Theos-World REINCARNATION -- A "Twin" doctrine to Karma
Nov 02, 1999 06:28 AM
by W. Dallas TenBroeck
"Many a house of life hath held me."
"Reincarnation" means the entering again into flesh. (re - again;
in - into; carne - flesh) So, this word - Reincarnation - tells
us at once that if we are in bodies now, we have been in bodies
before! We reincarnate according to cycles of Karma, just as
seeds of plants do in their seasons. We live our lives in cycles.
Once we were babes, and then children, and now are adults.
Childhood is the spring-time of our lives. Grown up, we are in
the summer-time, Then as our hair grows gray, and our backs
bent, comes the autumn. After autumn comes winter, and the biting
frost comes and kills the growing things. So we have our winter,
too, the dead-time of our bodies. Our life-cycle has made its
complete path - but, it's a spiral path, and it returns and goes
on in a new ring! After winter, comes spring again, when -
"The boughs put forth their tender buds
And life is Lord of all."
So, after the dead-time of our bodies, what will the new turn of
the cycle bring us? New bodies! Once again, we shall be as tiny
babes, children, grown-ups, old, and die again - to have the
cycle bring us back to earth again in yet another new body! Only
We are the Same One going on every turn of the cycle - the same
one in the body now who had another body a thousand years ago. We
have lived in many a bodily house!
Just as Cycles and Karma are two ways of looking at Law, so
Reincarnation which comes according to cycles, also comes
according to Karma! It's as if Karma, Cycles, Reincarnation are
three fingers making up the hand of Law. We never think "hand,"
without thinking of fingers, do we? Or "finger" without seeing it
in our minds as part of a hand? There would be no way for effects
to come of some causes, if it were not for Reincarnation.
"The Wheel of the Good Law moves swiftly on. It grinds by night
and day." Now, if Karma works silently from day to day all of our
lives, what else can it mean than that we are making Karma to the
day, to the minute we leave our bodies? So, we have to get many
effects in new bodies.
More than that, if Karma was working yesterday, two years ago, -
if it never stops - it was working the very day we were born! We
reincarnate because of Karma. According to Karma, we earned the
very kind of a body we have, the very father and mother, the
brothers and sisters we have! If we have no brothers and sisters,
that, too, we earned. We earned the very color of our eyes, the
very shape of our bodies. We earned our friends. Many friends we
have not yet found, for the cycle has not yet returned that
brings them to us. The cycle of friendships started in other
lives than this, and so it is often a long cycle of Karma that
brings them back to us. Think of it - when something wonderfully
sweet comes to you that you can't see you deserved: "Why, some
day in some other body, I must have done someone a service - and
my own has come back to me."
And again, there may be a time when everything seems wrong, when
someone uses us harshly, and we know we have done the unkind one
no wrong! Just so, we have earned that pain, and we can think:
"'A harsh word uttered in past lives, ever comes again.' This,
too, is my own come back to me, an echo from the lips I spoke
through in another body."
Our dispositions we brought with us, too, from other lives. Some
of us find our dispositions have much of selfishness, unkindness,
deceit, laziness, and temper in them. That is why we have this
body now. It is a body in which we must cure these bad qualities,
and make our good ones stronger. The more wrong things we cure,
and the more strongly we act for The Inner, the Higher Self - the
better the disposition we shall have when the cycle of this body
ends; consequently, the better conditions we shall bring with us
into our next body. Our natures, and our characters, are all we
bring with us. We don't come all dressed up, with a bag of gold
in our hand when we are born; when we go, we leave behind us all
our houses and riches of every kind. We leave behind all our
burdens and hardships, too!
We bring our characters; we make them better, or worse, and take
them along with us when we go. Theosophy shows how we can make
Often we may say: "Why, I don't see how I can have lived before
in other bodies! I don't remember anything about that!" It
wouldn't be so strange if we didn't remember, when the brains we
are remembering through came new with these present bodies, and
when we have crammed them so full with the things of this life!
Indeed, we don't remember half our days in these bodies!
Certainly, it is a rare one of us who remembers the day they were
born - but we must have been born!
Let us not be too sure people don't remember, or even that we
don't remember. Many, many children have been known to remember,
on sight, places they have lived in, in other lives, and even
grown-ups, in visiting places they never saw before in this life,
have recognized them by some special mark.
It is told of an American gentleman, on his first visit to
London, that while waiting in a lawyer's office to keep an
appointment, he began to have a sense of familiarity of the room
steal over him. The feeling grew very strong, till finally he
said to himself: "Well, if I ever have been here before, there is
a certain knot-hole in the panel of that door over there - and if
so, it is under that calendar hanging there!" He walked over to
the door and lifted the calendar. The knot-hole was there, as he
knew it would be.
But recognition on sight isn't the only way of remembering. The
surest way of all is by feeling, and that doesn't depend very
much on the brain. In fact, it is the feeling, which some sight
arouses, we should call truly remembering. Your brain does not
tell you that you love someone. You know you love because you
feel love for the other person.
So, we are really remembering the friends of other lives, when we
see them for the first time, and feel we have always known them
and loved them; we are also remembering, when for no reason in
the world we can see, we dislike so intensely another person we
meet. Is it hard to imagine the kind of Karma-seed in other lives
which makes such liking or disliking in this one? What kind of
seeds shall we plant now that will bring us loving friends in
lives to come? Yes, there are other ways of remembering. In deep
sleep, we know all about our past lives, and sometimes a dream
about one or another may come through into our brain, when we are
Very young children, especially between three and six, "remember"
words of a language once they knew. In one family, the parents
were worried because their little girl was not learning to talk
at the age of two years. She was constantly "jabbering," but not
a word could they understand. Then, one day, a soldier who had
been in France came to visit them. He began to pay attention to
the little girl, and in amazement he said to the parents, "Don't
worry about the little one's not talking. She is talking very
Have you ever noticed how some boys and girls seem never to have
to learn some particular thing? For instance, one boy knows how
to use tools without being taught; one girl doesn't need to learn
how to sew, or to read; one boy can sing from the time he can
speak, while most of us are years in learning how; some girls
love to write poetry, or can imitate the ways of speech and
manners of others, but more people never can do it well in this
life, however long and hard they try - even with talking lessons.
All these facilities, or talents, are in evidence now because
there was a skill developed in those things in other lives; or
even a love for them, - because it is the feeling, again, of love
to do these things, that lives, and goes on from life to life.
Perhaps you have noticed that sometimes, too, people grow lazy
with these talents, and they lose them. They must love them
enough to make them always more beautiful by working for them,
and especially, as a service to share with all as needed, if
they, or we, would keep them.
Suppose we could remember all about our past lives? Remember our
names, the names of our friends, all the things we did - both
good and bad? It really could do us no true service. It might not
even make us happy, for it isn't pleasant to look back at our
mistakes. We are, in our characters, all that these things meant
to us, and if we were to stand looking back at those pictures,
very long at a time, we might forget the duties right now at hand
we have to do.
Our "now" is made up of our past, and our "now" is what makes the
future, so it's the "now" that we must use aright. If flashes
from the past, comes into the now, unbidden, perhaps in some
cases, as a sweet odor. We can recognize them, and smile, and
know them for what they are - messengers that are saying: "there
are many houses of life we have lived in, and we have yet to
build for our souls still statelier mansions." Such experiences
it would seem need not be talked about to others. They are only
for the Experiencer to consider. But, do not such strange
"flashes" offer some of the evidence that we have lived before.
All Nature bears evidence of this same law of reincarnation for
all who can see. Each one must see for himself and in himself all
that belongs to him, now or in past lives.
The following story was written by a commercial photographer of
Minneapolis. She is the elder sister of little Anne, and up to
the time of the incident, neither she nor any of the family
believed in, or knew anything of, the doctrine of re-birth.
"Anne, my little half-sister, younger by fifteen years, was a
queer little mite from the beginning. She did not even look like
any member of the family we ever heard of, for she was dark
almost to swarthiness, while the rest of us were all fair,
showing our Scotch-Irish ancestry unmistakably.
As soon as she could talk in connected sentences, she would tell
herself fairy stories, and just for the fun of the thing I would
take down her murmurings with my pencil in my old diary. She was
my especial charge - my mother being a very busy woman - and I
was very proud of her. These weavings of fancy were never of the
usual type that children's fairy tales take; for, in addition to
the childish imagination, there were bits of knowledge in them
that a baby could not possibly have absorbed in any sort of way.
Another remarkable thing about her was that everything she did
she seemed to do through habit, and, in fact, such was her
insistence, although she was never able to explain what she meant
by it. If you could have seen the roistering air with which she
would lift her mug of milk when she was only three and gulp it
down at one quaffing, you would have shaken with laughter. This
particularly embarrassed my mother and she reproved Anne
repeatedly. The baby was a good little soul, and would seem to
try to obey, and then in an absent-minded moment would bring on
another occasion for mortification. 'I can't help it, mother,'
she would say over and over again, tears in her baby voice, 'I've
always done it that way!'
So many were the small incidents of her 'habits' of speech and
thought and her tricks of manner and memory that finally we
ceased to think anything about them, and she herself was quite
unconscious that she was in any way different from other
One day when she was four years old she became very indignant
with Father about some matter and, as she sat curled up on the
floor in front of us, announced her intention of going away
'Back to heaven where you came from?' inquired Father with mock
seriousness. She shook her head.
'I didn't come from heaven to you,' she asserted with that calm
conviction to which we were quite accustomed now. 'I went to the
moon first, but - you know about the moon, don't you? It used to
have people on it, but it got so hard that we had to go.'
This promised to be a fairy tale, so I got my pencil and diary.
'So,' my father led her on, 'you came from the moon to us, did
'Oh, no,' she told him in casual fashion. 'I have been here lots
of times - sometimes I was a man and sometimes I was a woman!'"
She was so serene in her announcement that my father laughed
heartily, which enraged the child, for she particularly disliked
being ridiculed in any way.
'I was! I was!' she maintained indignantly. 'Once I went to
Canada when I was a man! I 'member my name, even.'
'Oh, pooh-pooh,' he scoffed, 'little United States girls can't be
men in Canada! What was your name that you 'member so well?'
She considered a minute. 'It was Lishus Faber,' she ventured,
then repeated it with greater assurance, 'that was it - Lishus
Faber.' She ran the sounds together so that this was all I could
make of it - and the name so stands in my diary today, 'Lishus
'And what did you do for a living, Lishus Faber, in those early
days?' My father then treated her with the mock solemnity
befitting her assurance and quieting her nervous little body.
'I was a soldier' - she granted the information triumphantly -
'and I took the gates!'
That was all that is recorded there. Over and over again, I
remember, we tried to get her to explain what she meant by the
odd phrase, but she only repeated her words and grew indignant
with us for not understanding. Her imagination stopped at
explanations. We were living in a cultured community, but
although I repeated the story to inquire about the phrase - as
one does tell stories of beloved children, you know - no one
could do more than conjecture its meaning.
Some one encouraged my really going further with the matter, and
for a year I studied all the histories of Canada I could lay my
hands on for a battle in which somebody 'took the gates.' All to
no purpose. Finally I was directed by a librarian to a
'documentary' history, I suppose it is - a funny old volume with
the 's' like f's, you know.
This was over a year afterward, when I had quite lost hope of
running my phrase to earth. It was a quaint old book,
interestingly picturesque in many of its tales, but I found one
bit that put all others out of my mind. It was a brief account of
the taking of a little walled city by a small company of
soldiers, a distinguished feat of some sort, yet of no general
importance. A young lieutenant with his small band - the phrase
leaped to my eyes - 'took the gates.' And the name of the young
lieutenant was 'Aloysius Le Fèbre.'
The article appeared in the American Magazine of July, 1915.
Offered by Dallas -- All comments or questions will be welcome
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