`Father, how come that some people even if they are educated believe in metempsychosis?`
`Metempsychosis suits men, especially atheists and unbelievers. It is the greatest cunning of the devil. The devil keeps them in a sinful life with the thought that their soul goes and comes back again many other times in this world. `If this time you don`t succeed`, the devil tells them, `you will come back to this life and you will succeed next time. And if again you don`t succeed, you come back over and over again and you will evolve…`That is why some of them say: `It doesn`t matter if I commit this sin` and they don`t care. They live carelessly and they don`t repent. You see how the devil blinds them and catches them for hell? I haven`t seen any other greater cunning of the devil than this one with which to gather the people in hell! And if the devil catches you well once, will he ever let you escape? This is the worst of all the Hindu theories.`
Once very late in the evening a young man passed by the hut. `At this hour, my boy, I want to read the Vespers`, I told him. `You still care about these?` he said and left. He came back again the next day and told me about some visions. `Did you use any hashish?` I asked him. `Yes, long time ago`, he said. `But when I had the visions I didn`t use anymore.` he told me. `Do you read about metempsychosis?` `Yes`, he answered. `Well, that`s how he fell into deceit.` He read about metempsychosis and his selfishness reacted and created visions for him that long time ago he had been a great and rich man. Then he saw in his vision that he ascended to heaven and they didn`t have him written there and they told him to go down. The devil created all this phantasy. All these are unreal tales and you believe them?` I told him.
Unfortunately there are cultivated people who believe in such nonsense. There, near the hut was a donkey I called Naser, because he was spry. One day a Greek who was living in Switzerland came there and heard I called the donkey Naser. After some time when he came again he brought a box with cheap sweets and another one with expensive sweats.
`These are for you`, he told me and gave me the cheap sweets. `The expensive sweets are for Naser`, he added. I realized from last time that this is Naser. When I met him he looked at me with a sad look and broke my heart.` He believed that Naser reincarnated himself and became a donkey. He really believed that.
`Are you in your right mind?` I asked him. I called him Naser because he was a spry donkey. But he didn`t believe a word from what I said.
And this is nothing. Let me tell you something else which is even worse. Many years ago some Germans went to Crete to commemorate the Germans who had been killed there during their occupation.
While they were making the commemoration a native passed by with his donkey burdened with many different things. When the donkey saw all those men gathered there he started to bray. One of the Germans believed then that the donkey was his brother who had died in war and was reincarnated. He believed the donkey recognized him and greeted him with his braying. For this reason the German stood straight and saluted him in the military way. And he began to cry. Then he went to the peasant and told him: `How much do you want on him, as I want to buy him?`
`Go away, man` the peasant answered.
The German was counting his money.
`How much you want, this sum or that one?`
`Go away and leave me` the man answered.
In the end someone told him:
`You fool he pays your donkey as if he were a Mercedes. Give him.`
Then the peasant took the things from the donkey, took out the packsaddle, freed him and the German with tearful eyes took him and went with him in Germany!
`Is it true, father?`
`It is a real story indeed. If I hadn`t have heard it from a serious man I wouldn`t have believed it either.`
* Metempsychosis (or reincarnation) is a very spurious theory, according to which the soul after the physical death enters another human or animal body and goes through an endless cycle of deaths and rebirths.
Excerpt from Ascetic Struggle – Pious Paisios the Athonite, Evanghelismos Publishing.