Reincarnation is the idea that death is not the end. After death the soul leaves the body, but, after a temporary rest takes rebirth in a new body. Reincarnation is an integral belief of many spiritual traditions. It is often asked why is reincarnation necessary? The main reason is that Reincarnation gives the soul chance to make slow steady progress towards fulfilling its highest goals.

1. Different Experiences.

From each incarnation the soul takes the quintessence of its experiences. From these different episodes in the evolution of the soul, it is possible to gain a comprehensive understanding of many different experiences. In one incarnation we may have great fame, wealth and power. However, even in this kind of incarnation, we cannot achieve peace of mind and abiding satisfaction. Therefore, in our next lifetime we may have a more ordinary, humble incarnation. We will view life from perspective of both powerful and weak. This will give us greater understanding. These different experiences also give us the opportunity to fulfil our desires.

“In one lifetime on earth we cannot do everything…Now our dearest is God. Do you think that God will allow us to remain unfulfilled? No! God's very purpose is to fulfil each individual and Himself through us. He will have us come back again and again to fulfil our desires.”

- Sri Chinmoy [2]

2. Fresh Start.

After a certain number of years we grow old and tired. Quite often people get stuck in a rut, and are content with past memories. As we get older, usually we do not feel like taking on fresh challenges. From a practical point of view the body declines, and it becomes increasingly difficult to fulfil our desires and aspirations. Reincarnation enables us to be reborn with new hope and new life. Furthermore, because we do not usually remember our previous incarnations, we can wipe our memory clear of our unfortunate past experience. We may have been a thief in the past, but reincarnation gives us the chance to mend our ways. No one is destined to remain imperfect forever.

3. The Law of Karma.

The law of Karma is a fundamental underlying law of the universe. Basically, the law of karma says; “As you sow so, shall you reap.” The law of karma has been explained and emphasised, in many different religious and spiritual traditions. It is the process of reincarnation, which enables the law of karma to fully operate. In one lifetime you may be born in unfortunate circumstances and be deceived by others. These unfortunate experiences can be rectified in a future incarnation. Similarly, if a person was to profit from the exploitation of others, he may be able to escape the cosmic justice in his current incarnation; but, in future incarnations he would experience the effects of his actions. Nobody can hide forever from their own actions. At the same time, not all karma is inevitable. If we have done wrong things in previous incarnations, it is possible for the effects to be nullified or reduced by God’s grace, or the intervention of a Spiritual Master.

4. Self Realisation

There comes a point in the soul’s evolution, when the entire being; mind, heart, body and soul are aspiring to realise the highest. If we can attain realisation of the Supreme, Transcendental Consciousness, we can escape the cycle of rebirth and death. For example, the Buddha taught that on attaining nirvana it was not necessary for the soul to be continually reborn. However, to attain Self-realisation or nirvana is no easy task. It can take many incarnations to free ourselves from our earthly desires and inherited tendencies. On the one hand, if we aspire most intensely, realisation is possible in this incarnation. But during one lifetime many seekers complete only part of the journey. Reincarnation enables us to make continual progress in the future. Furthermore, to manifest the qualities of the soul can take even more incarnations. As spiritual teacher, Sri Chinmoy says;

“It very often happens that realisation can take place in one incarnation, but for manifestation the soul has to come down again and again to earth. Unless and until we reveal and manifest the highest Divinity within us, our game is not over.”

 


[1] From: Death and Reincarnation by Sri Chinmoy.

[2] Excerpt from Death And Reincarnation by Sri Chinmoy.


Richard became interested in meditation and eastern mysticism whilst studying at University in Oxford. After studying various spiritual traditions he became a meditation student of Sri Chinmoy.