Indian thinkers believe firmly in the theory
of ‘rebirth.’ It is considered as an integral part of ‘Hindu’ culture.
Many modernists and atheists discard ‘rebirth’ as a ‘myth’ and
a meaningless concept. Life after death is indeed a mystery and the desire
to unravel it is probably universal. Despite this belief even in India, there
were atheists like Charvak and there are many even today who ridiculed the
concept of ‘rebirth’ by questioning as to how a body which is burnt can be
reborn. However, most religions believe in the concept of ‘judgement day’
when the soul will rise to receive ‘judgement’.
The answer to this perennial question is: It
is a fact that the body does not return – what returns is the soul (Atma)
in another body. Soul is an observer, what actually comes along with soul is
our sub-conscious which carries the past. As there is still research on this
subject, the purpose of this article is to see: How the western world is
responding to and looking at ‘rebirth’.
There are departments in several
universities doing research on ‘Soul and Rebirth’. Henry Ford, the
acclaimed industrialist, realised at the age of 26 the truth of
rebirth. Ford believed that the skills a person has are ‘the legacy of many
prior births.’ Henry Ford dedicated his wealth to this research and Dr.
Stevenson carried out the research for 4 decades.
Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher,
says that rebirth is the turning point of human existence. He adds, whatever
you do, rebirth is imminent! Corroborating this, Stuart Cheshire, an
American thinker, states wise people don’t need evidence; and there is no
use giving evidence to ‘extra-wise’ people’.
Kahlil Gibran believed in rebirth and so did
Socrates, and Leo Tolstoy. Even a politician, Benjamin Franklin, believed in
‘rebirth’. There are many surgeons who have written that they have actually
experienced the existence of the soul while performing ‘surgery’. A few
of their patients have related their ‘near death experience’.
We ourselves have observed and experienced
that some children have phenomenal ‘in-born’