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Saturday, November 17, 2012



Having read lot of books and articles on Reincarnation during my diploma in international theosophy and almost impelled to study further about it after seeing the movie Reincarnation I gave it up as rather a subject not worth bothering too much about. However, I was drawn into it recently when I was reading the third volume of Neale Donald Walsch's wonderful books Conversations with God. I thought beyond all the stray cases, mythical stories, spiritual visions, religious justifications etc are there really any scientific research and documented evidence for Reincarnation and voilà I came across this interesting scientific study.

Regarding the discussions on rebirth etc and demands for scientific proof, I give below two references about the research work conducted by Dr.Satwant Pasricha. (there are many more on the net).

She is a researcher working in NIMHANS, Bangalore. (This is a national -central Govt. Institution - National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro sciences). She has studied hundreds of cases of rebirth and recorded her evidence in a scientifically acceptable way. She is a real person and not a internet hoax! I have met her, talked to her and have attended her slide presentation and seen the audio and video recordings of her research. No religious connection here. Only science! Even Muslims and Christians are recorded to have taken rebirth!

Note: If there are questions on this please try to find the answers by searching the internet with proper keywords or contacting the researcher directly. Her address and phone is also available in the following references.. Do not ask me. I am not a rep of Dr Pasricha!

THE SCIENTIFIC TEMPER .....................
An international guru of reincarnation research is Dr Ian Stevenson, former head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia, USA, where he is now Director of the Division of Personality Studies. He has collected over 3,000 cases, most of them children, in the past 40 years. His studies reveal convincing scientific evidence, "if not proof", of reincarnation.

In each case, Dr Stevenson methodically documents the child's statements. Then he identifies the deceased person the child remembers being, and verifies the facts of the deceased person's life that match the child's memory. He even matches birthmarks and birth defects to wounds and scars on the deceased, verified by medical records.

His assistant in India, Dr Satwant Pasricha, additional professor at the Department of Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, follows the same methodology. Over two decades, she has researched over 500 cases. In her book, Claims of Reincarnation: An Empirical Study of Cases in India, she writes: "In each case I recorded the testimony of as many witnesses as were available. Also, I conducted a second interview (or more). We did not give prior notice of our arrival also."
I would like to share some of the observations of Prof. Pasricha on reincarnation as understood by me.
  1. She estimated the distance between the birth place of current personality and residence/death of remembered previous personality. The range of this distance was noted to be 0.2 km to 565.5 km with a median distance of 10 km giving an impression of possible re-birth of such cases in nearby geographical regions.
  2. At what age a child begins to speak of his/her previous personality? Her analysis revealed a range of 2-4 years. It means very young children begin to speak of their previous life. It may be possible that they remember the events of their previous lives prior to verbally or behaviourally expressing them and break the ice as soon as they develop the speech mechanism to the extent required for making the statements.
  3. The empirical observations of Prof. Pasricha revealed that at the median age of 79 months, such cases stopped spontaneously speaking of their previous lives. They however, would reveal when specifically asked to do so.
  4. An interesting observation was the presence of unusual features in such cases which were readily comprehensible in the context of previous life personalities. For example, phobias and unusual religious inclinations. A child having hydrophobia revealed that his previous personality had drowned in a canal and died.
  5. What triggers memories of previous life in these children? The answer was nothing specific. About 75% children began to reveal their  previous personality spontaneously but exposure to the events and persons related to the previous personality stimulated recall of further details.
  6. Whether mode of death in previous life has any bearing on the remembrance of such cases. She observed that the mode of death of previous personality in 52% cases was natural and in 48% cases it was violent or unnatural which exceeded the proportion of violent death in general population (6.7%). The deaths by accident, suicide, murder were grouped into the category of violent or unnatural deaths.
  7. What is the rest period between the end of previous personality and re-birth? This question was addressed by her in the analysis of intermission between death of related previous personality and presumed re-birth. A median interval of 14.5 months was observed with a range of 1 day to 224 months.
  8. Birth marks are assigned a special significance within the researches on the cases of reincarnation type. Some of the cases present one or the other marks on the body at the time of birth which may be noticed by the family immediately or within a few days of the birth. Such cases of birth marks may give a reasonable account of the circumstances of death of a previous personality which resulted in these birth marks. About 42% of her subjects had birth marks.
  9. In some cases, she observed announcing dreams. An “announcing dream” is a dream which is supposed to reveal the identity of the deceased person being reborn. Usually, a few expectant mothers may have such dreams and in exceptional cases, such dreams may occur to other family members too.
  10. In a few cases it was seen that the previous personality took rebirth in one’s own family.

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