How to Win Freedom from Rebirth


in this life time, one knows to end the cycle of birth and death.

would you be aware in your knowing and understanding to be able to guide me into knowing where to go? — meaning, a place, or country to be able to do this?

—Maria Corpetti, Australia


Dear Maria:

There is no “place” on earth where this can be found except within your Self. To escape the wheel of samsara (birth, life, death, rebirth) requires becoming free from all present and past karma, never to return by the dictates of past karma to be reborn in a human body. This is a big subject, for there are karmas that can be worked out on higher realms than this one. But all the same, freedom from karma is the key.

Is there a magic mantra or other “silver bullet?” Well, yes, and, well, no! In the teachings of India it is said, and our guru, Paramhansa Yogananda concurred, that one must have a true (“sat”) guru in order to be liberated from all karma. First one becomes enlightened; and then, by working out any remaining past karma, one becomes liberated. Naturally, in the process of becoming enlightened some past karma is eradicated, but not all.

We have lived (even in just human forms) for many, many lifetimes. It is wise to at least consider that it could take a few lifetimes once we seek to become free. Or, just one lifetime. It depends, as Patanjali implies in the Yoga Sutras, on the degree of the intensity of our effort, our past karma, and the efforts of a true guru on our behalf (grace, in other words).

“Not by works alone are ye saved” St. Paul reminds us, but also by grace.

Are you open to the aid of a guru? Would you consider that a guru who is no longer in the physical body can assist you on a subtle level? Thus it is that great saints east and west have achieved freedom with the help of a true guru who had not been in the human body in centuries. For example, St. Francis: he lived 1200 years after Jesus. And, many others who were disciples of Krishna, Rama, Buddha and many others. So, despair not and do not go off chasing after spiritual teachers. “When the disciple is ready, the guru appears.” Many spiritual teachers there are, but ah so few, true gurus.

Work on self-purification through meditation, prayer, good works, charity, generosity and ego transcendence. The purer your love for God and the greater your non-attachment to your own likes, dislikes, pleasures and pain, the greater your progress toward freedom. Help others, too, as you grow, for this is the “law” (“You must free at least six others….”)

What is time to eternity? Do not therefore think about “When will I be free!” Be free NOW. Live in inner freedom, but do the work that is necessary to earn it at the same time. “The spiritual path,” Paramhansa Yogananda said, “is like runnning a race while juggling.” He (and by extension, I) recommend kriya yoga as the “airplane route” to God.

Be happy right now, for in your soul you are eternally Mine….free and in bliss……

Nayaswami Hriman