Karma and Reincarnation

  • Arvind Sharma


Albīrūnī, the Muslim savant of the eleventh century, commences one of the chapters of his well-known book on India with the following comment:

As the word of confession, ‘There is no god but God, Muhammad is his prophet,’ is the shibboleth of Islam, the Trinity that of Christianity, and the institute of the Sabbath that of Judaism, so metempsychosis is the shibboleth of the Hindu religion. Therefore he who does not believe in it does not belong to them, and is not reckoned as one of them.1


Indian Philosophy Moral Truth Eleventh Century Past Life Quantum Jump 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Ainslie T. Embree (ed.), Alberuni’s India (New York: W. W. Norton, 1971) p. 50.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Charles A. Moore (eds.), A Source Book of Indian Philosophy (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1971) p. xxix.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    R. C. Zaehner (ed.), The Concise Encyclopaedia of Living Faiths (Boston: Beacon Press, 1959) pp. 416–17.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    See for example Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty, Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980)Google Scholar
  5. Charles F. Keyes and E. Valentine Daniel, Karma: An Anthropological Inquiry (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983)Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    John H. Hick, Philosophy of Religion, 3rd edn. (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1983) ch. 10.Google Scholar
  7. 15.
    Francis Story, Rebirth as Doctrine and Experience, vol. II (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1975) p. 176.Google Scholar
  8. 16.
    Ian Stevenson, Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1974) p. 82ff.Google Scholar
  9. 18.
    Pratima Bowes, The Hindu Religious Tradition: A Philosophical Approach (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977) p. 60.Google Scholar
  10. 23.
    This is how, it seems, the views of Dayānanda Sarasvatī (1824–1883) will have to be interpreted at one stage in his life; see J.T.F. Jordens, Dayānanda Sarasvatī (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1979) p. 109.Google Scholar
  11. 26.
    James Haughton Woods (tr.), The Yoga-System of Patañjali (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1914) p. 247.Google Scholar
  12. 29.
    It is developed by J. C. Jennings in The Vedantic Buddhism of the Buddha (London: Oxford University Press, 1948).Google Scholar
  13. 32.
    Walpola Rahula, What the Buddha Taught (New York: Grove Press, 1974) p. 33ff.Google Scholar
  14. 33.
    Ibid., pp. 51, 52; also see Charles A. Moore (ed.), The Indian Mind (Honolulu: East-West Center Press, 1967) p. 74.Google Scholar
  15. 34.
    James P. McDermott, ‘Is There Group Karma in Theravāda Buddhism?’ Numen 23 (1976), pp. 67–80.Google Scholar
  16. 38.
    Charles A. Moore (ed.), The Indian Mind, p. 243. The nrsūkta of the Atharva Veda may also be referred to here, in which ‘the object of adoration is not God but man’ (K. M. Sen, Hinduism [Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1965] p. 46).Google Scholar
  17. Troy Wilson Organ, Hinduism: Its Historical Development (New York, Woodbury: Barron’s Educational Series, 1974) p. 34.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Arvind Sharma 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arvind Sharma
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Religious StudiesMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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