Death is one of the mysteries that has been puzzling every human civilization since the inception. No one really knows what’s on the other side of death, or what happens to our soul once we die. Modern science also seems to be unable to find a clear definition of what souls are, what they are made of.
Science demands evidence, proof, or some sort of observation to make the existence of the soul acceptable in the scientific community. However, not a single person has ever returned alive from the clutches of death to give the required evidence for modern science to believe in it.
There is simply no way to know if there are any places similar to heaven or hell? Or, all of the stories that we have been listening to since childhood are just a mere creation of the human mind to fill the void with imaginations.
This void of human intelligence ultimately terrifies people whenever they think of death, even despite knowing death is inevitable and it will come to each and every living being on earth sooner or later.
The Nature Of Souls As Per Hinduism
In Hinduism, ancient seers and sages had studied this natural phenomenon in much greater detail. They have summarised their findings in various texts and scriptures that eventually helped build one of the core beliefs of hinduism.
These texts later became secred, laying the foundation of our understanding of why we (referring to all living beings) are all here, and our ultimate life purpose. There’s a vidya called Paraloka-Vidya, that explains the true nature of death, and its affiliation with attaining moksha (or, liberation).
Souls Are Immortal & Imperishable
In hindu beliefs, souls are immortal and imperishable, making them spiritual in nature. Souls are not physical things that you can see, touch, or feel. If you wonder, why I said you can not feel the soul, because souls alone have no ability to feel.
It’s the body through which a soul feels the worldly emotions. You can understand the soul as a form of energy. As energy is never created or dies, so are souls.
The Physical Body Is Bound To Get Decayed
However, on the other hand, physical bodies are made of earthy materials that are bound to get decayed and recycled to the earth. Therefore, physical bodies are temporary and die eventually. There is a saying in Yogic Philosophy – “Everything that is created will be destroyed, sooner or later.”
So, according to Hinduism, when we die, our souls either get liberated or return back to the earth again to continue its journey. Those returning souls then reborn in a brand new body through reincarnation. Unless the souls get moksha, this cycle of death and rebirth will be going on forever.
Types Of Souls As Per Hinduism
Now that we have an idea of what souls and physical bodies are, let’s dive a little deeper to understand what more Hinduism has to say about souls and their primary reason for existence.
As per Hindu belief, there are two kinds of souls: “Jivatman” and “Paramatman”. Jivatman is what lives inside of a living being, whereas Paramatman is only the universal soul, which is omnipresent in the universe.
Paramatman is often called by many names in various traditions. such as the Supreme Self, the Supersoul, the Universal Consciousness, Absolute Reality, Absolute Truth, God/Brahman, and so on.
The Journey Of Souls According To Hinduism
It’s said that Jivatman has one purpose for its existence. That is to be reunited with the Paramatman as soon as possible so it can stop the endless cycle of life-and-death once and for all.
As per Hinduism, every living being has a Jivatman inside, but it’s the human Jivatman that is capable of being reunited with Paramatman. Thus, the whole basis of Hinduism and its teachings revolves around the concept of becoming one with the supreme self, or the absolute reality.
Therefore, when a human being dies, its soul is either liberated or reborn in a different body. But what kind of life the soul gets in its reincarnation is only decided by the accumulated deeds the soul has collected throughout the time it’s been living inside the previous body.
Where Do Souls Live Before Rebirth
If you’ve been reading till now, a question might’ve popped up in your mind. That is, if a soul gets free when a body dies, where does it go before being reborn in a different body?
One of the sacred scriptures of Hinduism called the Garuda Purana describes this in great detail. According to the Garuda Purana, when a person dies, his soul is brought to the abode of Lord Yama by his servants. Those servants are called Yamaduta. In the abode of Lord Yama, the soul spends 14 days while going through various trials.
During these fourteen days, the evil spirits are punished, and the good, righteous souls are rewarded with reverence. After the fourteen days, every soul receives various yoni depending on their past life actions. Some go back to take rebirth in a new body, and some get moksha.
If you don’t know what a yoni means, then you can think of yoni as the different forms of life that exists on the earth. Like, human life, animal life, tree life, etc. So, there are different types of yoni, and Manushya Yoni in hindu scriptures simply refers to the human form of life.