Site Map
Reincarnation Sources and Ideas
Section › 4   Set    Search  Previous Next


Reservations   Contents    

Puffin. Modified detail. Original by By OscarV055.
Are many old puffins in time reborn as fishes of a sort they feed on?

Yogananda - was he better looking backwards than forwards? Some believe he was good at both of these, aber (but) . . . Faith - there should be anything in it - anything of value, that is. What cannot be proved - learn how to deal with it.

"The sage is quick to act, and prompt to detect bad faith. He aims for gains in self-respect [Kungfu (551–479 BC)," in Soc 57, 67]. That is not enough by itself to constitute goodness, but "tending upwards liberally" could do good all the same.

As for reincarnation and the belief in it:

  • To hold private opinions is a human right, endorsed by UN.
  • However, opinions that are exposed in the public sphere, can be more determining for one's fare, and should be both safe and responsibly voiced - safe for oneself, safe for others, so that no one is led astray by the faith, if there is anything.

Humankind is faith-ridden - in some ways like the gorilla Koko (1971–2018) who guessed there were monsters in a nearby forest after being told they were there. She had not seen any monsters there herself, but believed it after being told it. Koko was such a wise gorilla (WP, "Koko [gorilla]").

Many humans believe in monsters too. In Self-Realization Fellowship it is told there are goblins somewhere in heaven, example - mischievous, ugly creatures - on the word of Yogananda and his guru. (in Yogananda 1998, 459).

As so many species get extinct on earth, are they too found in heaven? And many past sorts of whales of different kinds? Questions may arise, and there are conflicting faiths on the planet. However, having a faith with factual, sachlich, and fit evidence, is not gross faith any more: it tends more towards certainties.

One is to beware of assumptions. If erroneous faith follows them, a faith business may arise and suck fools a lot.

There is an alternative complex for sorting out faith things

  • Keep unchecked or unverified assertions at bay, at arm's length (in suspense).
  • Discard wrong notions if you are sure they are wrong and bad.
  • See what others have made out of them.
  • Adhere to Gautama Buddha's Kalama Sutta ideas. if you feel for it, and learn to doubt well, with ease.
That is about it. Learn the norms of firm Sachlichkeit, fit factualness, and also develop the skills that go into it. [Some hints for cultivating factualness, with books on the subject]

A faith that consists of opinions may not work well for you; you could also be ridiculed for it, depending on how many there are who say that reincarnation is a fact, and how many who don't think so, and to which classes they belong. Besides, there will be less to redress later and much later, if you get fact-based to begin with and don't start out on one of many, many dumb faith tracks by your assumptions and unfulfilled drives -

Many Asian religions hold that reincarnation is no myth. The teaching goes along with the teachings of retributions, redressings, or karma. Says Jane Roberts (1929–84) voicing an energy personality called "Seth":

Reincarnation simply represents . . . portions of the self that are materialized in historical contexts. . . . Each self born in time will then pursue its own probable realities from that standpoint.

All consciousness, in all of its forms . . . is difficult . . . to explain . . .

To some degree you can emotionally and intellectually sense that greater godhood out of which personhood emerges. . . . That godhood is formed from the eternal. . .

(Source: Roberts 1996, 52-53, passim)

According to the Seth Material, the entire self or "entity" is a gestalt consisting of the inner self, various selves that the entity has assumed through past existences (physical and non-physical), plus all the currently incarnated selves . . . and reincarnation is included as a core principle (WP, "Seth Material"). Says Seth, the energy personality:

The entire idea of reincarnation has been highly distorted . . . (In Roberts, 1997, 310)

[M]an's life is obviously dependent upon the existence of life's other species. . . . (Ib. 317)

The most important aspects of individuality are those subjective characteristics that on the one hand distinguish each person from the other, and that on the other hand are each like sparkling psychological mosaics, giving separate, exquisite individual versions of that larger pattern from which mankind emerges. The security, the integrity, and the brilliance of each individuality rises in these terms from that universal genetic language, and also from the inner subjective universal language of dreams. . . . (Ib. 323)

Many children daydream not only of being kings or queens, or given great honors, they also daydream about being tragic figures . . . They imagine, in fact, every situation that they can involving human experience. To an extent adults do the same thing . . . Each person seeks value fulfillment, and that means that they choose various lives in such a fashion that all of their abilities and capacities can be best developed, and in such a way that their world is also enriched. (Ib. 325)

One question: How well may it be documented that life goes on after this one, and that at least some have lived previous lives, and reincarnate? Much depends on sound documentation. So how can reincarnation be proved? Bluffs are not good enough. Various methods exist to recall former lives. Some researchers have checked tales of former lives and found correspondences; some of them even striking. "innocents". Dr Ian Stevenson (1918–2007) researched tales of former lives by "innocents", like children. There were many sources of error to get to grips with [◦Link].

Good research results first - such a strategy may save you much embarrassment due to being taken in for no good reason.

Hence, the fact that a person tells others that he had been this and that person in former lives, is no good proof per se (in itself). Such claims need fit backup, or else they carry no weight to lots of people. For example, Dr Ian Stevenson sought to document scenes and persons that children told of from their claimed, past lives. In the cases where there was a good correspondence between what children told and what has happened to the persons they said they had been, it is fine, but not quite patent yet. One has to scan or search for possible other explanations, for example whether the children could have read or heard the things.

Stevenson typically considered alternative explanations, or sources of error, if you like:

  • Fraud, deliberate deceit - although it rarely was found to happen.
  • Cryptomnesia. It is possible to believe quite firmly that we have experienced something we have actually read or been told about, but which our mind has converted into a memory. Such hidden (Greek crypto-) memory (mnesia) may be at bottom of unconscious plagiarism. Part of what Stevenson investigated was whether anyone in contact with the child knew about the matters the child reported as memory.
  • Telepathy with the living. Possibly the children were reading the minds of living persons who had knowledge of the events and then converting that information into pseudo memories.
  • Retrocognition or precognition. Another possibility is that the child, by some extraordinary faculty, was directly aware of events in the past, before its birth (retrocognition). Or perhaps the child, by an even more extraordinary faculty, was somehow aware of the facts that the investigator would uncover in the future and was predicting them (precognition).
  • Telepathy with the dead. Perhaps the child had entered into telepathic contact with the consciousness of a deceased person and was misperceiving the information thus gained as its own memories.
  • Possession. Perhaps the child was possessed by the spirit of the dead person and the memories reported were the memories of that other consciousness who was co-dwelling in the body or who had replaced the original personality.
  • Reincarnation. The memories are recollections of events from a past life of the child.

Stevenson never claimed that his cases "proved" reincarnation, certainly not in the popular sense of that term. Good evidence of it is hard to come by and hard to evaluate. However, Stevenson's work has supplied evidence for reincarnation, finds John Algeo (2006)

Previous or Claimed Yogananda Lives and World Prophesies

Yogananda followers emphasise that Yogananda was this and that person in the history of mankind, because he said it. Saying so is no good evidence, however: [Link 1] [Link 2]

Yogananda tells he once dreamt he was a lawyer, a vicious bandit (which was another person), but not Wilhelm Tell.

Yo In this one incarnation I can sleep and dream that I am in England as a powerful king. Then I die and dream I am born a devout man. And then I die again and am born as a successful lawyer. Again I die and am reborn as Yogananda. . . . I used to find such pleasure in discovering my past incarnations. But that has lost its enchantment. - Paramahansa Yogananda, idem, page 167. [ugizralrite (10/31/03 4:18 pm)]

"I dreamt I was this and that" - it is quite easy to say that. Premonitions aside (Radin 2013), having lots of dreams may not be valid proof of anything "outside your head." Understanding of dreams often depend of interpretations.

That people are dreaming may be experienced and verified, and has been, by the US psychologist Calvin S. Hall Jr., PhD (1909–85). He investigated the dreams of sleepers for years. His studies were focused on dream content. Dreams are parts of mental workings, processings of experiences. He found dreams reveal things about persons, and may explain things too. [More]

In the light of Yogananda's many failed world prophesies, is it okay to believe he was better looking backwards than forwards? - The question relates to lives he maintained he had lived versus his many failed prophesies of disastrous future happenings.

It could pay to get informed.


Four Sources of Reincarnation Ideas

Below are sources of information and lore on reincarnation:

Indian Philosophies

All the six orthodox philosophies in Hinduism accept reincarnation. These schools of of philosophy are Mimamsa, Vedanta, Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, and Vaisesika. They are regarded as orthodox because they accept the authority of the Vedas. Buddhism and Jainism do not believe in the authority of the Vedas, and hence are called heterodox.

All of these eight systems of thought accept the law of karma, which is a corollary to reincarnation. The law of karma says, simply put, that actions have consequences, and some may "spill over" into future lives. There is room for free will and personal endeavour too. [Wo 5-6, 14-17]

Ian Stevenson's studies

Ian Pretyman Stevenson (1918-2007), M.D., researched reincarnation claims, near-death experiences, and survival of the human personality after death, among other things. His research presentation was addressed to the academic and scientific community, covers over 3,000 study cases, and provides evidence suggestive of reincarnation. Professor Stevenson himself recognised there is no evidence of a physical process by which a personality could survive death and travel to another body. [◦Link 1] [◦Link 2]

Rudolf Steiner

Dr Rudolf Steiner Learning to live under the influence of the ideas of reincarnation and karma we shall come to know that our life cannot be assessed on the basis of what has taken expression in one life between birth and death, but that a period extending over many lives must be taken into account. - Rudolf Steiner, "Reincarnation and Karma", 5th lecture, 1977

Dr Rudolf Steiner, originator of Waldorf Education, lectured extensively on reincarnation (and karma). "Between Death and Rebirth" is one lecture series, and "Reincarnation and Karma" is another. "The Inner Nature of Man and Life Between Death and Rebirth" is another. "Past Incarnations of the Peoples of Today" and "The Souls Progress through Repeated Earth Lives" are other lectures.

Professor Robert A. McDermott has gathered much Steiner content in his The Essential Steiner. In it he writes: "Steiner wrote at great length on all aspects of the double topic of karma and rebirth." McDermott then suggests the second chapter of ◦Theosophy [Tis] as the place to start. [Es 367]

An excellent source of Steiner lectures: [◦Link]

Buddhist teachings

Buddha's karma teachings: [Link]

Access to Insight is a great repository of Theravada Buddhism documents. The topic of 'rebirth' in it include "How to gain rebirth as an elephant or a horse" (AN 10.177): Buddha:

There is the case where a certain person takes life, takes what is not given, engages in sensual misconduct, engages in false speech, engages in divisive speech, engages in abusive speech, engages in idle chatter, is covetous, bears ill will, and has wrong views. But he gives food, drink, cloth, vehicles, garlands, scents, creams, bed, lodging, and lamps to brahmans and contemplatives(ascetics/hermits). With the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of elephants. (Ibid.)
"Why not just settle for rebirth among the devas?" (SN 5.7); "The preciousness of our human birth" (SN 20.2, SN 56.48) - [◦Link]


Reincarnation documentation and topics and sources, Paramahansa Yogananda sayings, Literature  

Algeo, John. "Reincarnation's White Crow: Ian Stevenson and Evidence of Past Lives." Quest 94.2 (March-April 2006):47-51.

Roberts, Jane. 1994. Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul. San Rafael, CA: Amber-Allen Publishing.

Ak: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Man's Eternal Quest. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1982.

Ay: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 1st ed. New York: Philosophical Library, 1946.

Crc: Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You. 2 Vols. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2004.

Dr: Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Divine Romance. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1993.

Gt: Yogananda, Paramahansa. God's Talk with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita, 2 Vols. 2nd ed. Paperback. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2001.

Ha: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 12th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1981.

Jse: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Journey to Self-realization: Discovering the Gift of the Soul. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2000.

Lfb: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Living Fearlessly: Bringing Out Your Inner Soul Strength. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2003.

Say: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Sayings of Yogananda. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1958. The same book:Tms: Self-Realization Fellowship. The Master Said: Sayings and Counsel to Disciples by Paramhansa Yogananda. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1957. And with a different pagination:Spa: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Sayings of Paramahansa Yogananda. 4th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1980.

Wl: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Where There Is Light: Insight and Inspiration for Meeting Life's Challenges. Paperback. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2000.

Wm: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Wine of the Mystic: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: A Spiritual Interpretation. Paperback. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1996.

Yi: Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita: An Introduction to India's Universal Science of God-realization. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2007.

Yj: Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Yoga of Jesus: Understanding the Hidden Teachings of the Gospels. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2007.


McClelland, Norman C. Encyclopedia of Reincarnation and Karma. Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Co., 2010.

O'Flaherty, Wendy Doniger. Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1980.

Radin, Dean. Supernormal: Science, Yoga, and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities. New York: Deepak Chopra Books / Crown, 2013. -- A good book.

Steiner, Rudolf. Reincarnation and Karma: Their Significance in Modern Culture. Trs. D. S. Osmond, C. Davy and S. and E. F. Derry. (GA 135). London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1977.

Talbot, Michael. Your Past Lives: A Reincarnation Handbook. New York: Harmony Books, 1987.

Es: McDermott, Robert, ed. The Essential Steiner: Basic Writings of Rudolf Steiner. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1984.

Soc: Giles, Lionel, ed. The Sayings of Confucius: A Translation of the Confucian Analects. Twickenham: Tiger Books, 1998.

Tis: Steiner, Rudolf. Theosophy: An Introduction to the Supersensible Knowledge of the World and its Destination. GA 9. Tr Henry B. Monges. Rev by Gilbert Church. Herndon, VA: The Anthroposophical Press. 1971. On-line.

Wo: Chatterjee, Satischandra, and Dhirendramohan Datta. An Introduction to Indian Philosophy. 7th ed. Calcutta: University of Calcutta, 1968.

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

Reincarnation documentation and topics and sources, Paramahansa Yogananda sayings, To top    Section     Set    Next

Reincarnation documentation and topics and sources, Paramahansa Yogananda sayings. User's Guide   ᴥ    Disclaimer 
© 2006–2019, Tormod Kinnes, MPhil [Email]