So long as we try to understand the concept of rebirth using the faculties of the mind, it is impossible to come to any solid basis. Due to the limitations of the mind and its faculties of perception and understanding, we are left with conflicting ideas and contradictory points of view. It is essentially impossible for the mind to grasp anything that is outside its normal range of focus and action, and clearly the operation of a universal process of development using rebirth as a mechanism goes far beyond the normal scope of the mental power.
This is not to say that the theory of rebirth is beyond any understanding. There are other faculties with other powers of understanding. Sri Aurobindo points this out: “The soul needs no proof of its rebirth any more than it needs proof of its immortality. For there comes a time when it is consciously immortal, aware of itself in its eternal and immutable essence. Once that realisation is accomplished, all intellectual questionings for and against the immortality of the soul fall away like a vain clamour of ignorance around the self-evident and ever-present truth.”
Sri Aurobindo goes further: “That is the true dynamic belief in immortality when it becomes to us not an intellectual dogma but a fact as evident as the physical fact of our breathing and as little in need of proof or argument. So also there comes a time when the soul becomes aware of itself in its eternal and mutable movement; it is then aware of the ages behind that constituted the present organisation of the movement, sees how this was prepared in an uninterrupted past, remembers something of the bygone soul-states, environments, particular forms of activity which built up its present constituents and knows to what it is moving by development in an uninterrupted future. This is the true dynamic belief in rebirth, and there too the play of the questioning intellect ceases; the soul’s vision and the soul’s memory are all.”
With this basis it is then possible to take a longer and harder look at the mechanism of rebirth and karma and to understand with a greater depth of insight and subtlety the complexity of the functioning of this process.