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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Soul Science God Philosophy > Your Secret Journey > Reincarnation in Religions > Ancient Greece



Among the ancient Greeks, Socrates. Pythagoras and Plato may be numbered among those who made reincarnation an integral part of their teachings. In the 'Phaedo', Socrates goes to great lengths to explain that the soul is invisible, always the same, and eternal; that the soul is immortal and does not cease to exist after death.One of the best known references to Pythagoras's belief in reincarnation is found in a statement by Xenophanes: "And once, they say, passing by when a puppy was being beaten, he pitied it, and spoke as follows: 'Stop! Cease your beating, because this is really the soul of a man who was my friend. I recognized it as I heard it cry aloud.'" Pythagoras claimed he could remember his past lives.


Plato presented detailed accounts of reincarnation in his major works. Scholars summarize the Greek philosopher's complex version of the doctrine in ten steps: (1) divine origin of the soul; (2) the soul's fall; (3) duration of a cycle of births; (4) address to souls awaiting reincarnation; (5) inevitability of transmigration; (6) possibility of release from cycle after three virtuous lives; (7) judgement in an underground realm; (8) judgement and condemnation of the wicked; (9) reward of the pious; (10) an ordered scale of human lives. In many of these ideas, Plato's contribution was to give a rational dimension to reincarnationist thinking so that its truth could be perceived even by those who were vehemently opposed to it.