Dear readers, I hope you all are having a wonderful week and happy Eid celebrations to my Muslims readers. May the deeper meanings of the festival be revealed in your heart.
Today I’ll like to shed some light on a very interesting topic, one which has left many puzzled on their quest for enlightenment and one which still beats the imagination of a lot of spiritualists today. Irrespective of your caste, faith etc. one will admit that the word reincarnation is one which is neither foreign nor unheard, I presume at least. If for some reason it is new to some of you then a quick definition might help. Reincarnation is the philosophical or religious concept that an aspect of a living being starts a new life in a different physical body or form after each biological death. It is also called rebirth or transmigration, and is a part of the Saṃsāra doctrine of cyclic existence. In simpler words, that we are individual spiritual beings who have bodies, that this is not our first time here and there is a chance of returning here or going elsewhere depending on our actions.
At this point I know skeptics are just like “Oh not again!” well the good news is even science is beginning to accept the principle of reincarnation. Science tries to negate the fact that reincarnation is real for one fact only; it would mean there is a higher power seeing to these events, and for Science that higher power doesn’t exist. I’ll like to give a few scriptural references to substantiate the validity of the principle of reincarnation, however let’s just ask ourselves a few rational questions.
- Two babies are born on the same day, one in a very wealthy family and the other into abject poverty. Why?
- If there is a God wouldn’t it be unfair to just distribute us so unfairly, according to wealth and social status at the time of birth when we should all have equal head start?
- If there is no God then what determines this distribution? Chance, accident? If science would admit that there is no chance.
- If this were our very first time then why so much disparity in our placement?
- If really there is no God and this life is our first and last, and you don’t believe in reincarnation and God, then it’s all good and fine, however if there is a God and there is reincarnation and you don’t believe in either don’t you think it would be the biggest mistake ever?
- How would you explain cases of kids born and even at an age where they have no formal education yet, they begin to exhibit amazing talents, e.g music legends like Mozart, who composed symphonies as a kid that many Music professors had a hard time comprehending?
- How would you explain numerous cases of déjà vu, revenant, and cases of people who recall places where they lived before, centuries ago with exact time, place and events, all verified?
It is interesting to note that often times; science lacks the explanation for many questions and tries to avoid them by putting forward many theories and hypothesis ad inifinitum. I remember as kids in Elementary and even up to High School, I was taught that there were only 9 planets (even though I knew otherwise thanks to my upbringing with the Vedas), recently I was speaking with a young lad and lo and behold he says “Science says there are more than 9 planets now”. Years ago if anyone had said (and practitioner of gaudiya vaisnavism, do say and keep saying) that there are more than 9 planets, he/she would have been seen as a heretic that is anti-science.
Without straying too much off-course, the principle of reincarnation is one that stares at us so much in the face that we can’t refuse to not acknowledge it. Ancient scriptures like the Bible give several references of reincarnation or even reincarnated beings. Elijah is one good example. The Bhagavad gita also makes it clear that just as one passes from childhood to boyhood to manhood to old age and finally death, similarly the soul changes bodies. A sober person doesn’t lament for these changes knowing them to be temporary. This is to give an insight about the fact of reincarnation. In this life we may be privileged to have Human bodies, however if we abuse this and lead lives which are centered around eating, sleeping mating and defending ( the four tenets of animal life) then we might be made to have a body that is suitable for such activities in our next life. Similarly if we focus on higher values and inquire more about the real self then we can also become recipients of higher bodies in our next lifetime.
So one pertinent question one might ask is, so what is the basis for our “coming and going”? Well karma, the results of our various actions. In Physics Newton’s Law states that there is an equal and opposite reaction to every action, similarly every pious and impious activity carried out by the living entity in this material world has an equal reaction waiting. Thus if we spend our time here on this planet indulging in the four animal propensities or tenets, then we shouldn’t expect much in our next life time. To whom much is given, much is expected. If we have been given the Human form of life it is definitely for us to use our fine intellect which is so-called superior to those of lower animals. If we fail to do this we are no better than the four legged animals.
There are 8,400,000 species of life and it is possible for the living entity to be born in any one of them depending on his desires and actions. Someone is inclined to a lot of meat eating, maybe his next body will be that of a Tiger, where there is a natural arrangement for meat eating without cooking, knives etc. someone else has the desire to enjoy in the higher planetary systems, he gets a body suitable to be on other higher planets without sputniks and oxygen masks and can enjoy there. However once such credits expire, he or she is forced to again take birth in this material world, just like when one exceeds a visa he or she is required to return to their origin.
In conclusion, the principle of reincarnation is one which is definitely too vast to cover in a single dissertation, this is just a pointer and I’ll gladly welcome questions that will help us divulge this topic further. Kindly do share this among family and friends and I hope to bring more interesting topics as we go on. Till next week.