Lessons for juniors(09)
If we look around us, we see not only men and women, boys and girls, but also cats, dogs, birds, bugs, plants, etc. It can be seen that there are various forms of living beings in this universe. Nothing is permanent. Every second someone dies and someone is born. This makes us wonder what happens to those who die, and who decides what one should be born as. Jainism explains that in a very simple and sound logical way based on the karma theory. Due to the karmas associated with their souls, living beings have been going through the cycle of births and deaths in various forms since times immemorial. Unless the soul gets rid of its karmas, it will never be free from the cycle of births and deaths in different forms. When a living being dies, it can be reborn into one of the four gatis (destinies). These four destinies are as follows:
(1) Human (Manushya) beings.
(2) Dev (Celestial) beings.
(3) Tiryancha (Animal) beings.
(4) Naraki (Infernal) beings.
Present science is inconclusive about the life after death or rebirth or reincarnation. But Jinas who had kevalgnan (omniscience) have explained that there is life after death and it is us, and no one else, who decides what will happen to us after our death. No God or super power decides your future. Your past and current deeds accumulate the karmas, which govern what we will be reborn as. Let us discuss about these destinies.
Thus, it is clear that out of these four Gatis or destinies only the human life is suitable for spiritual pursuit and freedom from the cycle of births and deaths. Let us now try to understand what leads a soul to the different destinies.
Those who do excessive violence, lying, stealing, and enjoy sensual pleasure or are too possessive, angry, egoistic, greedy, deceptive, or intensely attached to the worldly life are likely to be re-born as infernal beings in the hell.
Those who are selfish, cause troubles, or wish evil for the others are likely to be re-born as the tiryancha.
Those who are simple and disciplined, observe vows, behave well, have a good character, and follow a good moral life are generally re-born as the heavenly beings.
Those who are simple, straightforward, observe vow and restraints, have faith in true teachers, attemt to gain true knowledge, have only a slight attachment, have a controlled level of anger, greed, or deception, and try to follow the religious teachers are generally re-born as the humans.
In conclusion, we (the souls) are the masters of our own destiny and we should not blame anyone or anything else for our own destiny. Let us inspire to lead a spiritual life without any delay, so that we may be reborn as the human beings again and may continue to progress on the path of the liberation.