Reincarnation Do second chances really exist?
Written by: Ginger Red Hawk
Published on: August 14, 2011
What happens to the human body after death? Some believe in heaven and hell, others believe in the free spirit, children believe we become stars and yet others believe in rebirth. What really happens we can't ever know. We can only speculate. Is there really life after death? Hinduism and the New Age movement believe that death is not the end... we are in fact reborn!
What is reincarnation?
The Vedas teach that at the end of one lifetime we embark upon another. The Bhagvad-Gita expressly states, "As a person puts on new garments giving up the old, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones".
It is our Karma, or our actions, in our current life that determine what we will be in our next life. Our present birth, thus, is an outcome of what we have thought and what we have done in our past lives.
The Vedas also say that it is not necessary that human beings are always born as human beings. In the grand scheme of things all living creatures are arranged in an hierarchy. Then, depending on how good or bad a life you have led, you may be moved up or down the hierarchy. Some may be reborn as humans too.
The reason we are afforded these multiple lives is twofold. Firstly, so that we may live out our incomplete desires. And secondly and more importantly, it is another chance to attain Moksha - eternal peace and place in the spiritual world.
Do second chances exist?
Irrespective of what the Vedas teach, is reincarnation possible? What evidence is there to support it?
A simple explanation for an extremely complex event. The feeling that, "I've done this before" could arise from an experience in one's past life. However, there is no empirical way to prove this.
Channeling, or communication via 'mediums'
Sometimes we hear of certain people - "psychics", "channels", "sensitives" - who can communicate with people from the hereafter. They can talk to them or get messages from them that they write out. Again however, this method is not very reliable because the field is swamped with frauds that prey on the vulnerable.
Even in cases where the 'communication' is correct or true, it can be explained by telepathy. In this case the channel may be picking information, not from the departed, but from the person in front of them.
Also, even if channels did exist, this is no way reaffirms the theory of reincarnation. The soul may be 'talking' from heaven or hell or wherever it is that one goes after death.
Past live regressions under hypnosis
Past live regressions under hypnosis form the strongest case for the theory of reincarnation. Innumerous studies have shown that people acquire the strangest of abilities and knowledge under hypnosis. A man, who knew just a few phrases of French, spoke French fluently under hypnosis where he said he was a 17th century French soldier.
Also, various health problems and phobias have been cured by hypnotherapy. The general premise here is that a phobia is related to some event from the past life - most often the cause of death. Health problems too have been found to be related to events in the past life. Additionally, individuals who have undergone hypnotherapy and 'remembered' past lives, actually claim to have been cured.
The most persuasive case for past lives has been made by children who remember events from their past lives. Such children often speak of their past lives, can lead their parents to their past home and acquire skills and habits not corresponding with their biological age. Could this then, be memory from their past life?
Cynics ask that if reincarnation is the truth, then how do you explain the increase in the population. There must be a limited number of souls so how does one explain population explosion? The simple explanation here is that the population of animals and insects is decreasing. The theory of reincarnation does not say that one will be reborn as a human being or whatever one was in the past life. Indeed, one can change one's destiny by karma or by one's actions.
It is difficult to decide indeed what to believe or not to believe. However, just by not believing one cannot change it. If one chooses not to believe in terrorism it does not mean terrorism will cease to exist. Similarly, by not believing in reincarnation does not mean it will not happen.
As the Bhagvad Gita says:
"For one who is born, death is certain. And one who dies is sure to be born again."