Attention – Due To Allegations of Plagiarism, This Article Is Highly Suspect 

The harsh winter of ‘88, the earth dragon year, had blossomed into shades of spring. I vividly remember it was the fourth day of March. A group of monks from far south of India reached my home. As they were honourably seated and served tea, the leader of the group proclaimed me to be the reincarnation of a high lama of the yellow hat sect. He had died in a Chinese prison in Tibet around the time I was born. The group had been sent as a search party by his holiness the Dalai Lama, with definite signs and indications from a series of hard played prognosis and sortilege. All those signs favoured my existence as the rebirth of a high Buddhist soul from the Gelukpa sect. No, it was not the beginning of a fascinating journey for me. Instead, I was sent to a Catholic school.

The subject of reincarnation has baffled and fascinated everybody for centuries. Science has neither been able to accept the theory, nor defeat it. Far beyond reason, this subject of dialectic discourse continues to be a mystery — mystery that transcends death, emotions, and karma. It is deemed a sacred comeback of an existence that surpasses all agonies.

Reincarnation is a process of purification; a preparatory sequence which finally leads matter (that physically manifests as the body) through one hundred thousand forms — a cycle of birth and death. Most believers credit it to the karmic connection. But some beings who have surpassed this state too make a comeback. This return though is assumed to be for the benefit of all sentient beings.

In 1391, the roof of the world, Tibet saw the birth of a lineage that has mesmerised the world since. The Mongol patrons of the Buddhist faith gave to the world the Bodhisattva of Compassion, “Avalokteshvara”. The physical manifestation of the wish-fulfilling jewel was born. The forecasts to his birth are exceptional, with the weather, the skies and the lakes having been the elements of direction of the rebirth. Indeed, the sixth Dalai Lama Tsayang Gyatso predicted of his comeback through poetry.

Dalai Lama in his autobiography writes that certain beings, of which he is one, can choose the manner of their rebirth. The Hindus on the other hand believe that Jiva is the matter which transforms its appearance and evolves. However, both Hinduism and Buddhism regard that the entire network of existence is divided into numerous different beings existing at different levels — some above the world, while the rest beneath.

One’s karma determines where the soul rests — in heaven or in hell? The Jiva and the soul must return to the world when the karma exhausts. Hence, even heaven and hell are just a temporal assignment in the eternal journey of existence. Only the mind, an amalgam of the Jiva and the soul, is capable of perceiving matter. Though Buddha never defied the existence of the creator and the soul, he always emphasised on altering individuality. That individuality which keeps transforming till the eight-fold path led it to freedom from this vicious circle.

Hindus also follow the pantheon of Lord Vishnu as an avtar. However, the avtar doesn’t mean reincarnation to them. Similarly Krishna, Narasimha, Parashuram and Buddha are not considered reincarnates but superior to them — the sole Creator.

Would it then be wrong to say that the level of reincarnation depends on which realm of existence does the soul belong to? In the Lamaistic structure, all the reincarnates are ranked in terms of their spiritual intensity, intelligence and at times with their esoteric powers. Taoism shares the same ideas. For many of the earlier Egyptians death was a reason for transmigration. They presumed it to be a bridge that connected a soul to the other world — a journey through time. Hence, they buried the dead with enough belongings to make life comfortable in the next birth. Most Christians and Muslims defy this concept. They believe that karma of this birth determines ones present state of existence. There is no after life.

I wonder if resurrection is akin to reincarnation? Many pagans, for instance, don’t believe in the philosophy of karma. For them the world is the supreme truth. In some regions of Bhutan, animistic beliefs surround reincarnation to be a path to attaining more strength and power. L Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, introduced his own version of reincarnation into his new faith. According to him, “It has only been in Scientology that the mechanics of death have been thoroughly understood.” What happens in death is this: the Thetan (spirit) finds itself without a body (which has died) and then it goes looking for a new body. Thetans “will hang around people. They will see a woman who is pregnant and follow her down the street.” Then, the Thetan will slip into the newborn “usually…two or three minutes after the delivery of a child from the mother. A Thetan usually picks it up about the time the baby takes its first gasp.”

How Hubbard knows this intrigues me endlessly. So do the voices from my last existence that I am yet to hear.

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