How can you prove reincarnation to be a fact? This is one of the commonest questions that we are asked, and I always wonder how such a question could be asked. Do you expect to prove after the manner of the laboratory something that does not belong there?
What is proof? The bringing of conviction that a thing is true to the thoughtful mind. That is proof - so stated in courts of law, and properly so stated. Now, if by the adduction of evidence the mind is not swayed into the belief that a thing is true, that thing has not been proved, even though it may be true. Don't you see that the only way to get proof of a thing is by thinking it through to the end? Then you are convinced; and while you may be entirely wrong, still that is the only possible way for thinking human beings to get proof. But don't mistake evidence for proof. I have a receipt which shows that a certain sum of one thousand dollars has been paid. Does that prove the money has been paid? Any lawyer will tell you it is not proof. It is evidence tending to substantiate a possible fact that a thousand dollars has been paid by so and so to so and so; but it may be a forgery; that receipt may not be an actual receipt. But if an individual hearing detailed circumstances about a thing, sifting and analysing the evidence laid before his thinking mind, is convinced that X has paid Z a thousand dollars, then that evidence substantiates the conviction brought to the mind, making the conviction more strong.
Now then, how can you prove reimbodiment to anyone? By bringing conviction to the impartial and thoughtful mind that it is the only possible and satisfying explanation of the existence of human beings. And how is such evidence of proof adduced? By thinking. Thus: we are here. We are not all alike. We vary as amongst ourselves more than the leaves on the trillions of trees on the surface of the earth do. Each man is a unit. How came that thinking, feeling unit on this earth? Created by God? Prove to me first that such a creating God exists.
How much simpler and more reasonable is the supposition - as it seems at first - that here we have a thinking, feeling, self-conscious entity, which we now in this one life find amongst us. We find this entity at one stage of what is evidently an incomparably long journey of evolution. That is the first thought. We are here. We were not created by a marvel - some extracosmic God of infinite injustice, making some men almost godlike and others heavily, woefully, afflicted. You can cheat the mind by saying, "These are things which belong to Divine Mercy and are beyond our power"; but that is no answer and no proof to the thinking mind. It is sidestepping the question.
What we are faced with is the fact that we exist, that we differ greatly amongst ourselves; that we show in ourselves the evidence of growth. And where can you get all this needful growth in one short life on earth? How about the poor infants who are born and die before they have a chance to grow? Haven't they another chance to come back - a chance to try again? We have to take things as they are. I never would be one to accuse this spirit, whose attributes are harmony and cosmic justice, of acting with injustice and partiality - never!
Another thought: Who are we - we human egos, with our wonderful powers and feelings? Whence our ethical instincts? A thought that obliged the German philosopher Kant to admit of there being divine justice, because these ethical instincts often act contrary, so it seems to us, to the merely selfish, personal man; as, for instance, when a man gives up his life for some grand ideal or for someone whom he loves. There is divinity in that. We show divinity in our very composition. Does not this tell us that we are essentially sons of God, as the Christian would say; sparks of the divine flame which keeps the universe in orderly progression - sparks of that divine harmony and intelligence which makes the manifold marvels around us in the heavens or on earth? We are in this universe because we are intrinsic parts of it. We cannot ever leave it. We belong to it. It is we and we are it in essence. And what does this mean, this being formed of its stuff, of its essence? As it is eternal, so are we eternal. We are coeval with the universe, and we perdure as it does. It is but we in essence.
Let us carry our thought a step farther. As there is no chance action anywhere, no fortuity, naught but ineluctable procedures of cosmic law, therefore we humans, one small hierarchy in that cosmos, are not here by chance, therefore our being here has a meaning, and that meaning is rooted in the cosmic life, in the cosmic intelligence, in the cosmic law. It would be utterly meaningless if we simply appeared on this earth for one short earth life and then vanished and no good came of it, or mayhap no retribution for our evil doings.
Why are we here on this earth? Why are we here now? Why were men living in other ages, or what about the men who will follow us in future ages? Why will they then be? These things are matters of cosmic law. Now pray follow the reasoning, because we are advancing from link to link of thought. Being here by law, and one life being utterly insufficient to produce the purposes of cosmic mind, it is obvious that our being here once is a proof of reincarnation. Otherwise what brought us here? What cosmic mind put us here instead of on some other planet in some solar system, either ours or outside of ours? We are here because we have been here before, because here we sowed seeds of destiny, and we come back on this earth to reap those seeds which we sowed. This universe, governed by cosmic law, will not allow us to sow corn or wheat in San Diego County, and three or four months afterwards travel into Arizona or Nevada and attempt to reap the corn and wheat there. Where we sowed the seeds, there shall we reap the harvest. It is obvious. Our very being here, to the man who can think clearly and logically from step to step, or thought to thought, is a proof of reincarnation. Otherwise we must say cosmic law put us here by chance. And who believes that? If fortuity governed this world we would see the stars in their courses and all the planets running helter skelter all over the cosmic spaces without law, without reason, without order, without intelligence, without system.
There you have your proof. Just think about it, reason it out, advance step by step in logical thinking. We are here on this earth because we have sown seeds of destiny, of life here, and we come back to reap them: to undo the wrongs we did in the past, to reap the rewards that we sowed in the past. And that is why we will come back to reimbodiment in the future. We are now making ourselves to be what we shall in the future become. We are now preparing our destiny for our next life on earth. I am not now speaking of the intermediate phases of life between life on earth and life on earth. That itself is a wonderful story. I am now merely pointing out that in the universal law things move lawfully, causatively and effectively, every cause produces an effect which cannot be escaped. If you distort your soul by evil thinking and feeling, you will not become by such action and angel of pity. You will become ugly and distorted within, and you will reap the reward and the retribution of what you yourself have done unto yourself.
The universe is ensouled, and that soul is to the universe what man's soul is to him. The physical universe we see around us is but the body of the universe, as man's body is but the body of his soul; and both the physical universe and the body of man express but very imperfectly the divine and spiritual and intellectual and psychic and astral and all the higher laws and powers and energies and forces and substances that are the invisible worlds in space.
Don't you see how from step to step, by reason, instinct, careful thinking a thing through, we are led to the belief that we are not only in our inmost essence very children, offspring of the divine fire, but that, being such sparks from the divine flame, we are in evolutionary cyclic growth constantly advancing from lower to higher things, just exactly as the child is born and from unthinking childhood grows to be a thinking, feeling man with ethical instincts?
So, pursue these ways of reasoning, and then you will never ask anyone: prove to me that reincarnation is or exists. You will have the proof of it yourself.