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Re: Reincarnationist heresy: A HELP!

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  • frraphver
    Dear Luca, The Holy Fathers of the Church provide many reasons for rejecting the theory of reincarnation (metempsychosis)which was prevalent in the ancient
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 3, 2004
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      Dear Luca,
      The Holy Fathers of the Church provide many reasons for rejecting
      the theory of reincarnation (metempsychosis)which was prevalent in
      the ancient world, and is once more becoming popular. One major
      reason is that according to the Church, at death, which is the
      seperation of the soul from the body, the soul in no way loses the
      personality (hypostasis) that God created it with. Once we are
      created person A, B or C we will always remain that person. Death
      does not destroy this.
      I will quote from the book, Life After Death by Metropolitan
      Hierotheos Vlachos, who further points out, "Therefore we in the
      Orthodox Church cannot accept that the soul dies and disappears
      after being parted from ther body, nor that it is reincarnated in
      other bodies. Every body is connected with one soul, and every soul
      is connected with one body, and the two constitute the particular
      hypostasis, a definite man. When we characterise man as hypostasis-
      person we also mean, among other things, this uniqueness and
      stability of his being." (p.87)
      St. Gregory of Nyssa in On the Soul & Resurrection goes into much of
      this. He points out that the theory of reincarnation debases human
      nature, "since they accept that the same soul is sometimes the soul
      of a man, sometimes of an animal, of a reptile, a plant, and so on"
      (this quote is again from Met. Hierotheos about St. Gregory's
      teaching.)
      One other point worth mentioning that I have read in one of the Holy
      Fathers (forgive me I cannot now recall which one) is that the
      theory of reincarnation completely negates any sense of
      responsability for our sins since it denies that there is a
      Judgement to come after death. If in fact 'we' are to ceaselessly
      change after death (and the process goes on & on) then in fact
      responsability for sin is meaningless, and consequently so also is
      any sense of morality. In fact then reincarnation reflects a
      nihilist view of the cosmos.
      The experiences that are written about here, the 'memories' and so
      on would be explained as either fraudulent or examples of demonic
      possession. Fr Seraphim Rose often thought that these occurrences
      were in fact real examples of the latter- ie of demonic activity who
      after all are refined noetic beings that influence the thoughts &
      perceptions of the unwary. He shows many examples from the Lives of
      Saints in his books of similar types of possession (Kiev Patericon,
      etc).
      About the specific cases mentioned here, it is well known that
      demons being noetic beings have a refined sense of perception which
      is not bound by time or place ; they can then through suggestion
      present these perceptions before a person who then accepts them as
      their own. Several things stand out from these cases. We hear the
      phrase, how a person recalled an, "amazing number of facts &
      people", & "so many details." In fact one wonders if the number
      of 'facts' remembered is far more than the purported person from the
      past themselves would ever have recalled. In other words the event
      described of the person 'revisiting the place of their former life'
      seems to be always characterised by 'memories' with an amazing
      amount of detail; this could point to some sort of debased noetic
      activity (there don't seem to be too many 'memories' about the
      virtues, etc of the past people!). I think the veil of falsehood
      almost falls away in the account of Shanti Devi who somehow 'knows'
      her now grown-up 'son' whom she has in fact not 'seen' since he was
      a baby. This inconsistency is explained away as a 'mother's love
      never dies'; in reality one thinks perhaps the demons are simply
      pulling them by the nose.
      A few final comments. Looked at uncritically it does seem that the
      case is strengthened for these being genuine reincarnation memories,
      as after all these were innocent children whom one could not suspect
      of conscious fakery. However the demons can play with children
      especially if the aim is to lead the parents and society into
      accepting such demonic activity as being normal. Children are at
      times remarkably sensitive to things spiritual that they do not
      rationally understand. They can be like little sponges affected by
      the moral atmosphere of the household or society in which they find
      themselves. In parish life for example, one can nowadays see many
      disturbed children even when the parents are God-fearing. Perhaps
      children are influenced by society in a much deeper and more subtle
      way (ie they take in 'what is in the air') than we normally
      recognise.
      I hope this helps somewhat.
      In Christ- Fr Raphael Vereshack
      PS: I would also advise you go to http://www.monachos.net/cgi-
      bin/mb/discus.cgi to pursue this question further




      --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Luca Michellin"
      <elle_emme79@y...> wrote:
      > Dear all, I'm writing in Italian an article about reincarnationist
      heresy and the Dogma of Resurrection . In a special chapter of this
      article I want to analize by an orthodox and patristic point of view
      the demonic prelest of cases in which children seem to rimember the
      so-called past lives; in particular I'm referring to the cases of
      the occultist and new-ager Dr. Ian Stevenson and his famous book
      Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation.
      > Fr.Seraphim of Platina (of blessed memory!) spoke about the
      Dr.Stevenson's examples as clear demonic possessions. I ask to all
      clerics and members list for a help: how do you interpret these
      cases in a theological point of view? Can you cite me similar cases
      of demonic possession of children (in which it seems that a person
      lives another life...)in the lives of Saints? Thank you all
      > in Christ
      >
      > Reader Luca - Vicenza (Italy)
      >
      > P.S. These are some cases of Dr.Stevenson's "past lives" :
      >
      >
      > - http://www.childpastlives.org/swarnlata.htm
      >
      > The story of Swarnlata is characteristic of Stevenson's cases: the
      young girl's memories began when she was 3, she gave enough
      information to enable Stevenson to locate the family of the deceased
      person she remembered (the case was "solved"), and she gave more
      than 50 specific facts that were verified. But Swarnlata's case was
      also different from most because her memories did not fade. And this
      is a sweet case, characterized by love and happy memories rather
      than by violent death and struggles between castes and families,
      like in so many other cases.
      >
      > Swarnlata Mishra was born to an intellectual and prosperous family
      in Pradesh in India in 1948. When she was just three years old and
      traveling with her father past the town of Katni more than 100 miles
      from her home, she suddenly pointed and asked the driver to turn
      down a road to "my house", and suggested they could get a better cup
      of tea there than they could on the road.
      >
      > Soon after, she related more details of her life in Katni, all of
      which were written down by her father. She said her name was Biya
      Pathak, and that she had two sons. She gave details of the house: it
      was white with black doors fitted with iron bars; four rooms were
      stuccoed, but other parts were less finished; the front floor was of
      stone slabs. She located the house in Zhurkutia, a district of
      Katni; behind the house was a girl's school, in front was a railway
      line, and lime furnaces were visible from the house. She added that
      the family had a motor car (a very rare item in India in the 1950's,
      and especially before Swarnlata was born). Swarnlata said Biya died
      of a "pain in her throat", and was treated by Dr. S. C. Bhabrat in
      Jabalpur. She also remembered an incident at a wedding when she and
      a friend had difficulty finding a latrine.
      >
      > In the spring of 1959, when Swarnlata was 10 years old, news of
      the case reached Professor Sri H. N. Banerjee, an Indian researcher
      of paranormal phenomenon and colleague of Stevenson. Banerjee took
      the notes her father made and traveled to Katni to determine if
      Swarnlata's memories could be verified.
      >
      > Using nothing more than the description that Swarnlata had given,
      he found the house--despite the house having been enlarged and
      improved since 1939 when Biya died. It belonged to the Pathak's (a
      common name in India), a wealthy, prominent family, with extensive
      business interests. The lime furnaces were on land adjoining the
      property; the girls school was 100 yards behind the Pathak's
      property, but not visible from the front.
      >
      > He interviewed the family and verified everything Swarnlata had
      said. Biya Pathak had died in 1939 leaving behind a grieving
      husband, two young sons, and many younger brothers. These Pathaks
      had never heard of the Mishra family, who lived a hundred miles
      away; the Mishra's had no knowledge of the Pathak family.
      >
      > The next scene in this story sounds like a plot from Agatha
      Christie, but is all true, extracted from the Stevenson's
      tabulations in Swarnlata's published case. In the summer of 1959,
      Biya's husband, son, and eldest brother journeyed to the town of
      Chhatarpur, the town where Swarnlata now lived, to test Swarnlata's
      memory. They did not reveal their identities or purpose to others in
      the town, but enlisted nine townsmen to accompany them to the Mishar
      home, where they arrived unannounced.
      >
      > Swarnlata immediately recognized her brother and called
      him "Babu", Biya's pet name for him. Stevenson gives only the barest
      facts, but I can imagine the emotions ran high at this point.
      Imagine how Babu felt to be recognized immediately by his dead
      sister reborn.
      >
      > Ten-year-old Swarnlata went around the room looking at each man in
      turn; some she identified as men she knew from her town, some were
      strangers to her. Then she came to Sri Chintamini Pandey, Biya's
      husband. Swarnlata lowered her eyes, looked bashful--as Hindu wives
      do in the presence of their husbands--and spoke his name. Stevenson
      says nothing of Sri Pandey's reaction at finding his wife after
      twenty years
      >
      > Swarnlata also correctly identified her son from her past life,
      Murli, who was 13 years old when Biya died. But Murli schemed to
      mislead her, and "for almost twenty-four hours insisted against her
      objections that he was not Murli, but someone else." Murli had also
      brought along a friend and tried to mislead Swarnlata once again by
      insisting he was Naresh, Biya's other son, who was about the same
      age as this friend. Swarnlata insisted just as strongly that he was
      a stranger.
      >
      > Finally, Swarnlata reminded Sri Pandey that he had purloined 1200
      rupees Biya kept in a box. Sri Pandey admitted to the truth of this
      private fact that only he and his wife had known.
      >
      > Gold Fillings
      >
      > A few weeks later, Swarnlata's father took her to Katni to visit
      the home and town where Biya lived and died.
      >
      > Upon arriving she immediately noticed and remarked about the
      changes to the house. She asked about the parapet at the back of the
      house, a verandah, and the neem tree that used to grow in the
      compound; all had been removed since Biya's death. She identified
      Biya's room and the room in which she had died. She recognized one
      of Biya's brothers and correctly identified him as her second
      brother. She did the same for her third and fourth brother, the wife
      of the younger brother, the son of the second brother (calling him
      by his pet name "Baboo"), a close friend of the family's (correctly
      commenting that he was now wearing spectacles, which he in fact had
      acquired since Biya had died) and his wife (calling her by her pet
      name "Bhoujai"), Biya's sister-in-law--all with appropriate emotions
      of weeping and nervous laughter. She also correctly identified a
      former servant, an old betelnut seller, and the family cowherd
      (despite her youngest brother's attempt to test Swarnlata by
      insisting that the cowherd had died).
      >
      > Later, Swarnlata was presented to a room full of strangers and
      asked whom she recognized. She correctly picked out her husband's
      cousin, the wife of Biya's brother-in-law, and a midwife--whom she
      identified not by her current name, but by a name she had used when
      Biya was alive. Biya's son Murli, in another test, introduced
      Swarnlata to a man he called a new friend, Bhola. Swarnlata insisted
      correctly that this man was actually Biya's second son, Naresh. In
      another test, Biya's youngest brother tried to trap Swarnlata by
      saying that Biya had lost her teeth; Swarnlata did not fall for
      this, and went on to say that Biya had gold fillings in her front
      teeth--a fact that the brothers had forgotten and were forced to
      confirm by consulting with their wives, who reminded them that what
      Swarnlata said was true.
      >
      > This must have been a spectacle. Here was a ten-year-old stranger
      from far away--so far, in terms of Indian culture, that her dialect
      was distinctly different than that of the Pathaks--who acted
      confidently like an older sister of the household, was familiar with
      intimate names and family secrets, and remembered even marriage
      relationships, old servants, and friends. Just as amazing, her
      memory was frozen at the time of Biya's death; Swarnlata knew
      nothing about the Pathak family that had happened since 1939.
      >
      > In the following years, Swarnlata visited the Pathak family at
      regular intervals. Stevenson investigated the case in 1961,
      witnessing one of these visits. He observed the loving relationship
      between Swarnlata and the other members of the family. They all
      accepted her as Biya reborn.
      >
      > Swarnlata behaved appropriately reserved towards Biya's elders,
      but when alone with Biya's sons, she was relaxed and playful as a
      mother would be--behavior that would otherwise be totally
      inappropriate in India for a 10-year-old girl in the company of
      unrelated men in their mid-thirties.
      >
      > The Pathak brothers and Swarnlata observed the Hindu custom of
      Rakhi, in which brothers and sisters annually renew their devotion
      to each other by exchanging gifts. In fact the Pathak brothers were
      distressed and angry one year when Swarnlata missed the ceremony;
      they felt that because she had lived with them for 40 years and with
      the Mishras for only 10 years that they had a greater claim on her.
      As evidence of how strongly the Pathaks believed that Swarnlata was
      their Biya, they admitted that they had changed their views of
      reincarnation upon meeting Swarnlata and accepting her as Biya
      reborn (the Pathaks, because of their status and wealth, emulated
      Western ideas and had not believed in reincarnation before this
      happened). Swarnlata's father, Sri Mishra, also accepted the truth
      of Swarnlata's past identity: years later, when it came time for
      Swarnlata to marry he consulted with the Pathaks about the choice of
      a husband for her.
      >
      > How did Swarnlata feel about all of this? Was it confusing for her
      to remember so completely the life of a grown woman? Stevenson
      visited her in later years and corresponded with her for ten years
      after this case was investigated. He reports that she grew up
      normally, received an advanced degree in botany, and got married.
      She said that sometimes, when she reminisced about her happy life in
      Katni, her eyes brimmed with tears and, for a moment, she wished she
      could return to the wealth and life of Biya. But her loyalty to the
      Mishra family was undivided and, except for the regular visits to
      Katni, she went about the business of growing into a beautiful young
      woman, accepting fully her station in this life.
      >
      > In some ways Swarnlata is typical of Stevenson's cases: the
      amazing number of facts and people she remembered; the positive
      identification of the previous personality, the exchange of visits
      between the families, and the age at which she first had her
      memories. What is not typical, however, is the persistence of clear
      memories into her adulthood, the lack of a traumatic death, and the
      support and cooperation between the families (in most cases one or
      both of the families are reluctant to encourage the child or to
      bring the case to the outside world). This is a sweet case that
      illustrates what profoundly enriching human experience a past life
      memory can bring about.
      >
      > But many of the cases in Stevenson's books are stories where love
      and miraculous reunions mix with conflict, violent death, and
      hostile emotions. The cases of Ravi Shankar [Chapter 6 in Children's
      Past Lives] and Titu Singh illustrate the darker side of life that
      is often brought to the light when a child has a forceful past life
      memory.
      >
      >
      >
      > - One of his most dramatic cases is that of Ravi Shankar, who was
      born in Kanauj in Uttar Pradesh, India, in 1951. From his earliest
      years, Ravi claimed that he was really the son of a man named
      Jageshwar, a barber who lived in a nearby district. He also claimed
      that he had been murdered. His present-life father did not believe a
      word and started beating him to make him stop talking such nonsense.
      The beatings did little to suppress Ravi's memories, and he became
      more obsessed with his past-life revivifications the older he grew.
      He even developed the strange delusion that his former murderers
      were still out to get him. While the entire story was fantastic,
      Ravi had, in fact, been born with a bizarre birthmark.
      >
      >
      > - http://www.childpastlives.org/shanti_devi.htm
      >
      > Shanti Devi is one of the best cases of children's past life
      memories. It is remarkable becasue it was investigated by a
      committee of prominent men appointed by Mahatma Gandhi, who took
      Shanti Devi to the village of her past-life recollections.
      >
      > This article is reprinted with permission from the
      March/April, 1997 issue of Venture Inward Magazine, the magazine of
      the A.R.E., (the Edgar Cayce research organization). It was written
      by Dr. K.S.Rawat, who is a Stevenson-style researcher based in
      India. Dr. Rawat welcomes comments, and is a frequent contributor
      to the Forum here.
      >
      >
      > -------------------------------------------------------------------
      -------
      >
      >
      > People hear of many cases of reincarnation these days, but
      in the early 30s, information about a girl born in a little-known
      locality of Delhi, who claimed to remember a past life, was
      considered great news indeed. The girl at first was known only to
      the local people, but gradually news of her spread all over the
      country and finally all over the world. It was natural that the
      world should wonder about the authenticity of her story.
      >
      > Shanti Devi, born in 1926, was the subject of speculation
      all of her life. In 1985 questions were even raised about her
      existence in a special issue on reincarnation in a prominent weekly
      English journal of India. This dismayed me that someone would raise
      such doubts without conducting a proper study. In February 1986, I
      had gone to Delhi to meet Ian Stevenson, the leading expert in
      reincarnation research from the University of Virginia. Dr.
      Stevenson had already investigated her case, so I showed him the
      article. A few days later I met Shanti Devi and spent about an hour
      and half with her. Later, I interviewed many people connected with
      the case at Delhi, Mathura, and Jaipurand, including Shanti Devi's
      relatives in this life and from her past life as Lugdi Bai. I also
      examined the books and articles published on Shanti Devi from time
      to time, besides several reports prepared on her by eminent
      scholars. This is her story, perhaps the most famous reincarnation
      case on record.
      >
      > On January 18, 1902, Chaturbhuj, a resident of Mathura, was
      blessed with a daughter, who was named Lugdi. When Lugdi reached the
      age of 10, she was married to Kedarnath Chaube, a shopkeeper of the
      same locality. It was the second marriage for Kedarnath, as his
      earlier wife had died. Kedarnath Chaube owned a cloth shop in
      Mathura and also a branch shop at Hardwar. Lugdi was very religious
      and had been to several pilgrimage places at a very young age. While
      on one pilgrimage, she was injured in her leg for which she had to
      be treated, both at Mathura and later at Agra.
      >
      > When Lugdi became pregnant for the first time, her child was
      stillborn following a Cesarean section. For her second pregnancy,
      the worried husband took her to the government hospital at Agra,
      where a son was born, again through a Cesarean on September 25,
      1925. Nine days later, however, on October 4, Lugdi's condition
      deteriorated and she died.
      >
      > One year ten months and seven days after Lugdi's death, on
      December 11, 1926, Babu Rang Bahadur Mathur of Chirawala Mohulla, a
      small locality of Delhi, was blessed with a daughter, whom they
      named Shanti Devi. She was just like any other girl except that
      until the age of four she did not speak much. But when she started
      talking, she was a different girl--she talked about her "husband"
      and her "children."
      >
      > She said that her husband was in Mathura where he owned a
      cloth shop and they had a son. She called herself Chaubine (Chaube's
      wife). The parents considered it a child's fantasy and took no
      notice. They got worried, however, when she talked repeatedly about
      it and, over time, narrated a number of incidents connected with her
      life in Mathura with her husband. On occasions at meals, she would
      say, "In my house in Mathura, I ate different kinds of sweets."
      Sometimes when her mother was dressing her, she would tell what type
      of dresses she used to wear. She mentioned three distinctive
      features about her husband: he was fair, had a big wart on his left
      cheek, and wore reading glasses. She also mentioned that her
      husband's shop was located in front of Dwarkadhish temple.
      >
      > By this time Shanti Devi was six years old, and her parents
      were perplexed and worried by such statements. The girl even gave a
      detailed account of her death following childbirth. They consulted
      their family physician, who was amazed how a little girl narrated so
      many details of the complicated surgical procedures. The mystery,
      thus, continued to deepen. The parents started thinking that these
      memories might have been of a past life.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > As the girl grew older, she persisted in asking her parents
      to be taken to Mathura. She, however, never mentioned her husband's
      name up to the age of eight or nine. It is customary in India that
      wives do not utter the name of their husbands. Even when
      specifically asked, she would blush and say that she would recognize
      him, if taken there, but would not say his name. One day a distant
      relation, Babu Bishanchand, a teacher in Ramjas High School
      Daryaganj in Delhi, told Shanti Devi that if she told him her
      husband's name, he would take her to Mathura. Lured by this offer,
      she whispered into his ear the name Pandit Kedarnath Chaube.
      Bishanchand then told her that he would arrange for the trip to
      Mathura after due inquiries. He wrote a letter to Pandit Kedarnath
      Chaube, detailing all the statements made by Shanti Devi, and asked
      him to visit Delhi. Kedarnath replied confirming most of her
      statements and suggested that one of his relatives, Pandit Kanjimal,
      who lived in Delhi, be allowed to meet this girl.
      >
      > A meeting with Kanjimal was arranged, during which Shanti
      Devi recognized him as her husband's cousin. She gave some details
      about her house in Mathura and informed him of the location where
      she had buried some money. When asked whether she could go by
      herself from the railway station to her house in Mathura, she
      replied in the affirmative, if they would take her there.
      >
      > Kanjimal was so impressed that he went to Mathura to
      persuade Kedarnath to visit Delhi. Kedarnath came to Delhi on
      November 12, 1935, with Lugdi's son Navneet Lal and his present
      wife. They went to Rang Bahadur's house the next day. To mislead
      Shanti Devi, Kanjimal introduced Kedarnath as the latter's elder
      brother. Shanti Devi blushed and stood on one side. Someone asked
      why she was blushing in front of her husband's elder brother. Shanti
      said in a low firm voice, "No, he is not my husband's brother. He is
      my husband himself." Then she addressed her mother, "Didn't I tell
      you that he is fair and he has a wart on the left side cheek near
      his ear?"
      >
      > She then asked her mother to prepare meals for the guests.
      When the mother asked what should she prepare, she said that he was
      fond of stuffed potato parathas and pumpkin squash. Kedarnath was
      dumbfounded as these were his favorite dishes. Then Kedarnath asked
      whether she could tell them anything unusual to establish full faith
      in her. Shanti replied, "Yes, there is a well in the courtyard of
      our house, where I used to take my bath."
      >
      > Shanti was emotionally overwhelmed on seeing Navneet, the
      son in her previous life. Tears welled in her eyes when she hugged
      him. She asked her mother to bring all her toys and give them to
      Navneet. But she was too excited to wait for her mother to act and
      ran to bring them. Kedarnath asked her how she had recognized
      Navneet as her son, when she had seen him only once as an infant
      before she died. Shanti explained that her son was a part of her
      soul and the soul is able to easily recognize this fact.
      >
      >
      > After dinner, Shanti asked Kedarnath, "Why did you marry
      her?" referring to his present wife. "Had we not decided that you
      will not remarry?" Kedarnath had no reply.
      >
      > During his stay at Delhi, Kedarnath found Shanti Devi's
      behavior similar to that of Lugdi in many ways. Before retiring for
      the night, he asked to be allowed to talk with her alone and later
      said that he was fully convinced that Shanti Devi was his wife Lugdi
      Bai because there were many things she had mentioned which no one
      except Lugdi could have known.
      >
      > Shanti Devi became upset before Kedarnath's return to
      Mathura on November 15. She begged to be allowed to go to Mathura
      with him but her parents refused.
      >
      > Her story spread all over the country through the media and
      many intellectuals got interested in it. When Mahatma Gandhi heard
      about it, he called Shanti Devi, talked to her, and then requested
      her to stay in his ashram. (When I interviewed Shanti Devi in 1986,
      she still remembered the incident.)
      >
      > Gandhi appointed a committee of 15 prominent people,
      including parliamentarians, national leaders, and members from the
      media, to study the case. The committee persuaded her parents to
      allow her to accompany them to Mathura. They left by rail with
      Shanti Devi on November 24, 1935. The committee's report describes
      some of what happened:
      >
      > "As the train approached Mathura, she became flushed with
      joy and remarked that by the time they reach Mathura the doors of
      the temple of Dwarkadhish would be closed. Her exact language
      was,'Mandir ke pat band ho jayenge,' so typically used in Mathura.
      >
      > "The first incident which attracted our attention on
      reaching Mathura happened on the platform itself. The girl was in L.
      Deshbandhu's arms. He had hardly gone 15 paces when an older man,
      wearing a typical Mathura dress, whom she had never met before, came
      in front of her, mixed in the small crowd, and paused for a while.
      She was asked whether she could recognize him. His presence reacted
      so quickly on her that she at once came down from Mr. Gupta's lap
      and touched the stranger's feet with deep veneration and stood
      aside. On inquiring, she whispered in L. Deshbandhu's ear that the
      person was her 'Jeth' (older brother of her husband). All this was
      so spontaneous and natural that it left everybody stunned with
      surprise. The man was Babu Ram Chaubey, who was really the elder
      brother of Kedarnath Chaubey."
      >
      > The committee members took her in a tonga, instructing the
      driver to follow her directions. On the way she described the
      changes that had taken place since her time, which were all correct.
      She recognized some of the important landmarks which she had
      mentioned earlier without having been there.
      >
      > As they neared the house, she got down from the tonga and
      noticed an elderly person in the crowd. She immediately bowed to him
      and told others that he was her father-in-law, and truly it was so.
      When she reached the front of her house, she went in without any
      hesitation and was able to locate her bedroom. She also recognized
      many items of hers. She was tested by being asked where the "jajroo"
      (lavatory) was, and she told where it was. She was asked what was
      meant by "katora." She correctly said that it meant paratha (a type
      of fried pancake). Both words are prevalent only in the Chaubes of
      Mathura and no outsider would normally know of them.
      >
      > Shanti then asked to be taken to her other house where she
      had lived with Kedarnath for several years. She guided the driver
      there without any difficulty. One of the committee members, Pandit
      Neki Ram Sharma, asked her about the well of which she had talked in
      Delhi. She ran in one direction; but, not finding a well there, she
      was confused. Even then she said with some conviction that there was
      a well there. Kedarnath removed a stone at that spot and, sure
      enough, they found a well. As for the buried money, Shanti Devi took
      the party to the second floor and showed them a spot where they
      found a flower pot but no money. The girl, however, insisted that
      the money was there. Kedarnath later confessed that he had taken out
      the money after Lugdi's death.
      >
      > When she was taken to her parents' home, where at first she
      identified her aunt as her mother, but soon corrected her mistake,
      she went to sit in her lap. She also recognized her father. The
      mother and daughter wept openly at their meeting. It was a scene
      which moved everybody there.
      >
      > Shanti Devi was then taken to Dwarkadhish temple and to
      other places she had talked of earlier and almost all her statements
      were verified to be correct.
      >
      > The publication of the committee's report attracted
      worldwide attention. Many learned personalities, including saints,
      parapsychologists, and philosophers came to study the case, some in
      support and some as critics trying to prove it a hoax.
      >
      > I met Shanti Devi, first in February 1986 and then in
      December 1987, and interviewed her in detail about her past-life
      memories and her recollections at Mathura. I also interviewed her
      younger brother, Viresh Narain Mathur, who had accompanied her to
      Mathura on her first visit. Then I went to Mathura and asked her
      various relatives to describe when Shanti Devi first visited them at
      the age of nine. I also interrogated a close friend of Kedarnath who
      gave me some explicit information about the way Kedarnath became
      convinced that Shanti was actually his wife in her past life.
      >
      > Lugdi's brother told me that Shanti Devi, after seeing some
      women there, remembered her old friends and inquired about them.
      Similarly, Lugdi's sister informed me that Shanti Devi told a number
      of womenfolk about Lugdi having lent them some money, which they
      accepted as true. Shanti's emotional reactions on meeting relatives
      from her previous life were very significant. The manner in which
      she burst into tears on meeting the parents of her past life moved
      everyone present there. The committee mentioned in their report that
      it was a blessing that the past lives are forgotten. They felt that
      by bringing Shanti Devi to Mathura they had taken a big
      responsibility, and we had to forcibly separate her from the parents
      she had in the previous life.
      >
      > During my investigations, a friend of Kedarnath, 72-year-old
      Pandit Ramnath Chaube, told me of a very significant event, which I
      confirmed from other sources. When Kedarnath was in Delhi to meet
      Shanti Devi, he stayed at Pandit Ramnath Chaube's place for one
      night. Everyone had gone to retire, and only Kedarnath, his wife,
      his son Navneet, and Shanti were in the room; Navneet was fast
      asleep. Kedarnath asked Shanti that when she was suffering from
      arthritis and could not get up, how did she become pregnant. She
      described the whole process of intercourse with him, which left
      Kedarnath in no doubt that Shanti was his wife Lugdi in her previous
      life.
      >
      > When I mentioned this incident to Shanti Devi during my
      interview with her, she said, "Yes, that is what fully convinced
      him."
      >
      > Shanti Devi's case is also significant for the fact that it
      is one of the most thoroughly investigated cases, studied by
      hundreds of researchers, critics, scholars, saints, and eminent
      public figures from all parts of India and abroad from the mid-1930s
      on.
      >
      > One critic, Sture Lonnerstrand, when he heard of this case,
      came all the way from Sweden to expose the "fake," as he thought it
      to be, but after investigation wrote, "This is the only fully
      explained and proven case of reincarnation there has been." I don't
      agree completely with Lonnerstrand--there are many more cases just
      as amazing as this one.
      >
      > I close my story of Shanti Devi with the remarks of Dr. Ian
      Stevenson, leading authority on reincarnation, who said: "I also
      interviewed Shanti Devi, her father, and other pertinent witnesses,
      including Kedarnath, the husband claimed in her previous life. My
      research indicates that she made at least 24 statements of her
      memories that matched the verified facts."
      >
      > If not proof, it is certainly strongly suggestive of
      reincarnation.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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