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A Real Case History Of Reincarnation
The case history of Sukla, a little girl from West Bengal is one of the 3000 in the files of Dr Ian Stevenson. When Sukla Gupta was a year and a half old and barely able to talk, she used to cradle a pillow and address it as "Minu". Minu, she said, was her daughter. Sukla, over the next three years, recollected her previous life events, which show that Minu actually was her daughter in a previous life.Sukla was the daughter of a railway worker in Kampa, a village in West Bengal. Sukla often talked not only about her daughter, Minu, but also about her husband, "the father of Minu" (a good Hindu wife avoids speaking of her husband by name). She also talked about his younger brothers Khetu and Karuna. They all lived, she said, at Rathtala in Bhatpara.
Sukla's family, the Guptas, knew Bhatpara slightly - it was a city about 11 miles south, but they had never heard of a place called Rathtala, nor of the people Sukla had named. Yet Sukla developed a desire to go there, and she insisted that if her Parents didn't take her she would go alone.
Sri K. N. Sen Gupta, Sukla's father, talked about the matter with some friends. He also mentioned it to one of his railway co-workers, Sri. S. C. Pal, an assistant station master. Sri. Pal lived near Bhatpara and had two cousins there. Through these cousins he learned that Bhatpara indeed had a district called Rathtala. He also learned of a man there named Khetu. Khetu had had a sister-in-law named Mana who had died several years before, in 1948, leaving behind an intant daughter named Minu. Sri Sen Gupta decided to investigate further. With the consent of that family, he arranged for a visit to Rathtala. Sukla said that she could show the way to the house.So, in 1959, when Sukla was a little more than five, Sri Sen Gupta and five other members of his family journeyed with her to Bhatpara. When they arrived, Sukla took the lead. Avoiding various possible wrong turns, she brought them straight to the house of Sri Amritalal Chakravarty, allegedly her father-in-law in her past life.
As the party approached, Sri Chakravarty happened to be out on the street. When Sukla saw him, she looked down shyly, following the usual custom for a young woman in the presence of an older male relative. But when Sukla went to enter the house she was confused. She didn't seem to know the right entrance. Her confusion however made sense; after the death of Mana (Sukla's name in previous life) the entrance had been moved from the main street to an alley on the side. And the party soon found that Sukla recognized not only the house, but also the people in it, including those she said were her mother-in-law, her brothers-in-law, her husband, and her daughter. Inside Amritalal Chakravarty's house, Sukla found herself in a room with some 20 or 30 people. When she was asked, "Can you point out your husband?", she correctly indicated Sri Haridhana Chakravarty. Further when Sukla went to Mana's room, she showed the cot she used previously as Mana. And tears came to Sukla's eyes, when she saw her old sewing machine, the one that Mana had previously used.
Sukla and Haridhana Chakravarty were to meet again several times, and Sukla always longed for these meetings. When he was to visit her house, Sukla told her family to make him a meal with prawns and buli. She said that this was his favorite food. Her family did what she said and later found that she had chosen correctly. Sukla behaved toward Haridhana Chakravarty like a perfect Hindu wife. After he ate his meal, she would eat whatever food was left on his plate, as a devoted Hindu wife would do. But she never ate food from the Plate of anyone else.
Suspicion 1 - Imagination
Spontaneous speech of small children of around 6 could be due to their overactive imagination, as they often like to Pretend to be" someone else. Young children can be easily influenced to believe anything, and it is well known that children are highly impressionable as well.
The "cases of the reincarnation type" studied by Stevenson were not isolated incidents but were varied cases studied in depth by Stevenson over a period of 30 years from the 1960s into the 1990s. He and his colleagues found that in about half of over 3,000 cases in his files, the "other people" that these children "pretended to be" were often historically specific people who had died before the children were born.Moreover in certain cases, the children who remembered their past lives profoundly were just beginning to learn their native tongue in this life. Still they were able to speak fluently the language of their past life, a language with which they had no contact whatsoever in this life.
Suspicion 2: Cryptomnesia (hidden memory)
Psychologists know that our minds record more than we consciously remember. Under hypnosis, an old man may vividly describe his fifth birthday party, an event for which his normal consciousness has lost all the details. So the hypothesis of cryptomnesia supposes that what appears to be memories of a past life are merely memories of something one had heard or read earlier in this life but has now consciously forgotten. This may in fact be the best explanation for many of the "past-life regressions" now becoming popular in journeys through hypnosis.
Sukla is a girl less than five years old. And her recollections of a past life took place not under hypnosis but as part of her usual waking consciousness. Moreover, Sukla did not just recall information - she actually recognized people, people who in this life were complete strangers. She recognized Mana's mother-in-law from a group of 30 people. She pointed out Mana's brother-in-law Kshetranath, and she knew his nickname, "Khetu". She also recognized another brother-in-law, whose nickname was "Kuti". But she identified him correctly by his given name, Karuna, which even his neighbors did not know. She also said that her first child, a son, had died while still an infant. This was true for the life of Mana. And Sukla tearfully recognized Mana's daughter, Minu, and showered her with affection. What more is required?
Suspicion 3: ESP (Extra Sensory Perception):
Research has clearly shown that there is such a thing as ESP. In rigidly controlled experiments, the late Dr J B Rhine and other parapsychologists have shown persuasive evidence for telepathy (the ability to read another person's thoughts) and clairvoyance (the ability to perceive objects and events without using your senses). And experiments have shown that both telepathy and clairvoyance can work over long distances.
"If ESP is to be applied to Sukla's case, then this five-year-old girl should not only have incredible psychic powers, but she Would also have to use them to zero in one on a specific amily in an unfamiliar city and learn intimate details of their lives. She would also have to be selective about what her psychic radar picked out, so that she would "remember", for example, the location of her father-in-law's house but be unaware that the entrance had changed, since that took place after Mana's death. And then, for purposes yet unknown, Sukla would have to mold what she learned into a drama in which she immersed herself in the role of the departed Mana.
Most dramatic in Sukla's case were her strong maternal emotions towards Minu. From babyhood Sukla had played at cradling Minu in her arms, and after she learned to talk she spoke of her longing to be with Minu. Sukla's meeting with Minu had all the appearances of a tearful reunion between mother and daughter. Once Mana's cousin tested Sukla by falsely telling her that Minu, away in Rathtala, was ill with a high fever. Sukla began to cry frantically and it took a long time for her family to reassure her that Minu was actually well. Dr Stevenson remarks, "Although Minu was twelve and Sukla was only five, within this limitation, Sukla exactly acted the role of a mother towards a beloved daughter." Thus after taking many other possibilities into account, Dr Stevenson submits that this case can be understood only by taking reincarnation into consideration.