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Reincarnation, transmigration of souls & methempsicose
Origins of the Concept
The doctrine of Reincarnation has its origins in the dawn of mankind, even in very primitive cultures.
Some theologian say that this doctrine was developed through the understanding that a human life has a dualistic aspect, one mortal and another immortal; the existence of a soul, that could be separated from the physical body, during the dormant stage of sleep, or the permanent separation from it during the process of death. This same immortal essence could be also transferred from one organism to another. In its origins, reincarnation is regarded as a phenomenon, not merely a set of beliefs.
Reincarnation is a religious idea in which a specific part of a being, which is not its physical garment, or body, comes cyclically back to life and takes upon another physical body after death of the previous bodily vehicle to continue the learning process and the balance of its Karma.
The concept of reincarnation is based on the belief that all the living and sentient beings have their constitution and spiritual matrix physiology divided into two elements: one, the physical external body and the second; an immortal part, the Spirit. The immortal part of the being, its essence, survives the physical death, thus being possible to reconnect again with another physical vehicle, different and often distinct from the previous one.
Some believe that this reconnection between the Spirit and a new body occurs in the very moment a human egg is fertilized inside of a womb.
The concept of reincarnation is a fundamental cornerstone of the School of Spirituality from the French Alan Kardec, but also is am important part of many other systems of philosophical beliefs such as Theosophy, Hinduism, Jainism, and various mystical schools of Christianity, even though the formal Christian Precepts and Dogmas do not accept the concept at all.
There are many references that make allusions to reincarnation in various religions, including the ancient ones, such as in Old Egypt, indigenous religions, and others. It is no doubt part of the contemporary imaginary of our Western society, being mentioned in books and many of the movie productions nowadays.
There are some references to this notion found also in Buddhism tradition, however their version of reincarnation differs from the rest because they refuse the idea of individual soul passing through processes of births and rebirths; therefore accepting these concepts with the limitation of the notion of rebirth as part of a greater process of expansion and expressions of an universal soul.
The concept of rebirth is unfamiliar to most Western people. Its philosophical and traditional foundation is found in India, where the theory of transmigration of souls had presumably existed long before it was written down in the Upanishads around 300 BC.
The Buddhist concept is subtly different from the classical Indian understanding, because it denies the existence of a self or a soul. In Buddhism, the idea of self is merely an illusion. Man wrongly identifies perception, consciousness, mind and body with what he calls self. In reality, there is no abiding entity that could be identified with a self, because the states of perception, consciousness, and mind and body constantly change.
Transmigration of Souls
Transmigration of Souls or Methempsicose is a philosophical doctrine, whose birth is registered in India and believed to have migrated to Egypt, from where Pythagoras adopted the conceptual system and later brought it to life in Greece.
In his mythical dissertation about the transmigrations of the wandering souls, Pythagoras tells the story of a myriad of wandering souls, each migrating from body to body along a path of recurrence amid the becoming of the All. Yet, for the Pythagoreans, this story does not describe the passive revolution of a circle, but a pathway for an active exploration of the All and return to the Divine, or, in other words, the various Manifestations of All That Is. This endeavor is strenuous as it occurs amidst a suspension within the double bind of nativity and fatality, again and again to be born and to die, and to be reborn as still another being. The thread of the narrative, of reminiscence, is always severed with each demise amid the labyrinth of mortal existence. Yet, as the narrative that composes the lives of a soul is a rope of many threads, the persistent re-articulation of the narrative instigates a mnemopoiesis of remembrance that transcends the individual mortal life amid the broader travels of the soul.
It is said that his disciples taught that through Methempsicose, it was possible for a soul, after having a brief or long period in the kingdom of souls, to return to inhabit another physical human body or even an animal body, and to proceed with its period of learning and purification until it is time again to return cleansed and ascended to the Original Source of all life.
There is a capital difference between these two concepts of Methempsicose and Reincarnation, and it resides in the fact that human souls would be or not be able to take upon rebirth under an animal body. The difference is that these souls belong to very distinctive lines of evolutions and pertain to their own kingdoms. For a human soul to take upon an animal incarnation would mean a state of degradation, or a step back in the process of evolution, creating involution. The main argument from various schools of wisdom resides not on the complete denial of these premises, but the assertiveness that this process is no longer accepted and performed during this stage of our Earthly evolutionary program, neither accepted during this round of evolution. The rebirth of human individuals can be performed on Earth as in many different karmic suitable planes of existences and planetary environments, according to the law of progress and evolution, and will continue to manifest until the essence of the individuals are purified enough to coincide with subtle frequencies, enabling them to return home.
Theosophy teaches that it is possible for different soul extensions of the same soul to be incarnated on different levels of consciousness simultaneously.
Reincarnation and Christianity
The Christian system of beliefs accepted the concept of Reincarnation during its first six centuries of our era; several of the Fathers of the Church taught this notion and only in the Constantinople’s council were these teachings removed from the main texts, mainly because of political and theological reasons. Most of the texts containing their explanations were summarily destroyed
Reincarnation and the Bible
A basic cosmic law taught in the old Scripture texts is that of process of rebirth: the doctrine that as differentiated Spirits in God we are reborn again and again in physical bodies of increasing efficiency on the physical plane to learn the lessons pertaining to the material existence, and to unfold our dormant divine potentialities into dynamic powers.
Elijah becomes John the Baptist
“Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ” They asked him, “Then who you are? Are you Elijah?” ~John 1, 19-21
It is obvious that the Jewish priests believed in the theory of reincarnation, otherwise they would not have asked such a question, especially to someone that were most likely to disrespect.
“But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” ~Matthew 17:12, 13
“Tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he (…) if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. He, who has ears, let him hear.”~Matthew 11:11, 15
In the 9th Chapter of the Testament of St. John we find an interesting parable which teaches the working of this law. It reads as follows:
“And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man which was blind from birth. And His disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Jesus answered, neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”
This specific passage of the new Testament clears the misunderstanding of the law that says that physical disabilities are due to the sins of the ancestors, therefore not necessarily consisting in pure punishment, but a manifested way to deliver a set of teachings for the soul that incarnated in the pursue of enlightenment. The sufferings and pains that would accompany the limitations of the physical conditions will cease to exist once the lesson is learned.
Reincarnation in the Kabbalah: the Earthly Human Souls
According to the Zohar (III, 219b), when a human being is about to take upon a physical body through the process of incarnation, the Mind of God unites itself with the energy of Shekinah to provide to this being a soul vehicle, which is the physical body and its earthly progenitors. This is also the basic process of conception and creation of the Celestial bodies, the beings of heaven and earth, angelic and beings from the light and those not quite from the light, which are necessary , in order to keep the balance of duality. It is necessary the union and requires the participation of the two to create and manifest creation (Zohar III, page 81).
The teachings also speak about the creation of an image of the created in heaven. This belief is similar for all the beings of creation. Before they can experience their existences individually, all the beings experience the unity with all in a sacred abode. This is said to be one of the mysteries of the Kabbalah (Zohar III page 82, 83).
According to their teachings, the transmigration of the souls is a process delivered as a punishment, making the soul repeat the cycles of experience, until it can reach the sixth degree, a specific vibrational place, from where its perfect image or blueprint emanates. It is also said that a soul that has conquered the seventh level of the sacred abode will no longer have the need to reincarnate ( Zohar, II and La Cabbale, page 110).
The Pythagorean doctrine of the transmigration of souls: Xenophanes mentions the story of his Master Pythagoras interceding on behalf of a dog that was being beaten, professing to recognize in its cries the voice of a departed friend. Pythagoras is supposed to have claimed that he had been Euphorbus, the son of Panthus, in the Trojan war, as well as various other characters, a tradesman, and a courtesan.
This article is a courtesy of the humanity healing network