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What Happens after the Death?

In Hinduism, the concept of reincarnation is central, which refers to the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. When someone dies, their soul, known as the atman, leaves their body and enters a new one.


Various factors decide which body the atman will enter next:

State of mind at death: The mental state during death can shape the next birth. A peaceful state may lead to a better rebirth, while a disturbed state may result in a less favourable one.

Unfulfilled desires: Desires that aren't satisfied in one life can carry over to the next. Strong attachments or unfulfilled wishes can affect the circumstances of the next life.

Karma: The law of cause and effect, karma, plays a significant role. Earlier actions and intentions contribute to one's karmic record. Positive actions lead to positive karma, influencing a better next life, while negative actions lead to negative karma and a less desirable future incarnation.


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 As per Shrimad Bhagavatam 7.2.41

भूतानि तैस्तैर्निजयोनिकर्मभिर्भवन्ति काले न भवन्ति सर्वश: ।

न तत्र हात्मा प्रकृतावपि स्थितस्तस्या गुणैरन्यतमो हि बध्यते ॥

Every person gets a body based on their actions, and when their role in that body is over, the body ends. Although the soul resides in different kinds of bodies throughout different lives, it isn't tied to them because it's fundamentally separate from the body. Some wonder if the soul immediately gets a new body after death. The answer is no. If someone dies unnaturally or with unfulfilled desires, their soul might experience a different state before reincarnating, often called "Pret Aatma" or ghost state. It's thought that until those desires are resolved, the soul doesn't move to the next life.

 

According to Garun Puran 2.22.8, those who die by hanging, poisoning, suicide, or from certain diseases like cholera become ghosts.

However, if someone dies naturally without unfulfilled desires and doesn't achieve liberation (moksha) for some reason, their soul is believed to go through the cycle of reincarnation. The type of reincarnation is determined by their actions or karma, leading to six possible forms of life:

Aquatic creatures like fish and marine mammals.

Plants, including trees and flowers, considered a lower form of life.

Reptiles, insects, and other small crawling creatures.

Birds, seen as a higher form of life due to their ability to fly.

Animals, encompassing various land mammals.

Human life, seen as the most valuable for spiritual growth and realization in Hinduism.

 

Bhagvad Geeta, chapter 8, verse 16 -

आब्रह्मभुवनाल्लोकाः पुनरावर्तिनोऽर्जुन |

मामुपेत्य तु कौन्तेय पुनर्जन्म न विद्यते ||

Everywhere in this material universe, including the highest realms, you'll be reborn, Arjun. But once you reach My divine abode, there's no more rebirth for you, son of Kunti.


Purpose of Reincarnation:

In simple terms, Hinduism believes that reincarnation, or the cycle of birth and rebirth, is meant to help the soul learn and grow spiritually. Each life brings valuable lessons and challenges, helping the soul evolve towards self-realization and ultimate liberation, called Moksha. This continuous cycle of birth and rebirth is called Samsara, where the soul moves from one body to another across different species of life. Consciousness exists in all living beings, but humans can use it most actively. Samsara is like a journey that keeps going in circles, with life, death, and rebirth. It includes all the lives a soul experiences on Earth. The soul keeps moving from one life to another, showing the basic idea of rebirth.

 

Bhagavad Gita chapter 2, verse 27-

जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च |

तस्मादपरिहार्येऽर्थे न त्वं शोचितुमर्हसि ||

Once you're born, death is bound to happen, and once you die, rebirth is sure to follow. So, there's no point in getting upset over something that's bound to occur.

Samsara is like a tough cycle: first, you're born, then you get sick, grow old, die, and then you're born again.

In Hinduism, heaven and hell are not forever places; they're more like temporary states. The main aim is to reach moksha, which means being free from the cycle of life and death and becoming one with Brahman.

 

Conclusion:

Contrary to Hinduism, Islam and Christianity don't prioritize the concept of reincarnation. Instead, they typically assert that individuals experience just one earthly life. Upon death, the soul is thought to ascend to either heaven or hell, contingent on their deeds and faith during their lifetime. Heaven represents everlasting joy and proximity to the divine, while hell is depicted as an enduring state of punishment.


See Also:

 

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