The afterlife, in many cases, sounds more magnificent than life as we know it. Beliefs about an afterlife are, in fact, beliefs and not perfectly accurate information. Having specific beliefs about a persons destiny after death is a way for many people to cope with death and have a sense of closure. Ideas about the afterlife may vary greatly, but one thing all religions and cultures have in common is that they trust that their own specific beliefs are the only way. There is, and always will be, a broad range of views on the ideas of afterlife, from traditions as diverse as apocalyptic Judaism to Hellenistic religious culture.
For more than 3,000 years Egyptians have supported their initial, original ideas of the afterlife. The Egyptian afterlife is very detailed and is described thoroughly in the Book of the Dead. Once an Egyptian passes away they transform into two parts, the Ba and the Ka. The Ba is described as being the breath or soul and looks like a human-headed bird while the Ka is a carbon copy of the deceased and is the guardian spirit or life force (Lewis 123). Both parts travel in a boat to the underworld and once they reach their destination they proceed through seven different gates. At each gate they have to give certain names and formulas to be able to pass. Once they make it through the gates, the Kas continue to the Hall of Justice. Similar to most courtrooms, there is a judge, a prosecutor, and jury members. Thoth, the god of wisdom, is the prosecutor, while forty-two divine figures make up the jury, but the final decision is based on Osiris, the judge (Lewis 125). The deceased are to give a detailed account of their lives. After they have completed the account, their heart is placed on a scale opposite either a feather or an image of Maat. Maat is the goddess of truth and to Egyptians, a feather is symbolic of the same. If the heart outweighs the symbol of truth, it is a clear sign that the person has been sinful. They have failed the test and are immediately destroyed by Ammit, a horrid, monstrous creature (Lewis 125). If the heart balances on the scale, the deceased is free to enter Sekhet Aaru, which translates to a blissful world (Lewis 125). Once they enter that realm they have yet another choice. They may choose to live the remainder of their afterlife as a bird or live with an abundance of delicious fruit that will never cease. Close friends and family traditionally place models of servants, also known as Shabtis, into the tomb. The deceased are capable of turning the Shabti models into real servants to be the slaves of the deceased. When King Tut died he was known to have 414 Shabtis in his tomb (Lewis 126). The Egyptian process seems like a long, difficult journey for everyone, but not everyone is required to go through these steps. Immediately after death Pharaohs, by right, enter a divine realm. They never have to pass any tests, answer to anyone, or visit Osiris to determine their future.
Within the Hindu culture there are three types of religions, each believing something slightly different about the afterlife. Vedic Hindus believe that a new body is formed for the deceased and that process is called sapindikarana. Pitri-loka, the afterlife realm, is a place where everyone goes after being judged by Yama. Yama was the first man ever to die, he is now their god, king and judge of the deceased (Sharp 87). The next religious group, Upanishadic Hindus, are strong believers in karma and reincarnation. The samsaric process, reincarnation, is dreadful to these people. They believe that life in this world means suffering (Lewis 186). Samsara all depends on ones karma. Karma is described as the natural law ensuring that every good or bad deed eventually returns to the person in the form of reward or punishment. The Hindus that become engaged in the samsaric process can attain Moksha. Moksha is the release or liberation from samsara, which may be achieved by proper performance of rituals or highly disciplined yoga (Sharp 86). The last

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