Posted by Unknown in | 12/17/2015 No comments

Acknowledgement: This particular topic has been requested by one of the valued blog reader. Thank you for following my blog and for your request. I do hope you find the answers you have been looking for and the article enlightening.

This topic has always been one of the very controversial and complicated and keeping in mind that I am no expert I have tried my best to reflect it through a simpler approach.

While doing my research, the one concept that I realised and you, as a reader should too, is the fact that karma, reincarnation and rebirth are no longer so called "religious" issues. Suprisingly, the concept cuts across all the major religions and it is way above science as well. It's basically a concept first found in religious scriptures (not only Hinduism and Buddhism like previously thought) which was not accepted by many because of lack of tangible evidence but later it was substantiated by meticulous scientific research and therefore it has recently become more popular and widely accepted.

One might ask why should I even bother to know about karma, reincarnation or rebirth? The answer is simple: The whole point of our existence revolves around these aspects. If one can understand these concepts thouroughly than most of our live's problems and mysteries could be better understood. It holds answers for every individual as well as the world at large. Questions like why the world population has dramatically increased in recent past or why despite doing so much good one is still suffering from various mishaps in life or despite having such good qualifications why can't one get a job? All these can be answered by understanding these concepts.

The trouble is, even the scholars in this very field have different views of these concepts and that's where the confusion lies. In face of these facts, I do hope that you find this article comprehendable and useful.

Lets start simple, with definitions:

Karma: is a deed or action done through body, mind or speech.
Examples are giving food to poor, speaking the truth, feeling good for someone's remarkable achievement, stealing, getting angry or cursing someone.

Law of karma states that every action we perform has a reaction.

Karma therefore is all about accountability, responsibilty and consequences. For every thought generated in the mind the effects will be realised. For every action performed by the body the responsibilty has to be taken and consequences borne.

It is worthy to note that karma involves interaction of non-quantifiable parameters like consciousness, free will and motivation that are beyond classical physics.

Having understood that karma follows a cause-effect principle, let us now look at karma in a broader sense. Can you count how many different thoughts you had in the last five hours? Or can you recall how many times you got angry on people in the past five years? Tough isn't it?Now imagine this: if you had to bear the consequences of each of these thoughts how long would it take?

Of course some of the actions-reactions  do get completed within the present lifetime but as  different crops yield at different times, our actions too generate reactions at different times. The point here is that, it is not possible to have effect/consequences of all actions immediately or even in one lifetime. Keep in mind that whatever your reaction is to a consequence is also a new action which in turn is going to generate its own consequence. Hence its a chain; an ongoing process. An action which you may think of as a primary force may actually be a consequence of another action in the past life!

So this action and reaction cycle can not be completed in a single lifetime and that's where the concept of reincarnation and rebirth comes in.

In some literature rebirth and reincarnation has been used synonymously. However, rebirth has been understood in two major ways.

Rebirth could mean being re-born every single moment in the present lifetime or it could also mean being born again in a new lifetime.

Here are examples of the first meaning: You don't have the same teeth as you had when you were a child nor do you have the same thoughts about superman as you did when you were young.  This shows that we are always changing and evolving; never static, be it in physical or mental state. Hence every moment is a rebirth of the soul.

The second meaning of rebirth is synonymous to reincarnation which is the part of the progressive journey of the human soul as it returns to earth again and again and resides in a new physical body in order to continue evolving, developing and achieving advancement.

Therefore, it should be realised that death is not the end and birth is not the beginning.

By now it should be clear that you can't have karma without reincarnation and vice versa. In order for the soul to bear the consequences of all its actions in a lifetime it has to be born again and again. And each time a soul is reincarnated, it performs new actions while bearing the consequences of the actions of the past and present lives.

Reincarnation is a Law in nature, a necessity for every soul. However, it does not happen immediately after death. Some souls reincarnate within few years after death of its body in just-ended life but some souls may take upto hundreds or even thousands of years before reincarnation.  In order to understand this difference it is first imperative to know what exactly happens to a soul after the death of the body it was residing in.

Now brace yourself as reincarnation is interesting but a  lenghty discussion.

After the death of the body, the soul enters an interval period where it rests for sometime. This intermediate state of the soul is the common concept found in almost all the scriptures of the major religions. The intermediate state of the soul has been named differently by different religions: Bardo, Devachan,  Barzakh or Antarbhava.

The length of the stay of the soul in this intermediate state depends upon the force of positive karma in its just-ended lifetime. After which, according to some, the soul goes back to the earth and gets a new body (reincarnation) while others believe that it enters either Hell or Heaven for eternity (this view is held by non believers of reincarnation).

Evolution, as we know, is a slow but definite process that brings about changes over generations in a forward-going fashion. The soul similarly undergoes reincarnation for its inner evolution and hence it can not go back to an evolutionary stage which it has already passed through and completed and so human soul reincarnates as human and not in any other form.

You may want to ask that if reincarnation really does exist then how come we do not recall our past lives? Point to ponder is do you recall what exactly where you doing on this date nine years back? In each lifetime the soul acquires a new brain along with a new body. The memory of the past lives are imprinted on our souls and not upon the brain. How much the brain is receptive to the soul depends on the spiritual consciousness and awareness acquired in the past lives by the soul. If the new brain can't recall what happened in the present lifetime its hardly justifiable to expect it to recall previous life memories.

But this gets even more interesting, as it's not uncommon to hear that some children recall their pastlife events. This is because they are newly reincarnated. Studies of thousands of such incidences were done by Dr. Ian Stevenson which proved beyond doubt that reincarnation is indeed a fact and not just a hypothesis. His concrete and factually validated detailed scientific evidence on reincarnation can be found online.

The soul reincarnates in the new body which is pre-determined to suit it needs according to its deeds. Karma makes no mistake. Hence healthy body or otherwise, there is a reason why we are either handicapped, homosexuals, a particular gender, a relative, family member or twins. It is the soul’s need for its further evolution, in the present lifetime according to its karmic debts from previous lives that the body has to support.

The incarnating soul is the true "I" of our being. The soul is the permanent identity while the body (persona) is the present personality.

The increase in world population in recent decades could be attributed to the fact that recent years have seen more negative karmas like killings, lies, illicit sex, ignorance, anger, hatred, greed etc.  Less people are spiritual and people are less spiritual compared to the preceeding decades. Hence more souls has to come back to earth again and again for continuing their longer journey to liberation.

And that brings us to the commonly asked question: What is the end of reincarnation? The process of reincarnation ends when a soul has attained Oneness with its Higher Self- pure eternal Spirit and merged into it after its purification and completion of all its karmic debts. With positive karmas the soul attains higher spirituality and succession of these, brings it closer to divinity and finally liberation from cycle of birth and death.

Take home messages:

  • Life has a purpose. Think good, be good and do good regardless of your personal faith in God/ The Supernatural force.

  • All religions preach the same things; peace, harmony, love, faith, compassion and positive karma. Avoid wrong doings through thought, speech or actions.

  • It should be realised that not believing in a fact doesn't make it non-existent. Wise is a person who explores a new concept with an open mind and without any preformed opinions.

  • After death nothing goes with you except your karmic debts. Choose wisely your true assets.

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