last updated 6th August 2008


past life evidence, PART 1

past life evidence, PART 2

Reincarnation, children remember past life, PART 1

Reincarnation, children remember past life, PART 2

Is There Evidence for Reincarnation?

By Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya (Dr. Frank Morales)

I've often been asked about what evidence there is for the process of reincarnation.  To answer this question properly, it depends on what someone means by the term "evidence".  Since reincarnation is a metaphysical reality (meta = "beyond"; physical = "material"), and not a material one, it doesn't stand to reason that there can really be scientific "evidence" per se.  A non-material, metaphysical reality simply cannot be grasped by merely material physical means.

That doesn't mean, though, that reincarnation can't be proven.  After all, we can know that many other non-material things exist that cannot be proven scientifically or empirically.  For example, we all know that we have minds€ ¦’¥yet no one can really see a mind.  We can't examine a mind in a microscope, nor can we put a mind in a test-tube.  The proof for your mind's existence is that we can infer that you have a mind because you act intelligently: you display the attributes and actions of one who has a mind.  In the same way, reincarnation cannot be proven through scientific experimentation€ ¦’¥but it can be proven through inference and logic.

One of the most powerful arguments for upholding the fact of reincarnation is that, without the existence of reincarnation and karma (reincarnation and karma are inseparable; you can't have one without the other), the existence of human suffering has no explanation and no coherent meaning.  Logically speaking, we can only explain the meaning of suffering in the world by inferring the fact of reincarnation and karma.

If each of us merely pops into existence at the moment of conception, and did not have a pre-existence previous to the creation of this body, then how do we explain the fact that some people are born with terrible birth defects (blindness, lacking a limb, etc.), and others are not?  How can a merciful and loving God allow some babies to be born fine and healthy, and others to be born in a terrible state of pain and suffering?  Simply claiming that such instances are merely "divine mysteries" is just avoiding the question.  The only explanation for suffering that does not make God seem either unjust or impotent is the concept of reincarnation/karma.

More, we also see that people are all born with very different capacities, talents, attributes, and personalities.  As much as we want to pretend that all human beings are born as complete tabula rasas, or blank slates, the truth is that none of us are born with equal intrinsic faculties.  Some people are born with more of an inherent talent to be creative and artistic than others.  Some are born more cerebral and intelligent than others.  Some are born 7 feet tall and can become famous basketball players, while some are 5 feet tall, and cannot.  Again, the only logical explanation for why a just and merciful God would allow people to be born with such diverse and unequal qualities is reincarnation and karma.

The concept of reincarnation and karma is a principle of both universal justice and radical freedom of the individual to create his/her own destiny.  This concept teaches us that with every thought, action and word containing ethical-content that we engage in, we are freely creating who we are € ¦’¶ and who we will be in the future.  When we perform actions that are of an ethically positive and good nature, we are directly affecting our own consciousness in such a way as to purify and ennoble who we are.  Conversely, when we perform actions that arise from selfishness, egotism, and negativity, we are ensuring that our future only holds darkness and sorrow.

So, the concept of reincarnation and karma, ultimately, is a positive and hopeful concept of radical freedom, in which each and every one of us has the ability, moment to moment, to freely create both ourselves and our destinies.  With every decision we make today, we are creating our own futures, our own destinies, and our own future lives.  Such is the grace and love of God that He gives us the complete freedom either to choose to know Him, or to flee from His face.  The choice to do one or the other is ours, and ours alone.

Young girl claims she is Kalpana Chawla

Indo-Asian News Service
Khurja (Uttar Pradesh), July 07, 2007

A four-year-old girl who claims her name is Kalpana Chawla and that she died up in the skies four years ago is drawing huge crowds in a village called Khurja in Uttar Pradesh.

Residents of Nar Mohammadpur village, about 35 kms from Khurja, where little Upasana is visiting her relatives, think she might be the reincarnation of the India-born astronaut Kalpana Chawla, who died when US space shuttle Columbia crashed four years ago.

The news of the girl's claim spread quickly in the area after she spoke to some villagers in Khurja.

"I am Kalpana Chawla," says Upasana, who reportedly fears the sight of an aircraft. She has been telling her illiterate parents that she died in a "crash" up in the skies.

"Upasana has been telling us ever since she started speaking that her name was Kalpana Chawla and that her father's name was Banarsi Das Chawla but we could not figure out anything as we had never heard of Kalpana," Upasana's father Raj Kumar told reporters on Friday.

Raj Kumar is a resident of Pata village of Etawah district where he works as a labourer.

"Yet Upasana's proclamation led us all to believe that she was actually talking about her previous birth," he said. "She claims that the spacecraft was hit by a huge ball of ice that sent it crashing and ended her life."

Upasana was born barely two months after the astronaut's death in 2003.

There's more here too:

JTCd's NOTE: I wonder if anyone has considered a nine or ten month pregnancy between when the astronaut died and the child was born. 

Village Boy Suddenly Acquires American Accent
The Times of India on 14 Jul 2007

Rajesh, the wonder boy, speaks fluently in English and has suddenly acquired knowledge of physics and mathematics.

LUCKNOW: A 14-year-old Dalit boy, born and brought up in a remote village of western Uttar Pradesh, has suddenly turned angrez . Rajesh, without any evident help, has started speaking fluently in English and does so with a proper American drawl. And that’s not all: He seems to have forgotten how to speak Hindi.

Wonders do not cease with this: His knowledge of physics and mathematics has left engineering students baffled. Having already penned three books, Rajesh is now looking forward to some research work.

All of this may sound like a Bollywood script on one of its favourite themes, reincarnation. However, Rajesh, a resident of a nondescript village 40 km from Saharanpur, refuses to call it so.

In his words: "There is no concept of reincarnation. It is just that memory can’t be destroyed till there are sound waves in the world."

And this is the area of science that interests Rajesh the most. "He has already written three documents, one on memory, the other on sociology and the third on liberalisation," said an excited Shishu Pal Singh Verma, principal of Willian Jefferson Clinton Science and Technology Centre, where Rajesh was enrolled last year.

"I did not take him seriously for a few months but on Republic Day, while the students were reciting poetry before the entire college, Rajesh took the mike and addressed the gathering in fluent English. This left us almost shell-shocked," says Shishu Pal.

Rajesh’s mother Omkali and 16-year-old brother Kaluwa are daily wage labourers who earn just enough to manage two square meals a day. His father Sompal is mentally-challenged. Asked how and when these changes came into Rajesh, Omkali said that it happened almost a year ago when Rajesh was helping Kaluwa erect a wall.

"Every time the brothers brought the wall up to two feet, their father would smash it. Irritated, Rajesh threw a brick at him who was hit in the head and began to bleed.”

This left Rajesh dumbfounded. "For the next three months, he did not utter a single word. When he did, it was not in Hindi," said Jamal, a resident of Saharanpur.

Reincarnation and Samsara

Key Points
At death the soul passes into another body.
It is carried within the subtle body.
The next body is determined by the state of mind at death, and by the soul's desires and deserts.
The nature of the soul is the same, regardless of which body it resides in.
Samsara ­ passing through the six categories of lifeforms ­ is considered painful for the eternal soul.

As the real self (atman) remains unchanged throughout life, it likewise continues after death. This soul is carried within the subtle (astral) body to its next destination. The precise nature of the new body is determined by the state of mind at death and is specifically influenced by (1) the person's desires, and (2) his karma.

Samsara refers to the process of passing from one body to another throughout all species of life. Hindus believe that consciousness is present in all life forms, even fish and plants. However, though the soul is present in all species, its potential is exhibited to different degrees. In aquatics and plants it is most "covered", practically asleep, whereas in humans it is most alert. This progression of consciousness is manifest throughout six broad "classes of life, "namely (1) aquatics, (2) plants, (3) reptiles and insects, (4) birds, (5) animals and (6) humans, including the residents of heaven. Most Hindus consider samsara essentially painful, a cycle of four recurring problems: birth, disease, old-age, and death.

Glossary Terms

Samsara: the perpetual cycle of repeated birth and death.
A Useful Analogy
Replacing old clothes with new

As the body wears clothes, the soul "wears" the body.
We discard clothes when they become old and useless, and buy and put on new ones.
We buy clothes on the basis of (1) what we want, and (2) what we can afford. Similarly, we get our next body according to (1) our desires and (2) our karma.
Just as a person wears layers of clothing, the soul wears a number of material coverings. They are primarily two:
the subtle body, also called the astral or ghost body It consists largely of the mind and usually remains with the soul as it quits the gross body.
the gross or external body, which the soul (with the subtle body) discards at death
Related Stories
Story of Maharaja Bharata (STO-103)

A story about reincarnation.
The Life and Death ofAjamila (STO-104)

The time of death.
Related Practices

The Hindu rites of passage at death, during and after the funeral ceremony, are to ensure the peaceful passage of the soul. They aim to prevent the person being "held up" in his or her spiritual evolution, and particularly to avoid the possibility of remaining in subtle form as a ghost (as yet without a new body).

In fact, many Hindus consider all rites of passage as preparation for inevitable death.
Scriptural Passages

"As the embodied soul continually passes in this body from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into a new body at death."

"Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, 0 son of Kunti, that state he will attain without fail."

"The living entity, thus taking another gross body, obtains a certain type of ear, eye, tongue, nose and sense of touch, which are grouped about the mind. He thus enjoys a particular set of sense objects."

Bhagavad-gita 2.13, 8.06, 15.9

See also: Bhagavad-gita 2.22, 8.06, 15.8­10
Meaning and Purpose

Why are we not born with equal opportunity despite attempts to accomplish this through social reform?
Related Values and Issues

The notion of a soul within all bodies is particularly relevant to the following issues:
animal welfare/rights
negative discrimination of all kinds (racism, ageism, sexism, nationalism, religious sectarianism, etc.)
empathy for others
non-violence (ahimsa)
questions of identity
Personal Reflection
We could explore our feelings towards animals. What similar features do they share with humans? What are the differences?
Could reincarnation relate to the phenomenon of those about to die seeing their entire lives passing before their eyes?
How can we explain out-of-body or near-death experiences, and spontaneous "past-life memories."
Common Misunderstandings
Hindus believe that in the next life the soul becomes a different person or even an animal.

No, the soul retains its identity, and the same "real-self" passes into a new body. Any differences between the body we now have and that which we receive in the next life reflect the subtle (psychological) changes undergone in this chapter of life.

Five year old blind Korean girl plays piano:

Check out this five year old girl who is an expert pianist, who in her short life was never taught to play, but who at three years old began to play incredibly complex pieces of music. Not only that but sings quite philosophically meaningful songs at the same time, she also can expertly play any song or tune by just hearing it once. They call her Genius Mozart, but who knows who she was previously in a previous birth to have carried her skills into this life:
YouTube has better quality

Blind Pianist Ye Eun & Connie Talbot - listen to the voice:

or this three year old child artist

Or these three kids, titled "Talent on Loan from God"