Reincarnation and Karma in Hinduism

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Some people believe in heaven, and some in hell and others believe that your life force is carried away to another part of the universe. But the Hindu religion believes in something a little different. Hindu’s believe in reincarnation, which play’s a big role in their society. It also affects the way they live out their lives and view things. Hindu’s also believe that when they come back they can be something more than they were or something less of what they were in their life, which can be connected to Karma. Karma plays a big role in reincarnation and their lives. Reincarnation and Karma are not just rules to live by but a way of life. Hindu’s devote their whole lives to their religion and well being.

Reincarnation plays a big role in Hindu society. Reincarnation is known as the transmigration of the soul. For the Hindu’s religion is not an alternative to the world, it’s a means of improving one’s existence in life. It is thought that the individual reincarnates under conditions created through the history of their lives and past behaviors. Each incarnation provides opportunity to be born into a higher place in life. This will only happen if the person has been righteous, which is the result of doing your duty in the proper manner. Righteousness is the result of doing one’s duty in a proper manner. The Hindu’s believe that no one is born equal. It is thought that a person reincarnates again and again till the person is perfect and reunites with its source, which can take up to millions of years to accomplish. Hindu’s also speak of a type of heaven and hell were a person goes not for an eternity only until they have learned their lesson. Either it being joy or suffering, after they have done that then they return back to Earth. Reincarnation is based upon life on earth not suddenly emerging, but evolving gradually over time. (Kingsland 46)



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You may think what causes the soul to enter a higher or lower state of existence. There level of existence is determined by Karma. For Hindu’s Karma is a necessary law of nature. It decides the quality of ones further life. A person who has done good things is reborn into a good life in their next birth. But if a person has done bad deeds or evil thoughts and spoke bad words a person is reborn as an animal. Karma applies to what happens in a person’s present life. A deed that a person in their current life come back to them in a form of good fortune, either in one’s present life or in their future existence. A person can pay “Karmic” price for an evil deed one has done. His deed will come back to haunt him in one’s present life or future. A person of low statues may be reborn as priest, or a king, or an animal or even a worm. A person’s higher or lower sate of existence is determined by a law called Karma. Karma is defined as the law of deeds or works. Karma determines an individual’s thoughts, words, and deeds which all have ethical consequences that establish the quality of their future existences. Karma decides the quality of a Hindu’s future life. Karma is defined as “the act” or “sum of a person’s actions in one of his successive states of existence, viewed as deciding his fate for the next”. (Wangu,8)

There are three different kinds of Karma. The first has begun to bear fruit in life. Almost nothing can be done about these consequences, which must be endured or enjoyed. This might explain why bad people appear to prosper while good people have problems. The second is karma that affects the future. Lastly there is Karma that has built


up but not used. To use this Karma one has to perform ritual prayers to receive this unused Karma.(Kingsland,46)

Hindu’s ultimate goal is release from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.(Mann, Numrich, Williams,6)Cremation has long bin the method of disposing of the bodies of the dead. Hindu’s believe that the soul is immortal but the body is not. Hindu’s view life as moving through many stages and cycles. Karma and reincarnation is thought to not have a beginning or an end, but a continuous cycle. Karma encourages Hindu’s to be a good person because if they don’t they will suffer for their poor actions in the future.(Wangu,10)The goal of practicing Hindu is to liberate themselves from constantly changing karma and reincarnation, and to find release of the cycles of rebirths and redeaths and gain existence in the realm of the Gods. The Hindu knows that the maturing of the soul takes many lives, and that if the soul is immature in the present birth, then there is hope, for there will be many opportunities for learning and growing in future lives. Every person is responsible for his or her acts and thoughts, so each persons karma is entirely ones own. (Kingsland,46)

Hindu’s are continuously trying to make themselves better people mentally and spiritually. There are four rules, which Hindu applies to their life, this allows for better Karma. 1st a person must always perform their duty, which they must do to the best of their ability. If you were a parent your duty would be to provide a home, warmth, food, clothes and an education for your child. In return the child would have a duty of being thankful to his parents by working hard, having a good education and respect for the


people who have provided for him. Also one must earn their money honestly to provide for one’s family. Another thing would be to live life to the fullest, but to do that in moderation. Lastly one would always strive to better one’s reincarnation. If all of this is done one will have good Karma and a positive reincarnation

There is a reason why Hindu’s thrive for a good reincarnation. 1st Hindu’s want to move up the animal chain. For example starting out as an insect and through many improvement work their way to be a human and eventually becoming a priest. The reason for all of these reincarnations is to attain knowledge and understanding. Hindu’s ultimate goal is to achieve up to a state of knowledge were one does not have to reincarnate anymore.

According to the Bhagavad-Gita “Just as man discards worn out clothes and puts on new clothes, the soul discards worn out bodies and wears new ones.” (.) This quote basically sums up what the whole thought of reincarnation is. In the process of reincarnation some souls join God while others reincarnate and transform into other beings. This process can take millions of years to accomplish. One may also find that if a person was not good or had done bad things, that person would not reach god as quickly as other beings. Hindu’s also speak of a heaven and hell, were a being is sent in either place for the deeds that the being has done on Earth. If a being was good and fulfilled good deeds then that being would spend time in heaven and it would be a reward for their actions. If one was bad their being would spend time in hell were they would be punished for their bad deeds. After one has learned their lesson their being returns to Earth and


tries to live the life that have this time to be good so they may be rewarded in heaven and not be punished in hell.

Some Hindu’s believe that Karma means deed and every deed one does has a consequence. Judgment of ones Karma is solely placed in the hands of god. It is said in the Bhagavad-Gita “As you sow, so shall you reap”. This is where the saying “what goes around comes around” comes from. They both are sending the same message. Sometimes Karma can give instant results for your deeds. Accumulation of good deeds brings closer to god and will also give a person a higher spiritual plane of existence. The bad karma will produce misery and one will emerge as a lower life form such as a plant or insect. (Anand,4)

Ones ultimate goal is to reach Moksha which means the infinite bliss. It is what all Hindu’s thrive to reach. One must practice in mediation and gain spiritual knowledge. Yoga is also helps people reach Moksha. A person’s practices may become so intense that one devotes their whole life to finding god. Once Moksha is reached ones soul aligns itself with god. (Anand,5)

In conclusion reincarnation and Karma is a big part of Hindu life. It is kind of an equal balance. Karma effects the reincarnation of the future in a positive or negative way. There is much to learn from the Hindu religion. Many frown upon it and some think of it as a cult, but it is thought of as a very unique way at looking toward life. Hindu’s are thought to be the hardest working people to try reach god. Reincarnation and Karma are not just rules to live by but a way of life. Hindu’s devote their whole lives to their religion and well-being.


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.Renard,John. Response to 101 Questions on Hinduism. New York, 1

.Lipner,Julius. Hindus Their Religious Beliefs and Practices. London,14

4.Kingsland,Mehra,Venika. The Simple Guide to Hinduism. England,17

5.Wagnu,Bazaz,Madhu. Hinduism World Religion. New York,001

6. Mann,Numrich,Williams B. Raymond. Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs in America. New York,001

7. , 000 V.Jayaram,

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