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Reincarnation: A Review

Discussion in 'Spiritual Articles' started by vsgrewal48895, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. vsgrewal48895

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    Mar 12, 2009
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    The Doctrine of reincarnation teaches that the eternal Conscience of man lives many successive lives on earth occupying every time a human form and continually progressing toward perfection. It must be carefully distinguished from a certain teaching which often goes by the name of Metem-psychosis or Transmigration which holds that humans can incarnate in to animal or vegetable depending on the Karma. The truth of the matter is that there is no transparency in this Doctrine, which can force an individual to progress spiritually under its fear. Ravidas ponders metaphorically in Raag Dhanasari in his loneliness and love towards God;

    ਬਹੁਤ ਜਨਮ ਬਿਛੁਰੇ ਥੇ ਮਾਧਉ ਇਹੁ ਜਨਮੁ ਤੁਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਰੇ ਲੇਖੇ ॥ਕਹਿ ਰਵਿਦਾਸ ਆਸ ਲਗਿ ਜੀਵਉ ਚਿਰ ਭਇਓ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਦੇਖੇ ॥

    Bahuṯ janam bicẖẖurė thė māḏẖa¬o ih janam ṯumĥārė lėkẖė, Kahi Raviḏās ās lag jīva¬o cẖir bẖa¬i¬o ḏarsan ḏėkẖė.

    For so many incarnations, I have been separated from You, God; I dedicate this life to You. Says Ravidas: placing my hopes in You, I live; it is so long since I have gazed upon the Blessed Vision of Your Darshan. -----Ravidas, Raag Dhanasari, AGGS, Page, 694


    There are many myths about reincarnation such as: once a human is always a human. Another popular reincarnation myth posits that the soul, once it attains a human form, always comes back in a human body in the next life and never reincarnates in a lower species. Another myth is that the soul, however, despite entering higher or lower bodies, remains unchanged. However, the type of body one gets in his next life will be determined by the type of consciousness he develops in this life at the time of death and by the immutable law of karma. Bhagavad-Gita, the most authoritative sourcebook on reincarnation, clearly states "when one dies in the mode of ignorance, he takes birth in the animal kingdom." Bhai Gurdas has written quite a bit about transmigration in his Vaars following Vedanta philosophy. Similarly the following Sabad by Trilochan in Raag Gujri creates fear in the minds of ignorant individuals;

    ਅੰਤਿ ਕਾਲਿ ਜੋ ਲਛਮੀ ਸਿਮਰੈ ਐਸੀ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਮਹਿ ਜੇ ਮਰੈ ॥ ਸਰਪ ਜੋਨਿ ਵਲਿ ਵਲਿ ਅਉਤਰੈ ॥ ਅਰੀ ਬਾਈ ਗੋਬਿਦ ਨਾਮੁ ਮਤਿ ਬੀਸਰੈ ॥ ਅੰਤਿ ਕਾਲਿ ਜੋ ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ ਸਿਮਰੈ ਐਸੀ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਮਹਿ ਜੇ ਮਰੈ ॥ਬੇਸਵਾ ਜੋਨਿ ਵਲਿ ਵਲਿ ਅਉਤਰੈ ॥ ਅੰਤਿ ਕਾਲਿ ਜੋ ਲੜਿਕੇ ਸਿਮਰੈ ਐਸੀ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਮਹਿ ਜੇ ਮਰੈ ॥ਸੂਕਰ ਜੋਨਿ ਵਲਿ ਵਲਿ ਅਉਤਰੈ ॥ ਅੰਤਿ ਕਾਲਿ ਜੋ ਮੰਦਰ ਸਿਮਰੈ ਐਸੀ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਮਹਿ ਜੇ ਮਰੈ ॥ਪ੍ਰੇਤ ਜੋਨਿ ਵਲਿ ਵਲਿ ਅਉਤਰੈ ॥ਅੰਤਿ ਕਾਲਿ ਨਾਰਾਇਣੁ ਸਿਮਰੈ ਐਸੀ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਮਹਿ ਜੇ ਮਰੈ ॥ਬਦਤਿ ਤਿਲੋਚਨੁ ਤੇ ਨਰ ਮੁਕਤਾ ਪੀਤੰਬਰੁ ਵਾ ਕੇ ਰਿਦੈ ਬਸੈ ॥

    Unt Kaal Jo Lachami Simrai Aisee Chinta Meh Jay Marai, Sarap Joan Val Val Aoutrai, Aree Baayi Gobid Naam Mat Beesrai, Unt Kaal Jo Istri Simrai Aisi Chinta Meh Jay Marai, Bayswa Joan Val Val Aoutrai, Unt Kaal Jo Larhkay Simrai Aisee Chinta Meh Jay Marai, Sookar Joan Val Val Aoutrai, Unt Kaal Jo Mander Simrai Aisee Chinta Meh Jo Marai, Prayt Joan Val Val Aoutrai, Unt Kall Narain Simrai Aisee Chinta Meh Jo Marai, Badit Tilochan Tay Nar Mukta Peetanbar Va Kay Ridai Basai.

    At the very last moment, one who thinks of wealth, dies in such thoughts and shall be reincarnated over and over again, in the form of serpents? O sister, do not forget the Name of the Creator of the Universe. At the very last moment, one who thinks of women, and dies in such thoughts, shall be reincarnated over and over again as a prostitute. At the very last moment, one who thinks of his children, and dies in such thoughts, shall be reincarnated over and over again as a pig. At the very last moment, one who thinks of mansions, and dies in such thoughts, shall be reincarnated over and over again as a goblin. At the very last moment, one who thinks of the God, and dies in such thoughts, says Trilochan, that man shall be liberated; God shall abide in his heart.-----Bhagat Trilochan, Raag Gujri, AGGS, Page, 526

    Most of the humanity is in spiritual ignorance and lives in the past or unknown future instead of the present.

    ਅਸੰਖ ਮੂਰਖ ਅੰਧ ਘੋਰ ॥

    Asankh Moorkh Andh Ghor.

    Countless fools are blinded by ignorance. ----japji, AGGS, Page, 4-3

    Despite the admonition in some faiths that ignorance is bliss, Sikhism is particularly adamant that it does more harm than good.
    If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?

    ਗਿਆਨ ਹੀਣੰ ਅਗਿਆਨ ਪੂਜਾ॥ ਔਧ ਵਰਤਾਵਾ ਭਾਉ ਦੂਜਾ ॥

    Giaan HeeNan Agiaan Poojaa, Andh Vartaavaa Bhaou Doojaa.

    With out spiritual wisdom, the people worship ignorance. They grope in the darkness, in the love of duality. -----Guru Nanak, Sloke Vaaran To Vadheek, AGGS, Page, 1412-4

    Ignorance is the absence of the divine knowledge of perception which gives us the sight of the supra-mental Truth. It is the non-perceiving principle of our consciousness as opposed to the truth-perceiving conscious vision and knowledge. In this mode, most individuals may depend on literal translation of the hymns rather than making an honest personal effort to find the real meaning. They also make no attempt to find what is not written in between the lines, which are beyond their conception, anyway.

    Guru Arjan describes the evolution of a human from mineral to living by going through various stages of evolution in Raag Gauri, whereas Darwinism shows evolution from a living cell onwards and has no explanation from mineral to life;

    ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਭਏ ਕੀਟ ਪਤੰਗਾ ॥ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਗਜ ਮੀਨ ਕੁਰੰਗਾ ॥ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਪੰਖੀ ਸਰਪ ਹੋਇਓ ॥ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਹੈਵਰ ਬ੍ਰਿਖ ਜੋਇਓ ॥ਮਿਲੁ ਜਗਦੀਸ ਮਿਲਨ ਕੀ ਬਰੀਆ ॥ਚਿਰੰਕਾਲ ਇਹ ਦੇਹ ਸੰਜਰੀਆ ॥ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਸੈਲ ਗਿਰਿ ਕਰਿਆ ॥ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਗਰਭ ਹਿਰਿ ਖਰਿਆ ॥ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਸਾਖ ਕਰਿ ਉਪਾਇਆ ॥ਲਖ ਚਉਰਾਸੀਹ ਜੋਨਿ ਭ੍ਰਮਾਇਆ ॥ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਭਇਓ ਜਨਮੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ॥ਕਰਿ ਸੇਵਾ ਭਜੁ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ॥

    Kayee Janam Bha-ay Keett Patangaa, Kayee Janam Meen Kurangaa, Kayee Janam Pankhee Sarap Hooeyoo, Kayee Janam Haivar Birkh Jooeyoo, Mil Jagdeesh Milan Kee Baree-aa, Chirankaal Eh Deh Sanjaree-aa, Kayee Janam Sail Gir Kariaa, Kayee Janam Garabh Hir Khariaa, Kayee Janam Saakh Kar Oupaaey-aa, Lakh Chauraasee Joan Bharmaaey-aa, Saadh Sung Bhaeo Janam Praapat, Kar Seva Bhaj Har Har Gurmat.

    In so many incarnations, you were a worm and an insect. In so many incarnations, you were an elephant, a fish and a deer. In so many incarnations, you were a bird and a snake. In so many incarnations, you were yoked as an ox and a horse. Meet the God of the Universe. Now is the time to meet Master. After so very long, this human body was fashioned for you. In so many incarnations, you were rocks and mountains; in so many incarnations, you were aborted in the womb. In so many incarnations, you developed branches and leaves. You wandered through 8.4 million incarnations. Through the Sadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy, you obtained this human life. Do seva, selfless service and vibrate the Name of Eternal Akal Purkh -----Guru Arjan, Raag Gauri Guareri, AGGS, Page, 176

    Gurus Nanak in Japji and Ramdas in Raag Vadhans say that the human life is the result of past virtuous actions, in the hope that individuals pay more attention to morality;

    ਕਰਮੀ ਆਵੈ ਕਪੜਾ ਨਦਰੀ ਮੋਖੁ ਦੁਆਰੁ ॥

    Karmī āvai kapṛā naḏrī mokẖ ḏu¬ār.

    By the karma of past actions, the robe of this physical body is obtained. By God’s Grace, the Gate of Liberation is found. -----Guru Nanak, Japji, AGGS, Page, 2-5

    ਧੰਨੁ ਮਾਣਸ ਜਨਮੁ ਪੁੰਨਿ ਪਾਈਆ ਰਾਮ ॥ਮਾਣਸ ਜਨਮੁ ਵਡ ਪੁੰਨੇ ਪਾਇਆ ਦੇਹ ਸੁ ਕੰਚਨ ਚੰਗੜੀਆ ॥

    Ḏẖan māṇas janam punn pā¬ī¬ā rām, Māṇas janam vad punnė pā¬i¬ā ḏėh so kancẖan cẖangṛī¬ā.

    Blessed is human life, which is obtained by virtuous actions. Human life is obtained only by the most virtuous actions; this body is radiant and golden. -----Guru Ram Das, Raag Vadhans Ghorian, AGGS, Page, 575-6

    The above references create a fear of God in the mind of an individual, which might bring him on the right straight path of being a better human being. Without fear of the God, doubt is not dispelled and one does not start loving Naam, says Guru Nanak in Raag Parbhati;

    ਭੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਭਰਮੁ ਨ ਕਟੀਐ ਨਾਮਿ ਨ ਲਗੈ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਭਉ ਊਪਜੈ ਪਾਈਐ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰ ॥ ਭੈ ਤੇ ਸਹਜੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਮਿਲਿ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਅਪਾਰ ॥

    Bẖai bin bẖaram na katī¬ai nām na lagai pi¬ār, Saṯgur ṯė bẖa¬o ūpjai pā¬ī¬ai mokẖ ḏu¬ār, Bẖai ṯė sahj pā¬ī¬ai mil joṯī joṯ apār.

    Without the Fear of God, doubt is not dispelled, and love for the Name is not embraced. Through the True Guru, the Fear of God wells up, and the Door of Salvation is found. Through the Fear of God, intuitive ease is obtained, and one's light merges into the Light of the Infinite. ----Guru Nanak, Raag Parbhati, AGGS, Page, 1287 & 88-9 & 10

    Belief in reincarnation is characteristic of Asian religions, especially Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. In AGGS reference to reincarnation comes many times metaphorically or otherwise. Guru Nanak in Raag Malar and Raag Gauri says we do not know where we came from and where we will go after death and leaves it all to Akal Purkh;

    Guru Nanak, ponders in Raag Malar on the next life, AGGS, Page, 1289-6

    ਕਹਾਂ ਤੇ ਆਇਆ ਕਹਾਂ ਏਹੁ ਜਾਣੁ ॥ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰਤ ਰਹੈ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ॥ਹੁਕਮੈ ਬੂਝੈ ਤਤੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਪਰਸਾਦੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਤੇ ਜਾਣੈ ॥

    KahaaN Tay Aa-i-aa KahaaN Ayhu Jaan, Jeevat Marat Rahai Parvaan. Hukmai Boojhai Tat Pachhaanai, Ih Parsaad Guroo Tay JaaNai.

    Where has he come from, and where will he go? Remaining dead while yet alive, he is accepted and approved. Whoever understands the Hukam of the God's Command, realizes the essence of reality. This happens through Guru's Grace.

    Guru Nanak ponders in Raag Gauri;

    ਜਾਤੋ ਜਾਇ ਕਹਾ ਤੇ ਆਵੈ ॥ਕਹ ਉਪਜੈ ਕਹ ਜਾਇ ਸਮਾਵੈ ॥ਕਿਉ ਬਾਧਿਓ ਕਿਉ ਮੁਕਤੀ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ਕਿਉ ਅਬਿਨਾਸੀ ਸਹਜਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ॥

    Jaato Jaa-ay Kahaa Tay Aavai, Kah Upjai Kah Jaa-ay Samaavai. Ki-o BaaDhi-o Ki-o Muktee Paavai, Ki-o Abhinaasee Sahj Samaavai.

    How can we know where we came from? Where did we originate? Where will we go? With whom would we merge? How are we bound, and how do we obtain liberation? How do we merge with intuitive ease into the Eternal, Imperishable God?

    Guru Nanak Answers in Raag Gauri and Ramkali:

    ਸਹਜੇ ਆਵੈ ਸਹਜੇ ਜਾਇ॥ਮਨ ਤੇ ਉਪਜੈ ਮਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਸਮਾਇ॥ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮੁਕਤੋ ਬੰਧੁ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥ਸਬਦੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ਛੁਟੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਇ ॥

    Sehjay Aavai Sehjay Jaa-ay, Man Tay Upjai Man Maahi Samaa-ay. Gurmukh Mukto BanDh Na Paa-ay, Sabd Beechaar Chhutai Har Naa-ay.

    With intuitive ease we come, and with intuitive ease we depart. From the mind we originate, and into the mind we are absorbed. As Guru willed, we are liberated, and are not bound. Contemplating the Word of the Sabd, we are emancipated through the Name of the God.

    ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਫਿਰਿ ਮਰਣੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥ਬਿਨੁ ਮੂਏ ਕਿਉ ਪੂਰਾ ਹੋਇ ॥

    Sabd Marai Fir Maran Na Ho-ay, Bin Moo-ay Ki-o Pooraa Ho-ay.

    One, who dies in the Word of the Sabd, shall never again have to die. Without such a death, how can one attain perfection? -----Guru Nanak Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 152 & 153

    ਨਾ ਕੋ ਆਵੈ ਨਾ ਕੋ ਜਾਇ ॥

    Nā ko āvai nā ko jā­ė.

    Nothing is seen to be born or die. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Ramkali, AGGS, Page, 878-17

    Finally Guru Nanak leaves it up to God in Raag Gauri;

    ਕਿਰਤੁ ਪਇਆ ਨਹ ਮੇਟੈ ਕੋਇ ॥ਕਿਆ ਜਾਣਾ ਕਿਆ ਆਗੈ ਹੋਇ ॥ਜੋ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਣਾ ਸੋਈ ਹੂਆ ॥ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਕਰਣੈ ਵਾਲਾ ਦੂਆ ॥ਨਾ ਜਾਣਾ ਕਰਮ ਕੇਵਡ ਤੇਰੀ ਦਾਤਿ ॥ਕਰਮੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਤੇਰੇ ਨਾਮ ਕੀ ਜਾਤਿ ॥

    Kirat Pa-i-aa Nah Maytai Ko-ay, Ki-aa Jaanaa Ki-aa Aagai Ho-ay. Jo Tis Bhaanaa So-ee Hoo-aa, Avar Na Karnai Vaalaa Doo-aa. Naa Jaanaa Karam Kayvad Tayree Daat, Karam Dharam Tayray Naam Kee Jaat.

    Past actions cannot be erased. What do we know of what will happen hereafter? Whatever pleases the Akal Purkh shall come to pass. There is no other Doer except Akal Purkh. I do not know about karma, or how great Your gifts are. The karma of actions, the Dharma of righteousness, social class and status, are contained within Your Name. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 154

    There are many references indicating that past actions cannot be erased except by the God and the Sabd of the Guru as indicated by Guru Nanak in Raag Gauri, and Ramanand in Raag Basant;

    ਅਉਖਧ ਮੰਤ੍ਰ ਮੂਲੁ ਮਨ ਏਕੈ ਜੇ ਕਰਿ ਦ੍ਰਿੜੁ ਚਿਤੁ ਕੀਜੈ ਰੇ ॥ਜਨਮ ਜਨਮ ਕੇ ਪਾਪ ਕਰਮ ਕੇ ਕਾਟਨਹਾਰਾ ਲੀਜੈ ਰੇ ॥

    A¬ukẖaḏẖ manṯar mūl man ėkai jė kar ḏariṛ cẖiṯ kījai rė, Janam janam kė pāp karam kė kataṇhārā lījai rė.

    O, mind, there is only One medicine, advice and a healing herb: Center your consciousness firmly on the One Akal Purkh. Take to God, the Destroyer of the sins and karma of past lives. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Gauri Cheti, AGGS, Page, 156-3 & 4

    ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਾਟੈ ਕੋਟਿ ਕਰਮ ॥

    Gur kā sabaḏ kātai kot karam.

    The Word of the Guru's Sabd eradicates the karma of millions of past actions. -----Ramanand, Raag Basant, AGGS, Page, 1195-15

    Many people subscribe to the doctrine of karma, the belief that actions in this life will have their effect in the next. In Hinduism, a person may be freed from the cycle of birth and rebirth only by reaching a state of enlightenment (NIRVANA). Likewise in Buddhism, discipline and meditation may enable a seeker to reach nirvana and escape the wheel of birth and rebirth. Manichaeism, a dualistic religious system prevalent in the 3rd century, and Gnosticism, ancient religions, Ancient Greek Philosophy and Christianity, accepted the concept of reincarnation. Modern spiritual movements such as Theosophy, a religious sect rejecting Judeo-Christian theology of revelation but often accepting elements of Brahmanism and Buddhism have also accepted reincarnation.

    The purpose of reincarnation is to perfect man through the process of involution and evolution. Self is immortal and eternal. The goal of life and successive reincarnations is to benefit the soul, the real person. It is the eternal self which survives throughout reincarnations, which is beyond grasp. One should not recognize it as oneself; for all that one regards as oneself disappears at death.

    The length of Devachan, (Theosophy) the rest period after death, depends on the nature of the experiences which the EGO has to pass through in that state. This may be transitory or may last centuries.

    The incarnating entity is that immortal spirit which is the cause of man’s evolution, and the entities in which it incarnates, are the successive personalities which arise from the spirit’s contact with its life on the earth.

    There is no scientific or scriptural evidence anywhere for this fanciful "once a human, always a human" notion, which runs contrary to the true principles of reincarnation, that have been understood and followed by millions of people since times immemorial. But, if a living being makes even a slight degree of SPIRITUAL PROGRESS in his present life, then in his next life in the future, he is allowed to continue from that point. “In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the greatest fear of returning in a lower-than-human form in the next life”. The soul may thus develop its inherent spiritual qualities through many lives, until it no longer has to reincarnate in a material body -- until it returns to its original home in the spiritual world. Guru Arjan states in Raag Asa that it is the only chance to reach the final destination;

    ਭਈ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਦੇਹੁਰੀਆ ॥ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਮਿਲਣ ਕੀ ਇਹ ਤੇਰੀ ਬਰੀਆ ॥

    Bẖa¬ī parāpaṯ mānukẖ ḏėhurī¬ā, Gobinḏ milaṇ kī ih ṯėrī barī¬ā.

    This human body has been given to you. This is your chance to meet the Creator of the Universe. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 12-6

    Previous to this ensoulment, man was a simply a highly developed human animal without the knowledge of the good, the evil and the power of choice. After the ensoulment man gradually improves the power of the higher self. The soul makes itself felt and grows in experience and self-control. But the process is long with alternating life and death.

    After a period of rest, the hour strikes for the EGO to re-enter the bodily life. Thus begins a new incarnation. It is drawn back by the unsatisfied aspirations, unfulfilled duties and purpose of the earth life.

    Reincarnation is the only doctrine which reconciles the conclusions which we are forced to draw from the facts of life as the Divine law of justice and mercy. It shows us that the birth is not the beginning of life but only a point in the middle. Hence each man’s circumstances are the outcome of his former living. It is the Will of the Ego, conditioned by the requirements of Eternal Law, and by the necessities created in the past lives, that directs the incarnating Soul to the parentage best adapted to those requirements.

    What happens to a man after death? He leaves this life with all his work unfinished and host of unsatisfied desires and purposes. Reincarnation shows how a man returns to continue his unfinished work, to repair mistakes, to learn new lessons, to achieve new heights to become a more perfect image of the immortal Self. Another feature of the belief in reincarnation is the pre-existence of the Soul before birth.

    Why do we not remember our past lives? We retain no detailed or pictorial memory of the events of our past lives. Nevertheless it is true that we possess memory of another kind in the form of innate ideas, instincts and proclivities etc. Similarly we do not remember things that happened in this life. How often do we, in this life wish we could wipe out the past and begin again? The forgetfulness of past life is both fortunate and equitable. Recollection and full knowledge are obtainable, where we are worthy and fitted for them and able to take them.

    There are cases reported of young children from 4-10 years who having lived before do have the memories of past lives.

    The only state the Spiritual Self knows of here-after is that of unalloyed bliss following the law of absolute Love, Justice and Mercy. This is the reward for its sufferings in earth-life.

    Reincarnation in Judaism, Christianity, Islam

    Hints of reincarnation are also common in the history of Judaism and early Christianity. Information about past and future lives is found throughout the Cabala, which according to many Hebraic scholars represents the hidden wisdom behind the scriptures. In the Zohar, one of the principal Cabalistic texts, one learns, "The souls must reenter the absolute substance whence they have emerged. But to accomplish this, they must develop all the perfections, the germ of which is planted in them; and if they have not fulfilled this condition during one life, they must commence another, a third, and so forth, until they have acquired the condition which fits them for reunion with God." According to the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, the Hasidic Jews hold similar beliefs.

    In the early days of Christian era there were schools which sought to preserve the ancient gnosis and teachings of sacred mysteries throughout the rising tide of materialism and corruption. The Gnostics and Essences were two schools. They admittedly had esoteric teachings for the initiated and exoteric teachings for the multitude. The esoteric teachings of Christ were given to his disciples, which haven’t come down to us. If ever recorded they were suppressed and afterwards lost. Many authorities in the early church were imbued with platonic ideas and among them was the pre-existence of the soul.

    There are many passages in the Bible itself indicating that Christ and his followers were aware of the principle of reincarnation. Once, the disciples of Jesus asked him about the Old Testament prophecy that Elias would reappear on earth. In the Gospel of St. Matthew we read, "And Jesus answered them, Elias shall truly come first, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias is come already, and they knew him not. Then the disciples understood that he spoke unto them of John the Baptist." In other words, Jesus declared that John the Baptist, who was beheaded by Herod, was a reincarnation of the prophet Elias. In another instance, Jesus and his disciples came across a man blind from birth. The disciples 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.

    John 3:3, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

    John 3:7, Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again.

    “Jesus knew that reincarnation is a part of God’s laws.”----- Ref: Reincarnation Antiquity Manual, Published Point Loma, Ca in 1920

    In the third century A.D., the theologian Origan (185-254) a Greek catholic, one of the fathers of the early Christian Church, and its most accomplished Biblical scholar Justin Martyr (1500-1562) a protestant, wrote, "By some inclination toward evil, certain souls ... come into bodies, first of men; then through their association with the irrational passions, after the allotted span of human life, they are changed into beasts, from which they sink to the level of plants. From this condition they rise again through the same stages and are restored to their heavenly place." In Home Synod of 1543 we find the above in the list of anathemas pronounced against holders of heretical views. Hence reincarnation is not specially taught in the modern Christianity.

    Hazrat Jalal-ud-Deen Rumi, describing the process of evolution through reincarnation -- from mineral and plant to animal and man and then to angelhood and beyond. Take the verses from the world famous Masnawi by Hazrat:

    I died as mineral and became a plant,

    I died as plant and rose to animal,

    and I died as animal and I was man.

    Why should I fear?

    When was I less by dying?

    Yet once more I shall die as man,

    To soar with angels blest;

    But even from angelhood I must pass on ...

    Another great mystic, Mansur al-Hallaj, famous for his formulation, Anal Haq, I am the truth: Aham Brahmo Asmi, wrote:

    Like the herbage

    I have sprung up many a time

    On the banks of flowing rivers.

    For a hundred thousand years

    I have lived and worked

    In every sort of body.

    The Quran itself seems quite clear: "And you were dead, and Allah brought you back to life. And Allah shall cause you to die, and shall bring you back to life, and in the end shall gather you unto It self." (2:28). The words "you were dead "can only mean that they had lived before becoming dead. And the words "in the end shall gather you unto Allah" could very well mean the attainment of moksha, release, rather than an eternal life in heaven or hell.

    Most of the greatest saints Islam have produced, believed in reincarnation and it does constitute a part of many Muslims' belief system. This is primarily caused by reluctance on the part of many Muslims to believe that God will merely reward or punish human beings on the basis of a lifetime in which they may not have received the guidance necessary to improve their conduct. That God will just be reconciled to their being sent to an eternal life in heaven or hell without their being given another chance to improve themselves becomes a proposition difficult to believe.”

    The timeless Vedic scriptures of India confirm that the soul, according to its identification with material nature, takes one of 8,400,000 forms and, once embodied in a certain species of life, evolves automatically from lower to higher forms, ultimately attaining a human body.

    Reincarnation holds out the prospect of a limitless vista of life and realization in the sphere of consciousness as vast and full as to lie beyond the reach of our imagining. Age is but a condition of the body. Soul never grows old. Death is a sleep and is followed by fresh awakening and renewed vigor. The loves of youth, which we so vainly regret, will be born again more purified from the cloying element of passion. The delusions die but the seed remains and next time we will love more truly and less personally.

    For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. It has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. It is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, and primeval It is not slain when the body is slain.

    Does life begin with birth and end with death? Have we lived before? Such questions are normally identified with religions of the East, where the life of man is known to endure not only from the cradle to the grave, but through millions of ages. Acceptance of the idea of rebirth is nearly universal. As Arthur Schopenhauer, the great nineteenth-century German philosopher, once observed, "Were an Asiatic to ask me for a definition of Europe, I should be forced to answer him: It is that part of the world which is haunted by the incredible delusion that man was created out of nothing, and that his present birth is his first entrance into life."

    “As to you, life, I reckon you are the leavings of many deaths, No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before”------ Walt Whitman

    Death is a sleep in a sense, for a fresh awakening and renewed vigor attend it. The loves of youth, which we so vainly regret, will be born again. But they would be more purified from the cloying element of Maya -- Ignorance, Passion, and Goodness. Maya eludes the energy of Supreme Lord that deludes living entities in to forgetfulness of their spiritual nature and of God. This is all created by the Lord as pointed by Guru Arjan and Guru Amardas;

    ਤ੍ਰੈ ਗੁਣ ਮਾਇਆ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਕੀ ਕੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਕਹਹੁ ਕਵਨ ਬਿਧਿ ਤਰੀਐ ਰੇ ॥ ਘੂਮਨ ਘੇਰ ਅਗਾਹ ਗਾਖਰੀ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਪਾਰਿ ਉਤਰੀਐ ਰੇ ॥

    Thrai Gun Maya Braham Kee Keenee Khohu Kavan Bidh Tareeai Ray, Ghooman Ghayr Agaah Gaakhree Gur Sabdee Paar Utree-ai Ray.

    God has created Maya of three qualities; tell me how it can be crossed over? The whirlpool is awesome and unfathomable; only through the Word of the Guru's Sabd is one carried across. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 404-3

    ਦੋਸੁ ਨਹੀ ਕਾਹੂ ਕਉ ਮੀਤਾ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹ ਬੰਧੁ ਪ੍ਰਭਿ ਕੀਤਾ ॥

    Dos Nahee Kaahoo Ka-o Meetaa, Maya Moh Bandh Prabh Keetta.

    No one is at fault, my friend. God created the bondage of emotional attachment to Maya.-----Guru Arjan, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 257-11

    ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਮੇਰੈ ਪ੍ਰਭਿ ਕੀਨਾ ਆਪੇ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਏ ॥ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਇਸੁ ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਕਰਮਿ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਏ ॥

    Maya Mohu Mayrai Prabh Keena Aapay Bharam Bhulaa-ay, Gurbaanee Is Jag Meh Chaanan Karam Vasai Man Aa-ay.

    Emotional attachment to Maya is created by God; and misleads us through illusion and doubt. -----Guru Amardas, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 67-9

    The delusions die but the seed remains. So next time we will love more truly and less personally. The real conscience still lives; and that all that was best and most lovable dwell eternally in the realms of Spirit, where there is true communion and perfect understanding.

    What love subsists between the body and the soul? The later leaves when the body falls.

    ਕਾਇਆ ਹੰਸ ਕਿਆ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਹੈ ਜਿ ਪਇਆ ਹੀ ਛਡਿ ਜਾਇ ॥

    Kaaeia Hans Kia Preet Hai Peiaa Hee Chadd Jaaey.

    What love is this between the body and soul, which ends when the body falls?-----Guru Amardas, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 510-19

    Conscience is infatuated with mammon, so suffers transmigration again and again according to eastern philosophies. It did not recognize the Lord’s order, which should have absorbed it in the Universal Spirit. He who effaced them under Guru’s instruction shall be absorbed in It.

    It is only the wayward personal desires that cause us temporary aberrations from the Path we are treading. It helps us to “will our destiny” to make our will identical with the Universal Will, but the teachers does not follow what they teaches as stated by Guru Arjan in Raag Ramkali;

    ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਕਰੇ ਕਰਿ ਲੋਕ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਵੈ ॥ ਅਪਨਾ ਕਹਿਆ ਆਪਿ ਨ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥

    Upḏės karė kar lok ḏariṛ¬āvai, Apnā kahi¬ā āp na kamāvai.

    You preach to others to have faith, but you do not practice what you preach. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Ramkali, AGGS, Page, 887-18


    Life is full of causes of which we do not know the effects, and effects of which we do not know the causes. The mysteries of the process by which an ਹਉਮੈ, about to reincarnate, selects, or is assigned by the agents of Laws of Mother Nature, the physical vehicle which one has to inhabit, are too deep for our present capacity of intellect. The trinity of Self, Mind, and Will is the irresolvable unit of our intellectual conceptions. To quarrel with one’s fate is to be disloyal to one’s Conscience. It is to become forgetful of our real destiny.

    Indeed, the dominant ideologies of the West, materialism and science, have for several centuries stifled any serious or widespread interest in the preexistence and survival of consciousness beyond the present body. But throughout Western history, there have always been thinkers who have understood and affirmed the immortality of consciousness and transmigration of the soul. And a multitude of philosophers, authors, artists, scientists, and politicians have given the idea thoughtful consideration.

    If reincarnation helps us in prospect, it can equally help in retrospect. Our mortal clay conceals a conscience vested with knowledge and power. We are on a pilgrimage of our own choosing. We are masters of our destiny. It helps us to make our will identical with the Universal Will. To live under the Will of the Akal Purkh is the message repeated again and again in AGGS.

    It is left to individual consideration to accept reincarnation or not. A balanced approach has been attempted here, but in my personal opinion there is only one life to be lived if possible under the principle of “Dead while Alive” (ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤ) as Gurmukh.

    Virinder S. Grewal
    Williamston, MI
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  3. Amarpal

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    Mentor Writer SPNer Contributor

    Jun 11, 2004
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    Dear Virinder Ji and Khalsa Ji,

    Virinder Singh Ji has very effectively brought forth the review on the idea of Reincarnation. It is a substantial effort and a great contribution to this forum. I liked it a lot and here I send in my contribution to the lovely effort that Virinder Singh Ji has made. I thank Virinder Singh Ji for triggering me to consolidate my understanding and post it here. I share with you all what I have understood.

    The subject of Reincarnation does not allow itself to be understood fully using our mental capabilities. Yet as humans, we do try to understand it. In my attempt to understand the idea of Reincarnation, I had to answer lot of question that came to my mind. I had to create my own hypothesizes and concepts before I could integrate them into my understanding to form my views on the Idea of Reincarnation. The text that follows conveys my understanding.

    Please Note: I had to create my own concept to continue with my studies. Readers need not accept this as the ultimate understanding; my own understanding my change as I progress with my learning and as ‘The Sat’ teaches me. Readers may create for their own understanding their own concepts.

    After studying the scripture and mental deliberation over a long time, I have come to conceptualize the essence of creation as ‘Intelligent Cosmic Energy. To me, this is, what Guru Sahib has named as ‘The Sat’ (Sat Naam) in the ‘Mool Mantra’. As we know energy cannot be created or destroyed, by implication it means that it existed on its own (Saibhang)and thus it was never born (Ajuni); and cannot die as energy cannot be destroyed; it is timeless (Akaal Murat). It is one single entity every where (Ek Ongkar). Being the essence of all that exists, it is the intelligent driving force in each of the forms (Karta Purakh) that are or will be in creation; it has no enmity (Nirvair) towards any one or fear (Nirbhau) of any one.

    This way I have validated my concept of ‘The Sat’ using the ‘Mool Mantra’ of Siri Guru Granth Sahib.

    Now I come to the term Soul.

    We are living entity, the presence of Soul differentiate us from dead and insentient entities. Scripture of the land says that this Soul is a driving force within us. Since Karta Purakh is the real doer, the Soul within us has to be Karta Purakh i.e. Parmatma who is present every where. This way ‘Atman’ (Soul) and ‘Parmatman’ (The Sat’) are one and the same. It is for this reason; Guru Sahib has said that ‘The Sat’ is within each one of us. Since ‘The Sat’ is independent of time so will be the Soul, as both are one and the same.

    Now I come to my idea/concept/hypotheses about Creation.

    We all know that energy can change forms – e.g. heat can become light, kinetic energy can become heat and so on … We also know that energy can get converted into matter and vice versa. Now I come to another of my hypothesis/concept i.e.

    Intelligent Cosmic Energy prevailing all over the creation gets concentrated at some places and become matter of different types. This is what is said to be the ‘Prakriti’ i.e. insentient part of creation. At place where the Intelligent Cosmic Energy that was getting transformed from energy to matter, as explain above, retained the Intelligent Cosmic Energy in it, as the energy needed for the matter to be formed was higher than needed. This retained Intelligent Cosmic Energy provided the driving force that gave this primitive matter its ability to reproduce and grow. That is how, to me, it appears that primitive for of life came into being. This process fueled by Intelligent Cosmic Energy is in operation ever since then, creating new form of life and evolving further the existing ones.

    I quote the sentences from Siri Guru Granth Sahib which Virinder Singh Ji have included in his post.

    1. “Kayee Janam Bha-ay Keett Patangaa, Kayee Janam Meen Kurangaa, Kayee Janam Pankhee Sarap Hooeyoo, Kayee Janam Haivar Birkh Jooeyoo, Mil Jagdeesh Milan Kee Baree-aa, Chirankaal Eh Deh Sanjaree-aa, Kayee Janam Sail Gir Kariaa, Kayee Janam Garabh Hir Khariaa, Kayee Janam Saakh Kar Oupaaey-aa, Lakh Chauraasee Joan Bharmaaey-aa, Saadh Sung Bhaeo Janam Praapat, Kar Seva Bhaj Har Har Gurmat.

    In so many incarnations, you were a worm and an insect. In so many incarnations, you were an elephant, a fish and a deer. In so many incarnations, you were a bird and a snake. In so many incarnations, you were yoked as an ox and a horse. Meet the God of the Universe. Now is the time to meet Master. After so very long, this human body was fashioned for you. In so many incarnations, you were rocks and mountains; in so many incarnations, you were aborted in the womb. In so many incarnations, you developed branches and leaves. You wandered through 8.4 million incarnations. Through the Sadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy, you obtained this human life. Do seva, selfless service and vibrate the Name of Eternal Akal Purkh -----Guru Arjan, Raag Gauri Guareri, AGGS, Page, 176”

    Guru Sahib knew all. He is perfectly rational in what he has said. I was so as he has said. Since ‘The Sat’ existed so I i.e. the soul too existed, is existing and will be existing, as the ‘Atman and Parmatman are one and the same (as explained above). Today also I am composed of elements and insentient matter elements, compounds and minerals which came to me from different parts of the creation; that was me earlier and because of the Intelligent Cosmic Energy in me I am alive and a sentient being.

    Now I come to my idea of Reincarnation.

    Guru Sahib has very clearly said that because of the desires we have to come again and again to this world and enter the cycle of births and death. He has also said that to get win over this cycle of birth and death we have to dissolve our ‘Ahamkara i.e. Ego’. This provide me the clue and the results of my mental deliberation I share with you below.

    For living we need to eat, which provides us with energy. When we think we consume energy and the output of this mental exercise are thoughts. Since the input to this process was energy and we know that energy cannot be created or destroyed but can change form, and input to the mental process was energy so the output i.e. thought also must be some form of energy. Since energy cannot be destroyed, all the thoughts that got created ever since sentient being came into this world must be around hanging in air, only those thoughts that got realized disappeared from the environment because they change form – they became material reality; all the rest are around us.

    Guru Sahib has asked us to offer prayers collectively in Gurdwaras. There is rational to it. When large number of people express the same desire, the thought gains strength, as similar thoughts coalesce and add to its strength, the reverse also is true; opposing thoughts on the same issue negate each other and reduce its strength.

    I am also convinced that an individual’s thought remain bunched. The glue for this bunching is the sense of ‘I –ness’ - Ahamkara i.e. Ego. These thoughts are some total of our desires; they remain in the air and their link with the individual is through her or his ‘I –ness’. For thoughts this ‘I –ness’ is what postal address is for letter. Guru Sahib has said that the Karmas get dissolved for the person who has risen above ‘I –ness’; whose Ahamkara i.e. Ego has been won. The truth of Guru Sahibs teaching is clear to me, the person who has no ‘I –ness’ has no address for the Karmic process to reach her or him to deliver the impact of her or his past Karmas, this way the past karma becomes equivalent to the roasted seed which cannot produce a new plant.

    All this is to convey how the person’s desires and Karmas which are also in thought form remain bunched as they all carry the same tag of I –ness’; this bunch exist in air independent of her or his body tagged to what the Intelligent Cosmic Energy or Soul.

    When the person dies, this bunch of Desires and Karmas searches for a new body where they can get satisfied and the Soul brings that new body into a state of consciousness which reflects the tendencies and attributes of the past lives. This way the being of the person ‘Reincarnates’ and getsinto a new body i.e. a new form.

    When the person has over come her or his I –ness’ - Ahamkara i.e. Ego as asked by Guru Sahib the person has reach the state of what the scripture of the land refer to as Nirvana. When the person dies in this state the soul has no compulsion; it does not seek any new body. The embodied Soul merges with ‘The Sat’ as it was before embodiment. This is Moksha, the person had met Gobind, ‘The Sat’

    With this I close.

    With love and respect for all.

    Amarpal Singh
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  4. vsgrewal48895

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    Writer SPNer

    Mar 12, 2009
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    Dear Amarpal Ji,

    We are almost on the same page and frequency and thank you for your thoughts in a layman's language and with scientific explanations.

    Please keep on sharing your experiences and learning’s. Since you talked about Atma & Parmatma, I will be posting my two cents on it.

    With Regards.

  5. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Mentor Writer SPNer Contributor

    Jun 30, 2004
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    Well said. Virinder ji and Amarpal ji. Thanks for sharing your insights.

    In order not to waste too much energy here is my take:

    Reincarnation is just a fancy word for the recycling of the Energy- Saibung. Nothing more.

    Tejwant Singh
  6. vsgrewal48895

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    Writer SPNer

    Mar 12, 2009
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    Dear Teji Ji,

    Short, sweet and compact.



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