August 31 will mark the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death in what is perhaps the most talked about car crash in living memory. The midnight accident in Paris, which continues to give rise to conspiracy theories, also took the lives of the car driver, Henri Paul and Princess Diana’s companion, Dodi Al-Fayed, son of Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed. From a paranormal perspective, this tragic event will always be surrounded by questions based on an age old supposition: transiting to the other world is much easier when two people leave their bodies together at more or less the same time. However, while Dodi Al-Fayed died on the spot, Princess Diana died hours later in hospital.

Moreover, the first policeman on the scene, Sebastien Dorzee, described in 2007 at the inquest into her death how the Princess muttered “My God” because she knew what was happening. Mr Dorzee said: “The Princess…moved, her eyes were open, speaking to me in a foreign language. I think that she said ‘My God’ on seeing her boyfriend dying…”

Just as rescuers, an ambulance, etc rush to the scene of a calamity, if deaths are involved so do spirit guides and helpers from the other world. When attempts were being made to save Diana, did Dodi while wishing she lived also hope that they could travel on to other realms together? Did Dodi’s soul, apprised of what was to going to happen by the spirit guides, wait for Princess Diana’s soul to leave her body so that they could journey to the other world together?

It is known that even when someone is unconscious or in a coma, the soul is very much aware of what is happening. Did Princess Diana, who according to testimony had actually seen Dodi dying, desire to be with him in his spirit state and therefore didn’t fight too hard to live? Of course, her all too brief companionship with Dodi was no comparison for the deep love she had for her two very young sons, but at life or death moments it is usually the immediate separation that conditions the soul’s responses. The larger, macro picture sinks in much later. Ironically, as events unfolded instead of heading as planned for Dodi’s flat, Princess Diana and Dodi would now head together as souls to the other world and eternity.

More recently, on 4 Junethis year, an elderly couple, Nic and Trees Elderhorst, both 91, died at their home  in the town of Didam, Netherlands, holding hands after their request to be euthanised together was granted. According to the UK Mirror, one of Nic and Trees Elderhorst’s daughters said: “The geriatrician determined that our mother was still mentally competent. However, if our father were to die, she could become completely disorientated, ending up in a nursing home. Something which she desperately did not want. Dying together was their deepest wish. They gave each other a big kiss and passed away confidently holding hands. According to their own wish.”

Dutch media however reported the euthanasia of Nic and Trees Elderhorst is unique as not many couples with a joint death wish get final authorisation from special euthanasia doctors. The Netherlands has however been debating a proposed extension of its 17 year old euthanasia laws which would give all over-75s the right to assisted suicide.

In India, there is an ancient Hindu practice called Prayopavesa. According to Wikipedia, 

“…Only a person who has no desire or ambition left, and no responsibilities remaining in life is entitled to perform it. The decision to do so must be publicly declared well in advance. Ancient lawmakers stipulated the conditions that allow Prayopavesa. They are one’s inability to perform normal bodily purification, death appears imminent or the condition is so bad that life’s pleasures are nil and the action is done under community regulation…”

The Jains who number over 4 million in India, also have an ancient spiritual practice of voluntary death known as Santhara or Sallekhana in which one fasts to death. In 2015, the Rajasthan High Court made this practice punishable but the Supreme Court placed a stay on this ruling though its final verdict is still awaited. Dr. Katharina Poggendorf-Kakar, an anthropologist, has pointed out, “If anything, Sallekhana is considered to be a rational and conscious act of an advanced soul, while suicide is an outcome of emotional disturbances or unfavourable external circumstances, an act deeply reprehensible to the Jain community”. 

Christopher Key Chapple, Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology, Loyola Marymount University wrote : “…The Jain tradition shows how we can move without attachment into death rather than clinging to life. In their acceptance of the inevitable, they set an example that death is not an evil but an opportunity to reflect on a life well-lived and look forward to what lies ahead… It is estimated that some 200 Jains, both lay and monastic, complete the final fast each year…”

As for euthanasia, in 2011 the Supreme Court ruled out active euthanasia but legalised passive euthanasia subject to certain precautions and also suggested decriminalising suicides. A Draft Bill on passive euthanasia is pending.  However, in all my years of exploring the occult, I have come across several suicide pacts but so far come across only three instances where two persons opted to fast to death together. I have seen innumerable cases though of emotional bonding between two people where in the event of one of them dying, the other follows within a few hours or days, ostensibly from natural causes. And I have wondered, could it be that the surviving partner willed himself or herself to die? Could it be that the person who died “pulled” his or her partner to the other world?

It is known that a surprisingly large percentage of ghosts consist of those waiting for a loved one to die so that they can move together to higher realms. Even dead pets have been known to wait for their owners to die. Years ago, Ibrahim Zauq, poet laureate in the court of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal emperor,  wrote: Layi hayat aaye, qaza le chali chale; na apni khushi aaye, na apni khushi chale—Life brought me, death took me away. I neither came of my free will, nor leave with my consent. That is the reality which has created a zone for souls or ghosts who opt for togetherness rather than moving on alone to the other world.

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