If you look at tons of Bollywood movies (especially movies like Om Shanti Om), then you will realize that the concept of reincarnation is prevalent across India. It’s not just in India, however, there are tribes across the globe that accept rebirth as a form of natural phenomenon.
What really is reincarnation? It comes from the Latin language which means “entering the flesh again”. For Hindus, the process is known as ‘Punarjanma’. It’s been explained in detail in the Hindu scripts, more so when Lord Vishnu incarnated times and again in human form to protect people from evil.
In Hinduism, the body is only a form of container. It is like clothes. The main essence is the soul. The soul is immortal, and when a person dies, it takes another body just like how we wear new clothes. The rebirth, however, is on the basis of one’s karma. You can incarnate as birds, animals, or humans, or other forms as per your karma.
Interesting Reincarnation Facts in Hinduism
To know how reincarnation actually happens, you need to know these seven interesting facts about reincarnation in Hinduism
1. Rebirth in case of unfulfilled wishes
If a person dies with many unfulfilled wishes, then the soul will take the form of a ghost. It will wander around the spiritual world and the material world until the wishes are fulfilled.
2. Hitting the head of the dead
As the soul is immortal, Hindu rituals believe that the soul needs to be freed from the memories of the body. When performing death rituals, Hindus beat the head of the body really hard so that the memories of that life are washed away from the conscious and won’t affect the body that’s reincarnated.
3. Memories are still stored
Even though the memories are washed away, they are still stored in the unconscious. Hindu sages believe that the unconscious mind has all the memories since the time of the evolution of the earth. But due to our impure souls, we haven’t been able to connect with Brahma to revitalize it completely. Only a few who practice meditation and sadhana can. It’s even said that some can remember their past lives through meditation.
4. It’s not only cats that have seven lives
All living beings have it. It’s called “Saat Janma” in Hindu dharma. Till that seven lives, living beings will reincarnate over and over again, after which that soul will attain liberation (moksha).
5. The wheel of karma
Birth, death, and rebirth is the natural process of reincarnation in Hinduism. As per Hindu beliefs, when the soul takes the form of the body if the ego gets the better of the person, then it will make the soul impure. But death only destroys the body, and the soul will remain impure, which will then take another body. That is why Hindus believe that what people have today is the outcome of their past lives.
6. Reincarnation is not immediate
The soul doesn’t take another body as soon as it leaves the old one. It can take a year or even decades to find a new form, all based on the karma of the soul.
7. The Third Eye
Hindu scriptures show that we all have third eyes, but we haven’t been able to open them. Because of that, we haven’t been able to look into our own karma. The third eye is the eye of enlightenment, and we can only do so through sadhana or Dhyana, and uplift our souls to the spiritual world. This was also how Gautam Buddha achieved enlightenment.
8. Sins are meant to expiated
evaṃ karmaviśeṣeṇa jāyante sadvigarhitāḥ |Manusmiriti, 11.53
jaḍamūkāndhabadhirā vikṛtākṛtayastathā ||
caritavyamato nityam pryascittam viśuddhaye |
nindyairhi lakṣaṇairyuktā jāyante’niṣkṛtainasaḥ ||
If sins are not expiated, human beings are to be born with deformities. The un-expiated sinners would lead to hell and then attain various rebirths. Sinners, who have not performed an expiation will have to go to hell and then take birth in animal bodies and then as human beings.