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Meher Baba on Execution

If anyone is executed by the government, he enters a state of samadhi [meditative absorption]. It is temporary. For instance, when a person is being hanged, there is a clash during the execution between the functioning of inhalation and exhalation. Becoming lifeless, the person enters a samadhi state.

This type of samadhi has nothing to do with anything spiritual, for as soon as this state is over, and according to the sanskaras [mental impressions] of his past life, the soul takes rebirth. If he has murdered anyone, he must pay for those sanskaras of murder. If the person is innocent, yet is executed, he is then freed from the sanskaras of murder.

It is quite different in the case of people who commit suicide by hanging. When a suicide’s samadhi finishes, he remains “hanging” — waiting between the Astral and Gross worlds. The person becomes a ghost, and does not acquire a physical body for ages to come.

—Meher Baba, 13 January 1931, Nasik. Quoted in Lord Meher 4:1353, http://www.lordmeher.org

Posted during controversy over the death penalty as the execution of Troy Davis, scheduled for 7 p.m., 21 September 2011, was temporarily on hold while Georgia authorities awaited a review by the United States Supreme Court.

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