Nicky Campbell asked about the Hindu perspective on reincarnation and the release from reincarnation, known as mokṣa, and how this can be achieved.
He referenced to George Harrison, who popularised devotion to Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa with his songs in the 1970s, “Keep me free from birth”.
Suraj Samant identified that Hinduism is a broad church of beliefs, traditions of monotheist beliefs, non-theist beliefs and of no religion, too. Although, for all these traditions, universal is the tenet and belief in dharma, karma and reincarnation.
Dr Shirley Firth, author of Death, Dying and Bereavement in a British Hindu Community identified that the ṛgveda gives no reference to reincarnation. Although, if we look to the bhagavad-gītā (2.22), Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa says “As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.” Srila Prabhupada, founder-ācārya of ISKCON says that “Change of body by the atomic individual soul is an accepted fact. Even some of the modern scientists who do not believe in the existence of the soul, but at the same time cannot explain the source of energy from the heart, have to accept continuous changes of body which appear from childhood to boyhood and from boyhood to youth and again from youth to old age.”
Salma Yaqoob, representing the Central Mosque of Birmingham, and an activist, also referenced the “untouchables” and the potential for a “victim-blaming element” of reincarnation to take hold for those who are suffering or disabled.
Suraj Samant emphasised that “Sanātana Dharma teaches us to recognise the fruits of all our actions and bringing about a compassionate society centred around spirituality, is part and parcel of that. If we are not showing compassion one to another, then we are not doing our duty as Śrī Kṛṣṇa has instructed”.
Suraj Samant concluded that “the notion that Hinduism grants any scriptural authority for caste discrimination is totally false and wrong. In this way, it is similar to comparing the notion of Christianity to crusading, or of Islam to terrorism. Caste discrimination has no scriptural authority whatsoever”.
ll Jayā Śrī Kr̥ṣṇa ll
Representative Member for Youth Development
Hindu Council UK (HCUK)