I was wondering if someone could give some input in regard to whether people can reincarnate into lower life forms such as animals etc....
I have been spending some time with I-kwan tao practioners. Buddhists and Taoist do not like them as they say their teaching are not true to Buddhism etc.. But they are not trying to teach Buddhism or study Taoism. They believe we can have a direct connection with "God" ourselves and that religion is only a guideline or starting point.
Anyway I am digressing, but they believe that wrong living can bring you back as an animal or fish etc..(As do some religions.) I do not agree as I believe in the evolution of the soul. I think this is a T.S. teaching as well?
I think of it as sort of a "one way valve" :) If the monad can slip backwards so easily then how is there any hope of reaching a state of perfection?
Dear Janelle ,
I hope to give you some inputs on your question , but it is easy to deride it if not understood , understood properly it would suffice . It is a very well known and considered fact that people do devolve into sinful wombs and into other lower life forms even after they have had an earthly human existence .. There are quite a few things which are to be known beforehand in order to correctly understand how this happens . It would necessitate a very large discourse . Though not a Buddhist myself I am quite familiar with Buddhism to an extent . It is reported that the first two disciples in succession to the Sakhyamuni mentioned "The Buddha knew all his lives , as tree, bird ,aquatic and animals as well as his previous human lives both male and female ".
What you have written about religion is very true - religion is like kindergarten and only the first step , a sign post only to higher spirituality. The road is long
What you have written about the Soul is very correct - The soul does not reincarnate , nor is it repeatedly born . The transmigration of the soul of the Greeks and the reincarnation of the Buddhists and of the Hindus has been badly handled by commentators who cannot make any proper distinction between the Soul and the empirical existence. In greek the word is Metempsychosis and its actual meaning is psychosis relating to the spirit bound in time and which is individual . In reincarnation it is the same thing within the backdrop of an unchanging and eternal soul the empirical existence born between matter and spirit in each life believes it is the body and accepts name and form (if human) and Consciousness OF form (if other wise, since they do not have language and names which is as precise as humans have ).
The Chandogya Upanishad gives a very good description of what happens when a person dies and how he /she is reborn in various places as various animals and plants and also as divinities etc .
Many years before in the Christian religion - they too believed in rebirth just as fervently and solidly as many religions still believe today - the Church however got rid of it with a Papal edict . Which unfortunately has resulted in a peculiar situation for the present day Christian who finds himself in a predicament if he becomes adventurous in spirit finds himself swamped by theories of rebirth and karma and ethics etc . and is immediately immersed in doubt and torn between two sets of beliefs . A little digging into the insidious nature of the birth and growth and sustenance of the church would go a long way in alleviating a lot of doubts and close the grey areas for a keen student of spirituality . Commerce, Polictical expediency and stowing away of illegitimate children have been at the cornerstone of this magnificient edifice that we behold today .
The monad is not the person neither is it the empirical existence ,it is a nomenclature for the reflection of the self in the intellect and refers to the infinite self made comprehensible as a finite part of the infinite and so is the infinite itself . It is akin to the Purusha in the Vedas or Sankhya yoga where the purusha is referred to as being no bigger than the nail of the thumb . In the modern theosophy there has been a struggle to define the self that experiences the travails of human life all its miseries and sorrows , and the monad turned out to be a convenient "bridge" to explain the self that was embodied . It is a combined principle of the higher levels . It is easily resolved - the empirical self is the reflection of the pure self in the consciousness of the intellect (which is ignorance ) . It is also known as Chit Chayya (Chit =Knowledge , Chayya = shadow). More plainly put it is the body consciousness (and NOT THE BODY) which in vedic parlance is Karana Sharira (or the Consciousness"I am the body") or Causal body . This seed "I" consciousness is what experiences pain and pleasure . And it vanishes in higher consciousness , in other words appears as only an appearance of having had a body , In short one has to recollect the prior existence in a body by effort . The soul pervades the body and everything else in existence but does not come into contact with anything . The monad in truth does not exist , as it is the causal body of the Vedantins .It is the self itself , and just as Maya is used as a bridge , so too the monad is used as a bridge to the infinite - it is the penultimate stage , which once falls off then one is the very self . Superimposition of the body on consciousness (Consciousness=Knowledge)is the culprit . Leadbeater says that it is indescribable , this is a classic case of definition of Maya which is described as "being there and yet not being there " and there is a particular state of consciousness where one exists at times as the body and not as the body - it is temporary and ends when one exists as the self alone . So you can easily infer that though the Monad is a subtle knowledge , it is a knowledge of being attached to the physical body (though it is not the physical body)- And man being what he is devolution is the natural way of evolution , we say of things after they have occured , the very use of the word evolution comes after it has been attained and the event has passed and so we can conjecture and understand. Otherwise it would have been impossible to even think of evolution unless we were on a path of devolution . it is difficult to evolve in times of devolution as one becomes the exception and not the rule . It is perfectly concievable that Bill Gates or the queen of England or anyone else may be born as a hungry Somali or a Bereber in the Sahara , in fact the probabilities are high for such a future existence , as also the millions of Celebrities who distract the common public from their lives by an ostentation of their vices and becom popular idols . To have a look into what is infinite and peaceful and what is really infinitly frightning and evil (human actions done in body consciousnessm or erroneous knowledge ) is to make a person straight for life and live ethically intuitive .
I hope I have been of some help , this reply has been in deference to a request from a friend of mine whose views I value very much .
Theosophy has no opinion, doctrine nor dogma on this. It is a Personal Religious belief.
Usually - people say "Reincarnation" to mean human-human rebirth. Human-nonHuman rebirth is usually called "Transmigration". The usage (distinction) is basically a convention, not a definition.
If you do not believe it, then you should find another religion. (only a recommendation).
It is a good threat to be "good"; as is Hell.
p.s. The real question I have is the "when" you are re-incarnated. Extinct species should be fair game in a religion e.g. 100 million years ago.
You are absolutely correct , reincarnation is a doctrine which is only found among human beings and normally among people who do have intimations of previous states of existence (depending on their beliefs) many have been purportedly been able to recollect human lives only which are significant and not the lesser lives , The dead stay dead as far as the physical is concerned , extinct species are extinct to all intents and purposes .
In my opinion, the evolving noetic complex of higher principles that constitute what is called an individual human soul, comprising memories of current and all previous forms of that mind-stream, cannot devolve into these previous life-forms any more than a mansion can devolve into a shanty. Transmigration or metempsychosis are like your "one-way valve" analogy. The loss of soul or spiritual death referenced by Yeshua and Blavatsky is the rare but total loss of any continuity of consciousness that occurs after death for those who have completely divorced themselves from any awareness of true reality in favor of inharmonious virtual realities.
Dear Doctor ,
I do completely agree with you , it is impossible for a person who has attained to higher consciousness and the memories therein which form part of an an unbroken continuity to devolve into lower life forms . But as you say it can happen in those who are divoirced from awareness of true reality and lead an existence that is fraught with inharmonious virtual realities. The picture says it all in a nut shell .
Thank you all for your comments and especially Hari for your detailed reply. I first read your post as saying that people do devolve but after your comments on Dr Keizer's post: " it is impossible for a person who has attained to higher consciousness and the memories therein which form part of an an unbroken continuity to devolve into lower life forms ", I am gaining better understanding as this was my original thought process. I have read of the "loss of the soul or spiritual death as described by Dr Keizer.
I agree John that fear of Hell or as becoming a pig or other creature is a ideal way to control the masses.
Also ( and my apologies here as I am not so eloquent or able to explain my thoughts as well as some learned people on this forum), but if time is not linear then maybe we are all experiencing these past and future lives right now? Which means Re-incarnation and transmigration is only really only a term to place that life in perspective to this one? Just another theory that I am sure everyone is aware of.
Your post was very informative Hari, but could you please explain:" it would have been impossible to even think of evolution unless we were on a path of devolution"?
Thank you for your kind remarks, maybe can try to do justice to your queries . I do hope you will understand that I am writing from an Oriental view point which may not be satisfactory by the rules required by the structure of Western Thought , It is important that this difference be kept in mind since clarity and not confusion is aimed at .
The truth about repeated lives is as follows - what essentially happens is that we do not live spanking brand new lives every time. If you read my previous reply closely there is reference to "Name and Form" - this is a continuation of the same . An example may help in making it clear - A man say is born in x country and lives a life etc etc and then dies . The body has passed away , but his causal body remains now he is born again or reborn or reincarnated or whatever . The impressions he has of the previous birth is still within him in the (say) next birth - he again assumes a new name and form in a different country etc amongst different other names and forms in another age and time . Now actually nothing changes , only name and form has changed - he has parents , siblings , aunts , cousins etc a country , and a wife and children in later years etc an address etc etc. The relationships are same in every human birth whether man or woman , only country changes or (locale) and name and forms are different . Now a mans relationship to his country is also the same - he behaves to it not as if to something impersonal but as if to a loved or close person . Again the end point in every life is the same it is obviously death . In between these points of birth and death he does many actions, thinks many things, and experiences the consequences of his feelings thoughts and actions ,This too is general in all lives , he sees eats walks drinks laughs cries smiles etc this is also same in every life . And when he dies he leaves everything behind . So if you think carefully apart from particular actions (which are analyzed later) everything else remains the same , there is absolutely nothing new he does in each life (in the general) so it is is for all persons alive . So basically what we see of people at a cursory glance is the information that the man is doing the same thing he has done in all previous and to be lives , this is a way of training for higher knowledge (maybe it will remind you of memory exercises kids do ) .On dying it is known the one single act in which the man is the cynosure or protagonist unfortunately is both the actor but has absolutely no control , he is taken away by time - this one act in his /her life is of supreme importance as strangely every action done in life , every thought, thought of and every feeling felt and every word spoken is erased without a trace . Imagine living and doing so much just to have everything so helplessly erased making the man the very epitome of selflessness.For him at least nothing remains but the experiences of his actions in his causal body . Now a legitimate question may occur , all said and done granted verything is same , yet are not his actions and feelings different in each life ? The answer is no - because he interacts with objects in every life and those are nothing but names and forms , different of course but in general his actions have pertained to names and forms and his reactions and relationships have been no different - anger, love, fear , misery, despondency , joy envy greed giving and taking ,coming and going etc are all the same in everyone in every life . so his feelings are the same (again in the general , to the particular we will come to ).in everyone and every life . Only name and form of the realtionships (which are same ) have changed . The feelings are same of the result of actions (in general) but the degree is different (in the particular) . By which I mean in one life he stubs his toe against a stone and enjoys pain and other things , in another a loaded suitcase falls on the same toe and in yet another he will have stub the toe against a door post , but the inccident is same the objects change (ie name and form ) that is all . Now where does the delusion lie ? It lies i his belief that evrything he does or enjoys or experiences is a new thing and hence knowledge whereas he does not have the intelligence to know that he cannot know what he has not experienced (this is a cosmic rule of the infinite universe of which we are all a part of ) . In the particular individual life he accepts this as new knoeledge etc but loses the bigger picutre due to an unawareness of the working of the cosmos which is exactly that of the individual - the cosmic memory has experienced it before also(in both the particular and general - this for the cosmic everything is both particular and general in the cosmic or universal) and bestows the karmic impression on him again - it does not dream anything new !!!. Now what is ethics - if a man is born twice he has two mothers , but never gain will he in any life have such a relationship where his previous mothers are reincarnated as his wife or lover etc . the realtion ship stays as iit was and the cosmic memory (it remembers always says the Atma bindu upanishad also .....it never forgets"). so too a father will never get his daughter as his wife , or lover in any subsequent life nor will he even have occassion to come across her as a prostitute in any next life etc . IT is here that we come across the cosmic rules regulating relationships and actions. Now if you can carefully go over what I have written , you can easily with some cleverness get to the bottom of the ethics of the infinite relating to human relationships and even intuit from the people around you and the others who are your relatives ofr friends in this life whether you had connections in a previous life , centuries , time and age not withstanding , or if they were your friend or enemy or patron or father or mother or sister etc . But always in doubt one has to put oneself in the same predicament as the cosmic and apply ITS rules gleaned from meditation or thinking deeply and over time and regulate ones relationship with another , it is far better than reading from books , or philosophy or morals from parents and warnings from conscience . The past is all around you and everyone even as we live but it is the present and will be the future . This a very lovely and deep subject and gives acute insight into the evolution of mankind , the rules of Manu , Karma and Rta , and how the universe is maintained so easily and effortlessly . Just as surely as a man can safely predict that a man walking will stop walking and will stand still or a man sitting will stand up next or a man standing will sit or a man running will pant or sweat or a child crying will stop crying and may a few day later laugh with joy (though the exact day and time may nort be presently known to the practitioner ) - divine inference brings a joy that opens p the secrets of the universe and transmigration and other things in a flash . Whatever man believes he has achieved , is but a big myth of self importance and forgetting .This is time , it is neither waviform nor linear , there is no time and never will be . Everything else is table talk - you are correct when you say "..... maybe we are all experiencing these past and future lives right now? Which means Re-incarnation and transmigration is only really only a term to place that life in perspective to this one?
Maybe you knew or never knew the depth of knowledge conferred upon you by your self when you wrote it !!!.
It is NOT a theory that everyone is aware of , you cannot afford to be so casual where the crux of your doubts have been cleared from within yourself with a priceless jewel of knowledge that holds the very keys to understanding everything . I have written more than necessary , so stopping for now hoping you will get the answers as to "why god me " is it happening to me what have I done to earn this !!! . or why there is Bill gates and Richard Branson and Wonder "Quo Vadis"?
As for it would have been impossible to even think of evolution unless we were on a path of devolution"?
maybe later this post in itself is too long. Hope I have been of some help.
Thank you again Hari for the effort and taking the time to reply.
It is indeed a deep subject and worthy of further study on my part.
I believe that the Tirumantiram, part of Saivism written originally in Tamil, cover Transmigration. I can get the exact section that is commonly referred to if you want.
However - Buddhism does not recognize many of the sacred Hindu source literature. (i.e. Vedas)
(so - it is unlikely Hindu sources will cover the topic in the same way as I-kwan tao practitioners do.)
Thank you, that would be really good.
I am happy to learn from all sources and I consider myself an outsider in regard to the Dao practitioners I know, Trying to get info from them is quite difficult due to translations etc, When asked why it is usually because "this was given from heaven" I feel like I am back in grade 1 at Catholic primary again! lol. Their beliefs at times seem very simplistic and superstitious. However I am trying to learn their practices as a way of doing as I find I get stuck in the head stuff of thinking a lot. Having said that I will move on if eventually it does not sit with me.
Interesting that Buddhism does not recognize many Hindu source literature since I thought it sprang from there. But I guess Buddha came along and things changed from there. As religions evolve and become new religions I often wonder, who was right? I guess they were right for their time.
I was incorrect about the ref in the Tirumantiram.
However you may find the Sri Aurobindo article useful:
The Himalayan Academy has synopsis on
nonhuman birth (pp773-774); reincarnation (p796)
The Himalayan Academy also has a single quartz crystal Shiva Lingam (700 lb. or ~318Kg).
I do not think there are many of those around. I believe quartz is considered the most-preferred material for one. It was mined from South-east US I believe..
(edited out crystal image; the abstract emanation and dissolution is not really the question)
Dear Janelle ,
I would like to give you a pointer to the belief relating to matter as pertaining to the Vedas , The word idea is to be seen as follows :
Matter is the composite or undifferentiated consciousness (Consciousness = Knowledge ) of the following "sheaths" as the Upanishads propound - There are five of them all Occupying and Coexisting at once and together in every being - They are
1. Annamaya Kosha ( Anna = Food , Maya = Made of and Kosha = Body /Sheath /Covering)
THis is the gross phyiscal body alone which we know as our own body
2. Pranamaya Kosha ( Prana = The vital airs in the gross form and the life principle pertaining to those vital airs which are inherent in the vital air , they are 10 in number )
3. Manomaya Kosha (Manas = Mind , and so mind sheath )
4. Vijnanamaya Kosha ( Vijnana = Knowledge that is manifest and Divine )
This Vijnana is the very exact word for the Greek word Theosophy , it is the knowledge sheath pertaining to the Divine in the manifest , or in other words not the knowledge of manifest objects which we call and comprising of our idea called world , but rather the knowledge of the causes comprising the objects and which are divinely in nature and related to each other in coexistence .
5. Anandamaya Kosha (Ananda = Bliss ) .
These have been called sheathes since each one is co existing together , and at once in a person or any other thing ,
Now to get the idea in perspective - it is as follows -
Each sheath is more subtler than the preceeding one , so the body sheathe is the smallest , and the Prana sheathe is subtler and encompasses the body sheath , it means that it is not something like a covering to the body , but it permeates and extends into spatially , the body would be only the specific locus of the manifestation of Prana in infinity , the body is thus the "point" of occurance where it(Prana) can be specifically be located in the universe , the proof of which is the body human or other wise . In conceiving prana it is for the ease of meditation microcosmically concieved as "being within the body ''
So too for Manas or the Mind sheath which is subtler than the preceding two other's and so interpenetrates and holds them within itself.
Vijnana becomes even subtler and all what is said of the above are equally applicable , now here there is a vast difference in the quality and expanse of the sheath as unlike the Body which is of perfect size and finite , and Prana again which though not of the body of the size has only the fuctions related to manifestation and in maintaining the physical body from disintergrating - it is related to bodies and is and so the locus is available and though its potency is all over the universe , it is specific to bodies that are manifested and is the "moving part" of nature .
Mind the next sheath is mental so here there is a huge difference in the quality of subtlety and pervasiveness , but it is then concieved "microcosmically" as a point which is smaller than the point concieved within a person as Prana and held within the actual body itself .
MInd lets us see objects that is all and nothing more , it displays images of objects percieved or "felt" from or remembered in memory . Thoughts move only in the mind .
and so on for the next vijnana - it is significant that this sheathe is composed of immesurably subtler matter than any of the preceding ones - if you can just think that it is knowledge and not even thought , or feeling or anything , but the idea underlying every object and equally applicable , in other words we cannot even conceieve the subtlety of knowledge as it is prior to even perception , it is prior to even objects itself , yet can be known by keen understanding and observation and proper cogitation on the objects presented to man alone as he only can Reason abstract and conceptualize which is so much more important in the subtle areas of life and living and not just the organic .
Finally Bliss we can conceieve of bliss or its variants only in feeling and thought - the right attitude to thinking out this Bliss is the opposite (I mean for conceptual grasp and not meditation - I am not prescribing anything but only conveying the idea ). This bliss is preexisting and contained in knowledge that is divine , and we may get lost in the forms and knowledge of the divine when we come across it , and be exhillarated, gratified and many other emotions accompanying the knowledge - but we lose sight of the preexisting condition for the divine to be manifested and that is Knowledge and preexisting knowledge is Happiness and unbroken happiness is bliss or what is called The Benediction in the Christian Sciences .
So all these sheaths can be realized within by an inward journey , but with the firm understanding of the conception (The Immaculate one ) that is to be had in the understanding , as one comes across Spirit worlds or the others it is to be understood as the world of Prana smaller in conception (within oneself ) leads to a bigger and wider and subtler region of thought and experience .
It would be like the relation between (I will not use the word matter as it is not there in the Vedas , it is rather Body or Bodies that is spoken of ie. Objects alone and perceivable).
Say any body and molecules and smaller atoms and smaller protons and electrons and smaller (maybe muons tachyons etc) but it is not valid at the time of writing this since the proof exists only till the decomposition of the universe protons and electrons which may be applicable through and through across the universe , in the vedas beyond this its nature (ie of bodies or the concept of matter decidedly changes , in fact those changes are gradual and take place when the destructing starts in the real world , by which I mean , succession and movement and energy (which is prana) becomes evident taking over from the Annamaya Kosha , and later succession, movement and energy which are composite and can be perceived changes to a simple placidity of colours and the idea of forms as in fire and shadows where by the play of light and dark shadows can be thrown on consciousness giving apperception or knowledge the feeling of solidity through various dimensions , it is the worls and consciousness of Mahendrajalam (or Consumnate Trickery through Knowledge on consciousness and its smaller variant is magic as we know or illusions on a grand scale , this a bigger aspect of the tricks like magicians hidding the Tajmahal or elephants etc - it is nothing but pre guessing perception in an conscious object who is a subject - the ideas are shifted unknowingly from the domain of knowledge of the object to the subject !!).
And finally light and shade gives way to knowledge , which is light itself !! .
This above is one of the Vidyas which are taught by adepts to students and is known as Panchakosha VIdya . It is enough for enlightenment and right knowledge , but the extent of the knowledge available can be gauged from the thousands of VIdyas that are scattered across the vedas .
The BUddha himself is reputed to have used the "Sat Vidya" which is why he did not say anything on the vedas !! Anybody who does this goes through total nothingness to Being and so nothing is there to be said . The person who started out becomes the symbol and bench mark for others in evolution it is nothing to say just "ECCE H***" (or behold the man ) as he represents all of being alone .
I hope I have been helpful . Soory for the post being so long , I guess clarity dictated it .