What is reincarnation?
"jagbir singh" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue Nov 23, 2004 3:47 pm
Subject: Re: What is reincarnation?
> Let us find out what you mean by reincarnation-the
truth of it,
> not what you like to believe, not what someone has
told you, or
> what your teacher has said. Surely, it is the truth
> liberates, not your own conclusion, your own
opinion.... When you
> say, "I shall be reborn," you must know what the 'I'
is. ... Is
> the 'I' a spiritual entity, is the 'I' something
> the 'I' something independent of memory, experience,
> Either the 'I' is a spiritual entity, or it is merely
> process. Either it is something out of time which we
> spiritual, not measurable in terms of time, or it is
> field of time, the field of memory, thought. It cannot
> something else. Let us find out if it is beyond the
> time. I hope you are following all this.
> Let us find out if the 'I' is in essence something
> by "spiritual" we mean, do we not, something not
capable of being
> conditioned, something that is not the projection of
> mind, something that is not within the field of
> that does not die. When we talk of a spiritual entity,
we mean by
> that something which is not within the field of the
> obviously. Now, is the 'I' such a spiritual entity? If
it is a
> spiritual entity, it must be beyond all time;
therefore it cannot
> be reborn or continued. ...That which has continuity
> renew itself. As long as thought continues through
> desire, through experience, it can never renew itself;
> that which is continued cannot know the real.
The Science of Reincarnation
Reincarnation in Judaism, Christianity, Islam
Hints of reincarnation are also common in the history of
early Christianity. Information about past and future
lives is found
throughout the Cabala, which according to many Hebraic
represents the hidden wisdom behind the scriptures. In
one of the principal Cabalistic texts, it is said, "The
reenter the absolute substance whence they have emerged.
accomplish this, they must develop all the perfections,
the germ of
which is planted in them; and if they have not fulfilled
condition during one life, they must commence another, a
so forth, until they have acquired the condition which
fits them for
reunion with God." According to the Universal Jewish
the Hasidic Jews hold similar beliefs.
In the third century A.D., the theologian Origen, one of
of the early Christian Church, and its most accomplished
scholar, wrote, "By some inclination toward evil,
certain souls ...
come into bodies, first of men; then through their
the irrational passions, after the allotted span of
human life, they
are changed into beasts, from which they sink to the
plants. From this condition they rise again through the
and are restored to their heavenly place."
There are many passages in the Bible itself indicating
and his followers were aware of the principle of
Once, the disciples of Jesus asked him about the Old
prophecy that Elias would reappear on earth. In the
Gospel of St.
Matthew we read, "And Jesus answered them, Elias shall
come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that
Elias is come
already, and they knew him not. Then the disciples
he spake unto them of John the Baptist." In other words,
declared that John the Baptist, who was beheaded by
Herod, was a
reincarnation of the prophet Elias. In another instance,
his disciples came across a man blind from birth. The
asked Jesus, "Who did sin, this man, or his parents,
that he was
born blind?" Regardless who had sinned, Jesus replied,
here was a
chance to show a work of God. He then cured the man.
Now, had the
man been born blind for a sin of his own, it must have
been a sin
done before his birth—that is, in a previous life. And
this was a
suggestion that Jesus did not dispute.
The Koran says, "And you were dead, and He brought you
back to life.
And He shall cause you to die, and shall bring you back
to life, and
in the end shall gather you unto Himself." Among the
Islam, the Sufis especially believe that death is no
loss, for the
immortal soul continually passes through different
bodies. Jalalu 'D-
Din Rumi, a famous Sufi poet, writes,
I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as a plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
The timeless Vedic scriptures of India confirm that the
according to its identification with material nature,
takes one of
8,400,000 forms and, once embodied in a certain species
evolves automatically from lower to higher forms,
attaining a human body.
Thus, all of the major Western religions—Judaism,
and Islam—have definite threads of reincarnation
fabric of their teachings, even though the official
dogma ignore or deny them.
The Quest for Immortality
We were behaving like we were going to live forever,
which is what
everyone thought in the Beatles days, right? I mean,
we were going to die? (Paul McCartney)
If you want to gain real control over your destiny, you
understand reincarnation and how it works. It's that
No one wants to die. Most of us would like to live
forever in full
vigor, without wrinkles, gray hair, or arthritis. This
because the first and most basic principle of life is to
we could only enjoy life forever!
Man's eternal quest for immortality is so fundamental
that we find
it nearly impossible to conceive of dying. Pulitzer
William Saroyan (author of The Human Comedy) echoed the
most people when, in the days just prior to his death,
to the media, "Everybody has got to die, but I have
an exception would be made in my case. Now what?"
Most of us seldom, if ever, think about death or what
afterward. Some say that death is the end of everything.
believe in heaven and hell. Still others hold that this
life is only
one of many we have lived and will live in the future.
And more than
one third of the world's population—over 1.5 billion
people—accept reincarnation as an irrevocable fact of
Reincarnation is not a "belief system," or a
for escaping the "grim finality" of death, but a precise
that explains our past and future lives. Many books have
written on the subject, usually based on hypnotic
death experiences, accounts of out-of-body experiences,
But most reincarnation literature is poorly informed,
speculative, superficial, and inconclusive. Some books
document cases of people who, under hypnosis, have been
previous lifetimes. They describe in detail houses they
streets they walked on, parks they frequented as
children, and the
names of their former parents, friends, and relatives.
makes for interesting reading, and while such books have
stimulated the ever widening public interest and belief
reincarnation, careful investigations have revealed that
these so-called past-life regression cases are rife with
inaccuracies, and even fraud.
But most importantly, none of these popular works
fundamental facts about reincarnation, like the simple
which the soul eternally transmigrates from one material
another. In rare instances when basic principles are
authors generally present their own theories about how
and in which
particular cases reincarnation occurs, as if some
special or gifted
living beings reincarnate and others do not. This type
presentation does not deal with the science of
introduces, instead, a confusing array of fabrications
contradictions, leaving the reader with scores of
For example: Does one reincarnate instantaneously or
slowly, over a
long period of time? Can other living beings, like
reincarnate in human bodies? Can man appear as an
animal? If so, how
and why? Do we reincarnate forever, or does it end
the soul suffer perpetually in hell or enjoy forever in
we control our future incarnations? How? Can we be
reborn on other
planets or in other universes? Do good and evil actions
play a role
in determining our next body? What is the relationship
Coming Back fully answers these questions, because it
explains the true nature of reincarnation. Finally, this
provides the reader with practical instructions on how
to come to
grips with and rise above the mysterious and generally
phenomenon of reincarnation—a reality that plays a vital
shaping man's destiny.
The Mystery of Consciousness
Death. Man's most mysterious, relentless, and inevitable
Does death mean the end of life, or does it merely open
the door to
another life, another dimension, or another world?
If man's consciousness survives the death experience,
determines its transition to new realities?
In order to gain a clear understanding of these
mysteries, man has
traditionally turned to enlightened philosophers,
teachings as representative of a higher truth.
Some criticize this method of acquiring knowledge from a
authority, no matter how carefully the seeker may
analyze it. Social
philosopher E. F. Schumacher, author of Small Is
that in our modern society, when people are out of touch
and traditional wisdom, they "consider it fashionable to
and only believe in what they see and touch and
measure." Or, as the
saying goes, "Seeing is believing."
But when man endeavors to understand something beyond
the scope of
the material senses, beyond instruments of measurement
faculty of mental speculation, then there is no
alternative but to
approach a higher source of knowledge.
No scientist has successfully explained through
investigations the mystery of consciousness or its
the destruction of the material body. Research in this
produced many divergent theories, but their limitations
The systematic principles of reincarnation, on the other
comprehensively explain the subtle laws governing our
and future lives.
If one is to understand reincarnation at all, he must
the fundamental concept of consciousness as an energy
and superior to the matter composing the physical body.
principle is supported by examination of the unique
feeling, and willing capacities of the human being. Can
or other genetic components possibly induce the feelings
of love and
respect one person has for another? What atom or
responsible for the subtle artistic nuances in
or Bach's "Mass in B Minor"? Man and his infinite
cannot be explained by mere atoms and molecules.
father of modern physics, admitted that consciousness
could not be
adequately described in terms of physical phenomena. "I
the present fashion of applying the axioms of science to
is not only entirely a mistake, but also has something
in it," the great scientist once said.
Indeed, scientists have failed to explain consciousness
by means of
the physical laws that govern everything else within
Frustrated by this failing, Nobel laureate in physiology
medicine Albert Szent-Gyorgyi recently lamented, "In my
the secret of life, I ended up with atoms and electrons,
no life at all. Somewhere along the line, life has run
my fingers. So, in my old age, I am now retracing my
Accepting the notion that consciousness arises from
interaction requires an enormous leap of faith, much
that required for a metaphysical explanation. As Thomas
well-known biologist, said, "It seems to me pretty plain
is a third thing in the universe, to wit, consciousness
cannot see to be matter or force or any conceivable
Further recognition of the unique properties of
given by Nobel laureate in physics Niels Bohr, who
remarked, "We can
admittedly find nothing in physics or chemistry that has
remote bearing on consciousness. Yet all of us know
there is such a
thing as consciousness, simply because we have it
consciousness must be part of nature, or, more
reality, which means that quite apart from the laws of
chemistry, as laid down in quantum theory, we must also
laws of quite a different kind." Such laws might well
laws of reincarnation, which govern the passage of
from one physical body into another.
To begin understanding these laws, we may note that
not an alien, antipodal event, but one that occurs with
in our own bodies during this very lifetime. In The
Professor John Pfeiffer notes, "Your body does not
contain a single
one of the molecules that it contained seven years ago."
years one's old body is completely rejuvenated. The
our real identity, remains unchanged. Our bodies grow
to youth, to middle age, and then to old age, yet the
the body, the "I," always remains the same.
Reincarnation—based on the principle of a conscious self
independent of its physical body—is part of a
governing the living being's transmigration from one
to another. Since reincarnation deals with our most
selves, it is a subject of the utmost relevance to
Coming Back explains the fundamentals of reincarnation
the timeless Vedic text Bhagavad-gita. The Gita,
thousands of years
older than the Dead Sea Scrolls, provides the most
explanation of reincarnation available anywhere. It has
for millennia by many of the world's greatest thinkers,
spiritual knowledge is eternally true and does not
change with each
new scientific theory, it is still relevant today.
Harvard biophysicist D. P. Dupey writes, "We may lead
a blind alley by adhering dogmatically to the assumption
can be explained entirely by what we know of the laws of
remaining open to the ideas embodied in the Vedic
India, modern scientists can see their own disciplines
from a new
perspective and further the aim of all scientific
search for truth."
In this age of global uncertainty, it is imperative that
understand the real origin of our conscious selves, how
ourselves in different bodies and conditions of life,
and what our
destinations will be at the time of death. This
information is comprehensively explained in Coming Back.
Chapter One shows how reincarnation has profoundly
of the world's greatest philosophers, poets, and
Socrates to Salinger. Next, the process of reincarnation
expounded in Bhagavad-gita, the oldest and most
respected sourcebook on the subject of transmigration of
the soul, is presented.
Chapter Two, a lively dialogue between His Divine Grace
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and noted religious
Professor Karlfried Graf von Durckheim, clearly shows
material body and the antimaterial particle, the spirit
never be the same. In Chapter Three, a famous heart
systematic research into the soul, and Srila Prabhupada
Vedic version, thousands of years older and strikingly
informative than modern medical science. Three
narratives from the Vedic text Srimad Bhagavatam
Four. These accounts stand as classic examples of how
transmigrates through different types of bodies under
the control of
the precise laws of nature and karma.
In Chapter Five, excerpts from the writings of Srila
clearly demonstrate that the principles of reincarnation
easily understood in terms of ordinary events and common
observations that regularly occur in our daily lives.
chapter describes how reincarnation embodies a universal
infallible system of justice, wherein the soul is never
eternal damnation but is constitutionally endowed with a
opportunity to escape the perpetual cycle of birth and
Common misconceptions and chic notions about
reincarnation form the
subject of Chapter Seven, and the concluding chapter,
Samsara: End the Cycle of Birth and Death," presents the
through which the soul can transcend reincarnation and
in which it is finally freed from the prison of the
Having once achieved this status, the soul never again
this endlessly mutable world of birth, disease, old age,
The Science of Reincarnation
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