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Ekkirala Bharadwaja
Magazine : Matrusri English
Language : English
Volume Number : 2
Month : January
Issue Number : 10
Year : 1968

FROM the discussion in the previous issue, we found that there are two distinct levels of being: the level of perfect knowledge and the level of ignorance. The former can be characterised by transcendence of the the barriers of breath, Time, and the barrier of within and without’. The latter is represented by just the opposite qualities. To the former category belong Incarnations of God, Perfect Masters, Jnanis. To the latter belong the rest of mankind, including those who have well-advanced along the path to perfection (but who have not become one with the Real. Most of them have very great psychic powers or Siddhis and can perform miracles. Yet they are not perfect. They are ignorant. “There are no levels or stages of Knowledge,” said Mother once, “Either there is knowledge or there is ignorance; there is no via-media”. Bhagavan Ramana also made a similar remark. So said Kabir. Common people mistake siddhis to be a sure sign of knowledge or Godhead. Bhagavan’s talk always suggested two types of Siddhis: the Siddhis of the lesser ones who perform them as a special act of their will; and the siddhis which manifest of their own accord in the presence of a Juani who keeps silent, and who ever abides in the Self. The minor powers involve will in their manifestation; the highest miracles happen directly as the will of the Father in Heaven. the distinction roughly corresponds to that which Christians and Moslems observe between the Devil inspired acts and those of God, between black and white magic..

The ability to know one’s previous births is one of the minor siddhis. It is mentioned in the Patanjali Yoga Sutras. This is to be considered a minor siddhi because it is based upon the illusion of Time-Past, Present and Future-and the illusion of the reality of the ego. Thus this knowledge is a sign of ignorance of the Real. At the same time, the Jnani’s realisation that the Self is ever present and Eternal that death and birth are only illusions. is quite different from the blank rejection of the idea of rebirth by the layman. The difference is as wide as it can be. The realisation of the Juani is accompanied by transcendence over the barriers of Time, self and personal desires, whereas the layman’s denial is an expression of the total absence of the spirit of inquiry, a certain want of an open mind.

The three levels of being-the layman, the sadhaka with the lesser siddhis, and the Juani or the one of perfect knowledge-view the Reality in three different ways. The layman rejects everything that he cannot perceive, including the idea of rebirth because he is incapable of perceiving anything that his senses do not fel The Jnani rejects it because he does not feel them to be separate from the Self which he is. But while birth and death are real to the layman, they do not exist to the Jnani. The sadhaka who is above the level of the layman knows and perceives more of existence than the common mar. but has not realized his oneness with all things. To him birth, death and rebirth are all equally real. Thus the answer to the question of rebirth is to be given in three different ways accord ing to the three levels of perception. Whatever has been said so far in this essay is contained in this verse from the Bhagavadgita

Aabrahma bhuvanaallokaah Punaraacrittino Arjuna

 Maamupetya thu Kantheya Punarjanma navidyate:

(Ch VIII:6)

Arjuna, all the worlds (or levels of beings) from Brahmaloka downwards are subject to appearance and disappearance. But O son of Kunti, on attaining Me there is no rebirth. (For I am beyond Time and regions like Brahmaloka. Leing subject to time are impermanent)”.

The replies of Mother to the queries concerning this question also convey the same idea when taken together. On certain occasions she explained with an analogy: “For those who cannot see what’s heyond these walls, the various rooms appear to be separate. But if I can see through them, they are not two or three roomst it is all one for me.” On yet another occasion she said, 1 do. not think of the Janmas. Because past, present and future do not exist (to me). Death is only transformation, not annihilation. 11 you so consider, we are born anew every second, and every second we are dying. The moment itself is a Yuga (a cycle of time). When people indulge in glib talk about rebirth and boast before people. that they can read the previous births of people, Mother clears the confusion: “When you talk of a previous birth and the birth previous to that and so on, you go to the beginning of the cycle of births in creation. But if you know when and where the individual lived in a previous life, you must also know where and in what form he existed between his previous death and the present birth. Only if that is told it is a complete evidence of one’s knowledge. If anyone knows all this, then what you call previous births do not exist to him. All will be one life: for their continuity is perceived by him. But if their plurality is there, then his knowledge is questionable. For one who knows the Past, Present and Future, there is nothing like Janmas or births. If the three exist as three. he does not know. I neither affirm nor reject the idea of rebirth. I never feel inclined to talk about it. It can’t be expressed in words”..

These words clearly suggest several points: Time does not exist; when one has realized the nature of Reality. Past, Present, and Future do not exist. Existing talk about rebirths is insufficient to establish it. It has to be experienced. When experienced, it makes one see a Yuga in a moment and a moment as a Yuga. Death is not what we suppose it to be. So on and on.

That the normal succession of time does not hold good when speaking about the realm of the reality of rebirth is found in the following piece of conversation of a visitor with Ramana Maharshi. The visitor asked Bhagavan if it is possible for the linga sarira (subtle body) to get dissolved and be reborn in two years after death.

Maharshi: Yes. Surely. Not only can one be reborn, one may be twenty or forty or even seventy years old in the new body though only two years after death. Sri Bhagavan cited Lila’s story from Yoga Vasishta.

If a Bhagavan or a Mother sometimes seems to deny both birth and death and also rebirth, the layman cannot speak in the same vein. The words of Christ can be owned and uttered only by one who, while being crucified, can say, “Father forgive them. They know not what they do

A group of Brahmin scholars were sitting on the banks of Ganges, praising the sanctity of the holy water which washes away all sins. In the course of conversation, one of them. became thirsty. Kabir heared him and carried a bowl full of that water to that Brahmin. The water was not accepted as Kabir was a weaver, Kabir said: “You have declared that the water of the Ganges purifies the mind and the body. But if this water is not even able to purify this wooden bowl, it does not deserve your praise.”

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