Questions from Mercedes de Acosta
Question: Is reincarnation a fact?
Bhagavan: You are incarnated now, aren’t you? Then you will be so again. But as the body is illusion then the illusion will repeat itself and keep on repeating itself until you find the real Self.
Question: What is death and what is birth?
Bhagavan: Only the body has death and birth, and it (the body) is illusion. There is, in Reality, neither birth nor death.
Question: How much time may elapse between death and rebirth?
Bhagavan: Perhaps one is reborn within a year, three years or thousands of years. Who can say? Anyway what is time? Time does not exist.
Question: Why have we no memory of past lives?
Bhagavan: Memory is a faculty of the mind and part of the illusion. Why do you want to remember other lives that are also illusions? If you abide within the Self, there is no past or future and not even a present since the Self is out of time – timeless.
Question: Are the world, the mind, ego and the body all the same thing?
Bhagavan: Yes. They are one and the same thing. The mind and the ego are one thing, but there is no word to explain this. You see, the world cannot exist without the mind, the mind cannot exist without what we call the ego (itself, really) and the ego cannot exist without a body.
Question: Then when we leave this body, that is when the ego leaves it, will it (the ego) immediately grasp another body?
Bhagavan: Oh, yes, it must. It cannot exist without a body.
Question: What sort of a body will it grasp then?
Bhagavan: Either a physical body or a subtle-mental body.
Question: Do you call this present physical body the gross body?
Bhagavan: Only to distinguish it – to set it apart in conversation. It is really a subtle-mental body also.
Question: What causes us to be reborn?
Bhagavan: Desires. Your unfulfilled desires bring you back. And in each case – in each body – as your desires are fulfilled, you create new ones. You must conquer desire to be absorbed into the One and thus end rebirth.
Question: Can sex change in rebirth?
Bhagavan: Oh, surely. We have all been both sexes many times.
Question: Is it possible to sin?
Bhagavan: Having a body, which creates illusion, is the only sin, and the body is our only hell. But it is right that we observe moral laws. The discussion of sin is too difficult for a few lines.
Question: Does one who has realized the Self lose the sense of ‘I’?
Question: Then to you there is no difference between yourself and myself, that man over there, my servant – are all the same?
Bhagavan: All are the same, including those monkeys.
Question: But the monkeys are not people. Are they not different?
Bhagavan: They are exactly the same as people. All creatures are the same in One Consciousness.
Question: Do we lose our individuality when we merge into the Self?
Bhagavan: There is no individuality in the Self. The Self is One – Supreme.
Question: Then individuality and identity are lost?
Bhagavan: You don’t retain them in deep sleep, do you?
Question: But we retain them from one birth to another, don’t we?
Bhagavan: Oh, yes. The ‘I’ thought (the ego) will recur again, only each time you identify with it a different body and different surroundings around the body. The effects of past acts (karma) will continue to control the new body just as they did the old one. It is karma that has given you this particular body and placed it in a particular family, race, sex, surroundings and so forth.
Bhagavan added, “These questions are good, but tell de Acosta (he always called me de Acosta) she must not become too intellectual about these things. It is better just to meditate and have no thought. Let the mind rest quietly on the Self in the cave of the Spiritual Heart. Soon this will become natural and then there will be no need for questions. Do not imagine that this means being inactive. Silence is the only real activity.” Then Guy added, “Bhagavan says to tell you that he sends you his blessings.”
This message greatly comforted me.