Where romance, reincarnation, and reality intersect
The unconventional storyline of the recent blockbuster Om Shanti Om features the rebirth of both the hero and the heroine. The film's immense popularity is strikingly indicative of the growing social acceptance of reincarnation.
The pioneering efforts of rigorous researchers like Dr Ian Stevenson, Dr Brian Weiss and Dr Elizabeth Kubler Ross, to name a few, have provided much scientific evidence for afterlife. Moreover, many eminent personalities including US Presidents like Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, business magnates like Henry Ford, philosophers like Socrates and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and psychologists like Carl Jung have believed in reincarnation. Rebirth has always been a central theme in Vedic and Buddhist scriptures, but perhaps less known is the fact that reincarnation is mentioned in JudaeoChristian and Islamic texts too.
Om Shanti Om's novel storyline a frustrated romance fulfilled in the next life has mass appeal. But is this just a reel fantasy or is it a real possibility?
The mechanism of reincarnation, as described in the Vedic literature, is a precise higher dimensional science involving cosmic justice and divine sanction. We are spiritual beings, souls, temporarily inhabiting various bodies that are like dresses, as is stated in Bhagavad gita (2.22). Just as in this life we change dresses as we like and afford, similarly at the end of life, we change our bodily dress, that is, transmigrate into new bodies, as per our individual desires and deeds, which are like our karmic budget. If we do good deeds, we get healthier, stronger and more attractive bodies in our next life. And the converse also holds true. In general, because all of us have different desires and perform different deeds, so naturally we will all go in entirely different directions after this life.
Nonetheless, the longing for reunion with one's beloved after rebirth has a spiritual fulfillment there is indeed a divine realm where romance, reincarnation, and reality intersect. As souls, our natural and eternal object of love is God, Krsna, who possesses in full all the qualities beauty, wealth, knowledge, strength, fame and renunciation the very qualities we are so attrached to in this world. Krsna already loves us and is simply waiting in our own hearts for us to reciprocate with his love. So unlike in reel life, where one has to be a Kapoor, Kumar, a Khanna or a Khan to succeed, in real life, the only K that matters is Krsna; if we make theright choice to love Krsna, the nanyone and everyone can attain the highest spiritual success.
The Bhagavad gita (7.8) declares the syllable Om to be a manifestation of God, Krsna. So, when we take shelter of Him by devotional service centered on chanting His holy names, then we can experience the ultimate shanti. In that shanti of divine love, we can 'live happily ever after', because divine love conquers all obstacles even death. Our bodies will inevitably succumb to death, but we will not experience the traumatic rupture of relationships that befall those who have restricted their love to only this world. Rather, death will free us from the bodily limitations that impede us in expressing and experiencing divine love. Further, death will serve as the doorway to usher us into the kingdom of God, where we will delight in endless love, serving our beloved Krsna. Indeed the recurrent assertion in Om Shanti Om " … agar kissi cheez ko dil se chaho to puri kaayanat usse tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hain" (If you wholeheartedly desire something, then the entire creation starts endeavoring to assist you in that quest) becomes true when the cheez (object) is none other than the naath (creator) Himself. If Om Shanti Om reminds us of that glorious destiny which is our spiritual birthright, then it will go beyond providing fleeting entertainment to directing us towards everlasting enlightenment.
Caitanya Carana Dilsa serves fulltime at ISKCON Pune. To subscribe to his free cyber magazine, visit: thespiritualscientist.com