Cycle of Births and Deaths
The Hindu Philosophy and the Vedic school of thought firmly believe in ‘Punarjanma’ (Rebirth). The most glorious epic to Hindus, the ‘Bhagavadgita’ proclaims that death is inevitable and after death rebirth is inevitable too, in this sentence –
“Jaatasya hi druvo mruthyuhu, Dhruvan janma mruthasyacha ………….”
There is a cycle called ‘Life and Death’ cycle. There is freedom for a soul from this cycle only when we attain ‘Moksha’ (Salvation). So about this inevitable process of births and deaths one should not worry. It is simply like going to bed at night and falling asleep and waking up again in the morning. That means death is simply going to rest and birth is getting up after rest. In between the conscious time is our life. Leaving this mortal frame (body) during the death and getting another body during the rebirth, is simply changing the worn out dress day after day. This is one way of understanding our life, and this life and death cycle.
This world is like an office, into which some may come by getting appointment and some will go by completing that service (retirement) or by retrenchment. People come and go according to their turn but the office runs continuously until its closure. The Hindu philosophy thus explained above is similar regarding the births and deaths in this world.
If we ponder over on this issue, we understand that these births and deaths are not real births and deaths. They are only the intermediate happenings. In fact our entity started with the start of the ‘Srushti‘ (Creation) itself. We are continuing from there duly changing bodies, one after the other. At times we are even taking births with the bodies of animals, birds, insects and even plants and trees. However our entity and identification is preceding life after life. Therefore our real date of birth is the day of Srushti(Creation) and our date of real death is the day of ‘Maha Pralaya‘ (the Great Total destruction or dissolution by the God).
Regarding creation and destruction there are different and number of concepts in different schools of thought. Mahatma Ramachandraji Maharaj, the founder of ‘Sahaj Marg’ (the Natural Path of Realization) says that if a power is not put to use for a very very long time there is the danger that it may become frozen and become waste (useless). For example, a fully charged battery if not put to use, will lose its charge eventually without doing any useful work, and become completely discharged. If we think that God is a power (according to our school of thought) and that power is not put to use for hundreds of years together there is every danger that the God (power) may lose His power. However, this is just an analogy to understand about God in a materialistic way.
Therefore God has exhibited Himself in the form of this Creation, which includes the whole universe – the Galaxies, our World, the Nature, the Plant and Animal kingdoms, including all the matter and all the elements known to us. That is a movement, a stir that happened in the Absolute (God). On account of this stir the particles got released from God and gradually the creation had taken place. Due to the actions and reactions, so many things have taken their shape. Our mind, the thinking faculty, also has its share from the Absolute Power (God) while coming out at the time of Stir (creation).
So by our thinking and counter thinking i.e., by the clash in thoughts and performing the actions, we have developed so many ‘Samskaras’ (effects of our actions both good and bad, forming a sheath) that are covering our original entity ‘Atma’ (the soul) and these sheaths became more and more, and have got solidified day by day due to our own actions and reactions. In this process we have fallen into the running wheel of births and deaths undergoing the effects of our own actions and reactions in different bodies and in different lives to experience the ‘Karma Phala’ (the net results of our actions – both good and bad), and this goes on until we clear all the accumulated Samskaras and not accumulating new Samskaras in any particular birth.
In the Maha Bhagavatam, the epic of Hindus, there is the story of Bharata, a king. He in his final part of his life went to the forest for penance. But he died thinking about a baby deer, which was brought up by him. According to his thinking at the time of death, he took the birth of a deer. After that life as a deer he was again born in a priestly class family and found a solution for his life, and escaped from the cycle of birth and deaths. He has also preached the same to the society.
The solution is putting a full stop to the further births and deaths and travelling back to the source from where we came into existence as separate entities. That means we have to find a solution to prevent present and past (number of) births and deaths. For this the only way is to develop attachment with source (God) and lead a non-attachment life with this perishing world. By this we will reach a point where we stay safely without getting further births and deaths and merge ourselves in the source (God) at the time of total dissolution, because everything that came from the source has to turn back and merge with it one day. Until then we have to stay as a liberated souls with the holy thought having no solid or gross body. Even with the body also, one can live such a life called ‘Jeevanmukta’ (One who has crossed Life and Death cycle). Such men are capable of guiding others directly. That is because, they have a human form appearing before the needy in the world (Guru). This should be our goal of life.
So the fact is that we have come into this world at the time of creation and we will end our entity in the source at the time of total dissolution of this Universe. We lived a very long time and will live for a very long time too. During this very long lifespan we continued our entity (identity) with one or other body.
In this process only we have now taken a human form, which is the best of all living beings. We have the thinking faculty mind, which is a special feature of the humans and is a magnificent thing in the humans. By which we have to find a solution for this long and restless life. Because of this thinking power only we came to these farther distances and with this thinking only we have to make our return journey. Thinking with a hold over the Divinity is a travel towards the source and attachment with the outward world is a travel away from the source.
Sri Ramachandraji Maharaj’s ‘Sahaj Marg’ is found to be one of the best solutions for our life. If further interested, one can refer to other articles of this website labeled as Sahaj Marg.
Courtesy: Sri. P. Subbarayudu, Preceptor, and Sri B.E. Sampath Kumar, Abhyasi, of Sri RamaChandraji Maharaj Seva Trust, Kadapa.
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