According to the teaching of Vedanta a jiva soul or the living being (jivatma) has never been created, and that is because a jiva exists eternally throughout all the phases of time, namely past, present and future. That means that there were no creation of a jiva soul (jivatma) anytime in the past. And that practically means that a jiva existed since infinite time in the past.
Now, some Hindus believe that the jivas living in this material world has been living here since infinite time in the past, thus being repeatedly born lifetime after lifetime infinite number of times so far, or to say that in other words they believe in infinite number of rebirths for jivas who live in this material world in the beginningless samsara. Thus they believe that samsara (repeated births and deaths) for the jivas has no beginning, ie it is beginningless, and thus they believe that there is no the first birth of a jiva in the material world.
However, there are Hindus who believe that there really is the first birth of a jiva in this material world, and thus they do not believe in infinite number of rebirths since infinite past, and thus they do not believe in beginningless samsara.

What does Hindu scripture have to say about this subject? Please provide specific scriptural statements to support your answer.

  • 1
    @KeshavSrinivasan Ok, thanks for that. As I can see you are one of the jivas stuck in this material world who is editing my question. :) Jan 7, 2017 at 21:51
  • Haha... By the way, I don't think you mean "they do not believe in infinite number of rebirths since infinite past". Because didn't you tell me that you believe that the Jiva has had an infinite number of past births, but those infinite births take place in Vaikuntha rather than in the material Lokas? Jan 7, 2017 at 22:38
  • @KeshavSrinivasan How do you mean that? No one has a rebirth in the Vaikuntha. I never said that in Vaikuntha there is a rebirth. A rebirth or samsara is possible only in the material nature, in the material realm of existence. Jan 7, 2017 at 22:49
  • 1
    I agree atman the spirit always existed. But births on this material world, innumerable forms are NOT infinite. We have done past life regression on many people. Some of them were regressed to first life
    – tekkk
    Jan 8, 2017 at 0:36
  • 2
    If one can consciously able to concentrate and feel the paramathman inside in the root of heart chakra, one would be able to feel all the past lives.I could myself able to regress to 3 conscious past life , while being awake.I also did verify the past life events physically.
    – tekkk
    Jan 8, 2017 at 4:27

1 Answer 1


First you make the statement that - "However, there are Hindus who believe that there really is the first birth of a jiva in this material world, and thus they do not believe in infinite number of rebirths since infinite past, and thus they do not believe in beginningless samsara." - I am not aware of any scripture that supports this statement of yours. Any Hindu that has this 'belief' is not orthodox as it is not supported by scripture.

Krishna says in the Gita (II.12) Swami Nikhilananda translator:

Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor these kings of men. Never will there be a time hereafter when any of us shall cease to be.

And in Brahma Sutras 2.1.35 (Swami Vireswarananda translator):

If it be said (that is) not (possible) for want of any distinction in work (before creation), (we say) no, because of (the world) being without a beginning.

and Sankara's commentary on this verse:

Since before the first creation the individual soul [jiva] cannot possibly have had a previous existence, whence comes the difference in the condition of beings in that first creation, unless the Lord has caused it out of His partiality? the objection is answered by the Sutra, which says that creation is without a beginning and the question of first creation cannot arise. It is like a seed and its sprout. So the individual soul, should have always had a previous existence and done good or bad deeds in accordance with which their lot in a subsequent creation is ordained by the Lord.

And Ramauja's commentary on this verse from his Sri-Bhasya (Swami Vireswarananda translator):

Before creation there was Brahman alone and noting else existed; there were no individual souls and so there was no Karma to justify the inequality in creation. That there were no souls before creation is declared by the scriptures: 'In the beginning, dear boy, there was this Being alone, one only' etc. (Cha. VI. ii. 1). The Sutra refutes this and says 'No'; for the souls and their Karma form an eternal stream which is beginningless. Individual souls are not created but existed even before creation in a very subtle condition almost non-distinguishable from Brahman, and hence the scriptural texts which declare the non-existence of everything but Brahman before creation. What the texts deny is the existence of beings in a gross state with name and form. But the souls did exist in a subtle condition before creation. This is reasonable also for otherwise souls would be punished for acts they did not commit and go without punishment for wrong acts committed by them. That the souls are eternal is also declared by the scriptures: 'All this was then unmanifest. It became manifest only as name and form' (Br. I. iv. 7). As the text talks of mere manifestation in gross form, the souls are eternal and existed before creation also. 'He is the eternal among the eternal' (Sve. VI. 13); 'This unborn, eternal, everlasting ancient One' etc. (Ka. I. ii. 18); 'The conscious sybject and the unconscious object, the master and the dependent are both unborn' (Sve. I. 9). Smriti also declares the same: 'Know that Prakrti and Purusa are both beginningless' (Gita XIII. 19). Moreover, creation also is beginningless, and when the scriptures talk of the beginning of creation they mean only the beginning of a new cycle. This is borne out by texts like, 'The Lord devised the sun and the moon as before' (Rig Veda X. cxc. 3).

So partiality and cruelty cannot be attributed to the Lord.

There are an infinite number of jivas and there is an infinite past and an infinite future. Infinite means infinite, without number.

  • 3
    The OP is referring to Gaudiya Vaishnavas like himself, who believe that the Jiva is eternal, but it spent an infinite amount of time in Vaikuntha and then only started taking births in the material Lokas. So they think the Jiva has existed for all eternity, but it has only had finitely many births in Samsara. Jan 8, 2017 at 7:10
  • 3
    @KeshavSrinivasan So for Gaudiya Vaishnavas, no Moksha exist? Because if they think that even after reaching Vaikuntha, they can come back then what's the purpose of doing austerity to reach there!!
    – Pinakin
    Jan 8, 2017 at 14:49
  • Yes, just as KeshavSrinivasan said we believe (I myself and Gaudiyas) that jivas has lived since infinite past in the eternal brahmaloka "World of Brahman", its the world that some scriptures call Vaikuntha, and then once in the past a jiva soul made a decision to abandon his Lord (Vishnu, Narayana, Krishna), and then that jiva fell down from Vaikuntha to this material world. When that happened he has taken his first birth in this world and samsara started like that. So there is no such a thing called beginningless samsara, but samsara has a beginning and there is the 1st birth in samsara... Jan 8, 2017 at 21:41
  • ... for jiva souls. I wanted to ask this question here just to see what our members believe, and to see what scriptural statements they use to support their believes. So I appreciate your answer, but I cannot agree with that what you're saying I am not aware of any scripture that supports this statement of yours. Any Hindu that has this 'belief' is not orthodox as it is not supported by scripture. Actually that belief is supported in scripture. See above in the comments on my question member sysinit has quoted Bhagavatam verses 4.28.51&f that Gaudiyas interpret to support their beliefs. Jan 8, 2017 at 21:42
  • @ChinmaySarupria Certainly that Gaudiyas believe that moksha exist. From Vaikuntha it is possible to fall down to this material world if one wants to abandon the Lord, but those souls who realised the Lord here in this world of misery reach Vaikuntha again, and they don't want to fall down again because they have learned the lesson. Once when you learn how miserable it is to live in samsara, you don't want to repeat the same mistake again. So there is no fall from Vaikuntha again, for those souls who has learned the lesson. :) Jan 8, 2017 at 22:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .