By Nandini Gosine-Mayrhoo
“Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.” Robert A. Heinlein
“Always go beyond the mind’s limitations. If you do what your mind says you can, you will not end up doing anything.” ISKCON Desire Tree
As I ponder the diversity of Hinduism, which allows us the ability to seek divine grace through a myriad of deities (my personal preference for the great yogi Lord Shiva may contrast with your affection for the playful innocence of Lord Krishna or the gentle beauty of Mother Lakshmi), I note that there is one underlying belief that unites us as Hindus. Yes, despite our pantheon of devas and devis we do worship one supreme being, but I speak here of our belief in reincarnation.
Interestingly, more and more non-Hindus are becoming comfortable with the notion of a reincarnating soul. A New York Times article dating back to 2010, quoted research by Pew Forum which indicated that at least 25% of Americans believe in reincarnation. I would suggest that number has increased significantly since then. There is perhaps no ready answer for why a greater questioning of traditional belief systems has arisen, but perhaps one can trace this shift in thought back to the 1960s when, through Beatlemania, U.S. audiences were exposed to the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Even earlier than that, Paramahansa Yogananda founded the Self Realization Fellowship, bringing Kriya Yoga to the West. I personally see the phenomenon of old paradigms no longer being blindly accepted, as a welcome shift in human consciousness. And I wonder whether advances in technology can definitively answer the questions that lie behind that shift.
The 21st century is the era of quantum leaps in science and technology. We have seen the creation of a solar powered airplane, the invention of Kindle, which allows us to carry a library in our hands, and experimentation into driverless cars. We are also witnessing massive strides in artificial intelligence, with machines that work and react like humans. All of these things were unimaginable to our grandparents, but are very real to us today. Science has enriched our lives and brought us a greater understanding of how the universe works. What it has not achieved is an understanding of the undeniable intelligence that lies behind every creation in our world. It is our innate acknowledgement of that supreme intelligence that leads to a belief in a supreme source behind all of creation, and it can be argued that it is an innate intelligence that leads to our acceptance of reincarnation as truth. Unlike our grandparents who never envisaged a car that could drive itself, can we envisage a day when science supports our spiritual belief? More specifically, can we envisage a day when science proves that reincarnation is real?
How can reincarnation be proven? Like everything else that poses a conundrum to science, a series of experiments will need to be conducted to determine factuality. Those experiments must, of course, involve the souls that reincarnate, i.e., you and me. Such experiments must be designed to capture information about those souls across lifetimes. The means to store and coherently retrieve that information across lifetimes must be available. Taking each of these points in turn, the estimated one billion Hindus in the world provide a ready experiment base for the proving of reincarnation. As a Hindu, I can think of no reason why I would not want to be part of such ground breaking research. The means to store information for billions, yes billions, of years is real — with quartz glass providing the capability to save information for longer than Earth has been in existence.
Significantly, advances in artificial intelligence have brought us IBM Watson, a cognitive computing system that is yielding machines capable of reasoning and learning. IBM Watson, and any of its future smarter incarnations, immensely broadens the horizons of how stored information is understood and utilized in the future. The coming together of these technologies, under the umbrella of an interested organization (and ultimately the descendants of that organization), can be the beginning of scientifically proving what is for now, considered just a spiritual belief. Emerging technologies and science are providing us with the means to achieve the transcending of lives, where we can objectively access and assess information recorded in past lives — proving reincarnation as truth.
Quantum leaps in science and technology, however, will achieve little without parallel shifts in human consciousness. Despite an undeniable raising of human consciousness within recent years — note how the status quo around race, class, gender, wealth, care for Earth and ultimately control of the human population is being rapidly shifted through populist movements — humanity has considerable ground to cover before it realizes its full potential. We have accepted psychology as a means of changing behavior, for example around depression or addiction. What if psychology could help us prepare our consciousness for behaviors beyond a current lifetime? If we believe in reincarnation, why limit our consciousness to one lifetime; why not view our souls’ capabilities across lifetimes? The work of renowned psychotherapist Brian Weiss has revealed to humanity the soul’s ability to recall past lives. Why then have we not given more thought to our souls possessing the required intelligence to prepare for future lives?
If we can accept that the technology for the proving of reincarnation is available, and that human consciousness has the potential to transcend lifetimes, then we must consider the ramifications of reincarnation being proven as truth. As a Hindu, I inherently believe that Hinduism holds all the wisdom that humanity craves. Hinduism is the world’s oldest spiritual practice and its ancient texts have at their core a constant concern over humanity’s spiritual destiny, hence their relevance today as much as when they were first recorded several millennia ago. Hinduism, with no overarching world authority, has never sought to stamp its authority on the world consciousness. Despite this, interest in the teachings of Hinduism continues to grow. If reincarnation was scientifically proven, the accuracy of Hinduism’s teachings will become attractive to even larger numbers of humanity. Religious conversion is alien to Hinduism’s teachings. How fitting it would be for its teachings to be willingly accepted by humanity through the scientific proving of one of its major tenets of belief.
We know that we are living through the Kali Yuga, and while the exact timing of its end is open to speculation, we can be certain that Earth is on the brink of a new Satya Yuga, a new Golden Age. Perhaps Hinduism has a significant role to play in the ushering in of that Golden Age through the scientific proving of its teachings. We are at a precarious time in humanity’s history, where scientific discoveries can be used for either the destruction or preservation of mankind. Without a rapid rise in human consciousness, an act of self-destruction seems more likely. Perhaps it is time for Hinduism to promote the peace, tolerance and ahimsa that lie at the heart of its teachings. Perhaps it is time that we, as Hindus, step up to our roles in sharing the wisdom of our ancestral spiritual teachings. Perhaps it is time for the discrete Hindu organizations, temples and societies around the world to work alongside each other in promoting those teachings — with the common ground of reincarnation providing an excellent example which can galvanize world attention.
Nandini Gosine-Mayrhoo is a freelance writer based in Palm Beach, Florida. Nandini can be contacted on 561–324–4868 or at email@example.com. For further information on the ideas discussed in this article, please visit www.futurelives.org.
Originally published at www.spiritofchange.org.