Reincarnation, Part 2
Merging with Siva
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2022-01-03
Reincarnation: After transition and some time on the astral plane, a new physical birth is entered according to the power of desire in the previous life. Be the being of yourself. Be now! According to theories of reincarnation the soul takes on progressively more advanced bodies, evolving and acquiring knowledge through experience. Lower forms of life function under what is called a "group soul." Strive to be in the highest chakra possible upon transition. If we had discovered and practiced a dedicated spiritual life, we would, upon death of the body, exit through progressively higher chakras until after nirvilkalpa samadhi is attained, perfected and sustained, Self Realization achieved, the mahayogi leaves the body consciously through the Sahasrara Chakra, The Door of Brahman, never to reincarnate again.
Master Course Trilogy, Merging with Siva, Chapter 50, Lessons 345, 346.
Good morning everyone.
Continuing our series this morning, lessons from "Merging with Siva." choosing the oldest talks first, commenting on them and occasionally supplementing it with stories from "The Guru Chronicles" on what Gurudeva was doing at that time of his life.
And today we're continuing with chapter called "Reincarnation" "Merging with Siva" Chapter 50. Talk that was given in 1958 at the Sutter Street Temple. Lesson 345, three hundred and forty-five.
"Desire Death And Rebirth
"Where are we born after we die? How do we become born again? You are born again in the same way you died. After some time, the astral body cannot stay on the astral plane anymore, because the seeds of pranic motion have to be expressed on the physical plane again due to one's activity on the astral plane. A new physical birth is entered. Generally, this happens through a newborn child's body, but a more advanced soul who has his spiritual body well developed can pick up a body which is fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty years old and go right along in life from that point.
"In what country do you become born? It all depends upon what country you were thinking about before and when you died. If you had a desire to go to Canada, most likely you will be born in Canada next time around. If you had been thinking about going to South America a year or two before you passed away, you would be reincarnated in South America, because that was your destination. If you were very much attached to your own particular family and you did not want to leave them, you would be born back in that immediate family again, because your desire is there. The astral body is the body of desire."
Commentary: I jokingly say reincarnation is the cheapest way to travel. Power of desire relates not just to the country but also to family and religion. And this of course is referring to strong desires not just a passing fancy. In other words, Gurudeva doesn't mean if you think about Canada a week before you die you're going to get reborn in Canada. It means that it's a strong desire, has to be strong in order to manifest.
"Students probing the mysteries of reincarnation often ask, 'If reincarnation is true, why can't I remember my past lives?' They might just as well ask another question: 'Why do we not remember everything in detail in this life?' The memory capabilities, unless highly trained, are not that strong, especially after having endured the process of creating a new body through another family and establishing new memory patterns. However, there are people who do recall their past lives, in the very same way that they remember what they did yesterday. Former-life memory is that clear and vivid to them.
"However, it is neither necessary nor advisable to pursue events, identities or relationships that may have existed in previous lives. After all, it is all now. We don't think it important to remember details of our childhood years, to wallow in happy or unhappy nostalgia. Why pursue the remembered residue of what has already come and gone? Now is the only time, and for the spiritual seeker, past life analysis or conjecture is an unnecessary waste of useful time and energy. The present now is the sum of all prior thens. Be now. Be the being of yourself this very moment, and that will be the truest fulfillment of all past actions."
Over the years a number of individuals have talked to me about their past lives. Some of them had past life readings and were proud to tell me of the type of person they had been in their past life. Of course, as part of my response I include that we don't look at knowledge of past lives as important. Gurudeva said it well: "The present now is the sum of all prior thens. Be now." In other words, you are in the present moment the sum total of all of your past actions. In that sense, the past exists in the present.
"The validity of reincarnation and its attendant philosophy are difficult to prove, and yet science is on the threshold of discovering this universal mechanism. Science cannot ignore the overwhelming evidence, the testimony of thousands of level-headed people who claim to remember other lives or who have actually died and then returned to life, and the impressive literature spanning Hindu, Tibetan, Buddhist and Egyptian civilizations. Thus, the pursuit of various theories continues in an effort to bring theory into established law according to the reason and intellectual facilities of man. Those living in the heart chakra, anahata, are able to cognize and know deeply the governing mechanism of rebirth from their own awakening."
Search on Google gave as its top result the University of Virginia medical school's Division of Perceptual Studies, terms of study on reincarnation. So this is University of Virginia Medical School. Their research has over 2,300 cases entered into its data base of children who report memories of previous lives. So that shows it's being pursued at the university level. Not something you read about very often. Might make an interesting article, "Hinduism Today."
"There are at least three basic theories or schools of thought related to reincarnation. At first they may seem to conflict or contradict one another, but further elucidation indicates that they are all correct. They are just different aspects of a complex mechanism."
And that leads into the text of Lesson 346, "Theories of Reincarnation."
"According to one theory of reincarnation, life begins with sound and color. Sound and color produce the first forms of life in the atomic structure of our being through binding the seed atoms together. At this point, life as we know it begins. It remains in a seed state or state of conception until the instinctive and intellectual cycles evolve into maturity through the process of absorption of more atoms into the astral body. This process continues until a physical body is formed around the astral body. But that is not the culmination of this theory. The cells and atoms of these bodies themselves evolve, becoming more and more refined as cycles of experience pass until complete maturity is reached in a physical body which is refined enough to attain nirvikalpa samadhi and begin the next process of building a golden body of light. According to this theory, the soul takes on progressively more advanced bodies, evolving through the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, slowly acquiring knowledge through experience. There may even be a life that seems to regress, such as a man incarnating as a cow to gain needed lessons of existence."
So my commentary, Gurudeva doesn't comment on this theory in his other writings.
"A second concept in this theory explains the lower evolutionary rate of animals, insects, plants and minerals. According to this principle, animals and lower forms of life function under what is called a 'group soul.' They do not have an individual astral identity, but share a group astral atomic structure. That is one reason for the lack of so-called individuality among these groups and why animals move about in herds and birds live together in flocks--indicating the movement of the one group soul, so the theory goes."
My comment: Gurudeva does write on the theory on the group soul for animals and a number of other writings.
"In another theory, when man dies, he goes on to the astral plane after breaking the silver cord which binds him to the physical body. During out-of-the-body experiences, this silver cord is often seen as a cord of light connecting the physical, astral and spiritual bodies. When awareness leaves the physical body, it passes through one of the chakras. If our life has been one of baser emotion and reason, we would exit through one of the chakras near the base of the spine, either the muladhara or svadhishthana, and begin a conscious existence on a lower astral plane. From there we would work out various experiences or reactionary conditions caused by congested mental and emotional forces which impressed our subconscious mind during the course of our lifetime. On the astral plane, we relive many experiences by reactivating them, creating for ourselves heavens or hells. When the lessons of that life had been learned and the reactions resolved, we would be drawn back into a family, into a new physical body, in order to gain more experience in the light of the new knowledge acquired while on the astral plane.
"If we have evolved to the point that our life was one of service, understanding and love, then we would exit through the next higher chakras, for that is where awareness has been polarized, and our astral existence would be of a deeper, more refined nature. However, if we had discovered and practiced a dedicated spiritual life, then our exit would be through the top two chakras, which do not lead awareness onto the astral plane but take it into the Third World of divine existence, never to reincarnate again into the physical world. After nirvikalpa samadhi is attained and perfected so that the mahayogi can go into it at will, he leaves the body consciously through the door of Brahman, the center of the sahasrara chakra above the pituitary gland at the top of the head. This depends on whether or not the golden actinic causal body, which has been developed after Self Realization, is mature enough to travel in actinic force fields on its own."
It doesn't leave the astral body. So this, this is all important. My commentary says:
These two paragraphs relate to Gurudeva's advice for the time of transition which is to strive to be in the highest chakra possible. This is helped by being at home rather than a hospital and being surrounded by religious symbols and music and of course, supportive family members.
Thanks you very much. Have a wonderful day.