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Excerpts from

  The Real Meaning of
Reincarnation and Rebirth

Joseph Murphy

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Book Description

The book "The Real Meaning of Reincarnation and Rebirth," was originally published in 1954, and is now available in eBook form for the first time. There are thinking people of all religious faiths the world over that believe in the theory of Reincarnation and Karma, as these do seem to provide an acceptable answer to many of life's mysteries; however, as readers of this superb book will discover, there are other perfectly plausible explanations that account for what people consider to be past-life experiences, and also explain why people are born into this world with differing advantages, disadvantages, and handicaps.

The book's introduction reads as follows:


The Bible contains the congealed Wisdom of the ages. One of the greatest modern teachers of the inner meaning of the Bible has written this book to show the true, inner meaning of that old subject, Reincarnation. In these pages you will find the master key to this subject, and see how Jesus completely rejected the popular belief regarding Reincarnation. Learn that you have dominion over all things. We can have dominion when we learn the laws of life and apply them. When you pray, you are lifted up above time, its limitations, and into union with the Divine. You pass from time to Eternity.

This book is new, vital, inspiring, and soul stirring. It is a message from the man who has taught thousands how to transform their lives. Dr. Murphy, writing with simplicity, clarity, and a deep spiritual insight, shows you how you can rise above all race beliefs, superstitions, fear, and ignorance, and enter consciously into union with the Higher Self; then "all the Divine Forces hasten to minister to our eternal joy."



The time has come in the field of New Thought thinking, living, and practice to make a clear-cut decision as to what to do with the mill-stone labelled, "Reincarnation," which is discovered hanging from both oriental and occidental necks.

The highest light in the theory of reincarnation is melioristic; that is, man is becoming better by the slow, exoteric process of putting on and off different habiliments of flesh and emotions. Nothing is done in this unconscious process, rooted in mere habit transmission about the ringing challenge: "Be ye perfect even as your Father hi Heaven is perfect."

New Thought Philosophy and application must not capitulate to a racial error perpetuated by the pronouncements of unillumined men. We should get started in the "business" about which Jesus so earnestly labored. Let us begin the program with tenacity of purpose and perseverance by putting on the Garment of Christ which is Wisdom, Truth, and Beauty instead of the garment of "poor man, rich man, beggar man, and thief," through the weary cycles of time-space-frames of reference.

Einstein has with great labor brought us to the gate of the Temple Beautiful. The false Gods of time and space have been toppled over, and become mere relativities before that "Which is, and Which was, and Which is to come, the Almighty."

We now stand naked before the gates stripped of all disguises and "but little lower than the angels," ready to take our just place at the right hand of Cause—The Father. This means essentially the wilful cessation of the automatic, weary round of rebirths, refleshing ourselves in the menial garments of the slave to carnal, materialistic thinking and living.

The scientific, mental thinker looks at the theory of reincarnation from a new standpoint altogether. The scientific thinker starts with, "the pattern on the Mount," wherein man is one with God, and starts from there.

We must cease building an edifice based on a slow-paced dream wherein millions of human beings—east and west—have been laid in the Procrustean bed of karma and reincarnation to arise retailored in garments ill befitting an invited guest to God's Wedding Feast. If you do not wear the proper garment which is the royal, seamless robe, you will be cast out again into the outer darkness of spiritual ignorance.

By believing in the theory of reincarnation, or countless cycles of carnal rebirths, I believe you drift from safe mooring, and fall from spiritual grace.

What is your concept of God? The Bible gives you the answer: "The high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy."

Atomic, H-bombs, and other thermo-nuclear weapons are knocking at your doors calling upon you for a new Declaration of Emancipation from all traditions and false beliefs of man—no matter how time-honored on oriental altars. Let us begin to put out all karmic, purgatorial fires by true faith and conviction in God's Love and Beauty here and now, and press on to the virgin fields of consciousness. You must not be deterred by a mirage of mere meliorism. Refuse to be satisfied by anything but the promised land of Spiritual Reality.

In materia-medica circles it is customary to discard the textbooks of yesterday's pathologies and nostrums. Likewise, you must discard the old garment of "sick man, poor man," and arrive at the hour of decision in your own mind where "none but the best wine" of spiritual wisdom shall be put forth for the guests who hunger for a more wholesome fare.

The new, nuclear physics with great courage and faith has also without hesitation discarded the gross atomistic concepts of yesterday. Their courage and faith have demonstrated their own miracles, such as nuclear transubstantiation, time-space fusion, television, radio, inter-atomic energy, etc. Science is also beginning to kneel and pray before the Altar of Being.

By laboring in the vineyard of your own mind, you, too, can bring forth better fruit. The Bible explains the course of action which the student of truth must take in these times when the Holy Spirit is being "poured upon all flesh." All unworthy concepts must go into the limbo of spiritual ignorance; foremost among these stands this well-regarded theory of reincarnation, whereby mole-like progress is decreed by age-old, earth-bound thinking.

When Jesus said, "My kingdom cometh not with observation of, lo here! lo there!" was he not anticipating the relativity of time-space concepts? When he declared: "Behold now is the accepted time!" "Believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them!" "Before Abraham was, I am!" was he not collapsing time and space in this "business" of soul-saving and man redeeming from the thraldom of erroneous oriental and occidental beliefs?

Jesus demonstrated instant resurrection, thereby short circuiting all reincarnation lagging on the way to the promised land of spiritual realization.

Become now a true, mental scientist, and agree with the bold declaration: "Behold, I make all things new." "I have overcome the world." "Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me." The me means the conscious, inner realization of God's Presence in you and in all men.

Free yourself mentally from the belief in self-imposed fleshy, psychologically imprisoning embodiments. The "sons of God" must "leap for joy" beneath "the morning stars" of Light, Love, and Truth which light up the heavens of your own mind.

Once I prayed for a friend who believed he was the victim of karma, that he had to suffer, and that God was punishing him. A healing of his mind and body followed; this was God reincarnated or made manifest in a body ill at ease or in disease. The malignant growth was stopped, and the glory of God was made manifest. This glory waits "neither for time nor tide," but is instant with the One Presence which always comes with healing on Its wings.

Leave all lesser altars and idols, and come before God with a pure heart and noble purpose. True reincarnation is the birth of God in the mind of man, where man becomes seized with a Divine frenzy and becomes God-intoxicated. The Spiritual rebirth comes to the man here and now who goes on a great psychological, spiritual feast in peace, happiness, and joy; then he begins the task of Divine regeneration, resurrection of God's ideas, and ascension into the bosom of God's Eternal Love.

Emma Curtis Hopkins tells of a wonderful event recorded in the archives of a state penal institution; this is the essence of it: A man was sentenced over half a century ago to be hanged. In the interim between his sentence and its time of fulfillment, he sought the Face of God, which means the Truth about God. If I look at your face, I recognize you. Look to God and His Love; there is no condemnation there. God does not condemn or judge any man. "All judgment is given to the son." You are the son, and you are always judging yourself by the concept and beliefs you entertain. You are always choosing thoughts; thereby passing judgment on yourself. God sees you perfect. The Perfect One cannot see imperfection. When man rises in consciousness to the point where he forgives himself and cleanses his mind and heart, the past is forgotten and remembered no more.

Karma, or reaping what you have sown, turns out to be inexorable only as long as you do not pray or meditate on the Truths of God. As soon as you pray, you rise above karma, and the unpleasant consequences of past mistakes begin to be wiped out. No matter how awful the crime,—be it murder, or any other heinous offense,—it can be expunged from the mind together with all the punishment that would ordinarily follow. Mere reading of affirmations and perfunctory prayer will not change matters. A deep hunger and thirst for God's Love and Grace, plus an intense desire to transform, is essential to wipe out the punishment that must otherwise follow negative and destructive thinking.

I have known murderers to become completely transformed by an inner realization of God's Presence; they were completely reborn; they were so changed that it would be impossible for them to repeat the mistakes of the past.

The murderer of whom Emma Hopkins speaks sought the Face of the All-Good. He had read that God was "the bad man's deliverer," and this man had committed the murder for which he was sentenced. To the great confusion and perplexity of the officers of the law, when the man was led to the gallows, the platform of which would tip ordinarily at the slightest weight, became firm the moment the condemned man stepped upon it. They tried again and again to no avail, until finally he was given his freedom.

Did not the efficacy of the High Watch halt the so-called karma of the ordinarily mandated treadmill of cause and effect, and enable this murderer to step off into a new order of emancipated consciousness and experience?

The Love of God indeed passes all understanding, and It does illumine the path we tread. The wonders and blessings of God know no ending.

Modern science is beginning also to penetrate the wonders of the world; it says that we live in an ever-changing, fluidic universe of dancing forces, and that the universe is a mental phenomenon. The ultimates of science are on precisely the same footing as our intuitions of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty of God. Our reason must listen to the subtler voices of intuition and revelation. With a new vision religion and science may both understand the mystic overtones of this ancient meditation.

"Of all existences I am the source
The continuation, and the end.
I am the germ;
I am the growth;
I am the decay.
All things and creatures I send forth;
I support them while yet they stand without;
And when the dream of separation ends,
I cause their return unto myself.
I am the Life,
And the wheel of the Law,
And the way that leadeth to the Beyond—
There is none else."



Reincarnation is God incarnating again and again. It is the One Being coming back repeatedly.

Troward says, "If a thing is true, there is a way in which it is true." Let us see the way in which Reincarnation is true. In reading the ninth chapter of Luke, we find these words, "Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead; And of some, that Elias had appeared; and to others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him."

Herod means the world-mind, race belief, and acceptance of the traditions of the past. Such a mind believes it is John the Baptist risen from the dead or Elias come again, but what it fails to see is that it is always God coming forth as a quality or mood of man.

The people in the days of Jesus believed in reincarnation, but everywhere in the Bible, as we shall point out, Jesus rejects the belief completely. If you read this book with a fixed belief in your old ideas, you will not really grasp what is being written. You only hear what you are ready to receive. Many hear what they want to believe. Where will you find the authority for the Truths of the Bible? They are within yourself! Your subjective or Invisible Self is the authority; It knows all, and It will illumine your conscious mind.

Herod is the tetrarch; the latter means the fourth part of the province, or the ruler of the fourth part of a country. You have four parts: You are spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical. The physical, or the body, is the tetrarch referred to. The body, or the worldly belief, is that a man dies and comes back in another body in cycles of 500, 800, etc. The man with the worldly belief desires to see Jesus, but he cannot. Jesus symbolizes the Truth.

Truth is an inner perception; It is subjectively perceived and understood. You say, "I see," when you comprehend, or understand the solution to a knotty problem. Many people believe that we come back again and again, in order to expiate for our sins committed in former lives. They believe they have to work out their karma until they are free from bondage. It is a solace and a comfort to many people to realize that their misfortunes and troubles are due to errors in their past lives. This belief is indeed a panacea; it answers their problems; puts them at ease, and it acts as an opiate to these poor people.
Again I wish to emphasize that Jesus does not teach reincarnation, as commonly understood. He teaches a spiritual rebirth. Let us examine the third chapter of John: Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Verily, verily, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God."

Nicodemus means a ruling state of consciousness within man; he is still wedded to the old thought of a physical or carnal rebirth; yet he is dissatisfied, and is seeking light. He is a man of the Pharisees, meaning that he is one who adheres to the letter of the Law, but lacks the spirit which giveth life. He represents the average man of today who does not know that his own Awareness, Beingness, or Consciousness is God, his Creator, Redeemer, and Saviour. Let us see this drama or dialogue as taking place within man.

When Jesus says, "I am the Truth," he is not referring to himself as a man, but to the Principle which he teaches.

"I AM" means Pure Being, Life, Awareness, Consciousness, or The Unconditioned One. Our "I AM-NESS" is God. "I am all things to all men." This Formless Awareness becomes that which man conceives It to be; this is the law of believing— the corner stone of life which the world rejects. When we read the word, "Verily, Verily," it means stop, look, and listen! To be born again means a spiritual rebirth—the birth of God in man.

Nicodemus, or man seeking, questions the Truth, asking, "How can a man be born when he is old?" The average man thinks of God as far off; he considers heaven as a place to which he goes when he leaves this plane. He fails to see that anyone can enter the second time into the mother's womb, psychologically, and be reborn spiritually. Man can enter the womb of God again and again, and be reborn mystically. The womb of God is man's own inner feeling.

Here is how you may enter the womb of God and be reborn: Get still and quiet by relaxing the mind and body. Detach yourself from the old way of thinking and form a new concept of yourself, a new estimate. Meditate on the reality of this new concept to the point of conviction. Imagine and feel the reality of the new ideal; live with it; envelop it in love; woo it; then the ideal will be resurrected in you, and you will become a changed man.

I knew a murderer one time who confessed to me that he had killed a man. He had an intense desire to transform himself, and be reborn mentally and spiritually. I wrote down the qualities and attributes of God for him. He began to still the wheels of his mind. For fifteen or twenty minutes several times daily, he would quietly, silently, and lovingly claim and feel that God's Love, Peace, Beauty, Glory, and Light were flowing through his mind and heart, purifying, cleansing, healing, and restoring his soul. As he did this regularly, these qualities and attributes of God were gradually resurrected within him. In other words these qualities came out of his mother's womb, which was his own feeling or mood as he prayed.

One night this man's whole mind and body, as well as the room he was in, became a blaze of Light. He was actually blinded like Paul by the Light for awhile. He said to me that all he could remember was that he knew the whole world was within him, and that he felt the ecstacy and rapture of God's Love. His feeling was indescribable. It was in other words the moment which lasts forever. He was a changed man; truly he expressed the real Incarnation of God in his mind and heart. He began to teach others how to live, and I am sure he is still doing it somewhere.

He was born of water and the spirit. Water will take the shape of any vessel into which it is poured, so will your mental attitudes and beliefs assume form and shape in your world.

Spirit is a feeling, a mood, or animated state of consciousness. To be born of water and the spirit is, therefore, to begin to think in a new way; to get a new mental attitude, and to begin to feel the joy of the answered prayer within you.

Let us take a simple illustration. Suppose you wish to be a great teacher of God's Truths: Close your eyes tonight. Still your body. Imagine you are expounding hidden mysteries or the Truths of the Bible to others, and that they are being illumined and inspired. In your imagination, you see the multitude; feel the reality of it; realize the wonder of it all. Dramatize it within yourself! You are the actor in the drama. ("Act as thou I am, and I will be." This is an old philosophical quotation containing a great Truth). Feeling yourself as being the great teacher, living, and acting the role in your imagination, you are focussed on your ideal, and you become one with it as you remain persistent. As you regularly enter this meditative state, you will touch Reality, and you will objectively express what you subjectively saw and felt. Your true rebirth is when you leave the kingdom of man and his false beliefs, and enter the Kingdom of God and His Glory within you.

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