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Reincarnation and the Law of Karma

  From Content: 'By 'Reincarnation' we mean the repeated incarnation, or embodiment in flesh, of the soul or immaterial part of man's nature. The term 'Metempsychosis' is frequently employed in the same sense, the definition of the latter term being: 'The passage of the soul, as an immortal essence, at the death of the body, into another living body.' The term 'Transmigration of Souls' is sometimes employed, the term being used in the sense of 'passing from one body into another.' But the term 'Transmigration' is often used in connection with the belief of certain undeveloped races who held that the soul of men sometimes passed into the bodies of the lower animals, as a punishment for their sins committed during the human life. But this[Pg 8] belief is held in disrepute by the adherents of Reincarnation or Metempsychosis, and has no connection with their philosophy or beliefs, the ideas having sprung from an entirely different source, and having nothing in common. There are many forms of beliefmany degrees of doctrineregarding Reincarnation, as we shall see as we proceed, but there is a fundamental and basic principle underlying all of the various shades of opinion, and divisions of the schools. This fundamental belief may be expressed as the doctrine that there is in man an immaterial Something (called the soul, spirit, inner self, or many other names) which does not perish at the death or disintegration of the body, but which persists as an entity, and after a shorter or longer interval of rest reincarnates, or is re-born, into a new bodythat of an unborn infantfrom whence it proceeds to live a new life in the body, more or less unconscious of its past existences, but containing within itself the 'essence' or results of its past lives, which experiences go to make up its new[Pg 9] 'character,' or 'personality.' It is usually held that the rebirth is governed by the law of attraction, under one name or another, and which law operates in accordance with strict justice, in the direction of attracting the reincarnating soul to a body, and conditions, in accordance with the tendencies of the past life, the parents also attracting to them a soul bound to them by some ties in the past, the law being universal, uniform, and equitable to all concerned in the matter. This is a general statement of the doctrine as it is generally held by the most intelligent of its adherents. E. D. Walker, a well-known English writer on the subject, gives the following beautiful idea of the general teachings: 'Reincarnation teaches that the soul enters this life, not as a fresh creation, but after a long course of previous existences on this earth and elsewhere, in which it acquired its present inhering peculiarities, and that it is on the way to future transformations which the soul is now shaping. It claims that infancy brings to earth, not[Pg 10] a blank scroll for the beginning of an earthly record, nor a mere cohesion of atomic forces into a brief personality, soon to dissolve again into the elements, but that it is inscribed with ancestral histories, some like the present scene, most of them unlike it and stretching back into the remotest past. These inscriptions are generally undecipherable, save as revealed in their moulding influence upon the new career; but like the invisible photographic images made by the sun of all it sees, when they are properly developed in the laboratory of consciousness they will be distinctly displayed. The current phase of life will also be stored away in the secret vaults of memory, for its unconscious effects upon the ensuing lives. All the qualities we now possess, in body, mind and soul, result from our use of ancient opportunities. We are indeed 'the heir of all the ages,' and are alone responsible for our inheritances.'

RELAX WITH YOGA (Illustrated)

  What Is Yoga? The word 'Yoga' cannot be translated into English. In the Sanskrit, it derives from the root 'Yuja,' which is to join or weld together. Just as two pieces of metal are welded together to become one, so in the philosophy of Yoga, the embodied spirit of the individual becomes one with the Universal Spirit through the regular practice of certain physical and mental exercises. In another definition, Yoga is the art of life and its philosophy is meant to furnish the principles that justify and explain that art. One of the Sanskrit texts, the Bhagwad-Gita, describes Yoga as equanimity of mind which results in efficiency of action. For those to whom Yoga represents a religion as well as a way of life, Yoga means the union or linking together of man with God, or the disunion or separation of man from the objects of physical sensation in the material world. It is the science or skill which leads the initiate by easy steps to the pinnacle of self-realization. There are many common misconceptions which stand between the truths of Yoga and those who live in the Western world. Many Americans have heard more about Yogis, or those who practice Yoga, than about Yoga itself. They picture the Yogi as an Indian fakir, swathed in rags, who spends his life on a bed of nails or sits motionless underneatha tree until birds build nests in his hair. Their knowledge of Yoga is gained from supposedly esoteric literature or from side-show performers billed as 'Swamis' or 'Yogis' who stick pins through their flesh or permit themselves to be buried alive. More charitably, they may think of the Yoga convert as some mildly eccentric individual who enjoys standing on his head before breakfast. Nevertheless, the true spirit and practice of Yoga has already spread to this country and has achieved what might be called a high degree of respectability. A number of colleges and universities, including such institutions as the University of Southern California, offer courses in Yoga. Also, such prominent athletes as Parry O'Brien, long-time holder of the world's shot-put record, have studied and practiced Yoga. It has spread even to the halls of our national Congress where Representative Francis P. Bolton's practice of Yoga has received nationwide press coverage. Stripping the 'magic' from Yoga reveals that it is a practice that effectively enables its user to meet the stresses of modern life, and offers relaxation that may stand between its adherents and the stomach ulcers or psychiatrist's couch that are so common today. You need not retire to an 'Ashram,' or Yoga retreat, to acquire the benefits of this system; rather, you can attain the serenity and relaxation that it affords through the information in this volume. Practicing Yoga takes but a few moments a day, although Yoga itself gradually fills the entire day of the person who pursues it with faith and belief.

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