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Chapter 2: Seeing Life As It Is

Buddha has called this alaya-vigyan. There exists a corner in our minds the happenings of which Buddha has named alaya-vigyan. Alaya-vigyan means the science of the storehouse of consciousness. As we store all our junk in the basement of a house, similarly, there is a storehouse of consciousness that collects memories. Birth after birth, everything is stored in it. Nothing is ever removed from there, because a man never knows when he might need those things. The physical body changes, but, in our ongoing existence, that storehouse continues, remains with us. One never knows when it might be needed. And whatsoever we have done in our lives, whatsoever we have experienced, known, lived - everything is stored there.

So, the person who can remember to the age of five can go beyond that age - it is not very difficult. The nature of the experiment will be the same. Beyond the age of five there is yet another door which will lead you to the point of your birth, to when you appeared on earth. Then one comes across another difficulty, because the memories of one’s stay in the mother’s womb never disappear either. One can penetrate these memories too, reaching to the point of conception, to the moment when the egg and the sperm of the mother and father unite and the soul enters. One can enter into one’s past lives only after having reached this point; one cannot reach there directly. One has to undertake this much of the return journey, only then is it possible to move into one’s past life as well.

After having entered the past life, the first memory to come up will be of the last event that took place in that life. Remember, however, that this will cause some difficulty since things will make little sense. It is as if we run a film backward or read a novel backward - we feel lost. And so, entering into one’s past life for the first time will be quite confusing because the sequence of events will be in the reverse order.

As you regress back toward your past life, you will come across birth as the last event of this life, and death as the first event of the previous life. Death first, then old age, then youth, then childhood and then the birth. It will be in reverse order, and in that order it will be very difficult to figure out what is what. So when the memory surfaces for the first time, one feels tremendously restless and troubled, because it is difficult to sense what is going on; it is as if you are looking at a film or reading a novel from the end. Perhaps you will only make head or tail of the event only after going through it several times. So the greatest effort involved in going back to the memories of one’s past life is that things that happened in the right sequence will have to be seen in reverse sequence. But, after all, what is the right or reverse sequence? It’s all a question of entry and exit.

We sow a seed and the flower appears in the end. However, if one were to take a reverse look at this phenomenon, the flower would come first, followed in sequence by the bud, the plant, the leaves, the saplings and in the end the seed. Since we have no previous experience of this reverse order, it takes a lot of time to rearrange memories coherently and to figure out the nature of events clearly. Is it not strange that death will come first, followed by old age, illness, and then youth? - things will occur in the reverse order. Or, if you were married and then divorced, while going down memory lane the divorce will come first, followed by the marriage and the love.