Q: A friend has asked: once the soul has left a body, can it enter into another dead body?
Yes it can. But there no longer remains any meaning, any purpose in entering another dead body: the other body was dead because the soul had found it unsuitable to reside in. The body was discarded because it had become useless, hence there is no point in entering that body. Nevertheless, it is indeed possible to enter another body.
It’s no use asking, however, how one can enter another body when we don’t even know how we exist in the body we are already in. What can be gained by thinking about such worthless things as entering another body? We don’t even know how we entered the body we have now. We don’t even know how we are living in our body. We have never had the experience of seeing our own body separate from us.
In any case, there is no reason for entering another body; however, in scientific terms, it can be said that it is possible to enter another body – because, basically, a body cannot be seen in terms of yours and mine. All bodies are external. When a soul enters a mother’s womb it is actually entering a body – a very small body, an atomic body, but entering a body nevertheless. The cell that is created on the first day in a mother’s womb contains the whole inbuilt program in itself. For example, the possibility that one’s hair may turn gray fifty years from the time of conception is hidden in that tiny little seed. Potentially, the seed contains within itself what the color of your eyes will be, how long your hands will be, whether you’ll have a healthy body or a sick body, whether you’ll be white or black, whether or not you’ll have curly hair. It is a tiny body, an atomic body. The soul enters this atomic body. It enters in accordance with the structure of the atomic body, with the situation the atomic body is in.
The sole reason human consciousness has been declining daily is because married couples are not creating suitable opportunities for superior souls to take birth. Whatever opportunities are being created are for the birth of inferior souls. It is not necessarily so that, following a man’s death, his soul may soon find the opportunity to take birth. Ordinary souls, which are neither very superior nor very inferior, find new bodies within thirteen days from the death of the body; however, very inferior souls are stopped from taking birth because it is very difficult to find a suitable opportunity, a womb that low in quality. We call these inferior souls ghosts and evil spirits. Very superior souls are prevented from taking birth too, because they don’t find suitable opportunities, wombs that high in quality, either. We call these superior souls, gods.
In the past, the number of evil spirits was very large while the number of gods was very small. In the present day, the number of ghosts and evil spirits has greatly decreased and the number of gods has increased, because the opportunity for the birth of godlike people has diminished whereas the opportunity for the birth of evil souls has increased rapidly. By entering human bodies, ghosts and evil spirits, which otherwise used to be held back from taking birth, have now all joined the human race! That’s why it’s so difficult to see ghosts and evil spirits nowadays. One need not see them, however. Just look at man and you have seen them!
Our belief in gods obviously declined, because how can one believe in them when they are so hard to find? There was a time when gods were as real as any other actuality of our lives. If you read the Vedic rishis, the sages, it doesn’t seem as if they are talking about some imaginary gods. No, they are talking about gods who speak to them, who sing and laugh with them. They are talking about gods who walk very closely with them, on this very earth.
We have lost our contact with the world of gods because we don’t have men among us who can become links, who can become bridges between gods and men and let men know what gods are. And the entire responsibility for this lies with mankind’s marital system. The whole marital system of the human race is ugly and perverted.
The most important thing is that we have stopped marriages resulting from love, that marriages are happening without love. A marriage devoid of love does not create a spiritual bond – a bond which is only possible with the presence of love. A harmony, a rapport, a music necessary to give birth to a great soul is not created between the man and the woman. The love between them is merely a consequence of companionship. There is no meeting of souls in their love, none of the movement that brings two beings together into oneness.
Children born of a marriage without love can never be loving, can never be godlike. They will be more like ghosts and evil spirits; their lives will be filled with anger, hatred, and violence. Even a little thing makes the difference, an incredible difference, if there is no harmony, no rapport between the man and the woman.
Perhaps it may not have occurred to you why women look more beautiful than men, why there is such roundness, such shapeliness in women. Why isn’t the same seen in men? It may not have occurred to you why there is a music, an inner dance apparent in the being of a woman, and which is not seen in man. The reason is very simple, not very big really. The reason is so small you can’t even imagine that the enormous difference between man and woman is based on something so tiny.
The first cell in the mother’s womb contains twenty-four chromosomes of the man and twenty-four chromosomes of the woman. With the meeting of two cells, each containing twenty-four chromosomes, the first cell of forty-eight chromosomes is created. With the union of forty-eight chromosomes a female body is formed – both sides of its scale containing twenty-four chromosomes each, balanced. But the first cell of a male child consists of only forty-seven chromosomes – twenty-four on one side and twenty-three on the other. Right here the imbalance is created, the harmony is broken. Both sides of a woman’s being are well balanced; hence the whole beauty of a woman – her shapeliness, her art, the juice of her personality, the poetry of her personality.
There is a slight deficiency in the personality of man. One side of his scale is made up of twenty-four chromosomes. The cell he receives from the mother contains twenty-four chromosomes and the cell received from the father consists of twenty-three chromosomes. Thus, when the twenty-four chromosomes of the mother meet the twenty-three of the father, the male body is formed. This is the reason why man remains so restless, so intensely discontented throughout his life. He is always anxious, always worried about what to do and what not to do, whether to do this or to do that. All this restlessness begins with a very small incident, having one chromosome less on one side of the scale. Man is imbalanced. A woman is fully balanced. The harmony, the rhythm is complete in her.
Such a small occurrence brings such an enormous difference, although because of it the woman could become beautiful but she could not grow. An even personality does not grow, it remains stagnant. The personality of man is uneven, hence you see him racing ahead, growing. He climbs Everest, crosses mountains, lands on the moon, reaches the stars. He searches and investigates. He thinks, writes books, gives birth to religion. A woman does nothing of this kind. She won’t climb Everest, land on the moon or stars; nor will she search for religions, write books or make discoveries in science. She won’t do anything. The balance in her personality does not fill her with the passion to transcend.
It is man who has given rise to human civilizations – and all because of one small matter: he lacks one chromosome. Woman has not developed civilizations because her personality is complete; there is no chromosome lacking. Such a small phenomenon can cause such an enormous difference in personality! I am pointing this out because this is just a biological occurrence, because one can biologically see how such a little difference gives birth to personalities so different in character. But there are other, more profound inner differences as well.
The child born out of the union of a man and a woman shows how deeply they are in love with each other, how much spirituality exists between them, and with how much purity and prayerfulness they have come together. On this depends how superior, how great the soul is which is attracted towards them, how great the divine consciousness is which makes that body its place of residence. The human race is becoming increasingly miserable and unhappy. Deep down, the distortion of the marital relationship is the cause. Until we have redefined the meaning of marital life and brought it to a healthy state; until we have refined it, spiritualized it, we cannot improve the future of mankind.
In this unfortunate state of affairs, those who have denounced the householder’s life and those who have made a great fuss over the life of renunciation are equally responsible. Once the householder’s life was condemned, we stopped thinking in that direction altogether. This is not right. I would like to say to you that very few people can reach God through the path of renunciation. A very small number of people, some special type, a few individuals of a totally different kind, reach through the path of renunciation. Most people reach God through the path of the householder and through marital relationship.
The strange thing is that even though it is simple and easy to reach through the householder’s path, no attention has yet been paid to it. Up to now, religion has suffered from the extreme influence of those who have renounced the world. Religion could not evolve for the benefit of the householder. Had it been evolved for the sake of the householder, before the very first moment of birth we would have considered what kind of soul we wanted to invite, what kind of soul we wanted to beckon, what type of soul we wanted to allow to enter life.
If religion could be taught rightly, and if every individual could be given right thought, right concept and vision, within twenty years we can create a totally new generation of men. One who enters into sex without first extending a loving invitation to the incoming soul is a sinner. He is a criminal, and his children are illegitimate even though they may be born in wedlock. That man who has not given birth to his children with an utterly prayerful and reverent heart is a criminal – and he will remain a criminal before all generations.
Our entire future depends upon what kind of soul enters the womb. We care about children’s education, about their clothes, about their health and nutrition, but we have completely given up on caring about what kind of soul a child would have. We cannot hope for a better human race this way. So there is no need to worry much about how to enter another body; rather, be concerned about how you have entered this very body of yours.
In this respect, a friend has asked:
Can we know about past lives?
We can certainly know about our past lives, but at present you know nothing even about this life. Knowing past lives is far more difficult. Man can, of course, know about his past lives, because once something is imprinted in the form of a memory on our minds, it is never destroyed. It always remains in our deep unconscious levels. Whatsoever we have known, we never forget.
If I ask you what you did on January 1, 1950, perhaps you won’t be able to answer. You might say, “I don’t remember anything. I have absolutely no idea what I did on January 1, 1950.” But if you could be hypnotized… and it can be done easily. Thus, by making you unconscious, were I to ask what you did on January 1, 1950, you would give me the whole day’s account as if the first of January were passing before your eyes right at that moment. Also you would be able to tell me that on the first of January your morning tea contained a little less sugar. You would even be able to say that the man who brought you tea stank with perspiration. You would be able to point out such minor details – like the shoe you were wearing was hurting your foot.
In the state of hypnosis your deeply embedded memories can be brought out. I am telling you this because I have done many experiments along this line. Anyone who wishes can be taken into his past lives; however, he will first have to regress in this life. He will have to walk the memory lane of his present life. He will have to go as far back as the point when he was conceived in the mother’s womb. Only after reaching that point can he step into the memories of past lives.
Remember, however, it is not without reason that nature has arranged for us to forget our past lives. And the reason is very significant. Recalling the memories of one month can drive you crazy, let alone those of past lives. Even your recollection of the memories of a single day will not allow you to survive. The whole arrangement of nature is such that it only permits as many memories as your mind can bear. The rest are thrown into a dark abyss. It’s like a storehouse where we throw things that are no longer needed and shut the door. Similarly, there is a collective house of memories, a house of unconsciousness where all unwanted memories – memories no longer needed in the mind – are stored. But were a man to enter this storehouse unwittingly, without understanding, he would instantly go mad – so overwhelming are the memories.
One lady used to experiment under my guidance. She was very keen to know her past lives. I said, “It is possible; however, you must realize the consequences – because perhaps by knowing your past lives you may become terribly worried and upset.”
She said, “No. Why would I get upset? The past life is already gone. What’s there to worry about now?”
She began the experiment. She was a professor in a college, intelligent, wise and courageous. Following my instructions exactly, she went into deep meditation. Slowly, she began to dig into the deeper levels of her memory, and the day she entered her past life for the first time, she came running to me. She was trembling all over, in tears. She began to cry bitterly and said, “I want to forget what I have remembered. I don’t want to go any further into my past life.”
I said, “It is difficult. It will take time to forget what has returned to your mind. But why are you so nervous?”
She said, “Please don’t ask me. I used to think I was very pure and chaste, but in my previous birth I was a prostitute in a temple in the south. I was a devadasi. I made love with thousands of people. I sold my body. No, I want to forget all that. I don’t even want to remember it for a second.”
So anyone can enter his past life. There are ways of doing it; there is a methodology for it. The greatest contribution to mankind made by Mahavira and Buddha is not the doctrine of nonviolence, their greatest contribution is the doctrine of remembering past lives. They were the first on earth to make it clear to seekers that until they had entered their past lives, they would not be able to know what the soul is. And they helped every seeker to go back into his previous life.
Should a man gather enough courage to recall the memories of his past life, he will become a different man altogether – because he will come to see he is repeating things he has already done thousands of times before. He will see his foolishness. He will come to see how many times he has amassed wealth, how many mansions he has built, how many times he has run after prestige, honor, status, how many times he has traveled to Delhi and attained high position. He will realize the innumerable times he has done all this, and that once again he is doing the same thing. And each time, in the final analysis, the journey has proven unsuccessful.
And the journey will be unsuccessful this time as well. With the revival of this memory, his chase after wealth will instantly end, his attachment to position will disappear. The man will come to know how many women he has had relations with in the course of thousands of years, and the woman will come to know how many men she has had relations with – and that no man was ever satisfied by a woman, nor was any woman ever satisfied by a man. And yet, a man still wonders whether he should enjoy this or that woman and a woman still wonders whether she should enjoy this or that man. This has happened millions of times.
If all this is recalled even once, a person will never repeat it again – because having repeated an act so many times, its worthlessness becomes self-evident; the whole thing becomes meaningless. Both Buddha and Mahavira conducted intensive experiments in jati-smaran, in recalling the memories of past lives. The seeker who passed through these memories even once, was transformed. He became a different man.
I can assure the friend who has asked the question that he can be taken into past life memories if he so desires. Before getting into the experiment, one needs to give it very careful consideration, however. As it is, there are already enough worries and troubles in one’s present life. Obviously, it is to forget all this, to forget his days, that a man drinks, watches movies, plays cards, gambles. When a man finds it so hard to live with the memories of a single day, when he is not brave enough to face this life, how will he be able to gather the courage to recall previous lives?
You may find it strange, but all religions of the world have been opposed to alcohol. However, giving their reasons for opposing alcohol, these ordinary, absolutely stupid politicians explain to the whole world they are against it because it destroys moral character, ruins wealth and property, makes man violent. This is all nonsense. Religions have opposed alcohol only because one who drinks does so to forget himself. And one who is trying to forget himself can never become acquainted with the soul. The very purpose of knowing oneself is to know the soul. That’s why alcohol and samadhi became two opposing things. It has nothing to do with what the politicians are saying.
The truth of the matter is… and this needs careful consideration: Ordinarily, people think an alcoholic is a bad person. I know people who drink, and I also know people who do not drink. Based on thousands of experiences, I have found that the man who drinks is in many ways far better than the one who does not. The degree of pity and compassion I have come across in those who drink, I have not seen in the non-drinkers. The sense of humility I have found in people who drink, I haven’t seen in those who don’t drink. The kind of arrogance I have seen in non-drinkers I have never come across in those who drink.
But these are not the reasons, normally advocated by the politicians, why religion has opposed alcohol. The reason has been that, in trying to forget himself, man gives up the courage to remember. How can one who is busy forgetting his present life remember his past ones? And how can one who cannot remember his past lives change his present one?
Consequently, a blind repetition goes on. What we have done many times before, we keep doing over and over again. It’s an unending process. And until we have remembered our past lives, we will be born again and again – and will repeat the same stupidities over and over, endlessly. This boredom, this continuous chain, is meaningless – because we’ll die again and again, keep forgetting our actions, and the same thing will start all over again. We will keep moving in circles like an ox at a water wheel.
Those who have called this life samsara…. Do you know what samsara means? Samsara means a wheel, the spokes of which keep revolving, keep moving up and down. I don’t know why the experts in India have placed the wheel on the national flag. Perhaps they don’t know, and one wonders what they think about it. Ashoka had engraved it on his stupas, on his Buddhist shrines, in order to remind people that life is a revolving wheel, that it is like an ox moving in circles at a water wheel, that things go around and around in a circle, coming back again and again to where they were before.
So the wheel is a symbol of samsara; it does not represent any victory march. It symbolizes life being defeated daily. It shows, symbolically, that life is a repetitive boredom, a revolving wheel. But each time we forget this fact and start repeating ourselves with great interest and enthusiasm.
A man falls in love with a woman and begins courting her. He doesn’t realize, however, how many times he has fallen in love before, how many women he has chased before. And yet, once again he approaches them and thinks that this wonderful event is happening for the first time in his life. But that sort of wonderful event has occurred to him many times before. If he were to come to know this fact, he would be like a man who has seen a movie ten or twenty times.
When you see a movie for the first time you may enjoy it. If you are shown the movie the next day you may tolerate it. On the third day you will say, “Thank you, I don’t wish to see the movie any more.” But if you are compelled, threatened – “If you don’t see the movie the police will take you away, the police will be after you” – and like this you are forced to see the same movie for fifteen days, on the sixteenth day you will surely attempt suicide. The whole thing will have gone beyond all limits. You will cry out, “But I have seen it for fifteen days, how much longer can I see it?” And the police are on your back, forcing you to see the movie! However, if you are drugged after you have watched the movie and you consequently forget you ever saw it, the next day you can be seen purchasing a ticket for the same movie and enjoying it greatly.
Each time a man drops one body and acquires another, the door to the memories of his previous body closes. With the new body, a new play starts once again – the same act, the same story. Once again everything is the same; everything has happened many times before. Remembering the past one comes to see that the same act has been played many times before, that the same story has occurred many times before, that the same songs have been sung many times before. Now the whole thing is beyond endurance.
Nonattachment, freedom from worldly desires, comes with remembering the past. There is no other way for one to feel aversion towards the kind of life he now leads. Nonattachment is created by reviving the memories of previous births. The reason nonattachment has declined in today’s world is that there is no means available for remembering past lives.
Let me tell those friends who have raised this question that, from my side, I am fully prepared. What I am saying is not just theoretical. I am ready, with conviction, to put each and every word I’ve said to the test. And I’ll be happy to see anyone who is ready. Yesterday, I invited those with courage to experiment with me. I was delighted to receive a few letters saying, “We are very eager to begin the experiment. We were waiting for someone to call us. You have beckoned us; we are ready.” I am happy to know they are ready. My doors are open to them. I can take them as far as I would like them to go, and as far as they are willing to go. Now is the time the world needs at least a few people to attain enlightenment. Even if a few people can become enlightened, we can destroy the entire darkness engulfing the human race.
You may not have noted it, but within the last fifty years, two experiments of an opposite nature prevailed in India. One experiment was conducted by Gandhi, while the other was carried out by Aurobindo. Gandhi’s experiment was to raise the moral character of each individual. Gandhi’s experiment seemed successful, but it turned out to be a total failure. Those whose character he thought he had improved turned out to be made of clay: a slight drizzle and, in the last twenty years, all the paint wore off. We are all witness to it. Their bodies stand naked in New Delhi. All the paint and color has washed off; not a bit is left anywhere. Whatsoever Gandhi had painted on them washed away in the rain. So long as power didn’t shower down upon them their faces looked very impressive, their clothes of khadi looked very bright, and their caps seemed to assure people they would lift the country to greater heights. The same caps have now become worthy to be tossed into holy fires of each and every village; they have now become symbols of the bourgeoisie, of the corruption in the country. So Gandhi seemed to be succeeding but ended as a total failure. Experiments similar to Gandhi’s were conducted many times before and each time, failed.
Aurobindo carried out an experiment which did not appear to be successful. He could not succeed, but he was moving in the right direction. He was experimenting to see if it was possible for a few souls to rise so high that their very presence would begin to uplift other souls, would call out to other souls and they would start rising. Is it possible, with the rising of one man’s soul, for mankind’s entire spirit to be uplifted? It is not only possible, it is the only thing possible. There is nothing else which can succeed today.
Today, man has fallen so low that if we remain concerned with changing every individual, it will never happen. On the contrary, the greater possibility is that anyone attempting to bring about such a change might himself become like those he wants to change. It is highly possible he might become corrupt like the others. You can see for yourselves that those who set out to serve the masses turn out, in a few days, to be their deceivers. Those who had gone out to serve others, to reform others, in no time you find that people have begun to reform them. No, that idea of changing each individual is not feasible.
The history of human consciousness shows there were times when the whole consciousness of mankind soared to such heights you can hardly imagine. Twenty-five hundred years ago India saw the advent of Buddha, Mahavira, Prabuddha Katyayana, Makkhali Gosal, Sanjaya Vilethiputta. In Greece, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus were born. Lao Tzu, Confucius and Chuang Tzu appeared in China. Twenty-five hundred years ago ten or fifteen people of such precious quality happened that, during the span of a hundred years, man’s consciousness touched the heavens. A golden age seemed to have arrived all around the world. Never before was the human soul so powerfully in evidence.
Mahavira lit the divine flame within the hearts of fifty thousand people who accompanied him from place to place. Thousands of Buddha’s disciples were awakened, and their light, their flame began stirring village after village. In the village where Buddha would arrive with his ten thousand bhikkhus, within three days the whole vibe of that place would change. Where ten thousand bhikkhus assembled and prayed, it was as if the darkness was dispelled from the village, as if the prayer was spread over the entire village, as if hearts began to bloom and were filled with fragrance for the first time.
A few people rose, and with that the eyes of those who were below were uplifted. People only look up when there is something above to see. In the present world there is nothing to see above, but there is much to see below. The lower a person falls, the bigger his bank balance, the larger his mansion, the fancier his Cadillac – so there is much to see below. Today, Delhi is way down, absolutely in the pit. If you look below you will see Delhi in the lowest region of the earth, in the lowest hell. Whoever wants to reach Delhi should descend to the netherworld, lower and lower.
There is nothing above worth seeing today. Who would you look at? Who is up there? What greater misfortune can there be than that there are no longer any souls above worth seeing – such souls that just seeing them creates a deep longing in our hearts, such souls that just looking at them brings a cry from our whole being, such souls that just looking at them fills us with self-reproach, make us feel: “I could have been a lamp like this. The same flower could have blossomed in me too. I could have also sung the same song. I could also have been a Buddha, a Mahavira, a Krishna, a Christ.”
Should it even once occur to you that “I could have been the same too” – of course you need someone to look up to for such an inspiration – your vital energy would embark on a higher journey. And remember, your vital energy is always moving – if it is not journeying upward, it is journeying downward. The vital energy is never static. In the world of consciousness there is no stopping, no waiting. There is no station where you can get off and rest, whether you are moving up or down. Every moment life is in motion. The time has come for the raising of consciousness, and for having these consciousnesses remain there aloft so that others may look up to them.
I would like to start a movement throughout the world, not of many people – I only need a few courageous individuals ready to experiment. If a hundred people in India agree to experiment and are determined to raise their consciousnesses as high as humanly possible, the entire face of India can be changed in the next twenty years.
At the time of his death Vivekananda said, “I kept calling for a hundred people to come, but they never did. I am now dying a disheartened man. If only a hundred people had come, I could have changed the whole country.”
Vivekananda went on calling but the people didn’t come. I have decided I won’t call people. I’ll search in each and every village. I’ll look into the eyes of each and every man to make sure who he is. And that man who will not come in response to the call will have to be physically brought. If only a hundred people could be assembled like this, I assure you their souls will rise like Mount Everest. On that journey, the spirit, the life energy of the whole country can move ahead.
Those friends who find my challenge worth accepting, who feel they have enough courage and strength to tread a path which is absolutely unknown, unfamiliar, to cross a totally uncharted ocean, should know within themselves that such courage and daring only exists in them because deep down a divine call must have come – otherwise such courage and daring is not possible. It was said in Egypt, “A person who calls for God should know that God must have called him long before, otherwise the call could not have arisen in him.”
Those who feel the call from within have a great responsibility towards mankind. The need of the hour is for a few people to come forward and, in order to experience the heights of consciousness, offer their lives totally. All the truths of life, all the experiences up to this point are becoming falsities. All the heights attained so far are being taken as fantasies, are becoming myths.
One or two hundred years from now, children will refuse to believe there ever were people like Buddha, Mahavira and Christ. They will call them all merely fictitious characters. In the West, in fact, one man has written a book in which he says a man like Christ never existed. He says it’s just an old play which, in the course of time, people forgot and began to look upon as history.
We enact Ramleela because we believe a person like Rama did exist before – and so we perform Ramleela. A hundred years from now children will say, “They played Ramleela and people got the wrong impression that Rama had lived at some time in the past.” So Ramleela, the enactment of Rama’s adventures, would precede Rama. Ramleela will be seen as nothing but a play which went on for a long time, and Rama will simply be remembered as an upshot of it. Obviously, when people like Rama, Buddha and Christ cease to be recognized, how will it be possible to believe they ever existed before?
The human mind is never ready to believe there can be people with higher minds. It refuses to accept there can be someone greater. A man always wants to believe he is the greatest. He accepts someone’s superiority only when compelled to, otherwise never at all. He makes a thousand attempts to find some fault, some defect in the other in order to prove he is inferior too. He is always on the lookout so that someday he can tell everyone his old image of the person is shattered, that he no longer gives him any credence because he has discovered a blemish. Essentially, the search is to find something wrong with the person. If none is found, a new wrong is invented so a man can feel comfortable in his own stupidity and feel he is doing fine.
By and by, man will deny all the great souls because their symbols, their signs, are nowhere visible. How long will images of stone convince us that Buddha and Mahavira really did exist? How long will the words of The Bible assure us of the existence of Christ? And how long will the Bhagavadgita be able to show that Krishna lived? Not for long. We need people like Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavira. If we do not produce men of such caliber in the next fifty years, the human race is about to enter a very dark age. Then there is no future for mankind.
This is a great challenge for those who feel they can do something for humanity. I will move from town to town giving this clarion call. Wherever I come across eyes which I feel can become burning lamps, can be lit with the divine flame, I am ready to put my whole effort into making this a reality. From my side I am fully prepared. Let us see if at the time of my death I also have to say, “I was looking for a hundred people, but couldn’t find them.”
Osho, And Now, And Here, Vol 2, Ch 9 (translated from Hindi)