Reincarnation is a concept accepted in many cultures, many religions and by many individuals around the world. Perhaps the most recognized culture or religion is the Hindus and the Buddhists. This article will look at the oldest known culture to bring forward the philosophical understanding of reincarnation; the Hindus.
The Hindu faith is one of a handful of the world’s oldest known religions, has a billion followers and is believed by some scholars to go back as far as 10,000 B.C. As tensions erupted in India in the 16th and 17th century, the divide between the Hindus and Muslims became apparent when the Muslim nation wanted to identify themselves separate from the cultural ways of life of the Hindustan people and thus identified the Hindustan people as “Hindus”.
In order to further understand the concept of reincarnation a brief look at Hinduism is important. The largest populations of Hindus live in India and Nepal. Today, Hinduism is identified as religion, and is the oldest known religion in the world. It is unique in that it does not have a founder, identify with just one set of scriptures, or commonly agree upon a set of teachings. Therefore, classifying as a Hindu is not a religious statement, rather it is a cultural statement.
What this cultural identification means is the Hindu people see themselves as identifying with a way of life which resonates with connecting to deep historical spiritual philosophy, rather than an actual religion. Notwithstanding, the Hindu people recognize 330 million Gods, ultimately making up the supreme God. Over this 10,000 year period of the Hindu culture, it is believed that one is born a Hindu and can not be made a Hindu.
Nonetheless, as the 21st century broadens it’s scope to encompass a oneness and scholarly knowledge and tolerance of diverse cultures, many non-Indians have converted to the Hindu religion and are have become devotees, teachers and spiritual gurus within the Hindu religion, helping to simplify complex spiritual knowledge to western truth seekers.
Lastly, other than the many Gods associated with the Hindu religion, the Hindu people understand their time on earth is governed by the natural law of the universe; cause and effect. As a result the soul is subject to Karma, thereby encompassing the natural cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Thus the concept of reincarnation is uncovered by the Hindus.