“It is quite interesting to note, especially for Americans, that in those days they did not use Ford, Chevy, Benz or Rolls Royce but beautiful chariots, hand carved, with silver and gold. Beautiful horses and elephants were the methods of conveyance. From this we can understand that a great king could feel very proud of his chariots decorated in newest design, with good horses, and so on. Naturally he could be attached to it and go around showing off his buggy to everyone.
But it is mentioned here that Ambarisha Maharaja was detached from all these things. In the material world, you find that sometimes people are very proud of their vehicle. It is a very big status symbol for them to have a proper vehicle. Some people, even if they do not have a big town house, feel very proud if they have a nice vehicle.
The point is, although Ambarisha Maharaja had his vehicles, friends, family or even his own treasury, he simply took shelter of Krishna, and did not remain attached to these things. He accepted them to whatever extent he needed. He used them, but he was not attached to them. This is really being liberated, while in the material world, whether one has or does not have these things, one must not be attached.
It is actually more difficult to have something and not be attached. If we do not have something, it is easier to be detached, in one sense. But most people do not have, and they are still attached to possessing things-they like to have.”HH Jayapataka Swami Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam 9.4.27 Visit http://www.guruvakya and ibys4life.wordpress.com for more.
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There are various sorts of empiric evidence offered in support of the idea of reincarnation. Much of it is weak or useless, some of it strong.
- Deja vu
Perhaps we’ve all had the feeling “I’ve been here before.” Could one feel that way because of experience from a past life? Maybe, but practically speaking there’s no reliable way to know.
- Channeling, or mediumistic communicationSometimes certain people—they may be called “mediums,” “psychics,” “sensitives,” or (a more recent term) “channels”—transmit what are purported to be messages from departed souls. The medium may speak in trance, or his or her hand may produce writing automatically.This is a field in which parapsychologists have done extensive investigation.It’s a problematic field.
Much of the material transmitted tends to be stereotypical. The wisdom and insights dispensed by “departed spirits” often consist of a tired litany of new-age platitudes. For discriminating minds, this doesn’t create a lot of confidence.
Most material generated by mediums or channels is unfalsifiable—there’s nothing specific enough to either prove or disprove.
Even when material is specific and impressive and fraud seems ruled out, explanations other than communication with departed souls are available, and almost always more likely.
- The channel may have acquired information normally. For example, if a “sitter”—a person consulting a medium—asks about a particular departed person, the sitter may give various clues about that person, even unintentionally.
- The information may also be within the channel’s normal area of knowledge—Greek or Egyptian history, for example. Or the channel might have received information from an ordinary news item. Or from friends or acquaintances.
- Sometimes the channel might have acquired the information long before, even in childhood, and forgotten it—but still have it available in his mind for access. This is called “cryptomnesia.” Reliably investigated cases show that one might unconsciously retain impressions from even a few lines of text read years before—and might unconsciously use this material to construct a “paranormal” event.
- The channel may in fact receive information paranormally, by telepathy or clairvoyance. That is, one might pick up the information from the mind of another living person, or by remotely “seeing” an existing object—the page of a book, for example. Whether these abilities exist, and to what extent, are also subjects of controversy. But if one assumes they exist, they provide alternative explanations to communication with departed souls.
This doesn’t mean that all mediumistic communication or channeling can be dismissed as worthless. Some carefully investigated cases do seem to hold up under scrutiny and show evidence for possible survival of bodily death.
But those cases are rare.
And even if there were genuine communication with a departed spirit, this wouldn’t in itself prove reincarnation. The spirit might presumably be communicating from heaven, from hell, or from some sort of limbo, without any “succession of births.”
For that matter, even if a “departed soul” tells us there’s reincarnation, how do we know he’s telling the truth? When people here in this world can be such liars, why not people “there”?