Past, Present, and Future Lives
By Sri Harold Klemp
There once was a handsome Trojan named Tithonus. Lucky was he to have the love of Eos, goddess of the dawn.
Tithonus prayed to Eos to grant him immortality. But he’d neglected to ask for youth. So in time, like any mortal, Tithonus became aged in body and infirm.
He now offered up a new prayer. Would Eos let him die?
This boon she could not grant, but she could change him into a new physical form. And so, Tithonus became a grasshopper.
* * *
Of course, each Soul is eternal—like Tithonus. Unlike him, however, the True Self has no fear of the hand of aging, infirmity, or forgetfulness. It is whole, beyond time. Yet the human bodies It wears during Its many rebirths do see the afflictions that come with the passing of years.
A human shell is like an oak leaf. It buds in spring, enjoys its beauty, vibrancy, and strength in summer, then turns dry after the chill winds of autumn. In winter, it falls.
But then, spring.
A new bud shoots forth, and a new cycle of life begins.
Soul takes on a new body in like manner. In our human incarnations we are like an oak leaf: a leaf, but not the same oak leaf. In fact, Soul, the immortal, is rather like Tithonus the grasshopper. On each return, we hop from one set of circumstances to a somewhat different set.
And yet, the grasshopper’s memory is short. He’s aware of one jump at a time. But barely that.
A Grasshopper Remembers the Past
The past is a fascinating study. Even more so is learning of a present condition that saw birth in a past life.
To celebrate their wedding anniversary, a couple took a cruise. A port of call was Mexico. The couple went to see the Mayan ruins at Tulum, took many pictures, and also bathed in the turquoise waters nearby. The cruise was a happy, memorable event.
But it proved to be more than a physical journey.
Soon after their return home, both the woman’s husband and her father became ill with the same problem, congestive heart failure. They were taken to the same hospital, the same floor, and shared the same doctor. An interesting quirk of timing and location.
On top of that, the wife, four months before the cruise, had been brought to that very hospital and saw the same doctor, because she too had a heart problem. A small world indeed.
The woman who wrote this account to me is a member of Eckankar. She reports that it was an obvious spiritual lesson of sorts. But what?
She asked the Mahanta, the Inner Master, for an insight.
Then came a dream. It showed her a past life when she, her husband, even her father, and the doctor were Mayans. On the day of a great festival, crowds of people in bright colors and feathers filled the streets around the temples. The doctor was a high priest. He was at the top of the temple stairs performing human sacrifices. The Mahanta spared her the experience of reliving her family’s and her own death.
The dream was clear. The priest who did human sacrifices in those ancient days was now their doctor. His field of service today was to heal hearts, not rip them out.
That’s how the Law of Karma deals with misdeeds.
A bright sidelight to the dream is that she had a healing. She no longer needs to take any heart medication.
A Grasshopper Spots a Lesson in the Present
Some years ago, a certain employee was in line for a promotion to management. His chances looked good.
The executive in charge of selecting the best of the best was an ECKist, a member of Eckankar. He left the outcome to the ECK, Divine Spirit. Yet he did his part too. He entrusted a number of projects to this candidate to test his people skills. Time proved the candidate’s judgment to be unreliable.
Still, the ECKist awaited some confirmation from the ECK.
It came one day when he and his wife went for a drive to run errands. He told her of his observations about the candidate’s lack of vision and experience.
At that moment, the ECK sent the couple a waking dream to illustrate the situation in a striking way.
A waking dream is a spiritual insight. It is a show-and-tell example from everyday life that illustrates a principle or point with another event happening at that exact moment.
The ECKist had just mused, “He’s a small man inside.”
In that same instant, the couple spotted a man no taller than a five-year-old, strolling alongside the road.
“I see what you mean,” said his wife, for she was an ECKist too and knew of the miraculous power of the ECK to arrange such a coincidence. No further explanations were needed.
The ECK, Holy Spirit, has an uncanny way of selecting an outer experience to create a waking dream to fit circumstances.
So this employee’s talents were turned to good use in other ways rather than a promotion to that managerial opening.
A Grasshopper Wonders about the Future
A grasshopper is curious about things, so he jumps or else flies on the wind. He wants to see afar. Perhaps he wants to know what secrets the future holds.
Most ECKists part company with rebirth on earth after this lifetime. It’s one of the benefits of accepting the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master as the steersman of their boat. The bulk of humanity, however, will profit from hundreds of more lives here in their pursuit of spiritual perfection.
What does the distant future hold for them?
For the answer, let’s see what the sacred text of The Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad, Book One, has to offer on the subject.
“The sixth root race,” it says, “is the yellow race, coming on the heels of the gradually fading Aryan race. It is the Mongoloid race of the East, which has its life center in the world of the North, where many do not penetrate. The ECK Master who will come into this world of semidarkness and light will be Regnard. This race is yet to fulfill its destiny on the Earth planet. It will meet destruction by fire, earthquakes, and tidal waves.”
The future offers exciting, but hard times.
So where does this leave people who return to earth again and again in a new body? They are like Tithonus. The round of births and rebirths will carry them into a tumultuous age. They will hop from life to life, wondering what it’s all about.
An ECKist learns it’s about spiritual liberation. It’s about finding a way out. It’s about freedom, joy, and wisdom. It’s all about divine love.
Someday, each grasshopper will catch the high wind of ECK and fly to a place of incredible light and beauty.
God’s full love awaits them.
Excerpted from the 2003 Eckankar Journal, copyright © 2002 ECKANKAR. All rights reserved.