What happens after death has perplexed man since the day he was able to assure himself of protection and food. And sometimes it seems it is a wrong question to ask. But it has been asked and some theories have been put forward.
Now I am no Murli Manohar Joshi wanting to glorify India's past, but I also dont believe that we should throw the baby out with the water. For, I think, in the past there has been a novel explanation for life and death. The theory of transmigration states that our soul never dies, and after physical death, we just move onto a new body and take another birth.
Though it seems at first to be a bit fantastic but it certainly has certain very appealing features. Adding the theory of Karma, i.e. we reap what we sow. All our good actions and bad are accounted for in a heavenly ledger and at our death, the surplus or deficit is transferred to our next life.
So this can explain such features as why people are born in different backgrounds, with different talents and even with different predispositions. It also explains what happens to us after death. The theory has even been expanded to include animals in its purview. And also it has been broadened to give man a chance of liberation from this endless cycle by moksha. It gives man a reason to be good and also something concrete to hold on to.
Some evidences in its favor are through the experiences of reincarnation which are periodically written about in magazines. Though these have significantly decreased nowadays.
Before trying to criticize this theory, we should bear in mind that on it have worked some of the best minds that India produced in the ancient times. And I do not know of any modifications proposed which might make it better.
But some drawbacks still are that firstly it is a fatalistic theory and it is a theory for the "better" people. For the common man, it leads to an acceptance of his fate and he tends to just do his actions for the fear of becoming a dog in the next birth. While those favored people i.e. the learned, do strive for liberation but it keeps the rest of the society in mostly part knowledge and no confidence in themselves.
Another drawback is more of a violation of the the conservation of numbers. Two thousand years ago, the total world population was 300 million and now it has crossed 6 billion. So where have the surplus souls come from? Ofcourse,this theory might not obey the conservation. But then how can that be explained? Or is this the proof that this theory is wrong? But if it wrong then are there any other good theory around? Or should we just not ask these questions and just live for the day?