Understanding Rebirth

Understanding Rebirth

Do we have a multiplicity of lifetimes? Is there anything called rebirth? If so, what is its nature? What is the scriptural take as per Vedant on this matter? This is what I would like examine in the light of such scriptures as the Upanishads and The Krushnaarjun Sanvaad {SBG}, in an attempt both to deepen my understanding, as well as to enable the reader to engage with these thoughts. References will be provided in the Bibliography Section.
It has been taught to us that we have many lives; this is a a misinterpretation of the reality. If the Aatma, the soul, is not born neither dies – where is the question of rebirth? The Krushnaarjun Sanvaad {better known as Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta} makes it clear that the soul is eternal. If the soul  does not die, the question of rebirth does not arise! Further, during one individual sensory cycle {which we western influenced people call Lifetime}, all the senses, buddhi, smruti get left behind on completion. Only the soul continues. Again – where is the question of rebirth?

When one cycle of life completes, our senses, our mind, our intellect, our smruti, our knowledge are all burnt, and do not get carried forward. This is as per scriptures – though it also makes a very practical perspective. Just think if you had all memories of all your lives – and think of the myriad complications that might have risen in that scenario! I do not deny that there have been many unexplainable stories reported, many experiences that have no explanation apart from rebirth; these are the exception. It is possible that some impressions of a lifetime may be carried forward in rare cases {Only Parabrahm knows why this happens!} but by and large, everything gets dissolved on the death of this body.
That being the case, how can we reconcile the concepts of the scriptures? Let me put it this way : Rebirth is only if you strive to connect with your soul, and then with Unity,; then – rebirth exists. Because on death, only Karmic reactions – the sanchit karm {Sum total of all karmphal of all lifetimes} – continues. All else is burnt. Nowhere in all the scriptures I have read or heard does the concept of Rebirth exist, spanning over 18 Upanishads, Ramayan, Mahabharat: all that exists is Karm, and continuity of the eternal soul. In dvait belief – you {the soul you} and God are different, and need to unite; in Advait – You ARE Brahm. Parabrahm; but under the influence of Maya. Thus, if you identify with your gross body – there is no rebirth; for your memories will vanish on death.

In other words, to realize eternity, one has to forget I, forget all – and connect with Unity, God, Parabrahm. That is the simple concept of Vedant, as well as its offspring, the more modern Hinduism… why then this confusion? This confusion arises since we, in our mistaken beliefs, identify ourselves as being the body; with the gross physical elements that constitute the body, and its subtler emotions desires etc. We assume that to be the our true and only identity – whereas that is only the outer sheath, a mechanism given to us such that we may complete the path we are on since time immemorial.

The key is that we need to rise above this material aspect, the bane of the modern westernized society, and see ourselves in our deeper reality, our true reality : a soul. All the rest is nashwar – from dust to dust, from ashes to ashes. Nothing else will go with you, all of your family & relatives, your wealth, your status, your position will be left here, in the material realm. There is nothing you can do to prevent it. We pine for & grieve over the loss of things that are certain to be taken from us; and conversely feel happy on acquiring material things, {even relations, spouse, child are material} – despite the fact that one day they will be snatched from you! That much is certain.

It is this materialism which prevents us from connecting to the deeper realms; none of what we see is going with us. What does go – is simply our Karm. Here, we need to appreciate that Karm refers not to action; a common fallacy. Every thought deed action emotion desire creates Karm. In the human form, one creates a Karm every second, and every millisecond. There is no escape – every impression and every single thought counts. Until you reach Akarm – you are creating Karm every nanosecond. How to reach Akarm is far beyond the scope of this article, so let me leave it at that.

Just as you change clothes, or cars, or vehicles – so do you change the body. You are not your body; the Body, and all its relations {in their physical manifestations} are mere tools or vehicles being used by, or clothes that are sheathing – the individual souls that reside inside. Once you accept that, several things happen; the entire hierarchies, relations, emotions vanish – and you begin to see people in their true capabilities, their true evolution, and you begin to be able to relate to all ages equally, as you are now untainted by the unreal gloss of your own bodies’ age vis-à-vis the person you are talking to. Similarly, hierarchies, status, ability etc simply ceases to matter…
Question then arises, that being the case, why not live it up and enjoy? Why not throw morals etc to the dustbin and live it up? Answer- some karmaphal will mature in the current cycle, most of it in fact; and secondly, if you do forget the soul, you are doomed to repeating the pain again and again – until the day you realize your folly, which may even be when the creation cycle hurtles towards parlay. Eventually you will end up paying the price – though you not realize it now. Thus, rebirth does exist – but not in the form appreciated by us, not in the large majority of cases…

BIBLIOGRAPHY AND REFERENCES {The above impression and statement of my current understanding is basis a regular reading of the following texts: }

Chhandogyopanishad Shri Krushnaarjun Sanvaad {Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta} City of Nine Gates, Pankaj Rajput Karmacha Siddhant, Hirabhai Thakkar Shvetashwar Upanishad Prashnopanishad Aitereyopanishad Taittriyopanishad Mandukyopanishad Mahanarayan Upanishad Kenopanishad Kathopanishad Eeshavasyopanishad Mundakopanishad Kathhopanishad
Vishal Kale
Vishal Kale

Vishal Kale is a cross-functional business head leading 9 branches with expertise in setting up new products and processes across geographies. He is a passionate blogger -received the Indian Top Blogger badge for 3 years running now as well as a top-5 nominee in Blogadda Awards Win15. He is also an Associate Columnist with the Indian Economist, an unpaid position of freelance contribution, diversified work experience, combined with Business, Management and Economics. Book Reviewing helped him in Content Creation and enables him to add value in organizations as well as contribute in a variety of situations and challenges, and have an indepth knowledge of at least 3 industries. He writes on Sanaatan Dharm, Life Philosophy. He has a daily reading habit of Scriptures and his own self-introspection. He also reviews very select top Marathi movies.

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