R E I N C A R N A T I O N A N D T H E C H A N G E O F E X I S T E N C E
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, March 14, 2006
“To those in the grave I give life.” This is the clearest affirmation of reincarnation and the continuity of existence.
Agni Yoga, 244.
The attitude toward death is a very important indicator of the character of the Teaching, for in it is contained the understanding of reincarnation. I urge you to consider reincarnation strictly scientifically.
If you can propound any other structure of the universe, We shall reserve for you a chair as professor of theology and promise you a first-class funeral; for indeed in the eyes of the enlightened you will have already decided to die.
Read attentively the writings of the Teachers published by you, and you will be amazed at how unanimously in all ages They speak about the change of life. The Path of Light will appear when you venture to look scientifically and without prejudices.
The daring ones are with Us—joy to the daring ones!
Leaves of Morya’s Garden, Illumination, III:V:13.
One should not deny the statements of children about their past lives. Essentially they know what has taken place around them. Especially nowadays there often will be rapid reincarnations. Many dwellers of the Subtle World are hastening to return, and herein is expressed the growth and acceleration of evolution. And in such quickening may be seen a rapprochement between the worlds.
In the study of the history of faiths it is possible to observe how humanity has repeatedly grasped subtle conceptions only to forget and later cast aside that which had been cognized. One may see how in ancient times people grasped the law of reincarnation only to reject it again in a spasm of rage. The reason for this ecclesiastic denial is understandable—a caste was protecting its prerogatives, for the law of Existence threatened to equalize the rights of people.
Frequently you hear absurd tales of how there occur simultaneous incarnations of one and the same person—a conclusion both ignorant and harmful. Deniers of incarnation make use of such fictions to dispute the possibility of reincarnation. Besides, they forget the reason—which somewhat lessens the guilt––namely, imaginative invention. Certain people remember the details of a definite epoch; when they dream of being a well-known person, their remembrance of the dream molds the imagining of an incarnation. The resulting error is in the person, but not in the epoch. A child imagines himself a field marshal, and such a representation already sinks into his Chalice. Many remember their past lives, but through obscuration of consciousness they call forth their own past imaginings. One needs to be careful also not to censure too greatly the mistakes of others. Aside from conceit and ignorance, there may be only partial errors without base motive. Indeed, there may also be different forms of obsession and whispering with evil intention, but enough has already been said about obsession.
It may be understood why comparatively little was said about reincarnations in the ancient Teachings. On the one hand, enough was known about them; on the other, it would not have been useful to direct attention to the past. Only people with especially broadened consciousnesses can delve into the past without harm to their advancement. For a small consciousness, a glance backwards may be ruinous. People must be in a state of continual preparation for the future. Only in such a state of consciousness can they harmonize earthly life. Even in moving into a better apartment people select their best possessions, and no one takes his dirty rags with him. Just as carefully and worthily must man prepare for his dwelling in the Subtle World.
When someone weeps at a funeral, there may be found one who deplores such ignorance. Likewise, if someone rejoices at such an occasion, people are indignant at a seeming madman. Thus, people cannot assimilate the relationship of earthly existence to the super-earthly state of being. Many cases can be cited when people have seen their near ones of the Subtle World, but even such evidences merely remain listed as phenomena. It is impossible to convince people of the naturalness of the change of existence. They are forbidden to think about reincarnation, and they are agreed that they dwell on the edge of an unknown abyss. Yet each year brings the worlds closer together, and it is possible to increase the number of cases of evidence of memory of former lives. Already each one can cite many examples; all that is needed is an attitude of good will.
Idiosyncrasies are inexplicable attractions or repulsions, and they appear as trustworthy evidences of reincarnation. No one can explain otherwise these irresistible feelings. It is vain to try to show them to be the effects of atavism, because it is possible to trace their independence of ancestral habits. The special force of such attraction shows that they are deeply implanted in a given individual. They are so firmly fixed in the consciousness that even hypnosis cannot overcome them. But if in individual cases the changes of lives were to be examined, then the attraction or repulsion would be found to be a natural effect of what has gone before. Thus, it is especially instructive to observe such inborn symptoms. They reveal both the capacities of the man and the kind of surroundings that are most favorable for him. Let us not forget that each plant needs its own soil; so, too, in the life of man, indispensable are the circumstances which are natural and peculiar to him.
Urusvati is outliving her inherited burden. Humanity should study the foundations of heredity. But this will be possible only when science is liberated from superstition and limitation. Many accumulations have piled up on man. Heredity of one’s personal incarnations, heredity of the clan, heredity of one’s people, supermundane heredity, and also the many influences of accidental encounters, which imprint themselves on the psychic nature and change it. Indeed, scientists of limited mind can observe heredity only within the context of the family; in other words, within the most narrow limitations. They occasionally do observe those inherited traits that may appear even after several generations. But they cannot make the more sensitive observations, because they do not believe in reincarnation or in the Supermundane World.
Supermundane IV, 929.
You write, “No wonder Christ did not find it possible to reveal this truth (the law of Reincarnation) directly and openly to the undeveloped human minds.” But I think it would be more correct to say that although the law of Reincarnation was a cornerstone of every ancient religion of the East, and of course the religion of the Jews was no exception, already in the days of Jesus this law was badly distorted by the priesthood and maintained its purity only among individual sects.
Letters Of Helena Roerich I, 8 February 1934.
We should not forget that the law of Reincarnation was rejected only in the sixth century by the Council of Constantinople. And we are supposed to accept as revelation and dogma the authority of the Fathers of the Church who, with great seriousness, discussed such problems as “How many spirits may be placed on the end of a needle?” or such similar pearls as “Has woman a soul?”
Letters Of Helena Roerich I, 17 February 1934.
It is difficult to give even approximately the duration of the sojourn in the Subtle World between the incarnations of a person of average cultural development, because the cycles of evolution follow in accelerated progression, and therefore, if in the previous race and in the beginning of our Fifth Race the intervals between incarnations were great, now they are considerably reduced, and one may speak not of centuries, but of decades or even years. Similarly, during recent centuries, one could observe accelerated incarnations among the disciples of the Great Teachers, owing to some special reasons; the consciousness of humanity requires speedy shifting. Therefore, it is advisable to point out even more emphatically the unusually threatening time which we are now experiencing, and also to mention the approach of the fiery energies to the earthly spheres for the purification of our planet of its dense atmospheres, engendered by human crimes. You can point out that this approach of the fiery energies undoubtedly will permit a new convergence of the worlds, and people will witness many unusual phenomena in nature. Parallel with this convergence, reincarnations will be accelerated, and more and more frequently children will be born who remember their previous lives, which could be easily checked, because witnesses will still be living. Likewise, phenomenal children will be born more frequently, and, too, science will be enriched by new remarkable discoveries. Precisely, the shifting of the spatial rays will bring about a regeneration of consciousness and will make possible new convergences of the worlds. Verily, the New World will come in the glory of the new rays.
Letters Of Helena Roerich II, 17 March 1936.
One should not fear reincarnations, on the contrary, a true disciple accepts with joy a new experience and new possibilities of achieving most valuable accumulations. Indeed, the disciples of the White Brotherhood walk the shortest path, and with the help of the Elder Brothers they accelerate their incarnations in order to outlive their karma and help their retarded brothers.
Letters Of Helena Roerich II, 17 May 1937.