Another startling evidence of the proof of Metempsychosis is afforded us in the cases of “infant prodigies,” etc., which defy any other explanation. Take the cases of the manifestation of musical talent in certain children at an early age, for instance. Take the case of Mozart who at the age of four was able to not only perform difficult pieces on the piano, but actually composed original works of merit.
Not only did he manifest the highest faculty of sound and note, but also an instinctive ability to compose and arrange music, which ability was superior to that of many men who had devoted years of their life to study and practice. The laws of harmony–the science of commingling tones, was to him not the work of years, but a faculty born in him. There are many similar cases of record.
Heredity does not explain these instances of genius, for in many of the recorded cases, none of the ancestors manifested any talent or ability. From whom did Shakespeare inherit his genius? From whom did Plato derive his wonderful thought? From what ancestor did Abraham Lincoln inherit his character–coming from a line of plain, poor, hard-working people, and possessing all of the physical attributes and characteristics of his ancestry, he, nevertheless, manifested a mind which placed him among the foremost of his race. Does not Metempsychosis give us the only possible key? Is it not reasonable to suppose that the abilities displayed by the infant genius, and the talent of the men who spring from obscure origin, have their root in the experiences of a previous life?
Then take the cases of children at school. Children of even the same family manifest different degrees of receptivity to certain studies. Some “take to” one thing, and some to another. Some find arithmetic so easy that they almost absorb it intuitively, while grammar is a hard task for them; while their brothers and sisters find the exact reverse to be true. How many have found that when they would take up some new study, it is almost like recalling something already learned. Do you student, who are now reading these lines take your own case. Does not all this Teaching seem to you like the repetition of some lesson learned long ago? Is it not like remembering something already learned, rather than the learning of some new truth? Were you not attracted to these studies, in the first place, by a feeling that you had known it all before, somewhere, somehow? Does not your mind leap ahead of the lesson, and see what is coming next, long before you have turned the pages? These inward evidences of the fact of pre-existence are so strong that they outweigh the most skillful appeal to the intellect.
This intuitive knowledge of the truth of Metempsychosis explains why the belief in it is sweeping over the Western world at such a rapid rate. The mere mention of the idea, to many people who have never before heard of it, is sufficient to cause them to recognize its truth. And though they may not understand the laws of its operation, yet deep down in their consciousness they find a something that convinces them of its truth. In spite of the objections that are urged against the teaching, it is making steady headway and progress.
The progress of the belief in Metempsychosis however has been greatly retarded by the many theories and dogmas attached to it by some of the teachers. Not to speak of the degrading ideas of re-birth into the bodies of animals, etc., which have polluted the spring of Truth, there are to be found many other features of teaching and theory which repel people, and cause them to try to kill out of the minds the glimmer of Truth that they find there. The human soul instinctively revolts against the teaching that it is bound to the wheel or re-birth, willy-nilly, compulsorily, without choice–compelled to live in body after body until great cycles are past. The soul, perhaps already sick of earth-life, and longing to pass on to higher planes of existence, fights against such teaching. And it does well to so fight, for the truth is nearer to its hearts desire.
There is no soul longing that does not carry with it the prophecy of its own fulfillment, and so it is in this case. It is true that the soul of one filled with earthly desires, and craving for material things, will by the very force of those desires be drawn back to earthly re-birth in a body best suited for the gratification of the longings, desires and cravings that it finds within itself. But it is likewise true that the earth-sick soul is not compiled to return unless its own desires bring it back. Desire is the key note of Metempsychosis, although up to a certain stage it may operate unconsciously. The sum of the desires of a soul regulate its re-birth. Those who have become sickened of all that earth has for them at this stage of its evolution, may, and do, rest in states of existence far removed from earth scenes, until the race progresses far enough to afford the resting soul the opportunities and environments that it so earnestly craves.
And more than this, when Man reaches a certain stage, the process of Metempsychosis no longer remains unconscious, but he enters into a conscious knowing, willing passage from one life to another. And when that stage is reached a full memory of the past lives is unfolded, and life to such a soul becomes as the life of a day, succeeded by a night, and then the awakening into another day with full knowledge and recollection of the events of the day before. We are in merely the babyhood of the race now, and the fuller life of the conscious soul lies before us. Yea, even now it is being entered into by the few of the race that have progressed sufficiently far on the Path.
And you, student, who feel within you that craving for conscious re-birth and future spiritual evolution, and the distaste for, and horror of, a further blind, unconscious re-plunge into the earth-life–know you, that this longing on your part is but an indication of what lies before you. It is the strange, subtle, awakening of the nature within you, which betokens the higher state. Just as the young person feels within his or her body strange emotions, longings and stirrings, which betoken the passage from the child state into that of manhood or womanhood, so do these spiritual longings, desires and cravings betoken the passage from unconscious re-birth into conscious knowing Metempsychosis, when you have passed from the scene of your present labors.
In our next lesson we shall consider the history of the race as its souls passed on from the savage tribes to the man of to-day. It is the history of the race–the history of the individual–your own history, student–the record of that through which you have passed to become that which you now are. And as you have climbed step after step up the arduous path, so will you, hereafter climb still higher paths, but no longer in unconsciousness, but with your spiritual eyes wide open to the Rays of Truth pouring forth from the great Central Sun–the Absolute.
Concluding this lesson, we would quote two selections from the American poet, Whitman, whose strange genius was undoubtedly the result of vague memories springing from a previous life, and which burst into utterances often not more than half understood by the mind that gave them birth. Whitman says:
“Facing West from California’s shores,
Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound,
A, a child, very old, over waves, toward the house of
maternity, the land of migrations, look afar,
Look off the shores of my Western sea, the circle
For starting Westward from Hindustan, from the
vales of Kashmere,
From Asia, from the north, from God, the sage, and
From the south, from the flowery peninsulas and
Long having wandered since, round the earth having
Now I face home again, very pleased and joyous.
(But where is what I started for so long ago?
And why is it yet unfound?)”
* * * * *
“I know I am deathless.
I know that this orbit of mine cannot be swept by a
And whether I come to my own to-day, or in ten
thousand or ten million years,
I can cheerfully take it now or with equal cheerfulness
* * * * *
“As to you, Life, I reckon you are the leavings of
No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before.”
* * * * *
“Births have brought us richness and variety, and
other births have brought us richness and variety.”
* * * * *
And this quotation from the American poet N.P. Willis:
“But what a mystery this erring mind?
It wakes within a frame of various powers
A stranger in a new and wondrous world.
It brings an instinct from some other sphere,
For its fine senses are familiar all,
And with the unconscious habit of a dream
It calls and they obey. The priceless sight
Springs to its curious organ, and the ear
Learns strangely to detect the articulate air
In its unseen divisions, and the tongue
Gets its miraculous lesson with the rest,
And in the midst of an obedient throng
Of well trained ministers, the mind goes forth
To search the secrets of its new found home.”