Extremely Interesting Investigation on Reincarnation
The “In Search” series are one of my favourites… It is hosted by Leonard Nimoy and the series covers a wide range of topics like missing persons, UFOs, Sasquatch, Bermuda Triangle, etc. The series takes a long and hard look at many questions and mysteries.
In this documentary below, it explores the topic of reincarnation. As compared to other videos on reincarnation, this documentary goes into the scientific and research aspect of a subject many find mysterious… There are interviews with scientists who hold opposite views: those who accept reincarnation and those who don’t. Indeed very balanced and convincing. You must watch carefully.
The documentary also shows accounts of people who strongly believe in reincarnation, those who can detail their former identities through interviews, those who talk about their experiences from their past lives.. and it also discusses about how this phenomena is dealt with within religious organizations. Within Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Kabbala, some sects of Islam, Hassidic Judaism and Kabbala reincarnation has been accepted for thousands of years and it’s understood to be the truth.
Now there are more and more people who are not religious or born into faiths who do not have any ideas of reincarnation yet can recall their former lives perfectly. Yes recall their former lives clearly even under scientific scrutiny under qualified doctors. Please watch this and share with others. I found this very intriguing. I have no issues with reincarnation as I fully believe it, but modern science now is discovering the truth behind it. A licensed practice now is past life regression therapy which is becoming mainstream. Which means we have a past life.
Very interesting: The Greek Philosopher and Mathematician Pythagoras and his pupils were well versed in the mysteries of reincarnation, and were encouraged to value life. It was mainstream in ancient Greece to believe in reincarnation. Pythagoras taught his pupils to respect the soul of all beings, to refrain from killing any animal, and to adhere to a strict vegetarian diet. http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/AncientMysteriesSE05EP07.flv
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Is there life beyond the grave? If the soul exists, does it survive death? If so, when did the belief first arise that the soul may reincarnate, to be born anew in another physical body? Before we unlock the future we must find the keys to the past. I’m Leonard Nimoy. Join me and open the door to ancient mysteries beginning now, here on A&E.
Thousands of years ago, the ancient Egyptians believed that the soul continued to exist after death then journeyed to another world. Yet some Egyptians believe the soul returns to earth and reincarnates in a new, physical body. Is the current Dalai Lama evidence of the rebirth of someone who lived before? Why was he chosen to become spiritual head of one of the world’s great faiths?
Though it may have once been central to Judaism and Christianity, the idea of reincarnation was eventually stifled by church and synagogue. After centuries of suppression, the discovery of a skeleton buried in a basement in New York State ignited widespread belief in reincarnation. In more recent times, a Colorado housewife claims to have lived in a foreign land, hundreds of years earlier. What evidence exists to prove the theory of reincarnation? Step back in time with us as we follow those who long asked one of the most profound of all questions: is death the end? Or do we live again in a new physical body?
It has probably happened to many of us at some time or another, it is called deja vu. Suddenly, in an area never before visited, is an indefinable feeling of familiarity. In some mysterious way, there’s a sense that you’ve been here before. Could this be possible? What about the person whom you’ve chosen to share your life? Have you known one another before, perhaps as some believe, in a previous life? The human mind has grappled with the notion of reincarnation for millennia. In some cultures, the idea was often seen as a threat, warning of dire consequences for an unjust and dishonest life. Might evil deeds committed in a present life lead to reincarnation on a lower level such as an animal or an insect? On the other hand, will a life of merit promise rewards in the next incarnation? Is belief in reincarnation a conviction as old as humanity’s faith in the divine force that creates and judges the world? The overwhelming majority of the earth’s inhabitants believe in life after death. But a sizable proportion also clings to the notion that the soul is not simply destined for heaven or hell, but returns to life in another physical body. What evidence exist to endorse this view, especially as most people probably have no recollection, whatever of their previous lives?
Many people feel that reincarnation can’t exist because they don’t remember their past and my answer to the world is we do remember. We don’t have the details, but we have certain key hints as to who we are, the type of music we like, the people we’re most attracted to, the types of food we like, the clothing we wear, certain periods in history that we identify with, these are indications this is where we have been before and so our present incarnation or our present lifetime is a composite of all the foods of what we were before.
When did the concept of reincarnation first take root? To probe the mystery, we must embark on a quest deep into antiquity, for the ancient world holds alluring clues to the earliest stirrings of the idea that life may indeed transcend death. It is a belief that may date back to the stone age. Tens of thousands of years ago, many primitive societies bury their dead in a fetal position. Could this perhaps suggest a belief in reincarnation in which the deceased was being made ready for possible rebirth?
Today, India remains one of the most vital links with the ancient past. Here, Hinduism is a predominant pathway of faith. At least five to six thousand years old, much of its origins remain a mystery, but it is the oldest known religions still practiced anywhere in the world today. Acceptance of reincarnation is central to Hinduism. A person’s rebirth in a new physical body is believed to be a direct result of how one lived in a previous life. Escaping the endless cycle of birth and rebirth is fundamental to followers of the faith. The process is known as karma. The ultimate aim is to break the cycle, to allow the soul to return to its maker, thus avoiding further reincarnations.
You escape according to the theory, when you completely overcome your egotistical desires, when you become compassionate, when your heart opens up to the whole world and when you’re ready to join your maker, that’s when you escape the wheel of samsara as the Hindus say. But as long as we have desires, we’ll come back, time and again, to satisfy it or as long as we have karma to pay, the law of cause and effect will bring us down until our soul matures to that state where it has no longer any reason to come back to this world.
Among the Hindus, the cow has long been held sacred. Why? Is there a conviction that animals have souls too? If so, do they also conform to the laws of karma, the cycle of birth and rebirth?
In Hinduism you can be reborn from human to even lower forms, it all depends on the actions you perform in the life, you can go up or down, you could be reborn at a lower form, or you could be reborn as a god.
Of all the religions in the east, none adheres more strongly then Jainism to the belief that everything in the world undergoes a process of reincarnation.
In Jainism, we find that the notion of the soul appears not just in humans, but in literally everything that exists, in animals, in plants, in what they call organisms, microorganisms, even in rocks and stones. The soul can progress from form to form. However, the human body is the one body in which souls can become liberated.
So committed are the Jains to the belief of reincarnation, that to avoid destroying even the most insignificant creature, many of them wear face masks to avoid ingesting the tiniest of insects, insects in which to the Jains may once have been human. If they’re responsible for taking the life of another being, they believe they will reincarnate again to pay a debt for their sins. In neighboring Tibet, Buddhism, originally from India has been a national religion for some 1400 years.
One of the central texts of Tibetan Buddhism is the book of the dead. Once a person has died, a Lama or a priest will read passages from the book to help a deceased soul choose new parents and a suitable environment for his or her next incarnation. The prayers are intended as a guide to help the soul prepare for a new life in accordance with the deeds and accomplishments of the life that just ended. Nowhere does this belief carries such importance as with the selection of a Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Ever since 1694, all Dalai Lamas have lived in the Potala Palace, overlooking the city of Lhasa. In 1959, when communist China invaded Tibet and imposed military rule, the current Dalai Lama fled his capital and settled in India. In exile, he continues to perform the function of religious head of millions of Asian Buddhists. But how did he come to occupy this revered and sacred role? When the 13th Dalai Lama died in 1933, religious leaders immediately began a search to find his successor. But he had to be a reincarnation of all his predecessors. How was he to be identified?
The usual procedure is that the old Dalai Lama before he gets near to dying, and usually they know when they’re gonna die, they sorta write some letters or they leave a testament or they give some clues to their people and say, “Gee, I really like that area, I like that town, I like that family”. If we take those clues into account, then after they die, all the local’s physics, you know the Jean Dicksons of Tibet, the professional physics and astrologers are all consulted, and then they say, “Well I think it is in the northeast and I think he lives in this kind of a house, and this kind of a family.”
Deep in the hills of Qinghai in China’s remote western province, a young boy by the name of Lhamo Dondrup was born to a poor peasant family in 1935. But this was no ordinary child. From his earliest years, he was different from other children, often even fantasizing that he would one day, travel to Lhasa in Tibet, a place neither he nor his family had ever visited.
“When I was very young, I think two, one and a half years, or two years, three years, during that period, I always telling my mother, I will go to Lhasa, that, and also whenever I play, and also I play, now I’m now moving to Lhasa.”
News of the young Lhamo Dondrup soon reached Lhasa. In 1937, a search party of disguised high lamas from the Tibetan government set out for the tiny village to investigate the two and a half year old boy that they had heard about. Could he possibly be the reincarnated Dalai Lama? From an array of similar items, the young boy was asked to pick out clothing and religious objects that belonged to the previous Dalai Lama. He unhesitatingly chose every item correctly. At one point, he reached out for the Dalai Lama’s rosary and claimed that it was once his own. Lhamo Dondrup was then subjected to a physical examination; in which is body was inspected for certain marks traditionally associated with Dalai Lamas. These included large ears, upward curving eyebrows, moles in certain locations of the torso, and a palm print resembling the design of a conch shell. Without exception, each tell tale sign was there. The reincarnated 14th Dalai Lama had been found.
Today, the Dalai Lama is revered by Buddhists everywhere. He is not only the leader of one of the earth’s great religions, but he is accepted by all of his followers as the reincarnation of all 13 previous Dalai Lamas.
Western belief in the rebirth of the soul may already have been well established by the time of the ancient Egyptians. Pharaoh Amenhotep the first of the 12th dynasty ruled the country during the period known as the ‘Middle Kingdom’, some 4500 years ago. According to some scholars, he was popularly known as “He who repeats his births”, giving us tantalizing insight into the possible widespread acceptance that the Pharaoh lived on after death.
The Greeks and Romans attributed belief in reincarnation to an Egyptian mystic known as Thoth Hermes. “The soul passes from form to form, from level to level and the mentions of its pilgrimage are many. Thou mortals put a stop to thy bodies as rainments, yet thou art from old, o soul of man, thy soul art everlasting” – Thoth Hermes.
Thoth Hermes remains one of the most mysterious figures in all antiquity. Was he a human, a god, or a being of legend? He’s sometimes depicted as the ibis headed god of wisdom, justice and writing. Whoever he was, he was to leave an indelible mark on western culture. Some scholars believe that if Hermes were indeed human, he may have been the original author of what is known as the Egyptian book of the dead. Found in many tombs and crypts, the hieroglyphs and art that constitute this mysterious document often depict the soul as a human headed bird called the Ba. After 3000 years of reincarnating as plants or animals, some believed the soul would eventually earn its right to be reborn in human form.
“Let me have possession of my Ba soul, and of my spirit, wherever it may be, observe thee my soul O guardians of heaven, cause my Ba soul to find my body” – The chapter of making the soul join its body, the book of the dead.
During ancient times, it was in Greece that belief in reincarnation eventually become widespread, and at no time more so when the Greek civilization was at its classical zenith. The goddess Psyche was reputed to have been one of the loveliest beings in the entire Greek pantheon of deities. Her beauty was so remarkable, that the name “Psyche” was also used to describe one of nature’s most magnificent creations, the butterfly.
But because the butterfly was born of a lowlier form of life, the caterpillar, the Greeks have yet another meaning for the word. Psyche also meant soul, representing the ability of a creature’s spirit to migrate from a lower order of existence to a higher, more perfect one. The Greeks saw great symbolism in the transition. What may have given rise to it?
It is intuitively natural to the human being, to assume continuity in everything. In other words, if you look around the universe, there is nothing you can find in the universe that does not demonstrate continuity. When wood burns it becomes ashes and heat, when water flows it goes somewhere, when water boils it becomes steam, in other words in every natural process we observe continuity and therefore it is unnatural that our consciousness alone or our soul, our deepest level of consciousness would be the one thing in the universe that would not have continuity.
One of the most ardent Greek believers in reincarnation was the great philosopher, Pythagoras. As a mathematician, his name would forever be inscribed in the annals of history. The school that he established at Crouton on the mainland of Italy taught mathematics, astronomy, music and architecture. Pythagoras was not only a gifted and original thinker, but he was said to have had mystical insight into the nature and origin of life. He claimed to have lived many times. It was believed that Mercury, the god of wisdom had imbued him with the vision to see all of his previous incarnations. His pupils were well versed in the mysteries of reincarnation, and were encouraged to value life. They were taught to respect the soul of all beings, to refrain from killing any animal, and to adhere to a strict vegetarian diet. Though a teacher, Pythagoras himself left no writings. However, his belief in reincarnation was expounded by 3 of the greatest Greek philosophers who studied his teachings: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.
“Must not all things that last be swallowed up in death? Ye, but I am confident that there truly is such a thing as living again and that the living spring from the dead. The souls of the dead are once again in existence” – Socrates, 450 B.C.E.
The physical resurrection of a human soul was proclaimed by some of the most admired minds in western civilization. For centuries, belief in reincarnation was either suppressed or simply laid dormant.
The concept that the human soul experiences multiple births and rebirths may seem alien to western thinking, yet one of the most dramatic examples of a reference to reincarnation is found in a text in with which many of us are familiar – the Holy Bible. One of the oldest examples come from the Book of Exodus. Led by Moses, the people of Israel are at the foot of Mt Sinai. Here, following God’s orders, Moses delivers the 10 commandments to them. When he reads the 4th and 5th commandment from the tablets, supposedly written by the finger of God, the people hear these prophetic words:
“Thou shall not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water, under the earth. Thou shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them, for I, the Lord, thy God, am a jealous God visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children onto the third and fourth generation of those who hate me” –Exodus 24
This has created a lot of questions for a lot of people – what can that possibly mean? Reincarnation is a belief that we translate generation to incarnation so the sins of the fathers would be vested upon the third and forth incarnations. In other words, the soul will come back and the sins that that soul in the former life experienced or committed will then have to be dealt with a karmic sense later on in the third and the forth generation.
Another example of a passage that may refer to reincarnation in the Old Testament comes from the book of psalms:
“Though turneth man to destruction, and sayest return ye children of men, for a thousand years in thy sight, are but as yesterday when it is passed, and as a watch in the night” – Psalms 90-3
One interpretation of this passage comes from ancient Jewish mystics who believed that there were thousand year cycles between the physical incarnations of the human soul. One of the most mysterious traditions of Judaism is an ancient body of mystical beliefs known as the Kabbalah, a Hebrew word meaning, “to receive”. The basis of Kabbalah is believed to have originally been given by God to Moses on Mt Sinai then secretly passed down from generation to generation. The central book of Kabbalistic study is the Zohar, meaning splendor. It is a lengthy commentary on mankind’s relationship with the Supreme Being, on reincarnation and on the nature of the soul.
There are 3 aspects of the soul at least in the Kabbalah. There is the Nefesh, which is the vegetative soul. There is the Ruach, or otherwise translated as wind or spirit which is more of a vital, animalistic, some say emotional soul and then there is the Neshamah, the, a higher, godly, intellectual soul. At death, the Nefesh and all 3 of those aspects have to go through a period of purification, Gehenna, and then they begin to separate. At that point then the soul prepares itself for rebirth, after its gone through this process, and according to some there are spirit guides that help it make decisions as to where it goes next which into what body it reincarnates, what lessons it needs to fulfill in the next life.
The study of Kabbalah reaches the apex of popularity in 15th century Spain. It was here where Jewish acceptance of reincarnation became widespread. In 1492, the same year that Christopher Columbus discovered the new world for Spain, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella issued one of the most devastating proclamations to befall the Jews. En masse, they were expelled from Spain. Many of the Jews would flee to other parts of Europe. There, they kept their religious traditions intact where they flourished for hundreds of years. But with the dawn of a modern era, mysticism and the belief in reincarnation would largely be suppressed.
Reincarnation in Judaism did not go underground until the early 19th century and the movement to the west, the urge to be accepted by the more “scientific” establishment in the west, and then reincarnation went underground in some circles but not in the ultra orthodox or Hasidic and many, many rabbis have called reincarnation, Gilgor, the cornerstone of Judaism.
Christianity is enshrined in the books that make up the New Testament of the Bible. Do any passages within these texts hint at reincarnation?
“Let not your heart be troubled. Ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In my father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you” – John 14:1
Does the reference to many mansions refer to the many lives, or the many incarnations of the soul? There are those who believe so. Jesus himself may have been referring to his previous incarnation in this passage from the book of St John:
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” – John 8:56
Three centuries after the crucifixion of Jesus, the Roman emperor Constantine embraced Christianity, declaring it the official religion of the empire. In the year 325 he convened the world’s first ecumentacle conference, known as the Council of Nicaea. Though consolidating much of a doctrine of a newly established church, the gathering spelled a death knell of belief in transmigration or reincarnation among most Christians.
The Christian patriarchs decided that this multi future life idea was not very good because it was a little too loose. They would like people to feel that there was only one future life, and the quality of that was to determine how well they fit in with the churches’ orders. And so, they had banned therefore transmigration belief which was common in all of the Mediterranean cultures.
Though no longer embraced by mainstream Judaism or Christianity, reincarnation may once have been fundamental to both faiths. Ever since mainstream Judaism and Christianity has suppressed the concept of reincarnation centuries ago, little credence was given to it in the west but by the 19th century, all that was about to change. The place was upstate, New York, about 20 miles from Rochester, the year was 1848. A sleepy little hamlet of Hydesville was as quiet and uneventful a place as a small American town could be. However, in the home of John and Margaret Fox and their young daughters, Kate and Margaret, a series of strange events were about to unfold. Beginning around the middle of March, the family began to be disturbed by strange noises. Then, on March 31st, the youngest daughter, Kate, challenged the strange, unseen force. In response to the loud, thumping noises that she heard, she snapped her fingers in reply. Over the next few nights, she and the mysterious entity worked out a form of communication. Then, the elder daughter, Margaret began asking questions to the spirit force. “If your answer is yes, knock twice”, she said. “If no, knock once.”
And so, over a period of evenings, it was learnt that the spirit in the house once belonged to a man who had been murdered in one of the bedrooms and buried in the cellar. When the floor of the cellar was dug up, a human skeleton was found buried there, confirming the story. Though the murderer was never found, and the case remained unsolved, what the incident did was to ignite public interest in the survival of the soul after death, a fundamental tenant in the belief of reincarnation. Suddenly, spiritualism and the possibility of communicating with departed souls became popular.
Additional impetus behind the awakening of the belief of reincarnation came from the other side of the world, from the daughter of a Russian colonel. Born Helena Hahn in the Ukraine, in 1831, she more than any other was to challenge the conventional view that the soul does not reincarnate again after death.
She was born according to her relatives, with an air of mystery surrounding her. She would often talk about things that were for the most part, mysterious to the family. They didn’t quite know what she was talking about and she would talk about adventures that she had that everybody knew did not happen but with such a conviction that it was actually to her, the real thing.
In her late teens, Helena Hahn married a military man more than 20 years her senior. He was General Nikifor Blavatsky. As it was, that the simple Helena Hahn would become better known to the world as Madam Blavatsky, eventually to be one of the most influential forces behind a popular rekindling belief in reincarnation.
Desperately unhappy with her marriage, Madam Blavatsky deserted her husband and immediately began travelling the world in search of adventure. Her driving quest was to investigate the religious doctrines of the east.
She travelled throughout the world, including North America, Europe, Egypt, the Middle East, India, Tibet. The purpose of her traveling was try to find the wisdom, the ancient wisdom and what she did was to collect this wisdom that she studied from books and from elsewhere and she synthesized it to teach what she’d called the secret doctrine, or the wisdom of the ages. What she claimed was this was the primeval religion of humanity and the truth, that the wisdom somehow was corrupted or lost by other religions that retained at least part of it, and what she was trying to do was to rediscover what this truth was.
In 1873, Madam Blavatsky arrived in the United States, and found the country in the grip of a spiritualism craze following the strange experiences of the Fox family in upstate New York. Anxious to share the mystical experiences she had in Egypt, Tibet and India, and to offer insight into those cultures’ belief in reincarnation, Madam Blavatsky attended a spiritualist meeting at a remote farm near Chittenden, in Vermont. There, she met Colonel Henry Steel Olcott. The two struck up an immediate friendship. In September 1875, Blavatsky and Olcott formed the “Theosophical Society”, an organization dedicated to the study of occultism, ancient religion and the process of reincarnation. Madam Blavatsky was a prolific writer, expounding her beliefs in reincarnation in monumental works, such as the Secret Doctrine and Isis Unveiled.
Madam Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott eventually moved their Theosophical Society to India, where they could be nearer to the Hindu masters from whom they wished to learn more. In 1884 they relocated to Europe. Seven years later on May 8th, 1891, Madam Blavatsky died in Surrey, England. What is her legacy today as one of the first western exponents of reincarnation and the transmigration of the soul?
Every single writer who speaks on reincarnation probably owes a debt of gratitude towards Blavatsky. It’s Blavatsky who gives the definition of what reincarnation is.
It is one of the greatest of all mysteries and one of our oldest quests: have we lived before, and following death, do we come back and live again? One of the most compelling cases of a vivid remembrance of a past life took the world by storm in the early 50s. Colorado businessman and amateur hypnotist Morey Bernstein was popular amongst his friends and associates for his ability to lull people into a trance like sleep, and coax them into recalling incidents from their past, often as far back as their childhood. However, in 1952 he did not suspect that one of his subjects Virginia Tighe would graphically recall incidents from a previous lifetime. When news leaked out that the 29 year old mother of 3 was able to recall a past incarnation, Bernstein gave her the pseudonym of Ruth Simmons, to preserve her identity and protect her from an increasingly curious press. Under hypnosis, the young woman identified herself as Bridey Murphy, born in the City of Cork Island in 1798. These are actual recordings made during her hypnosis sessions:
Bernstein: What is your name?
Bernstein: And why did they name you that?”
Tighe: Uhh… named me after my grandmother, Bridget Bridey
Bernstein: You always live in Cork?
Tighe: No, I go to Belfast
Bernstein: Lived in Belfast?
Tighe: Uh huh.
Bernstein: What is the name of the priest? What is the name of the father?
Tighe: Father John… Father John
At times, while under hypnosis, Tighe’s voice developed an unmistakable Irish brogue. While never having travelled outside of the United States, she recalled details of her home in Ireland, her family, and the town in which she lived. When journalists investigated the area mentioned by Tighe, they found her descriptions to be uncannily accurate. Shops and streets were just as she recounted them. Because thousands of people share the name Murphy in Ireland, it was impossible for them to find exact records of her and her family. Was it all a hoax? Or as many believe, did Virginia Tighe genuinely recall a past life nearly 2 centuries earlier?
“I’m holding on to my brother, we can’t find our mom, we don’t know where our mom is…”
Today, in some scientific circles, techniques known as past life regression have become a legitimate recognized field of research. What have these sessions revealed?
I think the great lesson for me of all of my research and studies is that we do not die when our physical bodies die. A part of us goes on, whatever you want to call this part, consciousness, soul, spirit, it does go on and so that we are eternal, and I believe that a famous mystic, summed this up centuries ago by saying, “We are not human beings here having a spiritual experience, but we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
During medical death, many have described being able to view their own body from the outside, as though it were a separate entity. Some have even described what happened in the hospital room while their hearts have technically stopped beating, while they were all to intents and purposes, dead.
And they can tell you things that can happen in another part of the hospital, or another part of the city, or another part of the world, and in fact, it is verified. Like a woman, for example, at the, during the near death experience, she would tell them what they were talking about, when they were signing the death papers. So this is one example of a scientific kind of research that may suggest continuity of consciousness after death.
We may never know the answer to what happens to us after we die, until death itself claims us, if we are to heed the evidence and consider the documentation passed down through the centuries, perhaps the riddle of life after death may not be as obscure as many deem it to be. Perhaps death may not be the end, but merely the beginning of yet another cycle in the ongoing process of life itself.
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