Symbols of the world's religions

               

SUICIDE AND PAST LIVES

Part One

Ivy O. Duce

 
One of the most tragic things today is to hear of people, especially young people in school or college, committing suicide because of a sense of failure. This is because they have no conviction of a God of Love, or of an orderly universe, or of the endless chances which they will have to "make good" and achieve their aspirations. Only the Christian Church has failed to teach the truth of reincarnation; all other faiths acknowledge it. And the pity is that the doctrine was taught in the Christian Church until the fifth ecumenical council was held in Constantinople in 543 A.D., at which the Church fathers suddenly decided, and passed a resolution (still on record in the minutes of the meeting), that they would "no longer teach the doctrine of rebirth".

This was done in spite of many passages in the Bible referring to reincarnation, of which the one most often quoted is Matthew XVII: 12, where Jesus states that the old prophecy of Malachi, that Elijah was to come again to the world before the Messiah, had been fulfilled in John the Baptist. This ban left us Christians to face an unjust and unloving God who gave us only one chance and sometimes, if we died in infancy, we did not even have that! Yet He created redwoods to live five thousand years! And what is sillier than saying God is Love, but that He would still plunge us into hell and keep us there eternally if we were not good here! As far as God is concerned, evil is only, as the song goes, "a some-time thing". During our long journey we learn to discard it.

There really is no death! All we do is drop or discard one body for another, and most of us like a new suit of clothes. But the worst possible thing we can ever do is to commit suicide. This is done by people who have the false idea they are getting away from their problems that way. They may be ill with cancer and so they say, "I don't want to be a burden to my family," but inside they want to escape the pain and helplessness. Or they are lonely, so they want to rejoin someone who has passed over. They feel they have a right to do what they want with their lives. But nobody owns his life — it belongs to God. There are certain lessons to be learned in each lifetime, and certain sanskaras to be worked out. When we "welsh" on the job, the toll we have to pay isn't worth it. No problem we have to cope with is as bad as having the problem still facing us and no physical body with which to work.

When we suicide, we can neither go forward nor backward, so we stay earthbound for a long time. We realize what we should have done while we had a body, and we can't do it without one. We did not finish our appointed tasks so we cannot go ahead in the astral world. It is much better to face our lot as it unfolds — even if one tries and fails, sooner or later he must succeed. People get discouraged over love, finances, all sorts of things — and yet a brighter life could be awaiting them two months hence. We really never have more than we can bear — if we believe in God! Lack of endurance is our weakness. God loves bravery! Life constantly persists and renews itself, and we should not be so attached to our present form. Death is only the interval between two lives.

One of the old church fathers, Origen (A.D. 185-254), wrote:

"Every soul has existed from the beginning — and comes into this world strengthened by the victories or weakened by the defeats of its previous life — its work in this world determines its place in the world which is to follow this."

At the time of death, the soul drops its physical body. The subtle body, with its astral sheath (soon to be discarded), has its link — commonly known as the "silver cord" — snapped and is free to leave its gross form and go into the astral world. The mind remains with the subtle body.

Nobody can believe that each soul is newly created when a baby is born and that God, or whatever power creates, is having fun by producing vicious or idiotic or retarded babies, and that instead of a perfect plan for evolution, God created an irrational chaos without any mercy or justice. How explain infant genius (music, etc.) or the Shakespeares and Einsteins of this world? Could a St. Francis of Assisi just happen? Genius is not inherited, nor moral character, but often physical likeness is. This is because in evolution a soul is directed to take birth in a family where it can acquire the body needed for such roles as a musician or a prize fighter, etc., and where it contacts people formerly known.

 

WHAT AM I DOING HERE?, pp. 23-26, Ivy O. Duce
1966 © Sufism Reoriented Inc.

Suicide And Past Lives, Part 2

               

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