Near Death Experience

  By Dr. Tan Kheng Khoo



When I was ten years old, I had a NDE. This was before the 2nd world war. We had a hawker who was selling ice balls just outside our house. The hawker was a carrier of typhoid. He used his hands to make the ice balls. Ice was scraped into flakes and squeezed into a ball, and then sweet red syrup was poured all over the ice ball. We would then suck the sweet ice ball until it is all consumed. My two brothers and I contracted typhoid this way. As there was no antibiotics for this disease at that time, we had to depend on our own immunity to fight the disease. My older brother died of it. He predicted three things just before he died: (1) The Japanese would bomb Singapore very soon. (2) My teenager older sister would be married soon (this is most unusual as in my family, all of us normally would complete our tertiary education at the university). (3) That I had to be careful as my life was in danger. All these pre-mortem predictions came true.
As for me, the doctors gave up the fight and left me to die. I was delirious, semiconscious and intermittently totally unconscious for six weeks. During these periods of unconsciousness, I had many attacks of NDE. These episodes were all similar. I would float up from my bed and go through the ceiling and the second floor out of the house to the top of the trees. The top of the trees was higher than the roof of the house. My bed was on the ground floor. When I reach the top of the trees, the ‘being of light’ is represented by a white disc with a face on it. This being would ask me: ‘do you want to go back to earth or do you want to complete your life now and proceed to the white light?’ I had a choice, and I would repeat the same answer that I would like to finish my life on earth. All these communications were transacted by telepathy. There was no bliss, no joy nor tranquillity. There was only resignation and apprehension, as I knew that when I return to earth it would be filled with suffering. I was merely a presence or a spirit: I had no form. There was neither a tunnel nor a rushing sound. There was no meeting of dead relatives or friends. These out-of body episodes were repeated several times during my six weeks of near-death sickness. The contents were all the same.

Near-Death Experience

NDE has been defined as an episode or illness in which the patient is rendered unconscious and is physically near death. The episodes during my illness that are described above fit into this definition. Although, Dr. Raymond Moody described this condition in 1975, NDE has been reported for many centuries throughout history.
It is Dr. Moody that brought this condition to the fore and with all the modern gadgets for resuscitating near-death patients this occurrence has escalated to phenomenal numbers. In 1982 a Gallup poll estimated that roughly eight million Americans suffered near-death experiences, and about one in twenty Americans would suffer NDE. Further, numerous studies are being conducted prospectively, and more certain knowledge and information will appear in future.
The typical case of NDE unfolds itself thus: a patient who is very sick or undergoing an operation or someone who has met with a severe accident or drowned, appear to have lost total consciousness. All the medical monitors at hand indicate that the patient is for all intents and purposes dead. A heroic rescue effort is being conducted and the patient suddenly recovers miraculously. Many minutes may have transpired. The patient wakes up angrily and abuses the rescuer. Alternatively, the patient may recover on his own without any attempt to bring him around.
The patient himself could be in severe pain or be very sick before he became unconscious. The second he falls unconscious, the pain completely disappears, or if he is just very sick and his mind is rather hazy, his consciousness suddenly becomes very clear.

Out-of Body (OBE) ---Autoscopy.

His spirit leaves the physical body, and he floats up to the ceiling or just above the body. There he watches the goings on beneath him: most of the time he is being rescued or merely sees a body quite dead lying there below. If he tries to shout or call out that he is fine, nobody can hear him. He is being completely ignored. If he were to try and touch or move the rescuers his hand would go through the arm of the rescuers: he feels that the arm of the doctor or nurse (rescuers) is like electrified soft jelly. When he finds that his efforts are futile, he will stop trying. However, he hears acutely all the conversations that are being carried out in the room. Simultaneously, he also sees and perceives his surroundings in great detail. After a while, he floats through the walls of the room and goes and visits other rooms. In one of them he will see his relatives crying and wailing. And again his efforts to console them are useless. He merely continues to see and hear their conversations and their actions.
During this OBE, only less than 10% can see themselves: they look similar to their own bodies, and some of these mentioned that they look much younger. Nobody else can see them. Their minds are absolutely clear: they could reason and reflect. There is no murkiness or haziness about their thinking. They also know instinctively that they are not dreaming. This is reality being enacted before them. In this reality they have a definite sense that they are dying. They can see themselves dying before their own eyes.

During this period of OBE, the patient has absolutely no sense of time. It is timeless to them. He is in the fourth dimension, in which realm, there is no time and space: it could be a minute or many hours. Emotionally, these patients may be suffering a great deal of pain before the NDE, and the second the OBE occurs, there is peace, calm and tranquillity. It is so restful and joyous with clarity of mind. And even at this autoscopic stage, they do not want to go back to the body. However, a few of them feel rather sad. This is because they have been watching their relatives or love ones crying over their ‘dead’ bodies or being brutally resuscitated. It is their emotional reaction to the sadness of their love ones. It just shows that their minds and emotions are still intact.
During this OBE state they can travel anywhere just by thinking of the locality. If one is in London, one can move to New York just by thinking about the latter.
Their return to their bodies is usually sudden, and invariably the pain that they had before the NDE would return to them. That is why they are angry when brought back. At this point they also cannot tell others what happened. They find difficulty in choosing words to explain the NDE.
Summarising, the patient suddenly loses total consciousness, and the pain and suffering immediately cease. There is now only calm, peace and well being. There is now no more fear. The OBE is accompanied by an acute sense of hearing and sight, while the mind is crisply clear with its logic and reason. His spirit is light and he can float to anywhere he likes.

Transcendental NDE

From the floating position some of these patients may proceed to experience events in another realm beyond the limits of this world. They will be pulled into a darkness or dark tunnel through which they are hurdled with a rushing or buzzing noise in their ears. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel. This light pulls them towards it, and this light is filled with love, warmth and it does not blind them. Few of them do not speed through the dark tunnel: they simply float or hang around in this darkness. Some climb up a staircase. An occasional one does express fear initially in this darkness, but it is quickly replaced by peace and tranquillity. Once they are out of the tunnel, a light instantly envelops them. This light is very bright, and it is described to be white or orange with a yellow tinge, and it gets brighter and brighter when one gets nearer and nearer to it. The light is beautiful and filled with love.

Life Review

Invariably, a Being of Light is encountered during this period. He will be with the NDEer during the post-mortem life review. And he will be the being who will inform the NDEer to return back to earth. Relatives may also give these same instructions. This Being of Light is totally composed of love. He does not judge during the life review. This review occurs sometimes chronologically forward since childhood days, sometimes backwards and sometimes in a holographic clump. The patient merely notes the commissions and omissions in the very detailed life review. Sometimes, these omissions and commissions are being pointed out to them by the Being of Light. Some of them reckon that their whole life was reviewed, but the time to reel out one’s entire life took only a few seconds. Some remember only the major events, especially the negative ones. In an event in which one had hurt some one else, the perpetrator (the NDEer) will receive the pain and suffering incurred. Similarly, the giver will enjoy the happiness and pleasure that one had given to others. This karmic retribution is appropriate and just. The Being of Light is often interpreted as God, Jesus, Allah or Buddha, depending on the religious upbringing. This Being of Light does not judge: he is there to give a sympathetic hearing with compassion. His love is not incriminating at all. You judge yourself, and therefore, the judgement depends entirely on how severe you have been judging others. The basic question that underlies these reviews is ‘ what have you done with your life?’ Another important query is how much unconditional love have you dished out to others. With these two basic principles the NDEer returns to earth a changed person.
Deceased relatives or friends may turn up with eager welcome wishes. The conversations are held either verbally or by telepathy. Very occasionally sign language is used. All these spirits appear radiant, and they all seem to have this glow like the Being of Light, but less so. Some children even see either a globe or a ball of light in their chests (heart chackra). All of them also appear much younger as in their prime. All are happy and cheerful.

Scenic Panorama (Heaven)

Some of NDEers see beautiful countryside scenes, like undulating downs with small clusters of well-pruned trees interspersed with meadows. Quite often streams and rivers are also depicted. There are even sheep and cattle to complete the exotic panorama. Flowers are much more beautiful and vibrant than on earth: the red is redder and the green is greener. The fragrances are out of this world. All these scenes depict calm and peace. There are also ponds and small lakes in the composition to make the scenes idyllic. The entire atmosphere is quiet and calm, but sometimes there may be celestial music emanating from the spheres, which complements the whole region. The above description truly gives the feeling of ‘heaven’.


Some of them are fortunate enough to be shown a holographic ‘library’, in which whatever subject they want to know will be shown to them on a screen surrounding them. An occasional one would be even more fortunate: he or she would be given the secrets of the universe in its totality. Anything he wants to know is given to him in its entirety with nothing held back. The answers are detailed and easily comprehensible, but they cannot bring the information back to earth. The information is presented as holographic words on the screen or as a broadcast coming out from the atmosphere without loudspeakers, and it is as a sense-around. Although no knowledge can be brought back, a desire to learn always accompanies the NDEer coming home to the earth realm.
There is always a border indicated by a fence or a river beyond which the NDEer cannot cross. To them it is a point of no return: once they cross it, they cannot return to their human bodies.

Hellish States

A few, but not too many, had suffered states and visions that are negative and awesome. Firstly, some would have attacks of fear and panic, especially during the initial stage of darkness, which surrounds them with total jet, black atmosphere. Then despair and loneliness add to the gloom. Amongst the Chinese, they would see the hell taught to them in their books: corporal punishment of the most inhuman varieties is visualised. Many forlorn, depressed people are seen walking aimlessly in no direction. They all look downwards on the ground, and they congregate together as if to keep themselves warm. They are in an atmosphere of mist and dankness. Wailing and howling complete the gloomy atmosphere. Almost all of them descend to these ‘hellish state’, unlike the others who ascend to ‘heaven’.

The Return

Most of the NDEers would not want to return to earth, but a few would express a desire to return for the sake of the loved ones left behind. Whether they come to a border of no return or not or how much they would like to stay behind, they are told to go back either by the Being of Light or relatives or friends. They are shown the border, but ordered not to cross it. The return is accomplished by a force, like a magnet, which dragged them back into their bodies: the nearer they are to their bodies the stronger the force, and the return is like an elastic snap back to the physical. Most of them are very disappointed coming back to this world and body of pain and suffering. All these NDEers have to come back because they have a mission to complete, whether they know it or not.
Some of them after their return are able to predict the future. Most of the precognition come true: one of these was predicted thirty years ahead! It looks as if they could tap into the Akashic records (empathetic resonance)!

Character Transformation after the Return

Fear of death. There is now either no fear or much less fear of dying. As the NDEer has literally been through death, there is now no doubt what death entails. He knows that his consciousness is imperishable. He has experienced calm and tranquillity in the other realm. There is also no pain or suffering, except during the life review.

Unconditional Love. In the life review, there is one great lesson that he has learnt. And this is Divine love: a love that is unconditional and there is no expectation of thanks or gratitude. This is one commodity he has to cultivate in this life, and it has to be freely circulated. In fact this is the most precious treasure he has to accumulate incarnation after incarnation. For him this is the main cargo he has to carry home to his final destination----Godhead or Universal Consciousness.

Empathetic Resonance. The word empathy means to take over the feelings of others: the pain and joy of others becomes one’s own. The word resonance means any thoughts, feelings and actions that may travel outwards from oneself to affect other people consciously or unconsciously nearby or at a distance. During a life review, the punishment and reward were instantly felt according to our good or bad thoughts or deeds. This is instant Karma in action. It also means we are all interconnected: our consciousness is part of the universal whole. There is no escape from karma, which is relentless, impartial and just. Whenever we hurt someone else by deed or thought the imbalance in this resonance must be re-adjusted, and that is why karmic retribution is so accurate, but it takes its own sweet time for the boomerang to return to the perpetrator. Everything in the universes is part of the whole, and therefore the readjustment is our karmic retribution.

Quest for Wisdom: After seeing the ‘library’ or after the universal knowledge was shown, the desire to learn is now very strong. In the past the man could be very mercenary or avaricious, but now he has become much less materialistic. He realises that he cannot bring it along with him. Therefore he is now concentrating in gaining knowledge, and the best knowledge is wisdom. And the greatest wisdom is to let go. To let go is to relinquish wealth, fame, pleasure and profit. Just imagine the release and burden-free consciousness of a person set free: he will be in the same ecstatic state as in his heavenly NDE episode.

Spiritual Change: With the above changes, he becomes more inward looking. If he has been religious, he will be more so. If he has not been religious, he will be more spiritual. The subconscious goal is the ‘the other realm’. He is now kinder, more helpful and more charitable. Selfishness is being replaced by selfless service. He now realises that there is a purpose in life: to accumulate unconditional love and gathering of wisdom. And unstinting service is one way to go about it. In addition, he may go and learn meditation or yoga to improve his awareness. He now would like to have moments of quiet and enjoys solitude. A suicide would not try again, after experiencing an NDE. He knows that each of us has a mission in life.

Re-entering the Real world: A NDEer always finds it difficult to get back to normal life. Firstly, he cannot tell any one about his NDE. Secondly, his close relatives and friends will not believe him. In fact, quite often he is sent to a psychiatrist after he reveals his near-death experience. His spouse would find his change of character unacceptable, and tension would arise. His colleagues also cannot understand this character transformation, and they shy away from him. His bad habits are abandoned, and new ones are being acquired, e.g. pursuit of knowledge. Finally, he will adjust himself, especially when his relatives and friends learnt about his NDE, and they accept it.

Realization and A Glimpse of Enlightenment: As time goes on after he has acquired enough divine love and wisdom, he will realise that his ego is in the way of his new found spiritual path. He realises that his ego fortifies his small self. Therefore, he has to reduce the size of his ego and become more humble until absolute humility takes over. One can only minimise the ego to just taking care of the functions of the body and mind. We cannot completely annihilate the ego as long as we are in this human form. However, with prolonged practice, we may come to realise our soul, when the ego is out of the way. This is the beginning of Self-realization---- the goal of all Hindus. In other words, the NDE has given us an opportunity for this Metanoia (change of mind). We will then be able to see that the Higher Self contains the small self and our Higher Self and soul contains the spark of God in all of us.


The doctors have managed to isolate a place in the brain where NDE occurs. It is situated somewhere near the right temporal lobe. This is merely the locality in the brain, from which these experiences take place, but it does not mean that all the experiences are hallucinations. The experiences are too finite and realistic, and all the stories conform to a pattern that fit our idea of the spirit realm that has been channelled to us by reliable mediums.
From the above discourse, we can assuredly conclude that the Transcendental NDE is a visit to the next realm. That means the spirits of the NDEers have crossed over to the middle astral realm, and perhaps very rarely to the lower astral (some interpret this as hell). That means that the NDEers have actually died for the short periods of time, and have crossed over to the spirit realm where all the deceased finally end up. These states may not be identical to everyone who experienced Transcendental NDE. This is due to the fact that both the lower and middle astral realms are coloured by our own culture, learning and beliefs. The realm may have the same vibration for all, but our perception and interpretation vary considerably from one person to the other. Therefore the Being of Light is interpreted as Jesus, Buddha, Allah or God according to one’s upbringing and religion.

The autoscopic experience is identical to all other out-of- body experiences of normal people: there is not the slightest difference here. So this part of the NDE just proves that we have a spirit that leaves our body when we die. The spirit merely hovers around the earth where our bodies are until it is time for us to cross over to the spirit realm (the astral), and then we rush through the dark tunnel to the astral white light. Experts in OBE state that a silver cord joins our physical bodies to our spiritual forms, which may travel as far as the moon and yet this cord is not broken. This is so as long as the person is not dead. As soon as the person dies, the silver cord is automatically severed. This is the reason why the dead can be raised by some powerful and advanced healers e.g. Jesus Christ. They are not actually dead: they are merely in suspended animation or in a NDE, when the silver cord is still intact and unbroken. However, once the silver cord is severed, no one in the world can revive the dead.
The exquisite Being of Light is not God or Allah or Buddha. He is merely our chief guide. He is the one that has been overseeing our path on earth with the help of our personal guardian angels. So this Being of Light is there in our NDE to teach us unconditional love and wisdom.
Lastly, although we are no more afraid of death there is also no desire to take our own lives at the slightest excuse. We know now that the second we die whatever misery or pain we have at that time will completely disappear. There will be peace and tranquillity instead. We realise now that we all have a mission on earth: and that is to cultivate unconditional love for circulation and to gather wisdom. Both these items can be gleaned from selfless service to humans, animals and vegetation.