After-Death Life

A Study of George Saunders’ Novel “Lincoln in the Bardo” In The Light Of Indian Philosophy

  • Dr. Trapti Joshi
Keywords: Karma, upniṣhad, prāna, smṛti vṛtti, sick-box, consciousness


The novel Lincoln in the Bardo revolves round the after-death experiences of various characters. According to Indian philosophy, the human body is made of three aspects. These are Gross body, Subtle body and Atman. After death, the gross body (human body) is eradicated but the subtle body and the Atman follow up their next after-death journey to get a new gross body or salvation. Their after-death course decides their next birth. But between death and the next life there is a place where one’s subtle body lingers due to the state of his consciousness. In the title of the novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, the word Bardo signifies after-death world in which a man lingers because of his ignorance, unfulfilled desires, resolutions etc. The theme of the novel shares an identical resemblance with the Indian philosophy. The Upniṣhad such as Praśna Upniṣhad and Chāndogya Upniṣhads throw light on the journey of life as well as of death. They describe how one’s karma decides his after-death course. At what extent, the consciousness of a man is stable, the more firmly, he accepts death. The characters of the novel show how due to their fluctuating consciousness, they linger in the after-death world. They do not accept their approaching end. They desire to go back to their own life. The present paper puts forth how these dead characters after realizing the truth, get salvation or a new life according to their states of consciousness.


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Author Biography

Dr. Trapti Joshi

Dr. Trapti Joshi is providing her services as Lecturer English in Government Inter college Bhaldiyana, Tehri Garhwal, Uttarakhand.


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6. Saunders, George. Lincoln in the Bardo, Great Britain: Bloomsburry, 2017. Print.
7. The Chhandogya Upanishad. Trans. Swami Krishananda. Rishikesh: Sivananda Ashram, n.d. Web. 22 march 2021.
How to Cite
Joshi, D. T. “After-Death Life”. Contemporary Literary Review India, Vol. 10, no. 2, May 2023, pp. 162-84,
Research Papers