In the early phases of Vedic literature there is practically no reference to rebirth and no stigma of sins, or dread of the hell-fire and no heavenly lure for the mortals. But with the beginning of the Aranyaka period, as the Vedic mind progressed from a polytheistic concept of the elemental godhead towards a monistic ideal of the one, absolute Reality, the doctrine of cause and effect and the transmigration of soul was evolved as a logical necessity in order to safeguard an unsullied existence of God in human thought.
Now, it is quite well-known that three of the leading religions of the world, though much younger to Hinduism in origin, found it necessary to present a dreadful prospect of an eternal devilment in the hell so that men might desist from flying at each other’s throat and respect social harmony, the value of culture and the usefulness of peace. A colourful lure of a joyous immortality in the heaven was offered at the same time, directed only to serve the same purpose.
But here the principle of evolution was at once discredited and man was either abruptly condemned to hell without a slight after chance of redemption, or he was over-graciously suspended in the heaven for eternity, with an individualized existence. Nor was there any answer as to why one man should be flourishing and happy in spite of being wicked and another should be drudging on a life of want, full of wretchedness, in spite of being virtuous.
The Indian sages on the contrary offered a better solution and made reincarnation responsible for the evolution of man who alone was the master of his destiny. They frankly admitted their incapability of answering why the world should have been created at all, and from that basis asserted that God was not responsible for good and evil, happiness and suffering, but it was man who was responsible for the decree of his fate, capable at the same time of its betterment through his own self effort. So, God could not be accused for all the baffling inequalities and injustices of life, and His position in human thought was kept unscathed. The theory of reincarnation is, therefore, a far more convincing doctrine than any belief that justifies an arbitrary irredemption after death….
Rebirth is life’s sustaining force, even from the worldly point of view. So many dreams and so many eagerly sought after ambitions remain unfulfilled; youth gradually decays into old age and infirmity, and the ember of elusive hope gets dimmer and weaker; but its flame is kept up flickering by a remote expectation that perhaps in another birth those dreams might be fulfilled. What Becomes Of The Soul After Death, Divine Life Society.
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