Eternal Life: A Hindu’s View

March 4, 2022

Generations have pondered over the possibility of an afterlife. Is it true that there will be judgment, or will the soul exist in an endless black void? Many have made their life’s purpose to this question; Is there truly nirvana? Theories range from ascending into the heavens to an exhausting voyage to the underworld – backed up by myths and legends. 

 

A conception comes from the 6th century Hindu and Greek belief of metempsychosis, otherwise known as reincarnation. The concept explores the idea of life leaving a host at death and reappearing in another host. That soul could take multiple forms, such as human, animal, or plant, depending on the soul’s previous actions. 

 

“The people around me, such as my parents, relatives, and teachers introduced reincarnation to me. I would hear them speaking about it all the time, ” says Aarya Mahajan, senior, “Reincarnation is a part of my religion, so it was expected of me to be familiar with the term ever since I was a young child.” Around 20% of Americans believe in this concept: and since reincarnation is one of the many big tenants in Hinduism, many followers avidly believe it and are taught about it from an early age. 

 

The world as we ordinarily understand it – is like a dream: fleeting and illusory. To be trapped in the circle of birth and death is a result of ignorance of the true nature of our existence.”

— Adi Shankaracharya; sage

 

Samsara is the universal cycle that governs death and rebirth through karma. Karma is the weight of one’s actions per its true purpose. Anya Singhal – a freshman – says, “The afterlife promises moksha – eternal peace – for those who have gone above and beyond in their past life. People who have made their positive mark on the world or helped people in desperate times deserve this.” She also believes that a soul picks out its life before its birth if it has done divine service. This fuels the souls’ desire to continue its rebirth until nirvana.

 

In 2014, a three-year-old Druzian boy found and identified his murderer from his past life. The boy was born with an unusual birthmark that sprouted from half his face in a long angular shape. As soon as he talked, the boy told his parents that he had been murdered and walked to his old village where he successfully found the killer. Not only that, but he was able to recover the victim’s skeleton. His birthmark had the placement of the missing skull piece. ” These stories astound me; the fact that the little boy was able to repent his murderer is inspiring. It leads me to think about how fate controls people and their actions,” stated Aarya Mahajan. 

 

Death is but all a material word. Nothing is concrete about the action after passing; which all boils down to the debate over whether humans are skeptical or cynical. However, the unity of human minds has created a far more beautiful product – religion and theory. Thus, this outcome will forever prevail over all that is unknown and void. Maybe the multiverse is existent, or we exist in multiple possibilities. Amongst the various opportunities, why did the soul choose this one? This simple sentence is what generations have pondered over; and will continue questioning. 

 

Sources:

Alex, B. (2018, October 5). How We Know Ancient Humans Believed In the Afterlife. Discover Magazine. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/how-we-know-ancient-humans-believed-in-the-afterlife

Bering, J. (2013, November 2). Ian Stevenson’s Case for the Afterlife: Are We ‘Skeptics’ Really Just Cynics? Scientific American Blogs. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/bering-in-mind/ian-stevensone28099s-case-for-the-afterlife-are-we-e28098skepticse28099-really-just-cynics/

Lickerman, A. (2012, October 14). The Problem With Reincarnation. Psychology Today. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/happiness-in-world/201210/the-problem-reincarnation

The mystery of reincarnation. (n.d.). NCBI. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705678/#sec1-9title

3-yr-old recalls past life murder, identifies killer and locates his body. (2014, May 21). Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from https://www.deccanchronicle.com/140521/lifestyle-offbeat/article/3-yr-old-recalls-past-life-murder-identifies-killer-and-locates-his/

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