<CENTER>Philosophical Concepts </CENTER><CENTER>Soul (Atma) </CENTER>The true soul is beyond the mind and does not function through thought. It envisions things but as an unfoldment of the heart, not a structure of thought. The goal of the soul in evolution is merging into the divine of the inner Self. This brings about freedom from cycle of rebirth. To see our Self in all beings and all beings in our Self is the essence of life. Each soul has to grow for itself and must be free to gain the experiences it needs. Any soul can turn around and move to the truth. Liberation from the world is not abandoning the world but merging into the world and beyond, becoming the all. This state has been called nirvana, kaivalya, mukti, moksha etc.. <CENTER>Karma </CENTER>Word Karma denotes an action that brings back results in this life or in the future life. The doctrine of karma (karmavada) is based upon the theory of cause and effect. According to this doctrine, God is not responsible for the pleasure or pain of His creatures. They suffer or enjoy owing to the consequences of their own bad or good deeds. Stored up karmic forces from past lives is called sanchita karma. When the karmic forces mature and starts acting on the mind and body, it is called prarabdha karma. Any action done in this life or its effect is called kriyamana karma or agami karma. Karma as a spiritual law, is not adjusted according to our various and conflicting definitions of success and failure. From an inner standpoint, the soul's happiness is often the suffering of the ego and the happiness of the ego is often the suffering of the soul. Ultimately we must go beyond all karma, good or evil. The greatest virtue does not seek to change the world or improve us but to rest in harmony with the peace of what is. <CENTER>Liberation (Mukti) </CENTER>Liberation is the highest goal of human life through which everything is accomplished. This liberation also called nirvana, kaivalya, mukti, moksha, can be brought about only through Self knowledge. All life is an experience to provide us with Self knowledge. To see ourselves in all beings and all beings in ourselves is the essence of life, hence from the highest standpoint, there is no birth and no death, no one who is born and no one who dies, there is only the unborn, perfect and infinite Self nature, beyond all limitations and possessed of all powers of Self manifestations. Liberation is beyond all states of body and mind and not limited by them. It is everything and nothing, everyone and no one. A liberated soul possesses divine qualities such as purity, omnipresence, omnipotence, and is beyond limitations. Moksha is attained when the individual becomes liberated from the cycle of birth and death. <CENTER>Sacred Symbol AUM (or OM) </CENTER>The most sacred symbol in Hindu dharma. Aum (OM) is the sound of the infinite. Aum is said to be the essence of all mantras, the highest of all matras or divine word (shabda), brahman (ultimate reality) itself. Aum is said to be the essence of the Vedas. <CENTER>Predestination in Hindu Philosophy </CENTER>According to the doctrine of predestination, every event in the life of an individual has already been determined by God -everything happens only according to God's will. Individuals do not have any control over events. In the light of the doctrine of predestination the doctrine of karma cannot be accepted as a valid doctrine and vice versa. Hindu dharma however, accepts both the doctrines as valid. The doctrine of karma is valid for a person who has the sense of agency or doership. Such a person holds himself responsible for his actions, whether good or bad. But through intense spiritual practice a spiritual aspirant's mind can be made to acquire higher and higher degree of purity. At a certain high level of mental purity the spiritual aspirant completely loses his sense of agency. He feels that he is only an instrument in the hands of God. At this high level of spirituality the doctrine of predestination becomes the only valid doctrine. <CENTER>Reincarnation (Rebirth) </CENTER>The true reincarnating entity is the causal body, wherein our karmic impressions are stored. There is not a simple correspondence of one soul or causal body or physical body. It is possible for one soul to take more than one birth at the same time, either high or low. Less evolved souls may only experience a prolonged deep sleep between incarnations. These usually incarnate into the same location on earth and seek a similar life experience. Very advanced souls may enter into a deep meditative trance and may reincarnate quickly. Souls of intermediate development may spend much time on the different levels of the astral planes to assimilate their life experience. "Why does a person reincarnate?" Hindu dharma says that the unfulfilled desires of departed people are primarily responsible for their rebirth. To understand this position, one should know about Hindu dharma's views on death and thereafter. <CENTER>Death and Lokas </CENTER>According to Hindu dharma, when a person dies, his gross physical body (physical body) is left behind and the soul with the subtle body (consisting of the mind, intellect, sense organs, motor organs, and vital energies) goes to a different plane of existence. Such a plane of existence is called "loka" in Sanskrit.