Doctrine of Reincarnation
From:Dr. Pallan Ichaporia, D.Phil., Ph.D
Mainz University, Geramany
Elected Fellow of Royal Asiatic Society of Gt. Britain & Ireland
Govt of India Research Scholar
Doctrine of Reincarnation (transmigration) of Souls is not found in the Vedas
Dear Respected Members: For your reading pleasure.
It is believed, to illustrate all the main features of the ancient Hindu belief respecting the life after death, any passages which might be adduced from the Vedic texts would show that ; there is nothing in the Veda which approaches any more nearly to the dogmas of modern days.
The Vedas understanding by that term the original collections of hymns, and not the mass of prose literature which has, later, attached itself to them, and is often included with them under the name of Veda.
The Vedas contain not a hint of the doctrine of transmigration (reincarnation) of souls; It is one of the most difficult questions in the religious history of India, how that doctrine of transmigration (reincarnation) arose, out of what it developed, to what feature of the ancient faith it attached itself.
The discordance thus shown to exist, in respect to this single point, between the sacred scriptures of the Hindu and his actual belief, is in no small degree characteristic of their whole relation. The spirit of the primitive period is altogether different from that of the times which have succeeded ; the manners, the creeds, the institutions, which those ancient texts exhibit to us, are not those which we are wont to know as Indian ; the whole Brahmanic system is a thing of later growth.
And yet the Vedas still remain the professed foundation of the system, and its inspired authority. The fact is a most significant one, as regards both the history of the Hindu religion and culture, and the character of the Hindu mind. It shows that the development of the former has been gradual, and almost unremarked, or at least unacknowledged.
There have been in India no violent movements, no sweeping reformations, no lasting and successful rebellions by Hindus against the constituted religious authorities,
The possession and custody of the ancient and inspired hymns laid the foundation of the supremacy of the Brahmans ; they have maintained and strengthened their authority, not by adhering pertinaciously to the letter or to the spirit of their scriptures, and attempting to check the natural growth and change of the national character and belief, but rather by falling in with the latter, leading it on, and directing it to their own advantage.
Thus, while the sacred texts have been treated with the utmost reverence, and preserved with a care and success which is without a parallel in the history of ancient literatures, they have exerted comparatively very little restraining or guiding influence upon the moral and spiritual development of the people of India. Each new phase of belief has sought in them its authority, has claimed to found itself upon them, and to be consistent with their teachings ; and the result is, that the sum of doctrine accepted and regarded as orthodox in modern India is incongruous beyond measure.