Life Is Just A Long Wait For Death..
Life is just a long wait for death….and death a gateway to life.
Reincarnation has been a popular word throughout history, across many regions of the world. Ancient India was the first civilization to study reincarnation in details. According to the Vedas, not only do humans reincarnate but gods appear on earth as avatars through reincarnation. The very physical body is seen as a secondary part of life, as a cloth one wears. The real essence of life according to the Hindu faith lies in the soul or the atman.
The Bhagavad Gita, part of Mahabharata is a series of conversations as a long poem, between Arjuna and Krishna. A little synopsis is needed to understand the complexity of these discussions.
Arjuna is sitting in his chariot which Krishna is driving. The chariot is tied to 5 horses and they are at the heart of the battlefield of Kurukshetra, where Arjuna is fighting his own brother and teachers. The battle is about to start when Arjuna loses all hopes and asks Krishna for help.
It is here that a philosophical dialogue takes place where Krishna explains the meaning of life through the prism of karma to Arjuna. He explains that even if he slays his own brothers and teachers in battle, their souls could never be hurt. Krishna insists that by the very nature of the soul it is indestructible, like energy it can neither be created nor destroyed, it is the ultimate form of everything. Krishna explains that the realm of the body is different than the realm of the soul. It is karma that links the two together. Karma is the force which pulls the soul down from the heaven to the earth.
The soul is like water, it takes the form and shape of anything “vessel” which contains it. It becomes one with the body for a short time and attains the karma of the body. A body is just chemicals without a soul. When life ends the soul simply leaves in search of a new body. Here the restless souls which have unfulfilled desires or karma in its past find another body to express itself. Souls of great men are liberated from this cycle as they lack desire. In Hindu faith, it is a sagely advice to leave all forms of desires during the last part of one’s life which is known as Vanaprastha. Often, the 5 horses in this scene are seen as the five senses and Krishna is the soul that drives and Arjuna is the body that enjoys and suffers the fruits and poisons of the senses.
Then as the religious beliefs expanded in ancient India it gave birth to another great religion– Buddhism. It also extendedly talked of reincarnation and the nature of the soul.
In Buddhism, the various lives that the soul enters are connected by their shared consciousness. Deep meditation can connect lives across the temporal span of each life the soul visited. The consciousness that Gautama Buddha achieved is known as what the west calls heaven. Anyone who mediates reaches this abode of The Buddha where one’s soul merges with that of the Great Banyan Tree under which the Buddha meditated. The soul can travel across space and time and is can become both a particle and a wave like light does and this finds ample mention in these ancient texts.