Life After Life
As cultures throughout the world have spread throughout they have become more and more advanced in their tools, building, and specifically their religious beliefs. Everyone wants to know where they come from, so these religions are formed to explain just that. Many religions believe in life after death. The Greeks believe in the Underworld, the Egyptians believed in the field of reeds, Buddhists believe in Nirvana, etc. Two early religions formed are Hinduism and Christianity.
While these religions both have very different rituals, they both believe in an eternal life source that lasts even past our physical bodies and a life after death. However, to reach the higher plain of eternal life, one must complete several duties depending on their religions. So what exactly is this “higher plain”? For most religions it is a paradise for ourselves after our bodies die off. For Hindus, the ultimate goal of existence is moksha, or union with brahman. When someone achieves moksha, they break the cycle of reincarnation.
Reincarnation lets people get to moksha through all the lifetimes they need. Similar to Hindu belief, Christians also believe in a life after death with their trinity, made up of The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Although unlike the Hindus, they believe that people are only given one lifetime to prove that they deserve to go to heaven. In order to get to heaven, Christians try to follow a set of rules called the Ten Commandments. In the Bible story, God gave these commandments to Moses on a mountain after the Jews escaped from the Egyptian slavery. These are a lot like the dharma to Hindus.
Dharma is the religious and moral duties of an individual. Unlike Hindu dharma, however, the Ten Commandments apply to all Christians. Dharma in Hinduism is very specific for each person. It can vary depending on gender, age, social class, occupation, etc. Two other major aspects of Hinduism are karma and ahisma. Karma means that everything you do now affects your fate in the next life.
Having a good karma takes you closer to reaching moksha, but a bad karma could result in a lower rate of existence. Having bad karma is sort of like when Christians break the Ten Commandments. Breaking the Ten Commandments or acting against God is a sin, and having too many sins on your soul can keep you from getting to heaven. Christians believe that if one does not deserve to go to heaven, they must either be cleansed in purgatory or suffer in hell. Ahisma is another key moral principal of Hinduism referring to nonviolence.
To Hindus, everything, alive or not, is an aspect of brahman and deserves to be respected. One of the greatest examples of this is Mohatma Ghandi. While Christians do not have a specific name for it, they also believe in nonviolence by respecting for all of God’s creations. One of the Ten Commandments, “Though Shall Not Kill” represents this belief of nonviolence in Christianity. Another fantastic example of someone who strongly practiced nonviolence is Rev. Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. While appearing to be totally different, Hinduism and Christianity are actually very similar in their beliefs as far as the afterlife goes. Both believe in eternal life, virtuous lifestyles, and following their higher powers to achieve their highest possible form of existence. From nonvirtuous consequences to moral responsibilities, it seems that living a good life leads to a good afterlife. Whether monotheistic or polytheistic, if you follow morals and respect everyone and thing, chances are you will be pretty happy come the next life.