Mangala Kumar: My Pranams Swamiji, Thanks for blessing me through your reply. Swamiji, kindly clear a doubt that since atma moves from one body to another based on karma and for example if the atma in my great great grandfather is in my brother, does that mean that, he does shraadh (or pithru shanthi pooja) for himself? If not, kindly explain why do we perform shraadh for ancestors?
Swami Ram Swarup: My blessings to you , my daughter. You are most welcome. First of all, we must know the fundamental laws of Vedas made by God Himself that shradh is not performed. When soul goes out of the body then his body, by which he used to eat (mouth), listen (ear) and so on is placed and burnt on pyre. After thirteen days of death, the soul takes next birth according to his karmas. Then how the food of shradh can be taken by soul? He has taken next birth and is being fed by his mother first and after delivery he is nursed by parents and so on. As regards next birth if soul has done pious deeds in present life , especially based on Vedas , then the soul will not take birth in his family left by him on death. Based on pious deeds soul will get upgrading i.e., birth in a Yogi’s home where, there is more congenial atmosphere to pursue Vedic worship/ otherwise, the soul will be downgraded and will have to take birth in animal’s or bird’s yoni. I also paste my articles in this connection:-
SOUL GIVES LIFE TO BODY
Soul is the minutest matter and can’t be seen with naked eyes or any instrument therefore, it can be told to be shapeless. As also said in Atharvaveda mantra 10/8/25, soul is immortal. Please, see that though Almighty God is also formless and immortal, yet He is omnipresent, omniscient and Almighty but the soul does not contain the said qualities.
Atharvaveda mantra 10/8/25 states that soul is alive matter, minutest than the tip of hair (Shwetashwataropnishad chapter 5, shloka 9 also refers).
Next mantra 26 states that soul is “AJARA” i.e., unchangeable and “AMRITA” i.e., immortal and resides in the body of human being. Mantra further clarifies that body of human being is “MARTAYASYA” i.e., destructible.
Next mantra 27 states that soul while residing in body of human being looks like woman or man or young boy/girl but soul himself is not man, woman, girl, boy etc. So, soul sometimes looks like father, sometimes looks like mother but in reality soul is neither father nor mother etc. As told above soul resides in body but soul is not body. For example- electric current flows in a wire but current itself is not a wire. Current is separate and wire will always remain separate from current. So is the case of soul and human body. Not only in the case of human body but it applies to all living beings. For example- soul when in the body of bird, looks like a bird and when in the body of elephant, looks like an elephant. But the soul is not bird, elephant etc. He is unchangeable. Soul only changes body of living-beings, based on his previous lives’ deeds. When soul enters the body then body becomes viable and when soul comes out of body then body becomes dead. So body becomes dead and not the soul. Soul takes another body when the previous body dies away.
As clarified above, God has unlimited and different qualities from soul. God is omnipresent, omniscient, Almighty God , creates, nurses and destroys the universe whereas such qualities can never be attained by soul.
Soul faces the result of his previous lives’ deeds in the body of living being but not the God. The four Vedas and the true holy granths state that there is no reason for Almighty God to take birth and acquire human body.
God is Almighty which means, He has unlimited powers and Yajurveda mantra 31/4 states that ‘PADASAYA ABHAVAT PUNAHA’ i.e., only a part of His divine power creates, nurses and controls the whole universe. So, there is no reason left behind for which Almighty God would require to take birth etc. God has no desire so why would He desire to acquire human body to preach the public. It is a fundamental eternal law of God that only at the beginning of each universe, the knowledge of four Vedas emanates direct form God and is originated in the heart of four rishis. Then the knowledge is spread among the human beings.
So God inspires the human beings through Vedas to become learned of Vedas. He has no desire to take birth to educate the people. Suppose, He desires to educate the world then like the four rishis, who attain knowledge of Vedas direct from Almighty God, under the eternal, unchangeable law of God, (without God taking birth like man/woman) at present also the knowledge could have been attained by entire universe within no time, by the desire of God. However, this can’t happen since God is desireless. In this connection Shwetashwataropnishad shlok 6/8 also states—–
“SWABHAVIKI GYAN BAL KRIYA CHA”
i.e., divine knowledge, deeds and power to control the universe is automatic. It means only a fraction of His power is sufficient to control the universe as stated above. God hence needs not to think or desire etc.
Now, I would say here that there is a problem to educate a person immediately due to lack of Vedas’ knowledge. The so called saints who are against the Vedas or who have never studied Vedas try to impose their self-made meaning of holy books or self-made path on the public, by stating to the public that Vedas are difficult to understand and there is no justification to do Yajyen etc. The said false views of so called saints have now been accepted almost everywhere and people do not want to listen to Vedas. So, it becomes very difficult to teach the true path to public and consequently there arises the problem to make people understand difference amongst Almighty God, souls and non-alive Prakriti. So we will have to revert back to path of eternal knowledge of four Vedas which emanate direct from God at the beginning of the earth.
Anna Daan/Shradh to departed soul
Vedas are eternal knowledge which emanate direct from God at the beginning of every universe. Being the knowledge direct from God, each statement of Ved mantra is also eternal truth.
Thirty-ninth chapter of Yajurveda states about death. The soul when leaves the human body remains under control of a divine air named “Sutratma vayu”. Mantras tell that after wandering unconsciously for thirteen days in the space and planets like Sun, moon, etc., soul comes again on this earth inside the vegetation. Then either the soul enters the male living being’s body according to pious deeds and sins through pores or is duly mixed within vegetation and taken by a male person. Then the soul takes rebirth through parents.
This process is an eternal truth. However, if soul is religious and has done hard tapasya then the soul gets salvation. Only soul has to face the result of previous lives’ deeds through living being’s body. Since soul is alive whereas body is non-alive matter. So body does not face the result of deeds. When soul has gone out of body then how the soul will see, hear, taste, smell or touch or will be benefited of any pious deed etc.? therefore Vedas do not tell about the present system of shradh etc.
However, the pious deeds done to remember the departed soul by means of devotion or organizing the holy Yajyen with Ved mantras, its result never goes in vain and the family is benefited.
Departed soul never meets again please. Even departed soul, when take rebirth, forgets every event of his previous life. As regards dreams Atharvaveda states that dreams of departed soul are not good so it is in your interest and welfare that you do not see dreams.
Anonymous: What was I in past birth?
Swami Ram Swarup: To know the matter about the previous birth is never known except by an Ashtang Yogi and Yogi also never tells about the previous birth. So, one should do hard Tapasya according to Vedas to know his previous births. However, it is well known fact from Vedas and experienced Rishi-Munis and Yogis that a soul has been taking births and suffering deaths and this process is eternal. So, in the human body we must sure worship God to get salvation to be away from indefinite sorrows.
Dr. Arya: Are kamsutra or kok shastra dharmic books? If yes then may a brahamcharya study that?
Swami Ram Swarup: No, please. Kok shastra is not a Dharmic book but it is against the religion. Yes, kaam shastra i.e., religious knowledge of kaam and Brahamcharya should be listened only from an acharya who knows Vedas.
Dr. Arya: I want to learn Sanskrit. May you tell me guruji any website where I can download the books of Sanskrit in English language from?
Swami Ram Swarup: Sorry, I do not know the website asked by you but you can purchase the simple books of learning Sanskrit from M/s. Vijay Kumar Hassanand, Nai Sadak, Chandni chowk, Delhi.