by B P Wadia
© 2003 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmö
The mistakes and the sufferings of human life make me think sometimes that those ancient seers, or interpreters of the secrets of heaven and the counsels of the Divine Mind, had some glimpses of the truth, when they said that men are born in order to suffer the penalty for some sins committed in a former life.
Successive lives on earth in human bodies for the unfolding Mind-Soul of man is a reasonable and satisfying doctrine. It solves problems and answers questions that no other doctrine does. It is logical and our minds are satisfied if we examine its basis and principles. It not only engenders hope in the heart but also brings it the contentment born of understanding and the dauntless energy to press forward on the road to self-improvement leading to Self-realization.
Cicero speaks of "ancient seers." In the modern world, they are not revered because their ideas are not studied. No era has been without seers, however few or however exotic. Mystics and Occultists down the ages have uniformly asserted the truth of Reincarnation. Transmigration, Metempsychosis, and other terms are also used. The main and central idea is that the human soul is immortal and unfolding. Its growth takes place in the soil of the body and its sensorium. The nature, as the genesis of the Soul, need not remain matters of conjecture and speculation. There is knowledge. It is not sought earnestly and sincerely because modern knowledge has pronounced the soul as mortal and the minds of large numbers are lazy, unquestioning, and charged with blind belief. There are other minds not influenced by materialistic science but by illogical theologies.
"Were an Asiatic to ask me for a definition of Europe, I should be forced to answer him: It is that part of the world which is haunted by the incredible delusion that man was created out of nothing, and that his present birth is his first entrance into life."
Since the days of this German, Asiatics have also become "civilized" and reject the immortality of the Soul. The tide has been turning and there have been not only mystics and poets but also scientists and men of affairs who hold fast to their own intimations of Reincarnation. The Law of Cycles, by which the processes of Nature take place, compels a logical mind to arrive at the conclusion that Reincarnation represents the cycle of human evolution. Man is born and dies as the universe is making the vast cycles of the days and nights of Brahma. Voltaire saw this when he said that "It is not more surprising to be born twice than once; everything in Nature is resurrection."
One whole issue of this magazine would not suffice to present the intuitive expressions of poets, ancient or modern. They are in a class by themselves and are not bothered by the strictures of science or the syllogisms of logic. Relying on their own intuitions they have sung in China, India, Persia, and in Europe -- from Virgil and Ovid to Masefield, the Poet-laureate of Britain.
"One argument against a serious consideration of Reincarnation is its supposed impracticability. It is taken to be a teaching that stresses other-worldliness. This, once again, is a hasty deduction. It has been recommended that Reincarnation may be taken as a working hypothesis not only for the purposes of solving our personal problems, but also national and social ones. If Reincarnation were true what a vast change, a revolution, must take place in educating the young. If children's bodies enshrine immortal souls, who have been here before and who are here once again to pick up the thread of learning and experience, then the system of education and the methods of teaching would have to be transformed. Is there an idea more significant than this, which favors and ought to compel a sincere and unprejudiced enquiry into the principles and details of Reincarnation? Take penal reform. Are not delinquent boys or habitual criminals evolving intelligences? Is it right to deprive them of individual responsibility by saying society makes criminals? We do not deny the truth implicit in the statement that all of us are in a measure responsible for the crimes and sins committed by our brothers. They are young souls, or sick souls, who need schools and clinics run on the principles of a spiritual philosophy. Is there such a philosophy, which can sustain its consistency, without the teaching of Reincarnation?"
Men of modern knowledge accept numerous aspects of Reincarnation. Recurrence and resurrection create the spiral of progress everywhere. Death and Regeneration are to be seen everywhere. Why should it be otherwise with man's body which dies but which must refashion itself with the Will to Live which every human soul possesses and holds to with a superb tenacity? No, the great American, Benjamin Franklin was right in penning his own Epitaph when he was only 23 years old:-
"The Body of Benjamin Franklin, Printer, Like the cover of an old book, Its contents worn out,
And stripped of its lettering and gilding, Lies here, food for worms.
But the work shall not be lost,
For it will, as he believed, appear once more, In a new and more elegant edition,
Revised and corrected by The Author."
B. P. WADIA
From "Thus have I heard", pages 200-3. Utgiven av Indian Institute of World Culture, 1959.
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