I have no doubt that whether reincarnation occurs and also that rarely people have any memory of their past life, but I have a serious concern. I have a great liking of music that too specially for Indian classical genre. So when I am reborn in this world will I again have the same appreciation and liking for it? So the question is simple that do we cease to be the kind of person that we were in our last birth and start from zero again?
This is a very interesting question.
It seems that we do not cease to be the kind of person that we were, and we do not start from zero again!
There is a confirmation for this in the scriptures. See for example the Bhagavad gita (translation from vedabase at http://www.vedabase.com/en/bg/6):
BG 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.
BG 6.44: By virtue of the divine consciousness of his previous life, he automatically becomes attracted to the yogic principles — even without seeking them. Such an inquisitive transcendentalist stands always above the ritualistic principles of the scriptures.
BG 6.45: And when the yogī engages himself with sincere endeavor in making further progress, being washed of all contaminations, then ultimately, achieving perfection after many, many births of practice, he attains the supreme goal.
This is a description of a yogi who still did not achieve spiritual perfection, so in the next life he will be impelled from within his heart to continue his strive for perfection of yoga: " ... he revives the divine consciousness of his previous life, and he again tries to make further progress ... ... By virtue of the divine consciousness of his previous life, he automatically becomes attracted to the yogic principles ... ... the yogī engages himself with sincere endeavor in making further progress, ..., then ultimately, achieving perfection after many, many births of practice, he attains the supreme goal."
Thus a yogi will be impelled from within his heart to continue his strive for perfection in future lives. This tells that he does not start his next lives from zero again, he is not as if wiped like a clean slate.
Every embodied being has 3 kind of bodies
- Gross Body(Physical body)
- Subtle Body(mind and intelligence)
- Spiritual Body(Spirit soul;the true self)
At the time of death we change our gross body(physical body) only. However the Subtle body and spiritual body remains the same.
Our likes and dislikes are stored in Subtle body. So at the time of transmigrating from one body to other(material death); all these likes and dislikes are also carried to new body.
Here is what Krishna says in Geeta(BG 15.8)
The living entity in the material world carries his different conceptions of life from one body to another, as the air carries aromas. Thus he takes one kind of body and again quits it to take another.
A person having certain attachments(likes) and dislikes(aversions) is also confirmed in 3rd chapter of Geeta
There are principles to regulate attachment and aversion pertaining to the senses and their objects. One should not come under the control of such attachment and aversion, because they are stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization.
So to give you analogy: consider browser cache. When you search something in google; google will give you suggestions based on your previous search history. So this browser cache is like our likes and dislikes and mind stores all of it whatever has been accumulated till now.
However in above quoted verse from chapter 3 of Geeta; Krishna urges us to not come under control of such attachment and aversions.
So We are not completely a different person as far as our likes and dislikes are concerned. we do not start from zero after changing the body; but we are born with same or at least similar likes and dislikes as our previous birth.