Difficulties in Proving the Existence of Rebirth to the Scientific Mind

Sri Aurobindo points out that even if we were able to elicit various proofs of the memory of past lives, it remains difficult for the scientific mind to accept these proofs, since they would not be subject to the type of physical factual scrutiny which that mind finds as its sole basis for acceptance. On the contrary, even cases that would be considered extremely positive can be explained away by those who choose to do so through any number of doubts or issues that can cloud the results.

We have of course heard of the cases where an individual is born in one country, and as a very young child is able to describe a village halfway across the world in another country to a “T” without prior exposure to that village; and that further, the child was able to describe circumstances of a past life with specific individuals who were found to be historical individuals. Even in such clear cases, however, the physical mind, resistant to anything beyond its range of knowledge, finds arguments or objections.

Harder to explain are cases where an individual not only has such clear and factual knowledge, but can even speak in a different language to which that person has not been exposed in the current lifetime.

Such cases, since they have been documented, lend tremendous weight to the idea that rebirth must exist, at least for those who have not tried to limit themselves solely to the knowledge available to the 5 limited senses.

The doubters can devise any number of excuses. “It might be maintained that they prove the power of a certain mysterious faculty in us, a consciousness that can have some inexplicable knowledge of past events, but that these events may belong to other personalities than ours and that our attribution of them to our own personality in past lives is an imagination, a hallucination, or else an instance of that self-appropriation of things and experiences perceived but not our own which is one out of the undoubted phenomena of mental error.”

While an abundance of such experiences and documentation would tend to lend weight and credence to the acceptance of rebirth, clearly it is not possible to prove things to the physical mind that it does not want to admit. There remain those today who will not recognise the fossil history of the earth and the time-frames that this history denotes; or even, that the earth is not the center of the universe!

Sri Aurobindo,