Reincarnation and the Law of Karma
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By "Reincarnation" we mean the repeated incarnation, or embodiment in flesh, of the soul or immaterial part of man's nature. The term "Metempsychosis" is frequently employed in the same sense, the definition of the latter term being: "The passage of the soul, as an immortal essence, at the death of the body, into another living body." The term "Transmigration of Souls" is sometimes employed, the term being used in the sense of "passing from one body into another." But the term "Transmigration" is often used in connection with the belief of certain undeveloped races who held that the soul of men sometimes passed into the bodies of the lower animals, as a punishment for their sins committed during the human life. But this belief is held in disrepute by the adherents of Reincarnation or Metempsychosis, and has no connection with their philosophy or beliefs, the ideas having sprung from an entirely different source, and having nothing in common.
somehow bear fruit in coming ones; and acquired energies will assert themselves whenever they can by the Law of Parsimony upon which the principles of physics are based. Vice versa, the unconscious habits, the uncontrollable impulses, the peculiar tendencies, the favorite pursuits, and the soul-stirring friendships of the present descend from far-reaching previous activities." The doctrine of Reincarnation-Metem psychosis-Rebirth-has always been held as truth by a large portion of the human
fail to acquire the varied experience which is necessary to form a well rounded mentality of understanding. Dwarfed by its limited experience in the narrow sphere occupied by many human beings, it would be far from acquiring the knowledge which would seem to be necessary for a developed and advanced soul. Besides this there would be as great an inequality on the part of souls after death, as there is before death-some would pass into the future state as ignorant beings, while others would possess
the prevalence of the idea of Reincarnation among the people of that time). But Jesus promptly brushed away these two crude, primitive conceptions and interpretations, and in the light of his superior spiritual knowledge answered: "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be manifest in him," the explanation of the term "the works of God" being that Jesus meant thereby the operation of the Laws of Nature imposed by God-something above punishment for "sins,"
On the contrary, however, this idea holds that from the physical pain which was occasioned by the operation of physical law alone one may develop higher spiritual states by reason of a better understanding of the nature of pain in oneself and others. And this idea refuses to recognize material pleasures or profits as a reward for spiritual or moral actions. On the whole this last mentioned conception of Karma refuses to use the terms "reward and punishment," or even to entertain those ideas,
people took but little interest in the subject. Cicero, it is true, uttered words which indicate a belief in immortality, when lie said in "Scipio's Dream": "Know that it is not thou, but thy body alone, which is mortal. The individual in his entirety resides in the soul, and not in the outward form. Learn, then, that thou art a god; thou, tho immortal intelligence which gives movements to a perishable body, just as the eternal God animates an incorruptible body." Pliny the younger left writings