All About Past Lives
It is quite familiar to hear people talking about past lives. This is a phenomenon which depicts that human soul is immortal and passes on from one physical body to another. The concepts or rebirth and reincarnation are ancient as well as popular.
When you are talking about past lives it is to be taken into account that there may have been a number of past lives or births before the one that is present. What happens is that the soul is reborn in a completely different physical body which can be termed as reincarnation. The ancient civilizations and cultures who have much more spiritually advanced than the others have distinct beliefs about past lives and similar concepts.
The basis of the concept about past lives and reincarnation stands on the point that the human soul is immortal. When a person dies, his physical body ceases to exist but at the same time, the soul leaves the physical body and later comes back to the human world in the form of a newborn. The whole process of reincarnation is also termed as the transmigration of the soul.
There have been numerous research and experiments about past lives by ancient civilizations and religions that are spiritually advanced. The concept of rebirth has been the center point of religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. Even the ancient Greek philosophy had serious researchers about past lives. But again major sects of Christianity and Islam have different views regarding the same. Let us have a look at what the Hindu philosophy says about past life.
The Hindus believe that the soul has to travel to a cycle of birth and rebirth which is called samsara. This continues till the soul attains nirvana or the highest level of spiritual wisdom. During the process of birth and rebirth the life it leads, the work it does are termed as karma.
His conditions and experiences in his next rebirth are mainly governed by the karma of his past lives. Through each rebirth, he gradually becomes spiritually wiser and finally when is able to realize the universal truth and his true potential, he is known to attain the state of moksha or nirvana. His soul is free and attains eternal peace and happiness.
Buddhism has separate beliefs about past lives. The religion does not lay much importance on the immortality of the soul but stresses in the process of reincarnation and thinks that it is a kind of evolvement of the consciousness. The supreme soul or the atman does not tie one life with the next rebirth. What the Buddhists believe is that with every birth the consciousness of the soul evolves and there emerges new personality from the same stream of consciousness.
The civilization of the western world in the past, however, did not have much belief in past lives. In modern western philosophies, a new wave of thought called theosophy has evolved which is much inspired by the Hindu line of thinking. The school of theosophy is perhaps the first institution to speak about past lives in the western world.
The doctrine of theosophy says that the soul is a formless, all-pervasive force. It comes down from the ghostly world to the human world and goes through a simple harmonic process of birth, death and rebirth. Thus, with every birth, it gains some experience and at death attains purity. Then it once again goes to the sublime planes to have itself cleansed and then waits in its formless and timeless self to be reincarnated again.