IIT Bombay: Brain, mind, and past lives

Acharya Prashant
14 min readJun 9, 2022

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner (Q): I am a Ph.D. bioscience student, and my question is about the brain and the mind. Some studies postulate that we carry memories from our past lives. If that is true, how and where are those memories stored?

Acharya Prashant (AP): No, we don’t carry any memories from our personal past lives. The memories that our bodies, our cells, and our DNA carry is the collective memory of entire humankind, the entire journey of evolution. So it is not as if you, the one who is speaking to me right now, the one who identifies with his name, his body, his face, his age, his place of birth, or his parents — that person does not have any particular past life. You have an infinite number of past lives, and that is not a linear thing; that is like a tree. That is like a large number of waves coalescing together and giving rise to several other small waves: none of the newly formed resultant waves can claim any of the previous and disappeared waves to be their past lives.

Everything is coming from everything else. The individuality that we believe in is a myth. It is because the ego likes to be identified with this particular body, with this particular birth, it seeks to project in the backward direction of this particular birth and the consciousness related to it. Do you see what is going on?

We do not live integrated lives. We are not identified with everything; nobody can practically be. We all have strong identifications with this body, with this face, with the memories that you carry currently in this brain. Because you are strongly identified with this body, that is why you want to assume that this body has had a particular personal history in the past. Now, surely you do have a history, but that history is not particularly personal to you. What is your good name, please?

Q: I am Praveen, sir.

AP: So, Praveen has had no past life in particular. There was nobody ever in the past who died and took birth as Praveen today. If you want to understand where you are coming from, then you have to understand that you are the result of millions of lives and deaths. Every single creature that has ever been on this planet has contributed to the one you are.

Acharya Prashant