communicate with his guru even beyond this world. If the relationship is deep and spiritually potent, then it follows life after life. Guru follows the disciple and disciple follows the guru.
What happens when the guru and disciple both die?
When the disciple dies, if he has karma, he follows his own karma. If he incarnates into another body he is again in search of a guru because of his previous samskaras. If his guru incarnates also, the disciple will find him somewhere and they will continue their spiritual romance. If somehow the guru has gone out of the orbit of evolution (this happens sometimes), then the disciple has to choose another guru of the same caliber and seek his guidance.
—first published in Teachings of Swami Satyananda Saraswati Vol.1