The line separating the living and the dead is too thick that we, the living, often find ourselves guessing what the other side of the line is like. In an attempt to find answers for their faithful, different religions teach different theories that explain what happens after death. Sikhs, in particular, believe that humans and other animals continue to live even after they die as they are reincarnated into new forms of life. According to Guru Granth Sahib Ji, birth indicates that a soul has entered into a new body while death signifies the exit of a soul from a body so that it is born in another young body.
Souls are a part of Waheguru (God) and they, under the guidance of Sikh Gurus, always reunite with him after surviving in about 8.4 million different body forms. Just like God, a soul lives eternally. Put differently, Sikhs believe that a body dies and leaves its soul behind to be taken up by another body, a body that will then die and leave the soul behind, and the cycle continues. The cycle can only be terminated by Waheguru who assumes full custody of the soul as from that moment. In some exceptions, Waheguru can decide to mukti (release) a soul from the reincarnation cycle before it completes all the 8.4 million rounds, mainly if it is pure and lives in line with his Shabad (word). Sikh Gurus teach that God reincarnates people as a way of giving them another chance to change their bad habits for the better in their new form of life. It is, therefore, the role of every human being to seek salvation from God and love him at all times to increase his/her chances of reuniting with God without having to go through many reborn cycles.
What Can Make Waheguru Deny Mukti to a Soul?
Any wrongdoing will distance a soul from Waheguru and force him to take it through many death and rebirth processes. Here are some of the critical factors that contribute to this:
• Worshipping other gods and not Waheguru,
• Living an extravagant life at the expense of others; being greedy; lobh,
• Being led and controlled by anger(Karodh),
• Taking glory away from God and using it in one’s favor; manmukh,
• Holding onto material things thus ignoring the word of God; moh,
• Being lustful; kam.
Prove of Soul Reincarnation
Sikh Gurus argue that if every living creature ends up in heaven or hell after death, then there is a likelihood that either heaven or hell could have been filled up to capacity a long time ago. In that case, people and animals couldn’t be dying today because, apparently, there could be no space left for them to go to. Since deaths still occur, therefore, it is logical to say that people are reincarnated over and over again to keep the population in heaven and hell under control.
Humans have no control over what will become of them after death- Mukti and reincarnation are in the hands of Waheguru. In that realization, it is imperative that every living creature alive as per the guidelines of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji: do good to all at all times and get rid of any bad qualities- that’s the best anyone can do.