Benjamin Franklin believed in reincarnation. So did Henry Ford, Socrates, Mahatma Gandhi, Voltaire, Mark Twain, and many more great minds across the centuries, who believed that when you die, your soul or consciousness lives on and carries with it into the next life some of your past life memories.
But beyond these amazing men that believed in it, reincarnation has also been proven by science. Countless research has been done on people who can remember their prior lives.
Dr. Ian Stevenson, former biochemist and professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia, is an expert in past life regression and had amassed an astonishing amount of evidence for reincarnation. He tracked down more than 3,000 children across the world who claimed to have experienced a ‘previous life‘. Many were able to give precise details, such as their former names and the manner of their deaths. They could even recall the names of friends and family, many of whom Dr. Stevenson was able to track down through birth records. Others knew intimate details known only to the deceased’s family.
One day, when a woman was visiting a house, a little 4-year-old girl called Teresa began to talk freely about “BAPU.” This woman, who was interested in Indian religions, asked the mother how it was that Teresa called Gandhi by his pet family name, which was only used by his relatives and very close disciples.
Teresa’s parents, who were astonished and perplexed, began to read up on Indian religions and even bought some pictures of Indian gurus. One of the pictures was a photo of Paramahansa Yogananda. The moment Teresa saw the picture, she said with a solemn tone: “I know Yogananda; he came to see BAPU when I was in the house. He had several meals with us and slept in the house for two nights. He was very lovely.”
After a thorough investigation, Teresa’s parents learned that what their daughter had said was true and exact in every detail. There are many other stories like this which have been reported.
Earth is a school, and we are here to learn. Certain lessons, it seems, can only be learned by putting on a human body, as if it were a suite of clothes, and taking up residence on this planet. Because life in a physical body is hard and imposes many limits, we can make great progress by accepting this challenge.
Earthly lifetimes are necessary for our soul’s growth and we choose to come here at a particular time and place and as the people we are in relationship with others in order to gain wisdom through our experiences.
Karma is the driving force behind reincarnation. Karma is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘action’ or ‘to do’. In simple terms, it says that for every action, there is a corresponding reaction. Our actions, desires and unfinished business keep bringing us back to Earth again and again – as often as is necessary – until we have dealt with all of the consequences we have generated during our many lifetimes and learned all the lessons we need to learn.
When we begin to understand reincarnation, we learn from our past to empower our present and future; we start to see things from a bigger perspective that of our own concerns, or just our lifetime alone. We are able to see just how vast and amazing life really is. We realize that we are indeed part of an incredible, continuing cycle of creation: it gives us a new sense of belonging and sets us free so we can be ourselves in harmony with the Present.