REBIRTH – An infallible justice
Rebirth forms an integral part of the explanation of scriptures. They assert the eternality of our existence; our life doesn’t begin with birth or end with death. Each one of us is an irreducible, infinitesimal particle of anti-matter-spirit, the Athma. The body is merely an external covering like a dress. And just as we give up old and worn out clothes and accept new ones, the soul similarly gives up old and worn out bodies and accepts new ones at the time of death. This is what we call rebirth.
The soul is the active principle in the body. He is the doer of all actions-good and bad and thus it is he who has to reap the fruits of his actions, either in the same life or in a subsequent life. So we can understand that an apparently pious person who is suffering greatly is reaping the effects of impious activities performed in this or previous lives. Conversely an impious person may enjoy temporary prosperity now due to his past pious credits Thus, irrespective of their present condition, the nature of their present activities is certainly going to have its effect-the pious will reap benefits and the impious will suffer, in due course of time.
An analogy will make the workings of the law of karma clear. In villages, food grains are often stored in huge vertical containers; fresh grains are poured in from the top and old stored grains are taken out from the bottom. A farmer may have produced poor quality grains for the past 4 years and stocked them in his container. This year he produces high quality grains and stores them from the top.
Yet he finds to his exasperation that from the bottom grains come out. This is how “bad things happen to good people”. Thus the principles of rebirth allow us to view life with a much broader perspective-not from the standpoint of one brief life-time which is nothing more than a flash in time, from the standpoint of eternity.
With this broader vision, we can understand how each individual soul is alone responsible for his own karma. Understanding of this universal and infallible system of justice is the basis of lasting peace and real happiness. Whoever we are, whether rich or poor, all of us are going to die taking nothing with us, except our Karma. One day, our life here will end. Consider, then, what may be in store for you elsewhere. How happy and prudent is he who lives an honest and virtuous life. Do not put off the care of your soul till later. It is better to provide now.