The Cycle of Birth and Rebirth
Hindus believe life is a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Actions in this life, our ‘karma’ has an effect on our future.
This clip is about the complexities of belief in reincarnation. Hindus believe life is a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Actions in this life, our ‘karma’ has an effect on our future. We get good karma if we’re kind, but bad karma if we’re selfish. This good or bad karma makes a difference to how the soul is reincarnated. The cycle of life is not a simple idea: karma works in many ways and the soul might be reincarnated thousands of times. Vraj shows his understanding of karma in a picture of a cycle of life. There is an end to the cycle: it’s called Moksha. It’s reached by always trying to be the best we can be. Moksha sets you fee from ever having to be born on this Earth again: “You will be one with god and you feel really good!”
These ideas about the cycle of rebirth affect how Hindus think about death. After death the body is burned. This symbolises the quick release of the soul to begin its next life. Ashes are scattered in a river, like the River Soar in Leicester, shown in the clip.
Simran interviews Hemang, a Hindu Priest. He shows how he likes to help families after the death of a loved one. He explains that a river is like the life source, that the majority of our bodies are made of water, and so it is the custom to give the ashes of a person who has died to the water. The priest’s job is to help people at a time of sadness towards understanding that those who die, in Hindu belief, will get a new life: “We believe that death is a new beginning.”
In India Hindus traditionally scattered ashes in the River Ganges, but there are many rivers outside of India that can be used as well. Hemang says that all rivers are created equal in the eyes of god, and they all merge eventually into the oceans. River Soar, or River Ganges, the symbol is for the way life flows on.
Hindu scripture says “Just as a person puts on new clothes and gets rid of the old ones, so the soul also takes on new bodies according to its karma”.