Reincarnation and Mummification

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Hinduism is the  world’s fourth largest religion with seven hundred fifty million  devotees. It was founded in the North of India, 4,000 years ago near the Indus River.  This makes it the oldest exiting religion in the world. 80% of all the modern Indian  population  are followers.  Reincarnation, a belief of “life after death,”  was begun with Hinduism.  They believe that the soul is eternal and lives many life times in one body after another while the  preceding body, or container of the soul, rots or is burned up.    The body may be  human,  animal, or plant.  They believe that any form of of life contains a soul (atman) and thus has a chance  to experience life in different forms. Good deeds or works preformed  means you will move up the cycle  in the next life. Moska is what all are working to attain which is the ultimate release from  samsara (reincarnation).  For more information read my post and watch the video on Veranasi, the holiest Hindu city in the world.

https://talesalongtheway.com/2013/04/02/a-pilgrimage-city-varanasi/

The ancient Egyptian religion also believed in life after death and it was a huge part of  their faith system. It was not a belief in  reincarnation but life after death.  It revolved around the mummification process  perfected to prepare the dead body for the next life.  This belief was so prevalent and strong  that for years there was little invasion of other lands because the soldiers were fearful of dying outside of Egypt.   If they were killed, their  bodies  would not be mummified, thus they would be loosing out on the next life.

The dead must pass the light heart  weighing test. This signified the heart that is not weighed down with evil or sin is light.   See Anubus the jackal headed god weighing the heart which must be lighter than a feather. bookofdead

If this test is passed then there was a ride in the boat of Ra,

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the name must be written down on a cartouche in the coffin  and then the body must be mummified or embalmed as we call it today. images (16)

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There are quite a few steps  in this process, but I am going to just write  about a few of the steps my students always enjoyed.   The priest were the ones who performed these steps at least on the wealthy and the Pharaoh.  The whole process took 70 days.

mummification

Here is a picture showing  the  body’s brain being  pulled out of the nose  with a hook similar to a crochet needle!  Students always remember this fact!  The Egyptians believed that the brain was of no importance and its only job was to produce mucus! Sinus  trouble in ancient Egypt!

These are canopic jars for the internal organs the Egyptians thought were necessary in the after life.  The liver was put in the human head jar, the lungs in the baboon jar, the stomach in the jackal and the falcon held the intestines. The organs are mummified before being put in the jars.

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The heart was left in the body.  The Egyptians thought that the heart was the center of emotion, thought, will , intentions, and the key to the afterlife.

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There are many steps of drying, rubbing oil, praying and chanting and finally using linen strips to wrap the body.

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In the Pharaoh’s tombs, favorite items or  necessities  for the afterlife, are buried in the tomb.  At the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, there is wheat on display that was buried in an Egyptian Tomb thousands of years ago.  The opening of the decease’s mouth is important so he can talk and eat.  Amlets are added to the wrapping and prayers are repeat all throughout  the process.  Lastly, a copy of the Book of the Dead is  buried  which included instructions on how to achieve eternal life.

There is much more to tell and available on the net, if you are interested.  I hope that you found the beginning of some of our burial rituals  and beliefs  such as embalming, cremation ( Hindu), and reincarnation were introduced to the world thousands of years ago by these ancient people and their faith systems.

Images from the Public Domain of Google Images

About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne
This entry was posted in India, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Reincarnation and Mummification

  1. Adeena says:

    Dear Anne, I don’t know if I let a comment to you till now, but I read always with a lot of interest your article, are so interesting and I found many useful information here. Thank you for your work and good luck !
    Warm Regard : Adeena 🙂

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    • annetbell says:

      What a very kind and thoughtful post! I am so glad that you like my blog. I like yours too and am glad of the translation. Americans are so limited in languages…I do speak and read English pretty well! Namaste….Anne

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    • annetbell says:

      What an absolutely lovely comment. Thank you so much. I love your blog as well. Thanks for following and commenting! Namaste. . . .Anne

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  2. Being a good Buddhist (I only wish) I question all that I can. Do you not think that in many ways reincarnation and a belief in the afterlife are one and the same thing. Eastern religions believe that not only can we be reborn on earth but also into the heavens.

    They say that a life in one of the heavens can seem so long that those born as demigods and gods may even believe that they are beyond the system of reincarnation and so make mistakes that will cause them to fall to lower realms. This could be a very good lesson for all of us to learn.

    Even for atheists, a view of reincarnation can be understood, as we are all made up of molecules and sub atomic particles, all of which are recycled whilst we live and when we die. In theory, I contain particles that were once part of a rock from an ancient volcano. Anything that may have consumed part of me, a mosquito or a dust mite, has my particles living on within them.

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    • annetbell says:

      Well, this is now getting really heavy! I am a Christian, I have to admit while doing the research , I was thinking that there are some similarities with Christianity too. At least in the soul continuing to live and there being life after death. But I am not a theologian or a scientist and most assuredly not an atheist. I wrote in one of my posts that I had a religions of the world class years ago in college and felt in India, that I was living it!
      We went to Sarnath on the way to Varanasi. Have you seen it? Great site and museum. That day there were a group of Chinese pilgrims there. Very special. Actually Varansi was quite moving to me. The intensity of the faith…both Hindu and Buddhists.. Have you gone to the far side of the river to where Buddhas’ ashes are reported to be?
      I wrote A Pilgrimage City . . . .. Varanasi in March or April. Also about the Sikhs…nothing about the Buddhists as I remember. The faith systems are very interesting to me. Are your family Buddhists?

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      • I was brought up in a largely non-religious family so found Buddhism and married my Hindu wife.

        I’d love to do Varanasi, it is definitely on my list.

        The ancient Egyptians have some interesting similarities in their beliefs with Christianity and Islam. I never realised that the name Ramses (Ra Moses) meant the messenger of god!

        Interestingly, there is evidence that they also shared ideas with the eastern religions at the time also: http://history-of-hinduism.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/hinduism-and-ancient-egyptian-religion.html

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      • annetbell says:

        Interesting story. My husband is agnostic or atheist. It is easier I think if a person has some beliefs if different than to be faithless. I looked at that site…and it looks very inclusive but I got in the weeds right away. I did write about Faith Systems of Egypt and India on August 9th, but the watered down third grade teacher version! You can look at it if you want.
        You are very educated and articulate. I am wondering your education and where? . Have you traveled?

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      • You boost my ego far too much.

        I am a Biomedical Scientist in Microbiology, working in a London specialist cancer hospital and educated to Masters level in the UK.

        Not too brainy in my opinion, although I do work with doctors and research fellows?

        I am generally interested in science, politics and religion, hence I read a lot about them and why I was not a good all round student.

        Travel wise, I haven’t done too much but have been to northern Central Europe (my neighbourhood), Cuba, Egypt, India (Punjab, Manikaran, Shimla and Delhi) and my wife’s home: Mauritius. I have a long way to travel in the future but can always read if I can not get to the other places on my list.

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      • annetbell says:

        Well, I was guessing a doctor….close. I would say you are a very educated liberal arts person with strong science background. There are so many Indians I have met on the blog who are engineers or student engineers who write lovely prose and have poetry in their hearts. Imaging…wouldn’t find that in the US. Sounds as if you have traveled quite a bit. It gets in your blood! My husband had 2 years towards a PhD in Physics when he switched to architecture.. so he is left brained and strongly right brained as well.

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      • Oh, I’m very British with Scots, Irish, English and Jewish ancestry. It just happens that I’m an Indophile.

        I once got a Gujurati friend told off by her parents because she had gone home and told them that a Gaura (white man) had taught her about her own religion.

        Like I say, if it interests me then I shall learn about it. Sadly, if it doesn’t then I do not, hence I do not know nearly enough biochemical pathways (boring).

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      • annetbell says:

        Sorry to assume. . . It is sad you have to do a job each day you don ‘t like! Why did you major in it if it isn’t a passion? Parental pressure? I am English, and Scott’s Irish , too! With your pedigree you should be an American! Late there now!

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      • Not at all. I’m sometimes told that I’m more Indian than English. I majored in Microbiology, which is my first love, but as part of the Under Grad Degree I had to study Biochemistry as well, which is the majorly boring part.

        If it wasn’t for the massively Indian influences I could probably make a half decent American, especially with the Jewish mix as well.

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      • annetbell says:

        Hey you would be great. We are the tossed salad of the world! Lots of great Indians here.

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      • Maybe science will take me there one day; there are some great Microbiology jobs advertised.

        I might bump in to Mindy Kaling if I’m lucky.

        I’ll keep looking at your blog, great speaking with you today.

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      • annetbell says:

        I have no idea who Mindy Kaling is!!!
        You are name dropping!!!

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      • She’s a crazy comedic actress who appeared in the Office and has her own show on Fox called the Mindy Project.

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      • annetbell says:

        OK, will check her out. I do know the office. This was fun. Thank you!

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      • I must add that you are a prolific writer and wager that you are a prolific reader also. That is a nice article.

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      • annetbell says:

        Well, I think of myself as a story teller not much as a writer..but thanks. I have to admit I am addicting to blogging. I am just thankful to have something I really enjoy to do that is meaningful.. I retired to be able to go to India and I am so glad I did. It was wonderful. I am happy that people are reading my words and stories. I loved teaching children to write and now I am doing it too! I do like to read. If you like books on India…. The White Tiger…not the happy peasant story for sure! thanks so much for the visit! Namaste. . ..Anne

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  3. Annet, this is a very good article on reincarnation and the Ancient Egyptian method of mummification. This article rings true with me personally, as I’m a Hindu but also studied old Egyptian history in school and found it very fascinating. A very nice way of combining the two ancient religious elements. Still can’t get the brain-through-the-nostril thing out of my head though *No pun intended* lol

    Vijay

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  4. annetbell says:

    Reblogged this on TalesAlongTheWay and commented:

    Another history lesson from two of my favorite places. . . . Egypt and India !

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  5. jmsabbagh says:

    Amazing perspective about the Egyptian civilization.Thank you so much for following my blog.Looking forward to read your new posts.Best regards.Jaalal

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  6. Gypsy Bev says:

    Religions hold so many similarities as well as different approaches to the same issue. As we study different religions, it seems we have to decide for ourselves what rings true. I’m not one for doing what someone says in the name of religion. I do believe the soul lives on and reincarnation is a most likely possibility. But I don’t believe it all happens here in the earthly realm…there is a vast Universe out there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • annetbell says:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Gypsy Bev. We are all on a spiritual journey in this life as we make choices. Both Christianity and Hinduism believer that we do continue past death. Hindus believe in reincarnation with eventual heavenly rest if they earn it and Christianity believe in heaven or hell where souls resides. determined by faith in Christ or not. With the coming and going of seasons, sun rising again each day, and the seasons all repeating makes that seem reasonable. Trees appear to die in the fall, and then be reborn in the spring. Peace!

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  7. Nice post. You can say i am hindiu.. i believe the soul is immortal. But i dont believe we are reborn into the animal kingdom. A tomatoe seed will wlways be a tomatoe plant nothing else. Therefore a human soul (aka seed of human) will always be human how can it be anythung else and that aligns with karma.

    I learnt this at thexraja yoga course taught by the brahma kumaris

    Nice post explaining the beliefs.. intetesting

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  8. Pingback: “Departures” The 2009 Japanese Best Foreign Film | TalesAlongTheWay

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