When it is describing the channels, yoga is talking about the energy-body. It has no direct connection with this physical body, though the physical body will be affected by it. Whatever changes take place in the energy-body will also affect the physical body. This is why a yogi can predict his death six months in advance; we have heard this many times but now Kirlian has proved the time of six months scientifically.
The experience of yoga is that six months before death the electrical energy becomes very low: it flickers and brings the news that the physical body can live for only six months more. Six months before death a dying man will no longer be able to see the tip of his nose. When you cannot see the tip of your own nose then know well that after six months you will not be here anymore – and Kirlian also agrees with this.
A few things have to be understood about the nose. The nose on your face is the symbol for your ego: it shows whether a person is egoistic or humble. Just by studying the nose of a person you can see much about him. Six months before death the ego begins to dissolve, and this is why the energy-body of the nose starts to disappear. The first thing to disappear in the whole body is the energy-body. Then it becomes difficult to see the tip of your nose because then the nose is there just like an empty shell.
The nose is the symbol for the ego. People say, “He has his nose up in the air,” or “His nose is out of joint.” These expressions have some deep meaning; nothing comes into usage without a reason. On your face, it is your nose which has the personality: if your nose is removed then the whole personality of your face will be lost. And no two people ever have the same nose. Just as the thumbprints of two people are never the same, the noses of two people are never the same. It is the subtle ego that makes the difference.
Just inside this physical body there is an energy-body and this energy-body is always with you. In your last incarnation, when you died your physical body was left behind but your astral body – the subtle body or the electrical or energy-body, or whatsoever name you want to give to it – became free of the physical body. And it is this astral body which has entered a new womb.
The astral body dissolves only when a person has attained to enlightenment. This is why there is no possibility of another birth after the astral body has dissolved; then you cannot enter into a new body. There is a bridge of electrical current between this astral body and the physical body: when that is broken then you cannot enter a new body. When an ordinary man dies only his physical body dies. When an enlightened one dies his energy-body also dies. With the death of the energy-body consciousness becomes free of the body and there is no more possibility to enter a new body. A person will enter into a new body according to the energy he carries at the time of his previous death.