Today, in this era of 21st century, when our lives are totally driven by electronic gadgets, internet and latest equipments which are improving day by day and that they have become indispensable for our survival, there is something inside us, which we call as our inner self or soul which is craving for peace of mind and is not happy in possessing these worldly things. It is something else that satisfies it. But we, the preachers of science and technology do not find it necessary to look for the reason of this thirst and hunger of our soul and thus encage ourselves in this vicious circle of birth and death. All the scientists of this world , be it astrologist , geologist , anthropologist , archeologist and other streams related to human evolution and earth are unable to precisely correlate and tell about “ life after death “.
Only our vedic scriptures are able to answer this mystery of reincarnation and salvation. Salvation is the governing principle and goal to achieve mentioned in all Indian philosophies and theology. Charaka, the pioneer of ayurvedic medicine, elaborated the process of reincarnation and salvation in his scripture ‘charaka samhita’. He tried to explain it in simpler terms for his disciples. The salvation has been defined to be the best possible pathway of self-realisation, which is indestructible and eternal. The process is like this , when the mind is totally free from raja(tendency to indulge) and tama(darkness which leads to sorrow) , and new deeds are not committed for reward of previous tasks have been followed , then comes the stage of deviation and detachment which leads to salvation.
The bodily soul (jivaatma), at the time of disaster (maha pralaya) gets merged into its previous and initial forms which leads to salvation of that soul. In the absence of above process, raja (tendency to indulge) and tama (darkness which leads to sorrow ) then binds this body soul and thus making it expressible. On death, soul without gross body becomes impression less till it gets new gross body (rebirth). Therefore, this vicious circle continues until salvation is attained . This cycle is for those who cannot separate themselves from raja and tama and are strongly fastened by ropes of physical needs and achievements.
Greed, self-centeredness is the only cause behind all the sufferings in the form of disease and sorrow. Therefore, total cessation of greediness is the key to complete physical, mental, social and spiritual health. For instance, silkworm producesa silk from its salivery secretions and weaves it around itself and causes death. Likewise, selfish people weaves around t5hemselves a web of greed, which causes ailments and sorrow.
The happiness motivates for more desires and determination in possessing physical things and similarly, sorrow leads to hatred and dislike. Both happiness and sorrow enlightens the path of greed which in turn leads to happiness and sorrow. Thus, the vicious circle continues. Yoga and salvation are the keys to permanent freedom from all the sufferings and pain of this physical world. Salvation neutralizes all the internal sorrows and unease. Yoga paves the pathway towards salvation. Regarding the means to achieve salvation, the pioneer of ayurveda, charaka, explains that to please and serve gentlemen, keeping oneself away from antisocial elements, to observe and follow certain regimes like to keep fasts, to practice the teachings of religious texts, to be analytical of good and bad things, to live in lonely and peaceful place, to detach oneself from physical things, to indulge oneself in means to achieve salvation, being away from committing any task that has long term consequences, making oneself free from the results of deeds done in the past and previous lives, not to be in superiority complex, to be afraid of this never ending circle of birth and death, to concentrate on self realization by meditation and to examine minutely all the information perceived through senses. These are the steps of the ladder which leads to ultimate goal of mankind, that is, salvation. The pure and true knowledge comes from the pure mind when the tama is completely dispelled and one becomes free from desires by knowing nature of all beings. This knowledge is known as satyabuddhi(true wisdom).
As discussed earlier, fruitful deeds are the cause of all sufferings and repeated rebirths. Therfore, it is comparable to any sharp and sophisticated weapon. The soul is free from involvement in any deed and its related consequences. But, it remains in dillema of invariably attachment to this body and its involvements. But, when true knowledge is attained, this myth is destroyed, thereby getting freedom from this celestial earth and its belongings. Thereafter; this soul, which is a part of the almighty god, cannot be perceived by the senses and the four means of justification, as it is free from any signs of existence.
The reason for reincarnation lies in the fact that the existance of three basic desires of all beings, that is , praneshna (for long life ), dhnaneshna (for money) and parlokeshna (for attainment of heaven or salvation ). The third one appears to be most important as it gives the opportunity to attain a new birth in better form (yoni). Thus reincarnation occurs. Acharya charaka has proved it by all of the four points of justification (chaturvidha pramana) mentioned in ayurvedic tretise.
all the great scientists of ayurveda and vedic literature accept this theory and has mentioned that good deeds like truth , non – violence and others are able to provide abhyudaya (development in this world ) and nihshreyas (betterment after death ). Abhyudaya means betterment in the present life and nihshreyas means attaining salvation or betterment after the present life. Dissimilarity between parents and offspring and even the children of same parents has different complexion, voice, body built, mental status and fortune. Differences of socio-economic status and being happy or sorrow. Crying , sucking milk , laughing and fear of newborn baby , people getting different results of same caliber and deeds , remembrance of previous life events , all of these support reincarnation. The soul along with four subtle bhutas, at of speed of mind, transmigrate from one body to the other according to past deeds. It cannot be seen without divine visual sense. Regarding the context of remembrance of past lives, charaka explains that all the living beings do not recollect any event of their previous birth because of the great bewilderment like fever, present at the time of death and birth. Forecast is done on the basis of previous experiences. The deeds of previous birth will determine the next birth and its conditions. Every work done has a reason behind it and also the associated consequences. Just like without seeds, a plant can’t be grown and seed of a particular plant can’t produce plant of other type. Not only charaka, but the father of surgery, sushruta, has also supported the principle of reincarnation. According to him, the next life, it’s duration and status is determined by previous birth’s deeds and this is the sole reason behind our virtues in present life. An illustration can strengthen the belief in this phenomenon. In a dark room, pictures are thrown on a screen by lantern slides and we are able to look at the pictures. Suppose, we open a window or switch on the lights then we will not be able to see those pictures. The reason being the more powerful light will subdue the lanterns. Same is the case with our non-remembrance of previous births and lives. Because the more powerful light of the self consciousness has subdued them. Therefore, it is appropriate to conclude that salvation and reincarnation are not at all myth and superstition , but is truth and fact. Hence, it is projected and supported firmly by all the scientists and scholars of vedic times.
1. Reader, Deptt. of Basic Principles
2. B.A.M.S. Scholar
Rishikul Govt. Ayu. (P.G.) College, Haridwar Uttarakhand.