We have heard gossip about heaven and hell, but there is no confirmed information.
There was a yogi who, at the age of 84, started telling people around him very confidently: “I’m going to heaven.” People asked him: “Who told you that you are going to heaven? Do you know what is on God’s mind?” The yogi said, “I don’t care what is on God’s mind. I know what is on my mind.”
Fundamentally, the seat of your experience is within you. If you’re in an utmost state of pleasantness, it is heaven. If you are in a state of absolute unpleasantness, that is hell. Heaven is not a geographical place. Those who have made a hell out of themselves are saying there is another heaven.
We have heard gossip about heaven and hell, but there is no confirmed information. If you think that your loved ones who died are just lost, that you don’t know where they are, you will feel terrible. So, generally, most cultures believe when people die they go to their heavenly abode. If it is true that such a privilege will be conferred upon you, why should you postpone it? Why not leave today? No, we have solaced ourselves with lots of empty talk. Most people cannot digest death. If you are aware of your mortal nature, everything is put into its proper perspective. If you knew that you are a flower that blooms in the morning and dies in the evening, you would not miss a single flower on the way. Your fantasies will collapse, and reality will rule.
There are believers and non-believers, both are on the same boat, arguing about something that they do not know. We are not sincere enough to admit: “I do not know.” But only when you are willing to see, “I do not know,” does the possibility of knowing arise.
So what actually happens after death? If I talk about anything which is not yet in your experience, you cannot understand it. The only option you have is to believe or disbelieve me. If you believe me, you will fool yourself because without really knowing, you will pretend to know. If you disbelieve me, you will destroy the possibility of knowing that which is not in your current experience.
Today, modern science has done many experiments to understand the nature of life and death. But this can only be grasped by experience. Do not try to think what happens beyond death, as that is not the realm of your mind. Only if your experience of life has gone beyond your mental and physical structures, can you access this dimension. This is not a secret hiding somewhere — it is right here, right now. It is just that most human beings have never paid enough attention to the very nature of their existence. What we call as spirituality or yoga is an inner technology which can deliver you into a state of perception that gives you access to both life and death.
Enlightenment or self-realisation means just this, that you know the nature of your existence absolutely.