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Why we do not remember past births?

Updated on May 2, 2013

The image of "Prema Sai, the future Avatar!

How the events of past birth bear fruit in the next births?

In Hinduism, there are many thoughts about past births. It is believed that the soul is journeying continuously through many births till it attains perfection. Of course, the soul is free and perfect. But it is veiled by many layers of ignorance accrued in many births. For instance, we wear a clean dress in the morning after bath. In the evening, the same dress become dirty due to our movement and work. The bodies are like the dresses worn by the soul. When a dress become torn and beyond repair, the soul need a new dress (body). In each birth, the soul is supposed to get more refinement. It is through many experiences both good and bad, the soul sheds some of the veils it gathered through previous births.

Our life here on the earth is meant for transformation of the mind and not for enjoyment of carnal pleasures. All animals, birds and even insects enjoy. Then what is special about human birth? We possess discrimination and thinking faculty. We can always choose good over pleasant and avoid bad activities altogether. It is within our capacity to choose the best and act upon it. Why people do not follow their intellect is a great question. People consider their mind as a best friend! They are unaware that the mind is enslaved by the senses and it is deeply involved in the comforts of the body. The mind can never survive without a body. Hence the body and mind are intertwined. Hence, our aim should be to relinquish the body consciousness and go beyond the mind. We must turn our attention to the eternal self within. All the powers are within the Self! It is the basis for creation, sustenance and annihilation.

Mind is a mad monkey that too intoxicated. How can we rely upon this feeble instrument? We are all mortals since the body will perish one day. None can live for ever. The temporary vesture called body is given to us to undergo the effects of past births. Even while undergoing the effects of past birth, one must strive to refine himself constantly. Devotion and discipline are the two bunds through which the river of life should pass. Even while living in a family and doing our duties, we must have our constant attention on the aim of life. Relinquish the attachment to the worldly things and persons since nothing is going to last. Every thing in this world undergoes constant change. The world is in a great flux. How can we consider anything that changes as true? Change is the only truth of this creation. The baby is born and it becomes a child and then a boy or girl. The boy or girl grow and become young persons. Sooner they will become a grown up man or woman. Then middle age sets in. Likewise from birth to death, the river of life flows constantly. Our moods and feelings too undergo many changes.

The great question here is 'how each one is different from the rest? What is the deciding factor for each life? The scriptures clearly state the existence of past effects which decide the future birth of each individual. For instance, a man after taking a loan from some body, suddenly dies before clearing the loan. But the loan needs redemption. Hence, in the next birth, the due is settled in a different pretext. Some times, the man who has lent will be born as our son or daughter and get back the amount by making the man to spend upon them. I have read a beautiful story in the life of Shirdi Saibaba. Two people have kept a tiger in a cage and they used to take the tiger to different towns and show them to the people and collect money by the exhibition. Actually, the tiger was a debtor to the two people and it has to remain in their custody till the due is settled. One day the tiger become ill and it left its body in the presence of Shirdi Baba! The people who kept the tiger have thought that the tiger has redeemed its dues and hence it shed its life!

Even if we are cheated by some con, we should take it in the sense that the con has collected his dues of past births from us. We may not know the reasons for sudden losses or profits. Every penny is accounted for in the Kingdom of God. No good deed will go waste. If not in the present birth, it will be paid back in the next birth. Some get huge amount in lotteries. It is not mere luck. It is their dues!

Now let us come to the reasons for our ignorance of past births. God, out of mercy has made us to forget the past birth. Otherwise every one would fill the lunatic asylums. Even the burden of single birth is too much for us. How can we bear the memories of past births. In the Hindu scriptures, it is mentioned that we had many births earlier, had number of parents and wives in the past several births. We had innumerable children in past several births. How much care and concern we should bear for them, if we are able to recollect the past births! Hence the providence has veiled the knowledge of past births purposely so that man should not end up insane. Even for the troubles we undergo now, no reason is revealed by God since God never wants us to suffer with more guilty feelings of the past births!


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