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Spiritual Evolution - Part 3

From: "14 Lessons in Yogi Philosophy & Oriental Occultism" - By Yogi Ramacharaka

After each life there is sort of a boiling down of the experiences, and the result - the real result of the experience - goes to make up a part of the new self - the improved self - which will after a while seek a new body into which to reincarnate. But with many of us there is not a total loss of memory of past lives - as we progress we bring with us a little more of consciousness each time - and many of us to-day have occasional glimpses of remembrance of some past existence. We see a scene for the first time, and it seems wonderfully familiar, and yet we cannot have seen it before. There is sort of a haunting memory which disturbs. We may see a painting - some old masterpiece - and we feel instinctively as if we had gazed upon it away in the dim past, and yet we have never been near it before. We read some old book, and it seems like an old friend, and yet we have no recollection of ever having seen it in our present life. We hear some philosophical theory, and we immediately "take to it," as if it were something known and loved in our childhood. Some of us learn certain things as if we were relearning them - and indeed such is the case. Children are born and develop into great musicians, artists, writers or artisans, from early childhood, even though their parents possessed no talents of the kind. Shakespeare spring from the families whose members possess no talents, and astonish the world. Abraham Lincolns come from similar walks of life, and when responsibility is placed upon them show the greatest genius. These and many similar things can be explained only upon the theory of previous existence. We meet people for the first time, and the conviction is borne upon us, irresistibly, in spite of our protests, that we have known them before - that they have been something to us in the past, but when, oh! when?

Certain studies come quite easy to us, while others have to be mastered by hard labor. Certain occupations seem the most congenial to us, and no matter how many obstacles are placed in the way, we still work our way to the congenial work. We are confronted with some unforeseen obstacle, or circumstances call for the display of unusual power or qualities on our part, and lo! we find that we have the ability to perform the task. Some of the greatest writers and orators have discovered their talents "by accident." All of these things are explained by the theory of Spiritual Evolution. If heredity is everything, how does it happen that several children of the same parents differ so widely from each other, from their parents, and from the relations on both sides of the house? Is it all heredity or reversion? Then pray tell us from whom did Shakespeare inherit - to whom did he revert?

Argument after argument might be piled up to prove the reasonableness of rebirth, but what would it avail? Man might grasp it intellectually and admit that it was a reasonable working hypothesis, but what intellectual conception ever gave peace to the soul - gave it that sense of reality and truth that would enable it to go down in the valley of the shadow of death without faltering - with a smile on its face? No! such certainty comes only from the light which the Spiritual Mind sheds upon the lower mental faculties. The intellect may arrange the facts, and deduce a course of action from them, but the soul is satisfied only with the teachings of the Spirit, and until it receives them must feel that unrest and uncertainty that comes when the intellect unfolds and asks that mighty question "Why?" which it by itself cannot answer.

The only answer to the query "Is re-birth a fact," is "Does your soul recognize it as such?" Until the soul feels of itself that the theory is true - because it coincides with that inner conviction, there is no use in arguing the matter. The soul must recognize it for itself - must answer~ its own question. It is true that the presentation of the theory (we call it a "theory" although the Yogis know it is a fact) will awaken memories in the mind of some - may give them the courage to consider as reasonable the half-formed thoughts and queries which had floated around in their minds for years - but that is all it can do. Until the soul grasps and "feels" the truth of rebirth, it must wander around working on the subconscious plane of life, having rebirth forced upon it by its own desires and longings, losing consciousness to a great extent. But after the soul has begun to "feel" the truth, it is never the same - it carries with it memories of the past, sometimes faint and sometimes clear - and it begins to manifest a conscious choice in the matter of rebirth. Just as does the plant work on the sub-conscious plane, and the animal on a semi-conscious plane - and the man on the gradually increasing planes of consciousness, so does man gradually evolve from the sub-conscious stage of rebirth, on to the semiconscious plane, and then on and on, increasing his consciousness from time to time, until he lives on time conscious plane, both in his physical life, and during the rest period, and in the new birth. There are men among us to-day (few, it is true, but many more than most people imagine) who are fully conscious of the past existences, and who have been so since early childhood, only that their days of infancy were passed in a dreamlike state, until their physical brains were sufficiently developed to enable the soul to think clearly. In fact, many children seem to have a dim consciousness of the past, but fearing the comments of their elders, learn to stifle these bits of remembrance until they fail to evoke them.

Those who have not awakened to the truth of rebirth, cannot have it forced upon them by argument, and those who "feel" the truth of it do not need the argument. So we have not attempted to argue the matter in this short presentation of the theory. Those who are reading this lesson are attracted toward the subject by reason of interest awakened in sonic past life, and they really feel that there must he some truth in it, although they may not as yet have arrived at a point where they can fully assimilate it.

Many of those upon whom the truth of the proposition is borne home by their inmost feelings or fragmentary recollections evince a disinclination to fully accept it. They fear the idea of being reborn without their consent or knowledge. But as we have stated to them, this is a groundless fear, for, if they are really beginning to "feel" the truth of rebirth, their period of sub-conscious manifestation on that plane is passing away.

Many say that they have no desire to live again, but they really mean that they would not like to live just the same life that they have - of course not, they do not want the same experiences over again - but if there is a single thing in life that they would like; a single position they would like to fill; a' single desire that they feel needs to be satisfied in order to make them happy, - then they do really want to live again to secure the missing thing. They are here because they wanted to be here - or had desires which cried for satisfaction - and they will live again in just the circumstances needed to gratify their desires or wishes, or that are likely to give them the necessary experience for higher spiritual growth.



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