A living being consists of physical matter and energy as well as non-physical matter and energy. As per Sanaatan belief, these are atma, man, buddhi, and pran. People also use other terms like Chitt, Aham etc. As per the physical law, matter/ energy can’t be created or destroyed but only transformed, similarly there are spiritual laws, as per which atma is not destroyed by death.

Yogeshwar says:

वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय, नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि |
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णा, न्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही ||2:22||

vāsānsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya, navāni gṛihṇāti naro ’parāṇi |
tathā śharīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇānya, nyāni sanyāti navāni dehī ||2:22||

Meaning: As a person sheds worn-out garments and wears new ones, likewise, at the time of death, the soul casts off its worn-out body and enters a new one.

Imagine a young person full of ambitions and working very hard to achieve his goals, meets and an accident and dies on the spot. What happens to all his hard work and wishes. These can’t just vanish in thin air. His soul along with essence of 17 other elements: 5 Prans, 5 Gyan Indiriyans, 5 Karm Indiriyans, man and buddhee; moves on to the next life. The rebirth of a soul is decided by 4 factors: person’s past deeds [karm], his unfulfilled desires, natures’ need and finally God’s desire. First two factors are main causes of rebirth.

Some people, use Re-Birth/ Descension/ Incarnation/ Avatars loosely, and consider these synonyms. For me these carry their own meaning as described below:

  • Rebirth: A normal person taking rebirth based on one’s karm and remaining desires. Many recorded evidences can be heard at here1 or read here1. The author or speaker uses the term re-incarnation to mean rebirth.
  • Descension: Great souls, who don’t have karmfal in their account, that is, they have used all their karmfals. Such people descend to Earth by taking a birth. Most maha-purush fall in this category.
  • Incarnation or Avtars: The nirgun/ nikaar takes a human form to see the people/ civilization it has created, meet good people, punish bad people and set an example for others to follow.

One can search many stories online, proving the theory of rebirth. Without rebirth principle, principle of Karm-Karmfal would constraint to one life, which would remove the prarabhda/ luck factor in many outcomes. This principle also supports the principle of cyclical time.

The relationship between Atma and Parmatma follows Dvait, Advait and Visesha-Advait principles, which is not part of common knowledge section.