Sunday, May 9, 2010

Popular Theory on reincarnation

Posted by Manju-Ganesh | Sunday, May 9, 2010 | Category: |

Three elements of popular faith merge together in the doctrine of karma: the spirits of the dead exist as preta, in a quasi-material state; the concept of a tribunal in the kingdom of god Yama (the king of the dead, also Dharmaraja, the king of justice); the ascent of the soul to heaven.
The soul as preta lives in an intermediary state (pretyabhava) in which it can die again (punarmyrtyu), which can be averted through performing religious rites. Other conceptions make the preta as "poor souls" which wander about in the houses of the living, if they are not assisted properly, viz., if their family members on earth fail to offer the religious rituals (sraddha). Then, once the soul (preta) is completely purified of its sins, becomes devoyana and enters brahmaloka (heaven, paradise), or enjoys first the fruits of his good acts in chandraloka (the sphere of the moon) on the "way of the fathers" (pitryana), to be reborn after enjoying the fruits of his good actions76. The bad karma has to be completely wiped off in hell. The time spent in the intermediates states are phases of purification. The sraddha ceremonies, performed after the death of a deceased, help him in his journey through the intermediary kingdom (prevent him from dying a new death) and influence on the karmic order.