When we enter into the inner life and develop our inner consciousness, our inner capacity, we get reminiscences of our past incarnations. Deep in our meditation we can easily feel that we had previous lives. And if we know that we had a past, and if we know that the present is not yet complete and that we ourselves can never remain incomplete, then the urge of the present will take us to the future where we will achieve our completeness. At the same time, we can expedite our progress if we have a Master. If we are most dedicated to the inner life and if we have a Guru, then we can make twenty incarnations’ progress in one lifetime.
Now suppose we know that we were a deer in our last animal incarnation. The only advantage is that we can think of our speed and say: “In the animal incarnation I ran so fast, and at that time I did not have the advanced soul which I now have. In this incarnation let me run even faster!” As soon as we remember that we ran fast in a previous incarnation, we feel inspired to run fast in this incarnation. If we know our past incarnation, then we can utilise it positively; at that time inspiration comes forward very quickly. If somebody knows that he was a seeker, then he gets a little joy and confidence. “I started my journey in my past incarnation, but it was a very long and arduous road. In this incarnation I am still walking along the same path, but I don’t have as far to go this time. Also, it is easier because I have a little help. I have the capacity. I have the willingness. I have the experience. With a spiritual Master guiding me, I shall easily reach my goal.”
But only on very rare occasions do we utilise the knowledge of our past incarnations properly. Most of the time it does not give us any encouragement at all. If we know that in our past incarnation we were a thief or something undivine, will this give us any inspiration or aspiration? No! Immediately we will think: “Oh, I was a thief and in this incarnation I am trying to become a saint. Impossible! It is hopeless to try to become spiritual in this life.” Even in this incarnation if we do a few things wrong it takes us a long time to come out of despair. We think: “I was so bad. I did this. I did that. Now how am I going to become pure? How am I going to realise God?” Even if we did something wrong four years ago it may still bother us.
by Sri Chinmoy