Reincarnation in Hinduism
Hinduism says that a soul reincarnates till it reaches perfection and becomes one with its source. During this long process, the soul wears many bodies, takes many forms and goes through many deaths and births.
Many Births and Deaths
According to Hinduism, a soul has to be born many times and go through many experiences before it can reach perfection. At death, the physical body and the mind return to earth. But, the soul survives death. Depending upon the good or bad deeds in that birth, the soul goes to heaven or hell. It stays in these realms, till it exhausts the fruit of its actions. Then, it comes back to earth again for another birth.
Heaven and Hell
Hinduism says heavens and hells exist. Heaven is filled with Gods and divine souls. Hell is a dark world full of demonic forces. Individual souls go to these places based on their previous actions, learn suitable lessons and return to earth to start a new incarnation.
Even heavenly life is transient. The soul enjoys pleasures only for a short time. Once its karma is fully exhausted, the soul is thrown from the dizzy heights of heaven back to the turmoil and vagaries of earthly life.
Hinduism does not generally believe that an individual soul can attain liberation in just one birth. Liberation involves movement from ignorance to light, and this takes many epochs. When a soul stirs and wakes up, it generally enquires about the purpose of creation and “Who am I”? This starts the soul’s journey from ignorance and illusion towards truth and God.
The Law of Karma
Belief in reincarnation stems from belief in karma, literally “action” or “deed”. The law of karma states that good actions result in a good future, and bad actions have the opposite effect. Knowledge of this basic law is the first step of the soul towards light.