Facing death of dear ones is never easy; as a result, we tend to believe that the soul will be born gain as reincarnation. But to what extent is it true? The concept of reincarnation has been the most attractive as well as debatable topic since human existence. The actual meaning of reincarnation is unknown to many. Reincarnation can either be a source of great comfort for those who seek freedom from their inner possessions or a way of rejecting the monotheistic teaching of the final judgment by a holy God, with the possible result of being eternally condemned to suffer in hell.
However, different religions believe differently about reincarnation. Here are different viewpoints of different religion to make you fall in dilemma about believing in rebirths:
Reincarnation In Hinduism
Hindu religion has many instances depicting reincarnation, starting with Lord Vishnu incarnating on earth 10 times. Each and every Gods and Goddesses has taken some or many incarnations on Earth to save earth from the destructions of the Asuras.
But these were gods what about the human beings; there is certainly a difference between the two, right? Well according to Vedic anthropology, the components of human nature are the physical body, Ashu and Manas, where Ashu represents the personal attributes whereas Manas represents the sum of psycho-mental abilities; mind, feeling or will. There is also a ritual in the Hindu religion, where the family of the death addresses the departed soul saying, “ May nothing of your Manas, nothing of the Ashu, nothing of the limbs, nothing of your vital fluid, nothing of your body here by any means be lost". This suggests the rebirth. Death is regarded as a natural process in the existence of the soul as a separate entity. When a person dies, the soul travels for some time to another world and finally returns again to the earth to continue its journey.
After death, Hindus are not buried but cremated. They believe that a human body is made up of five elements - fire, earth, water and air. The fifth element is however known as Ether and it does not belong to Earth but is a part of the deceased body. By cremating the body, the elements are fairly returned to their respective spheres, while the subtle body along with soul returns to the world for the continuation of its afterlife.
Reincarnation In Islam
In Islam, it is believed that the present life is only a preparation for the next dominion of existence. For them, death is merely transporting from one world to another. According to Prophet Muhammad, there are three things which can help a person even after death, which are the charity which he had given, knowledge which he had contributed and prayers on their behalf by a righteous child.
Upon the death of a Muslim person, the body of the deceased is washed and covered with a clean white cloth preparing the body for the next world. Muslims gather and prayers are performed for the dead and soon after the prayer, the body of the deceased is buried. The body is to be laid on its right side facing the direction of Makkah. All these rituals guide the body to the next world into another dimension as believed.
Reincarnation In Christianity
Christians predominantly believe in heaven and hell as mentioned in the Bible, with some minor instances on rebirth. Heaven is where believers enjoy the presence of God and freedom from suffering and sin. According to them Jesus, son of God died on the cross for the sins committed by humanity, so that we could achieve salvation. Bible also states that there is a time to be born, and a time to die.
As far as reincarnation is concerned, the identity of John the Baptist supposed to be the reincarnation of the prophet Elijah. The proof of this is mentioned in Matthew 11 – 14, where Jesus says: "And if you are willing to accept it, he (John the Baptist) is the Elijah who was to come." Apart from this, there are no specific instances of reincarnation. Jesus himself was resurrected after his crucifixion if he wanted he could have easily reincarnated and continued the good work, but he chose to resurrect and show the world that he will sit in heaven beside his father, the god and rule the world.
Reincarnation In Buddhism
It was the awareness of death that provoked Lord Buddha to explore the truth behind worldly concerns and pleasures. After attaining enlightenment, Lord Buddha came to the realization that death is inevitable for a person who thinks about worldly pleasures and attitudes. Hence, in Buddhism death is symbolized as taking a break from this materialistic world.
They, however, believe in reincarnation. According to their belief, once a person dies on this earth, he will be reborn to a new life here and the status of that life depends on the work he did before his previous death. Death is considered as an awakening call, recited with scriptures and mantras by the monks and family members for the dead to achieve a peaceful state of mind.
Reincarnation In Taoism
Reincarnation was not a common belief in the dictums of the Tao-te Ching, but it made a later appearance in Taoism. Although rebirths are not specified in details, an important scripture of Taoism, the Chuang Tzu, states: “Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting point. Existence without limitation is space. Continuity without a starting point is time. There is birth, there is death, there is issuing forth, there is entering in. That through which one passes in and out without seeing its form, that is the Portal of God (Chuang Tzu 23).”
Different religion states differently about rebirths and incarnations but it all boils down to the same belief. In the modern era, the new age thinking sees reincarnation as an eternal progression of the soul toward higher levels of spiritual knowledge. According to me, heaven and hell are here on Earth while you're living, and you have to experience both till you experience death and attain eternal peace. Being a good human being is what must be the most important task in people’s life.