Escape From Reincarnation: Guide to Hindu Soul Salvation
Modern day Hinduism equates permanent salvation of the soul with the liberation from its cycle of reincarnation or the series of life, birth, and rebirth. The ways of escaping the cycle of endless rebirths are found in Vedic rituals and the path of knowledge stated in the Upanishads. These rituals are grounded on Vedic tradition, requiring the passing down of the knowledge through the teachings of Vedic priests or Brahmin pandits. Since this was largely centered on the elite social classes, a new school of religious thought emerged to include the lower castes in the pursuit of salvation
This new path to salvation which includes all of Hindu devotees is expressed in the Bhagavad Gita, a non-Vedic text. In both schools of religious thought, devotion to God is the overarching means to achieve permanent salvation or escaping the cycle of reincarnation. If one practices the words of God and lives a life reflective of his words, his soul is saved because he would be avoiding, shortening, or hastening the painful journey of the soul in the afterlife (cycle of birth and rebirth) on its way to being with God.
Most importantly, a Hindu devotee unites with God by preserving himself as a devotee. This he should do by sharing or sacrificing the fruits of his material abundance with God. If he chooses to be selfish of the resources that he acquires in his material life, the cycle of births and rebirths or what is known as reincarnation will continue. Hence, the tradition of Hindu afterlife rests on the thought that reincarnation is the result of selfish action. So, to be unselfish is to escape reincarnation.