Chapter 2: Why I Have Come
The teachers of the Vedas and the Upanishads had told everything about supreme knowledge, but they did not connect it with the science of knowing about previous births. By the time Mahavira took birth, the need for this became clear. It was clear that it was not sufficient only to tell what you can become. It was necessary also to tell what you have been, because without the support and help of what you have been, your potentialities cannot blossom, you cannot become that which you can become.
This is why a full forty years in the lives of Mahavira and Buddha were spent in trying to make people remember their previous births. As long as a person did not remember his last life, he was told that he need not bother about his further progress. He should first see clearly his road and the point up to which he had reached, then take a further step. Otherwise there would only be a running forwards and backwards on the same road again and again to no avail. That is why the remembering of previous births became an absolutely unavoidable first step.
Nowadays the difficulty is this: it is not very difficult to make you remember your previous births, but the thing called courage has been lost. It is possible to make you remember your previous births only if you have achieved the capacity to remain undisturbed in the midst of the very difficult memories of this life. Otherwise it is not possible.
Memories of this birth are not so difficult to take, but when the memories of previous births break upon you, it will be very difficult. While the memories of this life come in installments, those of previous lives break upon you in their entirety.
In this life, what we suffer today is forgotten the next day and what we suffer the next day is forgotten the day after. But the memories of your previous lives will break upon you in their entirety, not in fragments. Will you be able to bear it? You gain the capacity to bear the memories of past lives only when you are able to bear the worst conditions of life. Whatsoever happens, nothing should make a difference to you.
When no memory of this life can be a cause of anxiety to you, only then can you be led into the memories of past lives. Otherwise those memories may become great traumas for you, and the door to such traumas cannot be opened unless you have the capacity and worthiness to face them.