Karma, souls, rebirths, all of them is very intricately connected. To believe in them is a matter of faith. As per our hindu dharma and also Bhagvat Gita, this body is not the real me. The soul within is what is the real me. And this soul never dies. As Lord Krishna tells us in Gita:
Vaasaansi jeernaani yathaa vihaaya navaani grih-naati naro-aparaani
Tathaa shariraani vihaaya jeernaanyanyaani sa-nyaati navaani dehi.
"During our daily lives we change our old and/or dirty clothes and put on new and/or clean clothes whenever the need arises. Similarly, the soul or aatman casts off its worn out physical body and takes residence in a newer physical body at regular intervals in time."
If that is the case then how come population increases? Creator created souls and the number should not go up, or is it he creating still?
Yes creation is supposed to be going on but there are other reasons too behind this. When we talk about souls, it’s not just human beings who have souls. So many living things in this planet, they all have souls. It is believed when a man gets into spiritual life and leads a virtuous life, his soul gets purified with each birth and it finally attains moksha. Same rule follows even for other living organisms too. Many of these souls from animal kingdom very slowly evolve and finally take birth as a human. Such souls initially carry many of the animal instincts. They indulge into many sinful acts and then when the souls come in the company of a Sad Guru, it now takes the path of salvation. Purification of the soul starts from this point.
What about karma and it being carried over to the next births? Why such happens? Is that really fair to make one pay for their bad deeds in another life?
The question reminds of an incident long happened at Benaras. Adityananth Baba, considered paramhansa yogi was asked, “Why is it that good people, who are living a virtuous life also face such hardships and pains?” To that Baba replied, “To a common man life means the birth of baby, becoming a man and then die. But that is not the complete life. Common man has limited vision. The life that vidhata created is not simply a single birth. It is the life of the soul, which incorporates all the different births soul takes. That makes a full life cycle. Hence bad karma done in the life time of “the soul” gets repaid even though the man might find he is clean yet facing hardships.”
What Baba says is the truth. This body is not the real me, it’s the soul. Hence the soul’s life needs to be considered as life cycle. We know the rule of creator, whatever we gain here in this world; we leave it back here itself. We cannot take it along to the next world. Similarly, the punishments for our sins need to be completed in this world itself. And when it comes to sins, a person in early stage of soul birth commits so many, that it’s not possible to purify them all in a single birth. Unknowingly we commit too many sins. And for all those we have to pay back here in this world itself.
There is a true story about a disciple of Mahavatar Babaji Maharaj (LINK). He was doing sadhana under the guidance of Babaji Maharaj. He would live in a cave pursue his spiritual journey. The villagers living around loved him and would bring food for him. Many others visiting that part of Himalaya, Indians and also foreigners, would also visit him and offer money, some even foreign currency, as gift to this sadhu. Days were going this way when one day Babaji Maharaj gave him darshan. He told the disciple, “After three days an American would be visiting you. He’s going to kill you. I can save you. This is the result of a bad karma done in the past and you’ll have to face it sometime. You killed him in one of your birth. Now you decide when you want this. Face it now and get mukti or get saved in this life and after three more births you’ll face this man again.” The disciple asked not to be saved. The American came, and requested to stay. Whole night he discussed with the sadhu many things. Then the sadhu went into meditation. This Man also decides to go off to sleep when he see all the money lying around. Greed takes over him and he decides to kill the sadhu. Does the same and leaves off with all money.
Karma is something we have to pay back. And do so here in this world itself. Even God when come to this world in human form, end up facing hardships because unknowingly or maybe for betterment of others, they too get into many acts which might not be right ones as far as rules of the creator goes. Look at Lord Krishna’s leela and life story when he came to this world as a human being. He had to face Gandhari’s wrath. He had to go through the pain of watching his entire kin die and he was left all alone. We all know Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (LINK) is none other than Lord Krishna’s next birth. And Lord Chaitanya met with a painful end! If Lord himself faced these hardships when he came in human form, we the common man cannot expect anything different.
Karma and rules made by the creator for its payback are something not so easy for any common man to understand. For any common man it might seem unfair. True spiritual knowledge helps in knowing this truth. It’s a path which can in turn be very difficult, not an easy one. Take the example of any expertise, medical science, engineering or others; you need to give extra effort to gain knowledge. Here it is science of God himself, study about Him and His path, the supreme Knowledge. How can that be such an easy one?
Hardships and pains in life come to all who come to this planet irrespective of who you are. As long as you are human, you’ll have to face them. The more we get over these “Pay-backs” while leading a virtuous life, more chances of our soul getting the freedom from cycles of birth that Lord Krishna tells about in Gita. Fighting back could be tough, but faith can help. The very thought and faith that it is for our own karma that God is making us payback so as to free our souls from sins, can really help. The bitterness and antagonism against Him goes off, it helps in getting over the hardships in a much peaceful manner.