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Remembering Past Lives

H. Fielding Hall               The Soul of a People

Many children, the Burmese will tell you, remember their former lives.  As they grow older the memories die away and the forget . . .

Sir Edwin Arnold               The Light of Asia
 . . . In the third watch . . . our Lord attained Samma-Sambuddh;
He saw by light which shines beyond our mortal ken
The line of all his lives in all the worlds,
Far back and farther back and farthest yet,
Five hundred lives and fifty.

Dalai Lama XIV               The London Spectator (Oct. 20, 1973)

The disguised leader was wearing a rosary round his neck . . . . Promised to give it to the boy-child if he could guess who he [the leader] was. . . . He proceeded to name them all correctly . . .

Ethel Beswick               Jataka Tales

. . . .It is not a new idea that some people can recall their past lives on earth (though much so-called memory is wishful thinking or imagination) for Pythagoras, whom no one could accuse of wishful thinking or embroidery, gave instances of a few of his own past lives.

Edna Ferber               A Peculiar Treasure

I can only venture to say, at the risk of being hooted, that somewere in Egypt a couple of thousand years ago I probably had a very tough time of it . . . . Perhaps, centuries and centuries ago, I was a little Jewish slave girl on the Nile . . .

Diogenes Laertius           Life of Pythagoras

. . . . he knew the former lives he had lived [a gift from Mercury, the god of wisdom].  And . . . [thenceforth] he commenced his providential attention to others, reminding them of their former life.

Philostratus               Life of Appollonius of Tyana            Trans: F. C. Conybeare

[Iarchus] asked Appollonius the question: "Will you tell us . . . about your earlier incarnations, and who you were before the present life? " And he replied: "Since it was an ignoble episode, I do not remember much about it."

J. G. Herder               Dialogues on Metempsychosis

Have you never had remembrances of a former state, which you could find no place for in this life? . . . Have you not seen persons, been in places, of which you were ready to swear that you had seen those persons, or had been in those places before? . . . we . . . have sunk so deep and are so wedded to matter, that but few remembrances of so pure a character remain to us.

William Blake               Letter to John Flaxman, the Sculptor

. . . . You, O dear Flaxman, are a sublime archangel, my friend and companion from eternity.  I look back into the regions of reminiscence, and behold our ancient days before this earth appeared and its vegetative mortality to my mortal vegetated eyes . . .

Charles Emerson               Notes from the Journal of a Scholar

. . . when a lively chord in the soul is struck, when the windows for a moment are unbarred, the long and varied past is recovered.  We recognize it all.  We are no more brief, ignoble creatures, we seize our immortality, and bind together the related parts of our secular being.

Henry David Thoreau       From His Journals

July 16, 1851:  As far back as I can remember I have unconsciously referred to the experiences of a previous state of existence.

Edgar Allen Poe               Eureka

We walk about, amid the destinies of our world-existence, encompassed by dim but ever present Memories of a Destiny more vast -- very distant in the bygone time, and infinitely awful . . . . We live out a Youth peculiarly haunted by such dreams; yet never mistaking them for dreams . . .

Charles Dickens               Through Bologna and Ferrara

. . . . If I had been murdered there, in some former life, I could not have seemed to remember the place more thorougly, or with more emphatic chilling of the blood; and the real remembrance of it acquired in that one minute is so strengthened by the imaginary recollection that I hardly think I could forget it.

Gustave Flaubert               Letters

. . . . And I possess memories which go back to the Pharaohs.  I see myself very clearly at different ages of history, practising different professions and in many sorts of fortune . . .

Dante Gabriel Rossetti       Sudden Light   --Collected Works
I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell;
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.
You have been mine before --
How long ago I may not know:
But just when at that swallow's soar
Your neck turned so,
Some veil did fall --I knew it all of your.

Lafcadio Hearn               In Ghostly Japan

. . . . To every ripple of melody, to every billow of harmony, there answers within him [soul], out of the Sea of Death and Birth, some eddying immeasurable of ancient pleasure and pain.

                                       Gleanings in the Buddha-Fields

Hopeless . . . any attempt to tell the real pain of seeing my former births.  I can say only that no combination of suffering possible to individual being could be likened to such pain --the pain of countless lives interwoven.

Jean Sibelius               An Article in the New York Times  by Howard Taubman

Millions of years ago, in my previous incarnations, I must have been related to swans or wild geese, because I can still feel that affinity.

George Russell               The Candle of Vision

. . . . Endlessly the procession of varying forms goes back into remote yesterdays of the world . . . . Are they not . . . memories of the spirit incarnated many times.?

                                          Merely Players   by Claude Bragdon

. . . he found recorded . . . those very stories which he thought he had invented --even the names of the characters were the same.  This forced him to the conclusion that his imaginings were recovered memories of things learned or experienced in some antecedent life . . .

Arnold Bennett               The Glimpse

. . . I saw the endless series of my lives, recurring and recurring . . . . These lives flashed up before me one anterior to another, mere moments between the vast periods that separated them . . . . And one life was not more important to me than another . . .

Jack London               The Star Rover

. . . . I . . . remembered that once I had been a slave and a son of a slave, and worn an iron collar round my neck.

. . . . I am man born of woman . . . . I have been woman born of woman.  I have been a woman and borne my children.

Dr. Arthur Guirdham           the Cathars and Reincarnation

The pain was maddening . . . . I didn't know when you were burnt to death you'd bleed.  I thought the blood would all dry up in the terrible heat.  But I was bleeding heavily . . . . The worse part was my eyes.  I hate the thought of going blind.

Jalalu L-Din Rumi            Mathnawi

I am but one soul but I have a hundred thousand bodies.  Yet I am helpless, since Shariat (exoteric religion) holds my lips sealed.  Two thousand men have I seen who were I; but none as ood as I am now.

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