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UNDERSTANDING SANATAN DHARMA

the path towards superior intelligence

THE PRINCIPLE OF REINCARNATION

 

To understand the system of re-incarnation it is important to understand the concept of Soul or the "Real Self and Body". In the very first instance in the Bhagwat gita, Lord Krishna explains that the one’s real self is the soul which never dies, which can never be burnt, drowned, dried or cut, which is indestructible, that is the real self of a person. This soul travels from physical body to another physical body just as we discard the old worn out clothes and wear the new ones. This soul is not visible to the eyes, we cannot even determine how it is in our minds and it is insentient. This is clear from the following set of slokas from the Bhagwat Gita. Among Indians this concept is easy to understand.

Shrimad Bhagwat Gita (About Soul)

अविनाशि तु तद्विद्धि येन सर्वमिदं ततम्।

विनाशमव्ययस्यास्य न कश्चित्कर्तुमर्हति।।२.१७।।

2.17– That which cannot be destroyed is the basis of this entire existence and that no one is capable of destroying.

न जायते म्रियते वा कदाचिन्नायं भूत्वा भविता वा न भूयः ।

अजो नित्यः शाश्वतोऽयं पुराणो न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे ।।२.२०।।

2.20– This soul neither it is born nor it dies, it does not take a rebirth, this soul exists for ever, and is in existence since time immemorial, this does not die when the physical body dies.

वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि ।

तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णान्यन्यानि सेयाति नवानि देही ।।२.२२।।

2.22– Just like a person discards old clothes and wears new ones similarly the soul leaves the old worn out body and accepts a new body.

अव्यक्तोऽयमचिन्त्योऽयमविकार्योऽयमुच्यते।

तस्मादेवं विदित्वैनं नानुशोचितुमर्हसि।।२.२५।।

2.25– This soul is not visible, it is beyond imagination, it is insentinent and knowing this one must not be sorrowful.

जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च।

तस्मादपरिहार्येऽर्थे न त्वं शोचितुमर्हसि।।२.२७।।

2.27– Because that which is born will certainly die and that which has died will certainly be born. Therefore you must not grieve on this subject.

देही नित्यमवध्योऽयं देहे सर्वस्य भारत।

तस्मात्सर्वाणि भूतानि न त्वं शोचितुमर्हसि।।२.३०।।

2.30– O Arjun in the bodies of all of us this soul is present forever and for all living beings it cannot be killed therefore you should grieve.

Each individual life soul entity starts at the lowermost of the ladder of reincarnation. That is the lower most form of life. The physical body that the soul takes has certain life duration in the system of nature. The physical organism lives for that duration of time and then dies. The life soul leaves the previous body and then is again born on the next higher step of intelligence on the ladder of life forms. During the previous life the organism has developed a certain level of intelligence. This previous level of intelligence is carried on to the next 'higher' life form. While the physical energy of the living organism gets dispersed in the ecosystem, the intelligent life energy moves on and takes the life form of the next higher living organism. This is a continuous process which continues for each and every intelligent life energy distinctly. Thus each intelligent life energy or the soul continues on this long path of climbing the ladder of 8.4 million species. This journey may take tens of thousands of human years or even more. The soul travels from the lowest life form to the insect life form, to the plant life forms, to the aquatic life forms, to the bird life forms, to the animal life forms and ultimately to the human life form.

Living the life as a plant, insect, bird or an animal and then dying does not involve the process of 'karma'. The animal or plant life has been pre-programmed to live a certain pattern of life, perform certain tasks and then die. The intelligence provided to them is only to that extent. This we also see is corroborated by our real life experiences. We see that all plants and animals perform according to the level of intelligence they have been born with. Also the death of the animal or plant may be natural or forceful killing as a food chain for the higher or lower living beings in the ladder. Thus when a body dies, the physical body is consumed by the physical nature and other living beings. The intelligent energy or the soul or the atman, on the other hand moves on to take the next higher life form on the ladder of reincarnation.

This process goes on and on for 8.4 million steps in the ladder. At this point it is important to note that in terms of years of Brahma this process takes couple of seconds or minutes. We shall realize the importance of this at a later stage.

The process of re birth does not stop at this highest point on the ladder. Even as a human being, a person may continue to take births after birth as a human being or any other living being till the time the soul attains the highest level. Therefore after dying as a human a person may again be born as a human being or as an animal, bird, insect or plant, depending upon the Karma the individual has performed during the life time as a human.

Within the human race the person may be reborn into lower standards or higher standards of living. The soul may also fall down in the ladder of re incarnation to the levels of insects or animals. If a person is born into higher levels of living a person is believed to have gone to the heaven. If the person falls to lower levels of life forms the person is said to have fallen to the hells. It is at this point of time we understand the importance of Karma. If the human attains the highest levels of intelligence then the person does not take birth again as a human and travels to the abode of Gods.

 

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