Journey of departed soul:

Among all the theologies on this planet, Indic religions support the rebirth or reincarnation. However, Hinduism provided rather an elaborate proposition of rebirth. Hinduism or otherwise Sanatan Dharma ( Eternal Dharma) which is based on  liberation. Hinduism has a code that is based on Karma. The details of the Karma is elaborately explained in BhagavadGita (Gita). Gita is a conglomeration of Upanishads which explains the human behavior and how to liberate with no rebirth. Thus, the concept of rebirth is explained in conjunction with Karma Yoga. Karma Yoga is a manifestation of Path of Action every human being goes through.

Before we get into Karma Yoga , it is pertinent to understand the below verse from Gita..

  वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय

नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि |

तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णा

न्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही || 22||

vāsānsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya

navāni gṛihṇāti naro ’parāṇi

tathā śharīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇānya

nyāni sanyāti navāni dehī


As a person sheds worn-out garments and wears new ones, likewise, at the time of death, the soul casts off its worn-out body and enters a new one

The above verses/Shoka clearly describes that the soul will eventually enter a new body. So, we need to understand how a soul tries for rebirth. From Karma Yoga, Lord Krishna explains that Every person who is born on the earth will have to go through Karma (Actions). It is imperative that every human has to go through Karma. Now, every Karma that is being done will have consequences attached to that. Hindu Texts clearly explains that Good Karma is the one that is accepted righteously while bad Karma is the one that is not acceptable based on the nature of the cause, Thus, Good Karma is the one that is acceptable as per Vedic texts and Bad Karma is the one which goes against the persons virtue in Vedic texts  and so called as sin. While Karma is a must for every person has to do for livelihood, it is also an underlying aspect that Karma will determine the course of a person’s rebirth. 

Your Karma decides your Rebirth

Every Person’s Good and Bad Karma will be auto accounted to the person’s identity with Sun, Moon, Stars, apart from other living beings including himself/herself as witnesses for Karma. For example,  If a person is on death bed and his fondness for materialistic objects like Gold, property or how to save property, how to save family etc will determine the destiny of the departed soul apart from the inclination of the person’s fondness and natural behavior during his/her lifetime. Thus, the person’s rebirth is completely on the basis of the karma from previous birth and can be any form of the living being based on the taste or behavior, the person enjoyed in previous birth. 

Bhagavad Gita, clearly explains that Karma is the only thing that transforms a person’s rebirth. It is not the God who can help transpire rebirth. It is one and only him/herself who can decide the rebirth. It all depends on how the person can take the righteous path and increase the chances of not to take rebirth (Liberation) or a combination of good  and bad karma during lifetime will earn the virtue. With specific intentions, at the time of deathbed will eventually take the body as person wishes. It is possible to deject the bad intentions and move on to the right path, which is acceptable by self and as per vedic code. With full consciousness and practice of good thinking could avoid, the person taking a body that can propel the bad intentions in next rebirth. It is the practice that also contributes to the person’s ability to decide the path he/her chooses for the rebirth. Thus, the person should question whether the Karma(action) could hurt anyone or if the intentions of the Karma is good before making the decisions and so the consequences will be. Sometimes, it’s the nature of the person that determines the Karma and so the person’s natural habit of actions are assessed for rebirth. Vedic texts have given highest importance to Sacrifice, Compassion, Forgiveness, and Truthfulness . Thus, any Karma if it involves any of these qualities are acceptable to earn virtue, however Dharma/ Righteousness is defined based on the above points apart from universal acceptance of one’s action.

Untimely Deaths

Finally, if the death is untimely due to a disease or an accident or a suicide or killed by someone, the soul will not depart the place as it thinks it got the body and has lot of things it intended to do but couldn’t do due to loss of body. It chooses to stay as time and space doesn’t matter and it reverberates endlessly. Thus, the rituals are needed to commemorate the departed soul. The soul needs peace and it is being done only through proper rituals.

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