We have completed our review of Rebirth and Karma by Sri Aurobindo.
The customary view of rebirth clearly leaves much to be desired. It is based, generally, on the idea that a specific personality will be reborn, and join up with the friends and family experienced in the current birth in another lifetime. It misses the inner rationale behind the entire process of rebirth, the growth, manifestation and evolution of the soul as a spark and “representative” of the Spirit involved in Matter for the expression of ever-greater forces of consciousness.
Similarly, the customary view of karma is also clearly flawed. The idea of either a machinery that metes out precise responses to an individual’s actions, or some high tribunal measuring actions and meting out justice, across this life and future lives, clearly is a distortion of the process that is truly taking place.
What we eventually see is that there is a vast intertwined movement of different forms of energies, physical, vital, mental and spiritual, each having their own characteristic power and action, but also impacting one another and creating a new result that represents the force of each line of action, but also takes into account the effect of the interaction. A cause and effect relationship exists within this framework, but not in the mechanically simplistic manner that we have tended to ascribe to it.
This process takes place, not solely on an individual basis, but also for the characteristic action of each species of being, and for the interaction between all life forms and the environment within which they live and act, and the movement of Time in the process of manifestation. We see, not a precise machinery, but a living, breathing Being manifesting through the Oneness of the universal life.
Rebirth is seen as part of a process of soul evolution. Karma as the cause and effect relationship between an output of energy and its result and the return it provides. The individual soul, as it grows and develops, through various forms and lives, is able to gain a deeper insight and understanding of the action of Karma, and thereby adjust its action to achieve the evolutionary goal of consciously integrating the spiritual consciousness into the world of mind, life and matter.
The benefit of understanding this deeper and more complex reality is that it points the way toward the spiritual evolution that is the true sense and meaning of our lives, and provides us a way to escape the artificial and limited perspectives of physical, vital and mental impulsions that hamper our growth. This viewpoint also helps us to understand and reconcile the apparently incongruous results that tend to mystify us, answering the questions of why do those doing evil prosper, or why do the good suffer, by providing the context and meaning that is secretly hidden in the entire universal life.
Sri Aurobindo, Rebirth and Karma, http://www.lotuspress.com/item.php?item=990117