Hinduism is regarded as the third largest religion in the world after Christianity and Islam. It has approximately 950 million believers in the world, representing about 14% of the entire population. It is Indias dominant religion, with following in Sri Lanka and Nepal. This paper focuses on the issue of mortality and how it is viewed by the Hindus. Additionally, the synthesis will explore the existence of a predominant ethic and believers view on the soul.
Mortality and Hinduism
Like most religions, Hinduism has teachings and beliefs bout mortality and the life after death. For instance, Hindus believe in life after death through reincarnation of souls. This is based on the fact that souls are considered to be immortal and everlasting. Importantly, the soul is known to belong to a jiva, which is viewed by believers as the man who has limited powers, and can be contaminated by laws of karma and several impurities in the world (Fowler 59).
For this reason, death is not perceived as a major disaster, but an accepted stage through the life any being, during which one recovers lost energy. After this process of recovery, a jiva returns on earth in a better form to continue with the previous course successfully.
In discussing the concept of mortality in Hinduism, it is vital to appreciate the fact that liberation of the souls ensures that life remains permanent, before death and after the natural process of recuperation. Moreover, death on its own is temporal and allows the rebirth of the soul into an energized being, which is ready to face the next transition level. Besides being recycled into a stronger jiva, death allows an individual to master weaknesses in life and overcome its inability to remain inconsistent.
This cleansing process ensures that the soul remains sinless and complete, as it advances to the next stage in life (Fowler 59). Furthermore, one has to meet certain conditions before being liberated. Among others, believers are not supposed to have likes, prejudices, and connections to other things. This means that ones desire to remain pure may become an obstacle towards the path of liberation.
It is therefore necessary for the soul to go through various stages of renewal in order to resist delusion and become whole in future. According to Hinduism, the soul usually leaves the body through the head, accompanied with some consciousness. This departure allows the soul to live in a different world before it returns. The processes through which the soul goes through before reincarnation has been studied and forms the basis of Hindus view on death and rebirth (Verma 234).
Some of the paths, which the soul assumes after death, are the Bhagavad-Gita. These are the sun and moon paths that describe the destiny of ones soul after death. For instance, the sun denotes the bright life, which is also referred to as the path of gods, while the moon is perceived as the route of ancestors, which is characterized by darkness. In this context, it is believed that souls, which take the bright way never, return whereas those that use the dark path are usually guaranteed to come back to the body (Fowler 60).
The highest goal in the life of the body depends on an array of conditions, including how the body is taken care of when one is still alive. In addition, Lord Krishna affirms that all known worlds undergo the process of rebirth even though this does not occur once they reach him.
As mentioned before, the destiny of a soul after death is linked to a number of factors, which may have affected the person while on earth. For example, ones previous actions determine the fate of the soul. Those who commit sins and go against the teachings are expected to go to the lower worlds, where there is suffering as defined by the magnitude of the sins committed (Fowler 60).
On the hand, those who lead a pure life on earth are usually ushered to the brighter world, where there is celebration and enjoyment. As a result, Hinduism believers are required to be mindful of their actions and deeds while alive because they determine the future of the soul.
Another factor, which dictates the path taken by jiva is the persons state of mind before death. In other words, predominant feelings and thoughts, which may haunt a person at the time of death, are a direct reflection of the souls future (Verma 234).
Besides this, the state of the mind also determines the manner in which the soul gets back to the body through rebirth. For instance, a person who is overwhelmed by feelings about his or her family before death is likely to join the world of ancestors for him to be reborn through future members of the family.
Those who are preoccupied with monetary feelings are normally directed to the world of Vishnu, where they undergo the process of rebirth to become traders or merchants (Fowler 60). Similarly, evil thoughts before death guarantee a person a ticket to the lower world, where there is extreme suffering and pain. As a result, one may sink into deeper suffering and sin or reform to lead a brighter lifestyle. Lastly, those who die thinking about God enter the bright worlds, where there is happiness and celebration.
Consequently, the soul may suffer or experience happiness depending on the cause of death. For instance, those who die in the battlefield have the highest chance of joining a heaven of warriors while those who die in festivals receive an automatic ticket to heaven regardless of their previous deeds on earth (Verma 234).
While most of the factors, which determine the path of the soul, are determined by a persons previous life, it is equally important to note that the deeds of their children play a major role. In most cases, children are supposed to carry out funeral rites in a spiritual manner defined by the religion.
If these rites are wrongly performed, Hindus believe that souls take longer before they are directed to their respective worlds. Importantly, the grace of God may save a soul, since he has power over death. As a result, God can change the destiny of a soul depending of individuals deeds before death.
Besides ones spiritual life, Hinduism emphasizes on the need for good moral principles. These ethics play a fundamental role in increasing a persons chances of joining a brighter world after death. In fact, ethics form the pillar of spiritual life among Hinduism believers (Kinnard 1). Followers are therefore expected to carry themselves in accordance with the legalistic ethics defined by the religion.
Importantly, Hindu ethics widely vary when compared to scientific ethics, which are mainly based on biology and research. In general, Hindu ethics are aimed at defining the discipline that is necessary in strengthening a persons spiritual life. On this basis, prescribed ethics have to be observed by human beings as long as they live. Another aspect of Hindu ethics is that they are subjective and are inclined towards individual responsibility.
In this regard, ethics are essential in disconnecting people from sins like greed, for the purpose of pleasing God and achieving the highest goal in life (Kinnard 1). Among others, a persons role in the society is highly treasured under social welfare. In other words, objective ethics are considered as a means to an end, which propose individual help to members of the society, as a way of delivering them from sins. Moreover, universal ethics are applicable in the life of believers irrespective of their societal status.
From the above analysis, Hindus believe in life after death, which is based on ones action on earth. Believers argue that death is a temporal stage in life, which allows the recuperation of the soul in preparation for life in another world. Since there are various worlds, every believer has a responsibility to avoid sins in order to please God and earn his grace in defining the future.
Importantly, a persons thoughts before death are a major factor in determining the future of the soul and the path taken. With regard to ethics, Hinduism advocates for subjective or personal morals. These ethics are essential in defining a believers spiritual life as they dictate deeds and responses in various situations.
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