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The early Vedic hymns on reincarnation

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The early Vedic hymns on reincarnation  Empty The early Vedic hymns on reincarnation

Post by Seva Lamberdar Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:40 pm

The following hymns in the beginning of the Rig Veda (Mandala or Book 1, Hymn 164) affirm that the early Vedic people knew and understood the idea of reincarnation (transmigration of the soul).

Note below the brotherhood or close link (in spite of being separate) between the immortal soul and the mortal body, the former housed inside the latter, in living beings (RV: 1.164.30, 1.164.38) and the cycles of life and death (coming and departing) seen in the same light (RV: 1.164.19).

The soul, even though immortal and the source of life for the body, remains hidden in the body and gives the impression of death (when body dies) due to its association with the mortal body (RV: 1.164.32).

The above points are fundamental to the concept of reincarnation which has the immortal soul “traveling” continually from one destination (body) to the next (RV: 1.164.31) on the basis of offerings (actions / karma) on the part of the mortal (temporary, death-prone) body (RV: 1.164.30).

“Those that come hitherward they call departing, those that depart they call directed hither.
And what so ye have made, Indra and Soma, steeds bear as ’twere yoked to the region's car-pole.”
Rig Veda (Book 1: Hymn 164.19)

“That which hath breath and speed and life and motion lies firmly stablished in the midst of houses.
Living, by offerings to the Dead he moveth Immortal One, the brother of the mortal.”
Rig Veda (Book 1: Hymn 164.30)

“I saw the Herdsman, him who never stumbles, approaching by his pathways and departing.
He, clothed with gathered and diffusive splendour, within the worlds continually travels.”
Rig Veda (Book 1: Hymn 164.31)

“He who hath made him cloth not comprehend him: from him who saw him surely is he hidden.
He, yet enveloped in his Mother's bosom, source of much life, hath sunk into destruction.”
Rig Veda (Book 1: Hymn 164.32)

“Back, forward goes he, grasped by strength inherent, the Immortal born the brother of the mortal
Ceaseless they move in opposite directions: men mark the one, and fail to mark the other.”
Rig Veda (Book 1: Hymn 164.38)

Ref.: A comment in APPENDIX (by Subhash C. Sharma, dated: June 9, 2013) to “The early Vedic hymns on mathematics, time relations and religio-philosophy” (

Seva Lamberdar
Seva Lamberdar

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