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Yesu kayangaLa kaLedu embathnalku lakSha jiva rashiyannu daTibanda e sharira||
All of us have been reincarnating for millions of years, says, sage Purandara Dāsa.The other day, I was listening to a lecture on the miracles of Sri Raghavendra Yathigalu by Sri Kallapur Pavamanachar. In one of his examples, he narrated a story about a devotee who had lost her child. At the time of death, this child had stitches on his forehead due to an accident. Being an utter devotee of Sri Raghavendra the lady left for Mantralaya with her husband after performing the last rites of her child. Hindus follow a custom of doing a sankalpa before offering prayers. This lady having lost her only child asked a Purohit, during padha puje to Rayaru, to make a sankalpa to get the same child whom she had lost. Hearing this childish wish, everyone there laughed at her including her husband. But the lady was so determined and confident that she made her sankalpa as she intended. The very next year, she gave birth to a baby boy who had stitches on his forehead as his birthmark like that of her first child confirming that this child was none other than the first child she had lost.
My understanding here is that reincarnation exists and if one wishes he/she can be born in the place where he/she wants to. So, why do we reincarnate?
According to western philosophy, there are three major reasons to reincarnate. The reasons may differ from one soul to another. The first reason a soul reincarnates is to re-pay an obligation to another soul. For example, you may share another life with that person so that the wrong has an opportunity to be rectified. A second reason is to resolve a conflict from previous lifetime with another soul. A third reason is to perpetuate love.
The Hindu philosophy believes that a soul reincarnates every time until it becomes pure with no sins to its account. A soul takes innumerable lives bonding to a false personality called Jeeva(soul), an embodied self. A living form has three bodies. Sthula Sharira is the physical body. Sukshma sharira is in the head area where the mind and intellect lives and Karana Sharira is in the heart area where our egos and chithha lives. At the time of death, the physical body enters the elements of Earth but the sukshma sharira does not perish. Instead it accompanies the soul in the process of reincarnation and therefore the individuality does not end at death. This doctrine is expressed in Bhagavad Gita as, "when the Jeeva obtains its body and leaves it, he carries the mind and its impressions along, just as a wind carries along the scents from the flowers".
Innumerable past-life memories are stored deep in our suksma sharira but because we have not sufficiently developed our brain, we are only able to access a very small part of our memory.