The purpose of death
The nature of life after death
How we can prepare for death
How we can assist the dying
A man should wait, and not take his own life until God summons him, as he is now summoning me. Socrates, to his disciples in Plato's Phaedo
To get a human body is a rare thing - make full use of it. Every second in human life is very valuable. Brahmananda Saraswathi, Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath
When taking a human birth, we enter into a spiritual contract to live on the Earth plane for a certain period of time. This contractual lifespan is not exact to the minute and may be extended by Divine grace in some circumstances. But otherwise, everyone fulfills their spiritual contract to live out their time on the Earth plane, unless they commit suicide.
Not all suicides are a breach of spiritual contract. Sometimes, people will sacrifice their lives for selfless reasons, in order to help or save others. Or suicide may be the result of long standing physical pain, or a mental illness. But if the primary motivation is to hurt others, or to escape difficult life circumstances, the act may be a breach of spiritual contract. Only the individual can know. If there is a breach in spiritual contract, the subtle body is usually suspended in limbo for the duration of what would have been the person's natural lifespan. During this period, the experience of pain and frustration are often compounded by remorse over the act itself.
There are documented accounts of attempted suicide survivors who recall their experiences in the after death state. In most cases, they immediately realized the enormity of their mistake and wanted to go back and choose again. As further testimony, consider that from the beginning of human history, suicide has been prohibited in almost every spiritual tradition. It is, after all, the taking of a human life. If we know someone contemplating suicide, we should make every effort to persuade them to explore other options and to seek professional help.
The purpose of life is to gain knowledge of who and what we are. This knowledge can only be gained through experience; not just pleasant experience, but the whole range of Earth experience. We may think that our lives belong to us, but this is an illusion. All life belongs to Divine Consciousness. From this perspective, it's not about what we may like or dislike. Any attempt to cut life short won't work. In the end, experiences will unfold as dictated by our destiny and the more we understand the process and the purpose behind it, the easier it will be to accept what comes and move forward.
Aside from the negative consequences of suicide, it's important to consider the tremendous value of a human birth. Spiritual development is a continuous process on all the planes of experience. But in general, our growth is much faster on the Earth plane and this is particularly true when we're faced with difficult circumstances. It's during these times that we have the opportunity to generate enormous spiritual essence, which becomes a permanent part of our spiritual body. From this perspective, a single day of Earth life may be worth a thousand years on the higher planes. That's not to say we should seek out painful experiences. But if they come uninvited, we can be assured they offer the opportunity for a quantum leap in our spiritual evolution.