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The concept of Reincarnation in Hinduism and Buddhism: Read On!

In Hinduism, it is believed that a soul is reincarnated not only to serve negative karma but also to get rewards for the positive

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Buddhist Wheel of Life. Image source: Himalayan Academy Publications
  • The core values of Buddhism also do not necessitate any deities (including Gautama Buddha), while Hinduism is known for at least 33 million of them
  • Hinduism does not teach ideas of rebirth of a physical being, but that of the inner soul, or atma
  • Buddhism does not believe in reincarnation but rather in rebirth

Hinduism and Buddhism are both very popular religious philosophies across India. However, there are a lot of core differences in both. For instance, Buddhism does not require any priests or rituals of any kind. The core values of Buddhism also do not necessitate any deities (including Gautama Buddha), while Hinduism is known for at least 33 million of them. Aside from the differences, there are various ways in which the two ideologies are also similar. One that resonates the most with the question of existence is reincarnation, the notion of life after death. But the idea of reincarnation itself is also different in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Image source: Himalayan Academy Publications
Image source: Himalayan Academy Publications

Reincarnation in Hinduism

Hinduism does not teach ideas of the rebirth of a physical being, but that of the inner soul, or atma. The atma is the entity that is regenerated, and it can take any form of life – human, animal, plant, or even mineral. This idea of a universal cycle of birth and death is called samsara and was developed in India circa 1500BC. It is meant to be an opportunity to work off bad deeds, or karma. This not only includes visible actions, but also inner thoughts, beliefs and ignorance. The higher the number of bad deeds worked off during samsara, the higher the probability of the soul attaining a higher being, or avatar, during rebirth.

Hinduism also says that a soul is reincarnated not only to serve negative karma but also to get rewards for the positive. Another reason is to achieve the hearts unfulfilled desires, for example, the attachment, maya, to other humans or animals. Therefore, to be freed from samsara one needs to let go off all Maya and worldly pleasures and desire nothing. When a soul is free from desire, it will finally achieve moksha and live in a transcendent state for eternity.

Rebirth in Buddhism

Buddhism does not believe in reincarnation but rather in rebirth. The difference from Hindu ideology is that Buddhism does not believe that the soul is indestructible or eternal. In essence, there is nothing that goes through life, death or rebirth. Rather, all energy and matter is thought of as universal and returns to the universe after death. Under the right instances. energy and matter from the universe come together again to make a new-born. This energy is thought of as the consciousness, or the creative principal, in beings and is believed to be connected.

Like moksha, a transcendent state exists even in Buddhism wherein all being are free from the cycle of rebirth. This is called Nirvana and is also achieved by freeing oneself from all material and psychological desires. The more sinless life a being leads, the higher the chances of being born again with an advanced conscious. The advanced consciousness, by default, provides the advantage of freeing oneself from desire and attaining Nirvana.

– by Varsha Gupta of NewsGram. Twitter: @VarshaGupta94

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Fireworks Might Extinguish the Flame of Laxmi Puja

We can have various kind of festival enjoyments on Festivals but without ever causing problem to others and the environment

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Fireworks
There is no mention in any corners of the voluminous scriptures of Fireworks blasting during a PUJAS that “upset” the harmony of peace and tranquility of others. Pixabay

BY SALIL GEWALI

If one wants to connect Hindu culture with the senseless bursting of crackers and boisterous fun then he is absolutely wrong. There is no mention in any corners of the voluminous scriptures of Fireworks blasting during a PUJAS that “upset” the harmony of peace and tranquility of others. To disturb others’ tranquility falls under the heading of vices. Preserving the sanctity of the environment, and more importantly, inner purity of mind and heart is the “prime doctrine” of SANATAN DHARMA which is popularly known as Hinduism. This Hindu culture now seemingly run the risk of having been defined by other communities with what is not very pleasant to hear.

Fireworks
It should not be misunderstood ever that Hinduism disapproves of all kinds of fun and frolic. No, it is never so.  We can have various kind of festival enjoyments but without ever causing problem to others and the environment without Using Fireworks.

I’ve overheard many toxic comments against this blatant desecration of auspicious “puja celebrations”. During Holi festival, many people fear to move out of their homes, particularly in certain the plane areas in India. You might be blasted with a bucketful of dirty water by pranksters from the 5th floor of the building. Is this sadism the part of the puja and holi celebration? One is afraid, with each passing year, this festival of color of joy, though having strong spiritual significance, has only painted the very face of Hindu culture with vulgarity and depravity.

Fireworks
If one wants to connect Hindu culture with the senseless bursting of crackers, Fireworks and boisterous fun then he is absolutely wrong.

Matter of fact, peace in one’s life and his efforts to help bring peace in others’ lives is essentially the fundamental basis of Hindu culture and festivals. Practically speaking, there is no devotion to God without “peace”.  Therefore, “Shanti” (peace) is one of the most paramount peace mantras in Sanskrit, not “Ashanti” which, of late, is the hallmark of such Hindu puja celebrations. The profound objective behind this peace mantra, as propounded in Upanishads, inspired even one of the greatest poets of the 20th Century – TS Eliot who underlined it with the purpose of life which he brought out in his epic poem – The Waste Land. That poem finally ends with the same peace mantra — Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

Fireworks
TS Eliot who underlined it with the purpose of life which he brought out in his epic poem – The Waste Land.

It should not be misunderstood ever that Hinduism disapproves of all kinds of fun and frolic. No, it is never so.  We can have various kind of festival enjoyments but without ever causing problem to others and the environment. There are sufficient mentions of fun and frolic, merrymaking even in the spiritual activities — like Krishna LilaRam Lila…; and there exist endless nritya shashtras for healthy recreation. But they all are within the “purview of Dharma”. Ancient sages in their meditation conceived and authored a number of treatises in which we find the elaborate approaches and procedures to evolve oneself spiritually through fun-filled dances and music. There are “ragas and layas” (musical modes and rhythm), which are meant to “recharge” the mind for the meditative concentrationThe objective behind being to climb up the ladders of realization of oneness and universal uniformity.

Fireworks
There are sufficient mentions of fun and frolic, merrymaking even in the spiritual activities — like Krishna Lila, Ram Lila…; and there exist endless nritya shashtras for healthy recreation and not Fireworks. But they all are within the “purview of Dharma”.

However, there is absolutely no scope or prescription for deriving pleasure or fun by causing pain and anxieties to others? How come bursting high decibel fireworks at 2 AM or 3 AM or 4 AM is puja? In fact, it is called “adharma” or irreligion leading to self-degeneration.

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Therefore, it is DIYA, as per Vedas, which symbolizes the LIGHT to dispel the darkness of ignorance, the darkness of vices, and bring forth the light of knowledge to awake the “inherent” divinity. Goddess Laxmi is the “flame” of feminine ENERGY in the infinite cosmic creation. So, indulging in earsplitting fireworks and causing continuous problem to HER creatures, and HER environment, is totally against the fundamental principle of the devotion in Hinduism. Very sadly, with the blasting of the fireworks in the name of Goddess Laxmi we have invariably set off the tank of vices alone.

Salil Gewali is a well-Known Writer and Author of ‘Great Minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali