(1979). The Bhaktivedanta Institute Essays on The Foundations of Knowledge Number. 2 : Fundamental Principles of Reincarnation
(1979). "Fundamental Principles of Reincarnation"
The Bhaktivedanta Institute Essays on The Foundations of Knowledge Number 2
by Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami
This paper is an attempt to provide a basic theoretical framework from which to consider reincarnation scientifically. The scientific study of reincarnation may shed new light on many subtle phenomena inexplicable by currently accepted theories- phenomena such as the wide variety of living forms, innate abilities clearly not acquired from the environment, and near-death experiences.
Before we discuss the scientific, theological, and philosophical aspects of reincarnation, it will be necessary to clearly determine the nature of life and its place in the cosmos. In recent years several scholars in various disciplines have shown great interest in studying reincarnation, but to study it meaningfully we must first know whether life is an eternal entity that transcends the temporary, physical body, or merely a combination of molecules moving according to the laws of physics and chemistry. Traditionally, science and religion have locked horns on this point, and here we will try to resolve the conflict by adopting the paradigm that offers the intellectually more satisfying account of life, in terms of our experience and perceptions of life itself.