Hindu philosophy does not accept the scientific concept that death is the cessation of the individual. It proclaims that the soul with its innate spark of divinity continues or may continue its onward journey even after the demise of one’s physical body. The soul is thought to be wrapped in layers of karma or samskara (impressions of past actions) which continue to accumulate or diminish as we pass from one birth to another.
The soul in itself is pure, sublime, and without any attribute. It wears these diverse garbs (of samskara) which makes each one of us look different, act in a different manner and experience different destinies. The cycles of births compel the individual soul to travel through different paths in each birth. Thus, with each rebirth, it accumulates or works on varied experiences, both good and bad.
The eternal urge of the soul is to attain the supreme liberation and it tries to evolve from the lower to the higher states of consciousness, just as a student is promoted from the kindergarten to the university levels. The course of this journey of the soul also involves the play of the free will (purushakara), predestination (prarabdha) and divine grace. These ongoing cycles of reincarnation continue until the soul is completely stripped of all the adhering layers of karma. It finally merges with Brahman or Paramatman to become one with the unlimited powerhouse of bliss, and achieves the eternal oneness and immortality.
Source – Vedanta Kesari March 2016 Editorial