This is a true life story, so fantastic that most people would find it hard to believe. Dr.Brian Weiss is a psychiatrist by profession. He is a graduate from Columbia University and Yale medical school. In this book he recounts his experience with a patient, Catherine who was suffering with chronic anxiety attacks. When traditional methods of therapy failed, he tried hypnosis on her. During these sessions she recalled her past life experiences and even the time in-between her lives. Her recollections were so vivid and revealed information she could not have known at all, that he was convinced that they were definitely from the past lives.
He started researching on this phenomenon to get a better understanding of what was happening to Catherine. He studied the works of Dr.Ian Stevenson, another psychiatrist from Virginia University, who had collected over 2000 experiences of children who had memories of their past life. Some even exhibited ability to speak languages that they were not exposed to (xenoglossy). He also found references of reincarnation in the old and the new testament. The Roman emperor Constantine deleted these references because he felt that this concept would weaken the growing power of the church by giving humans too much time for salvation.
More than her recollections of her past lives, what I found amazing was her messages from time in-between lives. She heard messages from whom she termed ‘masters’ and they provide some profound philosophical insights. “Our task is to learn, to become god-like through knowledge. By knowledge we can approach god”. This sounded so much like Vedantic statement, “gnayanad eva kaivalyam – knowledge alone can lead to god-hood”
In another encounter with the masters, Dr.Brian gets to hear a message from his dead son and father. She was able to provide information about them which no one else could possibly know. She revealed the Hebrew name of his father, the heart condition due to which his new born son died and the reason why Dr.Brian chose psychiatry. She also said that his son was born and to repay his parent’s debts.
These experiences made Catherine increasing psychic. She was able to remember her past life recollections; however she was not able to remember the in-between states. What was remarkable about Catherine’s knowledge according to Dr.Brian, which defied all other explanations, was that it was not only detailed and specific but beyond her conscious capacity. Within three and a half months of her first hypnosis session her symptoms virtually disappeared. Here is another very Hinduism-like message from the masters “We have debts that must be paid. If we have not paid out these debts then we must take them to another life…”
Having been associated with teachings of Hinduism from childhood, I did not find this story hard to believe. Unless Dr.Brian is blatantly lying there seems to be no other explanation for this phenomenon. But then why would he lie? He was taking a great professional risk by writing this story. He was a respected psychiatrist and the chairman of Psychiatry at a medical center in Miami. He had lot to lose and nothing to gain by telling this story.
Dr.Brian Weiss talks about this in the preface to the book, “It took me four years to garner the courage to take the professional risk of revealing this unorthodox information. Suddenly, one night, I felt the need to put this down on paper…. I knew that no possible consequence I might face could prove to be as devastating as not sharing this knowledge… I thought of my old Hungarian grandfather who died when I was a teenager. Whenever I would tell him I am afraid to take a risk, he would lovingly encourage me by repeating his favorite English expression: Vat the hell”