Everything does pass, and we can endure and we can survive!! – Rahul Dravid
Concept, Purpose of birth
Just as death birth too is inevitable. Where from, to: We all come from where we do not know as you take a new body. But surely we all come and or sent with a purpose, each with a different purpose, with some ideal and character. Is rebirth something like history repeating itself? The purpose of birth is to attain perfection, obtain the necessary knowledge and to be purposeful and useful to your Soul, others and the nature at large. The purpose of human birth or birth after birth is to attain this State of Realization. It can be done ‘not by death alone’. Here, now in this birth one can strive, attain that self realization and put an end to this cycle! This idea is supported by the practice of performing ‘yajnopaveetam’. This is called ‘dhwijanma’, second birth! This performance entitles one to make a new beginning, shows the path to self realization now in this birth itself!
Choice in rebirth
It is a ‘no’ according to our sastras. There is no choice for rebirth itself. Then do the Souls have a choice in time and space of rebirth? Is there a choice to select even the parents, brothers, sisters so on and so full? Yes says our sastras. There is a limited choice according to your ‘deeds’, karma. Your ‘Soul’ may be shown similar situations to choose from. May be a smart Soul might choose the least worst!
Black box theory
It is the accumulation of experiences from birth to birth through our actions [karma] that is called ‘tendencies’ / ‘impressions’ transmitted through ‘black box’ in a new code with every new birth! This black box carries one’s mind too through of course its, the mind’s impressions! It is not mere accumulation of memories. It is inclusive of memories. It is a nonsensical idea that memories alone is the conclusive proof and since we don’t remember anything of the past birth there is nothing like either past or future! The Universe has in itself or holds for the benefit of the Soul this black box and delivers it to the Soul when rebirth occurs. Look around nature: One can see it in the nature and in the performance and actions of every new born the birds, animals, fish or whatever creature. The ‘soft ware’ [black box] gets inbuilt in the system of body when once the birth occurs! This is what is called by scientists and rationalists as ‘instinct’! Instinct is nothing but the reflection of the past experiences! Bhagavat Gita: Chapter VI 43-There he regains the mental impressions of union with the Divine which he had developed in his previous life and with this as the starting point he strives again for perfection, O Joy of the Kurus [Arjuna] – [Progress on the path to perfection is slow and one may have to tread through many lives before reaching the end. But no effort is wasted. The relations we form and the powers we acquire do not perish at death. They will be the starting point of later developments, evolution.]
Problems of rebirth
Jadabharathar: Jadabharathar has had to take two more births as in his last moment of departure to Lord’s abode he involved himself in the worldly affairs. He chose to save a deer from death. The last moment of death is very important, howsoever great a saint could be, as is seen in Jadabharathar’s story [narrated in Bhagavata Purana]. Saving a life is good. But what happened here? It was found his renouncing the world, his detachment to worldly affairs and his surrender to Lord was found to be incomplete and not total. These are all a must if one wants to reach there and not come back! Bhagavt Gita: [Chapter VIII] 6-Thinking of whatever state of being, he at the end gives up his body, to that being does he attain, O Son of Kunti [Arjuna], being ever absorbed in the thought thereof.
No Rebirth please!
Siva Vakkiyar, the Siddhar says there is no rebirth. Let us see what he says:
அல்லல்வாசல் ஓன்பதும் அருத்தடைந்த வாசலும் சொல்லும் வாசல் ஓர் ஐந்தும் சொம்மிவிம்மி நின்றதும்
நல்லவாசலைத் திறந்து ஞானவாசல் ஊடுபோய் எல்லை வாசல் கண்டவர் இனி பிறப்பதில்லையே
This body has many openings. All those get closed when life ebbs out. One has to open up the ‘Knowledge Gate’ ஞானவாசல், go through that, find its end. One who has found that are never born again!
Pattinathar, the Siddhar pleads [of course for our sake] please don’t throw me into that ‘pit’ rebirth. Pattinathar usually posts his appeals to Lord Ekambareswar of Kanchipuram.
நாறுமுடலை, நரிப்பொதி சோற்றினை, நான் தினமும் சோறும் கறியும் நிரப்பிய பாண்டத்தை தோகையர்தம்
கூறும்மலமும் ரத்தமுஞ் சோரும் குழியில் விழாது ஏறும் படியருள்வாய் இறைவா கச்சியேகம்பனே
Oh my Lord plase don’t throw me in that ‘pit’ of stinking body, of cunning character, daily fed with food, that mud pot of impermanence of excrement faeces and blood. But help me attain a higher ‘state’!
Dr Radhakrishnan in his commentary on Gita says: [Death and] Rebirth is an opportunity provided for new experience, to continue to acquire knowledge and is a great chance to wash away past sins! It is not punitive but it is reformative. Life is a struggle for growth. And Death? It continues that struggle and provides opportunities to remove the obstacles, struggles.
[Chapter II] 13-As the Soul passes in this body through childhood, youth and age, even so it is taking on another body. The sage is not perplexed by this. 22- Just as a person casts off worn-out garments and puts on others that are new, even so does the embodied Soul cast off worn-out bodies and take on others that are new. [Chapter IV] 5-Many are my lives that are past and thine also, O Arjuna; all of them I know but thou knowest not, O Scourge of the foe. [Chapter VI] 41-Having attained to the world of the righteous and dwelt there for very many years, the man who has fallen away from yoga is again born in the house of such are pure and prosperous. 42-Or he may be born in the family of yogins who are endowed with wisdom. For such a birth as this is more difficult to obtain in the world. [Chapter VII] 6-Know that all beings have their birth in this. I am the origin of all these worlds and its dissolution as well. 26-Light and darkness, these paths are thought to be the world’s everlasting paths. By the one he goes not to return by the other he returns again. [Those who are ignorant of knowledge are lost in their path to salvation, go by the path of ancestors and are subject to rebirth. Those who attain knowledge and tread by that path get released from rebirth.]