For most people, the trauma associated with the death of the body and the corresponding dissolution of the vital and mental being that formed within the life of that individual, means that there is no realistic way for any memory of past lives to remain intact and carry forward. The psychic being carries the essence of the life-experience, while not attaching itself to specific personality, experiences or capabilities that occurred in any of those past lives. The exceptions are rare and based on highly developed and conscious souls who are continuing a line of growth and activity on a concentrated and single-pointed mission. We may consider the reincarnations of the Lamas of Tibet, such as the Dalai Lama or the Panchen Lama to be illustrative of such an exceptional activity. There is also the possibility that someone who has followed a very specific discipline with intense dedication could carry forward specific lines of development or experience. Otherwise, if such remembrance were to occur, it would necessarily be extremely fragmentary and confused, as it would be a more or less random occurrence.

A disciple asks: ”Does a being carry his mental, vital and physical experiences from one life to another?”

The Mother observes: ”Each case is different. It all depends on the degree of the individual’s development in his different parts and on how well these parts are organised around the psychic centre. The omre organised the being, the more consciously lasting it becomes. We can say in a general way that each person brings into his present life the consequences of his previous lives, without, however, preserving the memory of these lives. Apart from a few very rare exceptions, only when you are united with your psychic being and become fully conscious of it do you you obtain, at the same time, the memory of past lives, which the psychic preserves in its consciousness.”

“Otherwise, even in those who are most sensitive, these memories are fragmentary, uncertain and intermittent. Most often they are hardly recognisable and seem to be nothing more than undefinable impressions. And yet a person who knows how to see through appearances will be able to perceive a kind of similarity in the sequence of events in his life.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Our Many Selves: Practical Yogic Psychology, Chapter 6, Some Answers and Explanations, pp. 222-223

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 19 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.
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