Thursday, 12 April 2018

Incarnation, Reincarnation Identity and Theodicy

An objection to reincarnation as a way of avoiding theodicy is put on the basis of legal culpability. What does the fawn in the burning forest have to do with the genocidal tyrant? A rebuttal on this basis can go on all fours only on the assumption that there is a continuity of identity between the tyrant and the fawn. That is not reincarnation as espoused in the Vedic tradition. What is passed on to the next life is the skein of hopes, fears and desires that the individual identifies with. This is a false superimposition (adhyasa) on the true reality of the person viz. pure consciousness. Until this is realised rebirth continues as this ‘skein’ finds a suitable way of working itself out.

B.G. 8: 5, 6 (Krishna):
And whoever dies, remembering me alone at the moment of death, attains to my state once he is liberated from the body - there can be no doubt about that.

Indeed, whatever state he calls to mind as he abandons his body at its end, he inevitably attains it, Son of Kunti, transmuted to that state.

This mental congeries held together by superimposition is reinforced by physical continuity in a particular incarnation. That false centre disintegrates at death and the now unhoused mental energies must find a new dwelling. Ramana Maharshi’s belief that incarnations could overlap or that one could be the reincarnation of someone not yet dead makes sense on this basis. Mentality can be common in different persons.

The analogy with the Christian view of eternal punishment is striking. To the question: why am I in hell; the answer comes - You sent yourself to hell.

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