THEOSOPHY, Vol. 34, No. 3, January, 1946
(Pages 94-95; Size: 6K)
(Number 10 of a 14-part series)
ARGUMENTS ON REINCARNATION
X: ACTUAL MEMORIES
THE laws of birth and death render definite memories a rarity; yet there are more of them than many suspect. A controversy which broke out in a great British newspaper brought forth a number of recountals.
Some opponents stigmatize supposed memories as due to "hallucination or credulity," without any definite understanding of what either term means. But the recollection of the location of secret rooms, unknown to living persons; the prevision of layout of buildings previously unseen by the subject; the prior description to companions of a building new to the subject; all these, especially where they were observed by other persons, cannot be dismissed so lightly. These instances came out in the series above-mentioned, and were reprinted in the Vancouver Sun Magazine.
Other instances: an American soldier of the first great war led a friend straight to the Place de la Bastille, though neither had been in Paris before. This soldier had never learned, or had forgotten, that the Bastille had been destroyed. He thought he was going to see it, and was much surprised to find it no longer there. A little girl described an incident in the siege of a Canadian fort, giving her own name as it was on that occasion. The actual incident, obscure and not appearing in the histories, was found later by her people in source-documents.
A child described his "former home" and certain curious furnishings of which his people had never heard. The furnishings were afterwards found by them to be Dutch. Two little girls in one family: the first word one of them spoke was the Latin for "water" (aqua), the other used "biba" (drink). Both children used the words in their correct meaning before they learned any others. A little Polish girl spoke Gaelic without learning it; a Los Angeles boy knows ancient Persian without studying it; five subjects under hypnosis recalled their previous names and histories, some of which were verified by the researchers. A lady going into a business establishment discovers one of the men looking hard at her and, upon returning the compliment, she recognises an acquaintance from a former life. Considerably upset, she leaves the place. The man gets her address, comes to her house, and greets her with the words: "I came to see how much you remember!" Their respective memories checked.
There are great difficulties in the way of convincing along this line. (a) Scoffers do not hesitate to set down such people as crazy or liars, and include any friends who corroborate them in the same categories. Sensitive people of high intelligence and reputable place in the world would shrink from such experiences, and their business interests are apt to suffer from it. The scoffers who make it unpleasant for such people themselves suppress the evidence by their attitude, and then gloat in claiming that none exists.
(b) It is only rarely that objective corroboration can be had, in the nature of things; thus, much of such evidence must rest on character. And as we all know, nobody who disagrees with us has any character.
(c) Considerable research is necessary to run down all the angles of such cases. It is much quicker to issue cheap and easy denials and to call names.
(d) Knowledge of any kind, under law, must be earned. Few want it that way. Belief and disbelief are easier.
(e) There is a certain glamor surrounding the matter, which causes irresponsible and romantic persons to tell yarns about their own imaginary former incarnations as kings and queens and the like -- a sort of release, probably, for inferiority complexes.
Such persons confuse the issue and throw discredit on the whole subject. The real cases are of a very different kind. Few former kings and queens are among them. It is a generally accepted rule among reincarnationists of the responsible kind that memories of the past are not to be spoken of except to intimates, and even then with caution.
Thus proof along that particular line is surrounded with great difficulties. But what knowledge would the race ever have had, had there not been some who were not stopped by difficulties? One who hesitates before such will never find the truth and will not deserve to find it. Reincarnation is not a study for the irresponsible, the mentally lazy, or the prejudiced.
Arguments on Reincarnation
XI: The Animal Question