What is reincarnation as it pertains to the Hindu faith?

Hindus believe that the soul is immortal and evolves by  experiencing varied lives through the process of reincarnation where the  soul survives the death of the physical body only to be reborn in a new  physical body.  

Hindus have a fourfold path – their goals in life are dharma, artha, kama, and moksha.  These are four Sanskrit words – Sanskrit being the language of Hindu scriptures – and have no exact translation in English. Dharma roughly denotes duty and righteousness; Artha, wealth and prosperity; Kama, human or worldly desires; and Moksha,  liberation or realization of unity with the Supreme Consciousness (Brahman).  Hindus believe that the soul is immortal and evolves by experiencing varied lives through the process of reincarnation where the soul survives the death of the physical body only to be reborn in a new physical body.

Guided by the Laws of Karma (click here to learn more about these laws ), the soul continues on its path of spiritual evolution. The ultimate aim of Hindus is for the soul to attain freedom from this continuous cycle of birth and rebirth and discover its divine origin.

A few years ago, writing on death at patheos.com, I said, “Reincarnation depends on the individual’s karma, which is determined by actions in this life as well as past lives.” But it is the monks at Hinduism Today who, while explaining the relationship between karma and reincarnation, provided a fitting quote from Swami Vivekananda: “The idea of rebirth runs parallel with the doctrine of the eternity of the human soul.”

Thank you, Padma Kuppa, for answering our question this week! To learn more about Padma, please click here.