“Enq: I have heard some Theosophists speak of a golden thread on which their lives were strung. What do you mean by this?
Theo: In the Hindu Sacred books it is said that that which undergoes periodical incarnation in the Sutratma, which means literally the “Thread Soul”. It is a synonym of the reincarnating Ego – Manas conjoined with Buddhi – which absorbs the Manasic recollections of all our preceding lives.
It is so called, because, like the pearls on a thread, so is the long series of human lives strung together on that one thread. In some Upanishads these recurrent rebirths are likened to the life of a mortal which oscillates periodically between sleep and waking.
Enq: This, I must say, does not seem very clear, and I will tell you why. For the man who awakes, another day commences, but that man is the same in soul and body as he was the day before; whereas at every incarnation a full change takes place not only of the external envelope, sex, and personality, but even of the mental and psychic capacities.
The simile does not seem to me quite correct. The man who arises from sleep remembers quite clearly what he has done yesterday, the day before, and even months and years ago.
But none of us has the slightest recollection of a preceding life or of any fact or event concerning it….I may forget in the morning what I have dreamt during the night, still I know that I have slept and have the certainty that I lived during sleep; but what recollection can I have of my past incarnation until the moment of death? How do you reconcile this?
Theo: Some people do recollect their past incarnations during life; but these are Buddhas and Initiates. This is what the Yogis call Samma-Sambuddha, or the knowledge of the whole series of one’s past incarnations.
Enq: But we ordinary mortals who have not reached Samma-Sambuddha, how are we to understand this simile?
Theo: By studying it and trying to understand more correctly the characteristics and the three kinds of sleep. Sleep is a general and immutable law for a man as for beast, but there are different kinds of sleep and still more different dreams and visions.”
H. P. Blavatsky