Reincarnation

Feb 2019
253
Chicago
Yes, time is often a problem.

Concerning reincarnation:

Helmuth von Glasenapp, a German indologist and religious scholar, wrote in his book "The five major religions", that the belief of reincarnation cannot be found in the early Vedic scriptures., e.g. Rig Veda or others. This belief of reincarnation can be found earliest in the Upanishads in 800 B.C.
That's just more ignorance from a Western indologist who never really studied Hinduism the proper way. The truth is that Upanishads are part of the Vedas. Each Veda is divided into four parts - Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyaka and Upanishad. If you don't know about Hinduism, at least stop repeating the ignorance of the ignorant.
 
Feb 2019
253
Chicago
Regarding the soul, I only go with what was revealed by Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha or Shoghi Effendi. I do not believe that the revelations from past religions exist in their original form. Moreover, they are subject to all kinds of distortions that enter the picture whenever humans become involved with scriptures.

“This is the Day when the loved ones of God should keep their eyes directed towards His Manifestation, and fasten them upon whatsoever that Manifestation may be pleased to reveal. Certain traditions of bygone ages rest on no foundations whatever, while the notions entertained by past generations, and which they have recorded in their books, have, for the most part, been influenced by the desires of a corrupt inclination. Thou dost witness how most of the commentaries and interpretations of the words of God, now current amongst men, are devoid of truth. Their falsity hath, in some cases, been exposed when the intervening veils were rent asunder. They themselves have acknowledged their failure in apprehending the meaning of any of the words of God.”
Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 171-172


I also do not think there is any need to look to revelations from past religions because the former Dispensations have been unconditionally abrogated by the Revelation of Baha'u'llah. Of course, I am a Baha'i, so I already have my work cut out for me, so I have no time to study older religions. There are many people who have no religion and no belief in God so it is a better use of my time to share my beliefs with them as opposed to trying to become an expert on religions of the past whose Dispensations have been abrogated.

“In conclusion of this theme, I feel, it should be stated that the Revelation identified with Bahá’u’lláh abrogates unconditionally all the Dispensations gone before it, upholds uncompromisingly the eternal verities they enshrine, recognizes firmly and absolutely the Divine origin of their Authors, preserves inviolate the sanctity of their authentic Scriptures, disclaims any intention of lowering the status of their Founders or of abating the spiritual ideals they inculcate, clarifies and correlates their functions, reaffirms their common, their unchangeable and fundamental purpose, reconciles their seemingly divergent claims and doctrines, readily and gratefully recognizes their respective contributions to the gradual unfoldment of one Divine Revelation, unhesitatingly acknowledges itself to be but one link in the chain of continually progressive Revelations, supplements their teachings with such laws and ordinances as conform to the imperative needs, and are dictated by the growing receptivity, of a fast evolving and constantly changing society, and proclaims its readiness and ability to fuse and incorporate the contending sects and factions into which they have fallen into a universal Fellowship, functioning within the framework, and in accordance with the precepts, of a divinely conceived, a world-unifying, a world-redeeming Order.” God Passes By, p. 100
The only thing that seems to be abrograted here is the ability to reason and investigate scientifically
 
Aug 2019
86
Berlin
If a religion teaches that God is fair, loving and kind but cannot explain why God is so unfair that one soul is born in a poor family to starve to death while another in a rich family to have more food than is necessary, then there is something missing in that religion and such a religion is the Bahai faith. Thanks to the ignorance of leaders like Effendi.
Do you believe that god has the responsibility for social-economical differences more than humans? The reason for these problems can be found in Egoism of human species. In the terms of Hinduism, because of people don't practice a sattvic lifestyle and follow the moods of passion and ignorance, there are social-economical differences. If your parents live in an environment that have bad circumstances, then you will be born in these circumstances and have some of the mentioned problems.
In the Vaishnava tradition people believe that the three moods of nature are the materialistic (lower) energy of God. Often the argument is, that if people follow these energies, they are also followers of God, because these energies are part of Gods energies. You could also ask what is it for a picture of God to believe that the moods, that creates environments that are not very fair, are part of God and a way to following God?
In this sense, you you criticize many theologies and belief systems.
But the solution is very clear. People have to work on their character and their needs by following the standards of their scriptures. You can find this way in every traditions. And that is the solution to these problems, not conceptions about philosophical questions.
 
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Aug 2019
86
Berlin
That's just more ignorance from a Western indologist who never really studied Hinduism the proper way. The truth is that Upanishads are part of the Vedas. Each Veda is divided into four parts - Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyaka and Upanishad. If you don't know about Hinduism, at least stop repeating the ignorance of the ignorant.
I don't think it is ignorance to take a look in the earliest scriptures and to realize, that there is a development in the belief system.
Yes, Veda means knowledge and every scripture can be accepted as part of the Vedas if they is written in the mind of the Vedas, also scriptures that are not part of the original Vedas. It's not my argument, but you can find this argument in the book Readings in Vedic Literature: The Tradition Speaks for Itself written by Satsvarupa dasa Goswami.
The earliest vedic scripts are not the Upanisad, but Rigveda-Samhita, Samaveda-Samhita, Yajurveda-Samhita and Atharvaveda-Samhita. The Upanishads came later.
Yes, there is a long verbal tradition, but how can we proof this verbal tradition? The only thing we have for our investigations is what is written down. You cannot say that reincarnation is part of the original Vedic revelation if there cannot be found any proof in the scriptures. Yes, it is the true that reincarnation is part of Hindu belief system since the Upanishads that was written down, but earlier? You cannot know this for sure.
 
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Feb 2019
253
Chicago
Do you believe that god has the responsibility for social-economical differences more than humans? The reason for these problems can be found in Egoism of human species. In the terms of Hinduism, because of people don't practice a sattvic lifestyle and follow the moods of passion and ignorance, there are social-economical differences. If your parents live in an environment that have bad circumstances, then you will be born in these circumstances and have some of the mentioned problems.
In the Vaishnava tradition people believe that the three moods of nature are the materialistic (lower) energy of God. Often the argument is, that if people follow these energies, they are also followers of God, because these energies are part of Gods energies. You could also ask what is it for a picture of God to believe that the moods, that creates environments that are not very fair, are part of God and a way to following God?
In this sense, you you criticize many theologies and belief systems.
But the solution is very clear. People have to work on their character and their needs by following the standards of their scriptures. You can find this way in every traditions. And that is the solution to these problems, not conceptions about philosophical questions.
You are missing the point I am making. I am not suggesting that God is responsible for social-economic differences. All I am saying is that if God is fair to everyone and the soul had no previous incarnations, it makes no sense for God to have the soul take birth in poor family where it will have to starve to death. How do you explain some babies born with congenital medical conditions dying in a few hours after birth. Since the soul did not accomplish anything, why was it born. Where does it go after death. Since it did not do anything good it cannot go to heaven and since it did not do anything bad, it cannot go to hell either. So where does it go. Try answering these questions.
 
Feb 2019
253
Chicago
I don't think it is ignorance to take a look in the earliest scriptures and to realize, that there is a development in the belief system.
Yes, Veda means knowledge and every scripture can be accepted as part of the Vedas if they is written in the mind of the Vedas, also scriptures that are not part of the original Vedas. It's not my argument, but you can find this argument in the book Readings in Vedic Literature: The Tradition Speaks for Itself written by Satsvarupa dasa Goswami.
The earliest vedic scripts are not the Upanisad, but Rigveda-Samhita, Samaveda-Samhita, Yajurveda-Samhita and Atharvaveda-Samhita. The Upanishads came later.
Yes, there is a long verbal tradition, but how can we proof this verbal tradition? The only thing we have for our investigations is what is written down. You cannot say that reincarnation is part of the original Vedic revelation if there cannot be found any proof in the scriptures. Yes, it is the true that reincarnation is part of Hindu belief system since the Upanishads that was written down, but earlier? You cannot know this for sure.
Satsvarupa dasa Goswami is no expert on Hinduism. He is a western convert to the Hare Krishna movement that is focused on rituals, song and dance to express devotion to God. They are not known for their expertise on Vedas. Their main focus is on the Gita. You don't seem to understand how the Vedas are structured.

The four parts of each Veda

SAMHITA – A collection of hymns and mantras of each Veda
BRAHMANA – The second of the four parts of each Veda, brahmanas are rules for pandits, priests with instructions for rituals, sacrifices and yagyas addressed to deities. They contain very interesting and inspiring stories, deep philosophical discussions and details about Yagyas.
ARANAKAS - (derived from the word aranya = forest) "Forest debates". Aranyakas are the third part of each of the Vedas. These texts contain esoteric, mystical knowledge, mostly focused on the inner meaning and effect of the Vedic ceremonies.
UPANISHADS - Upanishad literally means "To sit at the Master's feet and listen to His words or teachings." The Upanishads form the philosophical and spiritual essence of the Vedas and transmit the highest knowledge about God, the soul and the world, as well as about the importance of ceremonies and sacrifices. They are mostly written in the form of a conversation between a disciple and his teacher (questions and answers).

As you can see, the Upanishads are part of the Vedas. They contain the most important knowledge of the Vedas. They are not separate from the Vedas but are so significant that they are treated as scriptures in themselves. Technically the Bhagavad Gita is part of Mahabharata but it is treated as a separate scripture since is contains the essence of all other Hindu scriptures.
 
Aug 2019
86
Berlin
He is a western convert to the Hare Krishna movement that is focused on rituals, song and dance to express devotion to God. (...) Their main focus is on the Gita.
The Hare Krishna movement has foundation in the movement of Caitanya Mahaprabhu in India. Neither is the main focus on the Bhagavad-gita (they use all books since Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Bhagavad-gita is only the starting point), nor is "rituals, song and dance" representing the Bhakti-yoga movement really in the deep. Such a inappropriate simplification seems not to be very qualified and is not compatible with the assessment of most religious scholars and indologist. Most members of the Hare Krishna movement came from India and ISKCON is very respected there, so they have all no knowledge about the Veda? Interesting. In the case, that the Vedic tradition is really 5000 years old, why there is noting written in the earliest Vedic scriptures about a belief in the reincarnation and why we found it only in the Upanishads, which came in the year 800 b.c. into being as a written scripture? Practical, we see that all religions make a development over centuries and centuries, that there are speculations and different teachings. But all believe that they are authentically. Also interesting point: You said the movement of Caitanya Mahaprabhu is not really known for their expertise on Vedas and their focus is the Bhagavad-gita. And then, in the last part of your statement you said, that the Bhagavad-gita "contains the essence of all other Hindu scriptures." I wanted not attack your believe system, what I wanted so say was that I see no evidence to believe that reincarnation is part of the belief during the time of the earliest Vedic scriptures, because there is no historical proof for that. It seems to be the result of a religious development over the centuries.
 
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Jul 2017
541
Olympia, WA, USA
Effendi does not know what he is talking about. If he did, he would have addressed the questions I have raised in post # 19 which have been raised by people in every religion and place. If a religion teaches that God is fair, loving and kind but cannot explain why God is so unfair that one soul is born in a poor family to starve to death while another in a rich family to have more food than is necessary, then there is something missing in that religion and such a religion is the Bahai faith. Thanks to the ignorance of leaders like Effendi.
First off, it is not fair to blame Shoghi Effendi for God being unfair. The buck stops with God so God is responsible for being fair. If all we look at is this material world existence, all we could conclude is that God is not fair, and not loving or kind to everyone. Free will choices people make do not account for people who make the right choices and struggle their entire lives yet still suffer. That does not seem fair.

You said: “Since the soul is not a physical being, you cannot easily verify the soul creating a new body for itself unless you are spiritually very advanced and are able to operate spiritual laws normally unknown to the common man. But you can logically come to some sensible conclusions about reincarnation on the basis of the events happening in the physical world that are verifiable.”

No, you cannot logically come to the conclusion that reincarnation exists. There is nothing logical about having to come back to this world to advance spiritually since the spiritual world provides MORE opportunities to advance spiritually than THIS world ever could.

You said: “Since God is fair to everyone and loves everyone equally it can be reasoned that God will provide equal opportunities and abilities for everyone.”

There is no reason to believe that God is fair to everyone and loves everyone equally or that God will provide equal opportunities in this world. Obviously God doesn’t. That could be evidence that God is not just and fair and that God does not love everyone equally. That is ALL that it is evidence for. It is also evidence that God does not care about how much some people suffer, and all that is offered by any religion is (a) recompense in the afterlife, or (b) a promise that they can come back to this earthly torture chamber to do it all over again. I am opting for (a) although I do not think it excuses God for creating this material world in the first place, knowing that people would suffer, some much more than others. But God cannot make that right by sending people back here to do it all over again, that only makes the situation worse and more unjust. All we can do is hope that Baha’u’llah is right and there is something in the spiritual world far better than this world.

“O My servants! Sorrow not if, in these days and on this earthly plane, things contrary to your wishes have been ordained and manifested by God, for days of blissful joy, of heavenly delight, are assuredly in store for you. Worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, will be unveiled to your eyes. You are destined by Him, in this world and hereafter, to partake of their benefits, to share in their joys, and to obtain a portion of their sustaining grace. To each and every one of them you will, no doubt, attain.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 329

You said: “I think we should first try to understand how God is working in the physical world before we venture in to explaining God's workings in the spiritual world. At least the events in the physical world can be verified. Only the law of karma and reincarnation can provide answers to the questions I have raised.”

No, it is not true that ONLY the law of karma and reincarnation can provide answers to the questions you have raised. The Baha’i Faith also provides answers (as highlighted below in bold type).

17. We know from His Teachings that reincarnation does not exist. We come on to this planet once only. Our life here is like the baby in the womb of its mother, which develops in that state what is necessary for its entire life after it is born. The same is true of us. Spiritually we must develop here what we will require for the life after death. In that future life, God, through His mercy, can help us to evolve characteristics which we neglected to develop while we were on this earthly plane. It is not necessary for us to come back and be born into another body in order to advance spiritually and grow closer to God.
This is the Bahá’í Teaching, and this is what the followers of Bahá’u’lláh must accept, regardless of what experiences other people may feel they have. (22 April 1954)

That still does not address the inequality of opportunities in THIS world, so I do not necessarily accept it as an explanation as to why some people have more opportunities to progress in this world and others don’t, why some people suffer their entire lives, through no fault of their own, while others suffer hardly at all. However, the solution to this is not for God to send them back to this Earth again to do it over again, because that would be the worst possible punishment imaginable. This world is a storehouse of suffering. I want nothing more than to be freed from it, because I know the spiritual world exists. However, I have work left to do here so I am not in a hurry to leave.
 
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Jul 2017
541
Olympia, WA, USA
The only thing that seems to be abrograted here is the ability to reason and investigate scientifically
I have the ability to reason and that is why I believe in Progressive Revelation.
It is obvious that the older religions do not have what humanity needs in this new age. If they did, the world would not be in the mess it is now in.

“The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.
We can well perceive how the whole human race is encompassed with great, with incalculable afflictions. We see it languishing on its bed of sickness, sore-tried and disillusioned. They that are intoxicated by self-conceit have interposed themselves between it and the Divine and infallible Physician. Witness how they have entangled all men, themselves included, in the mesh of their devices. They can neither discover the cause of the disease, nor have they any knowledge of the remedy. They have conceived the straight to be crooked, and have imagined their friend an enemy.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 213

Science is a separate domain from religion. Science cannot prove anything about religion.

I am sorry you do not like the reality that the older dispensations have been abrogated by the Revelation of Baha’u’llah, but there is nothing you can do about it since it was the Will of God.
 
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Aug 2019
86
Berlin
You are missing the point I am making. I am not suggesting that God is responsible for social-economic differences. All I am saying is that if God is fair to everyone and the soul had no previous incarnations, it makes no sense for God to have the soul take birth in poor family where it will have to starve to death.
Do you believe that a poor family is not a good place for a soul? Very materialistic. The reason for a soul take birth in a poor family is not God, but biological processes of male and female. And, do you really believe it will be fair to poor families if God will destroy their ability to have children?

How do you explain some babies born with congenital medical conditions dying in a few hours after birth. Since the soul did not accomplish anything, why was it born.
The answer is the same like above. If a new born child has congenital medical conditions and dies after a few hours after birth, then congenital medical conditions are the reason for that. There can be many reasons for such congenital medical conditions; one reason may be the behavior of the parents during the time before birth, maybe the environment, some medical problems, DNA, whatever. These things affects the body, not the soul.