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  • B.E. Sampath Kumar

Birth, Death and Rebirth

Most people of major religions disbelieve in reincarnation or rebirth and firmly believe that the present life is only a test for the next life after death. They believe that after death, the soul will be judged according to how each person lived their life. A day will come when the whole universe will be destroyed and the dead will be resurrected for judgment by God. They will then go to heaven or hell depending on that judgment. Those who believe in God according to their religion will be admitted to Paradise forever and the non-believers will be sent to Hellfire.

Various forms of life exist such as humans, plants, animals, birds, insects, worms, bacteria, etc., and they have a life cycle that undergoes metabolism, growth, reproduction, evolution, etc., over several generations.

Birth is the process of bringing forth an organism from the uterus or womb from the body of its parent. Life is something that really exists that processes, acts, reacts, evaluates, and evolves. Life is anything that grows and finally dies.

Death is the termination of all biological processes that sustain a living being and an inescapable process that finally occurs. Even the thought of death makes one shakes like a leaf, causes great anxiety, and creates unbearable fear in the mind.

When most religions have got belief in God to say that He is Omnipotent( Powerful),

Omniscient(All-knowing), Omnipresent(Everywhere), Glorious, Very kind, Perfect in all His acts, Merciful, Compassionate, Kind, and Inclined to spare the guilty and Love all His creation, why there are differences in the creation( Humans and other living beings) of God? For Ex: Some humans as deaf, dumb, blind, ugly, beautiful, tall, dwarf, physically handicapped, mentally retorted, etc.,

We can find some reasonable explanations in the literature of Hinduism why God's creation is with such differences. Most Hindus believe in rebirth and believe that reincarnation is the religious belief that the soul after leaving the body, begins a new life in a new body that may be human, animal, bird, insect, worm, etc., depending on the good and bad deeds performed in the previous lives. Some believe that rebirth happens immediately after death and others believe that the soul may exist in other planes. They believe that good or bad actions performed in the present and past lives determine rebirth. How Birth, Death and Rebirth takes place has been explained in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad and Chandyogopanishad. A brief description is mentioned hereunder: When the self becomes weak and senseless(really it is the body that becomes weak and fails to discriminate), as it were, the organs come to it. Completely withdrawing these particles of light, it comes to the heart. The top of the heart brightens. Through that brightened top, the self departs, either through the eye or through any other part of the body. When a man dies it means that the soul leaves the body but not otherwise. The Jiva(Soul) which has ascended to the Heavenly world by virtue of good deeds descends on the exhaustion of that merit to the earth to take up another life. It takes the form of mist and clouds. Again it enters through the rain and falls to the earth. There on the earth, the self enters a food grain growing on a plant and when the appropriate human eats the grain, then it enters the blood of a male, who consumes that food grain and turns into sperm. Finally, when the seminal fluid enters the female womb upon coitus and the further process leads the soul to take birth again. The destiny of one's soul depends upon his actions and his knowledge. If he has attained real spiritual knowledge he goes by Devayana, the Path of Light, and does not return to this earthly existence. His soul becomes immortal. Suppose he has led a life of desires and spent it doing good deeds out of a desire for heaven, his soul goes by Pitruyana, the Path of Darkness to heaven, remains there till his merit is exhausted, and then comes back to this world and takes birth according to the result of his former actions. But if he has led a life of sin and evil deeds and of wickedness and if he was all along engaged in stealing, drinking, killing, and debauch or in associating with people occupied with these sinful acts (these are the great sins), he forfeits his claim to both immortality and heaven. He is born and reborn as a human with bad qualities on earth and also he goes through the cycle of lives of animals, birds, insects, worms, etc., and suffers interminably according to the gravity of his previous actions. Thus of those born on earth, some reach the world of Brahman, from which there is no return. Some others go to heaven, stay there for a certain period and then return to worldly existence. Numerous others are born as humans, animals, birds, insects, worms, etc., and caught up in the ever-recurring cycle of birth and death. Lord Krishna in Bhagavath Githa Chapter 14 verse 18 emphasizes that: "urdhvam gacchanti sattvasthaa madhye tishtanti raajasaah jaghanya-guna-vrittisthaa adho gacchanti taamasaah" Those who are in sattva guṇa reach the higher celestial abodes; those who are in rajo guṇa return to the earth planet; and those who are in tamo guṇa go to the nether worlds. Lord Shree Krishna explains that the reincarnation of the souls in their next birth is linked to the guṇas that predominate their personality. Upon completion of their temporary stay in the present life, the souls reach the kind of place according to their guṇas. So Lord Krishna has revealed how the jiva ascends in evolution and how it descends. Lord Krishna reveals that those who have situated in Sattva guna or the mode of goodness(( have the qualities of balance, harmony goodness, purity, holistic, positive attitude, etc.,) ascend upward in spiritual development and go to the heavenly spheres including the worlds of the ancestors and also to the worlds of the demigods, etc. There, by performing pious activities in association with the liberated souls they gradually purified themselves and are freed from the cycle of birth and death. Those who are situated in raja guna or the mode of passion(have the qualities of anger, anxiety, fear, irritation, stress, courage chaos, etc.,) have the desire for rewards for the cause of actions and engage in activities that give them the results they wish to exploit and enjoy. After enjoying the temporary rewards for their endeavors and their merits have been exhausted, they again are forced to constant recurrence of material births on the earth and suffer over and over again due to greed for desires and attachment to pleasures of the material world. Those who are situated in tamo guna or the mode of ignorance(have the qualities .of Laziness, anger, depression, guilt, addiction, grief, etc.,) are engaged in degraded desires and degenerative impulses whose reactions cause them to sink deep into the hellish worlds. Due to their sinful activities, they take birth to humans with bad qualities, animal species, insects, worms, etc.,

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