By Gurudevi Nirmalananda
Welcome back! You’ve been here before. How fortunate that you’ve made it into a human body this time. Congratulations! The ancient sages of India say we are the only species with the ability to choose our trajectory, both for this life as well as any future incarnations.
What is so special about being human? While you have animalistic instincts and urges, there is more to you. You have the ability to rise above them, to make choices to uplift yourself and to benefit others. Your intelligence, compassion and insight are unique amongst all creatures.
It is insight that makes the biggest difference. In-sight is looking inward, not merely to your mind but to a deeper level, where you find who you are – who are you that has this mind? By finding the deeper dimension within, you can become free from the cycle of birth-and-death. Technically, reincarnation is called “The Doctrine of the Transmigration of Souls.”
Two seekers were walking together, having met along the road to an important pilgrimage site. Their animated conversation was on the verge of becoming an argument, so they were happy to see a yogi under a tree alongside the road.
They went over, bowed respectfully and said, “Oh Babaji. We are disagreeing about how to become free from reincarnation’s vicious cycle. Tell us, please: how many more lifetimes will we each have to live?”
Turning to one of the seekers, the Guru said, “You have three more lifetimes to live.” The seeker was shocked and disheartened. He shouted, “Oh no! Not really? Three more. That’s terrible! I thought I was almost there. Three more lifetimes.” He wandered off in despair.
Turning to the other seeker, the Guru said, “Your future lifetimes number as many as the leaves on this tree.” With delight, the seeker replied, “Really? It’s a finite number? That means I really can make it, right?” The Guru nodded approvingly. The seeker bowed and thanked the Guru, then walked away, heading toward his companion.
Within moments, a truck veered off the road and killed him. OK! First lifetime complete! Next he reincarnated as a virus, living only a few hours. After many virus lifetimes, he graduated to a bacterium, living a bit longer. He moved through other lifeforms, many with short lifespans, one right after the other.
Finally, he was reborn as a human again. His deep spiritual yearning led him to a Guru while still young. He soaked up the teachings like a sponge, not only learning the theory but experiencing the Inner Truth toward which they point. By the time he was in his 20’s, his name and reputation began to spread. People came from far and wide to sit in his luminous presence and hear him teach.
The other seeker, with three lifetimes to go, was saddened to see his friend die so suddenly. He continued on his pilgrimage, then went on others through his long life, living over 100 years. His next lifetime was 110 years, wherein he studied with many different teachers. His next lifetime was another long one.
Reborn as a human again, he applied himself diligently to the meditative disciplines and sutra studies. He was in his 90’s when he heard of a young Guru, one who radiated both love and wisdom. With the help of friends, he traveled to meet this new teacher. They all arrived, stored their bags in a nearby guest house and rushed to the satsang hall, slipping their shoes off outside.
The aged seeker walked in the door, picking his way slowly along the central aisle toward the Guru. As he got closer, the Guru looked closely at him and began to laugh. “Oh my friend! Don’t you remember me? We were sitting under the tree together, not so long ago…”
You have lived so many lives. You have taken birth again this time so you can do something differently than before. What is it that you have come here to do? What do you want to find? What is the highest that you can become?
The answers are all inside. Unfortunately, without proper guidance, you’re peering into an inner darkness. You need a teacher who can shine the light all the way inward. That’s what my Baba did for me. I’d love to help you find you, if you will allow.