Since most of us are still learning primarily through the Law of Karma, let us look in more detail at this subject. For every action there is a reaction. For every result there is a cause. Every impulse must return to its original sender. Nothing happens to us in our lives that is a matter of chance. Every experience, pleasant or unpleasant, is the perfect reflection of our past thoughts, words and actions. Thus there is no such reality as injustice, no excuse for bitterness, envy, jealousy, pride or bitterness, for we are getting exactly what we deserve at every moment.
THE CIRCLE OF INCARNATIONS
We mentioned in an earlier chapter that all of the actions, words, thoughts, and experiences of each being are registered as tendencies or qualities in the causal body or the morphogenetic field. The causal body acts like a cosmic computer recording each and every act, thought, word and experience of all the various incarnations which a spirit projects onto the earth. These activities are stored as subtle impressions called «samskaras». In the same way that an audible physical sound is recorded as a subtle magnetic arrangement on a cassette tape, our actions, desires and experiences are recorded as subtle «samskaras» in the causal body. These samskaras must be expressed in present and future lives. The tape must be played back and the subsequent reaction is again recorded. This goes on indefinitely until we learn not to react with attachment. When there is no attachment there is no more recording. The recorded impulses play out and become less. When there are no more samskaras, there is no more need for reincarnation. The tape has been made clean.
Diagram No.16 THE CIRCLE OF INCARNATIONS
This diagram may help us to understand the relationship between the spirit, the causal body and the various lives. In the center of the model is the Spirit which is immortal, omniscient, omnipresent and ever blissful. This Spirit, however, projects its consciousness into the material dimensions, where it is expressed through various bodies or vehicles. As it is passing through these bodies, it loses awareness of its real nature and identifies with the bodies. The closest body to the spirit is the Causal body where our tendencies are stored as samskaras. Then there is the higher intellect. These two subtle bodies remain with the spirit even after «death». Thus these two bodies, which we call the soul, are common to all the various lives, present, past and future. These various lives are represented by the many spokes which are emanating from the spirit and soul. The horizontal line on the right indicates the present life. Those in the upper hemisphere represent the already manifested lives, that is, the already expressed mental, energy and physical bodies used by the soul on earth. Thus, in each new incarnation, the spirit and soul generate a new type of mental, energy and physical body. The tendencies associated with the actions and energies of these bodies are recorded in the causal body. Those recorded impulses will form the limiting factors and tendencies of the next incarnation, through the law of Karma. Neither time, and thus, nor Karma are experienced by the spirit. It is in the unmoving center. The wheel turns and the drama takes its course, but the spirit rests blissfully in the center, beyond time and space. Thus all these seemingly separate lives are linked through the common causal body and higher intellect which are responsible for the recording impulses and experiences and discriminating as to how best to work out the process of liberation. For the Spirit in the unmoving center, there is no time and thus for it all incarnations; past, present and future are simultaneous. What we experience today, then is the result of what we have done in the past. But the past is not only past lives but also our childhood and last week and five seconds ago. The contents of the causal body are in constant change with our every new action.
FACTORS CONTROLLING BIRTH
When the soul is ready to incarnate again it will select (or the selection will take place according to Universal Laws) the specific samskaras (tendencies stored in the causal body) which will be worked out in this impeding incarnation. These tendencies will form the deciding factors as to what type of body and personality will be manifested, so as to most efficiently learn the specific lessons which must be learned in this life. Thus the soul chooses the sex, the parents, the strengths and weaknesses of the body and mind. It also chooses the various major events it will experience as well as the important close relationships and the length of the life. According to the law of karma all these pretty are much established before birth. This does not mean, however, that an individual does not have the ability to change the course of things through his personal spiritual effort and Divine Grace. Although the major events are predetermined by our previous actions, our freedom lies in our ability to now react in a different way. When we learn to act with detachment, forgiveness, understanding and love, then we cease to perpetuate the karmic cycle. When we react with resentment, bitterness, anger and intolerance, we continue to generate karma for ourselves and negativity for the others. The present experiences depend on our past way of behaving, and our future experiences depend on our past and present way of behaving. The point of power to change and transcend the limitations is in the present moment. The present is the past of the future. Our actions and realizations in the present can always change the future, because they change the contents of the causal body. Also we do not know what events we have chosen, until they have already happened. Thus we have no choice but to try to create the most positive, happy, healthy life that we can. Of course, not all the samskaras can be worked out in one life. Only a certain portion of the total amount of samskaras stored in the causal body are selected for expression in a particular life. When that portion is worked out, then the individual is free to leave the physical body. Until that time he needs his physical body in order to work out his karma. Thus there are three categories of karma.
1) The total karma which is stored in the causal body in order to be worked out at some time in the future before enlightenment.
2) The karma which has been chosen to be worked out in a particular life.
3) The karma which is being worked out at any given time period in that life. The questions comes to our mind as to how this cosmic game got started. How and why the first samskara was developed. The common answer offered by most schools of thought is that this question cannot be answered with words, but that it can be experienced upon the transcendence of the rational mind. However, even once you have experienced the answer, you cannot communicate it because it is beyond duality, and thus beyond the comprehension of the mind. Accepting that it has started in some way, let us consider I.K. Taimni’s explanation of how it has progressed. (Mr. Taimni is a well known author and scholar of the Theosophical School of Thought). «In fact, the moment consciousness comes into contact with matter with the birth of ignorance, and the identification with the relative form begins to work, samskaras begin to form. Attractions and repulsions of various degrees and kinds are present even in the earliest stages of evolution-mineral, vegetable and animal, and an individual who attains the human stage after passing through all the previous stages brings with him all samskaras of the stages through which he has passed, though most of these samskaras lie dormant in a latent condition. Animal traits are recognized even by Western psychology as present in our subconscious mind, and the occasional emergence of these traits belonging to the lower stages is due to the presence within us of all the samskaras which we have gathered in our evolutionary development». The soul is in a state of evolution through the various forms of life. Man’s evolution continues through the purification of tendencies, habits and attitudes until he is able some day to manifest his latent divinity. The law of Karma guides us along this spiritual path, it helps us to understand right from wrong, through pleasure and suffering. Pleasure is the result of selfless actions and pain is the result of selfish actions. Through the law of Karma we learn to identify with a wider segment of reality. Through Karma we learn the lessons which we need to grow mature both mentally and emotionally. The same difficulty, however, can be viewed either as a punishment or as a test, or as an opportunity to develop spiritual strength and faith. The true spiritual aspirant, although he does not seek suffering, also does not resent difficulties which come his way, for he knows that they are sent by life itself to help him to take the next step forward. A general rule to accept is that life is always giving us exactly what we need at every moment in order to learn the lessons we need to learn. Perhaps they are not the lessons we would like to learn, but they are certainly the ones we need to learn. Consider these words by Satya Sai Baba. «The Lord does not test a man just for fun; He does not pile suffering upon difficulty because he enjoys it. Examinations are held to measure achievement and award marks and honors. You must ask to be examined, so that your progress may be recorded». St. Paul expressed the same thought in his letter to the Hebrews. «My son, pay attention when the Lord corrects you, and do not be discouraged when he rebukes you. Because the Lord corrects everyone He loves, and punishes everyone He accepts as a son. Endure what you suffer as being a father’s punishment; your suffering shows that God is treating you as His son». This reminds me of a story about the Spanish saint St. Teresa. She was called on to come to the aid of a very sick person at night in the middle of a furious rain storm. About half way there, her horses slipped and her carriage turned over into the mud. She was lying in the rain completely drenched and covered with mud. She looked up into the sky and asked, «God, I was on my way to help one of your children. Why did you do this to me?» She heard a voice speak out, «But Teresa, this is how I treat all my friends». She looked up with a twinkle in her eye and answered «Yes, God, that is why you have so few friends».
PUNISHMENT OR OPPORTUNITY
I would not agree, however, with the way in which St. Paul expresses his message to the Hebrews. The word «punishment» seems to be a poor choice of words here. Or perhaps it was chosen, because those listening could understand him only in this way. A Father does not want to punish his child. It pains him to punish his child. He does so only if he believes that this event will, in some way, educate the child. His goal is always the child’s education, growth, maturity, evolution and self improvement. It is unfortunate that we interpret the difficulties of life as punishment. God is Love. God is the Universal Consciousness residing in all beings. What purpose could punishment serve when evolution in the manifestation of the divine tendencies in all beings is the only purpose for creation. Thus all events simply serve as opportunities to learn. Now that we understand the law of Karma, we realize that no God is responsible for these events which are occurring to us. These are all simply our own thoughts, words and actions reflecting back to us from the Universal Consciousness which acts like a mirror in this case. We are the creators of what happens to us. God, the Universal Consciousness, is the impartial witness of all this. When we realize that we are really that witness, we will be freed from the game. Thus we can interpret suffering as punishment, as a test or as an opportunity for greater self expression, as Sai Baba suggests here. «Just as sugar cane does not yield sugar juice unless it is crushed, as a sandal wood does not give the fragrant paste unless it is rubbed on the stone, the goodness of people does not come out unless they go through difficulties. «A diamond is first just a dull piece of stone, a hard pebble. Only when it is cut by a skillful artisan, does it become a multifaceted flame. Allow yourselves to be so treated, that all your dullness will disappear and you will emerge as a resplendent diamond». Thus when we are being tested by life, let us remember that what is happening is offering us an opportunity to grow and learn more about ourselves and the nature of Reality. Rather that worry, fear or feel incapable or wronged or angry, we can direct our energy towards discovering what life is trying to teach us through this event or situation. (Many examples of how this analysis can be made are given in the book “The Psychology of Happiness”).
Another aspect of Karma is that it helps us balance ourselves with the world around us, and within us. The way in which we treat others is a measure of the way in which we will ultimately treat ourselves. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, «If you put a chain around the neck of a slave, the other end fastens itself around your own». Abraham Lincoln agrees, that «This is a world of compensation; and he who would be no slave must consent to have no slave». We are simply not allowed to have double standards. Satya Sai Baba expresses this nicely:
«Do unto others what you wish them to do unto you;
Do not do to others what you do not wish them to do to you.
Do not have a double standard.
Treat all as your own self.
That is to say, you must have faith in yourself
and then only can you have faith in others.
Love of Self is the measure of your Altruism.
Mankind is one community;
You harm yourself, and you harm all.
You make a man stand erect
and that act makes you stand erect.
The treatment you wish others to render to you
is itself the measure of your duty to them». Actually our Karma is not with another person. All karma is contained within the individual. The Karmic return of goodness or evil does not need to return from the same individual to which it was expressed. We may help one person and be helped by another. We may harm one person and be harmed by another. Our Karma is with ourselves. If we harm someone and they forgive us, then we might have to work this Karma out with someone else. In the same way, when we forgive someone for what they have done to us, we free ourselves from the cycle of action and reaction with this person. If he wants to continue playing this game, someone else will take our place; someone who still needs this lesson. No one creates Karma for us (not even our parents). And we do not create Karma for anyone else. Because our mind is not strong enough to penetrate into the higher levels of our being where the memories of past lives are available, we must accept blindly that there is a just law which determines the results of our efforts in life. One who can see into the past and future is aware of the Karmic situation of each. He is able to understand the relationship of cause and effect which our feeble minds miss. Here Sai Baba gives an example: «Everyone is good, but there are bad actions. Actions and reactions. In terms of the victims of bad action, everything was exactly right. You see only the present, I see the past also. A four year old boy was attacked by robbers for the gold chain around his neck. The robbers blinded the boy so he could not identify them. The boy was crying bitterly that he could not see. The parents also were crying. They came to me. In the past life, the boy had been cruel man who had blinded several people.» Sai Baba goes on to say that if the boy eventually realizes this and repents and turns towards God, then the condition may be rectified. Let us remember that repentance means to change the nature of his mind. Thus the Karmic blindness in this case becomes the stimulus for a spiritual transformation. From this statement by Sai Baba, we can make some possible conclusions:
1) All experience are a result of Karmic factors.
2) The average person is unable to see the relationship between the past action and the present reaction.
3) Selfish, egotistical actions bring suffering; selfless altruistic actions bring joy.
4) Lessons can be learned through the Karmic return.
5) There is the free choice to learn the lesson or not.
6) If the lesson is learned and one asks for Divine Grace, the Karma may be removed by Grace.
7) All beings are innately good, only their actions can be harmful.
8) There is no such thing as injustice.
This knowledge is an invaluable tool for interpreting the results of our efforts both in material and spiritual life. Two people may make the same effort but have different degrees of success depending on what efforts they have also made in past lives. Actually one person might make a big effort and not succeed as much as one who makes little effort. The result is never dependent on the efforts of this life only, but rather on the accumulative effort of many lives. Sai Baba gives us an example here.
«You complain that your neighbor began his spiritual discipline only two years ago, while you have been keeping the schedule for 20 years. But, he has secured happiness and you are still miserable. You feel that you have been coming to me for years but I take near to me those who have come just a short while ago. Your reactions lead you to ascribe injustice and partiality, but the answer lies in the past of which you are not aware.
«Twenty hammer stokes (years of effort) have been given to a slab, but it did not break. Another fellow comes along and at his second stroke the slab is broken. The man who dealt the twenty is disappointed and the man who broke it in two strokes is elated but the slab broke as a result of the cumulative impact of the twenty two.
«Your neighbor has to his credit 20 years of spiritual effort stored up in the causal body with which he has come from his previous birth into this present one. Your nature and your tendencies are shaped by the way in which you have lived and reacted, fed and fought, in the long series of lives you have already lived.
«God is not involved in either rewards or punishments. He only reflects, resounds and reacts. He is the eternal unaffected Witness. You decide your own fate». If we believe this, we can no longer blame others, or the government, or weather conditions for our suffering. We must take full responsibility for what we experience; for we have created it with our own past actions. Even to say that it is «God’s will» is shirking the responsibility that we ourselves have caused these situations. God is simply witnessing the fate we have created for ourselves. Let us remember then that what happens to us and our loved ones, as well as the results of our various efforts are not the results of our present life efforts only. Our present life efforts are important and must be made both for the physical survival and for spiritual growth, but they are not the only factors which will determine our results. There are various other factors; one of which is our past.
ABILITIES AND TALENTS
Most people are not aware of the abilities and talents which have already been developed in previous lives and are presently waiting within them for just a little effort to awaken them. We have considerably more inner potential than we realize. In addition to our spiritual nature, we also have our previous life experiences and efforts. You see, then, that Karma is not only unpleasant. It is also the transference of our positive activities and tendencies into the present and future. Nothing we ever learn is lost. Everything we have ever learned is still recorded in our causal body. This is why the Greek philosopher Plato believed that we do not actually learn but simply remember what we already know. According to Plato…«The soul then, being immortal, and having been born many times, and having seen all things that exist, whether in this world or the world below, has knowledge of them all; and it is no wonder that she would be able to call to remembrance all that she ever knew about virtue and about everything; for as all nature is akin and the soul has learned all things, there is no difficulty in her eliciting, or as men say, learning out of a single recollection all the rest, if a man is strenuous and does not faint for all inquiry and all learning is but recollection».
THE THREE CAUSES OF PERSONAL REALITY
Let us make a brief clarification here. There are actually three factors which create our present reality. They basically come from the same source, but are expressed slightly differently through the three dimensions of time (which we must remember is simply a creation of the mind). When time disappears, these three become one again. They together are effects of our consciousness which is expressing itself in the evolutionary process. The cause of our reality is our consciousness. Our awareness itself is projecting the reality which we are perceiving as a movie projector projects images on a screen. What are those three factors? One is the past which we have already mentioned. Our past thoughts, words and actions are presently being projected out onto the screen of life creating our present reality. The second is our present belief system. The beliefs, thoughts, values, emotions, preconceptions, expectations, desires and habits which presently dominate our conscious and subconscious minds are also projecting outward onto the screen of our present life. Thus, what we are experiencing may not be a «karma» from the past, but in reality a result of our present belief system. For example, we may be experiencing rejection or an antagonistic behavior from someone. This behavior might not be the result of something we have done in the past, but a reflection of our present beliefs about ourselves, others and the nature of reality. If we believe that we are unworthy of respect, or if we believe that the world is full of injustice, or that people are incapable of loving us and treating us correctly, then we will attract exactly these types of behavior from these people. We might attract disrespect, failure, and a variety of calamities not because they are our karma, but because they are the product of our present conscious and subconscious belief system. For this reason, we must never simply accept what is happening in our lives without internal inquiry and effort to change it. We have the obligation to try to create the best possible life for ourselves and those around us. In that effort, however, we need to be detached from the result of our effort; knowing that it will always be the perfect result of our combined past and present actions. We can continue our efforts if we believe in them, always accepting the correctness of the results. The third factor which creates our present reality, is the goals or lessons which we have set for our evolutionary process in this life. For example, if we have chosen to become a doctor, we will need to pass through many years of study, hard work, difficulties, depriving ourselves perhaps of comforts and pleasures which others around us are enjoying temporarily. We will have to go through a series of difficult examinations in order to arrive at our goal. In the same way if we have chosen in this life to learn selfless unconditional love, it will be necessary to go through the appropriate lessons and exams such as living with a very difficult person, being harmed by people we love, being disappointed. The only way to learn unconditional love is to be faced by the very conditions which we until now put on our love so that we can learn to let go of those conditions and love the other anyway. If we want to learn inner security there is not other way, but to have no one else to depend on. Only when we have no other external support can we really develop inner security. Thus, we can see that the highest goals of spiritual development sometimes require specific learning situations which most might consider as punishment or injustice. But they obviously are not. Just as the doctor is not being punished by tests and efforts he must go through, the spiritual aspirant is not being punished. These are simply the learning situations which are required for one who wants to achieve a high goal. We might suppose, then, that these difficult life experiences are not so much a result of past karma, but rather the soul’s choice for further growth. It is very possible, however, that the soul will have forgotten that it has made these choices. They may seem unfair to us at first, but we gradually find our way «out of the cave and into the light». Afterwards we will clearly see that all this was for our spiritual benefit.
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?
If we can be truly conscious of these truths on a continuous basis, what will our life be like?
1. We will seldom feel that we have been wronged or done injustice. We will remember always that we are the sole creators of our personal reality. We are creating what is happening to us in the above mentioned three ways. We are also responsible for the way in which we are interpreting these events and the corresponding feelings which we create within ourselves with these stimuli. It is as if we are writing a scenario, playing the part we ourselves have written and feeling wronged by the part which we have been given. Let us also remember that the lesson is not always to accept an unpleasant situation. Quite often the lesson is not to accept, but rather to gain the inner strength and courage to face the situation more dynamically so as to change it. We do not help people to grow when we allow them to treat us in a disrespectful way. It might be our karma, or it might be a test of our real love to face this situation without fear and dynamically earn this person’s respect. There are situations in which we are to learn acceptance and others in which we are to learn dynamic effort. In most cases we will need a combination of both.
2. We will never fear the future, or how events will turn out, because we know that they will occur just as they need to for our spiritual growth process. We will make our efforts toward a better life, but will have faith that the «best» will always come about.
3. We will feel sure about the future of our loved ones. We will not worry about them, because we know that they too are immortal souls in the process of evolution. We will remember that they too have written their scripts and must play them out. We will help them in every way we can, but we will not worry or fear for them. This is important, for when we fear for someone, we give them the subconscious message that we do not have faith in their inner strength or their powers of discrimination. This undermines their own self confidence. This occurs independently of whether we express these feelings overtly or not. It is sufficient to feel them.
4. We will not be able to harbor hurt, anger or hatred, because we will realize that no one has ever done anything to us which we didn’t create for ourselves. Even if another wanted to do us harm, he would be unable to succeed, unless we ourselves had created that event in one of the three ways mentioned. If we have planned a certain event to learn through which includes some other to play a role in that event, then, even if the other didn’t want to hurt us, he will involuntarily or inadvertently become the vehicle for that event. We will remember that others are simply the means by which things happen. They are never the cause. The past, present and future contents of our consciousness are the only cause of our personal reality.
5. We will never fear taking up some new activity, for we will realize that nothing we ever learn is lost. We now know that all is recorded in the causal body, and that talents and knowledge accumulate from life to life. Thus it still makes sense to take up the piano at eighty.
6. We will never feel jealousy or envy, for we will be aware that each of us has exactly what s/he needs for his or her growth process. We would not be able to grow as effectively in another’s life situation. We will also remember that these life situations are not by chance, nor are they distributed by an unfair God, but are our own personal creations. If we do not like ours, then we can start creating another one.
7. We will develop patience in our efforts on all levels, material, social, economic, and spiritual, knowing that the results of our efforts are also dependent on other past factors of which we are not aware. Thus we will continue making our best effort, being relaxed and patient about when the results will come. We will not loose faith nor give up the effort.
8. We will learn to be much more selective in our choice of actions and activities. Knowing now that everything we do creates a reaction, we will want to prefer actions which are in line with the basic laws of the universe.
9. Because of the above changes, we will love and enjoy life much more. We will not fear death, because we know that it is just a continuation on another level. What more could we ask for. Enjoy life and not fear death.
SOME INTERESTING QUOTATIONS ABOUT INCARNATION
Most people are unaware how many deeply respected thinkers of the western world accepted the concept of reincarnation. Here are just a few quotations which you will probably find interesting and even surprising.
JESUS OF NAZARETH: «Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?» And the disciples answered: «Some say that thou art Elijah, and others Jeremiah, or one of the prophets». «Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist. And if you will receive it, this is Elijah who was destined to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear». Matthew 16:13-14, 11:11, 14-15.
PLATO: O youth or young man, who fancy that you are neglected by the Gods, know that if you become worse you shall go to the worse souls, or if better to the better, and in every succession of life and death you will do and suffer what like may fitly suffer at the hand of like. This is the justice of heaven, which neither you nor any other unfortunate will ever glory in escaping. Take heed thereof, for it will be sure to take heed of you. If you say – I am small and will creep into the depths of the earth, or I am high and will fly up to heaven, you are not so small or so high that you shall not pay the fitting penalty. And thinkest thou, bold man, that thou neediest not to know this? – he who knows it not can never form any true idea of the happiness or unhappiness of life or hold any rational discourse respecting either. Laws (Book X)
HERMES TRISMEGISTUS: The Soul passes from form to form; and the mansions of her pilgrimage are manifold. Thou puttest off thy bodies as raiment, and as vesture dost thou fold them up. Thou art from old, O Soul of man, yea, thou art from everlasting. Egyptian Hermetic Fragments
ALBERT SCHWEITZER: By reason of the idea of reincarnation Indian thought can be reconciled to the fact that so many people in their minds and actions are still so engrossed in the world. If we assume that we have but one existence, there arises the insoluble problem of what becomes of the spiritual ego which has lost all contact with the Eternal. Those who hold the doctrine of reincarnation are faced by no such problem. For them that non-spiritual attitude only means that those men and women have not yet attained to the purified form of existence in which they are capable of knowing the truth and translating it into action. So the idea of reincarnation contains a most comforting explanation of reality by means of which Indian thought surmounts difficulties which baffle the thinkers of Europe. Indian Thought and Its Development
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: Finding myself to exist in the world, I believe I shall, in some shape or other, always exist, and with all the inconvenience human life is liable to, I shall not object to a new edition of mine, hoping, however, that the errata of the last may be corrected. Letters
GOETHE: I am certain that I have been here as I am now a thousand times before, and I hope to return a thousand times. When one reflects upon the eternity of the universe, one can conceive of no other destiny than that the Monads or Souls should eventually participate in the bliss of the Gods as joyfully cooperating forces. The work of creation will be entrusted to them. Man is the dialogue between nature and God. On other planets this dialogue will doubtless be of a higher and profounder character. Conversation with Johannes Falk
CARL JUNG: My life as I lived it had often seemed to me like a story that has no beginning and no end. I had the feeling that I was a historical fragment, an expert for which the preceding and succeeding text was missing. I could well imagine that I might have lived in former centuries and there encountered questions I was not yet able to answer that I had to be born again because I had not fulfilled the task that was given to me. When I die, my deeds will flow along with me – that is how I imagine it. I will bring with me what I have done. In the meantime it is important to insure that I do not stand at the end with empty hands. Memories, Dreams, Reflections
TOLSTOY: How interesting it would be to write the story of the experiences in this life of a man who killed himself in his previous life; how he now stumbles against the very demands which had offered themselves before, until he arrives at the realization that he must fulfill those demands… The deeds of the preceding life give direction to the present life. This is what the Hindus call Karma. Diary and other writings
NIETZSCHE: My doctrine is: Live so that thou mayest desire to live again – that is my duty – for in any case thou wilt live again! This doctrine is lenient towards those who do not believe in it. It speaks of no hells and it contains no threats. He who does not believe in it has but a fleeting life in his consciousness. Let us guard against teaching such a doctrine as if it were a suddenly discovered religion! It must percolate through slowly, and whole generations must build on it and become fruitful through it – in order that it may grow into a large tree which will shelter all posterity. Eternal Recurrence
GIORDANO BRUNO: I have held and hold souls to be immortal. Speaking as a Catholic, they do not pass from body to body, but go to Paradise, Purgatory, or Hell. But I have reasoned deeply, and, speaking as a philosopher, since the soul is not found without body and yet is not body, it may be in one body or in another, and pass from body to body. From Spirit, the Life of the Universe, proceeds the life and soul of everything that has soul and life. Bruno’s Trial before the Inquisition
BALZAC: Who knows how many fleshly forms the heir of heaven occupies before he can be brought to understand the value of that silence and solitude whose starry plains are but the vestibule of Spiritual Worlds? A lifetime may be needed merely to gain the virtues which annul the errors of man’s preceding life. The virtues we acquire, which develop slowly within us, are the invisible links that bind each one of our existences to the others – existences which the spirit alone remembers, for Matter has no memory for spiritual things. The endless legacy of the past to the present is the secret source of human genius. Seraphita
THOMAS HUXLEY: In the doctrine of transmigration, whatever its origin, Brahmanical and Buddhist speculation found, ready to hand, the means of constructing a plausible vindication of the ways of the Cosmos to man. None but very hasty thinkers will reject it on the ground of inherent absurdity. Like the doctrine of evolution itself, that of transmigration has its roots in the world of reality. Evolution and Ethics
HENRIK IBSEN: There is One who ever reappears, at certain intervals, in the course of human history. He is like a rider taming a wild horse in the arena. Again and yet again it throws him. A moment, and he is in the saddle again, each time more secure and more expert; but off he has had to go, in all his varying incarnations, until this day. Who knows how often he has wandered among us when none have recognized him? The Emperor Julian