Creation is maintained through God's Laws
The basis for understanding reincarnation, and indeed all life and existence, is the knowledge of the Divine Laws of Creation, which are manifestations of the Will of God. The Divine Laws may also be called the Laws of Life and they incorporate the Laws of Nature. The Ten Commandments are, of course, in full accord with these laws. The Laws of Creation have always existed and will always exist; hence they are called Eternal Laws. They do not change, cannot be subverted or circumvented by the rich, the powerful, or the clever. They apply equally to all, regardless of circumstances or beliefs. And they operate not only on earth but also in the beyond and, indeed, throughout Creation. The effects of these Laws are the same on those who know them as on those who are ignorant of them. Ignorance is no excuse!
For a deeper appreciation of the nature of these Laws, let us contrast them with the laws that men make. Secular laws, or the laws of man vary from society to society. The Laws of Creation are the same everywhere. Secular laws may be changed at will; what was perfectly legal yesterday may become a criminal act today, and vice versa. The Laws that are the manifestations of the Will of the Almighty are immutable; they have always been and will ever remain the same.
Human laws are difficult to understand. Therefore, we often depend, for their interpretation, on lawyers who have devoted years of study to secular laws. And even lawyers do not always agree on the interpretation of a given law. In contrast, the Eternal Laws are simple, clear, and easy to understand. No schooling, in the ordinary sense of the word, is required. In fact, they are hinted at in the proverbs of all cultures. Moreover, human laws do not always promote justice. Indeed, quite often they arc exploited by lawyers to set free people who have actually committed crimes. In contrast, the Laws of Creation ensure that, at all times, Justice, Love, and Purity are simultaneously upheld.
Unlike the large number of laws men make for themselves, the Eternal Laws, the Laws of Creation are rather few. For our purpose, they may be discussed as three interrelated and complementary Laws.
The Law of Sowing and Reaping
One of these Laws is the Law of Sowing and Reaping -popularly expressed as whatever we sow, we are obliged to reap. This Law is described by various other expressions such as: the Law of Karma; the Law of Seed and Harvest; the Law of Cause and Effect; the Law of Reciprocal Action; and the Law of Retributive Justice. It is a Law that must be familiar to all Christians, for it is indicated in a number of Bible passages including the following:
As I have seen, those who plough iniquity, and sow trouble, reap the same. (Job4:8).
For they sow the winshall reap thed, and they whirlwind. (Flosea 8:7).
For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit. (Luke 6:43).
Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (Galatians 6:7).
We know that if we sow maize, we can only reap maize, and if we want to harvest wheat, we must sow wheat. This Law ensures the maintenance of order and perfect justice in Creation. Imagine what confusion and bewilderment would result if we could not be certain what the harvest would be whenever we planted any seed; if at one time, a planting of maize gave us wheat, at another time the same planting gave us mango etc. Because of this Law, we know what harvest' to expect with each planting, and what we must plant if we desire a particular harvest. Every effect has a cause; and every cause must result in an effect.
It is important for us to note that this Law is no respecter of religions. Indeed, this is true for all the Laws of Creation as well as the Ten Commandments. If a Christian sows maize, he will reap maize; so also will a Jew, a Moslem, a Buddhist, or a pagan. If a pagan sows goodness, he is bound to reap goodness; so will a Bishop, a Hindu monk, or a Moslem Imam. Indeed, the Creator in His perfect Justice, cannot be expected to discriminate on any basis in the operation of His Laws. This viewpoint has ample support in the Bible. Peter, the Disciple, once declared:
"Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation any one who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him." (Acts 10: 34 - 35, italics mine)
The Apostle Paul made a similar point in several of his letters (see, for example, Romans 2: 9-11; Ephesians 6: 5-9; Colossians 3:25).
This fact should lead us to the realization that religions are only a means to an end, and not ends in themselves. If our religion helps us to understand thoroughly the Will of the Almighty and shows us how to do this Will, then it has played its part. But we would be wrong to imagine that membership of any religion or sect would guarantee salvation. In this regard, we recall what the Lord Jesus
Not every one who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the Will of My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
Let us learn a bit more about this Law, which holds the key to so many unsolved problems. Christians will, of course, understand that "sowing" is not limited to its ordinary agricultural sense. We "sow" through our thoughts, our words, our volitions, as well as our actions. This implies that we all are constantly sowing, be it only in our thinking and in our general attitude to life. If our thoughts are always good, we reap harvests of blessings; if they are evil, then we heap evils on ourselves. As we shift gear between good and evil, so do the harvests change.
We know that quite often men's actions are different from their thinking and their volition. A man may be smiling at you and saying nice words to you while planning to harm you; his volition is in conflict with his words and actions. A man makes a donation to the church even though he does not share the ideals and the objectives of the church. He simply wants the publicity or seeks favour from members of the church. In all such cases, the Law of Sowing and Reaping ensures that the harvests are weighed carefully to reflect not only the actions but also the related thoughts and volitions.
Most human beings cannot read other people's thoughts nor fathom their real volitions. And so, they cannot be good judges in the sense of the Eternal Laws. Hence we must heed the following admonition:
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get." (Matthew 7:1- 2)
This is not only another statement of the Law of Sowing and Reaping, but it also touches on the fact that we lack the ability to judge aright. For even when we observe the action and hear the words, we may not know the motives.
Another aspect of the Law of Sowing and Reaping, which we must note, is that one planted seed yields, at harvest, many seeds. The harvest is of the same kind (quality or species) as what was sown but its quantity is much greater. Thus our actions, good or bad, return to us multiplied. The increase is the result of another Law - the Law of Attraction of Similar Species or the Law of Like Attracts Like, which is discussed later in this chapter.
Moreover, we should note that the period between sowing and reaping depends on what is sown. Some grain crops are ready for harvests four months after planting, whereas some tree crops do not Yield an- harvests until after many years. Indeed, we plant some trees knowing full well that they will not be ready for harvesting in our ,lifetime. Even for the same crop, the period required for maturity may vary according to variety. For example, traditional varieties of cowpeas, also called beans, a food legume that is highly relished in West Africa, northeast Brazil, and southern United States, mature in about 100 days. Modern varieties of the same crop are ready for harvesting in about 60 days after planting.
Such differences in the periods to maturity also apply to the actions, thoughts, words, prayers, and volitions of :men. Thus, we can understand why a person doing evil now, will reap the consequences only in the future, near or distant. Similarly, the good fruits of the good man who may now be suffering, will surely come. Furthermore, the good that may currently be falling on the laps of a bad man must be the good he did in the past. And the bad ;experiences of the person who is presently striving to do good are the consequences of some wrong done in the past, which are only now ready for harvesting.
The perfect Justice of the Almighty does not permit any arbitrariness. Everybody reaps only what he or she has personally sown and nobody reaps what he or she has not sown.
There appear to be injustices in some cases only because of our own ignorance. A key aspect of this ignorance is our lack of the knowledge of, or deliberate but unfortunate rejection of, reincarnation. The truth is that some fruits we now reap, whether they are good or bad, were planted in some distant past, in previous .earth-lives. On the other hand, some "seeds" we are now sowing may not be ready for harvest until a distant future, in the beyond or in another earth-life. "Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man soweth that shall he also reap." The Creator grants us the free will to decide what we may or may not sow. But once we have done the sowing, we are obliged irrevocably to "eat the harvest". It does not matter who we are.
Many persons who have some knowledge of the Law of Sowing and Reaping readily, and without any difficulty, associate it with Divine Justice. But relatively few realize that in this Law also lies Divine Love. Consider a man who sows a good seed. The Law guarantees that at harvest he receives fruits of the same kind, and this can be perceived as Justice. However, the effect of the Law is not only on quality or kind, but also on quantity. He who sows, for example, one seed of maize, may reap two cobs of maize containing hundreds of seeds. Is it not Love, when for one good seed, the Divine Will ensures a return of many good seeds?
Let us also note that Divine Love considers only what is of benefit to us spiritually. And what carries spiritual benefits may sometimes be quite uncomfortable or painful to us. Indeed, man must redefine love in his relationships with fellow human beings in terms of what will benefit them spiritually. In this connection, it may be remarked that some human actions and attitudes that appear to demonstrate love are unhelpful and wrong when viewed from a spiritual perspective.
The bitter fruits of the bad seeds we sowed are spiritually helpful reminders of the fact that we strayed from the way ordained by the Creator. Any adversity, pain or suffering should be seen as cues, hints of the need to reexamine our understanding of the Laws of the Creator and how we stand in relation to them. Such reexaminations, if done in genuine humility, are bound to help us to grow spiritually. As we learn the right lessons and make necessary adjustments so that we sow only sweet seeds, the Law of Sowing and Reaping assures us of bountiful harvests of sweet fruits, at the appropriate time. And this, surely, is Love.
Therefore, we see that the Law of Sowing and Reaping is a way by which God shows His Love, while at the same time ensuring His Justice. For Divine Justice and Divine Love cannot be separated; they are one. God does not inflict suffering and tragedy on people. People bring them about purely by themselves, and by a process through which they could also ensure abundance, happiness and bliss for themselves. It is the working out of this Law of Sowing and Reaping, the Law of Reciprocal Action, that ensures "vengeance" and "recompense". And this clarifies the deep meaning of the Biblical passage: "Vengeance is mine, and recompense."(Deuteronomy32:35)
Attitude to the Suffering
Let us, right away, raise and answer a question that may well arise at this point in the minds of well-meaning Christians: does it follow from all these that we do not have to worry about suffering people since they are themselves responsible for their suffering? That is, may we maintain that they are only reaping what they sowed in this earth-life or in an earlier one and do not therefore deserve our help? The Law of Sowing -and Reaping should suggest the opposite to us. The Law shows clearly the need to do good at all times; for whatever good we do and to whomever we do it, be it an evil man or a good man, we stand to reap the good fruits.
In reality, any good we do, we do for ourselves, since the fruits return to us as multiples of the seeds we planted. Whenever we see somebody suffering, we should consider ourselves as having an opportunity to sow good seeds. We should not concern ourselves with the cause of the person's suffering; we should not judge. Moreover, we should know that if a sufferer does not deserve help, nobody who is in a position to help will come into contact with him or her. And how do we know that our relationships in former earth-lives are not such that we owe the particular suffering person a debt that we must pay through offering help at that point?
Another question that a Christian might ask has to do with forgiveness. For Christians, and indeed every human being, the issue of forgiveness is so important that a separate Chapter is devoted to it. The Chapter follows our discussion of two more Divine Laws.
Before we consider other Laws of Creation, we must mention one important characteristic of the human spirit. It is the Free Will. It is an inseparable part of the spirit and thus every human being may, for example, choose what to sow. But having made the choice, he or she is compelled to reap the fruits. A man holding a loaded gun, has the Free Will to decide whether or not to turn the gun on another person. If he does so, he is still free to decide whether or not to pull the trigger. Once he pulls the trigger, he has no control over what happens to his victim. As we do not picture man without a head, so there can be no human being without Free Will.
The Law of Attraction of Homogeneous Species
"Like always attracts like" is a Law of Creation. This Law is known variously as the Law of Attraction of Homogeneous Species, the Law of Homogeneity, or the Law of Similar Species. The proverb "Birds of a feather flock together" hints at this Law. So also does the saying "Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are."
Just as birds of the same feather flock together, so do fishes of the same kind. They congregate and move together in large groups called shoals or schools. This grouping has many advantages for them. For example, fishes in schools find food more readily and are less prone to attack by predators. A fish that strays from its school exposes itself to the risk of being attacked and killed by enemy fishes.
The Law of Homogeneity manifests itself in the relationships among men, among animals, and even in the natural communities of plants. Those who have given some thought to their study of chemistry see the effect of this Law quite clearly in the coming together of identical molecules to form compounds, as well as in many chemical reactions. The Law of Attraction of Homogeneous Species also ensures that if a particular species is split, the split parts will re-unite when given an opportunity. It is for this reason that opposite poles of a magnet attract.
The fact that unlike poles of a magnet attract appears, at first, to be a contradiction of the Law of Attraction of Similar Species. Let us therefore take some time to reflect on it.
Consider a bar magnet. Suppose we hold this magnet in such a way that the left end is the south pole and the right end the north pole. Imagine that we then cut the bar magnet into two (the two parts need not be equal). We now have two bar magnets. Call the left piece "magnet A" and the right piece magnet B". By convention, the right end of "magnet A" is a new north pole, while the left end of "magnet B" becomes a new south pole. But remember that the right end of "magnet A" (the new north pole) and the left end of "magnet B" (the new south pole) were one and the same point before we cut the original bar magnet into two.
Therefore, when the new north pole attracts the new south pole, we are merely witnessing the coming together of closely similar parts that were forcibly separated; adjacent molecules that were separated are given a chance to rejoin. And they do so, in accordance with the Creation Law of "Like Attracts Like". Whole species that are similar will attract. But so will the split parts of the same species seek to reunite.
Thus, the Law of Attraction of Homogeneous Species is fundamental for everything that is striving for union in Creation. But what appears to be attraction can be differentiated into genuine attraction which takes place between whole species that are similar, and the desire for a union of split parts of the same definite species. The human being is not a whole species but only a splitting which carries within itself the desire for union. And this (sexual instinct being excluded) explains the attraction - between man and woman. However, the thoughts, the deeds, and the volitions of human beings are whole species that attract similar species. In general, a split species can give rise not only to split species but also to complete species.
When next you are at a gathering, observe this Law at work. Small groups form themselves based on what the individuals have in common - be it profession, religious or spiritual beliefs, language, political opinion, love of fashion, a shared hatred etc. We know that hell is the flocking together of people who share similar weaknesses or evil. This is to say that hell is not the creation of God. If men did no evil, then there would be no gathering of the evil-minded; that is, there would be no hell.
Spiritual Qualities Come First
It is understandable that because man is a spiritual creature, spiritual characteristics are for him the most important factors of homogeneity. Perhaps as a way of teaching us this lesson, Jesus, when told that His mother and His brethren were waiting to see Him, stretched forth His hand toward His disciples and said:
"Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the Will of my Father in heaven, is my brother, and sister, and mother." (Matthew 12: 49-50)
It is to be expected that superficial persons and persons who do not have any understanding for the inner and finer qualities would be attracted most readily only by outward appearances such as skin colour, physical looks, fashion etc.
The fact that race and ethnicity are for many people the key considerations in their relationships with others is clear evidence of the pervasive superficiality and immaturity of mankind today. With increasing spiritual knowledge, particularly the right knowledge of reincarnation, the relative unimportance of a person's race and nationality becomes obvious. And one is then able to assess others on the basis of their worth as human beings, their character, their personal abilities, etc.
Children and their Families
The Law of Attraction of Similar Species and the Law of Sowing and Reaping determine the family, place, and other circumstances into which one is born. Every thought, word or act gives rise to a "form" that has a characteristic consistency. Each "form" can be perceived with the sense appropriate to it. Thus, for example, thoughts can be "picked." An act of conception sends a form into creation alerting the human spirits in the beyond of an opportunity for an incarnation on earth. Of the many souls in the beyond that might wish to incarnate, the one that succeeds depends on the spiritual environments of the parents, particularly of the pregnant woman. Among possible specific factors would be the similarity between the volitions, strengths, weaknesses, propensities, etc. of the incoming soul and those of the prospective mother, father, or someone whom the mother allows to exert a strong influence on her around the time of incarnation. In addition to these, any threads of fate dating from past lives that link members of the family to the incoming soul, also play a role.
Incarnation takes place about the middle of pregnancy. That is the time the incoming soul takes full possession of the foetus - the growing body, which it will use for its new earth-life. To ensure that nobody draws a wrong conclusion from this fact, we should state right away that it must not be imagined that abortion may be committed without spiritual repercussion at any time.
The act of procreation is like inviting the many anxious human spirits in the beyond to get ready for a chance to experience an earth-life, with all the opportunities an earth-life offers for spiritual development. Termination of a pregnancy before incarnation thus, at least, amounts to frustrating and dashing the hopes of an aspiring soul. Such an act cannot go unpunished. It is, of course, clear that abortion after incarnation has already taken place is, from the standpoint of the Laws of Creation, physical murder. The solution is to avoid conception.
We should never delude ourselves into believing that an action is necessarily without sin just because earthly laws permit it. We must always allow ourselves to be guided by the Will of God as expressed in His Laws.
A noble spirit will, in general, incarnate in a family of noble people, by the Law of Attraction of Similar Species. And, vice versa. Association with a not-so-honourable person by a pregnant woman may let down a bridge for the incarnation of a so-called black sheep. Nobility spirit, and indeed spiritual characteristics in general, are not inherited. Only physical, gross material characteristics are passed along through genetic processes.
Nor are genetic processes by any means accidental. The Law of Sowing and Reaping ensures that only those who have sown the necessary seeds are incarnated into families and places where they are bound to enjoy genetic advantage or suffer from hereditary handicap. For example, as a given disease is conquered in a particular part of the world, those whose karma call for that disease' can only incarnate in another country where the disease has not been wiped out.
In reality, nobody is a victim of circumstance. It also follows that if we could rid the earth of all diseases and the causes of human suffering, any souls that need to experience suffering would be unable to incarnate on earth. Similarly, if we would all strive to be noble in our thoughts, words, aspirations, deeds and intuitive perceptions, unworthy spirits would find it impossible to incarnate on earth. And thereby, the earth would become like Paradise.
The Law of Spiritual Gravity
A third Law of Creation, which should help our understanding of the process of reincarnation, is the Law of Spiritual Gravity.. This Law may be explained by reference to the physical law of gravity, which is the form in which this Eternal Law manifests on earth. Whatever is light, rises automatically, whereas that which is heavy falls.
At death, the spirit drops its physical cloak; it leaves its physical body behind. Where the spirit, with its inner' cloaks, finds itself is then determined by the Law of Spiritual Gravity. Evil deeds, bad thoughts, wrong aspirations and attitudes make the spirit heavy. This heaviness causes it to sink, to fall away in a direction opposite from that of Paradise. That is, it retrogresses. How deep it sinks, depends on how much it has immersed itself in wrong-doing, and therefore how heavy it has become. Following its fall, it congregates with other spirits that have similar weaknesses; again, in accordance with the Law of the Attraction of Similar Species.
If, for example, greed is one of its major vices, it will get drawn to others who are as greedy and these will inflict greed on him continuously. The gathering of the greedy, constantly perpetrating greed on one another, thereby forms a "greed section" of hell. Any member who, through the distasteful experience in this section, becomes disgusted with greed and no longer wishes to be a part of it, is automatically moved away - again according to Law. For, he would have become different from that environment, and the Law of Attraction of Similar Species ensures his separation.
Noble actions, thoughts, and attitudes make the spirit light so that, once it has shed the physical body, it rises automatically toward Paradise, its home. He rises along with similarly noble spirits from whom he receives love, and to whom he also gives love.
Thomas Aquinas, recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as its foremost philosopher and theologian, in his Summa Theologiae, describes how departed souls reach their "places", their immediate destinations. His description tallies remarkably with the Law of Spiritual Gravity outlined above.
Aquinas says that bodies have a tendency to sink as well as to rise whereby their places are determined. 'The pull from the higher worlds makes itself felt through 'levitation', and the pull from the lower world is felt as gravity', according to the quality of the past earthly life. The soul then follows, as it were, the magnetic pull from that supersensible region to which it feels akin, either gravitating' or 'levitating' as the case may be". k, (Summa Theologise Suppl. 69.2, cited by Rudolf Frieling). We should also note that the process described by Thomas Aquinas implies support for the Law of Attraction of Similar Species.
Copyright 1996 by Millennium Press. All rights reserved. Used with author's permission.