Real rebirth is dying from the ego into the spirit. This is the significance of the crucifixion of Jesus. Whenever identification with the body exists, a body is always available, whether this or any other one, till the body-sense disappears by merging into the source - the spirit, or Self. The stone which is projected upwards remains in constant motion till it returns to its source, the earth, and rests. Headache continues to give trouble, till the preheadache state is regained. Thirst for life is inherent in the very nature of life, which is absolute existence - sat. Although indestructible by nature, by false identification with its destructible instrument, the body, consciousness imbibes a false apprehension of its destructibility. Because of that false identification it tries to perpetuate the body, and that results in a succession of births. But however long these bodies may last, they eventually come to an end and yield to the Self, which alone eternally exists.
—Sage Sri Ramana Maharshi
REBIRTH - ITS CAUSE AND MECHANISAM
Life is a great school for the learning of lessons. It has various grades and scales of progress. One cannot escape learning the lessons and nothing once learned is ever forgotten entirely. There is an indelible imprint of the lesson on one’s character, which manifests as predispositions, tastes, inclinations, etc. Our character is the working of the law of karma.
What one is in this life is the result of what one was in one’s last life. What one makes of this life will reflect in the next life. One is one’s own judge. It is the love of the Absolute that is forever working to lead one forward. It opens one’s soul to that knowledge that burns up karma, and enables one to throw off the burden of cause and effect. Under the operation of the law of karma everyone is master of one’s own destiny, one rewards oneself, one punishes oneself. It is the Absolute, which is constantly urging us towards spiritual upliftment and drawing the soul towards its ultimate haven of rest. One must work out one’s own salvation and destiny. Under this law, every thought and action has its karmic effect upon the future incarnations of the soul. It is not exactly in the nature of punishment or rewards, but as the operation of the law of cause and effect.
The thoughts of a person are like seeds which blossom and bear fruit. Some spring into growth in this life, while others are carried over into future lives. The actions of this life may represent only the partial growth of the thought seed and future lives may be necessary for its complete fruition. Of course, one who understands the truth, and has mentally divorced oneself from the fruits of one’s actions, has robbed material desire of its vital force. By seeing it as it is, and not as a part of one’s real Self, such seed-thoughts do not blossom and bear fruit in future lives, for one has killed their germ. They have been robbed of their vitality and are unable to bear fruit.
Those who are suffering, and who see no cause for their pain, are apt to complain and rebel when they see others of no apparent merit enjoying the good things of life. That is due to the law of karma. This makes each person responsible for his or her happiness or misery. One has been robbed of the opportunity to use this body to progress.
(The article is taken from the book Life Beyond Death by Anil Sharma)