By – Sathyakāmā Jabala

Predestination in Hinduism

Hinduism adheres to the concept of Karma, which is “you reap what you sow”. Karma does not occur anywhere in the Vedas; it is a later concept of Hinduism. Karma is problematic. It makes one suffer for the evil deeds of past life. There is nothing you can do to get rid of those deeds that is going to haunt you in your next life. It makes the innocent suffer for his past deeds, for the sins he does not remember. Karma makes part of life predestined as mentioned in the following verse,
Devi Bhagavatam 4.21. 19-20. Effort, application, and manifestation of energy are certainly the duties of man; but their effects are all under the Great Destiny or Fate. The Pundits knowing the ancient lore say that there are three kinds of Karma mentioned in the Purânas and Âgamas :– First, the Sanchita Karma (done in past births); the Prârabdha Karma, the Karma already done; and the Vartamân Karma (Karma in hand)…[28] 28. The Prârabdha Karma, those acts out of all the previous acts done in previous births that are fully mature and ready to yield their fruits, cannot be averted; their effects must have to be experienced and then they can die away; they cannot be expiated by penances or any other remedial measures. Therefore, you must hand over unconditionally your newborn babe unto the hands of Kamsa.” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
There are examples as well as stories in Hindu scriptures on how Karma makes life predestined. Shiva Purana, Rudra Samhita 2, Yudha Khanda 5, Chapter 23, verses 38-45 states that Hindu god Vishnu raped Vrinda for which she cursed him that in his reincarnation his wife will be abducted, and he will have to seek help of monkeys. Which means that the abduction of Sita was already destined to happen. So, one cannot say that Rama was innocent since he was only reaping what he had sowed. Hindu scriptures also state the curse of Durvasa which brought destruction to the family of Yadu (including Krishna), a god could not even avert a curse. A similar case is of Shiva beheading Ganesh which was also destined to happen on the consequence of a curse. Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Krishna Janma Khanda chapter 85, verses 105-116 states that a whore in her next life becomes a woman belonging to untouchable caste, a barren woman, a widow. Garuda Purana chapter 5, verse 11 states that a thief is born as a Shudra in his next life. Devi Bhagavatam book 9, chapter 35, verses 1-44 states that a woman using harsh words against her husband is reborn as a diseased person, Devi Bhagavatam book 9, chapter 33, verses 20-50 states that a person who eats the food given by a childless widow is reborn as a poor washerman full of sores and boils. Hinduism also states that a person eating flesh without offering it to god becomes the non-vegetarian food his next life.
Hinduism has a long list of what a person will have to suffer or what he will be reborn as in his next life if he commits so and so deeds, so in short, a major part of our life is already predestined. And we cannot do anything about that.
Some religions believe in a destined term of life for people and Hinduism also has this belief,
Atharva Veda 5.30.7 This world is most dear to the gods, unconquered. For whatever death thou wast destined when thou wast born, O man, that (death) and we call after thee: do not die before old age!
Another translation,
Atharva Veda 5.30.17 “This living world unconquered (by calamity and diseases) is most beloved of learned men. It is that one in which you are destined for death and are destined to be born again. We call you and say that you let not die before old age.” Tr. Acharya Vaidyanath Shastri.
Atharva Veda 10.3.16 Cut them in pieces, Varana! before their destined term of life…
Upanishad is of the same view,
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 6.2.13 “Woman, O Gautama, is fire. In this fire the gods offer the seed. Out of that offering a man is born. He lives as long as he is destined to live…” Tr. Swami Madhavanda
Yajur Veda chapter 30 mentions a list of things that are destined for specific people. Yajurveda 30.5 says that just as God created Brahmin for Vedas, He created lecherous for sex. So just as Brahmin’s dharma is Vedas, Kshatriya’s dharma is protection, Vaishya’s dharma is business, Shudra’s dharma is service, similarly dharma of a lecher is to promote vulgarity and adultery. So, Vedas legitimize spread of vulgarity. Vedic god is also partial, he makes the person he like a Sage, a Rishi, a Brahmin,
Rig Veda 10.125.5 I, verily, myself announce and utter the word that Gods and men alike shall welcome. I make the man I love exceeding mighty, make him a sage, a Rsi, and a Brahman.
Also repeated in Atharva Veda,
Atharva Veda 4.30.3 I, verily, myself announce and utter the word that Gods, and men alike shall welcome. I make the man I love exceeding mighty, make him a sage, a Rishi, and a Brahman.
There are also some verses in Hindu texts which suggests that everything we do is predestined and that we are controlled by Ishwar,
Devi Bhagavatam 1.5.42-46. “Brahmâ said:- Whatever, auspicious or inauspicious, is ordained Daiva (Fate), everyone must bear that; no one can go beyond the Daiva. When one has taken up a body, one must experience pleasure and pain; there is no manner of doubt in this. See, in long-past days, by the irony of Fate, S’ambhu severed my head; His generative organ, too, dropped down through curse. Similarly, Hari’s head has, to-day, fallen into the salt ocean. By the influence of time, Indra, the Lord of Sachi, had thousand genital marks over his body, was expelled from Heaven and had to live in the Mânas sarovar in the lotuses and had to suffer many other miseries.” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
Srimad Bhagavatam 10.54.12 “Just as a puppet in the form of a woman dances by the desire of the puppeteer, so this world, controlled by the Supreme Lord, struggles in both happiness and misery.” Tr. Swami Prabhupada
Srimad Bhagavatam 1.17.23 “And again, everything in the world happens through Maya or the illusory will of god. Therefore, man cannot ascertain, by understanding and speech, as to who the real evil worker and who the injured are.” Tr. J.M. Sanyal
Brahmanda Purana “Destiny is very powerful. It cannot be changed. As for the loss of your sense, you can regain it as you please.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Skanda Purana III.iii.10.60-62 ”The soul gets its body in accordance with its previous Karma; it experiences happiness and misery also in accordance with it (Karma). Somebody takes shapes when, urged by Maya and its efficient energy, the parents indulge in a sexual act. This body (so born) may be male, female or eunuch. A creature is born bearing the writing on his forehead by the Creator, specifying his span of life, and extent of happiness, misery, merit, sin, learning and assets.” Tr. G.V. Tagare.
Devi Bhagavatam 1.9.50-59 “…two powerful Dânavas of serene tempers and eager to light, became very glad on seeing Visnu in the battle and said :– “O four-armed one! we see your desire is very lofty; indeed, well stand! Stand! now be ready for battle, knowing that victory or defeat is surely dependent on Destiny. You should think now thus :– Though it is generally true that the more powerful one wins victory; but it also happens sometimes that the weak gets the victory by queer turn of Fate…” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
Devi Bhagavatam 4.20.30 “Know this the predestined law that the birth, death, old age, diseases, pain or pleasure overtake all the Jîvas according to the prescribed order of Nature; never these laws fail to operate in their actions.” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
Devi Bhagavatam 4.20.52 “Thus, in various incarnations, Bhagavân Visnu was always under the influence of previous curse and also under the control of Destiny and had to do various functions incessantly.” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
Garuda Purana I.63.5-10 “To those who are destined to become great men or kings each pore has a hair growing out of it. To those who are destined to become great scholars and Vedic interpreters, two hairs grow out of each pore. To those who are destined to become poor three hairs grow out of each pore…Men destined to become kings pass urine steadily without noise. Those destined to enjoy pleasures have even bellies. Pot-bellied persons are penurious. A man destined to be poor has serpentine belly.” Tr. J.L. Shastri
So, this means that Ishwar is responsible for whatever evil that is happening. Ishwar is responsible for our actions and our misdeeds since we are controlled by Ishwar and acting as per our destiny and we have no free will.

No rebirth in the Rig Veda
In my article about Sati, I had written that Sati dates back to the time when the Hindu people did not yet believe in reincarnation, and that it was also known among other people who didn’t have the doctrine of reincarnation, such as the ancient Egyptians and Chinese. Predictably, some Hindus reacted furiously, stating that Hindus had always believed in reincarnation and quoting chapter and verse from the Vedas to prove it. Here is my answer: the Rig-Veda, at least, does not contain the doctrine of reincarnation at all, and it is a post-Rig-Vedic text that explicitly introduces it. So, this is not a foreigner’s answer, it is the answer of one of India’s own great seers.
The concept of reincarnation is first explained in the Chandogya Upanishad. The Brahmin young man Shvetaketu returns home from his studies, where he supposedly has learned all Vedic knowledge including the core doctrine of the Upanishads (the Self, Atmavada), and meets his childhood friend from the Kshatriya caste, who quizzes him about the knowledge he has gained. Has he learned what happens to us after death? No, admits Shvetaketu, that was not part of my curriculum. So, we can already conclude that the core doctrine of the Upanishads is not dependent on a theory of the afterlife, such as the theory of reincarnation.
In Buddhism and Jainism, reincarnation is absolutely central, and it is fair to laugh at Western converts who insist on declaring themselves Buddhists but refuse to accept reincarnation. In Hinduism, by contrast, it is merely the factual situation that most people believe in reincarnation, but the core doctrine in its original form is not dependent on it. The goal of Buddhist meditation may be conceived as stopping the wheel of reincarnations, but the goal of Hindu meditation is not so defined. Check Patanjali, who mentions knowledge of past lives in passing, but does not define the goal of yoga in terms of the reincarnation cycle. It is simply, technically, the isolation (Kaivalya) of consciousness from its field of objects in which it is mostly entangled, regardless of what happens to the conscious subject before birth or after death. Buddhism in its Zen form has rediscovered this view, where the here and now is all-important and beliefs about past lives or the afterlife do not matter. Hindus, by contrast, have become crypto-Buddhists and have come to believe that liberation means stopping the wheel of reincarnation. Not so Shvetaketu.
Now, when even Shvetaketu’s father Uddalaka does not know the answer to this question, they go and ask the king. He turns out to know, and to have known all along. So, he teaches them the doctrine of reincarnation for the very first time in Vedic literature and in all the writings of mankind. He also says that this doctrine is commonly believed in among Kshatriyas. No wonder the doctrine is so central in the traditions of Mahavira Jina and the Buddha, both Kshatriyas. He finally reveals that this belief is the secret of the Kshatriyas’ power. Indeed, those who consider their bodies as merely clothes they can take off and replace with new ones, are not afraid to kill or to die, they are fearless and win the battles, and hence they enjoy the power.
The Upanishadic account is confirmed by the reincarnation doctrine’s absence in the Rig-Veda. Yet, my reader claims: “Contrary to mischievous propaganda taking prominence in last few months, Vedas have their foundations in theory of rebirth.” Note first of all the immature debater’s assumption that a statement with which he disagrees must necessarily be born from “mischievous” motives. In reality, a statement may be right or may be wrong regardless of the speaker’s motives; but let that pass.
The reader claims: “Almost all mantras of Vedas implicitly assume that rebirth happens across various species and situations as per Karma or actions of the soul.” This is definitely untrue. He may project his own beliefs onto the Vedic mantras, but most of these can be read without evoking in the reader’s mind the notion of reincarnation or any other doctrine of a life after death. For instance, the two most famous mantras, Vishvamitra’s Gayatri Mantra and Vasishtha’s Mrtyunjaya Mantra, are unrelated to reincarnation or to the afterlife. The first one is a hymn to the rising sun and asks it to enlighten the worshipper’s mind. The second one is a hymn to Shiva and asks him to deliver the worshipper from mortality. Come to think of it, this presupposes exactly that death is considered the problem, unlike in the doctrine of reincarnation, where rebirth (i.e. non-death) is an automatic given, and completely unlike the Buddhist and generalized Hindu belief that continuous rebirth is the problem and that liberation consists in getting rid of these repeated rebirths.
The reader them claims to “provide some mantras from [the] Vedas that specifically talk of rebirth”, and starts with RV 10.59.6-7: “O Blissful Ishwar, Please provide us again healthy eyes and other sense organs in next birth. Please provide us powerful vitality, mind, intellect, valor again and again in next births. We achieve bliss in this life and future lives. May we keep looking up to your glory always. Keep us in peace with your blessings. O Ishwar, you provide us space, earth, and other elements again and again so that our sense organs function. You provide us the ability to have good health and enjoy life in every birth. You make us strong again and again in various births.” But in fact, the Sanskrit original does not mention rebirth (punarjanma), it merely asks the god to give this vitality etc. “again”, i.e. after having lost it. The hymn is about “quickened vigor” and “health-giving medicine”, i.e. about health and longevity, about non-death. It requires very special pleading to read multiple lives into this.
The source quoted is 19th-century reformer Dayananda Saraswati’s notoriously fanciful translation, in which e.g. the names of the different gods are rendered as “God”, making the Vedic seers into quasi-Christians. Like many modern Hindus, he projected his own Christian-influenced beliefs onto the Vedic text. Most Hindus read the Vedas, to the extent that they read them at all, through Puranic lenses, applying the post-Vedic Hinduism which Dayanand Saraswati claimed to despise but which still determined his interpretation to a large extent. What he added and what set him apart from mainstream Hinduism in his day, was that he also tried to bring in quasi-Protestant monotheism and anti-idolatry which he had interiorized from his colonial masters. But in this case, it is not a Christian but a post-Vedic Hindu notion of reincarnation that he projects onto the Rig-Vedic verses.
The reader then quotes Rig-Veda 1.24.1-2: “Question: Whom do we consider the purest? Who is the most enlightened one in entire world? Who provides us mother and father again in the world after gifting us ultimate bliss or Mukti? Answer: The self-enlightening, eternal, ever-free Ishwar alone is most pure. He alone provides us mother and father again in the world after gifting us ultimate bliss or Mukti.”
The word Mukti (freedom, liberation) and the concept of ultimate bliss are completely imaginary here, the special pleading that pervades later Hindu reading of the Vedic compositions. The original speaks of “seeing” father and mother, whom we shall indeed see in the hereafter. That is what the Rig-Vedic seers believed in: the same story which we tell our children, viz. that our dead relatives are waiting for us in the hereafter. Sometimes we tell our children also that that particular star over there is where grandfather has gone to; and a Brahmanic funeral ritual (which, a Tamil Brahmin told me, is still performed) does indeed specify which part of the starry sky welcomes the deceased souls. This hereafter is incompatible with the notion of reincarnation. The verse contains the word “Punah” (again), and this seems to be reason enough for our reader to believe that reincarnation is meant.
That is, it for the Rig-Veda. The other quotes which the reader gives, are taken from the younger Yajur- and Atharva-Veda. They were partly contemporaneous with the older Upanishads, and it is not unreasonable if we come across reincarnation beliefs there. Yet even here we find similar mistranslations. According to him, i.e. to Dayananda Saraswati of the Arya Samaj, this is what Yajurveda 4.15 says: “Whenever we take birth, may our deeds be such that we get a pure mind, long life, good health, vitality, intellect, strong sense organs and a powerful body. In next life also, keep us away from bad deeds and indulge us in noble actions.” But other translations, and indeed the Sanskrit original, do not speak of reincarnation. They say that breath and life and consciousness have come “again”, but does not imply that we first must have died. At least one translator even specifies that the hymn was said upon awakening.
As for Atharvaveda 7.67.1, the reader or his source again indulges in misdirection. If that book contained the doctrine of reincarnation, it would still prove nothing about the Rg-Veda; but the verse quoted doesn’t even contain this doctrine: “May we get healthy sense and work organs in next life as well. May I [be] full of vitality. May I have spiritual wealth and knowledge of Ishwar and Vedic concepts again and again. May we be selfless for welfare of world in next lives again and again. May our deeds be noble so that we get human life and always get purity of mind and actions so that we can worship you and achieve salvation.” This translation is really very far from the original, which is another prayer for health and longevity, this time obtained from a specific medicinal herb. Many hymns of the Atharva-Veda are about health-restoration and medicine, i.e. about saving and prolonging life rather than counting on a next life.
About Atharvaveda 5.1.2, he translates very freely: “One who conducts noble actions obtains noble lives in next births with strong body and sharp intellect. Those who conduct bad deeds get birth in lower species. To experience the fruits of past actions is natural trait of soul. After death, the soul resides in Vayu, Jala, Aushadhi etc. and again enters the womb to take next birth.” We do not see these “next births” there, but maybe we should sit together and perform a word-by-word translation. This hymn is significantly called the Immortality Hymn, a name which we have already shown to be at odds with the reincarnation doctrine and certainly with the later quasi-Buddhist doctrine that we are tired of these endless rebirths in this Vale of Tears.
In Yajurveda 19.47, however, the reincarnation doctrine may indeed be implied:
“There are two paths for the soul. One path Pitryana provides birth again and again through union of father and mother, good and bad deeds, happiness, and sorrow. The other path of Devayana frees the soul from cycle of birth and death and provides bliss of salvation. The whole world reverberates with both these paths. And after both, the soul again takes birth as progeny of father and mother.” This is the same concept enunciated repeatedly in the older Upanishads: that either we can go to heaven (way of the gods) or we can come back here (way of the ancestors). This doctrine has the same origin as the doctrine of the old Upanishads, where indeed it is introduced as an innovation.
Our reader ends his letter with some lengthy quotations from “Maharishi Swami Dayanand Saraswati`s masterpiece `Light of Truth’”, which only prove that he, like most 19th-century Hindus, believed in reincarnation and could not imagine life without it. The Swami’s organization, the Arya Samaj, claims to this day that he abhorred the decadence into which Puranic literature had thrown the Hindus and that he merely wanted to restore the Vedas to the pristine purity they once enjoyed. In fact, he too was a “Puranic Hindu” who read the Veda through Puranic eyes. He believed that the Veda was of supernatural origin, hence his attempt to translate all reference to mundane people and places out of it.
But in fact, we know the family relations of the Vedic seers, the places where they lived or travelled, the reasons why they waged war and the tribes against whom they did battle, even their fondness for the psychedelic Soma brew. Short, they and their books were human, all too human. Of course, they changed their mind once in a while, and they learned from their surroundings or from their own discoveries. This way, they first believed in a hereafter where we would meet again, but later came to the notion that we returned from the hereafter to be born again. Since this belief is attested among many different tribes the world over, and since India knew many tribes of whom the Vedic (Paurava and esp. Bharata) tribe was only one, we opine that it existed among some Indian tribes too at the time when the Rg-Veda was composed. But it was new to the Vedic seers, who had cherished a different belief for long. Only when a successful class advertised the new and hitherto secret doctrine of reincarnation as it’s key to success, did the doctrine catch on. This way, Hindu history is also the history of progress.

No Reincarnation, No Moksha, No Mukti in the Vedas
Samsaara’ (संसार cycle of births and deaths) and ‘Moksha’ (मोक्ष liberation from the cyle of births and deaths) are fundamental beliefs of orthodox Hindus and also of protestant Hindus i.e. Arya Samajists. The difference between these two groups is that while the former believes that not only the Veda Samhitas but also their related Brahmanas, Aranyaks and Upanishads are revealed, the Arya Samajists only consider the Veda Samhitas to be revealed books and infallible. Therefore, only the Vedas are the basis of their faith. Thus, any fundamental belief of theirs must have its source in the Vedas. If the belief is not found explicitly in the Vedas, it cannot be claimed as true. The founder of Arya Samaj, Moolshanker aka Swami Dayanand, attempted in his own way to somehow prove that Vedas do teach about reincarnation of souls. The very fact that he could only present six verses from the thousands of Vedic verses to prove reincarnation in the Vedas, itself speaks about the dearth of clear evidence in the Vedas about reincarnation.
In this article of mine I will scrutinize those six verses and show that even they do not speak of reincarnation. Modern Arya Samaj polemicists also continue to use the same verses to prove reincarnation in the Vedas. Regarding the concept of ‘Moksha’ even the word ‘Moksha’ is not present in the entire Vedas, not to speak of the concept itself. Moreover, I have already proved in my earlier articles that Vedas teach about Paradise (Swarga) as a physical place. Combining both these views, we can conclude that the doctrine of reincarnation has no place in the Vedas. Rather the Vedas teach about Paradise (Swarga) and Hell (Narka) exactly like Christianity. Therefore, people of Arya Samaj must renounce the belief in endless reincarnations as a human invention and adopt the revealed Christian concept of life after death.

Analysis of Swami Dayanand’s evidence

In Part 4 of his book Rigvedadi Bhashya Bhumika, Swami Dayanand has attempted to present some evidence from the Vedas which he thinks teach reincarnation. Following is a one by one refutation of the mantras.

First Analysis
Swami ji first quotes Rigveda Mandal 10, Sookt 59, Mantras 6-7
असुनीते पुनरस्मासु चक्षुः पुनः पराणमिह नो धेहिभोगम |
जयोक पश्येम सूर्यमुच्चरन्तमनुमते मर्ळया नह्स्वस्ति ||
पुनर्नो असुं पर्थिवी ददातु पुनर्द्यौर्देवी पुनरन्तरिक्षम |
पुनर्नः सोमस्तन्वं ददातु पुनः पूषापथ्यां या सवस्तिः ||
English rendering of Swami’s translation by Arya Samaj
“O God! Thou conductest our pranas. We pray Thee that we may be happy whenever we may assume another body after death. Grant us, O God! The eyes and all the other senses, the pranas, and the inner senses in our future birth when we may assume another body after forsaking the present. Do Thou grant us that when we are born again, we may enjoy uninterruptedly all enjoyable thins? May we be able to see the luminous sun and the ingoing and outgoing pranas in all our rebirths. O God! Thou art the dispenser of honor and happiness, make us happy in all our rebirths, through Thy grace.”
“Be gracious, O Lord! To grant that in our rebirths the earth may give us prana born of food and strength, the bright light of the sun may give us prana and middle region may give us life; the juices of medicines such as soma, may give us body (bodily health and vigor). O God! Thou art the giver of strength and nourishment, show us in our rebirths the path of virtue (dharma). We pray that happiness be our lit in all our births through Thy grace.”
[Rigvedadi Bhashya Bhumika, Part 4, English Version; An Introduction to the Vedas; Translated by Ghasi Ram M.A. L.L.B.]
The Response
The above translations are no doubt partially inaccurate and therefore give a meaning that the context would never allow. Following is the translation by Hindu scholars.
Pandit Shri Ram Sharma Acharya

A more correct Englsh translation
“6. Asuniti, give us back the (departed) spirit: extend our life that we may live (long): establish us that we may long behold the sun: do you cherish the body with Ghee (that we have offered).
7. Restrore to us, Asuniti, sight and breath, and enjoyment in this world: long may we behold the rising sun; make us happy, gracious (goddess) with prosperity.”
My review
As you can see, Arya Samaj translations happen to be somewhat at variance with the actual translation. The word ‘rebirth‘(Punarjanam) is not present in the text of the mantras as Arya Samaj has mistranslated. Still, I am not concerned over the translations at this moment as much as I am concerned with the wrong deduction being made by Swami ji from these mantras. Following are the points which refute the claim that these mantras are speaking of reincarnation.
1. These mantras are no doubt a prayer. A prayer is always made for something that cannot be achieved ordinarily. According to Hindu theology of Karma, as per a person’s deeds he/she is born again with a birth that is appropriate for the deeds done in previous life. A prayer for the same is useless and NOT required.
2. Moreover, why will one ask for rebirth, even though one knows the sufferings of this world? Why not pray for Moksha i.e. liberation from the cycle of births and deaths, which will at least make some sense?
3. When is this prayer being made? After death or at the time of death?
4. The words of the prayer become very weird if we assume that it is speaking about reincarnation. What is that ‘thing’ asking for the spirit and body? It appears to have neither spirit nor body.
5. What is the guarantee that this prayer is accepted?
6. Can this not be a prayer at the time of sleep, because sleep is the sister of death? Why assume that it is hinting at reincarnation? This prayer can very well be made at the time of sleep to wake up again with vigour and all the senses intact. That appears far more logical.
7. The prayer is of very cheap nature in the sense that it is asking for wordly food and enjoyment.
8. The mantras make mention of ASUNITI, the goddess that takes the souls. In no sanskrit lexicon does Asuniti stand for God as has been mistranslated by Arya Samaj.
These points prove that there is nothing about reincarnation in these mantras.

Second Analysis
The next verse provided by Swami ji to prove that Vedas teach about reincarnation is Yajurveda chapter 4, Mantra 15.

English rendering of Swami’s translation by Arya Samaj
“O God! May the mind with knowledge and other good qualities and may the full term of life come to us in our rebirth, through Thy favor. May pure thoughts come to us in our rebirth and may sight and hearing also come to us. O God! Thou art the guide and director of the universe; in Thee there is no fault such as arrogance, deceit; thou are the protector of our bodies, and art all wisdom and bliss; keep us aloof from evil deeds and protect us in all our birth-cycles, so that being free from sin we may remain happy in all our births.”
[Rigvedadi Bhashya Bhumika, Part 4, English Version; An Introduction to the Vedas; Translated by Ghasi Ram M.A. L.L.B.]
The Response
Just like the first two mantras, this mantra has been wrongly translated by inserting the wordrebirth which is not present in the text. You can even see the english rendering of Swami ji’s translation interpolates many words which are not used by Swamiji. Thus, these translations become dubious. I will present more authentic translations of Hindu scholars.
Translation of Swami Karpaatra Maharaj

A more correct English translation
“Thought has returned to me and life, my breath and soul have come again, sight and hearing have come again. Our bodies’ guard, unscathed, Vaisvânara Agni keep us away from bad deeds and dishonour.”
My review
Similar to the first two mantras, the word Rebith is not present in this mantra as well. Following points disprove this mantra in favour of reincarnation:
1. The way Arya Samaj has translated this mantra makes it a prayer. Therefore, it cannot be taken as evidence for reincarnation. Refer to point 1 of the above review.
2. Same as point 2 of the above review.
3. The words of the prayer become very weird if we assume that it is speaking about reincarnation. What is that ‘thing’ asking for the soul and body? It appears to have neither soul nor body.
4. Shatapath Brahman 3:2:2:23 CLEARLY says that this passage is read after one wake up from sleep. Those who bring this mantra as evidence of reincarnation have not even read the Shatapath Brahman of Shukla Yajurveda or they are deceiving the people. They only seek to deceive people. [átha yátra suptvaa | púnarnaavadraasyanbhávati tádvaacayati púnarmánah- púnaraáyurma aáganpúnah- praaNah- púnaraatmaá ma aáganpúnashcákSuh- púnah] “And when he has slept and does not wish to fall asleep again, (the Adhvaryu) makes him mutter the text (Yajurveda 4:15), “Thought has returned to me and life, my breath and soul have come again, sight and hearing have come again.””
All these evidences prove that even this mantra has NOTHING to say about reincarnation.

Third Analysis
Next, the Swami quotes Atharvaveda 7/67/1.
English rendering of Swami’s translation by Arya Samaj
“O Lord! May we get, through Thy favor in our rebirths all the senses and that force which sustains the pranas. may we be endowed with the noble riches of knowledge and have firm devotion to Thee. May we get human bodies so that we may be able to tend the fires, Ahavaniya, etc. O Lord of the Universe! May we have the same form, intellect and good bodies as we were endowed with in our previous birth so that we may be able with the help of intellect to discharge our duties properly in the world of our rebirth and may we never suffer pain on any account.”
[Rigvedadi Bhashya Bhumika, Part 4, English Version; An Introduction to the Vedas; Translated by Ghasi Ram M.A. L.L.B.]
The Response
Another case of deliberate mistranslation by Arya Samaj. Both the Hindi and English translations of this otherwise short verse have been unnecessarily elongated. Again, the word ‘rebirth‘ is NOT present in the text. It is only an assumption that leads to this mistranslation. Following is the translation by Hindu scholars.
Translation of Shripad Damodar Satvalekar

A more correct English Translation
“My sense (indriyaa) come to me, again soul, property, and brahmana (sacred knowledge) ; let the fires of the sacred earth again officiate just here in their respective stations.”

My review
My review of this mantra is similar to the review of first two mantras from Rigveda, because it is on similar lines. Following points refute the claim that this mantra is speaking about reincarnation:
1. This mantra is no doubt a prayer. A prayer is always made for something that cannot be achieved ordinarily. According to Hindu theology of Karma, as per a person’s deeds he/she is born again with a birth that is appropriate for the deeds done in previous life. A prayer for the same is useless and NOT required.
2. Moreover, why will one ask for rebirth, even though one knows the sufferings of this world? Why not pray for Moksha i.e. liberation from the cycle of births and deaths, which will at least make some sense?
3. When is this prayer being made? After death or at the time of death?
4. The words of the prayer become very weird if we assume that it is speaking about reincarnation. What is that ‘thing’ asking for the soul? It does not appear to have a soul.
5. What is the guarantee that this prayer is accepted?
6. Can this not be a prayer at the time of sleep, because sleep is the sister of death? Why assume that it is hinting at reincarnation? This prayer can very well be made at the time of sleep to wake up again with vigour and all the senses intact. That appears far more logical.
Unless all these points are answered satisfactorily, there is no question of accepting reincarnation in this mantra.

Fourth Analysis
Swami ji then turns to Atharvaveda 5/1/2 in the hope of establishing reincarnation.
English rendering of Swami’s translation by Arya Samaj
“A man who, has done good actions in his previous birth, gets many good bodies in virtue of those good actions, but if he has done evil deeds he does not get human body and is born into the body of an animal, etc., and suffers pain.”
[Rigvedadi Bhashya Bhumika, Part 4, English Version; An Introduction to the Vedas; Translated by Ghasi Ram M.A. L.L.B.]
The Response
Again, if you check this mantra, there is no word ‘rebirth‘ (Punarjanam) in it. Following is the translation by Hindu scholars.
Translation of Shripad Damodar Satvalekar
A more correct English Translation
“He who first attained to the ordinances makes thence many wondrous forms; eager, he first entered the womb {yoni), he who understood speech unspoken.”

My review
Following points do not allow this mantra to be considered as evidence for reincarnation:
1. This hymn is in praise of the deity Varuna.
2. Mantra 1 of this hymn is speaking about Varuna and how he enters into human form
3. This mantra also is in praise of Varuna and cannot be used as evidence for reincarnation.

Fifth Analysis
Lastly Swami ji turns to Yajurveda Adhyaai 19, Mantra 47.
English rendering of Swami’s translation by Arya Samaj
“We have heard that there are two paths in this world for enjoying the good and suffering the bad consequences of virtue and vice. The first is the path trodden by the pitris (the wise) and the devas (the learned) and such men as are devoid of knowledge and wisdom. The first is divided two fold i.e., the pirtriyana and the Devayana. That in which a jivaobtaining a body from the father and mother enjoys happiness as the fruit of its good actions and suffers pain as the consequences of its evil and deeds and again and again, i.e., in which it is subject to past and future birth is called the pitriyana. That in which it obtains emancipation, is liberated from the world i.e., the migrations of birth and death is called devayana. In the former, after having enjoyed the fruits of its stock of virtue it is born again and dies also. In the latter, it is not born again, nor does it die. By these two paths the whole world passes and repasses.”
[Rigvedadi Bhashya Bhumika, Part 4, English Version; An Introduction to the Vedas; Translated by Ghasi Ram M.A. L.L.B.]
The Response
The above rendering of Yajurveda 19/47 by Swami Dayanand and Arya Samaj is less of a translation and more of a twisted interpretation. This is the height of dishonesty that short mantra is made to extend like a commentary and is labelled a translation. Again, there is no word ‘rebirth‘ mentioned in this mantra. Following is the translation by Hindu scholars.
Translation by Swami Karpaatra Maharaj
A more correct English Translation
“I have heard mention of two several pathways, way of the Fathers, way of Gods and mortals. On these two roads each moving creature travels, each thing between the Father and the Mother.”

My review
There is no mention of reincarnation in this mantra.
Following points do not allow this mantra to be considered as evidence for reincarnation:
1. When Shatapath Brahman has already interpreted this mantra, there remains no room for any modern wishful interpretation. Shatapatha Brahmana 12/8/1/21 clearly interprets the two paths leasing to Pitrilok (world of the fathers) and Devalok (world of the gods). There is no mention of any rebirth.
2. Shatapath Brahman 6/6/2/4 says that the gate of the heavenly world or Devalok is in the NORTH-EAST. Shatapath Brahman 13/3/1/5 says that the gate of the world of Fathers or Pitrilok is in the SOUTH-EAST. If, according to Arya Samaj, Pitriyaana and Devayana mean rebirth and emancipation respectively, then assigning directions to Pitrilok and Devalok is MEANINGLESS.
3. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1/5/16 categorizes the worlds into three viz. the world of men (Manushyalok), the world of the Fathers (Pitrilok), the world of the Devas (Devalok). If by Pitrilok is meant rebirth, then Manushyalok becomes meaningless. The full mantra says, “Next there are verily three worlds, the world of men, the world of the Fathers, the world of the Devas. The world of men can be gained by a son only, not by any other work. By sacrifice the world of the Fathers, by knowledge the world of the Devas is gained. The world of the Devas is the best of worlds; therefore, they praise knowledge.” Explaining how the world of Men is gained by a son, Adi Shankaracharya says that a son continues the lineage of the father and in case the father has not performed certain sacrifice he was required to perform, the son performs them for him. The idea is this: A father who has a son instructed in this way remains in this very world as that son; that is, he should not be considered dead.
Thus, we find that even Yajurveda 19:47 is speaking nothing about the doctrine of reincarnation as is being claimed by Hindu polemicists.
The claim of reincarnation in the Vedas based on half a dozen mantras has been disproved. The only alternative is to go for the concept of Swarga and Narka, of which the Vedas are the upholders.
The modern polemicists try to add one more mantra of the Rigveda to somehow prove Rebirth and Moksha. They quote Rigveda 1/24/1-2 as follows
“Question: Whom do we consider the purest? Who is the most enlightened one in entire world? Who provides us mother and father again in the world after gifting us ultimate bliss or Mukti?
Answer: The self-enlightening, eternal, ever-free Ishwar alone is most pure. He alone provides us mother and father again in the world after gifting us ultimate bliss or Mukti.”
The translation is again dubious ignoring the context of the entire hymn. This hymn narrates the story of Shuna Shep, the son of Rishi Ajigart. He was sold for a hundred cows by his father to Raja Harishchandra as a victim for human sacrifice (Purushmedha). The details are provided in the Aitareya Brahman. It is at the time when Shuna Shep is tied to the stake for sacrifice, that he utters the prayers to Agni to save him so that he may be able to see his father and mother again. There is absolutely no mention of any rebirth or moksha in this mantra as modern polemicists have tried to present.
The bottom line is that in any scripture in order to prove the validity of a doctrine, it MUST be put forward clearly and unambiguously. To clutch at straws and twist the meanings of other unclear passages to make them speak of the doctrine is purely fraudulent. It is only an act of deception to make others see in the scripture something that is not there. Instead of moulding their thinking according to their scriptures, they mould the scriptures according to their thinking. That is the tragedy of the ancient Vedas, which actually do not belong to this era and have to be left in the ancient era.

Reincarnation Reality or Myth?
The theory of Re-incarnation of souls, also known as the cycle of birth and death, is very central to Hindu philosophy. To a common Christian this is a new idea which he/she has not previously encountered. We may not accept it, but we cannot cavil at the logic of it; more especially as it is born from the same causes which, in Christian theology, give rise to the concept of Hell and Heaven. If life on earth is a life of preparation in which we have to attain certain qualifications essential for our entry into Paradise (Brahma Lok in the words of Shri Krishna), will it not be necessary, so would argue a Hindu divine, for us to return to earthly life again, if we have left it without acquiring the necessary perfection?
We had to attain certain experiences not available in the next world; we left this world without doing so and consequently we do need to come back to it again. This logic is not bad, and the reasoning is quite plausible; but they do not coincide with what we observe in the universe.
For example, some fruit may leave a tree in defective condition. It need not go back into the branch of the tree it came from, to make up its deficiencies. The food we eat everyday will eventually take the form of a sperm and ovum, which will convert itself into the human shape of a child. The sperm has to pass through many stages before it reaches that stage. Things not properly cooked are sometimes taken in by us; they cause pains in the stomach, but the trouble is removed by medical treatment. The food is not sent back from stomach to the kitchen to be cooked again. We take medicine to help digestion, and enable the food to pass through the regions where it is made into blood. Sometimes, when, through the function of the stomach or through the function of a diseased liver, we produce poor blood, we seek a remedy in medicine, but no drop of that poor blood is allowed to return to the liver or the stomach for the purpose of rectification.
If therefore, this rule be universal in Nature, that the thing which has failed to attain the requisite state of perfection in one state of being is passed into the state of being next highest, where its deficiencies are corrected; and if such a system be more expedient and more conducive to the rapidity of the real progress then I fail to find any reason for subscribing to the theory of re-incarnation or transmigration of the soul.
Closely linked to this theory is the doctrine of Karma (actions). The two, in fact, are one and the same theory, representing different aspects of the same doctrine. The doctrine of Karma takes for its genesis the diversity of circumstances in which people find themselves at their birth, from causes beyond their control. Some are born in affluence, poverty and indigence; some are born into the world with bodily defects, while others are blessed with bodily perfection; and this disparity, producing arbitrarily, comfort and discomfort, happiness and misery does seem a strange blot on the Divine Providence.
The theory of Karma, in Hindu theology, thus explains this seeming incongruity in the Divine dispensation. According to this theory, all that we receive at our birth in the form of happiness or misery, and all the differences in social status that come into our being at birth are the outcome of our deeds in the life before the present life. We take birth after birth to complete our course on this earth, and what we sow in the one; we must reap in the next. No one would question the logic of the view that human society works on the Laws of Actions. That actions must bear their fruit is the basic principle of every other religion. Differences in social position, in many cases, undoubtedly arise from our own actions. We are the creators of our own comfort and misery.
According to this philosophy, inferiority of a person to a second person in the social scale is due some of his sins in his bygone life. However, differences in occupation and employment are the motive power of social machinery. We must serve each other in a wide variety of differing capacities, if adequate contribution is to be made to the common comfort. If, however, difference of this kind is attributed to some past sin, then comfort and progress must demand the existence of evil. Men of one generation must necessarily commit sin so that, in the next, they may be reborn in the lower for the purpose of contributing to the happiness of the upper social stratum. What kind of philosophy is that considers sin and misdeeds essential to maintain and sustain the cycle of life? It is absurd on the very face of it. The process of procreation demands difference of sex. You may ascribe your present difference from another man to some cause in your previous life, but where were the actions which caused difference of sex in the first pair, whence our species has its being?
If all our present means of happiness are given to us as a reward for past actions, how are we to explain the happiness which comes to us providentially? Much of our happiness is derived from the varied manifestations of Nature, like the Sun, the Moon, the Earth and all that it provides; and the proportion of happiness that we acquire through our actions depends too, upon the working out, by us, of sources of Nature which were in existence long before man came on the Earth. How can all this be the reward of our past actions? We cannot live without the pre-existence of millions of things in the universe; they all add to our happiness. They all come as beneficence of God, and not in reward of actions. Divine Providence, as exhibited in Nature, makes Divine Blessing, which is the main store of our happiness, a pre-existing thing; while the theory of Karma makes our actions to pre-exist the Divine Blessing, which is absurd on the face of it.
If all our happiness has to arise from our actions, our happiness would be next to nothing. What comes out of our actions in the shape of happiness sinks into insignificance when compared with what we get as Divine Blessings. If we get everything due to the actions of our past life, then we need not be grateful to God anymore. As you can see, this is a blot on the Beneficence of God.
If our actions receive their birth and mould from our beliefs, we should not entertain any tenet or doctrine which tends to ruin our sense of responsibility, and to create in us oral or mental imbecility. Similarly, we strive hard to alleviate our misery, because we believe that it is possible to alleviate it; but when we find that our trouble is absolutely without remedy, our zeal is gone, for what is the use of trying in such a case? Our misery, under the theory of Karma has come to us as the fruit of some past actions. It cannot be undone, and all our efforts to undo it will be in vain. I committed some wrong in a previous life, I must suffer for its consequences in the present life, and all my efforts to be free from it are simply to give the lie to that theory. If ‘A’ is down will cholera which he has got on account of some past wrong, it hardly befits him to seek medical relief if he subscribes to the principle of Karma. The theory thus makes man a fatalist and thereby impedes human progress.
Pain in this life, they say, is the penalty of past actions. If persecution and want of comfort may come within the category of pain, no progress in human society has, till now, been achieved without them as the famous proverb goes, “No gains without pains”. The world has seen its best benefactors in the persons of prophets, reformers, and philosophers, but, unfortunately, they are the persons who have always been subjected to every kind of persecution. Similarly, all scientific discoveries, to which we owe so much of our comfort and happiness, are fruits of pain and hardship. Should we believe that all these great teachers and inventors were wicked men and sinners in the past life, because they have been for the most part persecuted people and leading the most painful lives?
No one gets happiness without some pain and according to this theory; pain is the penalty of sin. Evil therefore becomes essential for enjoying happiness in the life to come. Such a theory cannot give birth to high character. If ‘A’ receives some injury from ‘B’, it is, as a Hindu would say, to make up for some injury received by ‘B’ from ‘A’ in his previous birth. Thus, offence becomes a justification in the eye of a culprit if he believes in the philosophy of Karma. I need not be thankful to my benefactors, because I receive from them only what I gave to them in charity in the past life. The more I think upon this subject, keeping in view all the consequences to which such beliefs much logically lead, the more I am strengthened in my conviction that this philosophy is most unfavorable to our moral growth.
If the consequences of every action I do be shared by my own children, I shall make my actions steadier and more righteous. But if I alone have to reap what I sow, despair or temptation may, sometimes, lead me to extremes. Belief, therefore, that children born with bodily defects, owe their misfortune to paternity, which sometimes may come to them from three or four generations back, will generally prove a more efficacious check to intemperate actions, than the belief that the children are themselves responsible for their physical deficiencies. A person may not care much for the evil consequences of his actions if they are to be confined to him; but his care to see his family happy may reform him.
The whole difficulty is one of misconception; or rather to conceive adequately of pain, or of pleasure, or of the real object and purpose of this our earthly pilgrimage; for what is pain to one is pleasure to another, who is to decide whether prince or peasant sleeps sounder in the nights or whether the millionaire or the bricklayer has the just perception of the end of life? The sublimation of our consciousness is the main purpose of our sojourn on earth; riches and poverty are both helpful and harmful to this end; helpful to one and harmful to another; a blessing to ‘A’, a curse to ‘B’, and vice versa. Consequently, there can be no ground whatever for any theory which ascribes the prosperity and poverty of this life to the good and evil deeds of an existence that is past.
And the same is true of all other cases wherein different persons have been variously endowed with the gifts of God. In the ordinary way of life, the organs of sense are the vehicles of knowledge and any deficiency in one tends to strengthen the perceptive power of the others. Blind persons are more imaginative that those who possess the faculties of physical sight; and if imagination be a blessing and an aid to the perfection of knowledge, then here is a blessing disguised as a curse.
When sometimes a hard problem arises, to which it is necessary that we devote our whole minds, to the exclusion of all other matters, we choose to site with closed eyes, in a room apart, so that we may be distracted by neither seeing nor hearing. In other words, we deprive ourselves of the use of these senses in order that we may use those that remain to the fuller advantage. The implication of this would be that the use of these senses of hearing and sight causes a distraction to our imagination process. So, it follows, at least at that time, the loss of the organs of sense must be a blessing, if anything, a reward for the past good deeds, rather than the punishment of old misdoings.

Thank you for reading!