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Question: What happens to life before birth and after death?

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Jayapataka Swami: The soul lives on and it always existed before our present birth and after this body dies. We have traversed 8,400,000 species of life and come to the 400,000 human species. So this is an opportunity to end this cycle. We have free will as a human being. An animal follows the instinct because Supersoul is present in the heart, we call atma. So the animals do not have as much perception as the human beings. Then they have some particular sense which is very strong, like dogs are used to smell drugs. So every animal has some sense like owls can see in the dark. Bats have some kind of radar, sonar system. Different animals have different features. But the human beings have free will, you can decide to use the knife for surgery, if you are a doctor to save a life or if you are a thief, you can use your knife to kill someone. So how you use the facility, how you use your senses. I heard how a Harinam party was going on somewhere downtown and some football hooligans attacked the Harinam party. So they had people but they misused and attacked devotees for no reason. So this material world is a dangerous place. Human beings are unpredictable. We don’t know what they will do next. Tiger, you can predict, he will eat! So it says we should not trust any animal which has horns, claws, etc. because their instinct is to use their fangs or horns into you. But human beings you don’t know, he could be a friend or foe. So this is the danger of living in the material world. So if we are Krsna conscious then Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita, that if we understand that His janma and karma ca me divyam, that we know that Krsna’s appearance and His pastimes are transcendental, then we go back to Krsna. But if we are human beings and we don’t read Srila Prabhupada’s books, we don’t read the Vedas, we don’t understand who is Krsna, then we may get some bad karma. So depending on our activities, on our desires, we get our future birth. So this is one of the things we want to show in our exhibits in our Temple of Vedic Planetarium, how the soul is different from the body. People have had out of body experiences. My mother had an out of body experience. So what happens after death depends on our desires and our karmas.  If we have Krsna conscious thoughts, then there is a good chance we go back home back to Godhead.