Honestly, it seems like I can't get through the A-Z fest without screwing up at least once. The sad thing is I totally thought I had R taken care of. I knew R was for Reincarnation. And then I saw that everyone was writing about S and it looked like I was on T. Which told me something was wrong, and that something was likely me!
As you know by now, my theme for this years A- Z Blogfest is DEATH (who I hope is
like DEATH in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series): "...tall, thin
(skeletal, as a
matter of fact), and ALWAYS SPEAKS IN CAPITAL LETTERS. Generally shows
up when you're dead, or just when he thinks you ought to be." Today we
have R, completely out of order, for Reincarnation.
Reincarnation is the philosophical or
religious concept that the soul or spirit, after biological death, can
begin a new life in a new body. Known as Punarjanma – it is one of the core beliefs
of Hinduism that is generally accepted by many of its practitioners. Reincarnation is the natural process of birth, death and rebirth. Hindus believe that the Jiva or Atman (soul) is intrinsically pure. However, because of the layers of I-ness and My-ness, the jiva goes through transmigration in the cycle of births and deaths. Death destroys the physical body, but not the jiva. The jiva is eternal. It takes on another body with respect to its karmas.
Every karma produces a result which must be experienced either in this
or some future life. As long as the jiva is enveloped in ignorance, it
remains attached to material desires and subject to the cycles of births
and deaths (Samsara).
There is no permanent heaven or hell in Hinduism. After services in the afterlife, the jiva enters the karma and rebirth system, reborn as an animal, a human or a divinity. This reincarnation continues until mokṣa, the final release, is gained.
This makes the most sense to me except for two very small problems. One I mentioned before, which is that the laws of physics do not support the idea of a soul or consciousness that can exist separately from the body. But, as the Dalai Lama said, it would also be difficult to disprove reincarnation. The other problem I have is math. In 1682 the estimated world population was at 320 million. There are now approximately 7.4 billion people on this earth. So where did all the new souls come from?
Setting those issues aside (because who wants to dwell on anything that might quash the idea of any sort of after life, right?), reincarnation makes sense to me because of evolution, which is the natural order of things. This world, all of us, the animals, plants, insects, everything is continually evolving and maybe reincarnation is part of how we evolve, become better people who are more concerned with the good of all than all the good we can gather for ourselves.
Do you believe in reincarnation?
Excerpt from Reaper Man, by Terry Pratchett
“SEE! I HAVE TIME. AT LAST, I HAVE TIME."
Albert backed away nervously.
‘And now that you have it, what are you going to do with it?’ he said.
Death mounted his horse.
I AM GOING TO SPEND IT.”