CREDOS : Reincarnation — I

Atul Kochhar

Britain’s “Mail on Sunday” recently asked people about their hopes for their last hours and their funerals. Here’s how a Hindu replied. I do think about death, but unlike most people, I see it in a very positive way. The fact that it is there waiting for us all has never been a problem for me. After all, how can you fear the inevitable? I was born a Hindu and have remained a firm follower of my religion all my life. As a Hindu, I believe in reincarnation, and that depending on whether you perform enough good deeds during your lifetime, you will be given the gift of eternal life.

If you waste your time as a human, the highest life form of all, you will be sent back into the millions of inferior life forms. This could be as a cow, a dog, an insect anything. I try to live by certain rules and conduct my life accordingly. If I am at work in my restaurant, I consider that to be my religion. If I am at home, looking after my family becomes my religion. When I go to the temple, that too is my religion. I hope that if I follow the right path in this life, my soul will be released and I will be allowed to meet the gods. However, if I do have to return to human life and try to serve the world again, I would definitely want to come back as a chef. Of course, it all depends on what is called your karma, which has to be a perfect, almost mathematical balance of good against bad. Sometimes I wonder whether that makes God an accountant. When my time is up, I would like to die in my sleep after enjoying a huge, hearty meal. Indians are very serious about food. We believe that whatever you eat goes with you into the next life. —