Question: What happens after death?
Answer: In Sanatan Hinduism death is not end of all but a natural process in the existence of a jiva (being). Hinduism believes in the rebirth and reincarnation of a soul. A material body can die but a soul is imperishable. In chapter two of Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna says-
dehino `smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
tatha dehantara- praptir
dhiras tatra na muhyati
“An embodied soul gradually passes in a material body from childhood to youth, and then to old age. Similarly, the soul passes into another material body after the death of former one.”[Bhagavad-gita 2.13]
In the same chapter of Bhagavad-gita Lord also says-
vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya navani
grhnati naro `parani tatha sarirani
vihaya jirnany anyani samyati
“As a person wears a new dress giving up an old one, similarly a soul passes into a new material body leaving an old one.” [Bhagavad-gita 2.22]
Hence one can be bewildered about the future of an animal’s soul. Actually it depends on ‘Karma’ (action). In Hinduism the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence is viewed as deciding his/her fate in future existence. As per the Manu Smriti [11.240] insects, snakes, moths, bees, birds and beings, bereft of motion attain heaven by the power of austerity.
Here, we can mention a story from the Devi Bhagavatam where a bird named Chakravaka ended up living in the heavens for one whole ‘Kalpa’ by circumambulating the Annapurna temple at Kasi unknowingly. And when the merits expired, it was reborn as a kshatriya king called Vrihadratha.
Question : Who were the parents of human race?