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The Nature Of Ghosts According to the Vedas

At sunset the snakes become powerful, thieves are encouraged, ghosts become active, the lotus becomes disfigured and the cakravaki laments.

What is a ghost?

The glorious Brahma next evolved from his sloth the ghosts and fiends, but he closed his eyes when he saw them stand naked with their hair scattered. Ghosts and mischievous hobgoblins are also the creation of Brahma; they are not false. All of them are meant for putting the conditioned soul into various miseries. They are understood to be the creation of Brahma under the direction of the Supreme Lord.

According to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, the breathing dead body is a ghost. When a man dies, he is called dead, but when he again appears in a subtle form not visible to our present vision and yet acts, such a dead body is called a ghost. Ghosts are always very bad elements, always creating a fearful situation for others. Those who are very sinful and attached to their family, house, village or country do not receive a gross body made of material elements but remain in a subtle body, composed of mind, ego and intelligence. Those who live in such subtle bodies are called ghosts. One becomes a ghost when the subtle body acts without the help of the instrumental gross body.

The followers of Lord Siva are generally unclean. They are not even very hygienic; they do not take baths regularly, they wear long hair, and they smoke ganja. Persons of such irregular habits are counted amongst the ghosts.

How does someone become a ghost?

Ghosts are bereft of a physical body because of their grievously sinful acts, such as suicide. The last resort of the ghostly characters in human society is to take shelter of suicide, either material or spiritual. Material suicide causes loss of the physical body, and spiritual suicide causes loss of the individual identity. People try to avoid the results of their sinful activities by killing themselves, but this is not possible. Suicide is just another sin. Therefore those who commit suicide become ghosts. A confused, frustrated man cannot get relief by committing suicide because suicide will simply lead him to take birth in the lower species of life or to remain a ghost, unable to attain a gross material body. Because Krsna has given you, or maya has given, maya has given under the direction of Krsna, a certain type of body for enjoying for a certain span of life, you cannot finish it. If you disregard it, then, if you commit suicide, the result will be that you will not be allowed to accept another material body. You will have to remain in that subtle body. That is ghost. Ghostly life means one who has misused this life, this body, and by his whims he has killed this body. He becomes a ghost. That means he will have to suffer for so many day, then he'll get another material body.

The disease of insanity or being haunted by ghosts takes place in an unclean state of existence. Here it is clearly stated that when a man is fast asleep and saliva flows from his mouth and he remains unclean, ghosts then take advantage of his unclean state and haunt his body. In other words, those who drool while sleeping are considered unclean and are subject to be haunted by ghosts or to go insane.

Because of his desire to enjoy the material world, the living entity is dressed with the material gross and subtle bodies. Thus he is given a chance to enjoy the senses. The senses are therefore the instruments for enjoying the material world; consequently the senses have been described as friends. Sometimes, because of too much sinful activity, the living entity does not get a material gross body, but hovers on the subtle platform. This is called ghostly life. Because of his not possessing a gross body, he creates a great deal of trouble in his subtle body. Thus the presence of a ghost is horrible for those who are living in the gross body.

Sometimes in the present body the living entity feels that many of his desires and imaginations are not fulfilled. Those who are overly attracted to their life situation are forced to remain in a ghostly body and are not allowed to accept another gross body. Even in the body of a ghost, they create disturbances for neighbors and relatives. Sometimes we become ghost. If we become too much attached, we cannot leave. Therefore too much opulent apartment, opulent life, is not very good for spiritual advancement because we get too much attached to it. He got enough money and he was too much attached to the palace. The whole money he acquired, he constructed that house. Now after death, due to his too much attachment to that house, he is living there as a ghost.

Sometimes the living entity is forced to give up his body and enter another one according to the judgment of Yamaraja. It is difficult, however, for the conditioned soul to enter another body unless the present dead body is annihilated through cremation or some other means. The living being has attachment for the present body and does not want to enter another, and thus in the interim he remains a ghost.

What do ghosts do?

We have heard of people's being haunted by ghosts. Having no gross material body, a ghost seeks shelter of a gross body to stay in and haunt. By birth as a ghost one gets the mystic perfection of disappearing and entering into the bodies of others. Not exactly enters, but he catches the body. But because the ghost has no gross body—he has got his subtle body: mind, intelligence, and ego—you cannot see him, how he has attacked that body. You cannot see the body of mind, intelligence. You know I have got my mind; I know you have got your mind. But you do not see my mind; I do not see your mind. So ghost is within the subtle body: mind, intelligence and ego. So with that subtle body, he attacks the man, but you cannot see. He does not enter into him. The enter is the soul within the body. Therefore sometimes ghost is walking in the room. We cannot see him. But he takes away something. We see that the thing is going away. Because you cannot see his gross body. Ghosts sometimes manifest a body and sometimes they do not. And because he hasn't got gross body, he can move very swiftly. Now he is here; he can go ten miles away immediately. But there is ghost. The word eka-pada, "one-legged," refers to ghosts, for it is said that ghosts walk on one leg. They especially attack women. They're ghostly haunted; therefore a male ghost haunts over woman, woman ghost haunts over man. Sometimes a ghost attacks a man. Because he has no material body, he wants to act through other's body. There is eating in the subtle body also. The ghosts also, they eat, but the method is different. So the man who is attacked, he forgets himself, and he speaks and walks according to the dictation of the ghost. The Vedas say that once a man becomes crazy, or haunted by ghosts, he speaks all kinds of nonsense. Just like a person, when he's ghostly haunted, he calls his father by ill names, but he cannot recognize even his father. A man may be haunted by the ghost of a snake or a tiger.

Different kinds of Ghosts.

In the material world, when one is not covered by the gross body but subtle body, they are called ghosts or pramathas. Those who are good, not harmful, they are called pramathas. And those who are harmful... As in this material world there are good men and bad men, similarly, amongst the persons who has no this gross body, they are sometimes called ghosts and sometimes they are called pramatha. So without brain, without head, when the body moves it is ghost. So it is ghostly civilization. All ghosts. There is a kind of ghost, perhaps you know, that without head. If a man is chopped of his head, and if he has got attraction, then he becomes a ghost without head. So at the present moment, all these so-called educated civilized men are ghosts without head.

Mother Yasoda was firmly convinced that she should protect her child from different kinds of evil spirits, ghosts and denizens of inferno—namely Bhutas, Pretas, Pramathas, Guhyakas, Pisacas, Vetalas, Dakinis, Yatudhanis, Kusmandas, Yaksas, Raksasas and Vinayakas, along with witches like Kotara, Revati, Jyestha and Putana, as well as the Matrkas, Unmadas and similar other evil spirits, who cause persons to forget their own existence and give trouble to the life airs and the senses. Sometimes they appear in dreams and cause much perturbation; sometimes they appear as old women and suck the blood of small children. Out of all kinds of ghosts, the ghost of the name Brahma-raksasas are very powerful. A brahmana transferred to the

species of ghostly life becomes a Brahma-raksasa.

What to do about them.

Before the sunrise even takes place, the light of dawn destroys the fear of the dangers of the night, such as disturbances by thieves, ghosts and Raksasas. Ghosts and evil spirits cannot remain where there is chanting of the holy name of God. The best way to remove them is to chant Hare Krishna very loudly and have jubilant kirtana until they leave. In England, in Mr. John Lennon's house there was one ghost. But as soon as the devotees began chanting very loudly, he went away immediately. It is said that wherever the chanting of the holy name of Krsna is done, even negligently, all bad elements—witches, ghosts and dangerous calamities—immediately disappear. Thus Mother Yasoda chanted different names of Visnu to protect child Krsna’s different bodily parts. The great saints and devotees of the Lord are in the list of His paraphernalia, and thus as soon as a saintly devotee is present, the ghostly sins are at once vanquished. That is the verdict of all Vedic literatures. One is recommended, therefore, to associate only with saintly devotees so that worldly demons and ghosts cannot exert their sinister influence. If one is habituated to taking the prasada of Lord Visnu, there is no chance of his becoming a ghost or anything lower than a human being. Dakini and Sankhini are two companions of Lord Siva and his wife who are supposed to be extremely inauspicious, having been born of ghostly life. It is believed that such inauspicious living creatures cannot go near a nima tree.

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