Reincarnation — fact or fiction ?

Reincarnation : Fact or Fiction ?

Part A

Answer the following questions within TWO or THREE sentences:

(10 x 2 = 20 marks)

  1. Can you give two examples to help see clearly that we are souls different from the cage-like material body?

Ans : Example 1: When heart is transplanted from someone else’s body into a person, that person experiences a little of the other person’s nature mingling with his own. Absolutely not! When a person has cornea transplant he still remains the same person though seeing through a different lens. Like a pair of spectacles, the eyes may enable sight but they do not themselves see. Thus we can clearly see that we are different from our heart

Example 2: If some one asks to show our eye/ear/hand, we say this is my eye, ear, hand..indicating our body part. We never say I am eye, I am ear, I am hand etc. So we are not this body but spirit soul

2. How much of the world’s population believe in reincarnation?

Ans : More than 58% American believe in incarnations

In the East, 4 out of 5 people believe in the same.

3. What did Benjamin Franklin say in relation to reincarnation? Explain his statement from the viewpoint of Bhagavad-gita.

Ans : Benjamin Franklin says : Finding myself to exist in the world, I believe I shall, in some shape or other, always exist.

As per BG 2.13

dehino ’smin yathä dehe kaumäraà yauvanaà jarä

tathä dehäntara-präptir dhéras tatra na muhyati

TRANSLATION

As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.

4. What point touched you the most when you read the case history of Sukla?

Ans : The affection of Sukla to her daughter Minu was so much that she could remember the same even after next birth

5. Can you give two reasons with one example each, why we don’t remember our previous life?

Ans : Example 1 : Let’s say a person died of train accident. If all these memories are not suppressed, how much pain will it inflicts on his mind? Therefore material nature arranges to provide the person with forgetfulness about his previous lives so that we may now freely go ahead with our desires for enjoyment.

Example 2 : ?

6. Why does the Bible not seem to speak much about reincarnation?

Ans : Emperor Justinian felt that with belief in reincarnation, Christians might become lax, thinking that they had more than one life with which to attain perfection. So, he banned the teachings of pre-existence of the soul from the Roman Catholic Church. During that era, numerous Church writings were destroyed. ‘Give them one life only’, then give them heaven or hell.’ Justinian was sure that this would hasten the Christians resolve to be good “Christians” and thus good citizens, loyal to their emperor.

7. What does Islam say about reincarnation?

Ans : Islamic historian E. G. Browne, outlines three forms of transmigration accepted by classical Muslim thinkers:

(1) Huhul, the periodical incarnation of a saint or prophet ;

(2) Rijat, the immediate return of an Imam or any other important spiritual leader after death; and

(3) Tanasukh, the ordinary reincarnation of all souls. The Islamists even claim that the Hindu God Krishna incarnated as Lord Buddha, and then as Mohammed, while others within the same sect believe that great teachers repeatedly incarnate for the benefit of successive generations.

8. How would you prove that reincarnation is not an Indian phenomenon or mere a Hindu belief?

Ans : ??

9. What are the meaningful questions asked by an intelligent person about reincarnation?

Ans : If reincarnation is a reality, can I decide my future body?

If I am eternal, do I have to keep dying and being reborn again and again, or can I attain eternal life? If yes, how?

10. What is the first body awarded to the soul? What happens subsequently?

Ans:

Part B

Answer the following questions within TWO or THREE sentences:

(2 + 3 = 5 marks)

1. It seems Sukla did not know the right entrance to the house. How is her confusion justified?

2. Can you think of any histories from Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramayana or

Bhagavatam, that you have heard, where someone is reborn in a different body?

Ans:

Reincarnation Stories from Mahabharat:

Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu was Varchas in his previous birth
Draupadi was Nalayani in her previous birth.
Amba reincarnates as Shikhandini to avenge Bheeshma’s death.

The other famous reincarnations would be those of the gate keepers of Vaikuntham — the abode of Vishnu, Jaya Vijaya They were cursed by sons of Brahma to be born as humans. Vishnu asked them whether they want to live as devotees and have seven reincarnations or have three as his enemies. They choose the latter saying seven livres away from him was unthinkable.

  1. Hiranyaksha-Hiranyakaspulu killed by Varaha and Nrusimha respectively
  2. Ravana and Kumbhakarna both are killed Rama
  3. Kansa and Sisupala killed by Krishna

Part C

Answer the following questions within TWO or THREE sentences:

(2 + 3 = 5 marks)

1. Some people say that they are not interested in spirituality or reincarnation? What example would you give them to awaken them to the reality?

2. Can’t these past life memory incidents such as Sukla’s be some cooked up stories that are floated by children to become popular?

Part D

Based on Bhagavad-gita As It Is

Reincarnation — Fact or Fiction?

Answer the following questions in ONE or TWO sentences on a separate sheet: (1 x 28 = 28 marks)

Syllabus for the following Quiz: Bhagavad-gita As It Is 2.22, 2.40, 6.37, 6.38, 6.39, 6.40, 6.41, 6.42, 6.43, 6.44, 6.45

  1. What has to be accepted by modern scientists who do not believe in the existence of the soul? (2.22)

Ans : Modern scientists have to accept continuous changes of body which appear from childhood to boyhood and from boyhood to youth and again from youth to old age even if they don’t believe in the existence of the soul. As per medical science, within 7 years complete body cell changes for a person but soul remains the same.

2. What makes the transfer of the soul from one body to another possible? (2.22)

Ans : Transference of the soul from one body to another body is made possible by the grace of the Supersoul. The Supersoul fulfills the desire of the atomic soul as one friend fulfills the desire of another

3. What is the similarity and difference between the two birds sitting in the tree? What are the two birds, fruits, and tree compared to in this analogy? Apply this two birds analogy to: a) Arjuna’s situation b) your situation (2.22)

Ans : Two friendly birds sitting on the same tree. One of the birds (the individual atomic soul) is eating the fruit of the tree, and the other bird (Kṛṣṇa) is simply watching His friend. Of these two birds — although they are the same in quality — one is captivated by the fruits of the material tree, while the other is simply witnessing the activities of His friend. Kṛṣṇa is the witnessing bird, and Arjuna is the eating bird. Although they are friends, one is still the master and the other is the servant.

Fruits : Results of his work

Trees: Material Body

Two birds sitting in a tree (the material body).

One is Paramatma (Krishna as Supersoul) the witness bird.

The other is jivatma (the soul), the eating bird, trying to enjoy the results of his work.

Own reflection : In this material world , we are just like the eating bird and try to enjoy results of our own fruitive work. So we need to voluntary surrender unto Kṛṣṇa (the witness bird) for instruction

4. What is the cause of the jiva soul’s suffering and when can he become free from all lamentations? (2.22)

Ans : Jiva soul always try to enjoy the results of his fruitive work himself in his material body. That’s the cause of the jiva soul’s suffering.

As soon as he understands the supreme glories of the Lord, voluntarily surrenders himself unto Krsna, then he can become free from all lamentations.

5. Why did Krishna order Arjuna to kill his old grandfather and teacher? How would they benefit? (2.22)

Ans: Krishna ordered Arjuna to kill his old grandfather and teacher in the righteous fight of Kurukshetra so that they may be cleansed at once of all reactions from various bodily activities.

One who lays down his life on the sacrificial altar, or in the proper battlefield, is at once cleansed of bodily reactions and promoted to a higher status of life. In this way , ancestors of Arjuna will be benefitted.

6. If the change of body is as simple as change of dress, then why do people lament so much when someone passes away? (2.22)

Ans : People lament so much when someone passes away because they consider them as body not the spirit soul. There ‘s no death of spirt soul.

7. What is the highest transcendental quality of work? Why? (2.40)

Ans: If someone does all of his activities in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or acts for the benefit of Kṛṣṇa without expectation of sense gratification, that is said to be the highest transcendental quality of work

8. Highlight the difference between spiritual life and material life, based on the work done. (2.40)

Ans:

Based on Work done , Any work begun on the material life has to be completed, otherwise the whole attempt becomes a failure. Any work begun in Kṛṣṇa consciousness even though not completed has a permanent effect. The whole attempt doesn’t become a failure.

In material life any activity without a hundred percent (100%) success there is no profit. One percent (1%) done in Kṛṣṇa consciousness bears permanent results, so that the next beginning is from the point of two percent (2%).

9. What was Arjuna’s question to Krishna? Can you put it precisely in one sentence? (6.37)

Ans : “What is the destination of the unsuccessful transcendentalist, who in the beginning takes to the process of self-realization with faith but who later desists due to worldly-mindedness and thus does not attain perfection in mysticism?”: This was Arjuna’s question to Krishna with reference to BG 6.37

10. What are the three processes to achieve self-realization? What is one supposed to do in each of these processes? (6.37)

Ans : Three processes to achieve self-realization :

1st Process : Path of knowledge

2nd Process : By the practice of the eightfold system

3rd Process : By Bhakti-yoga

In each of these processes, A person is supposed to realize the constitutional position of the living entity, his relationship with God, and the activities whereby he can reestablish the lost link and achieve the highest perfectional stage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

11. What is pursuing the transcendental path equivalent to? (6.37)

Ans : Pursuing the transcendental path is equivalent to declare war on the illusory energy.

12. When one tries to escape from maya, what does she do? Think of a sastric example that you know, where someone on the transcendental path became a victim to maya. (6.37)

Whenever a person tries to escape the clutches of the illusory energy, she tries to defeat the practitioner by various allurements.

A conditioned soul is already allured by the modes of material energy, and there is every chance of being allured again, even while performing transcendental disciplines.

Sastric Example : Maharaj Bharat allured by deer

13. Why do materialists often fear the spiritual path? (6.38)

Ans : When materialists take to the path of transcendence, they have to cease all material activities and sacrifice all forms of so-called material happiness. If the aspiring transcendentalist fails, then he apparently loses both ways; in other words, he can enjoy neither material happiness nor spiritual success. So, the materialists often fear the spiritual path.

14. What do ‘small cloud’ and ‘big cloud’ indicate? Explain the cloud analogy with respect to the life of a practicing spiritualist. (6.38)

Ans :

The small cloud and big cloud are analogies to explain a transcendentalist.

A small cloud sometimes breaks away from a bigger cloud but if it fails to join again to another cloud, it may be blown away by wind. The same way it can happen to an aspiring transcendentalist.

An aspiring spiritualist may lose both spiritually and materially if he fails to get rid of material pleasure.

15. Whose verdict can be accepted as the final and complete answer to all doubts? Why is it so? (6.39)

Ans : The verdict of Kṛṣṇa is the final and complete answer to all doubts, because He knows past, present and future perfectly.

16. Does an unsuccessful spiritualist lose both materially and spiritually? Explain. (6.40)

Ans: No, unsuccessful spiritualist shall not lose both materially and spiritually. Though he may be subjected to the reaction for not perfectly executing prescribed duties, he is still not a loser, because auspicious Kṛṣṇa consciousness is never forgotten, and one so engaged will continue to be so even if he is lowborn in the next life.

17. What happens to one who strictly performs his prescribed duties to family, demigods, other living beings, etc., but does not take to Krishna consciousness? (6.40)

Ans : One who strictly performs his prescribed duties to family, demigods, other living beings, etc but doesn’t take to Krishna Consciousness he will not necessarily attain auspicious results .

18. What specific knowledge or goal distinguishes the regulated people from the non-regulated ones? (6.40)

Ans : Regulated people always follow scriptural injunctions, and rise gradually to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, certainly progress in life.

19. Often there are people who do not harm others, who visit temples regularly, who dress decently, who fulfill their duties at home and office. They have no knowledge beyond eating, sleeping, mating and defending. In what category do they fit? Why? (6.40)

Ans : They will fit to Non-Regulated category of people. Because their activities are never auspicious. While enjoying the animal propensities of eating, sleeping, defending and mating, they perpetually remain in material existence, which is always miserable.

20. In conclusion what does Prabhupada call as the only auspicious activity? (6.40)

The activities which lead one to liberation can be called as auspicious activity as concluded by Srila Prabhupada in conclusion. Activity in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the only auspicious activity

21. What are the two categories of unsuccessful yogis? Where do they go? (6.41)

Ans : The unsuccessful yogīs can be categorized into two classes:

  1. One who is fallen after a short practice
  2. One who is fallen after long practice

The yogi who falls after a short practice attains the higher planets of the pious and enjoys there for many years. Then he takes birth in the house of righteous or wealthy people.

The yogi who falls after a long practice takes his birth in a family of greatly wise yogis. Certainly, such a birth is rare in this world.

22. What is the real purpose of yoga practice? (6.41)

Ans : The real purpose of yoga practice is to achieve the highest perfection of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

23. What happens to those who do not persevere enough on the spiritual path? (6.41)

Ans : Those who do not persevere enough on the spiritual path they can make full utilization of their material propensities. And after that, they are given opportunities to live prosperous lives in righteous or aristocratic families. Those who are born in such families may take advantage of the facilities and try to elevate themselves to full Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

24. What two examples of great acharyas are quoted for those children born in the house of great transcendentalists? (6.42)

Ans : Both our spiritual master, Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvati Gosvāmī Mahārāja, and our humble self His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada : are two examples of great acharyas quoted for those children born in the house of great transcendentalists.

25. What is the specialty of these families and what position do the children born there attain? (6.42)

Ans : Such families are very learned and devoted by tradition and training, and thus they become spiritual masters.

26. What is understood from the life of King Bharata? (6.43)

Ans : From the life of King Bharata , it is understood that transcendental endeavors, or the practice of yoga, never go in vain. By the grace of the Lord the transcendentalist gets repeated opportunities for complete perfection in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

27. What is the difference between ‘attraction to rituals’ and ‘attraction to yoga principles’? What is the most essential difference? Give an example to illustrate the point. (6.44)

Ans : ‘Attraction to yoga principles ’ help one to elevate in Krsna Consciousness. It’s the highest yoga perfection.

28. How does a person born in a righteous, aristocratic or pious family become determined in Krishna consciousness? (6.45)

Ans:

References:

  1. The Art of Dying
  2. Near Death Experiences

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