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Reincarnation/Reincarnation and its conditions


It has been argued that reincarnation is discredited when multiple people claim that they are the same reincarnation of some famous figure of the past. For instance, two or more people living today  claiming to have been one of these: Napoleon, Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, George Washington, Alexander the Great, Aristotle, Leonardo da Vinci, or even religious saints, apostles, and even Jesus Christ, etc. However, if only one person claims to be  the reincarnation of some remote and unknown figure, then it makes belief in reincarnation more palpable to the community disposed on believing such things.
I have a problem with part of this,  and agree only to a point, because, on one hand it's impossible that many souls could all have been that same famous person, but on the other surely these famous figures must also reincarnate like the rest of us, or if they don't, then why not? But I always wonder that perhaps the thing that really brings much disbelief and discredit  about reincarnation, are not these fantastic personal accounts of having been very famous characters of history without any credible and tangible proofs, but rather the fault of the so called experts, and their accounts of the afterlife.

And so, preferring to believe that these historical figures must also reincarnate, if reincarnation is possible, I'm asking who could they possibly be now, and where are they? Taking an historical figure from the Bible as an example, like Moses, how many times could he have reincarnated since having been Moses, and what sort of person could he have been in those subsequent lives, or better still, who he may have been before he was Moses? Or let us take some other figure, since it can argued that Moses may have not been a real person. How about Virgil, the great Roman writer of the first century BC, since not many would challenge that he ever existed, and we can rest assured that he was a real historical figure. Would Virgil's fame and special skills still follow him in their future reincarnations, and who he may have been before Virgil? But what if our previous life traits, skills, advantages, and personalities are not carried forth into our next reincarnations, how would one go about explaining strong feelings one has about having been a famous figure in the past? Therefore it is not necessarily, impossible, nor untrue that of all those claiming to have feelings, or vaguely recalling a past life of having been an historical figure, at least one of the claimants has true feelings, and realistically, if reincarnation is a reality, was really what is claimed.

Now comes the difficult part, having others believe you. Proof, and what others accept as being such, especially by the experts in the field. But, complicating this matter further, is that there are some conflicting opinions coming fron the experts on reincarnation when it comes to this very fact, because while discounting the "logic" generated from the criteria accepted by the majority, some contradict this very logic by not making the criteria standard, since they accept it at times, while rejecting it at other times, applying it indiscriminetly, as it suits their position. For instance, some claim that in the reincarnation process, strong physical resemblance, such as facial features, is considered a must, as also similar talents, which are supposed to be good indications of a sure reincarnation case, such as general George Patton recalling and vividly seeing the strategy in famous battles of the past, therefore believing that he had been a famous military leader in a previous reincarnation, too. Or a person who happens to be a discrete painter today, therefore having feelings of having been a famous painter in a previous life, such as Giotto, or Monet. In other words, many reincarnation "experts" state that the soul tends to reincarnate with previous acquired experience/talent and knowledge, carrying them forward into their subsequent incarnations. But, for how many incarnations; 1, 2, 5, 20, or more? And how does this carrying over coincides and serves the purpose of learning other life lessons? And how does the justice of karma play in the equation, if one has to be experiencing the opposite? Karma, according to the experts, dictates that the soul who was  a leader in one life, then a follower in the next, or, if one was a philosopher in one, then an ignoramus in the next, etc.  Even if it can be argued that more than one lifetime is necessary for the lessons, at some point one has to  experience the opposite. Therefore, physical beauty can only be experienced after ugliness, and vice versa, for physical characteristics, and so on. Therefore, I do not see why the dogma and emphasis that certain experts place on requiring or specifying physical resemblance in previous reincarnation as proof, and on the same principle, requiring the other characteristics in habits, talents, and so on , as proof when considering the necessary points of evidence for previous lives. In fact, perhaps the opposite may even be considered and asserted by the criteria based on karma and the reason for reincarnation (learning), where similarities from a previous life may be used as an excluding point, and a proof against reincarnation, rather than proof for, especially since we have cases of physical resemblances  not related to reincarnation. Case in point; just as an example, Bruce Willis, the actor, looks like the twin of Gen MacArthur, yet both were alive at the same time, and so being one point proving that physical resemblances do not mean proof for reincarnation. Also consider that at any one time, it is said that for each of us there are seven others (unrelated family ties) which look alike at the same time, and many more times seven, if we include persons of the past.

But my point was, and to which my questions relate to, is: how can someone today, show and make others believe that they were some famous figure in the remote past? What kind of evidence can be presented when one goes back hundreds or thousands of years? It is clear that no such evidence can be provided, and the only thing that can be offered are feelings, and remote and fuzzy memory, and sensations. But who would be convinced by that?
Would you, as an expert in reincarnation, be convinced? Can someone, who comes to you today, claiming to have been King Herod, the one who handed, on a silver platter, the head of John the Baptist to his step daughter for her dance, convince you by just telling you that he has strong sentiments and feelings about having been king Herod when watching the movie, the 1960s version of the King of Kings, or reading the New Testament? Especially if, today, that soul is in a pauper's body, is homely looking, somewhat dim witted, and no king at all, by any standards? Or better still, someone claiming to have been Jesus Christ, because he was strongly moved when he saw the movie, and heard the musical score of, Jesus Christ Superstar?

Sometimes, it's like the lyrics of one of Elvis' songs; "All I have are words to take your heart away," and perhaps some people only have feelings and only their word for it, to make us believe them by faith only. I'm no expert in reincarnation, but I do tend to believe in it perhaps because it makes me feel better about life, and my sentiments wishing that it be true, so as to think possible that we do not perish, but continue on after death, much like most of us, I think. I just find it all so amusing at times, especially when what we hear from the popular and frontline people is so inconsistent and illogical.

That brings me to the next question; Is Karma a biased plan? Because it seems that we keep paying for a previous life's mistakes, and we live today's life to make amends for the previous one, but that also we apparently make more mistakes in the process of amending pervious ones. Therefore the problem and solution for us must have been at our very first incarnation, as the  trick was for us to have done correctly from the start. Can we safely assume that all who reincarnate are first-time offenders? And whose fault is that anyway? Can we souls be born all-knowing to begin with? Of course not! And if we did, surely we would already know everything, and so what is there to learn? And if we were not born all-knowing, then we can easily assume that we must have gone through these lessons a billion times a trillion, times a quadrillion, times infinity. Is the human soul so stupid that it needs an eternity to learn the lessons of physical life? What is life anyway, an eternity of life lessons? And if so, then, when, and how, do we stop learning and place those lessons in actual practice? And if we learn lessons in our physical world, then logic asks, for what purpose? Must not the answer be, to put them into use in our spiritual world? Then, is it not reasonable to believe that life in the astral must have the similar conditions, rules, laws, and scope, and be much like these lives we incarnate and reincarnate into this physical world of ours, except perhaps that life there is permanent for the individual soul who repeatedly comes into the physical world?
As an amateur, Respectfully,


Hi Tim,
This was way too long to be replied to point by point.

Those religious and spiritual paths that believe in reincarnation vary radically when it comes to their understanding of it.

Many many people feel incomplete in their lives and seek to find meaning by identifying with some historic figure. This makes logical sense psychologically but does nothing to establish nor disprove rebirth.

In Judaism alone there are many different ideas about what reincarnation is and how it works. We usually refer to it as gilgul neshamot, the rolling of souls.

Some believe there is a spark, a consciousness, that passes on rather than an actual being like we normally conceive a soul to be. This type would answer why many people would have a strong condition to the past great figures. Perhaps a "spark" of those personalities continues to exist as inspiration within these people.

Others, believe the individual souls transmigrate from one body to another as is generally conceived. In such a case, the connection would logically be psychological only.

Other Jews, including me, believe that since our rabbinic authorities say that each Jewish soul was personally present at Mount Sinai and personally accepted the Torah, it is conceivable that each of us have been reborn in many if not all generations. In other words, that most of the Jews who have ever lived continue to live today. Where non-Jews would fit into this concept could be debated, however I would assume that the same applies to them.

The essential reason for rebirth, in my opinion, is twofold.

1. To enable the soul to advance towards higher consciousness.
2. Being created, we are eternal beings and will never cease to exist without a divine decree. According to our beliefs, such commands will very seldom if ever be issued.

While most people do not remember their past lives -- I remember one series of events from my most recent life in detail and snatches that I believe are from others -- such members are not needed.The Soul or Self learns it essential lessons and having learned them they remain in the consciousness. Hence the differences and unique traits we all have.

I hope this is useful to you.


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Shlomo Phillips


I invite your questions about reincarnation, especially from a religious perspective. What the various religions teach on this subject, possible religious significances of past life memories and so on. How does reincarnation, transmigration and the laws of karma, dharma and marga work. Understanding the biblical gilgul neshamot (the cyclical rolling of souls) as accepted by many Jews. Methods of drawing out your past life memories without resorting to regression therapies that can be misdirections. Sometimes what we need most is someone who will believe us and who will listen as we process. I'm all ears. You can share with me.


Since 1969 I've had a recurring dream/memory of my past life that has been confirmed to my satisfaction. This has led me to explore this topic on my own, with fellow seekers, with teachers of various traditions East and West, and at university. My past life experiences have lead me to formally convert to Judaism, the religion of my past life. I am absolutely convinced that reincarnation is part of God's plan for global restitution and tikun (soul correction).

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41 plus years of seeking God.
Three Christian ordinations (Baptist, Calvary Chapel and an independent Christian Church), an MA in Religious Studies, an ordination in Ministry and Spiritual Counseling from the Interfaith Seminaries, 40 plus years of sincere seeking/practice and 17 years answering questions and posting studies online. Author of and other websites and blogs.

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