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On Hinduism$
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Wendy Doniger

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199360079

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199360079.001.0001

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Forgetting and Re-Awakening to Incarnation 1

Forgetting and Re-Awakening to Incarnation 1

Chapter:
(p.107) Forgetting and Re-Awakening to Incarnation1
Source:
On Hinduism
Author(s):

Wendy Doniger

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199360079.003.0008

This chapter examines incarnation and reincarnation in Hinduism, first by discussing karma and memory and the unconscious memories of past lives known as the vasanas. It then considers a story about reincarnation in the Sanskrit text Yogavasishtha involving a monk who dreams he is the god Rudra, a form of the god Shiva. It also looks at the incarnations (or avatars) of the god Vishnu, particularly Rama and Krishna, who have a more particular awareness of their own divinity but tend to forget their divine natures.

Keywords:   incarnation, reincarnation, Hinduism, karma, memory, vasanas, Yogavasishtha, Shiva, Vishnu, divinity

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