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If we remember our past lifes' mistakes then there are less chances of making that mistake again, at our good times we can understand it as result of our past good deeds/punyam and at bad times we understand the mistakes done by us. By this we can easily understand the concept of karma in our lives and through self realization & evaluation there are more chances for us to get free from the cycle of birth & death.

What is the reason behind our memory loss? I heard dog will remember its past life and will cry when it sits on ash heap but forgets once its out of it! Is it true?

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    just a logical comment, our soul does not have a brain..so no memory – Pratik Bhat Sep 28 '14 at 14:51
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    When soul carries spiritual level why can't it carry its experiences, I believe there would be a strong reason for it – pbvamsi Sep 28 '14 at 14:54
  • @pbvamsi Our soul carries our past experiences, but we don't know everything our soul knows. We get a new brain every time, after all. – Keshav Srinivasan Sep 28 '14 at 16:04
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    I would be more happy if someone can comment before down vote, I've habit of questioning on them for which I do through research and i post them for which i know answers – pbvamsi Sep 29 '14 at 8:06
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    we don't remember it because we don't want to remember it. Why? think of it this way, everyday we go through dreams. Do we remember what we dreamt of six years ago? No. Why? We do not give these dreams that importance. Similarly every janma (birth) in the physical plane is really more like a dream when compared to the higher (subtle) plane. A hundred years in this plane is really nothing in the higher planes. Therefore we do not really give these common events in our lives the importance to remember. That said some people do remember their past lives, because they choose to remember. – Sai Sep 29 '14 at 16:32
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Few reasons are:

  • If we remember our past lives then we end up seeing all our relatives & friends in animals and other beings. We would be emotionally lost and we may waste our complete life in their service!
  • We would run after our worldly possessions gained in our previous births and will start fighting for command over it, this way we stop working and just strive hard to get our wealth into our control!
  • The relations between humans may be looked as the amount of karma bondage between two souls. We start seeing all women as mothers and sisters and men as fathers and brothers, in this account new bondings can't be made, elder can't pass moral values to younger!
  • The varna system would collapse, no one can stop anyone from doing anything.
  • Remembering all the painful experiences, human would lose hope and may just do nothing other than feeling sad on such happenings!
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In the Gita (4.5) Krishna says to Arjuna 'Many a birth have I passed through, O Arjuna, and so have you. I know them all, but you know them not, O scorcher of foes.'

Memories are a part of the mind, the mind dissolves with the gross body upon death. What is carried from one life to another are 'impressions' on the jiva. If you do something with all your heart and do something repeatedly every day, then it will make a deep impression that will carry forward to and manifest in your next life. If you teach yourself to love God with all your heart it will carry forward as an impression to your next life.

Swami Vivekananda said he remembered all his past lives. Patanjali says in the Yoga Aphorisms that a man who attains samadhi is able to know all his past lives.

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    You should cite sources for your claims in the second paragraph, preferably scripture. – Keshav Srinivasan Sep 30 '14 at 17:35
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    (1) "Those who act here virtuously (take birth in a good womb)" Chandogya Upanisad V. x. 7 (2) "Owing to the residual (results, the soul gets its future birth)" Apastamba Dharma-Sutras II.2.2.3 (3) Also Sri Bhasya 3.1.8-11 (4) There is a good detailed discussion in "Five Lectures on Reincarnation" by Swami Abhedananda (direct disciple of Ramakrishna Parmahamsa). (5) The fact that memories dissolve is self-evident, no scripture is needed. It is the experience of everyone. – Swami Vishwananda Oct 1 '14 at 6:11
  • @moonstar2001 No it is not worthwhile. What is worthwhile is to realize Atman within your heart. – Swami Vishwananda Dec 27 '14 at 8:01
  • @SwamiVishwananda: Could you please include the sources with the body of your answer? Thanks! – nic Jun 14 '16 at 3:31
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I believe that it is pure causeless mercy of the Supreme Lord that we can't remember our past life experiences.

We can't handle the traumatic situations of this one life; what to speak of countless other previous lives?

Anyways in Srimad Bhagavatam Lord kapila explains how the child loses one's memory when he comes out of the womb of mother.

this is explained in third canto of Bhagavatam; Chapter 31

Pushed downward all of a sudden by the wind, the child comes out with great trouble, head downward, breathless and deprived of memory due to severe agony.

in commentary A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada writes.

When the child comes out of the abdomen through the narrow passage, due to pressure there the breathing system completely stops, and due to agony the child loses his memory.

the next verse(3.31.24) says

The child thus falls on the ground, smeared with stool and blood, and plays just like a worm germinated from the stool. He loses his superior knowledge and cries under the spell of māyā.

Note:Also I'am not sure if dog remembers their past life. However I dont think so.For there are no strong evidences in its support.

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  1. We do remember everything from our past life till just before we are born.
  2. You can still recollect things from your past life if you concentrate by way of meditation,have strong self confidence and can devote yourself in the divine idea of reincarnation
  3. There is a phenomenon called deja vu, thats because you do remember things from your past life, Basically life is all a vicious, never ending cycle. You have done all these in millions of your previous lives, you are doing it today, and you will again do it in your millions of coming lives.
  4. Only souls which have been already mentioned in our scriptures to become free for life and death cycle, are the ones who have actually become free of it.

If you are born in Kaliyuga, means you cannot be free from it, you have to accept this, and just be too good that your next births are a bit nearer to God.

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Question similar to yours was discussed by Swami Vivekananda at World Parliament of Religions held in Chicago, 1893. Here (Addresses at The Parliament of Religions > Paper on Hinduism) is the excerpt from his speech on Hinduism:

...Taking all these for granted, how is it that I do not remember anything of my past life ? This can be easily explained. I am now speaking English. It is not my mother tongue, in fact no words of my mother tongue are now present in my consciousness; but let me try to bring them up, and they rush in. That shows that consciousness is only the surface of the mental ocean, and within its depths are stored up all our experiences. Try and struggle, they would come up and you would be conscious even of your past life.

Therefore, whatever we are conscious of at present forms just the surface of the vast mental ocean. And the reason for not remembering our past lives is that they are no longer part of this surface i.e., our conscious mind. But the past experiences are still there in the depth of mental ocean.

  • but after child is given its first bath, it is expected that the of spring will loose the memory of past lives. Though by guru's grace or by through spiritual practices like yoga, one may get memory of his/her past lives. Can you give any more citations/references to your views? – pbvamsi Dec 21 '15 at 12:29
  • @pbvamsi: Well, never heard of any such practice of removing child's past life memory. But even if it is followed, then the removing should only be from conscious mind and not from the entire mental domain. As for more references, currently, these words of Swamiji are the only reference I have. – Jatin Dec 21 '15 at 13:11

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