The Chicago-Prashnottar ► Chicago Prashnottar ► 68-68 Questions & Answers

Posted: 17.07.2011

68. Question:

What are the views about future life of the followers of other religions?

Answer:

The soul is considered to be beginningless by many men. According to this belief the soul having given up its gross body in the past assumes a variety of new bodies according to its good or bad actions. The future life of soul is its giving up body in one life and assuming a new body in the next. According as the present birth of a soul is determined by its past life so will its future life be determined by the actions of present life and those of the preceding lives. When all the actions have been extinguished in a life, then there will be no more future life. Those who believe that the soul is not beginningless but one created by the God are wrong be­cause we have already discussed as to the ability of God in such matters. Nothing can be produced in the world without a material cause, therefore, the Jains, the Buddhists, the followers of the Vedās, Nyāyā, Vaisheshika and Mimānsā philo­sophies believe that the next birth of man is determined by the actions of his past life. Many others believe that the future form will be the same as in the present life i.e., a man will be reborn a man, a woman a woman, an animal an animal and so on and so forth. This belief is also according to the Vedas but it is not right, because it is seen in the world that if a corn rubbed with linseed oil is sown in the earth it will produce several kinds of grain. Similarly there are many plants and vegetables which can be produced by the combination of many other things as described in Ayurveda. In the Jaina Shastras many instances are given where the combination of several things can pro­duce a certain species of life, for instance a serpent, or a diamond, gold &c. The above statement is also borne out by the conclusions of the modern science. It is consequently not established that an effect will be of the same form as its cause.

This subject is further discussed in the Visheshāvashyaka Sūtras. Some hold that a lion whose nature is to kill animals will be reborn a greater criminal. In his next birth he will be born a still greater criminal. In this manner he will get worse and still worse and will thus have no opportunity to be born as a man. The answer to this argument is that according to the views of the Jaina Shastras such as Pragyapanā, Bhagavati &c. man of all the forms of life can assume innumerable births according to his good or bad deeds. The action that is uppermost in one life determines the birth of a man in his next life. There is no established rule that all the previous actions good or bad will immediately be attended by their corresponding results for example, a thief who commits theft sometimes gets an immediate punishment and sometimes after a long time and sometimes not at all in this life. Similarly some men reap the con­sequence of good or bad actions imme­diately, some later on in life, some in next life and others in remote lives to come. These actions are of various and complicated forms and are fully described in such works as Shat Karmagranth, Pancha-Sangraha, Karmaprakriti and others. The study of these works will bear out the truth of my statement.

The main conclusion is that according to their actions, virtuous or wicked, all be­ings will be reborn in their next lives, Now as regards the Chārvākās or the atheists who consider that life is the pro­duct of 4 elements and who do not be­lieve in the past or future life nor in the existence of heaven or hell &c, I proceed to repudiate their doctrine as given in the commentary on Nandi Sūtras. The Chār­vākās or the atheists say that since there is no soul there is no meaning in the mutual quarrels of religionists over it. They further say that there being no soul the followers of Jainism, Buddhism, Sānkhya, Naiyāyika, Vaisheshika and Jaimini philosophies i. e. six philosophies simply lead man to confusion and perplexity and make them give up their enjoyments.

In fact there is no soul and therefore their creed is the best. If there is a soul, what proof is there of its existence? The answer to this argument is that soul is proved by the self-consciousness of the man.

The consciousness of man is not the result of any material forces. If it is so then the trimness such as there is in the earth ought to always prevail everywhere, but this is not the case, because we do not find any consciousness in substance such as iron, dead bodies &c.

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The Chicago-Prashnottar

Translator & Publisher:
Atmanand Jain Pustak Pracharak Mandal, Roshan Mohalla, Agra.

Edition: 1918 (1st Edition - 500 books)

Edited Online Edition: HereNow4U

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