Ghosts & Religious Rites

How can we help ghosts, the souls of people who have died, especially those who have not had religious rites, after their passing?

Recently, we received a couple of questions about helping lost, earthbound people transition beyond the earth plane.

It is quite conceivable that fears about being accepted into a heaven or the ability to receive forgiveness for one's sins might cause people to be afraid of life after death. In such cases, souls may opt to stay around their families and other living, loved ones. These spirits may also seek a place of hiding,though, or attempt to get the attention of someone who can help them find peace.

Ghosts and Religious Rites

The following are the questions and some additional thoughts related to this subject:

Question: Without doing any Śrāddha ("antim sanskar" - Hindu funeral rites), will all souls become earth-bounded? If so, then what about the thousands of people who are died in a single flood/earthquake and many are not even identified: will all those souls be earth-bounded? (Note: Śrāddha is a Hindu ritual used to give thanks to one's ancestors.)

Answer: We do not believe that all souls become trapped by not having religious rites performed (e.g. antim sanskar, Catholicism's last rights, etc.); however, whether or not a person chooses to remain here on the earth after death is truly a personal decision. So, if a deceased person believes they need to remain here on earth until a blessing or rite is performed, they may choose to do so irrespective of the type of religion. This could be especially prominent in certain cultures that hold strong beliefs in the need for religious rites. We are suggesting that religions can actually cause some people to become ghosts (earthbound spirits).

Question: What is the best way to contact a good spirit if trying to offer help or assist them in making a very big decision (to not remain earthbound)?

Answer: To help lost, or earthbound, spirits leave the earthly plane, it is most important to be willing to show compassion and speak openly to them as you would with any living person. Ghosts are, after all, living people -- just disembodied. In cases where religious rites have not been performed, then performing such rites for certain ghosts, or at least offering prayers with disembodied souls during spirit communication, may help them to overcome their fears or objections. When people feel they are missing something, that they are lacking, then we are really talking about helping them validate their own goodness, their worth. Love and compassion are essential to working with all people who are struggling with fear and self-condemnation.