question for hindus: How does reincarnation work?

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I am a westerner studying hinduism. It is the oldest religion in the world and I think it is fascinating. I want to give a hypothetical example for my question:
1) A man lives an evil life where he rapes women and due to his power & prestige is never punished for his crimes. He dies rich and a peaceful death.
In this example, would you say it is likely he would be reincarnated as a woman with a molester for a father? Also, why is it that this person was born into a life of prestige & wealth and lived without consequence if his soul was obviously so rotten to begin with?

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cliffnote's verstion

The soul is not inherently rotten or good, male or female. It has no physical attributes. It exists unaware of its existence. Birth and death is a journey to explore and realize its own nature. We all have a choice what we wish to do with our lives.
Reincarnation and karma go hand in hand. I’ll use a money analogy for the person you mentioned. While you consider only his current wicked life, he most definitely must have done a lot of good in his previous lives which acts as his bank balance and collateral (good karma) as he is borrowing more and more money (bad karma). When the bank balance is empty, he gets into spiralling debt from which to get out, he would have to struggle violently. Sort of what happened to Lehman brothers, I guess
You have the choice and must face the consequences. You learn from experience. You don’t just go to heaven for good choices, but you get the opportunity to learn more and do more good. You keep getting promoted in every birth, until all the mysteries of the universe no longer remain mysteries and you are in bliss.
I hope this answers the question.
Correction: “you DON’T just go to heaven”. Sorry for that.
To v3rybored: Yes Hinduism also absolutely believes that 2 souls are never alike. Innate nature is called Swabhava and is unique to every single thing in the universe. Hinduism absolutely says the same. But although we all have the same goal, the path for each individual is different – karma, jnana, bhakti etc.


The way I sometimes try to explain karma is “the karma game”. This game of life involves gaining and losing points for the actions/thoughts you execute. The better the action the more points you gain, the worse the action the more points you lose. As you get more points, good things begin to happen to you, also costing points. As you get bad points, bad things begin to happen to you. This is quite a simplified explanation, but I think it works for the basic premise.
For example in this case, this man is evil his whole life, losing more and more points, he rapes this woman, another bad act and doesn’t apparently suffer. Now in his next life, he will have experiences that will balance this incredible deficit that he has accumulated. For example he will get hit by a car. Minus a few karma points. He will be raped etc etc. These kinds of things will keep happening to him until the balance is restored, or he starts earning “good points” to even up more quickly.
His soul probably wasnt so rotten, it became rotten as he grew up. I do believe that each soul is not the same, and that they do carry some aspects of their previous lives (I dont think Hinduism follows this, but am not 100%), again let me put it into a metaphor.
There is an ice sculpture, it is a block of ice, the first person (life) that meets it, carves into it, making it more beautiful and nice to look at (nicer person, more karma points), then he walks away. The second person has come across this block and for one reason or another is angry, and decides to deface it (negative karma points). As things carry on the ice block keeps being changed and changed. Obviously the next person will be influenced by the one before, but it doesnt mean that the fate of the block is set in stone. Even though I believe that my soul retains some characteristics from before, doesnt mean that its me now. See what I mean?
The reason I believe this is that everybody is unique, even two babies that are given the EXACT same of everything will still be different. Why, because of the soul. Because of what makes you who you are. People may be similar, but not the same.
Again, I dont think that Hinduism agrees completely with this view, but that is my understanding of it.
I would even be grateful if knowledgeable Hindus, that had read the religion in more depth could shed some light on my answer (as well as the original anyway).
Anyway, hope that helps.. . .


It works like this. If he did good things in past life, he is being paid in this life. But he forgot that did bad things so he will suffer for his own deeds in next life. You question is valid that why did he get good life to begin with. This is because good deeds and bad ones to not compensate each other. You have to enjoy the after-effects of both the causes. Enjoy good now, bad later or suffer bad now and enjoy later. Hope this helps.


Arjuna was in a battlefield, and he found himself in a position where he was supposed to kill His Uncles, His Teachers, His GrandParents, His cousins, His nephews, and thousands of soldiers of the Kaurava army.
Now, just like you and me, He decided that doing so would just make Him the baddest man on this earth, and He dropped His weapons and decided that He would willingly die at his opponents’ hands instead of incurring such sin.
Sounded pretty straightforward didn’t it?? But Krishna stops Arjuna. And tells Arjuna exactly *why* he should be fighting and *killing* instead of giving up. And that conversation is the Bhagavad Gita.
Read it. You will not understand it. Re-read it until your question is answered. Trust me, your question will be answered.

Lowell Warnix

Does the person who wrote this have any concept what he/she is writing about?


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