Book review
Book review
Book review
Ascetic's views

The Secret of
Past Lives

by Muni Kishan Lal

Let's begin to begin the story of the transmigration of soul into the body which is not at all travesty of truth but a hardcore reality as ""Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like." ― Lao Tzu . It is where the 'die is cast' a Latin phrase attributed by Suetonius (as iacta alea est [ˈjakta ˈaːlea est]) to Julius Caesar on January 10, 49 B.C. as he led his army across the Rubicon river in Northern Italy meaning when a situation is certain to develop in a particular way because decisions have been taken that cannot be changed) . It is telling a story of Eternal Truth retold many times gnawing at the existence of human being in the materialistic society still waiting for enlightenment.

Note, to-day, an instructive, curious spectacle and conflict. Science, (twin, in its fields, of Democracy in its)—Science, testing absolutely all thoughts, all works, has already burst well upon the world—a sun, mounting, most illuminating, most glorious—surely never again to set. But against it, deeply entrench'd, holding possession, yet remains, (not only through the churches and schools, but by imaginative literature, and unregenerate poetry,) the fossil theology of the mythic-materialistic, superstitious, untaught and credulous, fable-loving, primitive ages of humanity." ― Walt Whitman, Complete Prose Works

Once a person is about to die, the Supreme divine (Lord) present in everybody's heart sends notice to all sense organs and other involuntary functionaries like breathing for a final departure meeting inside heart. Once all organs join, first speech organ is shut down so that person cannot communicate this secret to outside world. Then rest organs are shutdown one by one until the last body temperature regulator. The supreme divine does some kind of appraisal of the whole life activities done by the being and decides the next course of action and species. So the next type of body itself is decided in the dying human heart before death. It is said the human is aware of his next body and life decision, but unable to communicate to outer world because the speech is disabled.

Death, according to scriptures, is a series of changes through which an individual passes.- The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad describes thus the passing of a soul: When the soul departs from the body, the life-breath follows: when the life-breath departs, all the organs follow. Then the soul becomes endowed with particularized consciousness and goes to the body which is related to that consciousness. It is followed by its knowledge, works, and past experience. Just as a leech supported on a straw goes to the end of it, takes hold of another support, contracts itself . So does the self throw this body away and make it unconscious, take hold of another support, and contract itself. Just as a goldsmith takes a small quantity of gold and fashions another - a newer and better - form, so does the soul throw this body away, or make it unconscious, and make another - a new and better - form suited to the Manes, or the celestial minstrels, or the gods, or Virat, or Hiranyagarbha, or other beings. . As it does and acts so it becomes; by doing good it becomes good, and by doing evil it becomes evil - it becomes virtuous through good acts and vicious through evil acts.

Just as a leech supported on a straw goes to the end of it, takes hold of another support, and contracts itself, so does the self throw this body away and make it unconscious, take hold of another support, and contract itself.

After death the soul experiences the results of the thoughts it entertained and the actions it performed during its life on earth. After-death experiences are real to the soul, just as a dream is real to the dreamer, and may continue for ages. Then, when the soul wakes up after this sleep, it finds itself reborn as a human being. According to the Hindu scriptures, some souls after death also may be born as human beings without going through the experiences of heaven or hell. There is no real break in the spiritual evolution of the soul toward self-knowledge. Even the soul's lapse into sub-human birth from human life is a mere detour. A dying man's next life is determined by his last thought in the present life. The Bhagavad Gita says: "For whatever objects a man thinks of at the final moment, when he leaves the body - that alone does he attain, O son of Kunti, being ever absorbed in the thought thereof." And the last thought of the dying person inevitably reflects his inmost desire. These different courses after death have been described to warn people against neglecting the path of Self-knowledge, which alone can confer immortality and eternal peace and happiness.

The the soul with a subtle body departs the old body and moves onward with a good luck. When the soul departs there is no more warmness in the body. And only after that the dead body should be cremated. Medical science declares a person dead when the heart-bit stops. But the warmness in the body is the sign of soul existence in it even after heart-bit stops. Once the soul departs the body becomes cold. Generally , it takes eight hours after heart bit stops.

Worn-out garments are shed by the body; Worn-out bodies are shed by the dweller within the body. New bodies are donned by the dweller, like garments. The idea that the soul (of any living being - including animals, humans and plants) reincarnates is intricately linked to karma, another concept first introduced in the Upanishads. Karma (literally: action) is the sum of one's actions, and the force that determines one's next reincarnation. The cycle of death and rebirth, governed by karma, is referred to as samsara."

Like all Indian religions Jainism upholds the universal law of Karma. According to this law, every action - thought, word or deed - produces an effect, which in turn serves as the cause of another action, and so on. This chain of cause and effect is known as `Karmic Bondage� or simply, Karma. And because Jainism, as we have seen, subscribes also to the doctrine of transmigration and rebirth, it follows that the state of the soul at any given time is due to the Karma accumulated over countless ages. However, the Jain doctrine of Karma is distinctive. Whereas Hindus view Karma purely as a law of nature, Jains believe Karma to consist of fine and subtle particles of matter which adhere to the soul, as clay to a pot. Yet, by effort, discipline and knowledge, man can control Karma. Selfish, careless and cruel actions lead to the accumulation of heavy Karma which weighs the soul down. But the Karma accruing from good deeds is dissipated almost immediately and has no serious effects. Moreover, suffering willingly undertaken has the effect of dispersing the Karma already accumulated, so helping to lighten the soul.

To achieve salvation (Moksha) man must therefore free his soul from matter. Thus freed, its natural lightness will float it to the top of the universe to dwell there for ever in all-knowing bliss. The souls of heroes like Mahavira virtually achieve salvation in this life. It is only residual Karma which binds them to the earth, but when that is exhausted through fasting and penance, they rise immediately above the highest heavens of the gods to the eternal rest of nirvana. Jainism is not fatalistic, but it is atheistic. There is no world-soul, no supreme being, no creator and sustainer of the universe, no one beyond himself (except the Tirthankaras as guides and examples) to aid man in his endeavors. Similarly, for all the subtlety and sophistication with which its doctrine of karma and rebirth has been elaborated, Jainism is in practice profoundly pessimistic. The world is a place of utter misery and sorrow, in no way compensated for by life's few moments of happiness.

"After your death, you will be what you were before your birth." - Arthur Schopenhauer

"Other's power, other's enjoyments, other's space, people have become the owners of that which does not belong to one's self. If they become the owners of 'Self', death is no more; One is himself, the Absolute Supreme Soul." "The body is doing the action, body's spare-parts are doing the action and the egoism simply does the egoism of, 'I did'! Subtle-pride of egoism is created from this doer-ship and one is living due entirely on this basis. He simply tastes the subtle-pride of doer-ship; 'I did', 'I suffered this pain', 'I enjoyed that happiness'. The person who gets rid of this subtle-pride will get freedom. Why does one taste this sweetness of subtle-pride of doership from infinite lives? He does this because he has never before tasted the sweetness of the Soul."

The atman goes on repeatedly being born and dying. One is reborn on account of desire: a person desires to be born because he or she wants to enjoy worldly pleasures, which can be enjoyed only through a body. Hinduism does not teach that all worldly pleasures are sinful, but it teaches that they can never bring deep, lasting happiness or ānanda (peace). According to the Hindu sage, Adi Sankaracharya — the world as we ordinarily understand it - is like a dream: fleeting and illusory. To be trapped in Samsara is a result of ignorance of the true nature of being.

"Hinduism contends that the cause of suffering and inequalities must be sought not in what happens after death, but in the conditions before birth, and puts forward the doctrine of rebirth. Rebirth is the necessary corollary to the idea of the soul's immortality. Death is a break in the series of continuing events known as life. Through death the individual soul changes its body: "Even as the embodied Self passes, in this body, through the stages of childhood, youth, and old age, so does It pass into another body. " A knower of the Self can witness the passing of a soul from one body to another at the time of death: "The deluded do not perceive him when he departs from the body or dwells in it, when he experiences objects or is united with the guna; but they who have the eye of wisdom perceive him."

"I am forever walking upon these shores, Betwixt the sand and the foam, The high tide will erase my footprints, And the wind will blow away the foam, But the sea and the shore will remain forever."

"If the stock market exists, so must previous lives." - Margaret Atwood, Good Bones and Simple Murders And this is the everlasting interplay of atma , cycle of birth and death , karma , reicarnation or rebirth as eternal truth.

According to Muni Kishanlal, 'The knowledge of the process of birth and rebirth is called gat-agati.Gati is hee state in which a person is born. Birth is determed by the basis of the karma.On the basis of the type of karmic particles that a person has collected one birth in one birth, he or she acquires the next birth. The writer has ingeniously put his enlightening thoughts on theories of life and death and mystery of reincarnation or rebirth through experiments in the book.

Reincarnation In numerology 1 is followed by 2,3,4…. In semantics death is followed by birth, rebirth.... Therefore, death and birth are certaity driving away even an iota of doubt.

On the basis of the above premise the author vociferously says in Chapter 4 'Rearch and Findings : Rebirh is the Certainty. The noble and ignoble acts are carried forward based on karmic theory . He adds,"If in this birth we are Hindus , Indian ,a man , in the previus birth we could well have been a Christian, an Eoropean, and a woman. With this knowledge how can we sow seeds of distrust or behave immorally such that it presents a broblem in the next birth? Again if a man in power could think that he may be born in animal, an untouchable or a common man in the next birth, his behaviour and manner on interaction may undergo a sea change . He may in this life think about other and may be more humane . If he understands the connection between his conduct and the position in which he would be born in the nex birth, he may improve his conduct. Thinking and belief make one's perspective more humane and inspires us to live by it so that the next birth will be better off.

Contextually, the author cites "The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it."

Finally, "Believe something and the Universe is on its way to being changed. Because you've changed, by believing. Once you've changed, other things start to follow. Isn't that the way it works?" ― Diane Duane, So You Want to Be a Wizard