(Excerpts from Do Souls Reincarnate? / The Second Coming of Christ / The Bhagavad Gita)

T H E  P R I N C I P L E  O F  R E I N C A R N A T I O N

By Paramahansa Yogananda (source)

Learn more about Yogananda here: The Legacy of Paramahansa Yogananda &

The Self Realization Fellowship


"By reincarnation the soul travels through the forms of mineral, plant, animal, and human life. In different incarnations the soul is encased in bodies of the brown, white, black, yellow, and red races, that man may learn non-attachment to any particular body and race. Finally he realizes his true nature of Spirit. He knows himself as a child of God... present in everything."

 

-Paramahansa Yogananda

Below Image Source: Yogananda Wisdom

Do Souls Reincarnate?


There must be some justice in the law that creates the infinite differences among human beings. Is there any clue? We find it in the law of reincarnation, with its corollary of karma, the principle of cause and effect. God at some time started all souls in a fairly uniform way. We all had equal goodness and potential within us; but owing to the misuse of our intelligence and free will, we have created terrible disorder and lack of equality, lack of uniformity, in life.

 

You can't generalize about people, because God has given every individual freedom to make his own choices. No matter who we are or what we are—and even though we are somewhat bound by circumstances of our karma, the effects of our past actions—we can do anything we want to in our minds. In the vault of the mind lies all the chains of bondage, as well as the keys to freedom. All actions originate in the mind. Trouble comes because people have so many crazy thoughts, and wrong thoughts lead to wrong actions. In this country, everyone wants to be or to have something different from everyone else. People do whatever comes into their minds. They get married and divorced as often as they wish; they do just as they please without any thought for their fellow beings, or even for their own highest welfare. We stagger at the wild way the world is moving — so many different ideals held by so many millions of people, contradicting and conflicting with one another. One person or group wants one thing, and another person or group wants the opposite. There are so many customs to bind us, so many philosophies to confuse us. I often say that we are all a little bit crazy and we don't know it, because people of the same craziness mix with their own kind. It is only when people differently crazy come together that they find out their own craziness. God wants to make something beautiful out of this earth, but there are lots of things that have gone out of control because we have misused the freedom He gave us. It is we who have made a mess of this world; and it is we, through opportunities in this life and in new incarnations, who must better our own lot as well as that of the world we live in.

 

We Feel Mortal Because We Lack Continuity of Consciousness

 

We are so identified with this present life and its travails that it seems to us we are mortal; but only the body is mortal. Our real self, the soul, is immortal. We may sleep for a little while in that change called death, but we can never be destroyed. We exist, and that existence is eternal. The wave comes to the shore, and then goes back to the sea; it is not lost. It becomes one with the ocean, or returns again in the form of another wave. This body has come, and it will vanish; but the soul essence within it will never cease to exist. Nothing can terminate that eternal consciousness.

 

To know firsthand about reincarnation you would have to have a continuity of consciousness during the transition period of death, the after death state, and the prenatal state in the mother's womb, from one incarnation to the next. It is possible. I have experienced that. In my autobiography that is coming out you will read how I felt when I was born, that helplessness of being confined in an infant's body; for my soul was developed and awake even when I was in my mother's womb. My soul rebelled against the limitations.

 

But as soon as the child is born, it forgets its past. Only if the consciousness is highly developed will memories of the past be retained.  Your mind may not remember, but your soul does. When you are highly advanced spiritually, your soul remains awake and conscious from one life to another.

 

We Don't Want to Remember Troubles of Past Lives

 

I would plant one thought in your mind: Without God-realization, you wouldn't care to know about your past lives, lest you learn of the terrible happenings that have taken place in those previous incarnations. Think of the troubles and sorrows you have had in this life, and then think of your many past incarnations. Do not believe for one moment that you have not had equally painful or worse experiences in those earlier lives. Would you want to remember all you have gone through from the beginning of your creation? No. Because to do so would so depress and discourage you that from the beginning you would have no strength, no will, to keep on.

 

We Are Not Products of Blind Chance

 

We are not products of blind chance; we are highly intelligent creations. Therefore it stands to reason that some great intelligence must have created us. There is no doubt about this. And certainly an intelligent God would not bring us on earth with so many inequalities without giving us equal opportunities to forsake evil and express goodness. He would give us time in which to practice that goodness and reap the blessings of right action. What is the use of scriptures, or of following divine laws, if this life is the end? Where is the love and justice of God if the hereafter is eternal heaven for a chosen few and eternal torment of hell for the error-stricken? God's law of reincarnation shows that when a person is evil—and no one can be so wholly evil that he can be forever barred from the kingdom of God—he is given a chance to work out that evil and to turn to goodness. Evil is like a graft; it is not a permanent quality in man, for everyone is a child of God. Every night God reminds you in sleep that you are not the body and its habits. You are free, you are happy. The purpose of reincarnation is to provide opportunity for man to go on working out all his desires and expressing all that he wants to express, until he realizes his true nature as a child of God, and understands that reunion with God is the true object of all his seeking, the Goal of all mankind.

 

We seek religion because we want to do away with our suffering forever. Worldly methods are not the answer. God is the answer; true religion that brings God-realization is the answer. So now is the time to wake up; take the sword of wisdom and slash away all bad habits.

 

Present Tendencies Reflect Temperament of Past Lives

 

The most important thing to know about reincarnation is that this life is a new opportunity given by God to destroy the evil and cultivate the good that you have brought from past lives. Every good quality you have is a heritage of the past. And those bad tendencies that seem to be beyond your control—tendencies that are staying with you in spite of all your attempts to destroy them—are also from the past; otherwise they would not grip you from the beginning of your life. Of course, you have acquired some new qualities in this incarnation, but the salient temperament of your past life has been brought forward into this one. That is why you find yourself a helpless victim of certain idiosyncrasies. But you can overcome them. You must free yourself from them now, otherwise they will pursue you into another life. Death won't make an angel of you; self-effort will.

 

If you have an angry temper, rid yourself of it now. If you are peevish or moody, overcome it now. Some people get angry without cause, no matter how kind or thoughtful you are toward them. Others habitually indulge in bad moods and negative thoughts. The most practical use of our God-given reason is to analyze what aspects of our nature we have brought from the past, and to rid ourselves of the bad habits now.

 

It is certain the bad and good tendencies that follow one since birth were not acquired in this life. Whence could they have come other than as a carryover from past existences? If you study children, you can see something of their past incarnations reflected in their behavior. Why are some so smart and others less keen? Why are some children born with a great talent for music, or mathematics? They have had no opportunity yet to acquire their talent in this life. It was highly cultivated in a past life. In some children you can see an old soul talking to you. Others are very infantile and cry over every little thing; they lacked emotional maturity in their last life. Early child training is so important because you can easily recognize those latent tendencies that should be nurtured or discouraged. After a child reaches the age of about five, it becomes more difficult to distinguish his past-life tendencies from those traits he is acquiring from present influences and the increasing awakening of his free will in this life.

 

Your Divine Nature Is What You Must Cultivate

 

Remember, you are a child of God. Your divine nature is what you must cultivate. Do not allow your happiness to be conditioned by anything material. That is the first lesson you learn in the hermitages in India. Here, you want everything to be comfortable and just so. You must be able to forego anything without its disturbing your happiness. Learn to be even-minded, regardless of the conditions that arise every day.

 

Do not even allow yourself to be limited to the consciousness that you are a man or a woman: You are a soul made in God's image. Most souls born as women in this incarnation were women in their previous existence. However, if in this life they manifest strong manly tendencies, it is probable that they were born in a male body before. If one is a man now and has strong manly tendencies, he will be born as a man again. If you want to be a man in your next incarnation, cultivate reason more, and masculine interests; and if you want to be a woman, cultivate feeling, and interests that are more feminine. The wisest course is to remember always, "I am neither man nor woman I am Spirit." Then you will rid yourself of the limiting consciousness of both tendencies; you will realize your highest divine potential, whether you are incarnate as a man or a woman.

 

Seek the Answer to the Mystery of Life and Death

 

When I lost my mother in this life, I promised myself that I would never again be attached to anyone. I gave my love to God. That first experience with death was very serious for me. But through it I learned much. I searched undaunted for months and years until I found the answer to the mystery of life and death, and whether or not souls reincarnate. To you it is only a thought, just a belief, because you have no proof. But I am not talking to you from mere belief. I found proof of life after death, and of reincarnation. Therefore I can speak truthfully to you. What I tell you, I have experienced. I found in this life many souls that I knew before.

 

That is what I meant in my poem, "On Coming to the New-Old Land of America," when I wrote: "Sleeping memories, of friends once more to be, did greet me—sailing o'er the sea" (In Songs of the Soul) I can recognize souls whom I knew before in other lifetimes. You may ask how. God has given me that power because I first sought and found Him. (Do Souls Reincarnate? The Divine Romance, p.266-281)

 

Reincarnation of the Soul

 

According to the law of cause and effect, the soul is destined to change its mortal residences. Once the soul has been caught by maya, or delusion, it must occupy a series of prison houses of births and deaths to fulfill its desires and pay to the Justice of Cause and Effect the debts incurred by its own actions. There is no use in lamenting! Rather, man should take practical steps to try in every way to extricate himself from all earthly attachments and bodily identification by tuning in with Spirit in meditation and thus parole himself from the mortal prison into the free world of immortality. (Chapter II, God Talks With Arjuna by Paramahansa Yogananda)

 

How to Recognize Souls You Have Known Before

 

There is a way that you also can recognize those whom you have known before. For example, we may associate with some people day after day, yet never really know them or feel close to them. But there are others with whom we feel immediately a deep harmony the first time we meet. It is not anything physical. It is a memory of the past. Many, many people that I have met in this country, and in India and elsewhere, I have known before. The friendship is even stronger now. It was not finished in past lives, and so it had to continue to evolve in this life. Friendship is the highest form of love. As such, it is meant to evolve into the divine manifestation of God's eternal love. Friendship is the highest relationship, because in friendship there is no compulsion; it is born of the free choice of the heart. It is God calling souls back to unity in Him. If you can be a friend to all, unconditionally, that is divine love. Not many in this world find true friends; mere acquaintances are not to be confused with real friends. There is no attachment in true friendship, nor is it founded in selfish human love. It is an unconditional relationship between two or more souls: they may be unrelated, or family members, or marriage partners. It is best formed between souls who are seeking God or who have found God. Such was the friendship that existed between Christ and his disciples. Otherwise, relationships develop into attachment and remain on the plane of human love, taking the soul away from supreme friendship with God.

 

True friendship may be developed between woman and woman, man and man, or man and woman. The important consideration is that it be based upon soul qualities, not worldly qualities or attractions of the flesh. This can come only when you free yourself from the consciousness that you are a man or a woman.

 

If you are seeking such friends, pray to God: "Lord, lead me to those who are friends of the past, that I may continue with them the friendship that was interrupted through separation by death. Send such friends to me, because I want to help them with my thought of Thee." That is a wonderful ideal, isn't it? To have friendship not for idle talk and useless pastimes, but to develop the ultimate friendship with God. Only on that plane of sincere friendship will you find lasting happiness with any other soul.

 

Don't engage in too many socials. They are all right once in a while, but frequent socializing takes up too much valuable time. Enjoy divine thoughts with your friends. Use your time for God. If you find souls who will share that goal, then you can drink God together from the chalice of divine friendship. The highest duty God has given you is to develop His consciousness in yourself and to help true friends to do the same. So long as life sweetly sings with God, it will bring happiness to you and to others. Friends that harmonize spiritually with you are therefore very important.

 

No matter what difference of opinion there is between you and such friends, there is always understanding and communication. In that relationship, regardless of differing views, you have mutual respect and cherish your friendship above everything else. True friendship established in God is the only relationship that is lasting. So, whenever you meet people, be watchful. Notice your first reaction to them. This tells you much about whether you knew those individuals before. It is not an emotion. When you feel in your heart a deep harmony with another person, then you know that you knew each other before.

Help Enemies of the Past Through Love and Forgiveness

 

Of course, I have also met some enemies of the past, but mostly friends. I remember another life centuries ago, when someone I loved very much was inimical to me and hurt me; but I triumphed over him. I met him again in this life, and again he became treacherous. But I have tried only to help him. He shall pursue me no more.

 

Forgiveness is more powerful than revenge. I have forgiven everyone who has knowingly or unknowingly tried to annoy or hurt me. I want nothing for myself any more. I have found such joy in my heart by giving everything to God and doing everything for Him. Those who do evil stew in their own evil. They can't really hurt you unless you let them. Even our enemies are all part of the tests of life. When an evil person tries to persecute you, remember that he has probably tried to harm you in some way in the past also. If you think of that hurt and how terrible that person is, that is a great mistake. When you give out hateful thoughts, that person receives them and hates you twice as much. Also, hate attracts, as does love. You don't want the magnet of your hate to draw your enemies near you. Never hate anyone. Love and forgiveness have a healing effect on yourself and on your enemies. And be grateful for all the wonderful friends God has given to you.

 

Never try to impose yourself, to force your friendship, on anyone. I give my love to all; and to those souls who are in harmony with me, I give my friendship unconditionally. When I receive the same, I rejoice, because in that friendship is the manifestation of God. 

Seek God: He Will Show You Glimpses of Your Past

 

I also found many places that I remembered from a past life, places the present caretakers didn't know anything about. Because I was once an Englishman, in my childhood in India I preferred to eat with a fork and knife. When my family asked why I wanted to use these instead of my fingers, as is the Indian custom, I said, "I remember this from the past." They didn't understand, but I knew I had eaten in this fashion before. Such glimpses of past lives will be given to you as you advance spiritually. God will show them to you. And when you will be less curious about such matters, and your mind is filled only with God, you will know even more.

 

Remember, you are sent on earth to strive to destroy the bad tendencies and habits you have brought over from previous lives, and to avoid creating any more in your present incarnation, so that you may find God. Then you can walk out of this life saying, "Lord, my life's purpose is fulfilled. I don't have to come back again, unless You want me to come to serve You." As Christ said, "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out." [Revelation 3:12.]

 

You should seek God now; don't wait incarnations to find Him. He can be known in this life—now. And the more quickly you know Him, the better off you will be. You are foolish if you don't seek Him, because there is no other way that you will be satisfied. Having Him, you shall have everything. (…)

 

If You Make the Effort, You Will Find God

 

You are walking on this earth as in a dream. Our world is a dream within a dream; you must realize that to find God is the only goal, the only purpose, for which you are here. For Him alone you exist. Him you must find. And Him you can know by continuously seeking Him; by steadfastness in your mind, harmony in your life, evenness in your temperament; by finding fault not with others but with yourself; by schooling yourself in the path of wisdom; by being humble, ever loyal to your friends and benefactors, appreciating the sincerity of all hearts, cooperating always with good and resisting evil, helping others, giving strength and understanding along the way — this is the royal way of living, the real way that leads to God. The recognition of the world doesn't matter; seek the approval of your own consciousness, and in that you will have the recognition of God. To be self-satisfied and make little or no effort to improve is to become stagnant. But to try unceasingly to progress, until you are sure that you are with God, is the way to live.

 

When God Comes, the Veils of Delusion Drop Away

 

This earth is a most imperfect place. When prosperity comes, war breaks out and sets mankind back centuries again. But don't take the ups and downs of this life too seriously. No matter what happens, inwardly say: "It is all right. I am only dreaming in God's dream—nothing can touch me. I am happy. Nothing holds me. I am ready every minute, Lord, to walk out of this dream, or to remain to do Your will." Then you will be free. That is a wonderful thought.

 

Anything you do with the thought of God is much different than the same experience without Him. The other day I was taken to see a movie, and the first thing I knew, I was in samadhi. Someone asked, "Aren't you seeing the picture?" "Yes," I said, "it is all movies—a movie within a movie." The theater, every motion, the people sitting around me—I could see them all as pictures on the vast screen of cosmic consciousness.

"There is No Birth or Death or Tragedy."

 

The tiger of death is after you, and you must reach Home. If you value your souls, you will make the effort. Study the Self-Realization Lessons, practice the techniques, meditate deeply; and if you sincerely persist for seven years with intense concentration, you will have such spiritual satisfaction in your life that you will never forsake or forget this path. So don't wait. I come only to tell you of that joy. And I ask nothing of you but that you tune in with me, so that I may give you that joy which is in me even as I talk—that joy of God. It is so personal and sacred, even to speak of it is sacrilegious but He knows I do not say it to extol myself, but to help you. He knows I love Him above all else, and I know He loves me.

 

Hold to the thought that this earth life is like a motion picture. It is not real. To think it is real is to doubt God, and to be shattered by torments and death. But in the movies there is no actual life and death in the play on the screen, merely electrical shadows moving here and there. The bullet that is fired and the man who is shot—both are nothing but electrical images. (...)

 

Many whom I loved and have missed, God has shown to me again. So I sorrow no more. He is a wonderful God; you must know Him as I know Him. Once you see this life as God's dream, or cosmic motion picture, you will say: "There is no birth or death or tragedy. I am not afraid of these delusive changes made of light and shadows, for I am Thine immortal child. I have seen life and its dramas played well. It is an interesting play, but no matter what my role in it, I am Thy child, eternally one with Thee, O Lord." (Do Souls Reincarnate? The Divine Romance, p.266-281)

 

The Principle of Reincarnation

 

The cosmic principle of reincarnation, with its dynamism of the law of karma (cause and effect, sowing and reaping), is a time-honored doctrine, embraced by the Hindus, Buddhists, the ancient Druid priests, the Essenes and Gnostics and many early Christian theologians; and also, eminent philosophers of the East and West. Though for centuries it has been divorced by church orthodoxy from the common understanding of Jesus' life and teachings, reincarnation is in fact evident in many passages in both the Old and New Testaments, including unequivocal statements by Jesus himself. For example, from the Book of Revelation (3:12): "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out." Here Jesus distinctly refers to the doctrine of reincarnation, saying that when a soul overcomes by spiritual discipline his mortal desires accrued through contact of matter, that soul becomes a pillar of immortality in the everlasting mansion of Cosmic Consciousness; and, having found fulfillment of all his desires in Spirit, that soul has no more to be reborn on earth through the karmic reincarnating force of unsatisfied desires. ["Understanding of the law of karma and of its corollary, reincarnation, is displayed in numerous Biblical passages; e.g., 'Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed' (Genesis 9:6).]

 

All souls come from God—individualized rays of pure Spirit— and evolve back to their native perfection by exercise of their God-given free will. The ignorant and the wise alike require equal opportunity from the hand of a just and loving God in order to fulfill this quest. For instance, a baby who dies prematurely cannot possibly have used its free will to be either virtuous enough to be granted salvation or vicious enough to be damned. Nature must bring that soul back to earth to give it a chance to use its free will to work out the past actions (karma) that were the lawful cause of its untimely death, and to perform sufficient good actions to attain liberation. Ordinary souls are compelled to reincarnate by their earthbound desires and effects of past actions. Great souls, advanced in wisdom through learning the lessons of many lifetimes, come on earth partially to finish their karma but principally to act as noble sons of God whose example inspires His lost children along their way to the Heavenly Father's all-blissful home. Masters and prophets, having graduated from the school of mortal life into the immortality of Cosmic Consciousness, incarnate voluntarily to serve, at God's behest, as plenipotentiary agents of His millennial plan to shepherd all souls back to their eternal abode in Spirit. (Discourse 2, The Second Coming of Christ p.36)

The Bhagavad Gita & Reincarnation

 

Just as an individual forsaking dilapidated raiment dons new clothes, so the body-encased soul, relinquishing decayed bodily habitations, enters others that are new. [The Gita II:22] This stanza refers to the doctrine of reincarnation. Its lines remove the gruesome conception of a danse macabre in which a motley crowd of human beings is led to a chasm of destruction; death is here described as nothing more than the discarding of a worn-out garment for a new one. When the body becomes diseased, old, or karmically useless, the undying soul forsakes it for a fresh disguise.

 

The life span or durability of a physical body in any one incarnation is ordained by the law of karma (the law of cause and effect governing human actions). According to the natural order of evolution, the body should mature gradually over a period of many years; and then, like ripened fruit, fall voluntarily and without resistance from the tree of life. Transgressions against God and Nature—in the present or in past lives—may, however, cut short that normal span by disease or accident. Or virtue, also, may win the soul an early release. In every case, the bodily dwelling is fashioned and destined to best serve, for each lifetime, the self-created karmic pattern of the indwelling ego-identified soul.

 

Ordinary persons enjoy the rest of a peaceful death-sleep in the astral heaven. Virtuous souls alternate sleep with wakefulness in this land of blissful freedom and beauty.

 

In time, again determined by their karma, their mortal inclinations, transgressions, and latent material desires draw them back into new physical embodiments. As desire for life brings the sleeping man to the state of wakefulness, so subconscious desires for a lost physical body and for the earth environment act as vibratory attractive forces that reembody the soul again within a mother's womb. (God Talks With Arjuna by Paramahansa Yogananda p.217)

According to the law of cause and effect, the soul is destined to change its mortal residences. Once the soul has been caught by maya, or delusion, it must occupy a series of prison houses of births and deaths to fulfill its desires and pay to the Justice of Cause and Effect the debts incurred by its own actions. There is no use in lamenting! Rather, man should take practical steps to try in every way to extricate himself from all earthly attachments and bodily identification by tuning in with Spirit in meditation and thus parole himself from the mortal prison into the free world of immortality. (Chapter II, God Talks With Arjuna by Paramahansa Yogananda)

 

How to Recognize Souls You Have Known Before

 

There is a way that you also can recognize those whom you have known before. For example, we may associate with some people day after day, yet never really know them or feel close to them. But there are others with whom we feel immediately a deep harmony the first time we meet. It is not anything physical. It is a memory of the past. Many, many people that I have met in this country, and in India and elsewhere, I have known before. The friendship is even stronger now. It was not finished in past lives, and so it had to continue to evolve in this life. Friendship is the highest form of love. As such, it is meant to evolve into the divine manifestation of God's eternal love. Friendship is the highest relationship, because in friendship there is no compulsion; it is born of the free choice of the heart. It is God calling souls back to unity in Him. If you can be a friend to all, unconditionally, that is divine love. Not many in this world find true friends; mere acquaintances are not to be confused with real friends. There is no attachment in true friendship, nor is it founded in selfish human love. It is an unconditional relationship between two or more souls: they may be unrelated, or family members, or marriage partners. It is best formed between souls who are seeking God or who have found God. Such was the friendship that existed between Christ and his disciples. Otherwise, relationships develop into attachment and remain on the plane of human love, taking the soul away from supreme friendship with God.

 

True friendship may be developed between woman and woman, man and man, or man and woman. The important consideration is that it be based upon soul qualities, not worldly qualities or attractions of the flesh. This can come only when you free yourself from the consciousness that you are a man or a woman.

 

If you are seeking such friends, pray to God: "Lord, lead me to those who are friends of the past, that I may continue with them the friendship that was interrupted through separation by death. Send such friends to me, because I want to help them with my thought of Thee." That is a wonderful ideal, isn't it? To have friendship not for idle talk and useless pastimes, but to develop the ultimate friendship with God. Only on that plane of sincere friendship will you find lasting happiness with any other soul.

 

Don't engage in too many socials. They are all right once in a while, but frequent socializing takes up too much valuable time. Enjoy divine thoughts with your friends. Use your time for God. If you find souls who will share that goal, then you can drink God together from the chalice of divine friendship. The highest duty God has given you is to develop His consciousness in yourself and to help true friends to do the same. So long as life sweetly sings with God, it will bring happiness to you and to others. Friends that harmonize spiritually with you are therefore very important.

 

No matter what difference of opinion there is between you and such friends, there is always understanding and communication. In that relationship, regardless of differing views, you have mutual respect and cherish your friendship above everything else. True friendship established in God is the only relationship that is lasting. (…) So, whenever you meet people, be watchful. Notice your first reaction to them. This tells you much about whether you knew those individuals before. It is not an emotion. When you feel in your heart a deep harmony with another person, then you know that you knew each other before.

Help Enemies of the Past Through Love and Forgiveness

 

Of course, I have also met some enemies of the past, but mostly friends. I remember another life centuries ago, when someone I loved very much was inimical to me and hurt me; but I triumphed over him. I met him again in this life, and again he became treacherous. But I have tried only to help him. He shall pursue me no more.

 

Forgiveness is more powerful than revenge. I have forgiven everyone who has knowingly or unknowingly tried to annoy or hurt me. I want nothing for myself any more. I have found such joy in my heart by giving everything to God and doing everything for Him. Those who do evil stew in their own evil. They can't really hurt you unless you let them. Even our enemies are all part of the tests of life. When an evil person tries to persecute you, remember that he has probably tried to harm you in some way in the past also. If you think of that hurt and how terrible that person is, that is a great mistake. When you give out hateful thoughts, that person receives them and hates you twice as much. Also, hate attracts, as does love. You don't want the magnet of your hate to draw your enemies near you. Never hate anyone. Love and forgiveness have a healing effect on yourself and on your enemies. And be grateful for all the wonderful friends God has given to you.

 

Never try to impose yourself, to force your friendship, on anyone. I give my love to all; and to those souls who are in harmony with me, I give my friendship unconditionally. When I receive the same, I rejoice, because in that friendship is the manifestation of God. 

Seek God: He Will Show You Glimpses of Your Past

 

I also found many places that I remembered from a past life, places the present caretakers didn't know anything about. Because I was once an Englishman, in my childhood in India I preferred to eat with a fork and knife. When my family asked why I wanted to use these instead of my fingers, as is the Indian custom, I said, "I remember this from the past." They didn't understand, but I knew I had eaten in this fashion before. Such glimpses of past lives will be given to you as you advance spiritually. God will show them to you. And when you will be less curious about such matters, and your mind is filled only with God, you will know even more.

 

Remember, you are sent on earth to strive to destroy the bad tendencies and habits you have brought over from previous lives, and to avoid creating any more in your present incarnation, so that you may find God. Then you can walk out of this life saying, "Lord, my life's purpose is fulfilled. I don't have to come back again, unless You want me to come to serve You." As Christ said, "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out." [Revelation 3:12.]

 

You should seek God now; don't wait incarnations to find Him. He can be known in this life—now. And the more quickly you know Him, the better off you will be. You are foolish if you don't seek Him, because there is no other way that you will be satisfied. Having Him, you shall have everything. (…)

 

If You Make the Effort, You Will Find God

 

You are walking on this earth as in a dream. Our world is a dream within a dream; you must realize that to find God is the only goal, the only purpose, for which you are here. For Him alone you exist. Him you must find. And Him you can know by continuously seeking Him; by steadfastness in your mind, harmony in your life, evenness in your temperament; by finding fault not with others but with yourself; by schooling yourself in the path of wisdom; by being humble, ever loyal to your friends and benefactors, appreciating the sincerity of all hearts, cooperating always with good and resisting evil, helping others, giving strength and understanding along the way — this is the royal way of living, the real way that leads to God. The recognition of the world doesn't matter; seek the approval of your own consciousness, and in that you will have the recognition of God. To be self-satisfied and make little or no effort to improve is to become stagnant. But to try unceasingly to progress, until you are sure that you are with God, is the way to live.

 

When God Comes, the Veils of Delusion Drop Away

 

This earth is a most imperfect place. When prosperity comes, war breaks out and sets mankind back centuries again. But don't take the ups and downs of this life too seriously. No matter what happens, inwardly say: "It is all right. I am only dreaming in God's dream—nothing can touch me. I am happy. Nothing holds me. I am ready every minute, Lord, to walk out of this dream, or to remain to do Your will." Then you will be free. That is a wonderful thought.

 

Anything you do with the thought of God is much different than the same experience without Him. The other day I was taken to see a movie, and the first thing I knew, I was in samadhi. Someone asked, "Aren't you seeing the picture?" "Yes," I said, "it is all movies—a movie within a movie." The theater, every motion, the people sitting around me—I could see them all as pictures on the vast screen of cosmic consciousness.

 

"There is No Birth or Death or Tragedy."

 

The tiger of death is after you, and you must reach Home. If you value your souls, you will make the effort. Study the Self-Realization Lessons, practice the techniques, meditate deeply; and if you sincerely persist for seven years with intense concentration, you will have such spiritual satisfaction in your life that you will never forsake or forget this path. So don't wait. I come only to tell you of that joy. And I ask nothing of you but that you tune in with me, so that I may give you that joy which is in me even as I talk—that joy of God. It is so personal and sacred, even to speak of it is sacrilegious but He knows I do not say it to extol myself, but to help you. He knows I love Him above all else, and I know He loves me.

 

Hold to the thought that this earth life is like a motion picture. It is not real. To think it is real is to doubt God, and to be shattered by torments and death. But in the movies there is no actual life and death in the play on the screen, merely electrical shadows moving here and there. The bullet that is fired and the man who is shot—both are nothing but electrical images. (...)

 

Many whom I loved and have missed, God has shown to me again. So I sorrow no more. He is a wonderful God; you must know Him as I know Him. Once you see this life as God's dream, or cosmic motion picture, you will say: "There is no birth or death or tragedy. I am not afraid of these delusive changes made of light and shadows, for I am Thine immortal child. I have seen life and its dramas played well. It is an interesting play, but no matter what my role in it, I am Thy child, eternally one with Thee, O Lord." (Do Souls Reincarnate? The Divine Romance, p.266-281)

 

The Principle of Reincarnation

 

The cosmic principle of reincarnation, with its dynamism of the law of karma (cause and effect, sowing and reaping), is a time-honored doctrine, embraced by the Hindus, Buddhists, the ancient Druid priests, the Essenes and Gnostics and many early Christian theologians; and also, eminent philosophers of the East and West. Though for centuries it has been divorced by church orthodoxy from the common understanding of Jesus' life and teachings, reincarnation is in fact evident in many passages in both the Old and New Testaments, including unequivocal statements by Jesus himself. For example, from the Book of Revelation (3:12): "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out." Here Jesus distinctly refers to the doctrine of reincarnation, saying that when a soul overcomes by spiritual discipline his mortal desires accrued through contact of matter, that soul becomes a pillar of immortality in the everlasting mansion of Cosmic Consciousness; and, having found fulfillment of all his desires in Spirit, that soul has no more to be reborn on earth through the karmic reincarnating force of unsatisfied desires. ["Understanding of the law of karma and of its corollary, reincarnation, is displayed in numerous Biblical passages; e.g., 'Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed' (Genesis 9:6).]

 

All souls come from God—individualized rays of pure Spirit— and evolve back to their native perfection by exercise of their God-given free will. The ignorant and the wise alike require equal opportunity from the hand of a just and loving God in order to fulfill this quest. For instance, a baby who dies prematurely cannot possibly have used its free will to be either virtuous enough to be granted salvation or vicious enough to be damned. Nature must bring that soul back to earth to give it a chance to use its free will to work out the past actions (karma) that were the lawful cause of its untimely death, and to perform sufficient good actions to attain liberation. Ordinary souls are compelled to reincarnate by their earthbound desires and effects of past actions. Great souls, advanced in wisdom through learning the lessons of many lifetimes, come on earth partially to finish their karma but principally to act as noble sons of God whose example inspires His lost children along their way to the Heavenly Father's all-blissful home. Masters and prophets, having graduated from the school of mortal life into the immortality of Cosmic Consciousness, incarnate voluntarily to serve, at God's behest, as plenipotentiary agents of His millennial plan to shepherd all souls back to their eternal abode in Spirit. (Discourse 2, The Second Coming of Christ p.36)

VIDEO: ABRAHAM LINCOLN WAS REBORN AS FAMOUS AVIATOR CHARLES LINDBERG

Paramahansa Yogananda declared that Abraham Lincoln had been an advanced Himalayan yogi in a past life, and that he was reborn as the famous aviator, Charles Lindbergh. This video highlights some of the hundreds of intriguing similarities in the lives and personalities of Lincoln and Lindbergh, as published in the book titled The Reincarnation of Abraham Lincoln.

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~Dr. Will Tuttle, World Peace Diet

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