Re: Reincarnation

Dear Joan

Baha'is do not believe in reincarnation of bodies &
souls. You would benefit much by obtaining a copy of
the Ocean Library & searching the various Writings on
the topics of interest to you. The Ocean Library is
obtainable free on-line. A simple Google should do the
trick. I have appended below authoritative statements
on this subject.

Warmest regards


Though the fact of "Return" is mentioned in the Divine
Books, by this is intended the return of the
qualities, characters, perfections, truths and lights,
which re-appear in every age, and not of certain
persons and souls. For example: If we say this lamp is
the return of that of last night, or that the last
year's flower hath returned in the garden, in this
sense the return of the individual, or identity, or
personality is not meant; nay, rather, it is intended
that the same qualities and states existing in that
lamp or flower, which are now seen in this lamp or
flower, have returned. That is, the same perfections
and virtues and properties which existed in the past
springtime have returned during this present
springtime. For instance: When one says, these fruits
are the same as those of last year; in this sense, he
hath reference to the freshness and delicacy of the
fruit, which hath returned, although there is no doubt
that the identical fruit of last year hath not
(Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha
Section, p. 391)

But let us return to our subject. In the Divine
Scriptures and Holy Books "return" is spoken of, but
the ignorant have not understood the meaning, and
those who believed in reincarnation have made
conjectures on the subject. For what the divine
Prophets meant by "return" is not the return of the
essence, but that of the qualities; it is not the
return of the Manifestation, but that of the
perfections. In the Gospel it says that John, the son
of Zacharias, is Elias. These words do not mean the
return of the rational soul and personality of Elias
in the body of John, but rather that the perfections
and qualities of Elias were manifested and appeared in
(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 287)

Thou hast asked concerning reincarnation:
Reincarnation as understood by the people, is untrue;
but in the Gospel, "return" is referred to, and that
is the return of qualities [1] and not the return of
entities. This matter is explained in detail in the
Book of Ighan, which is translated and published.
Study that Book.
[1 i. e., the return of the qualities, powers, and
attributes in another human being.]
(Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha v3, p. 549)

Question: What is your belief about reincarnation?

Answer: The subject of reincarnation has two aspects.
One is that which the Hindustani people believe, and
even that is subdivided into two: reincarnation and
metempsychosis. According to one belief the soul goes
and then returns in certain reincarnations; therefore,
they say that a sick person is sick because of actions
in a previous incarnation and that this is
retribution. The other school of Hinduism believes
that man sometimes appears as an animal -- a donkey,
for instance -- and that this is retribution for past
acts. I am referring to the beliefs in that country,
the beliefs of the schools. There is a reincarnation
of the prophetic mission. Jesus Christ, speaking of
John the Baptist, declared he was Elias. When John the
 168  Baptist was questioned, "Art thou Elias?" he
said, "I am not." These two statements are apparently
contradictory, but in reality they do not contradict.
The light is one light. The light which illumined this
lamp last night is illuminating it tonight. This does
not mean that the identical rays of light have
reappeared but the virtues of illumination. The light
which revealed itself through the glass reveals itself
again so that we can say the light of this evening is
the light of last evening relighted. This is as
regards its virtues and not as regards its former
identity. This is our view of reincarnation. We
believe in that which Jesus Christ and all the
Prophets have believed. For example, the Báb states,
"I am the return of all the Prophets." This is
significant of the oneness of the prophetic virtues,
the oneness of power, the oneness of bestowal, the
oneness of radiation, the oneness of expression, the
oneness of revelation.
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.

--- Joan Jensen <j-l-jensen@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Dear Friends:
> Question 7:
> Do Baha'is believe in reincarnation?
> Sincerely,
> Joan Jensen
> J-L-Jensen@xxxxxxxxxxx

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