As mentioned earlier, after death of the physical body, the astral and causal bodies reside in a plane of the astral realm commensurate with one’s karmas. Those who have been really evil on earth get to reside in the very low realms where their experience is horrible and they are aware of the reason why they are there. If they do not realize or become aware of their mistakes or sins committed they continue to suffer in that realm for ages or centuries. Some of these souls, however, may have a desire to improve. If the desire to improve spiritually is genuine they may get a chance of another birth on earth but they will be born as animals, like beasts of burden with their memories of the lower realm intact ( it is believed)to enable them to bear the hardships of the rebirth. It is also believed that spiritual evolution is much faster when born on earth. This cycle may go on.
It is very unlikely that anyone from a very low astral realm will be born as a human since one has to be in a certain realm (something like a middle level or higher one) to get a chance of being reborn as human.
Those in the middle or higher realms, who genuinely want to evolve spiritually, based on their free will and karmas, wish to take a rebirth as a human being, need to first choose their mother. It is said that at the time of the union of the sperm and ovum, a flash of light appears which attracts a soul based on karmic characteristics of the parents. If the karmas of the soul trying to incarnate and the parents is harmonious, the soul takes birth as the baby of the parents so selected. The soul chooses the parents based on the type of experience it wishes to have and needs to evolve spiritually. This, therefore, means that we actually choose our time and place of birth. It is important to remember that the bottom line is spiritual progression in every birth. One wonders, then, why is it that a baby is born with certain birth defects and dies soon after birth. It is believed that the baby does so for certain reasons.It often does so to instill a sense of love, affection, and compassion in the parents. One has seen so very often that often when this happens the parents, having become so attached to the baby who has left them, start helping other children, open organizations for them, donate for orphanages etc. This way the little child has helped in the spiritual progress of the parents!
It is believed that small children upto the age of two to three years remember their previous births. It is also said that while in the mother’s womb, the soul can still decide whether to carry on with its birth or not (their subconscious mind is quite active). If for some reason, the soul in the womb decides that perhaps the mother is not quite right, it may decide to go back to the astral world, and the baby may then be still born!
Sometimes, the soul purposely decides to be born to a mother who is not a good person or of loose character, but still decides to be born to her, the reason is that the soul wants to bring about an improvement in the mother, to take her up spiritually.
It is, therefore, quite clear that one is not born randomly but there is always a specific purpose for one being born in a particular family. Most of the time, the reborn progresses spiritually, gaining from parents and other souls being born at the same time around( I had earlier mentioned that very often people are born in clusters, ie those one has known in earlier births are born again around the same time and come in contact, without one’s knowledge). All this is based on karmas of the concerned souls.
I would also like to point out that sometimes, the reborn, does not actually follow the chosen path, due to bad company, negative influences and negative people who somehow manage to get the worst out of them. This happens when they allow themselves to be ruled by their conscious minds and do not follow the guidance of their subconscious minds.(The subconscious is both a guard as well as a guide to us) When they die, they go back to much lower realms this time and their possibility of being reborn as humans becomes remote!
At this point I need to digress a little. All of us have chakras or energy centres in our heads and spines, which are actually energy transformers. They are acted upon by the electromagnetic energy of the various stars, and based on our karmic characteristics, our life unfolds. This means that it is not the stars which decide how our lives are going to be but actually our karmas. The stars alone do not have the power to do anything! Our karmas, therefore, decide everything.
Births can be compared to a step ladder of progress, the human birth is the topmost step, the next step can take us towards divine union. This will, however, happen only if we have evolved spiritually to a level which merits this union. Human birth, is, therefore essential for this to happen. All other births cannot take us to ‘Yoga” or union. Those who get repeated chances of being born as humans are being given multiple opportunities by God Almighty to go back to their Creator by the proper methods of spiritual progress based on the teachings of their God Realized Guru!