We are not required to remember what you were in the past birth for your growth in this life. If it were necessary for you to remember then nature would have been unjust to us by taking away the memory of the past life. We could have asked Nature why are you so cruel that you do not tell me what I was in my past life because that would be so important for me to remember. But if it is not important what is important is simply what the experience I have gained is. If that is not blotted out it is perfectly natural and just. So many people argue that proof of rebirth is in what – in remembering the past birth – not at all. The proof of rebirth is how far your soul has experienced. How far naturally you react to the things that are presented in this birth. That is what determines your present level of consciousness, and the fact that you have lived in the past birth or not. Even in the memory of past lives, Mother says that memory of past lives is not of the nature that you were a baron in the past life or a gardener in the past birth or that you had met such and such individual in the past birth or anything of the kind. What you remember is the experience you gained, the quintessential experience you have gained. Those moments where you really gained experience of the relationship of the soul with the body, life and mind and other higher planes, and how to deal with them, how to control them and how to master them and to build a temple of God out of the materials. Whatever helped you to build the temple of God that is remembered?
We have all agreed to enter into this kind of an enterprise or goal and that goal can be fulfilled if you learn through experience which comes to us through karma. And what you learn out of this is the knowledge and skill of fashioning immortality – a new concept being introduced.
The whole game on the earth is to fashion immortality on the earth. In the Veda there is a figure of Ribhu. There are many verses in the Vedas concerning Ribhus. And if you read those verses you find that they had succeeded in becoming artisans of immortality. Just as when you want to build a big temple you have to be an artisan to build the temple, similarly, all of us have actually been asked to build the temple of immortality.
The manifestation of Totality in the embodied individual – this can be summarized – to become artisan of immortality. We are here on the earth to be skillful masons of fashioning immortality. To build, to construct, to fashion, to design such a structure, such a beauty, such a durability that it cannot disintegrate. So actually we are all here sent to be the artisans of immortality. We have to know what immortality is and then we have to have the skill to build such structures which will be immortal. Ribhus were those forefathers of ours who had succeeded in attaining to this condition. They were successful missionaries. They accomplished their mission. Basically, they were capable of first knowing what Immortality is.
Let us dwell on the knowledge of what is Immortality?
If you examine our life, the one thing that we dread most is disintegration. We are constantly trying to build and rebuild, rebuild again so that it may not break. Our entire enterprise in life is to build something and build permanently. When we fall sick we do not like it because it is a disintegration. When there a problem of relationship we do not like it because it is a breaking of relationship. We do not like confusions in the mind because the clarity is disturbed. I build up a factory and then I try and make that factory more and more permanently secure and powerful. I build up an empire and make it unbreakable. This is the tendency of man all the time. His whole tendency is to make things integrated and permanent. But in life we find constantly that things are developed to some extent, rebuilt to some extent and breaks and the minimum we experience is the death of the body.
A body is born, we nourish the body and we do so many things for the body and after some time or after a long time, depending upon the circumstances that body disintegrates. And we feel that all the labour that was done in building the body was gone waste. I learn so many arts, science in my life time but when I die it is all gone – finished. Many people ask this question if I am to ultimately die why to build at all. If everything is going to be disintegrated ultimately why should I study, why the labour, why not commit suicide. The reason is that even if you commit suicide, rebirth is inevitable. If you are going to come out of it is a good escape. Why this trouble and why rebirth? Because we have intended to build immortality here and until we succeed in building immortality on earth we will be reborn. There is no escape. You have to cross over death.
In Isavasya Upanishad: “avidyaya mrtyum tirtva vidyaya amrtam asnute” By avidya you cross the death and then by vidya you enjoy immortality. This is the goal for which we are here on earth.
So even if you find that things are disintegrated there must be some meaning and we learn that from karma certain experiences remain permanent and are not lost. But that is not enough. You have to reach a point where you know what is really immortal, what is mortality, what is integration, what is disintegration – this is the most important knowledge. In this mobile world everything is in a flux. It is like a flame. The flame is never the same flame. The flame which is now takes the place of the former flame. This may seem to be a same flame. New flames keep coming up all the time. It is like the river. You can never step twice into the same river because the movement of the river’s flow is constant. The same water is never constantly present. So this world is mobility of this kind. So change is the fundamental nature of this world and in this movement of change to talk of immortality may seem to be quite irrelevant.
What do we mean by immortality? Take for example this body. This body is constantly changing. The cells are constantly being born and constantly being washed away. Cells are constantly being renewed. We are dying every moment. Every moment we are being reborn. And we do not call it death. What is the difference between this death and that death where we burn the body? Similarly, all the personalities are in a constant state of flux. No personality remains the same. It is constantly changing. This is the answer to the question.