The Eternal Soul
by: Sharda Sewdien
Do you believe that your soul is born together with your materialistic body and that your soul didn’t exist before you were born? Can you see yourself as nothing? Then you’re probably someone that believes that your soul will die after the death of your materialistic body, because our common sense says that everything that has a beginning also has an ending. I don’t think that you believe that you arose from nothing and will disappear into nothing, what’s the use of our life if the final goal is a “nothing”.
The soul goes over to another body with death, in the same way as the embodied soul in this body gradually transits from childhood to youth and old age. A self-realizing soul doesn’t get thrown out off his balance by such a change. (II.13) – A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda ( De BHAGVAT – GĪTĀ zoals ze is (Original title: Bhagvat – gītā As It Is))
Our spiritual body is eternal, but our materialistic body is continually liable to change until the soul leaves the body and there comes an end to the materialistic body for a new beginning, a beginning which the materialistic body itself created on grounds of his actions in the materialistic world. A consciousness is created at the moment of death on grounds of his/her positive and/or negative actions in his/her life that plays an important role where the soul will start his new life. According to the Bhagvat-gītā (holy writing of the Hindus) the soul becomes one with God if one is able to think of God at the moment of death, and that will certainly not happen if you didn’t pay much attention to God in your life. We are all here on earth because we hadn’t created that Godly consciousness at the moment of our death in our previous life.
You can form an idea of this process a little bit in this way, Peter (earth) who’s busy swimming in the ocean (God) comes out of it, earth that arose from God. Water-drops (souls) came along with Peter, which are minuscule parts of the ocean. The water-drops are not the ocean, but still they have developed their own identity and personality. The individual soul is inclined to follow its own way according to the Bhagvat- gītā. The water-drops evaporate and land again on Peter with the rain or they land somewhere else (another planet) or again in the ocean where they again become one with God. You could visualize the clouds as the resting place of the souls after death to reincarnate again, but a soul that has created a Godly consciousness at the moment of death will be lead right away to God‘s sanctuary by angels or you could say God‘s servants.
Why do we forget our previous lives?
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda gave an answer to this question in a reading held in 1976, and explained that forgetting of the past is a result of changing of circumstances. If we dream we forget what we are in our materialistic world, and when we’re awake we forget our dream, but in both situations we’re the observer, but circumstances change that’s why we forget.
Reincarnation is an explanation why some people are born in a family where there’s a lot of suffering, in some cases the suffering is so severe, and people are born in complete destitution that it’s even impossible for them to think of God, because there’s only room for suffering, while others are born in a family with all luxuries and happiness.
God is also referred to as Holy Father. Would you as a father bring children in this world with the intention of letting one of them live in complete destitution, and let him suffer, while you have all royal luxuries and happiness planned for the other one? A father would explicitly not want something like this, especially not a holy one, otherwise he’s not worth being called a father.
I strongly believe in reincarnation, because I remembered my previous life when I was somewhere between the age of 2 – 3½ years old. My grandmother would baby-sit me in those days when my parents went to work, and I would chatter freely with her about my previous life. She was very old when she extensively raised this subject, so she did forget a lot about what I had told her, “You should have asked me before about this, when my memory was clear,” she said to me. She wanted to record everything I was telling back then, but my cousins had broken grandpa’s recorder.
What she still remembered me telling her was that I lived somewhere in a jungle with my in-laws, my husband and 12 children. My mother-in-law was a slattern, and my father-in-law and my husband worked in the jungle. I also had described how my husband looked, fair and tall, so grandmother had asked me where my husband is, and I had replied that he’s no more. It could have meant that he passed away before I did or that he’s not where I am now.
I still remember the teasing of my cousins in Sarnami (Indian language of the Surinamese Indians) when I had forgotten everything, “How is your “saas” doing?,” and I actually was asking myself what they were teasing me about. Mom was very strict in those days, so I was afraid of asking her what “saas” meant, because I was afraid that she would get very angry if it meant something bad.
I was 10 years old when I came to know that “saas” meant mother-in-law, and it was then that I understood what they were teasing me about. I did know long before, that I had memories of my previous life in this life, but I discovered the meaning of “saas” later on. I had told my story in an Indian language, so that meant that I also had an Indian background in my previous life. Not only had I forgotten those memories of my past life, I also forgot the language that I spoke in my past life.
Granny also told me that I was saying that my parents aren’t my parents, and that I have other parents. Somewhat similar to a documentary I saw some time ago about reincarnation where a boy remembered his past life, and also was saying that his parents aren’t his parents, and that he has other parents. His parents of course had problems with it. I think that back then, my parents also wanted me to forget my past to pursue normally with my new life.
If I would want to know about those missing pieces?
The answer is no, because I don’t see my past as missing pieces, but as a past that I had to let go off. Who I really was or wasn’t doesn’t matter to me, that past has past away. If you look at your own life there are parts of your past that you’ve forgotten, and parts that you still remember, but it’s your present that’s important, and what you make out of it for a better future, “ you are the creator of your own destiny.” Your past really does have influence on what you are now, you’re actually building forward on your past in a spiritual as well as a materialistic way, that’s why it’s important to work on your present for a better future for yourself.
I think that there was something of my past life that I didn’t or couldn’t let go off, or maybe both that caused me to remember my previous life. I think that I got more and more involved in my present life, which is how I began forgetting everything about my past life.
Try to revive old memories out of your own life. Which memories cross your mind? Your first time that you learned to cycle, your first kiss, your first time you went on vacation to some country, your special 15th birthday, these are moments that are very special to you, and that you want to keep in your memory. But there are also moments from the past that stays stuck in your memory, and which had a shocking effect on you, maybe you had some unforgettable accident or maybe you saw something shocking, these are memories that you can’t let go off and stay stuck in your mind. In this way, something very shocking or something very beautiful can stay stuck in your memory in your next life, because we are clinging on that memory, mostly it’s for a short period of time. Memories of our past doesn’t have a negative influence on us, but clinging on to those memories do have a negative influence, because it gets difficult to live in your present moment.
In most cases it’s so that people who remember their previous life had a traumatic death, and mostly those people have a birthmark on the same place of their body where they had a wound in their previous life that lead to their death. I don’t know if a tragic event had taken place in my life. Dad once told me that I was talking about some knife-fight, but it could have been that I as a bystander saw people fighting. Even dad regrets not having recorded what I had told. Anyways, there are no birthmarks on my body.
It’s said that the soul of someone who puts an end to his/her own life with his/her own hands doesn’t get freed and hangs around on earth to complete those years that he had to live in his materialistic body. The soul will suffer in a harsher way then when it was embodied because of the fact that the soul stays in this materialistic world without a body, for example, the soul will feel hunger, but there is no materialistic body to still that hunger.
I think that our lives would look very confusing if we remembered all our lives, we would stay stuck between lives and our past, and see ourselves as someone we are not, and claim our rights of our past lives. Earth would be a mess by the abundance of memories.