In this, the fourth article in our occult studies course we discuss and reveal the truth and real purpose of Reincarnation.
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There can be no doubt whatsoever in the mind of anyone who makes the effort to seriously and thoroughly examine the evidence that reincarnation is a fact. A fact that has been proven again and again by countless independent investigators over many years, whose truth is acknowledged by all the great Messengers and Teachers. When we say that reincarnation is a proven fact, we say just what we mean. Not only do we say it from an inner conviction, as an accepted theory, or as a personal experience, but we say it because of the large number of authenticated cases of young children (who cannot be accused of being widely read, least of all in Occult matters), who have vivid memories of their previous incarnations.
Some years ago, a young cousin of ours astonished his parents by spontaneously recalling his experiences as a soldier during the Great War. The boy, who was only seven at the time, held his audience spellbound with his thrilling accounts of what he had seen and done on the battlefield and in the trenches. Moreover, the little lad was born with an incurable heart condition which had damaged his brain and so prevented him from receiving any schooling. If this shows us nothing else it shows us that memory does not reside in the brain as science tells us but in the MIND. The brain having a similar relationship to the mind as that of a radio to the signals it receives. The mind can also be regarded as the driver of a motor car and the brain as the vehicle itself. It is encouraging to note that some open-minded scientists such as Rupert Sheldrake and Professor Raymond Tallis are now moving away from a purely material and mechanistic understanding of consciousness. In a recent radio interview, Sheldrake stated that: "science . . . has a series of un-thought out dogmatic views about the nature of consciousness," and we agree. But all this is by the way.
Now, the really interesting part of this story lies not only in the completely accurate descriptions the boy gave of his past life, but the minute details he was able to recall. These details included the trench slang the soldiers had used at the time—words and phrases that were quite unknown to the lad's parents, but which were all verified by his grandfather, who had fought in the same war himself.
In a case recorded by Dr Ian Stevenson, a Canadian biochemist and professor of psychiatry, Shanti Devi, an Indian girl spontaneously began recalling memories of a previous life from the very young age of three. The child was able to provide sufficient information to enable Stevenson to locate the family of the deceased person she remembered. She then went on to give more than 50 specific facts about her previous life which were also fully verified. This case was also unusual in that the child's memories did not fade as she grew to adulthood.
In 1982, Peter Ramster, a psychologist and hypnotherapist from Sydney, Australia, produced a remarkable television documentary called 'Reincarnation' in which four women from Sydney gave details under hypnosis of their past lives. One of his subjects had very vivid—and we may say, most distressing—memories of the last moments of her previous life as a teenage Jewish girl in Düsseldorf, in Germany, in 1937. When she was taken to Düsseldorf—a city she had never visited or even heard of in her present life in Australia—she correctly identified several buildings that did not appear on any maps made since WW2. She even recognised one building as a hospital that had not been used as such since 1945.
We could go on recounting many similar accounts that prove the reality of reincarnation, unless, of course, one is the sort of scientific ignoramus we heard holding forth on television recently who assured his audience that there was no point in examining data on the efficacy of homeopathy, because, in his considered and expert opinion, homeopathy was bunkum. Truly, there are none so blind as those who will not see even when you shove the evidence under their superior noses!
Past life recall: contacting your previous incarnations
In two of the cases we cited above, memory of a past life arose spontaneously, whilst in the last example it was deliberately recovered under hypnosis, or past life regression as it is now called, with results that were extremely traumatic for the subject. This may answer the question as to why so few of us remember anything at all of our previous lives. In most cases we are NOT meant to! If we look back over our own, present lives, the incidents that stand out with the greatest clarity are those which made the deepest emotional impression upon us. Such incidents can be happy or sad, and if they were exceptionally distressing few of us would wish to dwell upon them for any length of time. Consider, too, how memories of a past life can affect our actions in this life, perhaps causing us to repeat old mistakes, or become so overwhelmed by our past achievements, worldly position and fame (assuming we had any!) that we waste the opportunities of this life in dwelling on past glories, thus interfering with the work we have to do NOW.
Truly, the Powers that Be are wise beyond our limited comprehension. If we do place our trust in them we may be sure that we will always be guided in the right way. For it must be clear to all of us that there are many things we could not bear to recall now. To try to force recollection by artificial means, whether through hypnotic regression, mediumship or channeling, are as likely to lead to the madhouse as the Temple of Truth. There are safe and effective methods for recalling past lives, but these can only be given to tried and trusted students of the genuine Mysteries who are under the direct personal guidance of a True Teacher.
If you have managed to recall what you believe to be one of your previous incarnations, beware of thinking you have been Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Nefertiti or Cleopatra, if you have seen yourself in a previous incarnation with a countenance that might be ascribed to one or other of these famous figures in history. There are literally thousands and thousands of people who firmly believe they were once some famous historical figure, and the lunatic asylums are full of them! J Michaud, in Occult Enigmas mentions two of his previous incarnations, in one of which he was a particularly unpleasant miser, and in the other a murderous Samurai warrior. We ourselves remember one very insignificant life in which we cleaned the drains in a most impressive palace! This should prove to us that fame, great wealth and high position are strictly for YOUNG souls only. To them these shadowy things are valuable, as by the right use they make of them they will be elevated to non-possession in their next lives, or degraded to still higher earthly positions. . . .until the lesson is learnt properly and they become free of all such idle dreams. No, this is not a contradiction in terms, but the plain occult truth, for the more evolved we become the less interest we tend to take in material things.
One occultist we know is convinced he is a reincarnation of Homer, Dante and Shakespeare. Not to be outdone, we countered by telling him that we were a reincarnation of Alexander the Great, Nelson and Wellington, all rolled into one. We don't think he believed us any more than we believed him! Moreover, if you read the true story of the recollection of a past life in ancient Egypt on the right of this page, you will note that it often happens that when we succeed in sending our mind back into the past, we identify so closely with people and objects that we seem to become them. Thus it may come about that we think we have lived as some famous historical personage or other in a previous incarnation, when in truth we were only very closely connected to them in that other life. Always beware of jumping to conclusions and use your critical faculties in judging such memories. Rather than looking for past glories, we should concentrate on the more glorious work that awaits us all by giving our services to those who need them. It is not who we were, but who we are and where we are going that matters. We have all played many different parts, from princes to paupers, from duchesses to drabs, and trodden many varied stages, but we are one, and as ONE all will expand within us if we keep our eyes firmly fixed on the goal, which lies in the future, and not the past. By using the wisdom we have acquired during the apprenticeship of our previous incarnations in order to help the less wise, we will fulfil our destinies to the Glory of God.
There are many theories—and many more guesses—as to the amount of time that passes between incarnations. Our own conviction, based on facts which we know from personal experience, and the various evolutionary cycles taught by the Masters of the past, is that the average time period of 144 years from one birth to another is least open to criticism. Of course, there are exceptions to this, most notably in the case of some of the young children we mentioned earlier, who may reincarnate at much shorter intervals.
It is often possible to verify the period of a previous incarnation by the surroundings in which we find ourselves such as the furnishings and architecture, and especially by the type of clothing we are wearing, as the narrator of the story at right did. Of course, if we see ourselves standing naked in the middle of a field at midnight, this becomes rather difficult! It is also interesting to note the difference various people experience in contacting previous incarnations. Many individuals can only contact the last two or three incarnations, beyond which there seems to lie an impenetrable mist. Others remember almost nothing of their recent incarnations, but can go far back in time and contact civilisations such as Atlantis, or even earlier periods of human history. Personally speaking, we ourselves have not been able to contact any of our more recent incarnations, except for a tantalising flash here and there. But we do have vivid memories of some of our previous lives in Ancient Egypt, as well as earlier and later periods of history in different parts of the world.
There is a definite reason for all these things, and, as we said earlier, we feel quite sure that many of us could not bear to know now all that has happened to us in the past. The Wisdom of God is great. We could give you some VERY gruesome details from our own experiences, but we consider that whatever happens to us in this great School of Life can be of great value later, if we can only grasp the essentials and profit from the lessons they teach us. But we cannot contact our previous incarnations unless we throw away all the weapons we have hitherto used to 'fight' the so-called battles of life. You cannot contact them if you suffer from a 'superiority-complex' and think you know all there is to know. You cannot obtain a glimpse of true wisdom if you are enslaved by the training and conventions of this material world. You have to discard all these miserable rags—for as it says in the Bible: "Except ye become as little children ye cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." Contacting your previous incarnations is most definitely the same privilege as contacting some of the heavenly Wisdom of the higher realms and planes of consciousness. "Except ye be born again ye cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." This injunction has an exoteric and esoteric meaning!
The real purpose of reincarnation
Again. A-GAIN! What do you gain in your incarnations if you do not gain simplicity—leading to purity and wisdom; Trust—leading you into the arms of the Lord; gratitude for your privileges and God's loving protection; Service—leading to enlightenment of the Higher Self? For as we serve others in gratitude for what we have received, and trust with the simplicity of a child in the Love of our Eternal Father, so shall we gain pure wisdom and see the Light in full realisation of the Love and Goodness of God. Is not that A-GAIN! much greater than the intellectual pride, bigotry and intolerance from which mankind has suffered through the ages?
Let us see what the New Testament has to say about reincarnation. "The Gift of God IS Eternal Life." How can you die if you have it? Can you learn all there is to be learned, and be ready to take your place in the universe as a useful member, who can help lead mankind to Truth and Light; as an angel of God, perfect in purity, pity, love and wisdom; can you learn all this in one short lifetime? You know you can't. Yet we read: "Ye have eternal life." If that is true—and who but a fool can doubt it—what other explanation is there except reincarnation?
"Except ye be born again. Again and again you must be reborn to learn another lesson of life so that you gain understanding; and with understanding comes tolerance and love. What does the Galilean Master say according to the Gospel of John: "The Glory which I had with Thee before the foundation of the Earth." What does it mean but eternal life? Even before the earth and all that is on it and in it was made, the Higher Self within all of us shared in God's glory. And it always has and always shall . . . if we will resolutely keep our face towards the Light and attune ourselves with that everlasting and all-penetrating Mind of God and His Glory.
But: "If the Light within thee be darkness—how great is that darkness." Turn to the LIGHT. Keep faith with God and do not betray your Higher Self—the Christ within—or it shall be said of YOU as it was said of the disciple who went astray: "And Judas went out—and it was NIGHT". He joined the dread concourse of uncomfortable beings that dwell amongst the things that creep within the gloom. He turned from Him who is the Light, to wander forth into the darkened caverns of despair. In other words, he missed the purpose of his incarnation and lost his way. Poor brother; he could not see the way, for his Light was darkness.
Judge him not—for we, as seekers, are all bound to err and lose our way in some way or another, and so prepare ourselves for further advancement when we have learnt our lesson. We are all constantly watched by the anxious eyes of our loving Master—the Christ within—and He waits...and watches...and waits...an Eternity of watching and waiting as the many cycles of our incarnations succeed one another in an endless procession of thousands of lives, eternally grinding and polishing us, until the final result is achieved, and we are transformed into shining jewels of wisdom, compassion and love, ready to join all the other jewels who have made the great journey before us.
Here we have the REAL purpose of reincarnation. To be ground and polished between the wheels of the Gods. And what a very long process it is—but how glorious the final result! To believe in reincarnation, and to have enough faith to investigate it takes courage. Are we strong enough to behold ourselves, not only as we are now, but as we were in previous lives? Are we ready to face the Auditor when our books will be examined? Have we balanced our accounts of our good and not-so-good, thoughts, desires and deeds, and paid our taxes by helping and serving others?
In the Book of Revelation we may read: "And the books were opened—and another book was opened which is called the Book of Life." What else are these but the 'books' of our previous incarnations plus the Book of the new life we are about to enter? Just before that new incarnation the books of your previous lives are read and consulted and according to what is written in them so are you placed into that body and under those conditions which will most surely assist you to learn an old un-learned lesson afresh—or an entirely new one for the first time. The old books are full; the new one is blank. What ARE you going to write upon those pages?
Will you fill them with God's Love or man's hatred? With Heavenly Wisdom or worldly ignorance? With Divine Truth or human lies? With the tolerance and compassion of God or with the harsh judgement of uncharitable men? It is all up to you. What have you written in your books? What is written in your secret library? Whatever is written there: fear NOT. God IS Love, and no matter how often we err—God's infinite patience will always give us another chance—until the final polish has been achieved. And if we are able and strong enough to look back into our previous incarnations and learn in all humility just where we have gone astray in the past, it will be an invaluable lesson. A mirror; in which we see ourselves as we were, in order to learn what we should become.
And that brings us to the reason why we need to go through all these many thousands of reincarnations. What that reason is you can read in our next article into the real meaning and purpose of EVOLUTION.
Published 12 March 2013 — © Copyright occult-mysteries.org. Updated 10 June 2023.