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Arishta – Happenings Before Death In Hinduism

In Hinduism, Arishta is the happenings before death. It is an indication of the end of life. The end of life is called aparanta. Some yogis have knowledge of the time of their death. This is called aparantajnana. It is a yogic power mentioned by Patanjali (Yogasutra III.22). This power is attained by concentrating the mind in the state of samyama on the store of past deeds and their traces in the mind.

The deeds are of two types, namely those which have started producing their effects already which have started producing their effects already and those which will bear fruit after sometime. Another method of knowing when the end will come is to look for the presence of any arishta. But this method is useful only when the end is approaching; not much before it.

There are three types of arishta – adhyatmika (the spiritual), adhibhautika (the material) and adhidaivika (the supernatural). A person who is about to die in a short time does not hear the inner sound when the ears are closed, and does not see the inner flame when the eyes are closed. These are examples of the spiritual arishta. Material arishta means seeing in dreams or sleep dreadful figures or one’s dead forefathers. If one sees gods, holy persons or sages in dreams it is called adhidaivika arishta.

Usually these happenings take place without one’s notice. Hence, they are overlooked. But a yogi can become aware of these arishtas through concentration of the mind. So he can know beforehand when his end would come.