When a person dies, some people say “May his/her soul rest in peace” or “RIP” in short. This is based on a belief that a person has only one life. People who say this believe that a person’s soul took birth as a human only for one life. They feel that the soul had not taken form as a human or an animal/plant prior to the current life, and will not take another form as a human or an animal/plant again in the future.
I respect the views of the people who say this based on their religion or for whatever reason they choose to say this. I am just giving my perspective on this topic based on the principles of spirituality.
According to the principles of spirituality, the soul never “rests in peace”. The soul has taken form as a human, an animal, or a plant, prior to the current life and will take another form, as a human, an animal, or a plant, in the future.
Hinduism is one of the spiritual religions of the world. I am quoting from it because of the spiritual principles in this religion.
Lord Shri Krishna has spoken about death in the Bhagavad Gita in the following manner:
वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय नवानि ग्रह्णाति नरो पराणि ।
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णानि अन्यानि संयति नवानि देहि ।।
(vaasaansi jirnani yatha vihaya navani grhnati naro parani |
tatha sharirani vihaya jirnani anyani sanyati navani dehi ||)
[Chapter 2: Shloka number 22]
This means that just as a person takes out the old worn out garments and puts on new clothes, the soul leaves an old, worn out body, and then takes on a new body.
Death is just a transition for the soul from one body to another. The soul leaves one body after it has completed the experience it desired to have in that life and then takes on another form in the future.
Birth and death don’t exist for the soul. It is the body which is born and which dies. The body is created at the time of conception and is destroyed after death. Even the body doesn’t “rest in peace” after death. The body is slowly decomposed and destroyed after the soul has left the body and gone.
The soul can neither be created, nor destroyed. It is indestructible. Lord Shri Krishna has said this about the character of the soul in the Bhagavad Gita:
नैनं छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि नैनं दहति पावकः |
न चैनं क्लेदयन्त्यापो न शोषयति मारुतः ||
(nainam chindanthi shastraani nainam dahati paavakaha |
na chainam kledayanthyaapo na shoshayati maaruthaha || )
[Chapter 2: Shloka number 23]
This means that the soul can neither be cleaved by weapons, nor burnt by fire. Neither can it be wet by water nor can it dried by the wind.
The soul is eternal and immortal. It takes on one form after another in order to get the experiences it desires to have. Once it has completed getting all the experiences it desired to have, it ultimately merges with the source of all creation.
So, in conclusion, according to the principles of spirituality, the statement “Rest in Peace (RIP)” is inaccurate. A better statement could be “May God bless the person’s soul and may their soul have a better life and a better experience in the future”.