Famous Believers in Reincarnation
By Ann Jaffin
Perhaps like me, you’ve been considered a little strange, if not downright weird, for believing that reincarnation is the way the world works. Surely it was even worse for the Cayce family in 1923, when this seemingly bizarre concept was introduced by the Source of the readings.
Finding both reincarnation and karma expressed as truths in the Bible was a great comfort to Edgar and his family. But the Cayces also visited the Dayton library to see how the past-life information in the readings checked out against known history. As with the Bible, they found the readings usually measured up quite well. Moreover, in general the information in the readings tended to push the dates of historical events back in time, just as we have seen science do since Edgar’s day. Perhaps most interestingly, the readings also frequently fleshed out historical epochs and events in a very rich and satisfying fashion.
Reincarnation permeates the ancient philosophies of the East. Billions of people have embraced these beliefs as central in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism, and other faiths. However, one of the most amazing and wonderful discoveries about reincarnation is finding the large number of famous intellectuals and writers in the Western world who have expressed a belief in reincarnation in their writings. This includes Socrates, Pythagoras, Plato, Dante, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Goethe, Albert Schweitzer, and George Patton.
Here are some of my favorite examples:
- Benjamin Franklin wrote and distributed versions of his own epitaph: “The Body of B. Franklin, Printer, like the Cover of an old Book, Its Contents torn out, And stript of its Lettering and Gilding, Lies here, Food for Worms. But the Work shall not be wholly lost; For it will, as he believ'd, appear once more, In a new and more elegant Edition, Revised and Corrected By the Author.”
- Voltaire: “It is not more surprising to be born twice than once; everything in nature is resurrection.”
- George Eliot: “Our deeds still travel with us from afar. And what we have been makes us what we are.”
- Goethe: “I am certain I have been here as I am now a thousand times before, and I hope to return a thousand times.”
- Leo Tolstoy: “...so is our present life only one of many thousands of such lives which we enter from the other, more real life...and then return after death.”
- Henry Ford: “I adopted the theory of Reincarnation when I was 26...Work is futile if we cannot utilize the experience we collect in one life in the next. When I discovered Reincarnation it was as if I had found a universal plan... Time was no longer limited. I was no longer a slave to the hands of the clock... Genius is experience... It is the fruit of long experience in many lives... The discovery of Reincarnation put my mind at ease...”
- Carl Jung: “I could well imagine that I might have lived in former centuries and there encountered questions I was not yet able to answer; that I had to be born again because I had not fulfilled the task that was given to me.”
- Richard Wagner: “In contrast to reincarnation and karma, all other views seem petty and narrow.”
- Walt Whitman: “And as to you, Life, I reckon you are the leaving of many deaths; (no doubt I have died myself 10,000 times before).”
- Mark Twain: “I have been born more times than anybody except Krishna.”
- David Lloyd George: “The conventional heaven with its angels perpetually singing, etc., nearly drove me mad in my youth and made me an atheist for 10 years. My opinion is that we shall be reincarnated.”
- William Wordsworth: “Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; the Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, hath had elsewhere its setting, and cometh from afar. Not in entire forgetfulness and not in utter nakedness, but trailing clouds of glory do we come...”
- Rudyard Kipling: “They will come back–come back again–as long as the red earth rolls. He never wasted a leaf or a tree. Do you think He would squander souls?”
- John Masefield: “I hold that when a person dies His soul returns again to earth; arrayed in some new flesh-disguise another mother gives him birth. With sturdier limbs and brighter brain the old soul takes the road again.”
- Thomas Edison: “The only survival I can conceive is to start a new Earth cycle again.”
- Kahlil Gibran: “A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind, and another woman shall bear me.”
- William Butler Yeats: “Many times man lives and dies...”
- And perhaps the most beautiful from Gandhi: “I cannot think of permanent enmity between man and man, believing as I do in the theory of rebirth, I shall live in the hope that if not in this birth, in some other birth I shall be able to hug all humanity in friendly embrace.”
So, it is clear that believing in reincarnation and karma puts us in very good company indeed!
Ann Jaffin, M.S., a life member and field volunteer of A.R.E., has been a member of a Study Group for 40 years. In addition to writing several articles for Venture Inward magazine, she is the author of the A.R.E. Press book Past Lives and Present Karma. Ann has traveled the world, frequently with A.R.E. Tours, and is a dedicated user of Cayce’s remedies and therapies. You can learn more about the Jaffin family in our Virtual Library under the Jaffin Family Archives and Research Project.