The Akashic Records are reputed to be a sort of universal library containing every single bit of data in existence; no matter how tiny or insignificant, past present and future. This immense store of information has been glimpsed by persons claiming to have visited higher planes of existence through the agency of trances and ritual magic. Mediums such as Edgar Cayce have claimed to gain extrasensory knowledge directly from the Records.
The Records are apparently composed of an all-encompassing medium which flows through all of existence; this substance is referred to as akasha (Sanskrit), which is a part of the Panchmahabhutas. Its pervasiveness is similar to the hypothetical ‘aether’ postulated by scientists beginning in the 19th century, until the time of Einstein when it was proved that no such universal constant could exist.
People who describe the records assert that they are constantly updated automatically. The concept was popularized in the theosophical movements of the 19th century and is derived from Hindu philosophy of Samkhya. It is promulgated in the Samkhya philosophy that the Akashic records are automatically recorded in the atoms of akasha (the equivalent of “aether”), one of the Panchmahabhutas. In Buddhism it is taught one reason that people knew Gautama Buddha had attained enlightenment as a Buddha was because he was able to remember all of the details of all of his past lives by accessing them on the akashic records.
The term akashic records is frequently used in New Age discourse.
In his books Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls, Evidence of Life between Lives, Michael Newton, a hypnotherapist who has worked with subjects in deep states, has many accounts of the akashic record, or “Book of Life”. Souls prior to being incarnated go to a ‘library’ and view the pages associated with the life they are considering. The pages are not necessarily sequential. Although there may be definitive way points along the course of our lives, our free will can change paths, events and outcomes. As the soul prepares for a life with the intent of learning a particular lesson or satisfying a karmic debt, the soul will also choose a family and a body that will help them with the lessons for this incarnation. For many, some of those images survive “birth amnesia” and become our intuition serving them during their lives.
C.W. Leadbeater, who claimed to be clairvoyant, conducted research into the akashic records. He said he inspected them at the Theosophical Society headquarters in Adyar (Tamil Nadu), India during the summer of 1910 and recorded the results in his book Man: How, Whence, and Whither? The book records the history of Atlantis and other civilizations and the future society of Earth in the 28th century.
- In June 1976, Thea Alexander published a science fiction novel called 2150 AD that pictures a future society that has supercomputers capable of routinely accessing the akashic records. People can see scenes from their past lives displayed on video screens attached to the supercomputers.
- The fictional planet Pandora in the 2009 film Avatar embodies a biological neural network called Eywa which stores all the memories of life on the planet.
- In the animated series Futurama, there is an episode in which the main character, Fry, gains access to a giant brain in outer space which functions exactly like the Akashic Records.
Christians postulate their own version of such a record, in the form of the Judgement Day tale and Santa Claus’ naughty & nice list.