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Re: To Alan and Michael R.-what are your views on reincarnation & karma?

Jul 29, 1996 05:24 PM
by Dr. A.M.Bain

In message <>, Martin_Euser
<> writes
>Hi Alan, Michael
>Alan Bain said in a previous post that his view on reincarnation is different
>from the standard Theosophical one.

The "standard" Theosophical view as I have met it is usually that
offered by CWL/Jinarajadasa & Co.  This goes something like either:

1. Life evolves "upward" from the lower kingdoms to the higher, so that
at some (undefined) point "lower" animals incarnate for the first time
as humans.

2. New human souls come into incarnation (ex nihilo?)

In either scenario we are said to be on a learning path, acquiring karma
which will be worked out in future lives, of which there will be a very
large number before we reach a state whereby we will qualify to get off
the wheel of rebirth in this world.  Jinarajadasa's model (based upon
CWL 'clairvoyant' observations) allows for varying periods between lives
which can be small, say 20 years, but is often hundreds of years.

All this has been going on since (say) the "big bang."  In emulation of
Coue, we could say of this model, "In every life in every way I am
getting better and better and better."

 From such a view, certain inescapable observations emerge.

1. In support of the long time it takes to gain "perfection" we can note
that the world population is increasing all the time, which would
confirm that sould are coming back over and over again.

2. Against this view, we can note that an overall expected improvement
in the spiritual, ethical, and "moral" nature of humanity has *not*
accompanied this process, which according the the theory we should
expect to have seen by now.  The *evidence* suggests that the
development (spiritual or whatever) is actually getting "worse" -
certainly nastier.

3. Also against this view, if new humans are appearing all the time,
*and* it takes those who are on the wheel of rebirth vast ages to get
off, there has to come a time when due to the slow progress of human
beings, there will be no room to move on the planet.

So ... given the "conventional" view, the evidence of logic is against
its accuracy.  But there is other evidence.  People "remember" past
lives, and there are many recorded accounts of such memories.

In countries such as India, where reincarnation is held to be a fact,
most accounts concern the almost *immediate* reincarnation of someone,
and the best documented ones show the new soul inhabiting a child in a
family not far from its former abode in terms of time *and* distance.
This does *not* concur with the TS teaching.

Past life recall can be achieved by hypnotic regression methods,
sometimes with spectacular results.  However, dramatic though such
evidence can be, there are alternative and viable alternatives.  Ian
Wilson, wrote a book called "Time out of Mind" which offers some of
these, as does some of the work of hypnotic regression researchers.

*I have past life memories* which could fit the TS model, but which also
support the Indian evidence, as well as an alternative explanation, eg,
that I can recall a past life, with all the sense of personal memory
which such experiences give, BUT the life recalled is not necessarily
any form of "me" at all, but the memory pf a past life belonging to the
person whose life it was - I am experiencing that memory "out of time."

One memory cold be a past life recall, but fits the "reincarnating
quickly" model, and is (as all similar ones are) a sepcial case - death
in battle.  I was in a 1st World War aircraft, and was shot down (1918).
Reborn in 1933 with an otherwise unaccountably emotional attachment to
songs of WWI.
>Alan, could you tell us a little (or more:)) about that? 
>How did you arrive at such a different view?

See above.

>Does your view imply a different notion about karma as well?

Insofar as I do not consider karma to be anything other than cause and
effect (I bang my thumb with a hammer, it hurts).  OOB experience and
Near death experience suggest that individual "karma" - the consequences
of my own actions in this life - are dealt with and absorbed at the end
of this individual life - the "judgement."

As I've said before on theos-l, karma means "There ain't no such thing
as a free lunch."
>I'm curious about that, because spiritualists (broadly speaking: those who
>have communion with spirits) seem to have different opinions on these topics
>than (most?) Theosophists have and I would like to understand more about
>these differences.
>The reason that I mention spiritualists here is because you said to have
>(had) certain experiences that may make you understand spiritualists better than
>most (?) of us do.

Perhaps.  Often, if someone I know has a relative or near one who has
just died, I "see" them or even "hear from" them, but only within the
first few days after their decease.  All my experiences in this area
*confirm* the general ideas and experiences of the spiritualists.  So,
my reincarnation experiences are more in accord with spiritualist
experiences than theosophical teaching suggests.

This is a long and inevitably incomplete post, so if you want to ask me
more, I suggest another time!

Alan :-)
THEOSOPHY INTERNATIONAL: Ancient Wisdom for a New Age
(Note figure "one" after WWW)

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