Jesus And Reincarnation
BY JAGANNATHA TIRTHA
EDITORIAL, Aug 15 (VNN) — The Old Testament ends with the directly spoken words of God: "Behold! I will send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." (Malachi 4:5). Here, God Almighty, speaking for Himself, is saying that the soul of Elijah is coming again to Earth. This directly implies that Elijah's soul will reincarnate as someone new.
Several centuries later, in Luke, an angel appears in front of Zechariah, the Father of John the Baptist, and announces: "...and he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, and shall turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just: and make ready a people prepared for the Lord." So God Himself, as well as the angel sent of the Lord, predicted the birth of John, formerly Elijah. This is also confirmed by much other Scripture, as we shall see. To understand the travels of the soul, all we have to do is think about it without prejudice. In John's case scenario, there are two distinct bodies in time and space, with one and the same individual soul. This directly refers to the process of transmigration of the soul, that is, reincarnation of the individual spiritual being.
But, God Himself and the angel sent by the Lord were not the only ones alluding to this spiritual phenomena. With regard to the specific questions of his disciples concerning John, Jesus was glorifying the divine qualities of John, ending with: "And if you will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come." (Matthew 11:14). Then in his own way of saying, "If you have a brain, then just try to understand it," Jesus declares, "He who hath an ear, let him hear, let him hear." Similarly, the disciples later asked him, "Then why do the Scribes say that Elijah must first come?" Jesus replied: "Elijah is to come, and he is to restore all things: But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands." Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist. (Matthew 17:10-13). This is the same basic testimony that is found in Mark 9:11-13. A very similar Scriptural evidence is Luke 1:17, another reference to the angel of the Lord. Also, Luke 7:26-27 corroborates Jesus's testimony that John was formerly Elijah, as the words are almost identical to Malachi 4:5, and the reference cannot possibly be taken any other way. Conclusively, John the Baptist was the reincarnation of Elijah. Jesus, by his using these words in this very simple and lucid manner, could not have meant anything else. He was not speaking in allegory or parables in these instances. Jesus was speaking directly concerning reincarnation.
In this way we can clearly understand that Jesus Christ taught the doctrine of reincarnation, also known as transmigration of the soul. "NO!" My Christian friends protest. But did not Jesus also cast the demonic spirits called 'Legion' that inhabited the body of a tormented man into the bodies of swine? And did not this forced embodiment drive the swine crazy, and then prompt them to jump off the cliffs into the sea? Does this also not mean that spiritual beings can and do inhabit all creatures, such as the pigs in question? Was this not a form of punishment for those miscreant spirits who had challenged Jesus's authority? Do we also not understand that there are pigs around us dressed as human beings? We all know people like this.
And, did not Jesus also imply reincarnation when he asked his disciples: "Who do you say I am?" (Mark 8:27) Some of his disciples answered "John the Baptist," others said "Elijah," and still others said "perhaps one of the Prophets." By asking this question, Jesus was asking his disciples to consider who he had formerly been in previous lives. Some contemporary authorities speculate that Jesus may have previously been Ramanujacarya, Lord Brahma, the Prophet Elisha, Prahlada, Haridas, and/or Melchisedec. Regardless of the speculations concerning who Jesus may or may not have formerly been, it is clear that Jesus asked these questions in a non-argumentative, Socratic fashion in order to stimulate the intellectual acuity of his disciples to think about the topic of reincarnation. Otherwise, there is no purpose or logical reason for Jesus asking such a question, specifically in this particular manner. The teacher wants the students to think about such concepts and to figure things out, based upon Scriptural evidence, by mulling things over and arriving at logical conclusions. "Who by taking thought, can add one cubit to his stature?" By bringing up these topics once in a while, Jesus would at least stimulate his intellectually gifted disciples to think about the body as the shell only, as completely distinct from the soul, the real, eternal 'self'. Jesus was encouraging us to use our brains, our God given intelligence.
Based upon his words in the Holy Bible, it is a conclusive fact that Jesus Christ taught reincarnation. Unfortunately, at the Second Council of Constantinople in about 530 AD., the assembled Priests forever banned the doctrine of reincarnation as heretical, even though it was a widely understood aspect of both Judaic and Christian theology up to that time, implying also that it had permeated the Catholic Church, and was of such significant, widespread, and ingrained belief that the Catholic Clergy had to deal with it by pronouncing it 'heretical'. The fact that the Catholic priesthood did not understand the doctrine of transmigration of the soul, how it worked as a part of an All Merciful God's design to eventually liberate all souls, is a testament to the level of spiritual awareness of the day. Over the centuries, many were tortured, mutilated and killed for observing such different blasphemous ideas, deemed "heretical" by the 'Church". Today, the topic of reincarnation cannot even be brought up at a Sunday service in a Baptist, Catholic or Protestant church, although Jesus clearly taught the doctrine.
Both the Talmud and the Kabbala of the Jews, as well as Jesus's own words referenced 'transmigration of the soul' as part of a natural and very obvious spiritual understanding. The idea was that God, in His Own Heart, was unlimitedly kind hearted, and gave the individual soul chance after chance, life after life to improve his sense of devotion, the ultimate goal of all religion. As Jesus states, "The pure in heart shall see God." How then can one see God unless his motives are pure, and his devotion constant and unalloyed? As perfect devotion usually does not become manifest in one lifetime, the Supreme Lord, in his wisdom and kindness gave the soul the opportunity to gradually progress. This life was the result of one's past life's 'karma', or good and evil deeds. "As you sow, so shall you reap." (Jesus) Your future life was the result of this life's pious and impious activities as well. "Behold! I am coming and my reward is with me, to award each according to his works." (again, Jesus) You could immediately attain salvation by becoming perfect in devotion, in conduction with God's grace. "We are saved by grace, not works." But works are taken into account, just as an employer gives promotion based upon dedication, hard work, and results. "And I will give unto every one of your according to your works." (Rev. 2:23) Jesus taught the law of 'karma', action and reaction, cause and effect, and that works and devotion would be taken into account at one's time of 'judgment'. As action and reaction is a law of the physical sciences, it is also an unseen law of the metaphysical sciences as well. Because reincarnation of souls is spiritual law, there is no contradiction between that doctrine and Christianity today. Contemporary Christianity simply has to grow and mature. The 10 % tithe is not enough. One cannot buy the Kingdom of God with 10 % of money or 10 % mentality. It is time for Christians to become enlightened activists and devotional participants instead of mere silent observers, watching the world go to Hell from the sidelines.
If Jesus did teach this doctrine, then where did he learn it? Many authorities and scholars have researched that Jesus traveled to India to find the truth. It is a Biblical fact that there are 18 missing years from the life of Jesus Christ as taught within the Holy Bible, from the time he was 12 to the time he was 30 and undertook his missionary activities. According to some of these historical investigators, at this time, he was getting his own higher education with the Vaishnava Brahmin priests in Jagannatha Puri, India. There, in Puri, Jesus studied all the Vedas, the Srimad Bhagavatam, the Bhagavad Gita, and the processes of mystic yoga which teach the healing arts, levitation, etc. There is also much physical evidence to suggest that Jesus retired to India after the crucifixion.
If we want to follow the path of Jesus Christ, we have to abandon our prejudice and take advantage of the ancient Vedic culture. In India, and now around the globe, the topmost authoritative book in the world on the science of the 'transmigration of the soul' is the Bhagavad Gita As It Is, as originally spoken by Lord Krishna, and meticulously translated into English by His Divine Grace, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. "Who is this Krishna person anyway?", we might reasonably ask. This can be easily answered by anyone who is observant. If one understands linguistics in even a very basic way, one can immediately see the resemblance of the names, KRISHNA and CHRISTOS (CHRIST). There is a very logical reason for this. In Sanskrit, "Krishna" is a name for God, the same Supreme Lord of the Bible, to which Jesus referred as 'God the Father'. "Christ" in the English, has it's derivative in the Greek "Christos", which is further derived from the Sanskrit "Krishna". KRISHNA OR CHRIST, the name is the same. In Jagannatha Puri, as a teenage apprentice, Jesus studied the Bhagavad Gita and all the Vedas with the Brahmins there in the tradition of Vaishnavism. In this way, Jesus learned the complete science of the 'transmigration of the soul' from learned Brahmins.
It may then be asked then, "Why didn't Jesus teach this?" Well, apparently from Scriptural reference, Jesus DID teach reincarnation. But, down through the centuries, pure transcendental knowledge as presented by Jesus Christ, was changed, perverted, misunderstood, omitted, or simply brushed aside. As far as many details of higher knowledge, Jesus states, "There is more that I can tell you but you cannot bear to hear it at this time." This is a clear indication by Jesus himself that upon his return, there will be much more to learn. Logic dictates that God and the Kingdom of God are unlimited. Therefore, we will be learning newer and newer aspects of the Absolute Truth forever. We should not think that we know everything about God, spiritual matters, or the kingdom of God. Otherwise, how will Jesus be able to teach us anything when he returns for his church?
So, when Jesus Christ refers to John the Baptist as being the reincarnation of the Biblical prophet Elijah, we should not be very much surprised. Jesus was an enlightened human being, and not just a believer of some faith, like the average Christian, Jew, or Hindu. Jesus was not a lay person, but was situated in perfect knowledge of all things, such as the identity of God, the spiritual world which lays beyond the purview of our limited senses, and all spiritual phenomena like reincarnation. Being from the spiritual world, his overview was not limited to the material knowledge available. His vision was literally 'beyond the clouds'. That is why Jesus is called the spiritual master and why we are called the servant of the spiritual master. We have only our Earthly sense perceptions to guide us, until we fine tune our spiritual perception. Unfortunately, 2,000 years ago, Jesus was mistaken to be an ordinary human being by average citizens like ourselves, because he performed many ordinary human dealings in addition to his 'miracles'. For example, he worked as an ordinary carpenter, banging hammer on nails, etc. Most people perceived Jesus Christ in an indifferent manner, or sometimes in a negative way due to his extremism and outrageous sayings. The people of the day largely ignored him because by external appearances, this Jesus appeared just like an ordinary human being. I often speculate that this may again be one of the many problems that Jesus might face upon his return... the predictability of the masses to relegate Jesus to a common man. Concerning this point, Jesus commanded us to "Watch!" This command by Jesus to watch implies that Jesus's coming would be powerful, but not immediately recognizable, not obvious. Regardless how Jesus makes his appearance again in human society, it is more than obvious that he will have new things to teach us about everything pertaining to spiritual matters.
All this speculation aside, there are other relevant reference materials pertaining to Jesus's travels in India. One interesting book, if not completely in line with the Vedic conclusions of the Vaishnava disciplic succession, is called "Jesus Lived In India", by Holger Kersten. This book makes for interesting reading, historically researching Jesus's travels away from the Mediterranean area, both before and after the crucifixion. There are also other literatures describing Jesus's travels there. According to the Acquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, supposedly documented from the akashic records (permanent records on a type of spiritual audio tape in the ether), Jesus lived in Puri with the Vaishnava Brahmins. There is also Nicolas Notovitch's writings concerning Jesus's Travels in Tibet. The last two books document well Jesus's travels in both India and Tibet, but have their limitations, aside from not coming to the implied Vedic conclusions as Jesus learned them, Narayano paro vyaktat. "Lord Narayana Krishna is a priori to the cosmic manifestation." Nevertheless, Jesus's presence in India is a conclusive fact based upon these and other documentations. If one travels to the many different places of Jesus's pilgrimages to India, he will find many monuments commemorating Jesus's appearance there as St. Issa, or Yus Asef. Apparently, Jesus was a learned scholar, as well as a traveler, healer, mystic yogi, and enlightened spiritual master.
Sometimes, my Christian friends strongly object to my ideas, which I have only chronicled, based upon my own 25 years of Scriptural digging and the research of others. That Jesus taught the doctrine of reincarnation within the Holy pages of the Holy Bible is obvious. As Jesus put it, "Having ears, they hear not. Having eyes, they see not." In spite of the obvious, most Christians today reject the science of the soul's travels in this world as 'Hindu' or 'Buddhist', instead of factual spiritual law. This is quite odd really, because the science of reincarnation permeated early Christianity for hundreds of years. I recommend that instead of rejecting the concept of reincarnation, it would better suit intelligent, truth seeking Christians and all individuals everywhere to investigate Jesus's own words in more depth. What we want is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It is also worthwhile to investigate the most authoritative literature on the subject, the Bhagavad Gita As It Is. Why should one use only this particular translation? As Jesus himself studied with the Vaishnavas, and taught the Vaishnava conclusion, that God is ultimately a Person, the Supreme Person, the best copy of the "Bhagavad Gita" available today which provides the most clear and concise information on the subject of pure devotion is the "Bhagavad Gita As It Is". The conclusions of this translation verify that Lord Krishna is the Supreme Person, God the Father, and not just a mythological folk hero or 'Hindu' god. Most other non-Vaishnava copies of the Bhagavad Gita fall into many pitfalls of spiritual misunderstanding. Generally, they come to erroneous, impersonalistic conclusions, usually relegating Lord Krishna to some imaginary figure on some imaginary battlefield. Sometimes the impersonalists relegate Lord Krishna's position to that of an avatar of Vishnu, an expansion of the white light, or a mythological hero created in the minds of common villagers. But just as a sincere Christian knows that Jesus was the Son of God, a real person, with form, intelligence, real feelings and emotions and his own unique spiritual personality, we can also conclude by investigating the Vaishnava literatures that Lord Krishna is a factual person, the person to whom Jesus attributed his own strength, power, knowledge and mystic opulence. It is therefore beneficial to us to accept only those views that are non-envious of either the position of Jesus Christ, the Son of God or Lord Krishna, God the Father. The old saying goes... "Milk touched by the lips of a serpent has poisonous effects." The envious, impersonalistic or atheistic conclusions of non-advocates should be scrutenizingly avoided. We must utilize our intelligence, which God has given us, to try to understand the more than obvious similarities between Christ and Krishna. Why would Jesus have studied Krishna consciousness with the Brahmins at Puri if there was nothing to be learned there? Out of the thousands of different philosophical branches of the original Vedic culture that Jesus had access to in India, he specifically chose the path of Vaishnavism as truthfully representative of the final authority concerning Absolute Knowledge. In addition, how can any rational human being overlook the obvious etymological similarity in the names "Krishna" and "Christ"?
Why throw the baby out with the bath water, rejecting the logical and reasonable science of the transmigration of the soul because of preconceived ideas, Westernized traditional church doctrines, or personal prejudice? If Jesus taught us to love our neighbors, and our neighbors happen to be Jews, Hindus, Hare Krishnas, Muslims, and Buddhists, we would only be helping ourselves by understanding the way others think about God in their own way. It is only to our own advantage to study other religions and the many different ways others perceive the Supreme Being. Like university professors, we can study other scriptures and religions with the view of finding corollaries as well as differences. Because God is ONE, the underlying similarities of all religions outweigh the differences in doctrines and protocols. Studying the religions of others helps us become better, more enlightened Christians. We can truly 'Love one another' better by understanding how others think, and giving up our personal feelings of hatred and animosity on account of religious differences. Enthusiasm without knowledge is simply fanaticism. And, knowledge without passion is dry speculation. A perfect Christian will have both the enthusiastic passion of his convictions tempered by the sword of knowledge and wisdom. Jesus commanded his real followers to "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Pretend Christians cannot love others who are different than themselves. In this regard, Jesus teaches, "If you love only your own kind, then what is the profit? For do not the sinners and common folk do the same?" In this manner, Jesus was encouraging us to grow to spiritual maturity by embracing and accepting others who are different than ourselves. Christians who are sincere and honest with themselves will recognize their own personal prejudices along these lines, and do whatever necessary to uproot their inner misgivings of others, whom Jesus commanded them to love. We would all be surprised that the internals of all religions are the same. God and service to God is the central, underlying theme. The externals prevent us from considering others as our brothers and sisters, who all have God as our common Creator. Jesus taught this truth. If we are real Christians we will embrace others in love, regardless their personal spiritual convictions. If we are spiritual frauds, then we will discard others, falsely thinking ourselves superior in some way, against Jesus Christ's orders.
If the history books are true, and Jesus studied in several Krishna temples, then why not try to understand these higher levels of spiritual understanding called Krishna consciousness? Jesus himself stated: "There is more that I could tell you, but you cannot bear to hear it at this time." This is a clear indication that when Jesus comes again, he will further enlighten us as to the mysterious identity of God the Father, the nature of the spiritual world, and the higher, invisible, and more subtle principles governing spiritual life in general. We may protest that we already know God and are sufficiently educated in spiritual matters, but Jesus does not teach this. Jesus states, "None hath seen the Father, except the Son." He also states: "I have spoken these things in parables and cryptic meanings, but the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures, but shall tell you plainly of the Father." (John 16:25)
This is a clear indication that at the present time, we are not in full knowledge, and that when Jesus comes again, he will enlighten us as to the nature of all pure, infallible knowledge coming from the Absolute Kingdom of God, where God is the Absolute Highest Truth, One without a second, the Mystery Person we know only as God Almighty. Both my research and intuition tells me that Jesus will reveal Lord Krishna to be that Supreme Person, the Supreme Personality of the Godhead. Time will tell. Along with the eventual revelation by Jesus of this Mystery Person known as the Supreme Lord, many of the mysteries of Heaven and Hell and much detailed spiritual phenomena such as reincarnation will be revealed. Jesus told us he would return, and his returning implies all this and more, much much more. We have a lot to look foreword to.