There is always a doubt lingering in our minds about the punishment meted out to the soul for wrong doings. It is generally believed that effects of any actions are recorded in the soul in one’s karmic account. Charaka Samhita, an ancient ayurvedic treatise describes karma (I.49) as “action in the form of curative effort is known as karman”. Karma does not mean merely actions, but includes even contemplation to do an act. The samhita further says that ‘karman’ present in the matter (soul) is the cause for birth and death. Soul does not depend upon on any external support and purely relies on the karmic effect. Since soul is subtle, it has to act only through a gross form. Action of a physical body therefore purely depends upon one’s karmic account that cannot act independently. It takes the support of the mind to unfold its actions. Mind is not external factor to the soul. Both mind and soul cohabit in a human form. Consciousness is the effect of mind influenced by karmic account and sensory organs. Millions of people practice meditation, but only a handful of them reach its logical conclusion. Meditation is not a process to sit erect and breathe in a particular way. Meditation is a process of understanding the Creator within the self by questions and answers. Otherwise, Upanishads would not have spoken about the Brahman in the form of affirmations and negations. The success of meditation not only depends upon one’s own efforts, but also should be permitted by his karmic account. Karmic account alone provides the will to meditate.
The quality of the soul not only depends upon its karmic account (actions) alone, but also depends upon its ability to realize its Creator through knowledge. Brhadaranyaka Upanishad (VI.ii.16) says “those who do not know these two ways become insects and moths”. The two ways are meditation and rituals. We have discussed this in Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad Gita is the treasure house of spirituality that provides necessary knowledge required for Self-realization. The process of birth and death is highly painful. Chandogya Upanishad (V.x.6) says “vai khalu durnishprapataram” which means ‘for sure the way is difficult.’ The life time of worms, insects and tiny creatures are much shorter than a man and being born as worms and insects means frequent rebirths. When the soul transmigrates frequently, it feels the pain of transmigration every time. There is a huge difference between those who quieten their mind to realize the Brahman and those who involve in rituals. Meditation alone is capable of providing salvation by putting an end to eschatology of a soul. The human birth gives an opportunity for the soul to realize its Creator and the ability to merge with Him. The human birth is considered supreme because, the soul that enters a human form has the ability to act on two fronts. One is the mind and another one is karma. The more one is capable of realizing its creator the karmic account becomes less influencing. But a vast majority of the humans are either by ignorance or by lack of will lose out the given opportunity to obtain liberation for the soul. The underlying principle of reincarnation in various forms is the process of sustenance and evolution. Without crops both animals and humans cannot survive. The law of karma is so beautifully enacted by God that every aspect of creation was taken care of adequately. The interdependency plays such a pivotal role in God’s creation that co-habitation becomes indispensable for the very survival.
Transmigration of a soul from creatures to humans happens with the full consciousness of the soul. This is the reason for attaching importance for consciousness. When a soul transmigrates from a human form to lower forms, it loses its consciousness. The Brahman can be realized only through higher level of consciousness, an opportunity made available by the Brahman only to Homo sapiens. Chandogya Upanishad declares (V.x.7) ‘among them, those who did good work in this world attain a good birth and those who did bad work attain a bad birth accordingly, being born as dog, a pig, etc.’