The doctrine of Reincarnation alone can explain satisfactorily and rationally the diversities among children and the reason of the many instances of uncommon powers and genius displayed in childhood. The theory of heredity has up to this time failed to give any good reason for them.
Why is it that Pascal, when twelve years old, succeeded in discovering for himself the greater part of plane geometry. How could the shepherd Mangiamelo, when five years old, calculate like an arithmetical machine. Think of the child Zerah Colburn: when he was under eight years of age he could solve the most tremendous mathematical problems instantly and without using any figures. “In one instance he took the number 8 and raised it up progressively to the sixteenth power and instantly mentioned the result which contained 15 figures–28l,474,976,710,656.” Of course he was right in every figure. When asked the square root of numbers consisting of six figures, he would state the result instantly with perfect accuracy. He used to give the cube root of numbers in the hundreds of millions the very moment when it was asked. Somebody asked him once how many minutes there were in 48 years, he answered, 25,288,800.
Mozart, the great musician, wrote a sonata when he was four years old and an opera in his eighth year. Theresa Milanolla played the violin with such skill that many people thought that she must have played before her birth. There are many such instances of wonderful powers exhibited by artists and painters when they were quite young. SankarÃ¢charya, the great commentator of the Vedanta philosophy, finished his commentary when he was twelve years old. How can such cases be explained by the theory of hereditary transmission? Many of you have heard of the wonderful musical talents of Blind Tom. This blind negro slave was born on his master’s plantation and was brought up as a typical negro. He received no training in music or in any other line.
One day when his master’s family were at dinner he happened to come into his master’s parlor and displayed his marvelous musical power for the first time by playing on his master’s piano. Afterwards he was exhibited in different states of this country. Physically he was nothing but a typical negro. His intellect was very poor, but in music he was a master. His musical talents were so great that he composed music for himself and played his own compositions. Sometimes after hearing a new piece of rapid music once, he could reproduce it note for note.
Where did he get all these powers? From whom did he inherit them? His parents perhaps never heard of a piano. He never had a lesson in his life, and he could not have understood even if he had had any. Not long ago I saw a girl of about six years, who played the piano most beautifully and who could reproduce the most difficult music after hearing it once. It seems to me that she must have played the piano in her previous incarnation. This is the only explanation that we can give.
Does heredity explain such cases? No. These illustrations are sufficient to disprove the theory of “cumulative heredity”. “Cumulative” means gradualness. The believers in this theory say that a genius is the result of cumulative heredity, that is, it presents itself by degrees from less genius to greater and still greater and so on. In the whole history of the genealogy of geniuses, like Homer, Plato, Shakespeare, Goethe, Raphael, there never was in their families almost Plato, almost Shakespeare, or almost Goethe. Neither is it possible to trace the extraordinary powers of any of these back to any member of their ancestral line. Therefore we can say that no other theory than that of Reincarnation can explain satisfactorily the causes which produce geniuses and prodigies in this world.
Those who accept the truth of Reincarnation do not blame their parents for their poor talents, or for not possessing extraordinary powers, but they remain content with their own lot, knowing that they have made themselves as they are to-day by their own thoughts and deeds in their previous incarnations. They understand the meaning of the saying “what thou sowest thou must reap,” and always endeavor to mould their future by better thoughts and better deeds. They explain all the inequalities and diversities of life and character by the law of “Karma,” which governs the process of Reincarnation as well as the gradual evolution of the germs of life from lower to higher stages of existence.