Past life regression therapists trace your current maladies to a previous life.Critics denounce the therapy as a fraud on gullible people.
Psychic and paranormal phenomenon have long fascinated Indians. To this day, astrologers and palmists select auspicious wedding periods for families and identify opportune dates for business launches and political campaigns. Indian TV channels showcase astrologers and godmen almost as frequently as weather reporters.
Far from sidelining the appeal of the paranormal, the postmodern, digital age is expanding it. Google records 1 million searches monthly for astrologers, with India topping the list, and 246,000 searches for paranormal. The appeal of past life regression is also picking up with nearly 30,000 monthly searches, with the strongest interest in India, followed by the United States.
Past Life Regression Therapy
Past life regression practitioners claim to use hypnosis or other methods to access past life memories, which are presumably latent in a person’s subconscious mind and inaccessible in the conscious state. The most popular techniques involve subjects answering a series of questions in a hypnotized state, which are said to reveal the identity and events of their previous lives.
Past life regression therapist Dr. Trupti Jayin, a clinical psychologist and occupational therapist from the G.S. Medical College, Mumbai, says these latent memories from previous lives can negatively influence our present conscious being in various ways. They may manifest themselves in chronic physical ailments, which cannot be cured by continual conventional medical interventions, or unexplained anxiety, phobia, trauma, or negativity in family relationships. Therapists assert that by undergoing past life regression therapy, physical and mental problems can be addressed or even cured.
Among the benefits, Jayin says that past life regression therapy (PLRT) can offer: “Relief from psycho somatic conditions like headaches, migraine, asthma, allergies, and idiopathic conditions, among others; provide insight into one’s relationships and help alleviate emotional suffering … logically unexplained fears and phobias, and address many neurotic conditions like anxiety neurosis, depression, low confidence level and anger effectively.”
She says that the cause of repeated failures and financial struggles in a person’s life can sometimes be traced to past lives and addressed through past life regression therapy. The therapy can also benefit spiritual seekers investigate the purpose of life, according to Jayin, who has been working for the last three decades in the field of mental health with children, adolescents and adults.
Surekha Sengupta, another past life regression therapist, said: “Due to past life karmas we face relationship issues, financial problems, career problems, some of the health issues, etc. Fears and phobias, and certain physical and mental issues are due to repeating the patterns of our past lives.”
Sengupta claims that past life regression therapy helps eliminate physical pain, heal relationships, fears and phobias, improve career, financial circumstances, and spiritual life. “Through PLRT, you can know the real essence of your existence, and get freedom from the fear of death,” she said.
PLRT has been gaining traction since the 1950s, but it can be traced to ancient Indian texts. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, written during the 4th century BC, described prati-prasav, which literally means reverse birthing. Patanjali saw reverse birthing as a means of addressing present life problems through memories of past lives. Reincarnation is central to Hindu philosophy. The Gita propounded that the indestructible soul transmits through numerous bodies, until it merges with the God or the Param Brahma: “Just as a man discards worn out clothes and puts on new clothes, the soul discards worn out bodies and wears new ones.”
PLRT is predicated on the assumption that a person transitions through a series of lives. “We are not only this physical body. Our multiple levels of consciousness, many ego states and past lives constantly interact with each other to make our complete personality,” says Sengupta.
She adds: “Soul is not influenced by anything, but the chitta (which is made up of mind, ego and intellect), carries imprints from different lives. When soul is in bondage with these imprints which are love-based and hate-based feelings, it reincarnates again and again to make itself free from the karmic bondages, and eventually to become one with its source, i.e. God.”
PLRT sessions are intense, typically lasting three to seven hours. Therapists first attempt to get an understanding of patients and their ailments and often use hypnosis with those able to handle the physical and emotional rigor to access past memories. With others, therapists use breathing exercises, auto writing, drawing or meditation.
Sengupta says: “During the past life regression therapy sessions, often there are outburst of emotions. People cry, shout, sob, while reliving their past life or past lives. Names and places mentioned during these sessions are found on the Internet. There have been instances when people recognized the images of buildings/places from the Internet after their session which they never saw or heard of during their present ongoing life. Some people speak their past life languages — languages which they are not at all aware in this life.”
She adds: “While experiencing PLRT, it is interesting to know how people around us have travelled with us in so many lives, in different relationships. For example, your son in this life can be your brother in other life. Even one’s past life pets can reincarnate within close family; so one shouldn’t get surprised if her husband in this life turns out to be her dog in past life whom she adored.”
After the session, Sengupta works with patients to understand and analyze the connection between their past lives and their present difficulties.
Indira Srinivasan, an IT professional in Thane, Mumbai, says the therapy she received from Sengupta helped treat her asthma. She says the session helped trace the cause of her asthma to her past life in which she died by drowning. She was reliving the suffocation and breathlessness she experienced while dying in that past life. When her subconscious mind became aware of the past life suffocation experience and understood that it’s now in a new body, she says, there was no need to feel suffocated and she has never experienced the asthma attacks again.
Srinivasan says: “I have not had a single asthma attack since I underwent PLR session with her in January 2014. Moreover, through PLRT with her, my overall awareness about life and death and other dimensions have increased, leading to a greater understanding of life. This helps me to view things in holistic perspective and helps me to remain calm and stress free.”
Another Sengupta patient, Nanda Jadal, who experienced suffocation and breathlessness attacks and used to end up in intensive care units, says she has never been to ICUs after reliving her past life trauma in which she was strangled to death.
Ajay Parkar, a senior product manager at a telecom company in Ahmedabad, undertook PLRT treatment from Jayin. He says the sessions helped him understand an affliction in one of his eyes and his emotional detachment from his wife.
Scientists dismiss past life regression as unscientific and discount accounts, such as those by reincarnation researchers and past life therapists Carol Bowman and Dr Ian Stevenson, who claim to have validated more than 2,000 cases of reincarnated individuals in Southeast Asia.
However Jayin asserts: “There have been innumerable cases of such reincarnated individuals in India, starting with Shanti Devi in pre-Independence India, which even ignited the interest of Gandhiji. A young Shanti was able to recall her previous life, her husband and his family. She was also able to inform them about the treasure buried outside the house, which no one knew.”
Jayin says, “Quantum scientists are now speaking of quantum processing that is taking place in the microtubules of the brain, which during a near death experience moves out, and if the person dies, moves in search of another body.”
Nonsense, says Narendra Nayak, president, Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations: “These so called past life regression therapists prey on gullible minds, who want to find out excuses for the shortcomings in their lives, by hook or crook.”
Sengupta and Jayin acknowledge that their profession is undermined by fraudsters and charlatans, but they
argue for mainstream acceptance. Jayin said: “It is imperative that past life regression gets some medical recognition as an alternative healing modality. This can only happen if hypnosis is included by the Indian Medical Council. Then the path for alternative healing will be strengthened in India.”
Sengupta added: “It is very important to choose your therapist right. This process is like the operation of subconscious mind. An experienced past life regression therapist knows the technicalities of it. If PLRT session is not done correctly there are chances that you would get stuck in the past life memories and then you don’t live the purpose of your present life.”
Nayak is unmoved: “While tall claims are being made about ‘soul’, spirits, and of consciousness being transferred from one body to another after death, there is no evidence for all of these. One has to rely solely on the word of the therapist concerned…. It needs clear explanation as to what biological or physical entity or entities is/are transferred during this process of transmigration from one body to the other. In absence of such a logical explanation, PLRT does not have any scientific validity.”