Lower forms of Life – Birth & Death

“According to some Hindu commentators on scriptures a jiva (life-force) is granted a human life only after going through 8,400,000 previous incarnations of lower forms of life — 2,000,000 as a plant, 900,000 as aquatic, 100,000 as insects, 100,000 as a bird, 300,000 as a cow, 400,000 as a monkey” (Louis Renou, The Nature of Hinduism. New York: Walker & Co. 1962).

Individualized spirits are said to transmigrate from one body to the other in the evolution form. It is said that they travel from the vegetative kingdom to the animal kingdom after multiple births and deaths and then only reach the human plane to achieve this perfect body. The human bodies, along with the vegetable and the animal bodies serve as the souls for these vehicles in their upward journey. Therefore, the total number of carriages that are meant to be is around 84 lacs in number. A human being is known to be the highest evolved form and is an instrument to realize the ultimate energy.  Through the human body, people can attain the Moksha or the emancipation of Maya and it can’t be achieved through bodies that are residing in other spheres. Therefore, the human body is the only door to realize God.

Threefolded Karma:

  1. Samchit: The unfinished consequences of the actions in the past, both bad and the good are worked out in this life as desires and samskaras.
  2. Prarabdha: It is the result of the Karma that gets reflected in our present life in the form of fate based on our last life’s actions.
  3. Agami: The Karma we are making in this life which will be reflected in the next life.

“Karma is divided into four categories: sanchita karma, or the accumulated past actions; prarabdha karma, or that part of sanchita karma which results in this present birth and is known as predestination; kriyamana karma, or present willful actions, or free will; and agami karma, or the immediate results caused by our present actions”  (Sant Keshavadas, 8).

Environmental Conditions for Karma:

Because of the memories that we have from the past, the cause and effect of Karma are not broken by time, space of any other species. Both the good and the bad samskaras have a way of being kept in the bottle where the seeds of the plants are planted. They grow in different seasons, while some of them grow in winter; some of them grow in summer and the rest in the rainy season. Therefore, when you throw all the seeds on the earth; it is only imperative to know which seeds remain dormant and which does not. Samskaras work in the same way, according to the association we have with the person, place and the situation. This is the exact case with the samskaras. All kinds of samskaras grow according to the place, person and often with the things that we associate ourselves with. For example if we are with depraved people, it is said that the bad samskaras will come up keeping the good samskaras dormant. If we are with the honest people, the good samskaras will come up keeping the bad samskaras dormant. Therefore these samskaras help us in gaining the enlightenment of life.

Law of the Last thought:

It is said that when a man is thinking of a particular thing in his final moment when he is leaving the body; he is bound to attain that. That thought is observed in him and will be there with him for all the lives. Therefore, the person gets conflicted with this desire in the next lives, even when he’s not at all related to it.

“You might say that, according to the common belief, a man is reborn according to his thoughts at the time of his death. How, then, can this belief be reconciled to the theory that the rebirth is caused by the unfulfilled desires to be fulfilled in the next life? …The ideas and the thoughts which come at the time of the death of a man are responsible for his next life. But, at the same time, the Vedanta asserts that at the time of death only those thoughts and desires come to mind, which were uppermost during the life of the man” (Swami Rama Tirtha, 265).

The Experience of Death:

When the man is close to the death, his heart becomes filled with the lift that the soul of the person departs his body either through the head or through the eye. In some cases, when the eye or head are blocked; it leaves the body from other apertures as well. Thus, when the soul departs the life all the vital energies depart after it and his soul finally becomes one with the universal intelligence. When the intelligence has departed from the materialistic body, his work and knowledge become his previous life experiences.


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