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An idea of reincarnation

vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya
navani grhnati naro parani
tatha sarirani vihaya jirnany
anyani samyati navani dehi

 (As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.)                                                                                   - Bhagavad Gita 2.22

Is reincarnation true?

Didn’t you just read the sloka?

Yes, but I am not devoid of doubts.

Do you know who the father of our nation is?


The father of the nation. Though I am quite sure you heard me the first time.

Why? Gandhi of course!

As you know, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated some six decades ago, and still we deal with a lot of Gandhi material on a daily basis. There are umpteen number of roads, public parks, colleges, libraries all named after him. Then there are some who live on through what they stood for their whole lives. Our former president APJ Abdul Kalam was a torchbearer of technical excellence, and after he passed away governments are naming technical universities after him. Let’s bring back Gandhi once more, shall we? Often we hold our currency notes up against lights, and are assured they are genuine if we see Gandhiji smiling. You know what, here he reincarnated as integrity. I could keep giving a lot more examples.

Seriously! Are memorials of famous personalities your explanation for reincarnation?

Hear me out completely. And what I try to convey is only my idea of reincarnation. My perspective.

I was looking for an absolute view.

I think everything is relative. Absolution is fictional. There is my truth and there is your truth. But I am skeptical on the existence of universal truths. Physicists teach us the concepts of relative velocity, don’t they? When two objects move towards each other, the relative velocity adds up.

But one could always evaluate the absolute velocity from a fixed point of reference.

How fixed is your point when the planet is itself at motion and the entire universe is expanding?

Still there are some cases where absolute truth is a reality. For instance Gandhi is globally respected as a pious man, while someone like Osama Bin Laden is hated by all, right?

And yet Gandhiji met his end within a year of our independence, and that too at the hands of a citizen of free India. And regarding Bin Laden, within months of his death, a library came up in his name in Pakistan. They call it ‘Martyr Bin Laden Library’. Does it amuse you to notice that we observe martyr’s day on the day Gandhiji were assassinated?

So according to your idea reincarnation happens only to the famous, isn’t it?

Not quite. It is pertinent for commoners, too.

How so?

Please excuse me if this question is personal, but have you lost someone dear?

 The most painful memory is when my paternal grandmother passed away. I was only eight, yet it hurt me very much. She loved me, and used to prepare this sweet dish for me. We call it ada. I remember how I used to sit in her lap as she watched Kathakali. I have never watched the dance drama ever after…oh I see where you are going with this.

Your grandmother was a commoner, wasn’t she? Yet she is very much alive in your head. Ada reminds you of her, so does Kathakali. Your parents might have put up her framed photograph on the wall. Whenever some guests ask about her, your father would narrate incidents from his childhood with zest. In those stories, she is very much a living person as you and I are.

Very interesting point of view, I must say. If this is how you define reincarnation, I would like to hear your take on moksha, or salvation as well. Religion does say that soul keeps on taking new births until it attain salvation and rejoins with the supreme one, right?


Do you concur?

I am inclined to believe that moksha is very much possible in the same way I think of reincarnation. As I said, some people live on through what they stood for, and some others through the works of their lifetimes. Less known people also comes back in our memories. But there are some truly blessed, who attains salvation by their deaths and leave the world for good.

Really! Who are they?

How could I possibly know them? Remember, they are the ones who got salvation. That means they do not linger in anyone’s thoughts, or memories anymore.


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