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The Kabala








Contact with the Babylonians, during the Captivity, brought about a
rapid development in the Hebrews, who were at that time far more
advanced souls than those that animated the bodies of their
fathers,[156] and taught them many important details of religious
instruction. It was then that they learned the doctrine of rebirth and
that the Kabala came into being.[157]

In it the cycle of rebirths is called Gil'gool'em[158] or the
"revolving of the Incorporeal" in search of the "promised land." This
promised land, the Christian Paradise, or Buddhist Nirvana, was
symbolised by Palestine; the soul in its pilgrimage was brought to
this abode of bliss,[159] and, according to the allegory, "the bodies
of Hebrews buried in a foreign land contained an animistic principle
which only found rest when, by the 'revolving of the Incorporeal,' the
immortal fragment had returned to the promised land."[160]

There are other aspects from which this "revolution of souls" may be
regarded. Certain Kabalists speak of it as a kind of purgatory in
which, by means of this "revolving," the purging of the soul is
brought about before it enters paradise.

In this connection, H. P. Blavatsky states that in the language of the
Initiates the words "soul" (ame) and "atom" were synonyms, and were
frequently used for each other. She says that the "revolution of
souls" was in reality only the revolving of the atoms of the bodies
which are continually transmigrating from one body to another
throughout the various kingdoms of nature. From this point of view, it
would seem that "Gil'gool'em" is more especially the cycle of atomic
transmigration: Resurrection.

The doctrine of the reincarnation of the human soul, however, is
clearly set forth in the Zohar:

"All souls are subjected to the tests of transmigration; men know not
the designs of the Most High with regard to them; they know not how
they are being at all times judged, both before coming into this world
and when they leave it; they have no knowledge of the mysterious
transformations and sufferings they must undergo, or how numerous are
the spirits who coming; into this world never return to the palace of
their divine King; they are ignorant of the revolutions to which they
are subjected, revolutions similar to those of a stone when it is
being hurled from a sling. And now the time has come when the veil
shall be removed from all these mysteries.... Souls must in the end be
plunged back into the substance from which they came. But before this
happens, they must have developed all the perfections the germs of
which are implanted within them; if these conditions are not realised
in one existence, they must be born again until they reach the stage
that makes possible their absorption in God."[161]

According to the Kabala, incarnations take place at long intervals;
souls completely forget their past, and, far from being a punishment,
rebirth is a blessing which enables men to develop and to attain to
their final goal.

The Essenes taught reincarnation and the immortality of the soul.
Ernst von Bunsen,[162] speaking of this sect, says:

"Another marked peculiarity of the doctrine of the Essenes was the
doctrine concerning the pre-existence of souls. They exist originally
in the purest ether, which is their celestial home. By a natural
attraction they are drawn towards the earth and are enclosed in human
bodies, as in a prison. The death of the body causes the return of the
soul to its heavenly abode. The Essenes can, therefore, not have
believed in the resurrection of the body, but of the soul only, or, as
Paul says, of the 'spiritual body.' This is positively asserted by
Josephus."[163]





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