To understand the secrets of re-incarnation, evolution and transformation, we must first understand the most significant secret of all, the secret of Karma.
"Karma" is a Sanskrit word which means "action". The heart can do it; the mind can do it; the body can do it.
There are three kinds of Karma: Sanchita Karma, Prarabdha Karma and Agami Karma.
Sanchita means "amassed." We wait consciously or unconsciously for the fruit of impressions that we have sown by our past thoughts, words, deeds and volition. Sanchita Karma is an accumulation of acts sown in some past life or in this very life. But the results have not yet been worked out, the effects not yet produced.
Prarabdha Karma is 'fate' or 'destiny' as the result of acts done in any former birth; the karmic effects have begun. However, they are not yet finished and necessitate re-birth for completion. Prarabdha is that part of Sanchita Karma which has started bearing fruit. We begin reaping in this life the fruit of our past karma and at the same time we sow seeds for a new reaping in the future.
Agami means "future" or "approaching". Agami Karma can be done only after one has attained to spiritual perfection, when one is bound neither by the lure of birth nor the snares of death. One acts then with a view to helping humanity. To fulfil the Divine here on earth, the liberated soul in this case plays a significant role in the Divine Play which has no beginning, no ending.
We know that there is some Being whom we call God. We know that there is something which we call the Soul. It was the great American philosopher, Emerson, who said: "God is an infinite circle whose centre is everywhere, but whose circumference is nowhere." We can say definitely that this centre is man's soul.
The soul is an eternal entity. Now what is its connection with re-incarnation? One can write endless pages on re-incarnation, that formidable concept which is so widely spoken about and just as widely disbelieved. Let us try to understand, in one short sentence, the essence of the matter. Re-incarnation is the process by which the soul evolves; it is for the growth and development of the soul.
We all know Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, the evolution of species. It is the change in the physical organism from lower to higher, or from simpler to more complex. Spiritual evolution runs parallel to physical evolution. It is this: the soul, exists in all beings. True, it is divine and immortal. But it has its own urge to be more complete, more fulfilling and more divine. Hence in the process of its evolution, it has to pass from the least perfect body to the most perfect body. Meanwhile it takes into itself the real value of all its earthly experiences. Thus the soul grows, enriching itself, making its divinity more integral, more harmonious and more perfect.
Re-incarnation tells us that we have not come from nothing. Our present condition is the result of what we have made ourselves from our past. We are the consequence of our past incarnations.
"Many births have been left behind by Me and by thee, O Arjuna! All of them I know, but thou knowest not thine", said the Divine Krishna to the yet unrealised Arjuna.
Evolution is the hyphen between what was and what would be. I am a man. I must know that I was not only my father, but I shall also be my son. Problems I had. You had. He had. No exceptions. We faced them. We face them even today. But we shall solve them unmistakably.
We made a promise of Transformation, a promise that has no equal. We want the transformation of the inner and the outer. Each one of us may vision the face of Transformation and finally be ourselves transformed. But how to achieve this transformation that will hold aloft the Torch of Immortality? For this we have to know what aspiration is and what doubt is.
Doubt is a destructive influence, an inner war, that works day and night to prey on our inner life. Aspiration, on the other hand, is the most effective energising power in a truth-seeker. It is at once the uplifting joy and the intensification of our consciousness. Aspiration places the thirst for Truth above and beyond all things.
Aspiration can be developed. It is like crossing a street, one step at a time. Each time we aspire, we perform in the very depths of our consciousness, a miracle of welcoming the Beyond. Aspiration is based on a spontaneous faith that visions the future.
So now we have aspiration coming from our faith in God, more so in ourselves. We have also the significant secret of Karma, leading to the three secrets of Re-incarnation, Evolution and Transformation. In these secrets lie our true destiny, a Divine Immortality.
These are some highlights of a lecture delivered on December 19, 1965 to a group of spiritual aspirants at the residence of Mrs. Ida Patterson, 3124 Dupont South, Minneapolis, Minnesota. To this dedicated lady, the speaker extends his most sincere gratitude for her boundless hospitality.↩