Jati-Smaran – In Gita Verse 6.43 On taking such a birth, he revives the divine consciousness of his previous life, and he again tries to make further progress in order to achieve complete success, O son of Kuru.
Krishna tells Arjuna that nothing goes to waste and all your effort of any practice for meditation will continue in your next birth. It will progress from where you had stopped.
Buddhist or Jaina they have used past life regression called jati-smaran, to help few people to start their journey of spirituality.
I am reminded of two incidents… One is in Gautam Buddha’s life, and one is in Vardhaman Mahavira’s life. A man takes sannyas, becomes part of the community of Buddha, but finds it hard, difficult, arduous. He is sad, depressed, and thinks many times to leave it. One day Buddha called him and told him to sit in front of him and go into the method of jati-smaran – that is, hypnosis.
He had not yet tried it, so somebody gave him the instructions to go into past lives. And it was an amazing revelation: for almost five lives in the past he had taken sannyas and dropped it. That had become a routine of his consciousness.
So Buddha said, “Now you are doing it again. It is up to you, but you have done it five times before. It is simply repetitive; you are wasting time. Either stop taking sannyas and do whatsoever you want, or be courageous; if you have taken it, then go into it this time. This should not be repeated. Five lives have been a waste.”
Looking at his own five lives… the same pattern, almost mechanical, the same wheel moving: first getting attracted to a great master, getting initiated with great enthusiasm, and then seeing the arduousness, the difficulties of transforming himself and escaping, renouncing sannyas itself. And he comes back to it again and again.
Buddha said, “You can do it as long as you want. In your next life you will do it again.
And for five lives nobody reminded you, because the masters you were working with were not masters of jati-smaran.”
The man remained. It changed his whole attitude: “This is stupid. If it is hard then it has to be faced. If it is a challenge then it has to be taken.” And he became one of the enlightened disciples of Buddha.
There is a similar story in Mahavira’s life. A prince becomes enchanted with Mahavira’s individuality, but he does not know that Mahavira’s life is really arduous. Nobody has lived the way Mahavira has lived – naked in the winter, in the hot sun, hungry for months, fasting, eating once in a while, barefooted, walking on the burning earth in the hot sun.
He did not use shoes because shoes were made only of leather in those days, and to use shoes meant you were indirectly supporting the industry of violence, because the best leather comes when you kill young calves. If you want really perfect leather, then you have to take the leather from the calf while it is alive; you don’t kill him first. First you take the leather, and in taking the leather of course he dies. That leather is the most soft and the best. Mahavira was absolutely against in any way supporting anything which is based on violence.
This prince became – and naturally, you can understand it – the prince became impressed by the man, his integrity, his authority, his teaching. He was not aware that life with him is going to be tremendously hard – and he had lived very luxuriously. But in a moment of enthusiasm he took sannyas and entered into Mahavira’s commune.
Now, ten thousand sannyasins used to move with Mahavira, and they were staying in a big caravanserai, and it was a routine that the elder ones – that means those who had been longer in sannyas – should have better places, and the others accordingly. This prince was just a one-day-old sannyasin, so in the night he got a place just near the door, the main door, where people left their shoes, umbrellas and other things. He was the son of a king, and by that door sleeping was impossible; people were continuously coming and going. When there are ten thousand sannyasins… He had never slept in such a situation, and he immediately thought, “This is not the life I would like. Next morning I will give my apology, and I will say, ‘This is not the life for me.’” But before he reached Mahavir, Mahavir reached him, and asked him to let himself be taken into jati-smaran – and it was the same process. For three lives he had been doing the same thing: getting impressed by magnetic people, charismatic people, and then finding it difficult over small matters and leaving them. In all those three lives he could have become enlightened, because those three people were capable of triggering the process of enlightenment.
Mahavira said, “You have missed three lives, and you are missing the fourth. You can decide. But you are a warrior, not only a prince. Don’t emphasize that you are a prince and you have lived only in luxury; remember that you are a warrior and you have been fighting in wars. And there is nobody in this area who is a better swordsman, a better archer. Don’t insult yourself, don’t humiliate yourself. This is escape.”
And the man remained. But the factor that helped these two men to remain was their reliving their past experiences.
It’s not only Krishna says – On taking such a birth, he revives the divine consciousness of his previous life, and he again tries to make further progress in order to achieve complete success – but Buddha, Mahavira and many of the Mystic School also says the same thing. Only one addition with Buddha, Mahavira and many of the Mystic School they take help of jati-smaran or hypnosis.