One evening, in the thirty-third year of his life, Shyama Charan Lahiri was roaming in the Himalayas when he heard a voice saying, "Shyama Charan, Shyama Charan." He was surprised to see a young sadhu calling him from a distance. The sadhu approached him and said, "Can you not recognise me, my child, my son?" Then he uttered the names of Shyama Charan's father and grandfather. Even then Shyama Charan could not recognise him.
The sadhu showed Shyama Charan abundant affection and led him into a cave. There he showed him a trident, a sacred water pot, a tiger skin and some beads. The sadhu said, "Can you not recognise these? They are all yours." But Shyama Charan could not recognise them.
The sadhu then placed his hand on Shyama Charan's spine. Immediately Shyama Charan came to realise that those were, indeed, his belongings.
The sadhu said to him, "My name is Babaji, my son. You were my dear disciple in your previous incarnation. You left the body at a very high stage of spiritual development. I have waited many years for you to return to me. I want you to complete your spiritual life in this incarnation. That is why I occultly arranged for you to be transferred here for a few days."
Shyama Charan bowed to his Master and cried and cried. He said that he would not go back to his wife and family, but Babaji said, "No, you have to return to them. God wants you to lead a family life and, at the same time, to remain in your highest consciousness and guide householders in leading a better, higher and purer life. I shall initiate you in a few days' time. As long as you remain near the Himalayas, come and see me every day."
Shyama Charan was overjoyed that his Master was going to initiate him. With a heart full of gratitude and delight, he left.
This most significant meeting took place in 1861 on Dronagiri Mountain.
To say that each soul is blessed with only one incarnation is to commit an Himalayan blunder. Each soul goes through many, many incarnations before it embodies, reveals and manifests the ultimate Truth. We start from one point and eventually there comes a time when we reach the Goal. Each incarnation helps the soul go forward towards the Destined Goal. If we start something in this incarnation and do not complete it, then in the next incarnation we shall have to complete it, for unless we do, we shall have no abiding satisfaction.
Each incarnation means covering a few more steps while walking along Eternity's Road. If we keep walking, marching and running forward, each incarnation shall undoubtedly become a movement towards a more illumining and more fulfilling reality.