[GHHF] Christian Students attend Lecture on Hinduism-discuss and dialogue about Image Worship, Reincarnation and Conversion - Part 2

10 Feb 2012 2017 Views

Reincarnation and past life experiences of individuals

Part 1 on Image Worship can be found at this link:



(NOTE: This is somewhat expanded version of my presentation to the Christian students. The essence is the same)

 “ Thus, finding myself to exist in the world, I believe I shall, in some shape or other, always exist; and, with all the inconveniences human life is liable to, I shall not object to a new edition of mine, hoping, however, that the errata of the last may be corrected." Benjamin Franklin, the 6th US President

Reincarnation (punarjanma) is one of the pillars of Hinduism.  All the Eastern religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism make a difference between the body and atma (individual self, soul, spirit, consciousness). The soul has no death. It is present all the time. It is part of the cosmic consciousness (Paramatma).  It is never born, it never dies.  What is not born has no death. The main thesis of reincarnation is that the Self goes on moving from one body to another body, from one life to another life. Judaism, Christianity and Islam profess no such belief although few reverences can be found in the Bible. But the idea is gaining acceptance over the years as revealed by the National Opinion Research, Pew Research Forum and others surveys

Karma theory is strongly connected to the idea of reincarnation. Karma is referred to as the law of action. Karma concept is also found in the Bible – what you sow is what you reap. That means if we do good, we will be rewarded and if we do bad we will be punished.  According to Eastern religions these rewards and punishments can be experienced not only in this life but also in a number of next lives. When a person dies these impressions of his activities are imprinted in his mind. Some people remember their past while others don’t.

Giordano Bruno (who was staked to death in believing reincarnation),  Origen, Julius Caesar, Goethe, Cicero, Voltaire,  Plato, Pythagoras, Leonardo Da Vinci, Henry Ford, Benjamin Franklin, J D Salinger, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, William Wordsworth, Carl Jung, Thomas Huxley, Arthur Schopenhauer, Leo Tolstoy, Albert Schweitzer, Ralph Emerson, George Patton, George Harrison, Charles Dickens, Winston Churchill,  Erik Erikson, Herman Hesse and many more famous people believed in reincarnation.  Nearly 25 percent of US residents believe in reincarnation.

Dr. Ian Stephenson was one of the pioneers of scientific research in the subject of reincarnation. Dr. Stevenson has devoted more than fifty years of his life to scientifically documenting the past life memories of children from all over the world. He has over 3000 cases in his files. Many people, including skeptics and scholars, agree that the scientific nature of these studies and feel these cases offer the best evidence in support of the concept of reincarnation. In addition to hypnosis, he collected thousands of cases of children who spontaneously  remembered their past life.  Based on their recollection of the people, who may be either living or deceased, they associated with, Dr. Stephenson spoke with the living people and also verifies the facts and statements of the deceased to match the child’s memory. He even matched the birthmarks and birth defects to wounds and scars on the deceased based on the medical records and other evidence.  His strict methods systematically rule out all possible "normal" explanations for the child’s memories.

He published more than ten books pertaining to reincarnation. His book on “Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation” describes the past life experiences of twenty children from five different countries. The he published four volumes on  Cases of Reincarnation Types – the first volume deals with ten cases in India, second volume with ten cases from Sri Lanka, third volume with twelve cases in Lebanon and Turkey, and fourth volume with twelve cases in Thailand and Burma. His last book European Cases of the Reincarnation Type  was published in 2003 (he died in 2007). It describes the incarnation experiences of forty cases in Europe.

Example 1: Jenny Cockell brought together past life children

We can give any number of examples of people who had this unusual experience of past life, not just only among Hindus, but also among Christians, Muslims, Jews and other religions. One of the most fascinating, exciting and intriguing story is related to the past life experience of Jenny Cockell, who had written a book called “Across Time and Death: A Mother’s search for her Past Life Children.”  As the subtitle indicates, this book describes how one mother (Cockell) was able to identify and bring the children together she had in her previous life.

Jenny Cockell was born in 1953 in rural England. As a child she described herself as withdrawn and nervous, she used to remember the death of Mary in her sleep, used to wake up sobbing thinking about her past life children she left behind. Mary was the first name in her past life. She could not remember her last name. In her dreams she used to recollect her day to day life such as making bread by mixing grass seeds in water, sweeping with broom, tidying and cleaning her room and toys, walking to a church on a patchy mended road, waiting for a boat, the kind of thread she used in sewing, and other chores.  These dreams kept haunting her even after she reached the age nearly 40 years in this life.

In the present life she is married and a mother of two children. She kept remembering all these years that she had eight children in her previous life and she would remember the agony she went through for her eight children at the time of her death.  Based on her dreams she drew the maps of her Irish village she called it as Malahide. With her family support, she made numerous efforts to find that village and identify her past life children. She went to past life researchers and through hypnosis, she was able to piece together many fragments of her memories into a larger picture.

She made a trip to Malahide and found out that the lay out of the village was similar to the sketches she drew. Then she convinced herself as Mary Sutton. Local Church records reveal that there was a lady by the name Mary Sutton who had eight children, lived and died in this village.  Her past life husband died few months before her death. Consequently, all her children were all scattered in different foster homes and orphanages. Some of the children’s names were also changed because of their adoption. That made it even more difficult to locate them. Undaunted, with the help of advertisements in the Irish newspapers, letters to churches, foster homes and historical societies she was able to locate the surviving children. In 1990, the first child she met was Sonny, the eldest son who was 75 years old at the time. They agreed to allow BBC to follow them when they met the rest of her past life children – Christy 72, Frank 70, Phyllis 71, Betty  62, and Jeffrey James 66 (Died after she met him in 1992).  This story was made into a documentary and it was aired on CBS in 2000.

Example 2: Lafayette LA boy remembers his past life death as a Pilot

I give another example of reincarnation that I have followed as it unfolded. This story appeared on a number of national and regional TV stations. Beginning in 2004, the story appeared on ABC News Prime Time, Montel Williams Show, ABC's "Good Morning, America, Cleveland TV station, and other local TV stations. We can find in the book “SOUL SURVIVOR” written in 2009 by Andrea and Bruce Leininger. This reincarnation story is going to be unique and fascinating for two reasons:

One, how a small boy at the of age two started remembering his past life and how he was able to give enough information to prove his past life experience of being a World War II pilot who was killed in 1945;

Second, how the boy’s father, who was a devout Christian believing in “ONE LIFE TO LIVE,” tried to disprove reincarnation in order to solve the conflict between faith and facts, ended up swallowing the pill – belief in reincarnation.

James was only 18 months old when his father Bruce Leininger took him to the Kavanaugh Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas. Parents were surprised to see their son, James,  fascinated by by World War II aircraft and how he kept looking for some time. (By the way, they used live in Dallas before they moved to Lafayette, LA)

A few months later, the nightmares began for James. "They were terrible, terrible," mother Andrea said. "He would scream, 'airplane crash, on fire, little man can't get out!' He'd be kicking, with his hands pointing up at the ceiling."

When James was 2 1/2 years old, Andrea and James went for shopping and he wanted a toy airplane.  Mother said to him, 'Look, it has a bomb on the bottom' and he told he, 'That's not a bomb, it's a drop tank.' She “had no idea what a drop tank was."

On another occasion, she asked him, “what happened to your plane? 'Got shot,' he said. Where? 'Engine.' Where did it crash? 'Water.' When I asked him who shot the plane, he gave me a look like a teenager, rolling his eyes, 'the Japanese,' like who else could it have been?

"What little kid knows about the Japanese," she asked. "He said he knew it was a Japanese plane because of the red sun. My husband and I were shell-shocked."

Another fascinating items revealed by James was his statement that, before his birth, he selected his parents. He said he "found" them at a Hawaiian hotel that they had actually stayed at before he was born. This was also corroborated with the parents’ trip to Hawaii.

In October of 2000 James told his parents that Jack Larsen flew with him on that fateful day. James revealed another piece of information, which shocked his already-skeptical father. Bruce was browsing through a book, “The Battle For Iwo Jima,” written by Derrick Wright, which he had recently received from a history book club. While Bruce was looking the book, James jumped into his lap to watch cartoons. As he was waiting for cartoons to come on TV, James looked at the picture in the book his dad was holding. Suddenly, James pointed to a map of Iwo Jima near Chichi Jima and said, “Daddy, that is where my plane was shot down.” Bruce says he almost keeled over.

The Soul Survivor book also included the stunning drawings from James illustrating his unshakable memories, and photos that bear an unbelievable resemblance between young James and James Huston.

James parents, Andrea and Bruce, contacted Carol Bowman who had written a book on the past life memories of children entitled Children’s Past Lives as a guidebook for parents who may experience similar encounters with their children. Carol advised the parents that James was remembering his past life death as a Pilot and they should acknowledge that what James was going through was normal and real; nothing to be scared. Acknowledgement will ally the fears of James.

The Parents’ investigation revealed that boy’s name in the past life was James Huston. His plane was hit in the engine by Japanese fire on March 3, 1945, went down in flames and sank immediately. James Huston was born Oct. 22, 1923, in South Bend, Ind., and lived in Uniontown during the 1930s. His father was James McCready Huston Sr., of Brownsville, and Daryl Green Huston, who was born in New Geneva and grew up in Uniontown. James was the only son.

Example 2A: Faith VS Fact      

Andrea believes that her son is the reincarnation of Lt. James Huston. "There are so many little things. I believe in reincarnation now."

Bruce was skeptical from the beginning. This is also fascinating story of how Bruce became a believer in reincarnation. "He started researching to disprove what James was telling us, and ended up proving it all," he said. "I think he believes that James Huston's spirit has manifested itself in our son somehow.”

The James’s past life memories were challenging the religious beliefs of his father, Bruce Leininger, who is a practicing Christian.  When Carol Bowman wanted the parents to be on ABC news, Bruce said that “You have to understand, I’m a Christian.” The he continued that “But I cannot explain what‘s happening to my son. It was difficult to balance the Christian belief and the facts surrounding the past life memories. The more facts are getting accumulated, the more struggle Bruce was experiencing. Each revelation of facts was adding more and more conflict to Bruce’s Christian upbringing. Bruce was torn between the Christian belief “that we live only once, we die and then go to heaven,” and the past life memories of his own son. The strength of this case lies not just only the past life experience of James but how a devout father convinced himself to accept reincarnation as real against his own Christina belief.

It is time to remember that Evangelical Christians have denounced reincarnation as heretical and, according to one source, "maintain that any phenomena suggestive of it as deceptions of the devil." Thus, rebirth is not compatible with contemporary Christianity. Bruce even stated, "It would threaten the biblical promise of salvation." The very concept of reincarnation minimizes the concept of "Christian salvation." It also undermines the dogma of the church.

In Chapter 24 of his book, Bruce described his upbringing as a Methodist and how he attended the church regularly with his mother and sister.   He even stated that, “Church is a place that makes me feel comfortable, safe, welcome.”

Bruce elaborated his faith in the book as follows:

“But as I matured, I became connected to the Evangelical Christian movement, eventually finding myself involved with a Full Gospel Christian Businessman's Fellowship.

If James' nightmares were truly a manifestation of a past life -- a proof of reincarnation -- then, as I saw it, it would threaten the Biblical promise of Salvation. If the immortal soul can randomly transfer from person to person, generation to generation, then what does that imply for the Christian orthodoxy of Redemption? What happens on Judgment Day if the immortal soul is handed off like that? It goes against the Evangelical teaching of rebirth through a spiritually transformed personal life through Jesus Christ.”

After investigating the reincarnation experience of his son, Bruce came to the exact conclusion that he did not want to accept. Reincarnation is real irrespective of one’s faith and belief.

Example 3: Kennedy VS Lincoln

In addition to past life experiences to prove the concept of reincarnation, we also know that some people may be born at different times and do similar things without ever knowing they were leading parallel lives across time and space. It is stunning to find the similarities between the lives of John Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln, although they were born exactly 100 years apart. Kennedy may have relived the life of Lincoln. There are so many similarities and parallels in their lives, many people consider their lives as supporting the reality of reincarnation.

Now let us look at how many similarities we find in the lives of Abe Lincoln and John Kennedy:

Both of them were elected to the Congress in the year 46, elected Presidents in the year 60.  Both were shot in the head, and were shot dead on Friday.  Last names of the both contained seven letters.  Both of them lost one child each in the while house. Each was a second child in the family Birth Order. Both had droopy eyes. Both had genetic diseases. At the time of marriage, both wives were 24 year old. Both wives were fluent French speakers.  Both wives were sitting next to their husbands when they were shot.  Bothe wives held their husband’s head on their respective laps. Lincoln was shot in the theatre named Ford while Kennedy was shot in a car named Ford. Funeral services for both the presidents were done in East Room of the White House.

Both Presidents were assassinated by southerner individuals. John Wilkes Booth who killed Lincoln and Lee Harvey Oswald who killed Kennedy were born in the year 39; their names contained 13 letters; both were killed before the trials. Both the assassins visited their Uncles in New Orleans before they assassinated the Presidents.

Both Presidents were succeeded by Southerners Vice Presidents by the name Johnson – Andrew Johnson succeeded Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson succeeded Kennedy.  Both were born in the year 08 near Johnson City. Both of them died ten years after they assumed the office of President.  Both of them had two daughters each.  Their fathers worked as Janitors.

There are so many similarities and parallels in the lives of Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy; it is hard to dismiss them as mere coincidences. One can make a definite case of reincarnation. It is possible for one individual to be reborn and lead as similar life to perfect himself.

At the end, I also asked the Christian students to read three books written by Elizabeth Claire Prophet: The Lost years of Jesus (this book describes the 17 years of Jesus’ life in India, Tibet, and Ladakh), The Lost Teachings of Jesus: Missing Texts Karma and Reincarnation, and  Reincarnation: The Missing Link In Christianity. Her books are significant because the author wanted to disprove the then prevailing belief that Jesus spent 17 years of his life in Asia. After spending  years in India, collecting numerous documents, talking to many monks, and traveling to various places, she became more convinced about Jesus’ life in India and other Asian countries to write a number of books.


V. V. Prakasa Rao; 601-918-7111


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