IN the ancient Hindu Bhagavad-Gita Krishna assures his disciple, an uncertain Arjuna, that both have lived many lives on Earth.
“Both I and thou have passed through many births,” the Master tells his disciple, adding: “mine are known unto me, but thou knowest not of thine.”
“It’s hard to believe,” writes the Blavatsky Theosophy Group UK, in an article titled A Right Understanding of Reincarnation, that until 130 years ago hardly anyone in the Western world had heard of reincarnation or knew anything about it.”
One reason for the disbelief around this teaching is that most people cannot remember having a past life. This is because, in strictly practical terms, the immortal soul enters and uses a new physical body, new astral body, new personality, and a new physical brain. A new brain, cannot be expected to ‘register’ a previous life it was never there to witness.
Being thus handed an empty photo album by Nature has to be a challenge to the incoming soul by hindering it finding a connection to prior experiences and knowledge. “The new ‘personality,'” Blavatsky explained, “is no better than a fresh suit of clothes.” (The Key to Theosophy, Ch. 8)
Even so, by a mysterious process, “the record or reflection of all the past lives must survive,” H. P. Blavatsky wrote: “for when Prince Siddhartha became Buddha the full sequence of His previous births were seen by Him.”
In such a state he was able, she says, “to retrospectively trace the lines of all his lives. This proves to you that the undying qualities of the personality — such as love, goodness, charity, etc., attach themselves to the immortal Ego,
photographing on it, so to speak, a permanent image of the divine aspect of the man who was.
“To our talpatic, or mole-like comprehension, [http://bit.ly/2YP74Sq], the human spirit is then lost in the One Spirit, as the drop of water thrown into the sea can no longer be traced out and recovered. But de facto it is not so.
“However long the ‘night of Brahma’ or even the Universal Pralaya [Sleep] – (not the local Pralaya affecting some one group of worlds) – yet, when it ends,
the same individual Divine Monad resumes its majestic path of evolution,
“though on a higher, hundredfold perfected and more pure chain of earths than before, and brings with it all the essence of compound spiritualities from its previous countless rebirths.”
“Spiral evolution, it must be remembered, is dual, and the path of spirituality turns, corkscrew-like, within and around physical, semi-physical, and supra-physical evolution.”
- H. P. Blavatsky,
Isis Unveiled and the Vishishtadwaita
Spirit and Matter
The mind doesn’t fully incarnate until age seven, (Key to Theosophy Section 9). Thus, a child doesn’t feel the full weight of life and karma right away. As such, they are like karma-less little Buddhas.’
If not pressured to conform by parents and society, it is possible for them to express memories of their former lives, i.e. experience the ‘intimations of immortality’ for an extended period.
“Spirit got itself entangled with gross matter,” Blavatsky wrote in The Theosophist, “for the same reason that life gets entangled with the fetus matter. It followed a law, and therefore could not help the entanglement occurring.”
We know of no eastern philosophy that teaches that ‘matter originated out of Spirit.’ Matter is as eternal and indestructible as Spirit and one cannot be made cognizant to our senses without the other—even to our, the highest, spiritual sense.
“It was Plotinus who said that ‘our body is the true river of Lethe, for ‘souls plunged into it forget all’ — our terrestrial body is like Lethe” (the “river of forgetfulness” in the Hades of Greek mythology.)” Using a modern analogy, a new computer cannot be expected to recall the data stored on the discarded one, unless the old data is preserved and reinstalled in the new machine.
But this is what sometimes happens with children who die at an early age from accidents or illness if in their short lifetime they had created no basis for a prolonged after-death dream state. Nature is never wasteful, and the still viable astral body is not disintegrated as with normal death but reused by the reincarnation of the child.