Is death end of life? Does our existence also vanish when the physical body perishes? Whether the process of life keeps floating even after physical death? Such questions do arise in everyone’s mind at some point of time or the other. In this context, the materialistic thinkers like Charvak cherished only one ideology. They gave single answer to life and death related questions – “So long as you live; eat, drink and be merry, even if you have to borrow to live lavishly. This physical body will invariably b consigned to ashes one day. Who has seen rebirth?”
But, is it fair to cherish such a superficial view of life? Is our life a story of one birth only? Such an incorrect and cynical view is entertained only by those, whose mental faculties are confined to mortal body. Such people think that the validation of life lies only in sailing through the endless or streams of desires. Such narrow mind-set goes on to establish or sow seeds of immoral and shallow ideologies in society. The Maya-ridden people, under the sway of illusionary existence, try to validate their philosophies through many reasoning. One of the biggest arguments put forth is that if the principle of reincarnation is indisputable, why then we do not remember our previous births? But, this argument in itself is highly frivolous. Just peep into your own memory-bank. Can you recall what you had in your dinner 10-12 days ago? What was the colour of the dress you had worn 15 days ago? Each of us would frankly admit that we do not remember. If we cannot recall events that took place a few days ago, then what to say about previous births in remote past? Moreover, if you do not remember some incidents of your life, in that case, would you say that you did not pass through that phase of your life? Likewise, on the analogy of memory-loss of previous births, it is not logical to deny or negate the concept of past births. This baseless logic cannot oppose immutable and inviolable doctrine of re-incarnation.
But the Almighty Lord is well aware of the persistently nagging intelligence and doubting nature of humans. That is why He has presented many irrevocable and irrefragable examples before us. There have been many people who could establish and demonstrate memory of their previous births in their present life. For example, it is said about Pythagoras, a Greek philosopher that he remembered his previous births. An American general named George Patton, a famous warrior of World War II, shared with people his experiences of six previous births. In all these births, he worked in army. Whatever people told about their previous births was not merely a concoction. After intensive research, scientists have found every such narration to be true. In this regard, research findings of Dr. Stevenson, Chairman of Virginia University are worth mentioning. He has compiled about two thousand incidents of past births from all over the world. All these evidences are well experimented. With these documented evidences, there should not remain any doubt in the minds of the followers of science about reincarnation.
Research findings of modern psychology too prove the principle of re-incarnation. Many of its findings are based on “Regression Therapy”. This therapy uses hypnosis in which the patient is hypnotised and made to access the memory bank of his previous births. In the process, the incidents of his previous births surface from the depths of his unconscious mind. This helps in finding out the root causes of his ailment. Thus, even the psychiatrists have begun to accept that countless impressions of previous births are stored in subconscious mind of man.
The research work and analysis which is done by modern science through regression therapy today, it has been in practice since ancient times in India and is carried out with great ease by spiritualists through eternal instrument of spiritual science. For them, to discover the mystery of previous births is a left-hand play. For example, in the Uttarkand section of Ramcharitmanas, Kakbhushundi ji narrates to Garud the story of his previous births. In the same epic, there is a mention of Ma Parvati, the past incarnation of Ma Sati, consort of Lord Shiva. In Shrimad Bhagvat, there is a description about rebirth of King Jadbharat in the specie of a deer. Besides this, almost everyone is well versed with the insightful Shloka of the Holy Gita – Vaasaansi jeernaani Yathaa vihaaye – “Just as man discards old clothes and puts on a new one, even so, the ever pure spirit, and the soul abnegates old body and takes on a new one.” Don’t these scriptural mandates and descriptions clearly validate the theory of rebirth? The monolithic truth can also be found in the holy words of Mahatma Buddha. He often used to say – “you have experienced death umpteen times. If the bones of your previous births are collected, it can take the shape of a big mountain. Likewise, if one collects the tears that trickled from your eyes in previous births, it will become a big pond.” It is often observed that the followers of Christianity do not subscribe to the principle of re-incarnation. But the Holy Bible itself provides evidence of this principle. Pointing towards John, the Baptist, Jesus says the following soulful words – “And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.” (Mathew – XI – 14, 15) It clearly means that in the previous birth John was Elias. Is this assertion not acceptance of the principle of Reincarnation?
We need to accept the principle of reincarnation from every view point, be it scientific, psychological, scriptural, or even practical point of view of life. If this is not done, there are many questions which would remain unanswered. For instance – why one person is born in a rich family, while the other is forced to take birth in a poor family? In reply to this question, if we apply the commonly held view – “As you sow, so shall you reap.” Then other question arises – Why does an infant go through so much pain? If there is no rebirth, then in return of which deed does it suffer? Still another point of deliberation is – Why some people are the owners of merit and remarkable qualities since their childhood? For example, John Stuart started writing the history of Rome at the tender age of six. How could Pascal write 32 chapters of Euclid in his childhood without any help? Mozart devised a musical instrument at the age of four, conducted a concert at the age of five, and the age of seven he even scripted a popular musical drama! From where did these young ones bring such startling merits? One cannot simply categorise these examples as mere coincidences. Scientists credit such rare talents to heredity and circumstances. But this again proves to be an incorrect analysis. Because, it has been seen that the parents of these children and the circumstances afforded by them were quite ordinary. Thus, the linkage of their exceptional talents has to be somewhere to their previous births. The entire analysis we have done so far can be summarised in the words of Vinobha Bhave – “Scriptural sayings, experiences and estimations confirm and affirm that re-incarnation does happen.”
After the entire discussion, a question arises as to what is the purpose of proving the existence of principle of re-incarnation? What is the objective behind proving this concept? The sole objective is to bring home the home the point of immeasurable significance i.e. “We should not remain confined to fulfilling our physical needs. We should necessarily march on the path of our spiritual welfare.” Assuming this life to be everything, we should not embrace the principle of materialistic like Charvak who imprudently say – eat, drink and make merry. This is because, no doubt, this body is perishable; but the energising force within it i.e. soul is permanently eternal. Thus, the need is to know the prime duty and objective towards this eternal entity. This is the reason that the enlightened ones always draw our attention towards the doctrine of re-incarnation. They inspire us to think and dwell upon three important questions of human life – Who am I? Where have I come from? And, where is my real abode? In reply to these questions, the wise ones tell us that we are not just a gross body but an eternally existing entity i.e. soul. And, its originating source as well as the resting place is the Supreme Brahman. Before merging with the Source, the individual soul encased in the physical body passes through many species. It keeps encircling in the vicious cycle of birth and deaths. Thus upon knowing the principle of re-incarnation, our primary objective should be to get liberated from this vicious circle. The greatest malaise for the individual soul is to remain trapped in the unending cycle of births and deaths. A Sanskrit verse says it all – Punarapi jananam, Punarapi maranam Punarapi janani jathare shayanam – (the two most painful incidents or events of life as per the wise beings are) being born again and again and becoming morsel of death again and again and taking shelter in mother’s womb time and again. To get liberated from the pangs of birth and death, Saint Kabir supplicates in the lotus feet of the Lord in these words – Ek dukh kaato Ramrai mera, agan deh aur garabh basera – “O Lord! Liberate me from the painful experience of being consigned to fire and being subjected to birth time and again.”
But, how is freedom possible from the vicious cycle of birth and death? The only way out is to banish the very root causes. There are two main causes. The first cause is: One’s unfulfilled materialistic tendencies and desires. Our never – ending desires compel us to take different physical bodies again and again. It is because, this physical body is the only medium through which materials can be consumed and the desires can be satiated. The second cause of rebirth is our accumulated Karmas. Scriptures say – Na bhuktam kshiyate karma – that Karmas are not destroyed without being faced. Until such time an individual soul has even a single Karma in its account, be it good or bad, the process of reincarnation will go on and on.
Now the question arises as to how to banish these fundamental causes which drag us into the vicious cycle of births and deaths? Which is that path which can lead us to the goal of freedom? Treading which path can we burn the past Karmas? How can we annihilate the latent tendencies and attain Supreme Bliss? Scriptures affirm that it is possible only through the Eternal Knowledge i.e. Brahm Gyan. The foremost condition to set blaze the hidden tendencies and Samskaras and be liberated from the endless desires is: ‘revelation of Divine Light of Brahm Gyan.’ Only a Perfect Master (Sadguru) can ignite the fire of Eternal Knowledge in the spiritual heart of the disciple. With regular meditation, when the disciple moves ahead on the path, all his latent tendencies and Samskaras get burnt in the fire of Divine Knowledge, as mentioned in our scriptures – ‘Gyanagnihi sarvakarmaani bhasmasaathkurute tatha.’ Consequently, the individual soul attains freedom from the cycle of birth and death. A being ultimately achieves the goal of divine company of Almighty Lord and basks in Supreme Bliss.