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Frisen and his team of stem cells researchers in the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, found that the average age of cells in an adult body would be between 7 and 10 years. Considering this sober evidence, we can understand that as we age, our bodily cells are replaced regularly. Hence, we have a constantly changing body.

However, our consciousness, of who we are, remains unchanging. This is the rational explanation of reincarnation. Reincarnation is the religious or philosophical belief that the soul or spirit, after biological death, begins a new life in a new body that may be human, animal or spiritual depending on the moral quality of the previous life's actions. Based on the type of karma one does, he chooses his subsequent birth. For example, if one has done lot of divine service and has a desire to do more service at the time of death, his soul chooses a family that is supportive for his desire, for rebirth.

According to Hinduism, even Devas Gods may also die and be born again. In Hinduism, in the holy book Rigveda, the oldest extant Indo-Aryan text, numerous references are made to rebirths. One verse says:. O Jatavedas, when thou hast matured him, then send him on his way unto the Fathers… let thy fierce flame, thy glowing splendour, burn him With thine auspicious forms, O Jatavedas, bear this man to the region of the pious.

Again, O Agni, to the Fathers send him who, offered in thee, goes with our oblations. Wearing new life let him increase his offspring: Let him rejoin a body, Jatavedas. As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from childhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. New bodies are donned by the dweller, like garments. According to the Hindu sage Adi Shankaracharya, the world-as we ordinarily understand it-is like a dream: Fleeting and illusory. To be trapped in samsara the cycle of birth and death is a result of ignorance of the true nature of our existence.

It is ignorance avidya of one's true self that leads to ego-consciousness, grounding one in desire and a perpetual chain of reincarnation. The idea is intricately linked to action karma , a concept first recorded in the Upanishads. Every action has a reaction and the force determines one's next incarnation. After many births every person becomes dissatisfied and begins to seek higher forms of happiness through spiritual experience.

When all desire has vanished the person will not be born again. When the cycle of rebirth thus comes to an end, a person is said to have attained liberation moksha.

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Followers of the Advaita Vedanta school believe they will spend eternity absorbed in the perfect peace and happiness of the realization that all existence is one Brahman of which the soul is part. Dvaita schools perform worship with the goal of spending eternity in a spiritual world or heaven loka in the blessed company of the Supreme Being. Jainism is historically connected with the sramana tradition with which the earliest mentions of reincarnation are associated. There is a constant interplay between the two, resulting in bewildering cosmic manifestations in material, psychic and emotional spheres around us.

This led to the theories of transmigration and rebirth.

Changes but not total annihilation of spirit and matter is the basic postulate of Jain philosophy. The life as we know now, after death therefore moves on to another form of life based on the merits and demerits it accumulated in its current life. The path to becoming a supreme soul is to practice non-violence and be truthful. Actions are seen to have consequences: Some immediate, some delayed, even into future incarnations.

So the doctrine of karma is not considered simply in relation to one life-time, but also in relation to both future incarnations and past lives. The souls bound by karma go round and round in the cycle of existence. As a result of this doctrine, Jainism attributes supreme importance to pure thinking and moral behavior. The Jain texts postulate four gatis , that is states-of-existence or birth-categories, within which the soul transmigrates. The four gatis have four corresponding realms or habitation levels in the vertically tiered Jain universe: Demi-gods occupy the higher levels where the heavens are situated; humans, plants and animals occupy the middle levels; and hellish beings occupy the lower-levels, where seven hells are situated.

Depending on its karma, a soul transmigrates and reincarnates within the scope of this cosmology of destinies. The four main destinies are further divided into sub-categories and still smaller sub-categories.

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In all, Jain texts speak of a cycle of 8. In Jainism, God has no role to play in an individual's destiny; one's personal destiny is not seen as a consequence of any system of reward or punishment, but rather as a result of its own personal karma.

Violent deeds, killing of creatures having five sense organs, eating fish, and so on, lead to rebirth in hell. Deception, fraud and falsehood leads to rebirth in the animal and vegetable world. Kindness, compassion and humble character result in human birth; while austerities and the making and keeping of vows lead to rebirth in heaven. Each soul is thus responsible for its own predicament, as well as its own salvation. At the death of one personality, a new one comes into being, much as the flame of a dying candle can serve to light the flame of another.

The consciousness in the new person is neither identical to nor entirely different from that in the deceased but the two form a causal continuum or stream. Transmigration is the effect of karma Pali: kamma or volitional action. The basic cause is the abiding of consciousness in ignorance Pali: Avijja , Sanskrit: Avidya : When ignorance is uprooted rebirth ceases.

Observation reveals each moment as an experience of an individual mind-state such as a thought, a memory, a feeling or a perception that arises, exists, and ceases. Sikhs believe that the soul is passed from one body to another until liberation. God may pardon wrongs and release us. Otherwise reincarnation is due to the law of cause and effect but does not create any caste or differences among people.

Reincarnation is refuted by all the main monotheistic religions of the world.


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The first life? The last life? Considering this, Quran rejects the concept of reincarnation, though it preaches the existence of soul.

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The principle belief in Islam is that there is only one birth on this earth. The Doomsday comes after death and will be judged as to one has to once for all go to hell or be unified with God. Modern Sufis who embrace the idea of reincarnation include Bawa Muhaiyadeen. Reincarnation is not an essential tenet of traditional Judaism. Medieval Jewish Rationalist philosophers discussed the issue, often in rejection. Other, Non-Hasidic, Orthodox Jewish groups while not placing a heavy emphasis on reincarnation do acknowledge it as a valid teaching.

The 16 th -century Isaac Luria the Ari brought the issue to the center of his new mystical articulation, for the first time, and advocated identification of the reincarnations of historic Jewish figures that were compiled by Haim Vital in his Shaar HaGilgulim. The major Christian denominations reject the concept of reincarnation. Christians believe that when a person dies their soul would sleep in the grave along with their corpse.

However, there was a schism about understanding Jesus himself in early Christian history. Was he a man who became God? Was he God born as a man? The Roman faction rejected pre-existence and reincarnation and believed Jesus was God become man. The Jerusalem faction knew Jesus was a man who achieved the human-divine at-one-ment, which is the goal of everyone to escape reincarnation cycle of birth and death and have eternal life. NRMs may be novel in origin or they may be part of a wider religion, such as Christianity, Hinduism, or Buddhism, in which case they will be distinct from pre-existing denominations.

All spiritual schools accept the concept of reincarnation. They admit, with some differences, that the purpose of reincarnation is for the soul to get purified and gain wisdom, so that it comes out of the cycle of birth and death. Osho, also known as Bhagvan Rajaneesh, says that the life is born when the existence looks upon itself. An individual is a consciousness localized in a body.

The mind of an individual exists as a set of memories, both good and bad.

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The Life of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama

Of course more of bad memories than good, as we always tend to remember the insults and criticisms more than praises. Memory is nothing but energy in a very subtle form.


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Being energy, it cannot be destroyed even at death. It is liberated into the cosmos and dissolved. Just like riches attract more riches, such memories are pooled up, only to enter another womb. Thus when a person is born, he gets the bits of memories from many people. So he cannot remember his past birth. Nevertheless, in exceptional cases, when a new born gets the entire memory system of another individual, he can easily recall his past birth, though it is not actually his birth.

So in true sense, the person is not born again, only his memories are expressed in another individual. An enlightened person is not born again. This is because; his mind contains no memories, neither good nor bad. He lives in a moment to moment existence.

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It is like the path of a fish in water or a bird in the sky. They do not leave any track behind. Thus when an enlightened person dies, he leaves no memories, to be picked up by other beings. Thus he is not born again. Psychiatrist Ian Stevenson, from the University of Virginia, is an authority in scientific research on reincarnation.