Is there rebirth?

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Death / Yogic Physiology


The question is - is there rebirth? If it's there, what is the basis for one being to go from one birth to another? What is it that carries a person from one to another?


Duration: 10 min


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7 min read

Is there rebirth?

The following is an unedited transcript of Sadhguru's video. For better readability, breaks and highlights have been added by the editors.

The question is – is there rebirth? If it’s there, what is the basis for one being to go from one birth to another? What is it that carries a person from one to another?

Now, if you need to understand this, you must have some understanding of the mechanics of ‘who you are’. I’m talking about the mechanics of, how a human being is built. See, when you say, I’m a human being – the outer most periphery is the physical body. In yoga, we look at everything as body, because it is easier for you to understand that way.

We see the body as five dimensions, or five sheaths

So, we see the body as five dimensions, or five sheaths. Physical body is known as annamaya kosha. Annamaya kosha means – anna means the food. ‘This’ is food body. Next one is called manomaya kosha – that means, it’s the mental body. The third one is called pranamaya kosha – which means the energy body. Physical body, mental body, energy body – all these three dimensions are physical. They are physical existence. Physical body is very gross. Mental body is subtler. Energy body is even subtler. But all these three are physical.

It’s just like, the light bulb is physical, you can see that. The electricity behind also is physical, isn’t it? The wire that connects is also physical. The electrons that flow through the wire also are physical existence. So similarly physical body, mental body, pranic body – all are physical dimensions of life.

All these three dimensions [physical, mental, energy] carries the imprints of karma

This physical dimension of life, both… in all these three dimensions carries the imprints of karma. On the body, it is imprinted. On the mind, it’s imprinted. And on the energy it’s imprinted. This karmic imprints, or the karmic structure is what holds it together. Karma is the cement, which holds you to the physical body. Karma is the bondage. At the same time, it’s only because of. karmic stuff, you can hold onto the body and be here. This is where, spirituality seems to be difficult. Because, if you try to take it away – it doesn’t work. If you try to add – it doesn’t work. You need to be just there. If you are just there – it’s a moment.

Now, the next two dimensions are called vigyanamaya kosha, and anandamaya kosha. Vigyanamaya kosha is non-physical, but related to the physical. It is like a transient state. Anandamaya kosha is completely non-physical. So, vigyanamaya kosha – and anandamaya kosha means, it’s the bliss body. There is a bliss body inside, which is 100% non-physical. It has no form of it’s own. Only if the energy body, the mental body and the physical body are in shape, it can hold the bliss body in shape. If these things are taken away, the bliss body will just become a part of the cosmos.

Whatever you are referring to as ‘atman’, or the ‘soul’ is a fiction

So, whatever you are referring to as ‘atman’, or the ‘soul’ is a fiction, actually. In a sense, people are describing a certain limitation of the non-physical, as a soul. But the body for the soul is still your karma. If the karmic structure is completely dismantled, there is no soul. Everything merges into everything else. What is referred to as ‘mahasamadhi’, or ‘mahaparinirvana’ is just this – that you slowly understand where the keys are, and dismantle the karmic structure – so that you become truly ‘no more’.

When somebody dies, we say ‘this person is no more’. That’s not true. That person is no more the way you know them. But they still very much exist. Now, if you dismantle the karmic structure 100%, now you merge with the existence. This is what is referred to as ‘mukthi’, ‘mahasamadhi’. In Hindu tradition it is referred to as ‘mukthi’. In Yogic tradition, it is referred to as ‘mahasamadhi’. In the buddhist way, it is called as ‘mahaparinirvana’. Generally in English, we are saying ‘liberation’. Liberation means, becoming free – from the very process of life and birth and death. Liberation means, becoming free from the basic structures of body and mind. And, for all this, the karmic structure is the strings which hold these things together.

When somebody dies, we say ‘this person is no more’. That’s not true

So, when a person dies – obviously, the physical body is something that you borrowed from the Earth. This body is just Earth, isn’t it? You understand? This physical body is just a piece of Earth, which is right now prancing around like this. But, you have to pay it back, atom to atom. No interest though! But, you have to pay back every atom. You won’t be allowed to carry a single atom from this planet. Nobody has managed it.

Physical body will fall apart. The mental body, and the pranic body – depending upon the strength of your karma goes on. If the karmic structure is very intense – unfinished – then, it has to finish it. If the karma has become weak, because it has run it’s course – then it very easily finds another body. If it has to find another body – the intensity of the structure should come down. It should become passive. If it is very intense, it can not find. It has to hang. So, this is what you are referring to as ‘ghosts’. Somebody is dead – his karmic structure is still intense, because it’s not over. Now, he needs much more time to find another body. He still exists. And, the more intense his karmic structure is, the more visible he becomes. Or more experientially available to people.

There are innumerable such [disembodied] beings all around you

There are innumerable such beings all around you. Whether you know it, or you don’t know it. But, most of them, you won’t feel, because their karma is dissipated. They are just waiting for more dissipation before they find another body. But, if their karma is very intense – this is why they told you in the tradition, if somebody dies unnaturally, either by accident, or suicide, or some other way – they will become ghosts. It is not so. Everybody becomes. It is just that they are more experienceable. They are more available to your experience because they have more intense karmic structures. So, people may experience them little more, than other beings, who die of old age.

If one completes his allotted karma for that life, he will die just like that – without disease, without accident, without any injury. When one dies simply like that, that person may another body, within hours. This is why, in this tradition, always they said – if one completes his life and dies peacefully, it’s the best way to die. Because he need not hang around. Immediately it goes on.

When one dies simply like that [after completing his allotted karma for that life], that person may another body, within hours

Now, when you walk the spiritual path – the ultimate goal for every spiritual seeker is – he wants to break this whole process. Or otherwise, to use an analogy we can say – what you call as my soul right now is like a bubble. The outer periphery of the bubble is your karmic structure. Inside there is air. Suppose you blow the bubble – you burst the bubble. Where is the air? Where is your air? There is no such thing as your air, it’s become part of everything.

So, what you call as soul is fictitious. Because there is no such thing as your soul, and my soul, and somebody else’s soul. Right now, this unboundedness is contained in the limited karmic structure, so it makes you believe as if this is a separate entity. If you take away the keys which hold the karmic structure, then it just collapses.

So, this after life, next birth – don’t believe all this nonsense. But right now, if you sit here and just close your eyes, you can clearly see more than this body you are. Isn’t it?


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