Reincarnation and Past Lives
The Wheel of Reincarnation
By Sri Harold Klemp
Most people on earth are returnees. They've been here before, and they'll return another time. The term for this recycling of lifetimes is the wheel of reincarnation. Karma, people's action and reaction in life, is its motor. The cycle goes on—lifetime after lifetime.
People of the Christian faith believe that when one dies, that's it. One life, one time, and then heaven or hell. They don't recognize the unchanging Law of Karma that nonetheless plucks them back to earth. They're on the Wheel of the Eighty-Four, a reference to the many thousands of lives that people enter in the lower worlds of matter, energy, space, and time.
It's a very dreary cycle. After a person recycles through many successive lives, a feeling comes that something's amiss with this scene, that something's wrong with the script. Then a thought creeps in. He begins to wonder about the "one life, one time" theory. Could it be in error?
He begins to grope for the truth.
It is common in today's media to come across some direct or indirect references to reincarnation. Some of the stories give a clear insight into it.
Yet how easy it is to dismiss a past-life story with, "Just another dreamer's tall tale." And it's a real temptation to discredit young children who give detailed accounts of past lifetimes. Even if it means ignoring the candid descriptions of settings, situations, and possible family ties of old. Yet this happens all the time in families with children up to five or six years of age. Take, for example, the boy on the plane, who recalled the Ethiopia of a greener age. [See video link » at right.]
It's hard for some people in a Christian society to accept this information about reincarnation as a foundation for the miracle of birth. So they make up other explanations, that past-life claims are maybe some kind of mental transference. But wouldn't it be less of a problem to accept the simple fact of rebirth? Then you'd find sense behind the bounds of reincarnation.
Genius and disability are two quick examples of the influence of past lives.
People of religions other than Eckankar know and accept the principle of reincarnation. It's a principle of divine love in action.
Reincarnation allows people, like you and me, to have a chance to develop the quality of divine love. This opportunity comes through the hardships and uncertainties of life, as well as in the joys and fulfillment of living. So we develop the quality of divine love.
This love makes us more godlike beings.
Our Spiritual Wake-Up Calls
Soul, when It came to earth this time, made an agreement with Itself to reach some goal and thus make headway in spiritual unfoldment.
Back in the 1930s, during the Depression, in a slum in Birmingham, England, a young girl of five set off for school. Let's call her Rose. She'd gone to meet her cousin, who would be excused from classes within the hour. All of a sudden, a golden light enfolded her. This golden circle of light was a spiritual wake-up call, and its glory sealed Rose off from the rest of the outside world. She could neither hear nor see others. But secure in the bliss of the moment she rested, content in the heart of this beautiful golden light.
Imagine a five-year-old child trying to gather words to relate an event of this sort. What adult would have given her two minutes? A celestial light of a half hour's duration that put all surroundings outside the realm of sight or sound? Go run and play, child.
You can see the difficulty. After a few such attempts to tell of the experience, Rose gave up.
Years later Rose decided to learn the nature of her youthful adventure. Thus began diligent research into past lives. By her midthirties, she had been an eager student of both Edgar Cayce and the Rosicrucians. She recalled ads in Fate magazine on Eckankar. Yet the search went on. She also studied Astara and Theosophy, read the books of H. Rider Haggard, and others.
In 1972, Rose was startled by sightings of UFOs.
Along the way she'd become a devotee of three different branches of Buddhism. In quick succession came marriage to an executive in the movie industry and a family of three children. Rose also kept a busy social calendar. A fast-paced life, indeed.
Her agreement with herself from before this lifetime was on this order: to make a broad and thorough study of world religions and psychic groups. So she read books on every subject. In time, she gained a solid knowledge about the variety of ideas on truth.
Soul begins each lifetime with a clean slate.
The Lords of Karma erase memory of an individual's old mistakes, which allows for a fresh start. This kindness sidesteps a dead end. It avoids the error of someone taking up a new life and wasting it on past-life problems like revenge for a lost love, property, or social position.
Such memory loss is thus of benefit to Soul's progress. Then, somewhere along the line, Divine Spirit sends a spiritual wake-up call through one means or another.
The message is, "OK, it's time to remember why you came to earth."
Of course, the memory of one's spiritual mission is seldom relayed in such clear speech. Many go through years of doubt and uncertainty. They sample one religion or another, tripping from area to area in the occult field, or shifting from philosophy to psychology, even to mathematics. It's all in pursuit of the key to life and truth.
Sometimes a seeker makes few apparent gains, but at some point says, "There's got to be more than this."
Some inner nudge leaves him unhappy with the knowledge so far gained. Some hidden impulse of the heart drives him on in unending pursuit of God and truth.
Excerpted from Past Lives, Dreams, and Soul Travel by Harold Klemp, copyright © 2003 Eckankar. All rights reserved.