chapter ten



Hinduism differs almost totally from the Vedic Aryan Religion as presented in the Rig Veda.  Rig Veda is written in the Avestan Language which is often termed as Vedic Sanskrit.  Earliest Sanskrit in which all Upanishads and Puranas are written can be traced back only to 150 AD.  Though the early British Scholars who tried to date these Upanishads did that entirely based on internal references to past events and dated them wrongly as 5th century BC which was the period of Buddha and Jain.  But modern archealogy could not find any writings in Sanskrit before150 AD. 

Evidently Hinduism differs totally from Vedism in terms of its theology and even in the concept of God and names of gods.  Thus all of a sudden the concept of  reincarnation appears as the dominant idea within Hinduism in total deviation from the Vedic religion will  not be a surprise.  The development of Hinduism was brought about by the dominating philosophies

·        of Greece under the invasion of Alexander

·        of Apostle Thomas and his ministry which covered all India from Taxila in the North to Kerala in the South

·        of the Gnostic ministry especially of Manicaen which was centered in South India.

·        of non-vedic religions of India which were concretized into Hindu Religion.

William Jones (1746-1794) came to India as a judge of the Supreme Court at Calcutta. He pioneered Sanskrit studies.   He noted that "the analogies between Greek Pythagorean philosophy and the Sankhya school, are very obvious." (  Arise O' India - By Francois Gautier , Har-Anand Publications 2000 ).  Alexander was a student of Aristotle. Aristotle tutored Alexander until age 16. Aristotle refers to Pythagoreanism as the philosophy of the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras (ca. 570 – ca. 490 BCE), which prescribed a highly structured way of life and espoused the doctrine of metempsychosis - 'transmigration of the soul after death into a new body, human or animal . All the most prominent Greek philosophers including Parmenides, Plato and Aristotle were Pythagoreans. It is therefore reasonable to assume that Alexander was well versed in these doctrine and brought these into India and found a fertile ground following Buddhism and Jainism by revision.  Again we know for certain that he was an ardent anti-Vedic who massacred thousands of Vedic priests both in India and in Iran. 

Apostle Thomas caused a major shift in the concept of a supreme God who is the creator and the concept of Logos the power behind the creation.  These were rendered in culturally relevant forms to form  extensive religious  groups following the Saivite, Vaishnavite, etc.  

However soon on its heels  came the Gnostics from Syria.  It was this sects under the leadership of  Iranian (Persian) prophet Mani (216-274 CE] that really produced the start of modern Hinduism as an independent religion of India, a syncretism Zoroastrianism, Buddhism,.   Orphism. Neoplatonism. and Christrianity.  The theory of reincarnation as transmigration with interposed heaven and hell was the creation of Mani - who is now the son of Siva himself - Subhra-Mani-an.

Prophet Mani (216 – 276 AD)>> Subra-manian

Even those will not explain Hinduism. It is a "mosaic of religion", formed by syncretic religions from most elementary superstitions and mythologies, from the cult of inanimate objects, like stones, rivers, planets to animate objects, like trees, animals, heroes, dead ancestors and spirits; and from all the sophisticated religions that flowed in from outside india from monotheism and gnostic philosophies..  It was also heavily influenced by the scientific minds of Buddha and Jains.  "Hinduism, we can say, is the global expression of the religiosity of the peoples of India, which is a "museum of humanity""

If the Rig Veda does not contain reference to reincarnation, the texts of Brahmanas also do not contain the doctrine of reincarnation.  Death is evil, and the essence of evil is death. 

The earliest  mention of reincarnation may be found in Perhaps the earliest foreshadowing of the doctrine of transmigration is to be found in the Satapata Brahmana, This text, however, does not explicitly refer to transmigration.

The earliest mention is found as:
man becomes good by good works, evil by evil' in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. 3. 2.13

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4:4.3-7 continues  giving more detailed concepts: and goes on to explain the concept as follows:

"When a caterpillar has come to the end of a blade of grass, it reaches out to another blade, and draws itself over to it. In the same way the soul, having coming to the end of one life, reaches out to another body, and draws itself over to it.

“Just as a goldsmith, having taken a piece of gold, makes another form, new and more beautiful, so also, verily the Atman having cast off this body and having put away Avidya or ignorance, makes another new and more beautiful form” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad).

"As people act, so they become. If their actions are good, they become good; if their actions are bad, they become bad. Good deeds purify those who perform them; bad deeds pollute those who perform them.

"Thus we may say that we are what we desire. Our will springs from our desires; our actions spring from our will; and what we are, springs from our actions. We may conclude, therefore, that the state of our desires at the time of death determines our next life; we return to earth in order to satisfy those desires.

"Consider those who in the course of many lives on earth have become free from desire. By this we mean that all their desires have found fulfillment within the soul itself. They do not die as others do. Since they understand God, they merge with God.

'When all the desires clinging to the heart fall away, the mortal becomes immortal. When all the knots of desire strangling the heart are loosened, liberation occurs.

"As the snake discards its skin, leaving it lifeless on an anthill, so the soul free from desire discards the body, and unites with God who is eternal life and boundless light."


The Lord Krishna says in the Gita 2:22 "Just as man takes off his old clothes in order to put on new ones, so does the one (soul) who lives in the body, by abandoning the old form, enters into other forms prepared for it" 


Gita 4.05:  “O Arjuna, both you and I have had many births before this; only I know them all, while you do not. Birth is inevitably followed by death, and death by rebirth. As a man casting off worn-out garments taketh new ones, so the dweller in the body, casting off worn-out bodies, entereth into others that are new.”


Katha Upanishad 6.1-5, 10-11, 13-16

"The tree of eternity has its roots in the sky, and its branches reach down to earth. It is God; it is the immortal soul.

The whole universe comes from God; his energy burns like fire, and his power reverberates like thunder, in every part of the universe. In honor of God the sun shines, the clouds rain, and the winds blow. Death itself goes about its business in fear of God.

If you fail to see God in the present life, then after death you must take on another body; if you see God, then you will break free from the cycle of birth and death. God can be seen, like the reflection in a mirror, in a pure heart.

When the senses are calm and the mind is motionless, then your heart is pure; you have reached the highest state of consciousness, in which you are unified with God. If this state of consciousness is firm and secure, so it can never be broken, then you are free. 
To calm the senses and still the mind, you must abandon the self. You must renounce 'I' and 'me' and 'mine'. You must suppress every desire that surges around the heart. You must untie every knot of attachment.

A hundred and one lights radiate from the heart. One of them shines upwards to the crown of the head. This points the way to immortality. Every other light points to death."

“Like corn, does a mortal ripen; like corn, does he spring to life again” (Kathopanishad).

The Doctrine of Karma

 Karma means action.  It is not particularly physical  action.  Any action in body, mind and spirit comes under this definition.  The Law of Karma is the basis of any science.  All cosmos, including God form one connected unit in all the various realms of the universe with God himself beyond and above forming infinite, ultimate reality.  Any change at any point of the realm will result in a series of consequences. This law is inherent in existence within the bounds of time, conceivable dimensions where changes can take place whatever the substance of dimensions are whether material, mental or otherwise (which is usually termed spiritual).   The Law of Karma means the law of causation. Wherever there is a cause, there is an effect  which goes on. This transmission in science are found within the terms of transfer of energy, vibrations or vibes, and action.  These are material science terms but we need to think these in terms of other realms of mind and spirit.  Just as gravity is a universal law of material world, the law of Karma is the law of cosmos and does not depend on the existence of a Creator God and His involvment in human life.  Every Jiva by virtue of its existence have to produce the Karma.  In fact Karma is the central tenant in the anti-theistic Buddhism and non-theistic Jainism right from the 5th century BC.  This is the law of Karma.

Beneficial actions produce beneficial results, and harmful actions produce harmful results.  However Hinduism slightly altered this general statement to the effect that  "the consequence of anything you do depends on your motive for doing it, so the deed itself is not as important as the intention".     In fact Karma  includes all conduct - intentional or unintentional, every thought and speech has its consequences in its own realm and hence by domino effect into the whole cosmos.

The Trinity of Energies: Threefold Nature of Man:  Kriya Iccha Jnana Shaktis

    Ichcha Shakti – desire or will to act and manifest

    Kriya Shakti – potential to act and manifest

    Gnana Shakti – knowledge power for the manifestation

These three fashion his Karma. 


Behind the action, there are desire and thought. A desire for an object arises in the mind. Then you think how to get it. Then you exert to possess it. Desire, thought and action always go together. They are the three threads, as it were, that are twisted into the cord of Karma.

You get the knowledge of an apple through the power-to-know (Jayana Shakti). Then a desire arises in the mind to possess that apple, which is the power-to-desire (Ichha Shakti). Then you exert to obtain that apple with the help of power-of-doing-an-action (Kriya Shakti). 

Desire produces Karma. You work and exert to acquire the objects of your desire. Karma produces its fruits as pain or pleasure. You will have to take births after births to reap the fruits of your Karmas. This is the Law of Karma.


One ramification of this law of Karma in personal human terms is that our past  including our  ancestry and our own personal history, is what makes us today and what will make us the next moment of our life and of others as well who are in our close proximity within the realm of existence specially.  

Cartoon: Domino effect (medium) by Tufan Selcuk tagged arabic,libya,syria,jordan,yemen,egypt,tunis

In Hinduism, karma is of three kinds:

Prarabadha Karma (externally bound Actions)

This is the inherited karma on which one has no control since it is given at the inception of new birth.  These include length of life of the person from birth to death (allotment of the total number of one's breaths for that life), one's economic status, one's family (or lack of family), one's body type and look: essentially, the setting of one's birth, the initial base.

Samchita Karma (mental status)

The samskaras that one inherits from the last lives create one's personality, inclinations, talents, the things that make up one's persona. One's likings, abilities, attitudes and inclinations are based on the thoughts and actions of past lives. 

Agami Karma (Karma of Present Life)

Agami karma is the karma of the present life over which the soul has complete control. Through it one creates one's karma in the present for the future of the current life and in life-times to come.  This is the present that decides the future.

You have no Bhoga-Svatantrya (freedom to determine the result of action), but you have Karma-Svatantrya (freedom to determine the course of action).  Man’s will is ever free.  What you are now at present is the result of what you thought and did in the past. What you shall be in the future will be the result of what you think and do now.

Moksha or Liberation From Samsara

the endless round of birth, death, and rebirth to which all conditioned beings are subject.”

Karma is the cause of rebirth/reincarnation. Good Karmas lead to incarnation into higher spheres and bad Karmas into lower. In Hinduism where the social system is based on the four caste system, the future birth into the system is decided by the present Agami Karma that is accumulated.


 According to Hinduism the goal of human life is to be free or liberated from this samsara, the repeated cycle of births and deaths. Such liberation is called moksha or mukti. Buddhists call it nirvana where it is equivalent to ceasing to exist and so from all suffering.


However in Hinduism Moksha is not just ceasing to exist but joining as part of God. In theistic systems it is attaining theosis or in some cases realize that "I am God".


Hinduism is highly divergent in their doctrines.  Here are a few such concept what it means to attain Moksha. In most of them any one could see a parallel with the  various Christian groups today.  In particular Saivism is very close to the Eastern Theology even to the details:


 " Never does a man attain moksha by his own skill; by no means other than the grace of Siva, the dispeller of evil, is such an attainment possible." -- Paushkara Agama
 " For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2: 8 - 9

In other groups, the idea is that you will have to do the job yourself.  

"In heaven there is no fear at all. Thou, O Death, art not there. Nor in that place does the thought of growing old make one tremble. There, free from hunger and from thirst, and far from the reach of sorrow, all rejoice and are glad. -- Yajur Veda

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.   ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21: 3-4

Pancha Koshas:  The Five Bodies


The Principle of multidimensional existence of Man as a Jiva is explained as sheath over the Soul.   These are called the Koshas. The Koshas relate to the five levels of human experience. These layers range from the dense physical body to the more subtle levels of emotions, mind and spirit.



This is very similar to the Hellenistic Hermetic and Neoplatonic model where they are called ochema - the vehicles.  In the hermetic model the death means the discarding, first of the physical, then in time leaves the successive subtle vehicles, until only the immortal Spirit, the Nous, remains.

Gnostics associate these five with the following Kaballistic Jewish Mysticism 


  • The physical body; the sephirah Malkuth
  • The vital body; the sephirah Yesod
  • The astral body; the sephirah Hod
  • The mental body; the sephirah Netzach
  • The causal body; the sephirah Tiphereth




The Koshas are mentioned in the Mandukya Upanishad, the Taittiriya Upanishad and the Moksha Gita.

The Koshas are listed below: -


  • Annamaya Kosha,  Food sheath – Physical Body - Causal Body (Karana Sarira)

This is the sheath of the physical self, named because it is nourished by food. Death is the dissolution of this sheath.


  • Pranamaya Kosha , Vital Sheath – Etheric Body

Pranamaya means composed of prana, the vital principle, the force that vitalises and holdstogether the body and the mind. Prana pervades the whole organism; its manifestation is the breath.


  • Manomaya Kosha , Mental Sheath – Astral Body

Manomaya means composed of manas or mind. The mind (manas) along with the five sensory organs is said to constitute the Manomaya Kosa. The Astral Body is an exact replica of the physical body but composed of finer matter and is the instrument of passions, emotions and desires and is the medium through which these are conveyed to the physical body. We travel in the Astral Body in sleep and in out-of-the-body experiences. Astral Body separates from the physical body during sleep, or under the influence of drugs or anaesthetic, or as the result of accidents it takes with it the capacity for feeling. Only on its return can pain or other feelings be felt. Each cell of this body has a memory of its own and stores emotional experiences, along with impressions and sensations and carries these over many life times. After death the person lives in their Astral Body and is drawn to the Astral World that matches their vibration with all the accumulated memories hidden but not always read.  After death the subtle body (linga-déha) travels to a subtle planes of existence such as Heaven {Svargalok}, Nether (Bhuvarlok) or Hell (Patal) depending on its merits or sins and its spiritual level.


  • Vijnanamaya Kosha, Intellect Sheath – Mental Body

Vijnanamaya means composed of vijnana, or intellect, the faculty that discriminates, determines or wills. Vijnanamaya is the combination of intellect and the five sense organs.

·        Ananda Maya Kosha, Bliss Sheath - Causal Body - Karana Sarira

Anandamaya Kosha is a reflection of the Atman (Soul) which exists in a state of absolute bliss.



Collective Unconscious as Sheaths


Man does not exist in a vaccum.  He is the product of a long process of creation and evolution in the cosmos with long ancestry from God and all spheres of existence.  Among them is the mankind and cultural heritage.


The term “collective unconscious” was first presented by Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961), the Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded the school of analytical psychology. It is these that the sheaths are trying to portray.


According to Jung's theories, the collective unconscious is part of the unconscious human psyche that, unlike the conscious mind (or ego) and the personal unconscious portions, is not derived from personal experience and is not unique to each individual. Rather, the collective unconscious is a form of inborn psychological heritage which us universally shared by all members of the society.

It encompasses the collective knowledge contained in fields such as:

    Religion - The Divine Body & Spiritual Body

    Morality, Ethics- Casual Body

    Philosophy - Mental body, Emotional Body & Etheric Body

    Science - Physical Auric Body


Indeed, some major portion of the collective unconscious derives from human evolution and involves experiences and knowledge that are shared by all members of the species, irrespective of the historical period or cultural sphere in which they might exist.

Death in terms of the Sheaths

Death occurs when a general break-up of the various sheaths takes place.

Physically death is the cessation of activity of the pulsating heart. As all medical practitioners know the process of death is slow and is difficult to ascertain. There is the last beat, and this is followed by immediate, instantaneous unconsciousness.   The brain is the last organ of the physical body really to die. 

The reincarnating ego carries the best and noblest parts of these memories into the devachan or heaven-world of postmortem rest and recuperation. Thus comes the end called death; and unconsciousness, complete and undisturbed, succeeds, until there occurs what the ancients called the second death.

The lower triad (prana, linga-sarira, sthula-sarira) is now definitely cast off, and the remaining quaternary is free. The physical body of the lower triad follows the course of natural decay, and its various hosts of life-atoms proceed whither their natural attractions draw them. The linga-sarira or model-body remains in the astral realms, and finally fades out. The life-atoms of the prana, or electrical field, fly instantly back at the moment of physical dissolution to the natural pranic reservoirs of the planet.

This leaves man, therefore, no longer a heptad or septenary entity, but a quaternary consisting of the upper duad (atma-buddhi) and the intermediate duad (manas-kama). The second death then takes place.

Death is dissolution of a component entity or thing. The dead, therefore, are merely dissolving bodies — entities which have reached their term on this our physical plane. Dissolution is common to all things, because all physical things are composite: they are not absolute things. They are born; they grow; they reach maturity; they enjoy, as the expression runs, a certain term of life in the full bloom of their powers; then they "die." That is the ordinary way of expressing what men call death; and the corresponding adjective is dead, when we say that such things or entities are dead.

Eschatology in the Upanishad

The Two Ways to next life

In Hindu thought there are two ways that a man may take at death. Bhagavad Gita VIII.24-26

One is the way of the gods - the Devayana

The second is the way of the Fathers (humans) - the Pitriyana


·        The Devayana

The Devayana path or Northern path or the path of light also known as  the Achiradi Marga is the path by which those who meditate and practice asceticism follow the pathway of the gods, which ultimately leads them (atman) to liberation, to union with Brahman. They are freed forever from the chain of karma-samsara; they will not be reborn. This path leads to salvation.

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad V.10.1 speaks about the passage of the departed soul thus: "When a man goes away from this world he comes to the wind that opens the door to the sun, the sun to the moon and the moon to a world which is sorrowless and snowless and there he remains."

After death those who go to Brahman are carried by one who is not-human and is taken to a place  reserved only for the penance-performing ascetics, never return to the cycle of existence (Chandogya Upanishad IV.xv.5-6),

This path takes the devotee to Brahmaloka. Having reached the path of the gods he comes to the world of Agni, to the world of Vayu, to the world of Varuna, to the world of Indra, to the world of Prajapati, to the world of Brahman. This is the path of light; this is the path of freedom; this is the path of liberation. This is similar to the Christian way of progressive theosis through transformation into the likeness of Christ.



The devas or celestial beings, one class of them, are the un-self-conscious sparks of divinity, cycling down into matter in order to bring out from within themselves and to unfold or evolve self-consciousness, the svabhava of divinity within. They then begin their re-ascent always on the luminous arc, which never ends, in a sense; and they are gods, self-conscious gods, henceforth taking a definite and divine part in the "great work," as the mystics have said, of being builders, evolvers, leaders of hierarchies.  They are co-creators with the Godhead.

Devachan and Second Death
Occult Glossary by G. de Purucker
A Gnostic concept of Heaven

When the second death after that of the physical body takes place — and there are many deaths, that is to say many changes of the vehicles of the ego — the higher part of the human entity withdraws into itself all that aspires towards it, and takes that "all" with it into the devachan; and the atman, with the buddhi and with the higher part of the manas, become thereupon the spiritual monad of man. Devachan as a state applies not to the highest or heavenly or divine monad, but only to the middle principles of man, to the personal ego or the personal soul in man, overshadowed by atma-buddhi. There are many degrees in devachan: the highest, the intermediate, and the lowest. Yet devachan is not a locality, it is a state, a state of the beings in that spiritual condition.


Devachan is the fulfilling of all the unfulfilled spiritual hopes of the past incarnation, and an efflorescence of all the spiritual and intellectual yearnings of the past incarnation which in that past incarnation have not had an opportunity for fulfillment. It is a period of unspeakable bliss and peace for the human soul, until it has finished its rest time and stage of recuperation of its own energies.


In the devachanic state, the reincarnating ego remains in the bosom of the monad (or of the monadic essence) in a state of the most perfect and utter bliss and peace, reviewing and constantly reviewing, and improving upon in its own blissful imagination, all the unfulfilled spiritual and intellectual possibilities of the life just closed that its naturally creative faculties automatically suggest to the devachanic entity.


Man here is no longer a quaternary of substance-principles (for the second death has taken place), but is now reduced to the monad with the reincarnating ego sleeping in its bosom, and is therefore a spiritual triad.



·        The Pitriyana, The Path of Darkness - Dhuma Marga

 Pitri:   A word meaning "father." There are seven (or ten) classes of pitris. They are called "fathers" because they are more particularly the actual progenitors of our lower principles; whereas the dhyani-chohans are actually, in one most important sense, our own selves. We were born from them; we were the monads, we were the atoms, the souls, projected, sent forth, emanated, by the dhyanis.

The Pitriyana path or the path of darkness or the path of ancestors leads to rebirth.

For others who lead a life of charity and perform good deeds the path of the fathers leading to the moon is open where they dwell for some time and then return re-born (Chandogya Upanishad V.10.1-6).

Those who do sacrifices to gods and other charitable works with expectation of fruits go to the Chandraloka through this path and come back to this world when their fruits of Karmas are exhausted. If one's good karma predominates over his bad karma, then the soul goes first to hell for a short period to expiate his bad karma and then goes to heaven for a longer period, where he enjoys the fruits of his good karma. If, instead, the bad karma predominates, then the soul goes first for a short period to heaven to enjoy the fruits of his good karma and then goes to hell for a longer period, in order to expiate his bad karma. In both the cases, the soul reincarnates determined by the accumulated karma. There are smoke and dark-coloured objects throughout the course. There is no illumination when one passes along this path. It is reached by Avidya or ignorance. Hence it is called the path of darkness or smoke. The dark path is to the Pitris or forefathers.  This is the path of Bondage. 

The path of Devayana or the path of light leads to Moksha


the path of darkness to Samsara or the world of births and deaths.



 Reincarnation in Dharmashastra (The Laws of Manu)

Manusmriti deals with the reincarnation in detail in his chaper 12 where Manu discusses what sins produces what birth .  

2. To the great sages (who addressed him thus) righteous Bhrigu, sprung from

Manu, answered, ‘Hear the decision concerning this whole connexion with actions.’

3. Action, which springs from the mind, from speech, and from the body,

produces either good or evil results; by action are caused the (various) conditions of

men, the highest, the middling, and the lowest.

4. Know that the mind is the instigator here below, even to that (action) which is

connected with the body, (and) which is of three kinds, has three locations, and falls

under ten heads.

The three kinds of (sinful) mental action.

5. Coveting the property of others,

thinking in one’s heart of what is undesirable, and

adherence to false (doctrines),

are the three kinds of (sinful) mental action.

The four kinds of (evil) verbal action.

6. Abusing (others,

speaking) untruth,

detracting from the merits of all men, and

talking idly,

shall be the four kinds of (evil) verbal action.

Three kinds of (wicked) bodily action

7. Taking what has not been given,

injuring (creatures) without the sanction of the law,

and holding criminal intercourse with another man’s wife,

are declared to be the three kinds of (wicked) bodily action.

8. (A man) obtains (the result of) a good or evil mental (act) in his mind,

(that of) a verbal (act) in his speech,

(that of) a bodily (act) in his body.

9. In consequence of

(many) sinful acts committed with his body, a man becomes (in the next birth)

something inanimate,

in consequence (of sins) committed by speech, a bird, or a beast, and

in consequence of mental (sins he is re-born in) a low caste.

10. That man is called a (true) tridandin in whose mind these three, the control

over his speech (, the control over his thoughts (manodanda), and the control over his

body (kayadanda), are firmly fixed.

11. That man who keeps this threefold control (over himself) with respect to all

created beings and wholly subdues desire and wrath, thereby assuredly gains

complete success.

12. Him who impels this (corporeal) Self to action, they call the Kshetragna (the

knower of the field); but him who does the acts, the wise name the Bhutatman (the

Self consisting of the elements).

13. Another internal Self that is generated with all embodied (Kshetragnas) is

called Giva, through which (the Kshetragna) becomes sensible of all pleasure and

pain in (successive) births.

14. These two, the Great One and the Kshetragna, who are closely united with

the elements, pervade him who resides in the multiform created beings.

15. From his body innumerable forms go forth, which constantly impel the

multiform creatures to action.

16. Another strong body, formed of particles (of the) five (elements and) destined

to suffer the torments (in hell), is produced after death (in the case) of wicked men.

17. When (the evil-doers) by means of that body have suffered there the

torments imposed by Yama, (its constituent parts) are united, each according to its

class, with those very elements (from which they were taken).

18. He, having suffered for his faults, which are produced by attachment to

sensual objects, and which result in misery, approaches, free from stains, those two

mighty ones.

19. Those two together examine without tiring the merit and the guilt of that

(individual soul), united with which it obtains bliss or misery both in this world and the


20. If (the soul) chiefly practises virtue and vice to a small degree, it obtains bliss

in heaven, clothed with those very elements.

21. But if it chiefly cleaves to vice and to virtue in a small degree, it suffers,

deserted by the elements, the torments inflicted by Yama.

22. The individual soul, having endured those torments of Yama, again enters,

free from taint, those very five elements, each in due proportion.


23. Let (man), having recognised even by means of his intellect these transitions

of the individual soul (which depend) on merit and demerit, always fix his heart on

(the acquisition of) merit.

24. Know Goodness (sattva), Activity (ragas), and Darkness (tamas) to be the

three qualities of the Self, with which the Great One always completely pervades all


25. When one of these qualities wholly predominates in a body, then it makes the

embodied (soul) eminently distinguished for that quality.

26. Goodness is declared (to have the form of) knowledge, Darkness (of)

ignorance, Activity (of) love and hatred; such is the nature of these (three) which is

(all-) pervading and clings to everything created.

27. When (man) experiences in his soul a (feeling) full of bliss, a deep calm, as it

were, and a pure light, then let him know (that it is) among those three (the quality

called) Goodness.

28. What is mixed with pain and does not give satisfaction to the soul one may

know (to be the quality of) Activity, which is difficult to conquer, and which ever draws

embodied (souls towards sensual objects).

29. What is coupled with delusion, what has the character of an undiscernible

mass, what cannot be fathomed by reasoning, what cannot be fully known, one must

consider (as the quality of) Darkness.

30. I will, moreover, fully describe the results which arise from these three

qualities, the excellent ones, the middling ones, and the lowest.

31. The study of the Vedas, austerity, (the pursuit of) knowledge, purity, control

over the organs, the performance of meritorious acts and meditation on the Soul,

(are) the marks of the quality of Goodness.

32. Delighting in undertakings, want of firmness, commission of sinful acts, and

continual indulgence in sensual pleasures, (are) the marks of the quality of Activity.

33. Covetousness, sleepiness, pusillanimity, cruelty, atheism, leading an evil life,

a habit of soliciting favours, and inattentiveness, are the marks of the quality of


34. Know, moreover, the following to be a brief description of the three qualities,

each in its order, as they appear in the three (times, the present, past, and future).

35. When a (man), having done, doing, or being about to do any act, feels

ashamed, the learned may know that all (such acts bear) the mark of the quality of


36. But, when (a man) desires (to gain) by an act much fame in this world and

feels no sorrow on failing, know that it (bears the mark of the quality of) Activity.

37. But that (bears) the mark of the quality of Goodness which with his whole

(heart) he desires to know, which he is not ashamed to perform, and at which his soul


38. The craving after sensual pleasures is declared to be the mark of Darkness,

(the pursuit of) wealth (the mark) of Activity, (the desire to gain) spiritual merit the

mark of Goodness; each later) named quality is) better than the preceding one.


39. I will briefly declare in due order what transmigrations in this whole (world a

man) obtains through each of these qualities.

40. Those endowed with Goodness reach the state of gods,

those endowed with Activity the state of men, and

those endowed with Darkness ever sink to the condition of beasts;

that is the threefold course of transmigrations.

41. But know this threefold course of transmigrations that depends on the (three)

qualities (to be again) threefold, low, middling, and high, according to the particular

nature of the acts and of the knowledge (of each man).

Darkness leads to:

42. Immovable (beings), insects, both small and great, fishes, snakes, and

tortoises, cattle and wild animals, are the lowest conditions to which (the quality of)

Darkness leads.

43. Elephants, horses, Sudras, and despicable barbarians, lions, tigers, and

boars (are) the middling states, caused by (the quality of) Darkness.

44. Karanas, Suparnas and hypocrites, Rakshasas and Pisakas (belong to) the

highest (rank of) conditions among those produced by Darkness.

Activity leads to:

45. Ghallas, Mallas, Natas, men who subsist by despicable occupations and

those addicted to gambling and drinking (form) the lowest (order of) conditions

caused by Activity.

46. Kings and Kshatriyas, the domestic priests of kings, and those who delight in

the warfare of disputations (constitute) the middling (rank of the) states caused by


47. The Gandharvas, the Guhyakas, and the servants of the gods, likewise the

Apsarases, (belong all to) the highest (rank of) conditions produced by Activity.

Goodness leads to:

48. Hermits, ascetics, Brahmanas, the crowds of the Vaimanika deities, the lunar

mansions, and the Daityas (form) the first (and lowest rank of the) existences caused

by Goodness.

49. Sacrificers, the sages, the gods, the Vedas, the heavenly lights, the years,

the manes, and the Sadhyas (constitute) the second order of existences, caused by


50. The sages declare Brahma, the creators of the universe, the law, the Great

One, and the Undiscernible One (to constitute) the highest order of beings produced

by Goodness.

51. Thus (the result) of the threefold action, the whole system of transmigrations

which (consists) of three classes, (each) with three subdivisions, and which includes

all created beings, has been fully pointed out.

52. In consequence of attachment to (the objects of) the senses, and in

consequence of the non-performance of their duties, fools, the lowest of men, reach

the vilest births.

53. What wombs this individual soul enters in this world and in consequence of

what actions, learn the particulars of that at large and in due order.

Mortal Sins

54. Those who committed mortal sins (mahapataka), having passed during large

numbers of years through dreadful hells, obtain, after the expiration of (that term of

punishment), the following births.

55. The slayer of a Brahmana enters the womb of a dog, a pig, an ass, a camel,

a cow, a goat, a sheep, a deer, a bird, a Kandala, and a Pukkasa.

56. A Brahmana who drinks (the spirituous liquor called) Sura shall enter (the

bodies) of small and large insects, of moths, of birds, feeding on ordure, and of

destructive beasts.

57. A Brahmana who steals (the gold of a Brahmana shall pass) a thousand

times (through the bodies) of spiders, snakes and lizards, of aquatic animals and of

destructive Pisakas.

58. The violator of a Guru’s bed (enters) a hundred times (the forms) of grasses,

shrubs, and creepers, likewise of carnivorous (animals) and of (beasts) with fangs

and of those doing cruel deeds.

59. Men who delight in doing hurt (become) carnivorous (animals); those who eat

forbidden food, worms; thieves, creatures consuming their own kind; those who have

intercourse with women of the lowest castes, Pretas.


60. He who has associated with outcasts, he who has approached the wives of

other men, and he who has stolen the property of a Brahmana become


61. A man who out of greed has stolen gems, pearls or coral, or any of the many

other kinds of precious things, is born among the goldsmiths.

62. For stealing grain (a man) becomes a rat, for stealing yellow metal a Hamsa,

for stealing water a Plava, for stealing honey a stinging insect, for stealing milk a

crow, for stealing condiments a dog, for stealing clarified butter an ichneumon;

63. For stealing meat a vulture, for stealing fat a cormorant, for stealing oil a

winged animal (of the kind called) Tailapaka, for stealing salt a cricket, for stealing

sour milk a bird (of the kind called) Balaka.

64. For stealing silk a partridge, for stealing linen a frog, for stealing cotton-cloth

a crane, for stealing a cow an iguana, for stealing molasses a flying-fox;

65. For stealing fine perfumes a musk-rat, for stealing vegetables consisting of

leaves a peacock, for stealing cooked food of various kinds a porcupine, for stealing

uncooked food a hedgehog.

66. For stealing fire he becomes a heron, for stealing household-utensils a

mason-wasp, for stealing dyed clothes a francolin-partridge;

67. For stealing a deer or an elephant a wolf, for stealing a horse a tiger, for

stealing fruit and roots a monkey, for stealing a woman a bear, for stealing water a

black-white cuckoo, for stealing vehicles a camel, for stealing cattle a he-goat.

68. That man who has forcibly taken away any kind of property belonging to

another, or who has eaten sacrificial food (of) which (no portion) had been offered,

inevitably becomes an animal.

69. Women, also, who in like manner have committed a theft, shall incur guilt;

they will become the females of those same creatures (which have been enumerated


Men who relinquished proper occupations/duty

70. But (men of the four) castes who have relinquished without the pressure of

necessity their proper occupations, will become the servants of Dasyus, after

migrating into despicable bodies.

71. A Brahmana who has fallen off from his duty (becomes) an Ulkamukha Preta,

who feeds on what has been vomited; and a Kshatriya, a Kataputana (Preta), who

eats impure substances and corpses.

72. A Vaisya who has fallen off from his duty becomes a Maitrakshagyotika

Preta, who feeds on pus; and a Sudra, a Kailasaka (Preta, who feeds on moths).

73. In proportion as sensual men indulge in sensual pleasures, in that same

proportion their taste for them grows.

74. By repeating their sinful acts those men of small understanding suffer pain

here (below) in various births;

75. (The torture of) being tossed about in dreadful hells, Tamisra and the rest,

(that of) the Forest with sword-leaved trees and the like, and (that of) being bound

and mangled;

76. And various torments, the (pain of) being devoured by ravens and owls, the

heat of scorching sand, and the (torture of) being boiled in jars, which is hard to bear;

77. And births in the wombs (of) despicable (beings) which cause constant

misery, and afflictions from cold and heat and terrors of various kinds,

78. The (pain of) repeatedly lying in various wombs and agonizing births,

imprisonment in fetters hard to bear, and the misery of being enslaved by others,

79. And separations from their relatives and dear ones, and the (pain of) dwelling

together with the wicked, (labour in) gaining wealth and its loss, (trouble in) making

friends and (the appearance of) enemies,

80. Old age against which there is no remedy, the pangs of diseases, afflictions

of many various kinds, and (finally) unconquerable death.

81. But with whatever disposition of mind (a man) forms any act, he reaps its

result in a (future) body endowed with the same quality.

82. All the results, proceeding from actions, have been thus pointed out; learn

(next) those acts which secure supreme bliss to a Brahmana.

83. Studying the Veda, (practising) austerities, (the acquisition of true)

knowledge, the subjugation of the organs, abstention from doing injury, and serving

the Guru are the best means for attaining supreme bliss.

84. (If you ask) whether among all these virtuous actions, (performed) here

below, (there be) one which has been declared more efficacious (than the rest) for

securing supreme happiness to man,

85. (The answer is that) the knowledge of the Soul is stated to be the most

excellent among all of them; for that is the first of all sciences, because immortality is

gained through that.

86. Among those six (kinds of) actions (enumerated) above, the performance of)

the acts taught in the Veda must ever be held to be most efficacious for ensuring

happiness in this world and the next.

87. For in the performance of the acts prescribed by the Veda all those (others)

are fully comprised, (each) in its turn in the several rules for the rites.

Two kinds of Acts (Pavitra and Nivritta) and their consequences

88. The acts prescribed by the Veda are of two kinds, such as procure an

increase of happiness and cause a continuation (of mundane existence, pravritta),

and such as ensure supreme bliss and cause a cessation (of mundane existence,


89. Acts which secure (the fulfilment of) wishes in this world or in the next are

called pravritta (such as cause a continuation of mundane existence);

but acts performed without any desire (for a reward), preceded by (the

acquisition) of (true) knowledge, are declared to be nivritta (such as cause the

cessation of mundane existence).

90. He who sedulously performs acts leading to future births (pravritta) becomes

equal to the gods; but he who is intent on the performance of those causing the

cessation (of existence, nivritta) indeed, passes beyond (the reach of) the five