Birth, death and rebirth form the major events in the circle of life and incarnation. However different traditions view death and dying different. Hinduism and Buddhism speak of two certainties. Firstly, that any individual who has been born, must ultimately die and secondly, that whoever dies, will be reborn, unless freed from the process of incarnation. There are other traditions across the world which do not believe in the concept of reincarnation as such.
The propose of this article is to clarify based on the teachings of Master Choa Kok Sui as to what reincarnation really is, why it is important to understand, and how it actually works. Also the concepts Karma and reincarnation are inextricably linked with each other, and hence a clearer understanding of reincarnation would help us better understand the Law of Karma.
So what is Reincarnation?
Reincarnation means the same thing as re-embodiment and rebirth. It is the human soul returning to the earth again and again and taking up residence each time in a new physical body in order to continue the soul’s progressive journey of inner evolution, advancement, development, and unfoldment. Death is not the end and birth is not the beginning.
The soul reincarnates due to three main reasons:
- It still has lessons to learn. While the soul is pure, it is not perfect.
- It still has “karmic debts” which it needs to work off in order to further balance (and neutralize) its Karma
- It has not yet fully realised its own divine nature or its absolute oneness with the Higher Soul and still needs to incarnate
Reincarnation is a Law in Nature. It is not true that “only some souls reincarnate” or that “reincarnation is the exception rather than the rule,” as some have claimed. It is an ongoing cyclic process and necessity for each soul. Also, reincarnation does not happen immediately after death. It is not a case of the soul leaving one body and then instantly entering that of a baby which is about to be born. There is always an interval period between incarnations.
Karma and reincarnation are inextricably linked with each other. You can’t have one without the other. It is obvious that one single lifetime is by no means long enough to reap the full effects of every cause we have set in motion during that lifetime. It is also apparent that some of the aspects and circumstances of our current lifetime do not have their origins in the current lifetime but seemingly in the distant past. Physical incarnation itself is a Karmic effect, since one of the main reasons we reincarnate is in order to deal with our past Karma. To have a proper understanding of Karma, a person must also accept and believe in reincarnation. To have a proper understanding of reincarnation, a person must also accept and believe in Karma.
How does Reincarnation take place?
Let’s take a quick look at the processes that precede birth.
When the higher soul is ready to incarnate, superior beings design the destiny of the incarnated soul. This serves as a blueprint for the life to be. The higher soul then embarks upon a journey through the lower mental world by moving “downward” with the seed of consciousness and forms the lower mental body. Following this, the higher soul extends the emotional permanent seed into the astral world thus forming the astral body. Finally, the physical permanent seed is attached during fertilization following the union of the sperm and the egg cell. The incarnated soul is the final entity to be lodged onto the physical body. This happens during the seventh month of pregnancy and the soul is harboured in the 12th chakra, located a foot above the head. The 12th chakra is pictured in the featured image of this article.
The processes mentioned above lead to birth in the physical world as we know it. Throughout life, the incarnated soul is provided opportunities to engage in good karma and bad karma. Moreover, the karmic blueprint that is developed for the incarnated soul is devised in such a way that some of the bad karma of its past lives get equalized.
So, how does one achieve liberation from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth? Is ‘nirvana’ or ‘moksha’ possible only if all negative karma has been equalized? How many lifetimes does it take to achieve freedom from the cycle of incarnation? To be able to arrive at the answers of such questions would require one to delve deeper into the realms of spirituality.
The process of incarnation stops when the soul has become fully soul realized. Such a soul is known as an Arhat in the Buddhist Tradition or a Parmahansa in the Indian Tradition. The purpose of MCKS Arhatic Yoga is to enable the student to become fully Soul-Realized (and eventually God-Realized).