So, how long does reincarnation take?
The explanation given by the Mahatmas (those who inspired the founding of the Theosophical Society) on the transition made by humans between two reincarnations can be divided into four stages:
1) The Kama-Loka
This is a subtle intermediate area between the divine world and the physical world (often associated with the Astral world). Its duration depends mainly on how attached is the person to their earthly life.
“This state lasts from a few hours (rarely less), days, weeks, months and sometimes even years. All this depending on the entity, their mental level at the time of death, the nature of the death, etc.” (Mahatma Letter 24B, p187)
2) The state of gestation
This is the process where the upper part of the human being assimilates the good experiences and qualities that the personality lived while it was incarnated. Everything else is left like ghost waste decaying in the Kama-Loka.
“The duration of the state of gestation is long, proportional to the spiritual strength of the Ego.” (Mahatma Letter 16, p105)
3) Devachan (“Paradise”)
Factors that influence the duration of the stay of the Ego in Devachan depend on how much during their earthly life, each person:
- Generated positive karma. So, people like Mother Teresa or Bill Gates will have a much longer stay than in Devachan than he who never helped his own mother.
- Generated psychic energy. Thus, writers, artists or scientists will have a much longer stay in Devachan than he who spent his life watching television.
- Developed themselves at a cosmic level. A spiritual person will have a much longer stay in Devachan than a materialistic person.
4) Return the physical world
The person attracted to his own bad karma and Tanha (the thirst for life), returns to reincarnate into a new personality for a new development cycle. The duration of this process is not mentioned, but must be small compared to the others.
As you can see, these teachers cannot give a precise number because the duration depends on the situation of each individual. However, in general, the longest stage between incarnations is the time spent in Devachan, which the Mahatmas say that on average lasts 1500 years. This is also stated by Blavatsky in the Key to Theosophy (p145):
– How long does the reincarnating Ego remain in Devachan state?
– We are told that this depends on the degree of spirituality and the merit or demerit of the last incarnation. The average time is from ten to fifteen centuries.
So according to these texts, in general, the time it takes to reincarnate again is much longer than people imagine.
How long does reincarnation take for specific cases?
Case 1: Materialistic people
“The stay in Devachan is proportional to the psychic impulses not exhausted that were originated during life on Earth. Those whose attractions were predominantly material will be drawn sooner back into rebirth by the force of Tanha” (Mahatma Letter 25, p200)
Here it is very clearly stated, as it has always been taught, that going to Devachan depends on the “psychic” thoughts of life on Earth, this means the spiritual and psychic aspects and also those regarding the nature of the soul. Hence, anyone who has not generated many impulses like these, has little basis or strength in him to launch his higher principles in the state of Devachan. The second paragraph of this letter shows that the materialistic thought having raised no basis for spiritual or psychic thought, is “quickly brought back to rebirth by the force of Tanha”, which is the drive or magnetic force of thirst for life inherent in all beings, printed in the depths of its essential nature.
“In a case like this the average rule does not apply, since the whole effect either way is due to a balance of power and is the result of action and reaction. This sort of materialistic thinker could emerge to rebirth from the Devachanic state in about a month, because there will be some time for certain psychic impulses to be spent, mostly impulses generated during childhood, before the individual became materialistic . But as everyone is different in their strength and with respect to the momentum that has been generated, some other materialistic individuals could remain in devachan one, five, ten, twenty years or more, in accordance with the power of the forces generated in life on Earth.”
(William Judge, Echoes of the East, vol. III, P254)
Case 2: Dead children
“I do not think that infants -and these are merely babies- have some Devachan, but continue immediately to another human birth, as soon as the baby’s body dies. They have not accumulated enough strength to go into Devachan; they only have in them the urge to be born, and this, having been frustrated by death, continues the immediate search for another body until it finds a body with enough vitality to enable the soul to continue its pilgrimage among men.”
(W. Judge, Echoes of the East, vol. II, p342)
Case 3: People dying prematurely
They must remain in the Kama-Loka until the last moment of what would have been the natural duration of their lives. Overall the wait is spent sleeping, having beautiful dreams if they were good people and nightmares if they were bad. This stay in Devachan will be less than what would normally have been because the accumulation of psychic forces was cut short by the untimely death.
Case 4: People who commit suicide
How long does reincarnation take for suicides? It usually depends on the reason, maybe it was insanity or it could have been to save other lives (such
as those who gave way in the lifeboats when the Titanic was flooded). In many cases, the suicide continues to suffer, gnawed by his own thoughts, until the end of what would have been the natural duration of their lives. Then, when it finally comes the time of release and stage of gestation, the previous mental torture will have caused a loss of the memory of what they experienced on Earth while they were alive. This is particularly true for those who committed suicide at a young age. Not having much to carry into Devachan, it is likely to return immediately to reincarnate, but without being able to choose their next life, as otherwise they would have done in Devachan with the help of their good deeds.
Case 5: Extremely wicked people
Having nothing to bring with them into Devachan, the higher self is separated and the disembodied entity becomes a soulless being that soon will reincarnate on the physical plane, where Karma (the law of retribution) will make them experience all the pain and suffering that others did during the previous earthly life. While it is a punishment, the goal is also educational. (Mahatma Letter 16, p104)
Case 6: Those who could not fulfill their purpose
There are some cases (and Blavatsky states that “although they are few, they are more common than one might think”) where the person for various reasons (environment, war, etc.) failed to live the experience or go through the test for which they had incarnated, and are sometimes allowed to die and quickly return to reincarnate, before going to Devachan, to complete their mission on Earth.
Case 7: Some Disciples and Teachers
“You can skip a period in Devachan, but this is extremely rare and is not helpful, except in rare circumstances. We are told that this occurs in two cases:
First, in certain rare cases when adepts [Teachers], in order to accelerate the development of a disciple, at the time of his death, help them pass into another young body at that moment is losing its own occupier but that is not so sick as to prevent full health recovery, after the arrival of the new vitality. In the second case, in the case of higher Lamas, at the death of the old Lama, his spirit enters a new body not yet born.”
(W. Judge, Echoes of the East, vol. II, P433)
Read also: Reincarnation Cycle In Hinduism
Which is not really a reincarnation, but a higher initiation.
“This requires three days regardless of the degree of the Adept, after which it can either return to the physical world as Jesus demonstrated, or to the divine as have other initiates after their death.”
Pastor (teacher of wisdom, 05/15/88)
How long does reincarnation take according to other cultures
Depending on what Buddhist stream we focus to analyze how long reincarnation takes, it can be either immediately or 7 days, and the Tibetan Book of the Dead mentions 49 days, but like any religious book of ancient esoteric teaching, it is all about hidden symbols and the number has more to do with the sevenfold structure that makes up Creation (49 = 7×7) and is also reflected in the post-mortem states.
Those who believe that reincarnation is immediate do it mainly due to the tradition that whenever a higher Lama dies, shortly after a committee begins to seek a child born during that period of time that has the ability to recognize the personal and secret items of the deceased Lama, but as we saw these are exceptions to the rule.
Read also: Do Buddhists Believe In Reincarnation?
In Other religions
– Hindus generally believe that reincarnation is almost immediate.
– Some Rosicrucians say 144 years elapse.
– Some Kabbalists say that 1000 years must pass.
Master Kuthumi in the Mahatma Letter 23B (P175) at the request of the writer Alfred Sinnett (1840-1921) replied that in his previous life he was Asprenas Nonius Calpurnius, who belonged to an aristocratic family in Rome and was consul between 94 and 128 AD, so it took a little more than 1700 years to reincarnate.
Blavatsky stated in the Collected Writings (v14, p377-378) that the Cardinal of Cusa (1401-1464) who is known to have great esoteric and kabbalistic knowledge, reincarnated in Copernicus (1473-1543) who was born nine years later. This being an example of when the Ego is transferred directly to another body without having to stay in Devachan.
William Judge in his book The Ocean of Theosophy (p120) remarks that Charlemagne (742-814) reincarnated as Napoleon (1769-1821) which means that it took 955 years to reincarnate. And King Clovis of France (466-511) was reborn as Frederick III (1831-1888), ie it took 1320 years.
Read also: What Religions Believe In Reincarnation?
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