Reincarnation, the Soul

From An Interview with Shamcher Bryn Beorse

J=Jelaluddin Boru, S=Shamcher
J: What do you think of reincarnation, Shamcher?
S: The Soul may be thought of as something individual regarding you, but the Soul is also something deeper, and in this sense the soul is the same Soul for everyone. And in this sense the soul doesn’t reincarnate, it receives an impression. It gathers around it impressions, or vibrations you may call them, of heart and mind and body.
Take as an example a soul that is coming to the world of matter to make and receive impressions again. On the way it meets the soul of Beethoven, which is departing. Beethoven doesn’t need his music anymore, which is a product of the vibrations of his mind and heart, and so he sheds the impression that is his music, like a coat he no longer needs. And the soul that is approaching the physical world, and wants things of this sort, looks at this field of vibrations and thinks, “This is good, I like this,” and so he absorbs a little of the coat and comes here and plays like Beethoven, and then people say, “It is Beethoven reincarnated!” Even this soul may begin to think it is Beethoven reincarnated, but it is not, it is an impression of Beethoven in the form of vibrations of his mind and heart.
There is reincarnation, but not in the sense that some of us superficially believe. There isn’t a changing soul that comes down and then goes up again, the soul is more aloof and impersonal than that. It is sort of sitting there and looking down on the whole play…
Just look at the way the idea of reincarnation is sometimes abused in India: They see a man crawling along in the street, with leprosy, stretching out a half-broken arm, but the Indians say, “That’s his own fault, he did something wrong in his last life and so he reincarnates in this form.” That’s superstition and cruelty and not reincarnation!

J: How does the Soul get here in the first place?
S: The Soul  exists forever and has no beginning or end, or at least any beginning or end that anyone here can imagine.

J: Then why does it take a body?
S: To get experience. A metaphor would be that you have a finger, and then you put a glove on it, and stick it down in some hot water to experience the feeling… The Soul makes this kind of impression in this world of mind and matter to sift up the experience. That is why God has created the universe in the first place. And why he is continually creating it through each soul.

J: I don’t really understand what you are trying to say about reincarnation and the Soul.
S:  What I think doesn’t matter. But what I am trying to do here is to quote Inayat Khan: that the Soul is part of the eternal God, the Light. It is in a sense One with God, and in a sense it is separate.
And, as we said before, every opposite thing is really part of the same thing. The Soul doesn’t have any opposite. It doesn’t go down or up. The Soul is immovable. It doesn’t need to move…

J: Is the Soul in the body?
S: Only insofar as it gives the body life. For instance the moment that you die there is nothing in it…
You may picture it as you want. No one can draw an adequate picture from the physical world that can truly explain it. You can picture it all you want, but there is no final understanding of it. For instance, is it like that wall over there? These kind of things can’t be answered. Perhaps one could say that as the flower has a fragrance, so the body has a “fragrance” which is the Soul… The Soul is a very subtle vibration which is too subtle for our minds to comprehend.

J: How about the concepts of Soul and spirit. Is there any difference?
S: Not really. Sometimes they are not used synonymously, but there is no real difference, or the difference is too subtle for us to appreciate.

J: From what you’ve said, it would seem that you don’t accept the idea the reincarnation is a process by which we are attempting to reach perfection.
S: The soul may try various impressions to attain to more knowledge, but not really perfection. ls there anything you can call perfection?
One of the silliest notions going around in this line is, “Well, he is a perfect master.” There is no such thing as a master, except maybe in shoemaking, mechanics or making books perhaps. When you come to a spiritual life there is never a master, there never was and never will be a master. As Inayat Khan said: “There is only One master, the spirit that leads every Soul towards its destination.” “Master” is a spiritual concept and nothing more, and to hear people talk about the “perfect master”, so very sad.

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Filed under Inayat Khan, Shamcher, Sufi

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