The other world: Understanding rebirth and the karmic cycle

The other world: Understanding rebirth and the karmic cycle

By Veenu Sandal | 3 September, 2016
A person dies, the physical body perishes, but the soul never dies. Since times immemorial virtually all religions, all cultures have accepted the immortal, eternal nature of the soul. But what happens to a soul after it leaves the body? All the evidence on record seems to establish that it is the manner of dying and the karmas in a person’s life that determine what happens to the soul after it leaves the body. It is believed in several cultures, particularly in Asia, that there can be no karma, no progress in an individual’s life without rebirth. The karmic cycle provides the opportunity to make up for past bad deeds by doing good deeds in the new life.

An analysis of the cases on record points to some interesting things. One, those who take birth shortly after they have died seem to have undergone some violent incident shortly before or at the time of death and they have almost faultless memories of their earlier identity and the circumstances in which their death occurred. Obviously, there hasn’t been time enough for memories to fade in the consciousness. I know of many cases where the birth took place just a few hours or months after their deaths and they were able, when they grew up, to give an account not only of their past life and what happened at the time of death but also what happened to them after they died.

 Secondly, the recall factor is accentuated in those whose souls have left their bodies suddenly, violently, or at a young age — in other words those whose lives were cut short. The influencing factors for strong past-life memories range from unfulfilled desires or destiny nipped in the bud,  a strong motivation for justice in the case of those who have been wronged, strong love ties, or a divine or karmic design for an evil soul or a soul that has erred to be born in the family that it has wronged so that matters can be rectified.

This brings one to another, more important question which people often ask : how is it that only very few people can remember their past birth or lives ?  Highly evolved souls, of course, are fully aware of their past — and future — births. But the fact is that almost all of us can remember a previous birth till about five to seven years of age. It just that parents, too immersed in other things, often don’t notice, putting it down to a child’s rambling. And when a child persists in repeating certain things from the past, most parents prefer to discourage it. Gradually, as a child grows older past memories get overlaid with current birth concerns although some persons can still remember well into their later years. To give just one out of numerous examples,  Shweta Kawatra, a TV actress of yore, went on record to say she remembers her past birth where she lived in a particular home in Mumbai etc. etc.

In several cases, especially where deaths have involved violence, the karmic design or cycle is evident very strongly when the reborn person is still an infant. Usually, a high level of paranormal or supernatural activity involving more than one spirit is a feature in such cases, particularly if revenge is an element. In such cases, it is very important to seek clarity through a priest or a guruji or a paranormal expert as quickly as possible.

This brings one to another, more important question which people often ask : how is it that only very few people can remember their past birth or lives ?  Highly evolved souls, of course, are fully aware of their past — and future — births.

Not just in India and Asia, but many prominent people in the West too have believed and continue to believe in rebirth and the karmic cycle. Henry Ford, the automobile pioneer wrote,  “I adopted the theory of reincarnation when I was twenty six…. Work is futile if we cannot utilise the experience we collect in one life in the next….”

Dr. Ian Stevenson, Director of Personality Studies at the University of Virginia, devoted more than 40 years to the scientific documentation of past life memories of children from all over the world  and placed over 3,000 cases on record. Dr. Adrian Finkelstein. M.D., author and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA had 20 years of research and therapy in the field of past, present, inter- and future lives exploration to heal body and soul, individually and in groups.

There are many books too by highly respected, highly qualified writers. In Many Lives, Many Masters, the author, Brian L. Weiss, M.D. recounts how he was once firmly entrenched in a clinical approach to psychiatry. He was drawn into past life therapy when a hynpotised patient suddenly began revealing details of her previous lives.  Children’s Past Lives : How Past Life Memories Affect Your Child, by Carol Bowman is a memoir of her discoveries after she witnessed past life memories in her own two children, and a guidebook for parents. She published a follow-up book, Return from Heaven, which explores cases of children’s past life memory in the same family.

Rationalists reject an overpowering, almost conclusive body of experiences and well documented cases from across the globe, saying there is no absolute scientific proof of rebirth and the karmic cycle. But then, there is none against it, either. In fact, it can be argued that though there are a mind boggling number of fascinating cases substantiating rebirth and the karmic cycle, no proof against it has ever surfaced.

Currently ‘past life regression’ therapy has caught on in  a big way, through qualified practitioners, through cassettes, CDs,  information packed websites, etc.,  and people are beginning to understand themselves and their children and shape their lives better by tapping the accumulated wisdom of past lives to empower and invigorate their current lives. However, if you ever feel there is a karmic cycle at work after strange things begin happening with a vulnerable new born in your family, you should lose no time in checking out with someone who has knowledge of the paranormal.

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