Amit Kushari writes in The Sunday Statesman, Kolkata, 25th February 2018 as
We live in an age of science and technology and we are not expected to believe in
superstitious thoughts like rebirth or ‘punar janam’, which do not have any scientific
evidence. If anybody talks of ‘punar janam’, we are expected to discard such talk as
unscientific nonsense. So far no dead man has come alive to tell us the true story about death and rebirth. There are only mythological stories and religious beliefs. The Hindu scriptures, however, do speak of rebirth. The holy Gita says, “Just as we discard old clothes to wear new clothes, we discard old bodies to enter new bodies (vasansi jeernani yatha vihaya, navani grinhati naroparani).” I am not aware of Christians believing in rebirth, but Jesus Christ resurrected after being crucified. Buddhists do believe in rebirth. Muslims do not specifically believe in rebirth but the Holy Quran says, “We
can take away life from you and later give it back to you.” Is this an indication of rebirth?
On this issue, I would like to share with my readers some odd inexplicable events which
happened in my life in 1980/81. I was posted as Secretary of the Pay Commission in Jammu/ Srinagar. I bought a plot of land in the north west corner of Pathankot town, just as an investment. I used to get frequent nightmarish dreams before I bought the plot. I used to get nightmares that I was running away with my family members and little belongings loaded on backs of mules. In my dream I was a poor man, running for my life and safety of my family. There was a tremendous pain in my heart that I was leaving my land behind and I had to cross a few hurdles to be in a safe area. I could see hordes
of armed people coming from the opposite direction who attacked me and my family. There after there was all darkness and I would wake up from my nightmare in a cold sweat. These nightmares were coming very frequently. There was another dream which also came quite often. Somebody would call me from outside, “Ata, Ata” and I would rush to the window. I didn’t give these dreams much importance. When I reached Pathankot to buy land I visited the home of the three brothers who owned the land. I found
that the area looked very familiar to me. “Oh this is Sujapur,” I thought. I asked the land
owners whether this area was called Sujapur. The three brothers said, “It was never called Sujapur. When our family came from Pakistan as refugees, the Punjab government alloted this land to our father. This land belonged to a Muslim farmer who was killed during partition while trying to escape to Pakistan.” The mother of the three
brothers arrived on the scene. She had gone to a temple for prayers and had just returned. The brothers asked her, “This gentleman wants to buy our land and he is asking if this area was ever called Sujapur.” Their mother replied, “Yes, indeed it used to be called Sujapur when we arrived here in 1947. The name was changed later.” The three brothers were astonished and asked how I knew that, to which I had no reply
Thereafter I bought the land and it was mutated in my name. My mind was at rest and
the nightmares never came back to haunt me again. I started wondering whether I myself was that poor farmer who was trying to escape to Pakistan and was killed by refugees coming from Pakistan. Since I was born a few days after independence in West Bengal, my suspicions became stronger. I wanted to know what had been my name in my last birth. I called the Patwari of the area and asked him about the old pre-1947 land records. He said that he would have to get it from the ‘Mehfiz Khana’ and some
expenditure would be involved. When I promised him some money, he agreed to do my
work within a week. Later he told me that one Ata Muhammad had been the owner of this land and since he was killed the land vested in the Punjab government as enemy property and was later allotted to a Hindu refugee from Pakistan. From the name the second dream was also explained. There is also a strange coincidental resemblance between the Muslim name of Ata Muhammad and the Hindu name of Amit (having
three common alphabets A, T & M).
The past is shrouded in mystery and there is no tangible proof. Only a few nightmares and a few coincidences cannot be a convincing proof of anything. If indeed I had been Ata Muhammad in my last birth, why don’t I remember any other event, except the fearful last journey and somebody calling me repeatedly by that name to the balcony? Any sensible person can dismiss this story as humbug, but I couldn’t resist sharing it with my readers and friends.
1. Our Puranas, Samhita, Mahabharata etc. are replete with instances of rebirth. Remoteness of such incidents may give them a mythical colour, we therefore give below some recent events which we collected from time to time. We reproduce almost a similar incident which was earlier published in the pages of “TRUTH”:
A. Truth is stranger than fiction Mr. C.F.S. Hill, of Malefant St., Cardiff writes to the Editor of the People in 1936. At school I had a strong belief that certain parts of South America and Brazil were familiar to me as places where I had lived before. I frequently astonished my teacher with my graphic answers to questions relating to the geography, customs etc., of these lands. I had a recurring dream, vivid in each detail and never varying. I would dream that I was an explorer, alone and wandering in a dense tropical forest. Suddenly a band of dark skinned men would appear and shouting fiercely, gather swiftly around. I would speak to them in their own tongue, offering them gifts if they would lead me to water and safety. But for some reason they would become angry and threatening.
Then suddenly their leader would spring towards me with raised spear and strike, I
would feel an excruciating pain in my breast…. And awake. The intervals between my dreams lengthened considerably as I grew older and a year after leaving school I ceased to dream of such things. Eventually I became a steward in the Royal Mail liners running between this country and Brazil and South America. When I was actually visiting those places the sense of familiarity was uncanny. I found myself anticipating the names of obscure streets and buildings with accuracy and I felt as I made my way about Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Buenos Aires that I had surely walked there before. One voyage among the passengers we took on board at Santos was a Danish author and traveller.
The second day out after leaving Rio he met me on deck and stared curiously at me. That
afternoon he sent for me to come to his cabin. There he stared hard at me again, and then said. “Steward, you are the victim of a remarkable coincidence or something far
stranger. I sent for you because I wanted to show you something, and I wanted to be sure.” He then brought a hand from behind his back – it held a human head, no larger than a Jaffa orange. The features were clearly defined. “It is a trophy taken from the head hunters of the Amazon,” he said, “the head of one of their victims, reduced by a secret process to less than half its normal size and preserved. Do you see anything strange about it?” I shuddered and nodded. I knew that I was looking at an exact counterpart of my own face.
1. Within the past 12 months, 5 cases have been reported, of remembrance of past life. But science, in its sole pursuit of truth must heed them not and modern civilization, the protégé of Science, must continue to talk foolishly of birth as an accident, the caste system a curse and all manner of nonsense, based on an obstinate refusal to recognize the law of Karma. All this looks very well in the mouth of the sinful and deluded West. But when it disgraces the lips of Hindus who have sucked these truths with their mother’s milk, the matter becomes entirely different and eminently regrettable.
English education has effectually sown the seeds of insensate imitation in place of Hindu subtlety – ruinous infidelity, and of an abhorrence of truth and has achieved the impossible of truth and has achieved the impossible task of building up a pyramid of skepticism on the point of science. (Reprinted from TRUTH, Vol, IV)
a. ANS reports the following from Colombo on 24-6-68 (AB 25-6-68):
An American psychiatrist, who has already published a book about re-incarnation, is in
Ceylon to seek evidence supporting the theory. Professor Ian Stevenson head of the Psychiatry Department at the University of Virginia, U.S.A., is now investigating the
case of a six-year-old girl.
The little girl – whose name she does not want to disclose – says, she recalls that in her
previous life she was born in a well-to-do family and that her father was a jeweller. She
remembers her father taking her to St. Bridget’s Convent in Colombo, where she studied up to the third standard. The girl even remembers her place of death. She recollects dying in a hospital when she was in the third standard. Professor Stevenson is the author of “Twenty cases in Suggestive Re-incarnation”.
1. More overwhelming evidences of rebirth, this time collected by a white man –
therefore must be accepted as correct.
C. Proof of Rebirth
A Staff Reporter of the Statesman reports the following in its issue of 15.11.68 under the
caption ‘Parapsychologist declares Sirhan sene as normal’ :
‘Prof. H. N. Banerjee, the Director of the Department of parapsychology, Rajasthan
University, said in an interview in Calcutta on Thursday that he gathered some ‘interesting and valuable’ data and information about 24 year old alleged assassin of Senator Robert Kennedy but his lips were sealed for the present, because his findings were ‘revealing’ and might involve him in a maze of complication and embarrassment.
The 39 year old professor, who has made a significant contribution in the field of
parapsychology and has devoted 12 years in seeking a scientific explanation of the theory of rebirth, said that he had studied some 600 cases in India and abroad which had proved everything in this world was not within the physical principles of time, space and mass as scientists would claim. He said his studies have shown that mind could gain information and knowledge to which it had no direct access. ‘How this happens is a big question that we are trying to solve,’ he added. Prof. Banerjee played the tape-recorder
which was lying on the table of his room, to make me listen to the voice of Krisna Rao, a
13 year old son of a high bank official in Hyderabad, who is an interesting subject now
under his study. I heard sonorous recitation in Sanskrit and the professor explained that the boy was a student of science and had no knowledge of Sanskrit; his hobby was to make scientific gadgets. He had recited the whole of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, Prof. Banerjee had taped.‘When he sits in meditation, the boy, whose
mother tongue is Telugu and he does not speak, write or understand Sanskrit, would recite in fluent Sanskrit and every time he would render a new couplet,’ he said.
Prof. Banerjee showed me a note book which contained pages of un-deciphered scribbles. Linguists claimed that the writings were in Sanskrit which tallied with the boy’s claim that he was a poet two centuries back. The professor said that Prof. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, a renowned linguist, would listen to the boy’s recordings and examine his note book today. An American millionaire has placed $2 million at the disposal of Prof. Banerjee for carrying out his research on parapsychology in
India and the U.S.A.
D. Previous Birth
Guru Govind Singh, the tenth and the last Guru (preceptor) of the Sikhs, wrote in
his book called ‘Vichitra Natak’ that in his previous life he performed austerities and
worshipped Mahakal and Kalika at Hemkund Sahib on the Sapta-shringa
mountain. The Gurudwara has been constructed by the pious Sikhs in
commemoration of this.
1. Guru Govind Singh the last of the 10 Sikh Gurus has written in his book ‘Vichitra Natak’ that in his previous life, he worshipped Mahakal and Kalika and performed austerities there. This statement by the great Sikh Saint proves that Mahakal and Kalika worship with austerities was greatly helpful to the making of Guru Govind Singh a great man and a great religious leader. This is a tribute to the sanctity of the worship of Mahakal and Kalika, the sanctity of the spot where he became a Sikh, a tribute by a great Sikh not a bigoted Hindu; and lastly to which is not accepted by the faithless.
E. Soldier Castor the Talker in Burmese – George Castor related some of his past
experiences in the Sunday Express, London (1935). He was a soldier born in 1889. From
his boyhood he was a talker in sleep and in his sleep talked pure Burmese. In 1907 he joined he army. In 1909 when he was 20, he was transferred to Maymyo (Burma) and there he felt that he had seen the land, lived in it, spoken the Burmese tongue, knew the Irrawady and he told Lance Corporal Carrigan that on the other side of the Irrawady there was a large temple with a huge crack in the wall from top to bottom and nearby a large bell – a statement hat was found true to the letter.
1. Alone in the world Hindu dharma knows the cycles of births and rebirths– a
corollary of Karmafal or the Principle of Indestructibility of Action. The religions of the
world recognize indestructibility of action, but as unreason would have it, only after death and not before birth. If imperishability of Karma is necessary in awarding rewards and punishments after death, is it not ten times more necessary to explain the inequality of birth?Let the religions of the world answer.
2. From a cause that is not patent, a living being becomes patent and then latent. In other words a living being is born from Karma which he can not see and becoming patent in this life, again becomes latent in death, under the influence of its own Karma. Impelled by Karma which is the most powerful of all, a being is born of parents in a family where it can experience its own Karma.
3. But the foolish sinners in their anxiety to smooth the path of sin must deny Karma which must be endured for the purpose of expiation. They must therefore deny the unending cycle of births and rebirths. But birth and rebirth stare man in the face almost at every turn. Instances are there almost innumerable which prove the existence of previous birth beyond all reasonable dispute. The attempt to explain them by saying “I do not know” is hardened obstinacy. Or, to call them cases of madness is madness per excellence. Only a single case out of hundreds is given below :
4. Let us take the case of the famous King Bharata, who tells the King of the Rahus :-
Oh! The king of Rahus, I am that king Bharat whose fame is blazoned throughout the world, who was absolutely free from worldly desires and though fondly devoted to the supreme and Inscrutable Being, fell off from his devotion by contact with a deer and became a deer himself. Through the ineffable effect of worshipping Srikrishna, the memory of that life clings to me even in my deer life and of course clings to me now in this Brahmin body, through an overmastering fear of contact, I go about in this world as a hateful idiot.”
5. Bhagwan Sri Krishna says in the Gita:
O Arjuna! both of us were born many a times in the past, which I remember, but Parantapa! (performer of great penance) ye do not((Gita 4/5)).
One who knows my divine birth and deeds (which are not like mortals acting under the
influence of Maya– the law of contradiction and past Karma) and realizes the mystery of my incarnation, is not required to be born again, and he attains Me. This differentiates between a Jeeva (creature’s rebirth) and Gods incarnation i.e. descendence on earth to protect the saints (pious) and destroy the devil.
6. Religions based on Hindu dharma e.g. Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Arya Samaj,
Radha Swami etc. to name only a few, also accept and believe in the transmigration of soul. The sacred book “Buddha Jatak” contains valuable teachings and detailed information on Gautam Buddha’s previous life stories.
7. Foolish sinners in their anxiety to smooth the path of sin must deny Karmaphal the
imperishable action which must be endured for the purpose of expiation. But the unending cycle of births and rebirths, which they deny, stares man in the face at every turn. Preceding Giri Govardhan puja as an alternative to Indra Puja, The God child Sri Krishna tells Gopas, and other superiors in Gokul that A being is born out of (karma- past
deeds) and perishes under the influence of (Karma) itself. Happiness, sorrow, fear
and wellbeing, all spring from (Karma) alone. Thus reincarnation or rebirth is governed
by the basic principle of Karma only.
8. Rebirth and the law of Karma are integral to Sanatan Dharma. Belief in another world without a belief in the law of Karma is like a belief in Science, without a belief in its principles. Cycle of birth must mean responsibility for one’s karma and consequent punishment. Every sinful heart must be frightened out of wits and must willfully shut his eyes to truth. But do what he may a sinner cannot escape punishment though he may sin on, forgetful of punishment and rebirth.