Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies

By J. A. Dubois; Henry King Beauchamp | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II

Metempsychosis.—Explanation of this Religious Doctrine.—Penalties for Different Sins.—The Hindus as Authors of the Doctrine of Metempsychosis.—Difference between them and the Greeks in this Respect.—Naraka, or Hell; Punishments endured there.—Abodes of Bliss.

There are few Hindu books in which the doctrine of metempsychosis is not explained and expounded. This doctrine is, as is generally known, one of the fundamental principles of the Hindu religion. The following is an extract from the Bhagavata:— 'Vishnu, the Supreme Being, before creating anything which now exists, began by creating souls1, which at first animated bodies of fantastic shapes. During their union with these bodies they either committed sin or practised virtue. After a long abode in these provisional dwelling-places, they were withdrawn and summoned before the tribunal of Yama, who judges the dead. This divinity admitted into Swarga (paradise) those souls which had led virtuous lives; and he shut up in Naraka (hell) those souls which had given themselves up to sin. Souls which had been partly virtuous and partly sinful were sent to earth to animate other bodies, and so to endure proportionately the pain due for their sins and to receive the reward of their virtues. Thus every new birth, whether happy or unhappy, is the result of deeds practised in previous generations, and is either the reward or punishment or them. We may thus judge by the condition of a person in an existing generation what he has been in the previous one.

'Nevertheless, those who die in holiness are no longer exposed to, new births; they go straight, to Swarga.

'The souls of men, after death, go to animate other bodies. Sometimes it is the body of an insect, of a reptile, of a bird, or of a quadruped, and sometimes it is the body

____________________
1
The philosophers of the School of Pythagoras held that these souls were not only immortal but eternal; that is to say, they existed before they entered the bodies of living creatures. The soul, they said, cannot be born of anything mortal; otherwise all things might become immortal. Nor can the soul be reborn of anything immortal, because that which is immortal cannot be reproduced. They held, therefore, that the soul is part of God Himself.—Dubois.

-556-

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Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Editor's Preface to Third Edition iii
  • Prefatory Note v
  • Editor's Introduction viii
  • Contents xxix
  • Author's Preface 1
  • General View of Society in India, and General Remarks on the Caste System 14
  • Chapter I 14
  • Chapter II 27
  • Chapter III 38
  • Chapter IV 44
  • Chapter V 48
  • Chapter VI 80
  • Chapter VII 97
  • Chapter VIII 108
  • Chapter IX 111
  • Chapter X 123
  • Chapter XI 134
  • Chapter XII 138
  • Chapter XIII 143
  • Chapter XIV 155
  • The Four States of Brahminical Life 160
  • Chapter I 160
  • Chapter II 170
  • Chapter III 178
  • Chapter IV 186
  • Chapter V 194
  • Chapter VI 205
  • Chapter VII 235
  • Chapter VIII 269
  • Chapter IX 282
  • Chapter X 288
  • Chapter XI 295
  • Chapter XII 306
  • Chapter XIII 316
  • Chapter XIV 326
  • Chapter XV 332
  • Chapter XVI 336
  • Chapter XVII 343
  • Chapter XVIII 350
  • Chapter XIX 355
  • Chapter XX 368
  • Chapter XXI 376
  • Chapter XXII 392
  • Chapter XXIII 401
  • Chapter XXIV 415
  • Chapter XXV 420
  • Chapter XXVI 433
  • Chapter XXVII 450
  • Chapter XXVIII 474
  • Chapter XXIX 482
  • Chapter XXX 489
  • Chapter XXXI 500
  • Chapter XXXII 509
  • Chapter XXXIII 517
  • Chapter XXXIV 522
  • Chapter XXXV 528
  • Chapter XXXVI 538
  • Religion 542
  • Chapter I 542
  • Chapter II 556
  • Chapter III 567
  • Chapter IV 577
  • Chapter V 612
  • Chapter VI 636
  • Chapter VII 648
  • Chapter VIII 654
  • Chapter IX 667
  • Appendix I 685
  • Appendix II 701
  • Appendix III 706
  • Appendix IV 708
  • Appendix Vi. 717
  • Index 723
  • Some Opinions of the Press *
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