The Concepts of Rebirth and Karma Require One Another For Meaning

Once we recognize a law of Karma, a sequence of cause and effect, we come reasonably quickly to the conclusion that it can only have a real meaning within the context of multiple births. Similarly if we start from the concept of rebirth, we find that there must be some linking between the births that provides significance as well, and this linking is the “law of Karma”. Either way, we find that the one concept requires the other.

We see around us an ordered universe, with subtlety and inter-related and inter-operable parts that clearly are part of some larger whole, both in terms of the universal manifestation and in terms of the sequence of actions over time. Such an organization speaks to a creative Intelligence and a pattern to the manifestation which implies meaning and significance, not a chaotic wild dream sequence or some kind of illusory existence.

Sri Aurobindo discusses the link between the concepts in this next chapter, Rebirth and Karma: “These two things are the soul side and the nature side of one and the same cosmic sequence. Rebirth is meaningless without karma, and karma has no fount of inevitable origin and no rational and no moral justification if i is not an instrumentality for the sequences of the soul’s continuous experience. If we believe that the soul is repeatedly reborn in the body, we must believe also that there is some link between the lives that preceded and the lives that follow and that the past of the soul has an effect on its future; and that is the spiritual essence of the law of Karma.”

“The continuous existence of the soul in rebirth must signify an evolution if not of the self, for that is said to be immutable, yet of its more outward active soul or self of experience. This evolution is not possible if there is not a connected sequence from life to life, a result of action and experience, an evolutionary consequence to the soul, a law of Karma.”

Sri Aurobindo,Rebirth and Karma, Section I, Chapter 11, Rebirth and Karma, pg. 93,