Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why I believe in Reincarnation


In a previous post John mentioned that he does not believe in the concept of reincarnation. It is a concept that was mentioned by ancient mystics. It is an inherent part of Christianity (read more) as well as Eastern religions. One may define anything more than one life as reincarnation. Without it another life in Hell or Heaven would be impossible. But then, there is so much else that ancient mystics mentioned that has not been proven by science. In fact some of what the mystics said has been shown to be absurd (unless it is viewed metaphorically). Therefore it is perfectly reasonable for a modern rational person to disbelieve in this concept. I too regard myself as a modern rationalist. My profession is a scientific one and I have made useful scientific contributions during my career. However my reflections have led me to believe firmly in reincarnation.Read why.

My spiritual belief begins with a belief that there is something deeper to my self than my body i.e. the soul. I believe that this deeper self has not changed even though all the cells of my body have changed since childhood. my belief is that even though my body has changed my soul is the same. The moment one senses the soul, it becomes crystal clear  from where consciousness and the feeling such as fear, love etc. arise. Neither my computer nor that cute Japanese robot they showed on TV possesses any of those things. I just can’t scare my computer or robot with the fear of death nor make it pine for me out of love when I am away.

Once having firmly accepted the soul that is internal to my ever changing body, I suddenly realize that the soul can survive death because death is the end of this physical body as a functioning machine not that of my soul as a consciousness that feels and remembers. Immediately that permits me to escape the fear of death and along with that a host of other fears, since no other fear can be greater than death for this body. As long as fear remains true joy or freedom is impossible. In fact there was a time I was uncertain of reincarnation either way but chose in its favor because that belief offered such great advantages.

The next thing that comes to mind is that if the soul does not get annihilated after death it was probably around even before one was born. Suddenly the proclamations of mystics both ancient and modern, from the east and the west, that the soul always was and always will be makes eminent sense.

The thought that comes to mind immediately then is that if the soul has always been around, is this physical life a one-off event? There is no logical reason for that to be so. A soul that can perform the feat of a physical birth once can do it again. Immediately then the realization of reincarnation dawns upon one. With the acceptance of reincarnation a veil is lifted from a lot of other dilemmas. Why am I fairer than the next fellow, why I was born in a rich family rather than a poor one, why my height and nose is such and such and different from the next guy, why I picked up writing very quickly but failed to play a musical instrument ever. My daughter could construct tunes on a Casio player as a kid. I can’t do it even now. It becomes clear that some of our learning too come from past lives. Without belief in reincarnation one would be forced to accept that whatever one received at birth was a random throw of cards by the Universe. I am unable to accept that fact as a scientific person and believe as Einstein did that God or the Universe does not play dice.

"A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind, and another woman shall bear me." Concluding line from the Prophet by Khalil Gibran

More to read on Reincarnation here, deep philosophy in a lighter vein:
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2014/05/when-all-animals-lost-their-souls.html

5 comments:

Vincent said...

Yes there is indeed much to debate here, Ashok. Coincidentally, I'm writing a new post which is centred on the viewpoint that everything about my self, including my soul and my consciousness, is derived from my body.

I call it a viewpoint because it’s not a belief, and doesn’t need to be, just as a scientist doesn’t need to believe something---is hampered by belief, indeed.

But I shall be delighted to comment further here, as well as developing the other post!

ashok said...

Thanks Vincent

I would like to read more about your opposite view point that everything is derived from the body.

For me the soul and consciousness is something that lies beyond the observable matter. it may have something to do with something that scinetists call dark matter that penetrates the universe but is not observed. Its presence is deduced from its effect.

Would like to hear more from you on this.

Yes the word belief has its implications perhaps a better word could have been used for it from the scientific point of view but here faith is involved as well therefore belief seems appropriate.

ashok said...

Vincent, I regard the body as simply a machine albeit a highly sophisticated that technologists may never be able to mimic as a robot. However, even if they did it would remain a machine without the feelings of love and the fear of death.

Life with its additional components of soul and consciousness behaves differently.

Rebb said...

Ashok, I also believe that the soul makes many journeys. I see our bodies not as machines, but rather as containers, as sacred containers that work closely with the soul and the mind. Intricate yes. It’s quite a feeling too, when two humans; humans to animals; humans to nature—when they meet in body—but communicate at a soul level.

I don’t know that this would be your type of fiction book, but one that touched my heart that I thought did a lovely job of handling death and grief told through the dog, Enzo’s perspective is called, The Art of Racing in the Rain. Ultimately, Enzo teaches us about being human and the potential for life.

ashok said...

Thanks for your insight Rebb.

Yes perhaps calling the body as just a machine degrades its value. I agree that it is a sacred container or temple for the soul.