WHAT’S THE POINT: Reincarnation & Karma?


Representation of a soul undergoing punarjanma...

The doubt is this:

“The purpose of reincarnation and karma is reformation of the soul over the span of many lifetimes. But if I don’t remember my previous lifetimes, I don’t know what karma is punishing or rewarding me for – therefore how can it be effective?”

This doubt assumes that only things one consciously remembers can affect one’s life and attitude. Ask any psychologist and you will quickly realize this is very untrue. In fact most patients are effected by events they cannot (or, really will not) consciously recall, at least not accurately.

The patient’s conscious mind intentionally blurs, represses, and hides specific memories. Why? Because to remember the event would cause a transformation that is too drastic and dramatic for their conscious mind to face. This is why the vast majority of people do not often have (or recognize) very clear memories from their previous lifetimes. To do so would case a transformation too jarringly drastic and all-devouring for them to accept.

If I tangibly recalled all my past lives, the importance of many (sometimes all) aspects of my current life might suddenly reduce to sub-atomic size. “You mean I have already done everything like this a million times before? And it never quenched the thirst? You mean I have already had a million children, wives, husbands, lovers, fans, dollars, etc. etc.?” And not to mention: “You mean I always die!?” The transformation that the blunt, unmetered dawning of this information would have upon a common mind would be like forcing a lightning bolt’s voltage through a delicate circuit board: it would fry.

The vast majority of people are not ready or willing to completely embrace reality at this very moment. Therefore the conscious universe (“supersoul”) intentionally hides most of reality from our view, and shows us only that which we are ready and willing to accept.

Yet the conscious universe does not abandon us entirely to our wayward hallucinations. It wishes to gradually and gently prod us in the direction of remembering and accepting reality. This is why karma exists. Through it, we can connect to themes from previous lifetimes without violating the principle that we cannot recall what we are unwilling to recall. These subconscious connections allow reality to gradually and gently dawn upon us over a course of millions of lifetimes.

Those who are allowing this treatment to be effective are those to whom the confusions karma begins to become quite plain and simple, and for whom access to the vault of memories from past lives is beginning to crack open.

Those very, very rare and few souls who have reached the goal of treatment and are cured of “ahamkara” (conception of the identity as fundamentally uncentered on and cut off from divinity); they are those upon whom karma has no affect at all, and for whom all of the past, present and future is within their conscious comprehension.

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  1. Beautifully explained. Thanks Vic for giving such an answer to the question in my mind. We should be related to each other in one of our previous births. May God give you more and more insights and deep inquiries about karma, reincarnation, moksha, enlightenment and of course vedic astrology.


  2. Thanks Vic for the interpretation, but I have a doubt regarding the credibility of the concept of reincarnation, though I’ve heard of it many a times and read also but could not find the proof or a way of knowing the same by myself, as I believe in seeing-doing and then believing it completely. Could you please clear my doubt… Thanks


    1. I think you are saying that logic and argument is wonderful, but it is only when you directly experience something that you can truly believe it?

      Then you should consider that there are three types of “pramāna” (evidence, or “epistemology”):

      1) pratyakṣa
      2) anumāna
      3) śabda

      The first epistemology (way of knowing) is pratyakṣa – which is what you are talking about: seeing is believing.

      The second, anumāna recognizes that you don’t have to see everything directly, you can use deductive and inductive reasoning based on your observations to arrive at sound conclusions.

      The third, śadba recognizes that observation is limited to the observational power of the observer and therefore takes a different approach when the subject matter is something beyond the range of observation. The approach in that case is to hear the explanation (śabda) of someone who has observed fully and can explain to you.

      Your preferred method (pratyakṣa) has to admit the flaw that the observer is limited to his or her own observational powers. With my eye I cannot see Neptune, Uranus, Pluto and so on. Therefore I would conclude by pratyakṣa that they don’t exist. However later on I can invent something to improve the range of my observation (a telescope) and suddenly I can see Neptune, Uranus, Pluto. Now I accept that they exist. This shows the flaw of the system. They actually existed before I had a telescope, but I was not aware of their existence because they were outside my range of observation. Similarly, at the moment my range includes them, but what can it NOT see? An infinite range will always lay beyond the grasp of our minute observations – therefore pratyakṣa (“seeing is believing”) is a good approach only in practical day-to-day affairs, not in scientific or philosophical arenas.

      If you accept this then you can accept posts like the one I have tried to write (which we are commenting on) and original explanations in texts like Bhagavad Gita on the basis of anumāna and śabda and then you can have śraddha (confidence) in a concept such as reincarnation (on the basis of logic, or trust in a realized authority). It is a fact that the senses and mind percieve only to the limit that they are opened. Śraddha opens the mind, and allows it and the senses to percieve things which before were beyond their reach. Therefore even by preferring anumāna and śabda over pratyakṣa, our “seeing is believing” does not suffer, because we actually become qualified to see more.


    1. Dear Bharat,

      Yes there are. Essentially it is the current sense of identity which actively blocks such memories (because they are entirely incompatible with the realness of the current sense of identity). So if the current identity becomes more flexible and less fearsome of non-existence the memories connected with previous identities would resurface as necessary or important.

      There are other ways. Hypnosis is one way. I participated in one session with my band members and roadie. It worked for everyone except me. All of them had vivid memories from a past life. One of their memories included me in a past life, too. Not all the memories were of human birth or from the normal earthly level of existence.

      I have had a couple of very vivid memories surface in dreams – from a previous birth when I was something like a lion.


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