Reincarnation as mentioned in the Bible and Bhagavad - Gita
Good day U Community, there are few references on the planet that discuss the ultimate truths about life on earth and our existence here. Some are lost in the mists of time and some references are deliberately altered so that civilization is prevented from knowing their past or the truth of their existence. But hidden knowledge is sometimes revealed for those who are able to comprehend and gain access to a source of information that is considered valid.
For example there is little for us to study on the nature of our existence beyond this body and this lifetime. Some ancient texts refer to ourselves as immortal, despite the inevitable demise of the current physical body. And some cultures have texts that allude to an eternity here or there, depending on the actions or karma of the person in this lifetime. Actually both western Semitic as well as Eastern Vedic philosophies describe the soul as eternal, but the west sees only one life for the soul on the planet before an eternal heaven or hell.
The Vedas of the East on the other hand, describe an eternity awaiting us in the transcendent realm, but they suggest that we may have many more lives here on earth and in the material world in general, before transcending to the eternal abode, the kingdom of God, so to speak. Relatively few people in the west accept or understand the concept of reincarnation, but most of India – around 1 billion people today – fully accept and understand the concept because it is stated multiple times in the Vedic literature like Bhagavad Gita, where we see the text saying:
बहूनि मे व्यतीतानि जन्मानि तव चार्जुन ।
तान्यहं वेद सर्वाणि न त्वं वेत्थ परन्तप ॥ ५ ॥
bahūni me vyatītāni
janmāni tava cārjuna
tāny ahaṁ veda sarvāṇi
na tvaṁ vettha paran-tapa
“The Personality of Godhead said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy.”
Bhagavad Gita as it is chapter 4:5 translated by Swami A. C. Bhaktivedanta
Here we see a clear reference to the philosophy of reincarnation as written down in the Sanskrit language around 5000 years ago. And this is not the only place that a reference to reincarnation is mentioned. Even the Greek philosophers like Plato mentioned the repeated incarnations of the soul when he used the term “metempsychosis”. This refers to “transmigration of the soul” or the taking of more than one life in differing bodies for the same individual soul.
Curiously there is also an historical reference that explains the ancient Christian doctrine and its consolidation around 325 AD or thereabouts, when the early Christian Fathers got together at the Council of Nicea and actually decided which books to keep in the new testament and which to exclude. Finally they kept the current version but threw out the books that were too esoteric including the ones referring to reincarnation. It was there but it was removed, or redacted, and the doctrine was altered to exclude what was – up until then – a standard part of the teaching of Christ.
Reincarnation is not a new concept and should be considered in the light of the multiple references in the Bhagavad Gita itself as we ll as in numerous other Vedic literatures. The Western Church may label the idea as a heresy, but it is common knowledge in the East. And there are numerous pastimes or narrations of people who left their bodies at death only to take another body and continue their existence, for better or worse. As explained in the text above, we forget our previous lives in the body before this one, but it was there, and in fact many of them were there before this one. And many will be there after this one.
So this life is merely one chapter in a long book, which is our journey through the centuries on this planet. When the spirit soul leaves the body, it is carried by the subtle body or the mind. And the mind is the mental identification we have of ourselves based on the lifetime in a certain body. We identify with the external shell that we carried around for the previous life. As we shed the body we still keep the mind, with all its desires, hankerings and lamentations. And these desires pull us toward a body in which we can fulfill those desires, based on our previously acquired state of mind.
As a result the subtle body is born in a new physical body, carrying the passenger of the spirit soul who is the observer. In the new body the old subtle mental body or mind is moulded in infancy into a new identity, having forgotten the previous one during the gestation and birth process. The same spirit soul is present but is heavily covered by the physical and subtle housing, unless we make some endeavour to awaken and remember our original true identity as eternal spiritual person. The techniques for doing that are mentioned in the ancient yoga texts known as the Vedas.
Once one is able to attain awakened consciousness in this lifetime, with remembrance of our eternal relationship to the supreme original source, the “causeless cause of all causes” (in Sanskrit ‘sarva karana karanam’) s/he no longer needs to take another material birth, as the desires of the subtle body have been dissolved and transcended. That is the process of ending the wheel of repeated birth and death, or “samsara”. Now that you have come this far to rediscover this information for yourself, the journey to your ultimate destination has taken a leap forward. Now you know and the end is in sight. I can show you the door but you must take the step to liberation.