Reincarnation

Aug 2019
8
Potsdam
I was only trying to discuss how it is possible faiths can be one yet at the same time appear different by applying my understanding of the teachings of Baha'u'llah and also of linguistics and how language works. I apologize if I misunderstood your question. Perhaps you could restate it? I will try and answer a specific question if I am able.
Ok, then I will cite myself :)

If there is a progressive revelation, why gives the older revelation of Krishna more detailed information about after life and the processes within the material and spiritual worlds than the new revelation of Bahá’u’lláh?

In hinduism, there are also prophets for the current age, their teachings are according to the Vedas (so you can proof that they are true), and they have renewed the principles according to Time, Space and Circumstances, why not follow them?
 
Aug 2019
48
Berlin
If there is a progressive revelation, why gives the older revelation of Krishna more detailed information about after life and the processes within the material and spiritual worlds than the new revelation of Bahá’u’lláh?
If the Gita was spoken 5000 years before and was written down in the year 500-300 before christ, you couldn't be for sure that the content of the Bhagavad-gita is correct. On the contrary, once the ideas of reincarnation have come with the Upanishads, it is logical to assume that information about reincarnation is not part of the original revelation. If the Bhagavad-gita is considered Smrti, with a certain amount of Sruti, you have no assurance that the descriptions of reincarnation are not mere narratives. Krishna often says in the Gita that in every age he comes to renew the principles of religion, not to correct culturally grown theological opinions. The Egyptian religion and the Indus culture, both are older then the Vedic period of time, doesn't know the idea of reincarnation. Bahaullah states, that no revelation teaches reincarnation, the scholars says, that reincarnation came later. Why should someone believes that the reincarnation is part of the revelation and why should we belief that Krishna gives more information about the spiritual world than Bahaullah that are true? Again, the India culture knows narrative. Storys and fables to describe abstract principle.

In hinduism, there are also prophets for the current age, their teachings are according to the Vedas (so you can proof that they are true), and they have renewed the principles according to Time, Space and Circumstances, why not follow them?
You must compare both prophets. If you take a look in the traditions of India, there are so many books. The vedas, the upanishads, many philosophical literature. But without education, equal rights and peace, no one can read these books and no one has a place to sitting down for meditation. So it makes sense, to accept Bahaullah as the prophet for the age, because he knows the needs of time.

 
Jul 2018
91
Tarshish, bound for Nineveh
Interesting discussion.
I would add something. The Bhagavad-Gita was spoken 5000 years before, but it was written down in the year 400-500 B.C. You can believe that from the revelation of the battlefield of Kurukshetra in the year 3000 B.C. to the scripture that was written down in the year 500 B.C. nothing has altered, but it's only a believe.
Concerning the reincarnation, most scholars gives us the information that it came with the year 800 B.C. I have checked some sources during my last time I was here active. But also there are people who say there are some verses in the Vedas that proof reincarnation. It seems not so clear. But are the Veda da oldest scriptures? Not really. Before the Vedas there were the Indus culture in the area that is now known as India. The Egyptian belief systems are older then the Vedas, e.g. first pictures of Seth are from the year 4000 B.C. But are the Egyptian belief systems the first belief of mankind? Not really, before that there were Animism and such things. Mankind is over 400000 years old. The "hidden religion" was long before the Vedas, the Egypts, Christian and other religions. You can find many traditions that are part and reflection of the cultural development of human species for a specific time. But no-one can define the "root religion".
Excellent points, seeker.

And as Tony pointed out, the Bahai teachings reject reincarnation, but I would add a caveat to that rejection. It is reincarnation as commonly believed that 'Abdu'l-Baha gave a rejection to. The idea that a human soul is reborn repeatedly into this world until perfection/nirvana is attained.

There is a different form of reincarnation the teachings do affirm, although we do not use the tern reincarnation, but rather, "return." In the writings of the Bab, he clearly stated that, Imam Hussein, Muhammad, Ali, Fatimah, etc. had returned to the world (during the time of the Bab). However, a further perusal of his writings shows that by return of these figures he meant the return of their attributes, characteristics, spiritual qualities, not the personalities or souls. We similarly believe that the Bab and Baha'u'llah are the Qai'm, the Mahdi, the return of Elijah, the return of Christ. That is not to say that they are the return of the physical bodies or the literal return of historical personalities, it means that they are the return of the attributes, the authority, the divine office. So it is possible the the qualities and attributes are reborn (reincarnated if you like). But as for the souls, although I suppose it is theoretically possible, if it were the will of God, to return a soul to this world, the writings state this is not the case.

I would also make the following logical argument against reincarnation as commonly believed. I will assume scientific evolution without getting into arguments about it. Scientists do not know how life began, so I will assume life exists and go from there.

Life on earth began with microbes. Microbes evolved into more complex forms, giving rise to simple plants and animals. The origin point of the system of reincarnation, (assuming it is true) is therefore will microbes. We can then assume that the souls that were to progress until becoming human, were first incarnated as these microbes. Over time, through living virtues lives, these souls were reincarnated into the simpler plant and animal forms, and so on. Eventually, they progressed on, until being coming higher plants, and higher organisms, but there were yet no humans. Eventually the progressed, and the souls occupied the dinosaurs, that were in their day, possibly the pinnacle of life. There was then a mass extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs. Life then re-evolved from simpler life forms that managed to survive the extinction event. However, that required the higher souls of the dinosaurs to all return to the lower forms from which their souls had previously escaped through reincarnation. So consider some of the problems here. How does a system where souls are reincarnated after death to a higher or lower life form based upon the virtuousness or wickedness of their life, accommodate for mass extinction? Are we to suppose that all the dinosaurs, higher life forms, and even plants, that perished were all wicked and in fact, so wicked, that their souls warranted being cast all the way down the tree off life to the starting gate and were required to be reincarnated as microbes? If yes, then the microbe population, whatever it was, must have instantly grown a trillion fold, to place all of these souls formerly attached to higher animals and plants. Secondly, how does an animal (or a plant) live a wicked life? Animals and plants are confined to their natures (according to science) they must follow their instincts. Is a wicked T-rex the one that kills its prey to eat? If so, what would a righteous T-rex look like, one that refused its own meat and sustenance? And what of righteous and wicked plants? Let us know skip forward without solving these problems, to the time of man today. The human population of today, is larger than it has ever been. How do we account for this in terms of souls? Is it that the system of reincarnation is failing and that no souls escape human rebirth to nirvana, and that a bottle neck now exists? What about after the two World Wars, and the holocaust, with the deaths of countless millions of souls in the span of decades. Were human births (to account for the souls in cue for reincarnation) or perhaps animal births unaccountably high during this period of extraordinary death? What about the megadeaths of the black plague, before that? There is one last argument, that could have been the first. This planet itself had a beginning and will have an end. It had a period where there was no life, and it will have a period of no life once again. Our sun too, had a birth and will have a death. How will you can reincarnation be understood given this fact?

Cheers
 
Jul 2018
91
Tarshish, bound for Nineveh
Ok, then I will cite myself :)

If there is a progressive revelation, why gives the older revelation of Krishna more detailed information about after life and the processes within the material and spiritual worlds than the new revelation of Bahá’u’lláh?

In hinduism, there are also prophets for the current age, their teachings are according to the Vedas (so you can proof that they are true), and they have renewed the principles according to Time, Space and Circumstances, why not follow them?
Reisender,

I don't quite understand your question, I am sorry. Could you please try and rephrase it?

As to progressive revelation, I am afraid that even many Baha'is seem to misunderstand what it really means. The analogy I often hear, goes something like this: Before one can learn calculus, one must learn algebra, and so the each manifestation brings a different teaching. This can lead to the problematic (and erroneous) conclusion: which religion is kindergarten and which is the university? This is not what is meant by progressive revelation.

By revelation is not just meant the words, or sacred writ scribbled on scrolls. It is a spiritual and metaphysical force which has a transformation effect on the entire world. Therefore, in this age, the age of Baha'u'llah, the entire world has gone through and is going through a rapid transformation driven by the force of that revelation, regardless of the fact that so few of mankind have heard of it, let alone read it. Therefore, their is no kindergarten or first grade religion, there is ONE religion and all humanity past through kindergarten together, and all humanity presently shares in the adolescent stage together. So the reality of progressive revelation, is that the revelation (that spiritual energy) advances humanity by giving us the spiritual impetus and energy to move us forward. The point is not at all that the revelation changes (although in aspects it possibly does) the point is that the revelation changes/progresses US. The written words of Baha'u'llah, is only the shadow of mighty spiritual phenomenon. It is the tip of a vast and mostly hidden iceberg that constitutes the thinnest slice of what is meant by "the revelation." I hope this helps clarify the discussion, but I welcome you to rephrase your question if I have not addressed it here.

Cheers
 
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Aug 2019
8
Potsdam
But many people will changed by the words of Christ, Mohammad and other prophets. If you compare the numbers of believers in all religions, then it is evident that more people are changed by other prophets than Bahaullah. Bahaullah wrote in the Kitab I iqan that the main problem are the different confessions and theologies and that a person who searches for the Truth doesn't know which is the correct one. He/she needs a current prophet because the revelations of the old prophets were altered.
If you wrote, that the revelation changes us, we need no current revelation because it is evident that all prophets are changing the people.
 
Aug 2019
48
Berlin
And as Tony pointed out, the Bahai teachings reject reincarnation, but I would add a caveat to that rejection. It is reincarnation as commonly believed that 'Abdu'l-Baha gave a rejection to. The idea that a human soul is reborn repeatedly into this world until perfection/nirvana is attained.
Thank you. Personally, I don't like logical arguments concerning metaphysical topics, because it based on the believe that we can catch truth. Truth depends not of the better rhetoric.
My personal point concerning the reincarnation of normal people is the following:
Some Eastern religions believe, that enlightenment is the key for reincarnation. If people are not free from their own needs and ignorance, they remain in samsara. When they are born again as animals, they have no free action. Then they follow their dharma and may be reborn as humans. It makes no sense for a human being to be reborn as an animal, because in an animal life form he has no possibility at all to prove himself.
Furthermore, an animal cannot act sinfully and accumulate karma. It is identical to its dharma. Why should it be reborn as a human being and not be free directly from the cycle of births?
 
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Jul 2018
91
Tarshish, bound for Nineveh
But many people will changed by the words of Christ, Mohammad and other prophets. If you compare the numbers of believers in all religions, then it is evident that more people are changed by other prophets than Bahaullah. Bahaullah wrote in the Kitab I iqan that the main problem are the different confessions and theologies and that a person who searches for the Truth doesn't know which is the correct one. He/she needs a current prophet because the revelations of the old prophets were altered.
If you wrote, that the revelation changes us, we need no current revelation because it is evident that all prophets are changing the people.
It is not the physical words of the prophets that change the world, although, certainly studying the sacred writings can and does affect change in individuals. It is the spiritual force of the words ( a spiritual reality, not a physical one) through the Holy Spirit that changes the world. I am not speaking of the Vedas, the Qur'an, etc., I am speaking of the spiritual phenomenon that accompanied and produced them.

Baha'u'llah has said that the Law of God is like the ocean, and the children of men as fish. Consider how the ocean, to a fish, is invisible and yet it encompasses and governs every movement and every aspect of that world. So it is for us. The various world religions we see in the world, are associated with the action of the divine in the world, but really, they are only artifacts, shadows of the one true religion. Their is a relationship. Certainly we would not have them were it not for the influence of God's one true religion upon the world of men, but they are like the scattered light refractions on the earth rather than the pure concentration of the heavenly light.

The active spiritual force in this world in this day, affecting all people, cultures, nations, and religions (including and not limited to the Bahai faith) is the revelation of Baha'u'llah. His revelation is not limited to tablets and scrolls, nor its influence restricted to those who are cognitive of and sensitive to it.

Cheers
 
Aug 2019
48
Berlin
Hello Trailblazer,

concerning the question, how can we explain that humans can have different qualities, features or benefits if we don't believe in Karma:

"Lord Brahma ... created all the fourteen planetary divisions for inhabitation by the different types of living entities." (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.10.9)
"Explanation: The ... living entities, as parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord, have inherited different proportions of His original qualities, and in terms of their inheritance of these qualities, they appear as different species of life and are accommodated in different planets according to the plan of Brahma."

It's from the Puranas... the Hindu scriptures. There is a big concordance to the words of Bahaullah.
Yes, there are some concepts about the cycles of birth and death in the Upanishads, but there will ever be a first creation, a first point. The point, at which a soul comes into being in the material world. The creator, God, Brahma, or whatever name we use, gives the soul a body with different qualities of the divine.
 
Sep 2010
4,550
Normanton, Far North West Queensland
Hello Trailblazer,

concerning the question, how can we explain that humans can have different qualities, features or benefits if we don't believe in Karma:

"Lord Brahma ... created all the fourteen planetary divisions for inhabitation by the different types of living entities." (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.10.9)
"Explanation: The ... living entities, as parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord, have inherited different proportions of His original qualities, and in terms of their inheritance of these qualities, they appear as different species of life and are accommodated in different planets according to the plan of Brahma."

It's from the Puranas... the Hindu scriptures. There is a big concordance to the words of Bahaullah.
Yes, there are some concepts about the cycles of birth and death in the Upanishads, but there will ever be a first creation, a first point. The point, at which a soul comes into being in the material world. The creator, God, Brahma, or whatever name we use, gives the soul a body with different qualities of the divine.
I see that point is the Manifestation of God. In this age the Bab is known as that Point. There are major theological works on this topic available.

"I am the Primal Point from which have been generated all created things. I am the Countenance of God Whose splendor can never be obscured, the Light of God Whose radiance can never fade.(Epistle to Muhammad Shah, Selections from the Writings of the Báb)

The substance wherewith God hath created Me is not the clay out of which others have been formed. He hath conferred upon Me that which the worldly-wise can never comprehend, nor the faithful discover.(Epistle to Muhammad Shah, Selections from the Writings of the Báb)"

I see we come from the Primal Point and are given a soul at conception as to be gifted this life to learn of Love.

Regards Tony
 
Aug 2019
48
Berlin
What I meant when I spoke about the first point was the moment of the first birth of man. I was talking about the point discussed here:

Representatives of the reincarnation doctrine accuse believers who do not follow the reincarnation doctrine, that God would not be fair if he created people with different qualities. They argue that the differences between people could not be clearly explained without karma.

But the argument ignores the fact that even in reincarnation models there must be a first incarnation of man. This is the moment when the soul gets a body for the first time.

On the basis of the Srimad Bhagavatam we see that even in writings that believe in reincarnation there is a primeval moment of creation in which man is created by God with different qualities.