(Concluded from Part 1.)
Next is the Ascension of Balaram Bose, householder disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. Balaram has provided for Sri Ramakrishna’s physical needs for many years. His master dies before him and, when Balaram dies, his master comes for him in a way reminiscent of Elijah and takes him many planes higher than the Astral. Normally most souls transition from death through the Astral Plane. For Balaram to go directly to a much higher plane constitutes an Ascension.
An example of Ascension after death is the case of Balaram Bose, whose spirit was escorted to heaven by Sri Ramakrishna. The master was seen descending in a chariot to the roof of the building where Balaram lay. Here is that description.
“At the last moment, we were seated around [Balaram Bose], while his wife, stricken with unspeakable grief, was in the inner apartment with Golap-ma, Yogin-ma, and others. Just then she noticed something like a piece of black cloud in the sky, which became denser by stages and began to descend. Soon it assumed the shape of a chariot and alighted on the roof of Balaram Babu’s house. The Master [Sri Ramakrishna] came out of that chariot and proceeded towards the room where Balaram Babu lay.
“Soon after, he issued forth, taking Balaram Babu by the hand, and entered the chariot again, which then ascended and vanished in the sky. This vision raised [Balaram's wife's] mind to a very high plane where there could be no touch of grief or sorrow. When she returned to normal she related this to Golap-ma, who came to apprise us of the fact. Balaram Babu had passed away just a little while before.” (1)
Compare Balaram’s Ascension with Elijah’s.
“And it came to pass, as they [Elijah and Elisha] still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” (2)
Here is another Ascension from physical life to a plane much higher than the astral. Journalist Julia Ames leaves her body at death and is escorted by an angel onto a very high plane where she meets with Jesus. Again she skips over the Astral Plane, making her journey an Ascension.
The clue to it being beyond the Astral is the angel’s comment: “He who saved thee would fain speak with thee.” To be “saved” means to ascend to at least the Mental Plane or Fifth Dimension and need no more to incarnate (except voluntarily, to serve). But I believe Julia to have gone to a dimension much higher than the Fifth.
“I found myself free from my body. It was such a strange new feeling. I was standing close to the bedside on which my body was lying; I saw everything in the room just as before I closed my eyes. I did not feel any pain in ‘dying’; I felt only a great calm and peace. Then I awoke and I was standing outside my old body in the room. There was no one there at first, just myself and my old body. At first I wondered [that] I was so strangely well. Then I saw that I had passed over. …
“Then I felt as though a great warm flood of light had come into the room and I saw an angel. She, for at first she seemed to be a female, came to me and said –
“’I am sent to teach you the laws of the new life.’
“And, as I looked, she gently touched me and said: ‘We must go.’ …
“My angel had wings; they were beautiful. She was all robed in white.
“We went at first through the streets, then we went through the air.” (3)
“When my Guide came he spoke to me in a very sweet, strong voice that had in it the confidence of the Invisible. And I was thrilled through and through with its note, which did not seem strange to me. Nor was this strange for he had often been with me in my earth-life, although I had never seen him. I recognized him as an old and familiar part of myself and this at first made me think that it was a woman. And, when he said, ‘Come!’ I did not hesitate.” (4)
“When we were journeying I spoke little. My thoughts were busy and yet I was not conscious of even thinking, only of feeling and seeing, drinking in at every point new impressions. When we seemed to be arriving at a new world, I spoke. I asked my guide, ‘Where is this? Is it Heaven?’ He replied, ‘Wait and see. You will find those there who will teach you what you want to know.’
“The place was very pleasant to behold. The air was sweet and there was a delicious fragrance of flowers in June. The world – for it was a world we were approaching – seemed not unlike our old world, but it was different – there was nothing to jar. The sense of restful peace and contented love was everywhere. The place had a placid smile of tranquil joy.” (5)
“I found myself in a great expanse of landscape where I had never been before. I was alone; that is, I saw no one. But you are never really alone. We are always living in the presence of God. But I saw no one. Then I heard a voice. I only heard the words. ‘Julia, He who saved thee would fain speak with thee.’ I listened, but no words other than these were spoken.
“Then I said – ‘Who is it that speaks?’ And, behold, a flaming fire – really like fire though in human shape. I was afraid. Then he spoke and said, ‘Be not afraid. It is who am appointed to teach the secret things of God.’ Then I saw that the brightness as of fire was only the brightness that comes from the radiant love of the Immortals.
“Then the flame-bright One said to me, ‘Julia, behold your Saviour!’ And when I looked I saw Him. He was sitting on a seat close to me, and He said, ‘Beloved, in My Father’s House are many mansions; here am I whom you have loved so long. I have prepared a place for you.’
“And I said, ‘Where, oh, my Lord?’ He smiled and, in the brightness of that smile, I saw the whole landscape change as the Alps change in the sunset, which I saw so often from the windows of my hotel at Lucerne. Then I saw that I was not alone, but all around and above were fair and loving forms, some of those whom I had known, others of whom I had heard, while some were strange.
“But all were friends and the air was full of love. And in the midst of all was He, my Lord and Saviour. He was as a Man among men. He was full of the wonderful sweet mildness which you are acquainted with in some of the pictures that have been painted by the Italian Fra Angelico. He had an admirable look of warm affection, which was as the very breath of life to my soul. He is with us always.
“This is Heaven – to be with Him. You cannot understand how the consciousness of His presence makes the atmosphere of this world so different from that with you. There are many things I wish I could write to you, but I cannot, nor could you understand them. I can only tell you that He is more than we ever have imagined. He is the Source and Giver of all good gifts. All that we know of what is good and sweet and pure and noble and lovable are but faint reflections of the immensity of the glory that is His. And He loves us with such tender love!” (6)
The sight and presence of Jesus after death – literally to be with Jesus in the clouds – is a rare privilege granted only to those who have excelled spiritually. Julia is probably on the Seventh Dimension or higher so again hers could be considered a sudden Ascension.
And finally here is the Buddha’s ascension after his death or mahasamadhi. I’ve foreshortened it a bit for the sake of the reader. But with or without the extra detail, what is being described is an Ascension.
“Thereupon The Blessed One rising from the cessation of his perception and sensation, entered the realm of neither perception nor yet non-perception; and rising from the realm of neither perception nor yet non-perception, he entered the realm of nothingness; and rising from the realm of nothingness, he entered the realm of the infinity of consciousness; and rising from the realm of the infinity of consciousness, he entered the realm of the infinity of space; and rising from the realm of the infinity of space, he entered the fourth trance; … and rising from the fourth trance, immediately The Blessed One passed into Nirvana.” (7)
Therefore most Ascensions that we know about have been sudden events. Of course this Ascension is without precedent in that, unlike any of those discussed here with the exception of Elijah, no one heretofore has ascended with their physical body, whereas, apparently, we will.
Nonetheless there is precedent for the notion of “sudden” Ascensions. Most Ascensions that we know of have been of that type.
(1) Swami Shivananda in Swami Chetananda, They Lived with God. Life Stories of Some Devotees of Sri Ramakrishna. St. Louis: Vedanta Society of St. Louis, 1989, 133. Saying Balaram Babu is equivalent to saying Mr. Balaram.
(2) II Kings 2:11.
(3) All quotes are from Julia [Julia T. Ames] through W.T. Stead, medium, After Death. A Personal Narrative. New York: George H. Doran, n.d.; c. 1914. Pp. 41-44.
(7) The Death of the Buddha, Translated from the Maha-Parinibbana-Sutta (v. and vi.) of the Dgha-Nikya, at http://www.bartleby.com/45/3/106.html