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Monday, June 29, 2009

Predictions as a Science -2-

Concept of Reincarnation as a science

There are several factors that are involved in understanding this higher law of nature. Let us understand these complexities one by one.

It may be too premature to decide that these phenomena are totally accidental. Sages said that these talents were there in the unmanifest in the form of possibilities, and are ready to manifest at the right time. Let us try to understand what this means. What is this unmanifest? What did the sages mean by manifesting it when the suitable time comes?. The Indian philosophy explained such phenomena (child prodigy) by proposing the concept of rebirth. The child who shows some extra ordinary talent in music must have been a very devoted student of classical music in the previous birth and this music has gone so deep into the person’s personality that he or she carries the music through the soul. This soul (sukshma sharira) while migrating after death into the next body carries this coded impression of the musical talent. This shows the extra ordinary relationship of the person with the music. This child must have nourished music close to her heart and spent all her life in music during her previous life which has entered into the present life. It is her investment through intense love for music that has given her this talent right from birth in this life. This knowledge from the scriptures helps us to realize that our life here is not a beginning and end all but it is a very small portion of a long journey. This applies not only to an art or music or an extraordinary phenomenon but it refers to each and every small thing that has shaped our personality and behaviour in every walk of life! Once we understand and experience this fact it makes us lot more responsible and cautious about any thing we do (good or bad) during this life which may leave us with a strong impression for the next life. Though we have many more desires to do or to achieve etc we don’t have a fitting instrument called body mind complex at the time of death we come back with new instrument called body mind complex with the whole idea of finishing the unfinished agenda. These unfinished desires and other things called as vasana and they are the cause for our rebirth or reincarnation l

The understanding of reincarnation makes you realize that you are not just what you are now. This present life is only a link in the continuum of your existence in this creation. Let me explain this a little more. Let us see what you mean by your ‘birth day’ which you celebrate with such great importance. It is just the day you came out of your mother’s womb and the people around saw. the baby with their eyes. Did you really come into existence on that day? You know that this so called ‘date of birth’ is only for relating it to the record of the world outside. This has very little to do with your original date of birth. You give so much importance to this date and celebrate year after year, although you know very clearly that you were there for 9 months in mother’s womb before coming out. From the womb if you go further back, you were there in the sperm of the father and the ovum of the mother. Take it further back. The scriptures say that all your faculties, fears, desires, etc that made you an unique personality were there in the form of coded impressions(karmas) in the soul (sukshma sharira) that left the previous body. This is the unmanifest seed in the subtle world that carries accumulated impressions (sanskaras) from several lives before. The scriptures go on to say that you chose to be born in this family culture because you wanted the congenial atmosphere to manifest those qualities during this life. The family that nurtured you gave you all the background nutrition through generations of the value systems and traditions. In fact we can see that this choice is reflected even in the physical features as genetic coding that determines the shape of the nose or color of the hair etc.. For example if your intense desire was to become a film actress you will chose a family of beautiful people and not ugly people. This shows up at the time of birth itself as physical features of the baby and its mannerisms. We say ‘wow, the baby is so tall, pretty with long fingers and toes and blue eyes she will become an actress like her great grand mum’.

Thus we may now say that this nature’s law is: Large number of unique abilities are there in the unmanifest, in the form of possibilities, and are ready to manifest at the right time. These are in the form of very strong possibilities only and we need to make them manifest through our efforts. If we fail in our efforts, then it can not express itself’. In this process besides our self effort to actualize there are other factors which are environmental etc.

Environment and nurture

Now let us consider the contribution of the environment to the component of ‘nurture’. The place you grow, the people around, the values of your parents seeded into you is necessary to shape you up. That is why it is said that we are in a web of life. In this web of life we are even connected with the planets and stars etc, to some degree or the other. Though all these effects are there from various forces one most important primary force which is responsible for our journey is the self effort which is one’s own will power. If one has a strong will power then all ‘like forces’ join hands and help him in that direction and he can resist the ‘opposing forces’. On the other hand if one has a weak will power other forces will drag him in all other directions.

Rabindranath Tagore’s father wanted to protect the child from the influence of the Indian surroundings right from his early childhood. He wanted him to be influenced by the British ways. He engaged special teachers to teach him at home and when it did not work out he sent him to England to educate him under strict supervision. But Tagore’s will power was so strong once he came back from England he went back to his original interest. The love for nature and poetry that was suppressed for a long time found its expression. He started writing poetry, which was not the liking of his father at all. The father wanted him to be a scientist and not an artist. But what was the result? Tagore became a great a poet to be rewarded with a noble prize. Thus we see how a strong will power can resist any outside force. In Tagore’s case we can see the play of all the factors we have mentioned until now. (a) He had the seed of becoming a great poet from his previous birth (b) his jiva (soul)chose to be born in this family because it needed the congenial environment of nurture that included the atmosphere of a rich Indian Bengali family full of soft emotions along with the strong will power and intelligence of the father (although he did not use them to grow the way the father wanted) (c) the stay in England helped him to obtain the British training in hard work, punctuality, meticulousness and mastery over English language and (d) the strong will power to achieve excellence. Thus he could flower out fully when all these aspects came together i.e. the basic poetic tendency from his previous birth, the strong will power of the father, the soft emotions from the mother and Bengali state culture, and the training in British culture and English language.

- to be continued...

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Predictions as a Science -1-

In the nature there are natural laws or rules and most common phenomena follow these laws. For example all fluids follow the laws of fluid mechanics, solids follow some specific rules and gases follow gas law etc. Then there are some exceptions to these rules in nature. The exceptions are there to prove the rules. They do not violate the rules. For example we know mercury is solid but it does not follow the properties of solid this is an exception. In similar fashion in human beings also there are natures’ laws but there can be exceptions!

What are these Exceptions?
Recently I was watching a blog in which a 3 year old child was giving a performance to a huge audience of more than a thousand music lovers and music pundits in Chennai. The anchor, highly talented in music would sing a raga (a traditional classical Indian musical note) and in less than a minute the child would identify the name of the raga and would give accurate technical details of the characteristics and even the exceptions that characterizes that particular raga. Not even on a single occasion the girl never faltered! These are child prodigies. We had a similar child prodigy in our house. My cousin’s son had a very unusual mathematical brain. He was only three years old. You give him any date which may be more than hundred years ago, within seconds he would tell you the name of the corresponding day of week. We would keep very old calendars and play with him! How do we explain this phenomenon? One can say that these things are some accidental neurological aberrations. Is this really an accident in nature? This may be a very sophisticated terminology but by saying so we have not explained any thing; we are only saying that we do not know what is happening! Is there any model or logical explanation that is available to explain such exceptions? Can this model help in predicting such phenomena? Is there a different set of laws for these phenomena? What is the nature of this unmanifest? These are all questions that are addressed in Indian scriptures. The answers and models were revelations during intense meditation. Several researchers went on adding to the knowledge base. These revelations dawned on them when they could go beyond the intellect and tune themselves to higher laws of nature. Such rare insights are possible even today if you can go into such deep meditative states.

Self effort vs genes
We can see such unusual talents happening not only in case of music but in so many other areas. Let us take the example of sports. We watch great talents in people like Diago Maradona in football or Tiger Wood in golf or Tendulkar in cricket. When one watches them play we can see the beauty in their game .You feel that this is not mere training that made them such a great genius. If a football dances on is foot all the time in case of Maradona, tiger wood has such a powerful eyes that hundreds of yards he can hit the golf ball to go directly in to the hole and for Tendulkar there is no bowler whose balls are not punished We say, ‘wow! He is a born genius’! What are the common features and what are the differences between the prodigal girl and these genius players? In the case of the girl the genetic talent has revealed itself later in life at a tiny age and in case of the players the talent manifested after going through a formal training in sports. But there are also several players who have undergone similar or much more rigorous training. But not all can become great sportsmen or musicians with training alone. The genetic tendency that is carried over helps one to manifest it through training. Thus the genetic tendencies that are carried over from the previous birth may manifest right from birth or it may need more training to unfold itself. Thus we see that there are two aspects in any performance: the nature and nurture. The nurture or the training makes the nature (the genetic tendency) manifest itself to create a genius. And they show up as the miracles of creation!

In these singers or artists or players, even though they had extraordinary talents they had to put in their efforts to actualize the possibilities. A gifted singer like Lata Mangeshkar had to put in an enormous amount of sadhana before she became famous even though there was an inborn talent. When we look at this way, we can understand that there must have been so many more people, who had the possibility to manifest their extra ordinary talents but they would have remained as ordinary people. The talent that is hidden in them found no avenue and has no chance of flowering. This is simply because they did not put in the necessary effort to flower out. In many cases we find that the parental pressure in trying to put the child in the so called right path becomes so strong that it would have put them off and undermined their talents! Every flower that is on the mango tree has all the ingredients to become wonderful fruit! Every seed has a tree in it but how many seeds actually become trees? Only those seeds which got the right nurture right from the time they fell from the tree can bring out the tree hidden in it. The factors are too many- the time of falling, the ground, the water, the nutrition, the weather, the fauna around, animals around etc. If the factors involved in unfolding a tree (that has no free will and is completely programmed) to its beauty is so complex , think of how many factors (environmental ,social and self effort) will be necessary for a human seed which is endowed with free will to manifest its talents!.

In these two examples we saw the talents that are possible in normal people but show up in an extraordinary way in prodigies or geniuses. But there are some unusual talents such as paranormal powers which appear to defy the nature’s laws completely because a normal person just cannot perform such feats. I have a good friend of mine Mr. GS who has amazing ability for psychokinesis. He can show all the feats that we see in a magic show right in front of your eyes without any stage arrangements. One day we were having a casual chat on philosophy over a cup of tea and he just picked up the fork from the table and by looking at it in a focused way he bent it as if it was made of a flexible wire. Bending spoons and forks and keys is a very simple feat that he can demonstrate apart from moving objects as if he has a remote control button in his hands. Though he can perform all these things GS is such a simple and honest person that he says that these are the special abilities that he discovered and he has been able to improve upon them by repeated practice. He told that one day when he was a kid he looked at the spoon intensely and it could bend! He says ‘in my teens when I discovered this unusual talent within me I had a great temptation to exploit this talent and declare that I am a God’s messenger and can demonstrate God’s miracles .But thank God I did not cheat people by yielding to my adolescent temptation’.

He went into true path of spirituality to understand reality and is deeply involved in meditation and doing good to people. He says these powers have nothing to do with spirituality!

Having these abilities is not necessarily a sign of spiritual growth. Scriptures bring out this clearly in our epics through examples of demons (rakshasas) like Ravana and his son Indrajit who acquired special powers which could overwhelm even the godly powers of Rama and his brother Lakshmana for a while; but Ravana and Indrajit were demons because they did not have any spiritual growth and they created problems to the rishis who were silently doing tapas in the forest for the good of mankind! Whether they are ordinary powers which can appear like extra ordinary talents, or some kind of special abilities, both of them are part of creation which fall under the category of exceptions but they have nothing to do with spirituality. But it will be interesting to further understand them with reference to factors involving our lives.

- to be continued...