R E I N C A R N A T I O N
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, April 25, 2006
One may regard a chain of incarnations as a sequence of separate lives, but it is better to look upon the entire chain of incarnations as one life. Truly, life is one; from the moment of mastering the human consciousness, life with all it involves does not cease, and the surrounding cosmic currents evoke the same sensations in all phases of life. This is one of the most binding conditions of life, proving the innate oneness of all principles. One could call the time of incarnation a sleeping dream or a waking day, depending on one's point of view. In the past perhaps it was a sleeping dream, but in the future it will perhaps be an awakening. This depends upon the success of one’s evolution.
Agni Yoga, 450.
The incarnation as a flower is not often repeated. Some strive to the more massive forms of trees, but the charm of flowers is not always accessible, and one may not easily turn twice to them. There is no forbiddance against circumventing one of the animal incarnations by way of the plants. I would not say that the consciousness of many insects is superior to the consciousness of beautiful flowers. It is wise to outlive certain incarnations by sojourn as a flower. “Hasten, hasten! I will wait under a beautiful dome, and I will still be ahead of you.” Thus, the path of beauty shortens the road.
It is karma, the fatiguing aftereffect of previous incarnations, that can bring not very savory fellow-travelers to us. But when each encounter is over, there comes relief, as when property belonging to others has been returned. No less than half of all earthly encounters take place because of past incarnations, in the way that cork figures are drawn together by application of electrical energy.
Agni Yoga, 238.
If, in the second race, a far-distant date was needed for incarnation, in the sixth race the coming together of physical and astral conditions reduces the need for such lengthy periods between incarnations.
Agni Yoga, 333.
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 Thinker said about the chain of lives, “Not only does it exist, but it is of manifold nature. There are complete incarnations, but also partial ones. A strong spirit can give part of his energy. This can be called a sending of the ray or a sending of energy. It provides an intensification of power that broadens the consciousness. It does not depress, but deepens straight-knowledge. In some people a natural keenness can be sensed. They themselves might have accumulated it in their former lives, but it also could have been sent to them as Grace.”
Supermundane I, 191.
We have mentioned that powerful Beings can transmit a part of their Ray to someone on Earth who then receives illumination. Such a Ray has an effect on the recipient that is the equal of an earthly incarnation. Divisibility of the spirit can be utilized, and the transmissions will then bring spiritual enlightenment to several people simultaneously. This is an even higher service to evolution.
Supermundane I, 206.
Urusvati knows that the human consciousness is formed from subtle accumulations. It will seem almost too simple if We tell you that each incarnation, like a medicine, is intended to cure a particular unhealthy feature of the individual. The color white may seem equally simple, yet it contains in itself all colors. It may astonish you to observe succeeding incarnations that are extreme opposites, yet without sufficient polishing a precious stone has no luster. Thus, everyone should remember how difficult it is to deepen the consciousness.
Supermundane I, 223.
Urusvati is right in thinking that it is desirable to be reincarnated into different ethnic groups. This idea must be assimilated so that people will not attempt to cling to their own kind while in the Subtle World and deprive themselves of new tests and experiences.
Supermundane II, 304.
Please tell your friends that they should not assert in their earthly lives what they wish to be in the next incarnation. The fact is that the Subtle World provides possibilities so great that earthly limitations and measures can only diminish them. Life on Earth should be the expression of one’s best accumulations. Often people begin to ponder upon their next incarnation, but it is wiser for them to postpone such thoughts until they find themselves in the Subtle World. They may then discover that it will not be necessary for them to return to Earth again, or that they will have to stay for a long time in the Subtle World to perform an entrusted task there. Such work brings one closer to the Brotherhood.
Supermundane II, 330.
You mentioned a most painful problem of today’s life – the question of the legality of abortion. Of course, there are no two opinions on this subject: abortion is most definitely murder. Therefore, only in cases where the mother’s life is in danger should it take place. But it is wrong to think that a woman who is guilty of abortion always attracts low spirits. The karma of the whole family should be taken into consideration. Often we can notice that in a family where one of the children is worthless the other children are not bad. Karma ties groups of people for long, long thousands of years. And often, even a high spirit has not unimpeachable, irreproachable parents. And it is significant that the dark forces are especially against the reincarnation of highly developed spirits, and they try their best to prevent the reincarnations that are dangerous for them. And, once more, it is not the purgatory of the Subtle World that prevents spirits from reincarnating, but only the crime of the parents. There is not a more powerful purgatory than the earthly life, if all the potentialities of the individuality are intensified. It is said in the Teaching, “As the one who hungers longs for food, even so, the spirit that is ready to incarnate longs for the new incarnation.” Therefore, one can imagine what suffering the spirit undergoes by reason of artificial prevention. The spirit is connected with the embryo at the moment of conception, and gradually enters the body in the fourth month when the nerve and brain channels are being formed. Therefore, abortion is permissible only in exceptional cases.
Letters Of Helena Roerich I, 17 April 1934. 3.
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.
Among one’s human incarnations there is invariably found an incarnation devoted to rhythmic labor. Whether this be some sort of craftsmanship or music, singing or farm work, every man infallibly will cultivate in himself the rhythm which fills all of life. Upon learning of certain incarnations, people frequently are astonished as to why they should have been so insignificant. But in them there was being worked out the rhythm of labor. One of the greatest of qualities, this must be acquired through conflict and patience.
Urusvati knows the variety of conditions that may relate to one’s incarnations. The Thinker said, “Once upon a time a great leader delivered a brilliant speech, and when he had finished he began to look for something on the ground. A simple silver ring had fallen from his finger. People smiled and suggested that he cease looking for an object of such insignificance and little value, but the leader said, ‘You do not know the origin of this ring. Perhaps the whole speech was delivered on its account.’ ”
And so it may happen with incarnations. People may have to return just to find a little ring that is of great importance to them, but of no value to others. People cannot understand why some great incarnations are followed by seemingly insignificant ones, but who can tell what valuable object must be found during the difficult journey? Often, in the course of general self-perfectment, a small, precious stone is required that seems insignificant, but is of great value. Various incarnations indicate that an important task must be performed for the sake of general evolution.
Supermundane I, 233.
Urusvati knows that some individuals, when in the Subtle World, consciously choose difficult incarnations. I speak of those whose karma permits them to have an easier existence, but whose refined consciousness tells them that one difficult earthly life is of more value than many easy ones. These selfless pilgrims will readily accept missions that the fainthearted would be eager to avoid.
Supermundane III, 621.
Soulless beings are known to all. This is not a figure of speech but a chemical reality. It may be asked, Do these people incarnate in this deplorable state? The question indicates ignorance of the fundamentals. No one can be incarnated without a store of fiery energy. Without the torch of Agni, no one enters the physical world. The squandering of Agni takes place here, amidst all the wonders of nature. To dissipate Agni it is not at all necessary to commit any violent crimes. From various Teachings we know enough about even the reformation of robbers. Ordinarily the dissipation of Agni occurs in everyday life when the spirit slumbers. The accumulation of Agni is arrested by trivial actions. It must be understood that the benefaction of Agni grows naturally, but when darkness blankets the process of perfectment, then the Fire imperceptibly—though it can be chemically proven—departs from the worthless receptacle. Beautiful is the law of eternal motion, either evolution or involution. Beautiful is the law that permits each incarnate being to have within him eternal Agni, as a Light in the darkness. Beautiful is the law that, even in spite of karma, issues Light to each wayfarer.
Fiery World I, 183.