The idea of the souls of men passing at death to the stars, the blessedness of their particular sphere being assigned them according to their deserts (the metempsychosis of J.
He was credited with having originated the doctrine of metempsychosis, while Cicero and Augustine assert that he was the first to teach the immortality of the soul.
The doctrine of metempsychosis seems to have been familiar in early Ireland.
They are said to have had a firm belief in the immortality of the soul and in metempsychosis, a fact which led several ancient writers to conclude that they had been influenced by the teaching of the Greek philosopher Pythagoras.
It would even seem to be necessarily and naturally implied in Brahmanical belief in metempsychosis; whilst in the doctrine of Buddha, who admits no soul, the theory of the net result or fruit of a man's actions serving hereafter to form or condition the existence of some new individual who will have no conscious identity with himself, seems of a peculiarly artificial and mystic character.
At the same time, in judging the apparently inhuman way in which the Sudras were treated in the caste rules, one has always to bear in mind the fact that the belief in metempsychosis was already universal at the time, and seemed to afford the only rational explanation of the apparent injustice involved in the unequal distribution of the good things in this world; and that, if the Sudra was strictly excluded from the religious rites and beliefs of the superior classes, this exclusion in no way involved the question of his ultimate emancipation and his union with the Infinite Spirit, which were as certain in his case as in that of any other sentient being.
The number of human beings admits neither of increase nor of decrease, and a regular process of metempsychosis goes on continually.