In the Name of God
Review of Pythagoras’ views about reincarnation
With praise and thanks to God for His favor which has included us and we have succeeded in being in the presence of Ostad Mousavi. We sincerely thank Ostad Mousavi for
generously presenting to us his precious achievements which he has gained in the path of science. We hope that we deserve to receive these valuable jewels and cause the strengthening and grace of his divine and scientific school.
In this article, we are going to briefly explain the life of one of the most famous ancient philosophers whose name is Pythagoras. We shall present one of his ideas about reincarnation as an example and shall state Ostad’s analysis of the same.
Pythagoras is one of the great Greek philosophers who was born in Samos about five hundred and eighty years before Christ (BC), according to successive historic narrations.
Pythagoras spent thirty years of his life travelling to different parts of the world for finding a teacher and stepping along the path of divine perfection. He wanted to find a heart and through it present his soul to the beloved and in this way discover the philosophy of his existence.
Esteemed philosopher Ostad Seyyed Ali Mousavi says: Islamic scholar Muhammad al-Shahrastani who is the writer of the book ‘al–Milal wa al-Nihal’ (The Book of Sects and Creeds) says about perfections and benevolence of Pythagoras: Pythagoras was probably a prophet. However, we cannot accept this simply, because the existence of a prophet is holy and great and one of the signs of a prophet is miracles. Therefore, it is better to consider him as a wise man not a prophet although his benevolence has been mentioned in many sources.
Muhammad al-Shahrastani says in another part of his ideas: He was a disciple of Prophet Solomon and his theosophy originated from the safe shelter of prophecy. This idea is important and thinkable.
One of the important opinions of Pythagoras is reincarnation of the soul. He made rules for his disciples; one of them was that he forbade them from eating animal meat and eggs. We can say that this prohibition related to his belief about reincarnation. In order to get more familiar with this idea, we shall briefly explain reincarnation and its rejection according to Ostad Mousavi’s opinion.
Divine philosopher, Ostad Allamah Seyyed Ali Mousavi says: We explain Pythagoras’ opinion in order to be an honest trustee but do not accept all of his views and if necessary, we reject them. Pythagoras’ opinion about reincarnation is rejected according to the Holy Quran.
At first, we want to know the literal meaning of reincarnation which is transferring the human soul from one body to another. Sometimes this transfer takes place in the bodies of animals. The first reason for rejecting this idea is that in the question and answer of the judgment day, every person’s soul, sprit, and intellect is particular to himself, whereas if we accept reincarnation, it means that the soul is transferred from one body to another and this process continues. Therefore, this question arises that with which body should a person return on the Judgment Day?
The second reason for rejecting reincarnation is that God has created each soul for a particular body and when the soul leaves the body, it does not have the permission to enter another body.
Esteemed philosopher Ostad seyyed Ali Mousavi under teaching volume nine of Mulla Sadra’s book, Asfar, in order to clarify the subject of reincarnation says that according to the rule of repair and demolition, each soul should return to its sheath. For example, your grandfather passed away fifty years ago and his body decomposed. When his soul which migrated from the body wants to return, it will not be permitted to enter any soul it wishes. In other words, if one-hundred sheaths do not have any heirs, this soul does not have the permission to enter them until it finds his own sheath.
Ostad Mousavi says, “A person who understands the bases of resurrection will never be shaken; otherwise, one may not go forward on the right path.
One day Pythagoras stood up hurriedly after hearing the howling of a dog and told himself that I should save him because he recognized the voice of his dead friend from the whining and crying of that dog. The story was that he believed that the soul of his dead friend reincarnated into the body of the dog; thus he decided to rescue that dog.
Pythagoras says that the human soul is purified after death in Purgatory (Barzakh) and returns to earth in a new physical incarnation, and this infinite stream of reincarnation will not be stopped except with a completely virtuous life. He wanted to entertain his followers by this strong belief and made them believe in reincarnation. He said that I was initially in the body of a prostitute, then I exited her body and after being purified was incarnated into the body of a hero whose name was Euphorbus, the son of Panthous and finally returned to my own body.
Esteemed philosopher, Ostad Seyyed Ali Mousavi says that the subject of Reincarnation is not accepted by the holy Quran and the narrations of infallibles Imams. Divine philosophers such as Mulla Sadra (May Allah Exalt his status) have rejected the subject of Reincarnation too.
There are different narrations expressed about the manner of Pythagoras’ death. Some say that after a while those who had doubts about his views scorned and beat him and his followers and set his teaching classes on fire. His opponents set the house where he lived on fire and when his followers became aware of this, they embraced Hakim who was in the midst of the fire and protected him from the flames. However, the heat became extreme and the house became very hot. Pythagoras fell to the ground and the bird of his soul left the cage of his body. Thereafter, the fire flared up and all his followers died too.
In another narration it is said that when he was escaping, he came across a field of fava beans and as he did not wat to stamp the fava beans, he stopped and was arrested and killed.
Teachings and researches of esteemed philosopher, Ostad Seyyed Ali Mousavi under the life of Pythagoras.
Source: The Story of Civilization, Will Durant