Reincarnation is the cycle of death and rebirth after a while in spiritual spheres into a new physical body. Such a rebirth is called reincarnation. The soul - the true self - remains the same, while the "vehicle" of the soul to make the needed learning experience changes. Death means nothing else but the loss of ONE vehicle the soul was using during its many reincarnations in a physical body. Incarnation in a physical body is needed to go through certain spiritual lessons a soul may need on a particular planet. Reincarnations are controlled by the law of Karma. The family, time, place, social society and culture where a reincarnation takes place is decided by the individual Karma of a soul. It finally is a free choice of that soul because it may be necessary to become a free soul. However sometimes reincarnation is dependent on desires, fears and attachment only and rebirth or reincarnation takes places in accordance with these factors as a result of spiritual ignorance. Most of the time a reincarnation is caused by ignorance of spiritual truth and by Karma. All lessons to be learned could also be learned much easier and in a more loving atmosphere in spiritual universes. There are but a few lessons, like conducting war, abuse of might, violence of any kind including mental violence by thoughts that may require a physical incarnation because here on the physical plane the damage is relative to the physical plane and least compared to a possible damage in astral or causal spheres.
When death occurs, the soul - also called Atman - including all other bodies of lights, i.e. astral body, causal body is leaving the physical body and withdraws all connection to it. A human without physical body has the same consciousness and awareness as before in his physical body. In fact the consciousness normally is clearer and the perception of his surrounding is more accurate with the use of all metaphysical senses than in is previous physical body.
Death is the result of all Karma or attachment being expired. This desirable condition frees the soul to continue spiritual growth on a higher dimension of the Divine creation or even allows the soul to return to God. If a soul riches the latter state, it is called God-realization or God-union. Saints are sometimes capable of achieving this state of God-realization and God-union while still having a physical body. This usually is done during deep and highly advanced meditation. This level of meditation is called Nirbikalpa Samadhi, sometimes also written Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Once God-union is reached, there is no more need for a new reincarnation, however Saints sometimes do reincarnate voluntary to help mankind on a particular planet to find their way home to God or to disperse and dissolve the spiritual ignorance of a culture if needed for the spiritual benefit of mankind. Such a soul is called Avatar and an Avatar may act as a Guru while on earth or he may act in disguise to fulfill a certain spiritual task, to help to fulfill God's Divine plan or to prepare a planet or culture for the reincarnation of another Avatar.
How is this possible you may ask. First of all a human is a being of conscious light and is using a physical body only to go through experiences on a physical planet. The identification with his physical body leading to fear of death as most humans on this planet have, is caused only by spiritual ignorance in some cultures. The truth is that any human being and of course animals and plants have a consciousness that is free of the physical body. The consciousness is using the physical senses while being in a physical body, is using the sense organs of the astral body while being in the astral world and is using his causal senses while being in the causal worlds. It is like a good driver who may use a 4-wheel vehicle while driving off-road, a racing car while driving on highways and drive a truck for farming. A soul can change the vehicle it uses to adapt to the needs of spiritual development of the consciousness of mankind.
Human consciousness is potentially the same independent of his dimension of manifestation. Since the vibration in spiritual spheres is much higher, the senses and mind of mankind works much faster and smoother than in a physical body. Life beyond the physical plane is much easier, more enjoyable, Love is becoming more important the higher the dimensions, the higher the vibrations of the spheres.
An easy to understand example may be ice - water - vapor. It always is the same - chemically. But its state is changing. Ice may be compared to a physical body of a human, the state of liquid water to that of the astral body and vapor - the gaseous form of the original water may be compared to the causal of mankind. Vapor while invisible to humans, is still the same and has the same potential qualities as before in the state of ice. So does a human soul even without any form and shape have the same consciousness and awareness as before plus all the experiences from any previous incarnations that shall become part of the conscious mind. In addition the clarity of communication with the Divine gives a soul, freed of any body, the wisdom and knowledge of God-consciousness in the advanced state of spiritual development of a soul.
A human in his advanced level of spiritual development may fully dematerialize his physical body by increasing his vibration including the vibration of his physical body until it riches the next higher level of manifestation in God's Divine creation. An incarnation may be ended by either dematerializing his physical body or dropping his physical body at will during Maha Samadhi, or by losing his physical body during death as it happens for the majority of mankind at this time on this planet.
It is the spiritual goal of each soul to leave
the cycle of reincarnation and become free souls beyond the physical, astral
and causal universes of the Divine creation. The physical, astral
and causal universes are but "spiritual school houses"
for spiritual development and making some very basic experiences necessary
to become God-realized and free souls for the remainder of eternity.
Alphabetical overview Spiritual Encyclopedia | Home Cyberspace Ashram for Kriya Yoga, God and Love