Question: Many people do not believe in reincarnation. Why do you believe in it?

Sri Chinmoy: There are some who say that they do not believe in reincarnation, but I find it difficult to subscribe to their views. In the morning, people have their breakfast without fail. Ask them in the evening what they ate in the morning, and they will not be able to answer. But can you say that the morning did not exist at all for them? The morning existed, but they have totally forgotten what they ate. Again, let us say that you did something extraordinary at the age of four. Do you still remember it? You may be twenty-three or twenty-four years old. What you did yesterday you may not recollect, but at the age of four you did something extraordinary and you do remember it. If you deny your previous incarnation you are making a mistake. Just because you cannot recollect what you did yesterday or previously, you cannot say that it did not exist for you. It did exist.

Again, how much of your past is it necessary for you to know? In the spiritual life, the past is dust. If the past has not given you what you want right now, then it is not necessary to delve into the past. The past has not given you God-realisation. That is why you are still yearning for God-realisation. You are crying for something. If you do not have something and you are trying to get it, then from where will you get it — behind you or from ahead of you? Naturally you will get it from ahead, while you are walking along the path towards the Goal. That is why I tell my disciples that it is not necessary to pay attention to previous incarnations. It does not help you at all; and sometimes it may even create tremendous problems in the spiritual life. In this incarnation, you are very good, very kind, very spiritual. But who knows? Perhaps in your past incarnation, you were a totally different person. Perhaps you were absolutely ordinary and unaspiring, and you did many undivine things. In this incarnation if you come to know what you did, you may be totally disappointed. You may think, "Oh, that is why I am not making any progress. It is because in my past incarnation I was not at all spiritual." The past may be so discouraging it will not allow you to run faster towards your goal. Again, suppose in your past incarnation you were very spiritual and very devoted. If you do not have the same kind of inspiration, aspiration and inner cry in this incarnation, then will you not feel miserable? In the morning you had a wonderful breakfast and at lunchtime you are not getting anything. If you come to learn that in your past incarnation you had tremendous aspiration and you did extremely well in the spiritual life, and if you feel that in this incarnation you are not doing well, that your progress is not at all satisfactory, then you will feel miserable. Only on rare occasions, when seekers come to know that they did something well in their past incarnation, do they feel, "If I could do something outstanding in my previous incarnation, how is it that I am not making rapid progress in this incarnation?" Then they get adamantine determination. With that determination, they go very fast. But this happens only rarely. Usually when you come to know about your past incarnation it does not help you. If you know about unhappy experiences this becomes an additional problem for you in this incarnation; and if you come to know that you were really great, and in this incarnation are not that great, then again it becomes a serious problem. This is why I always say it is better not to dig into the past — only to look forward, to see what is ahead for you. Then only will you reach the Goal.