The Problem of Rebirth

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Essays in Philosophy and Yoga
“The Problem of Rebirth”

Essays in Philosophy and Yoga - The Problem of Rebirth (full).jpg
PDF (180 pages)


(Note on the texts:) These sixteen essays were first published in the Arya between 1915 and 1921. Those comprising Section I appeared without a general title in two groups: November and December 1915, and March to December 1919. Those comprising Section II came out under the headings “The Lines of Karma” and “The Higher Lines of Karma” between August 1920 and January 1921.
         Sometime during the 1920s, Sri Aurobindo collected and revised the sixteen essays with the intention of publishing them as a book to be entitled The Problem of Rebirth. The revision included the addition of three long passages: the last paragraph of “The Significance of Rebirth”, the last three paragraphs of “Involution and Evolution”, and the last three paragraphs of “Karma, Will and Consequence”. Most of the pages of the proposed book were set in type and a few copies — possibly proof copies — were printed, but the book was never published. The letter reprinted in Appendix II explains why. It may be noted that in this letter Sri Aurobindo referred to the collection of essays as “Rebirth and Karma”. The editors, who are responsible for the division into sections, use this phrase as the subtitle of Section I. (The same phrase was used as the title of the entire book in an edition published in the United States in 1991.)
         The Problem of Rebirth was first published posthumously in 1952. The third edition of the book, published in 1978, incorporated some revisions made by Sri Aurobindo that had not been discovered when the earlier editions were printed.


1 “Rebirth” Paper icon.png (11 pages) Published in the Arya in November 1915.
2 “The Reincarnating Soul” Paper icon.png (7 pages) Published in the Arya in December 1915.
3 “Rebirth, Evolution, Heredity” Paper icon.png (8 pages) Published in the Arya in March 1919.
4 “Rebirth and Soul Evolution” Paper icon.png (10 pages) Published in the Arya in April 1919.
5 ”The Significance of Rebirth” Paper icon.png (12 pages) Published in the Arya in May 1919.
6 “The Ascending Unity” Paper icon.png (10 pages) Published in the Arya in June 1919.
7 “Involution and Evolution” Paper icon.png (13 pages) Published in the Arya in July 1919.
8 “Karma” Paper icon.png (8 pages) Published in the Arya in August 1919.
9 “Karma and Freedom” Paper icon.png (13 pages) Published in the Arya in September 1919.
10 “Karma, Will and Consequence” Paper icon.png (7 pages) Published in the Arya in October 1919.
11 “Rebirth and Karma” Paper icon.png (9 pages) Published in the Arya in November 1919.
12 “Karma and Justice” Paper icon.png (9 pages) Published in the Arya in December 1919.
13 “The Foundation” Paper icon.png (7 pages) Published in the Arya in August 1920. The title of the essay was printed under the heading “The Lines of Karma”.
14 “The Terrestrial Law” Paper icon.png (12 pages) Published in the Arya in two instalments in September and October 1920. The title of the essay was printed under the heading “The Lines of Karma”.
15 “Mind Nature and Law of Karma” Paper icon.png (15 pages) Published in the Arya in two instalments in October and November/December 1920. The title of the essay was printed under the heading “The Lines of Karma”.
16 “The Higher Lines of Karma” Paper icon.png (14 pages) Published in two instalments in the last two issues of the Arya: November/December 1920 and January 1921. The second instalment was printed with the subheading “The Lines of Truth”. This subheading was deleted in the unreleased edition of The Problem of Rebirth.
Appendix I: “The Tangle of Karma” Paper icon.png (6 pages) This incomplete essay was written around 1927, presumably for inclusion with the other essays of The Problem of Rebirth.
Appendix II: “A Clarification” Paper icon.png (2 pages) Sri Aurobindo wrote this note on 25 December 1935 in reply to a question put by a disciple.


See also