It is claimed that Past Life Regression is based on the theory of Reincarnation.
There is not yet any consensus or universal acceptance of the theory of
reincarnation, and capitalization of past life regression on yet to be accepted theory
makes it more susceptible to skeptical views. The practitioners of past life regression
have gathered evidence from several diverse perspective and attempt to present
some of the evidences in a logical and rationale perspective in order to both adding
to the substantial evidence in favor of reincarnation and to establish that this
approach is legitimately embedded in the theory of reincarnation. I will be
presenting a range of evidence in favor of its embedding in reincarnation and then
present what skeptics have to say about the whole field.
Studies of Prof. Ian Stevenson:
The past life therapists freely quote the research
findings generated by Prof. Stevenson on the children of reincarnation type to
objectively and scientifically present the evidence in favor of reincarnation. The late
professor had extensively researched and meticulously analyzed the data for
producing convincing evidence which a rationale mind can accept after
scrutinizing them critically. He did not claim the existence of reincarnation but
presented evidence suggestive of reincarnation. He used a scientific approach and
scientific language in the best interest of the field of enquiry.
Studies of Dr. Helen Wambach:
Dr. Helen Wambach was a psychologist and
became interested in the study of past life regression after she had a personal
experience of past life regression in response to a déjà vu. She happened to visit her
own home of previous life and the whole events of her previous life got activated.
She designed an innovative method to establish that past life regression correspond
to previous existence. She collected data on a very large sample through group
regression by assigning them a time period in the history commencing from 2000
B.C. to 1945. She followed a standardized procedure for group regressions and
questionnaires to collect the relevant data. She presented all these details in her book
“Reliving Past Lives: The Evidence Under Hypnosis (1979)”. Some of the striking
results of her study were as follows:
- 78% of her subjects were females but in their past life reports a gender
distribution of 50.3% males and 49.7% females was obtained.
- A consistent ratio of rich to poor was obtained across all time periods.
iii. The subjects in her study were middle class Caucasians; but most of them
remembered having lived at least for one life in Asia and Africa.
- The food habits matched with the era reported in the past life.
Since the patterns emerged in past life recall matched with the historical facts,
it is argued that the past life reports of her subjects are not the product of fantasy
or imagination but the lives most likely they had lived on this earth reflecting the
potential power of past life regression procedures in accessing true past lives.
Speaking a foreign language during past life regression to which
one has never been exposed in the current life is considered as a strong evidence in
favor of past life regression as a valid procedure for accessing former lives. A person
cannot speak or understand a language to which he/she is not exposed. Xenoglossy
may occur in past life regression albeit rarely. Even a rare occurrence is considered
significant because of its weight in substantiating the concept of reincarnation..
Past Life Regression of Blind Persons: Past life regression of blind persons
especially those who have been blind since birth is cited as evidence in favor of
reincarnation hypothesis. If a blind person can see and provide extensive details
such as shape, size, colors of the objects to which he has never been exposed to in
the current life could possibly be retrieving from former lives.
Matching of Soul Mate Reports:
Two or more soul mates regressed independently to the same time period can come up with the similar sequence of
events. The matching of such reports of two or more persons is considered as
evidence in favor of the power of past life regression procedures in accessing true
Cross Check of Past Life Reports:
There are other methods to get an access to
previous lives such as through mediums. There are subjects who were first
regressed to their previous lives and they then came into contact with some
mediums with abilities to read other’s past lives; such mediums also produced the
same details as emerged in the regression sessions without knowledge of the
regression experience of the subject. This independent matching is considered as
evidence in favor of past life regression as the valid procedure for accessing
Validation of Past Life Reports:
There are many individual reports in which the
details of the life as emerged in past life regressions were put to cross validations by
verifying if the details corresponded to actual presence of the previous personalities,
places and events. Such reports claim to have objectively verified the past life
regression details. Since there have been validations of the previous life reports, it is
cited as an evidence both in favor or reincarnation and the past life regression
procedures as a valid procedure to access previous lives.
It is argued that a fantasy or an imagination of previous
life cannot ameliorate an illness. But a regression to previous life and healing of its
wounds can be expected to result in therapeutic outcomes. There are hundreds of
reports indicating therapeutic potentials of past life regression. These reports of
therapeutic outcome are cited in favor of past life regression as a valid procedure
for accessing previous lives.
Medium Mediated Study of Past Life:
Dr. Walter Semkiw adopted a unique
approach to the study of reincarnation. His books ‘Born Again’ and ‘Return of the
Revolutionaries’ present his work in greater details. Born Again is published in India
and incorporates Indian Political Legends and Film Stars. Dr. Semkiw identifies
famous personalities and then would intuitively make a past life match and get it
confirmed through a medium that channels a spirit and has demonstrated his ability
to make accurate past life matches. Dr. Semkiw then collects biographical
information, details of behavioral tendencies, habits and interests of the current life
personality and the identified corresponding personality of the past. He then makes
systematic comparisons of the past and the present personality. For example, he has
compared the personalities of Hon’ble APJ Kalam and Tipu Sultan. He draws
similarities in facial architecture, development of missiles, inclination towards
spirituality and the like. Dr. Semkiw’s observations favor the theory of
The skeptics and rationalists would reject, disagree and argue
against reincarnation, past life regression, spirit releasement therapy and even
hypnosis. The views may be expressed as follows. More criticisms can be viewed on
the websites of skeptics.
The Career Psychoplasm: Empirical and scientifically acceptable evidence have
not yet been generated to establish the concept of psychoplasm. It is possible that
instead of psychoplasm; some kind of unconscious defense mechanism such as
dissociation, symbolism operates in the process. Hence, the idea of the existence of
psychoplasm as objective reality is untenable.
Mechanism of Reincarnation:
A birth is a product of sperm and ovum forming
a zygote and then maturing because of the process of cell divisions. The body of a
human being formed in this way perishes at the time of death; and the matter ends.
How memories, behaviors and experiences are transmitted from perished body to
another body has not yet been demonstrated empirically. The matching of verbal
statements of the children of reincarnation type and even birth marks may simply
be the product of imagination, chance and co-incidence. There is nothing like
Past Life Regression:
Since there is no psychoplasm and no rebirths then what
does one access in past life regression! The true answer is one’s own subconscious
or unconscious processes which are known for the mechanisms of symbolism,
substitution, condensation, suggestibility and the like akin to dream mechanisms.
The reports which claim to have been verified are due to simply a chance factor or
coincidences. The past life memories are false, product of imagination and
intentional or unintentional suggestions of a hypnotist. Even Prof. Ian Stevenson did
not accept past life regression as a valid method for accessing one’s previous lives. I
am quoting an experiment which refutes the procedure of past life regression.
Psychologist Robert Baker demonstrated that belief in reincarnation is the
greatest predictor of whether a subject would have a past-life memory while under
past life regression hypnotherapy. Furthermore, Baker demonstrated that the
subject’s expectations significantly affect the past-life regressive session. He divided
a group of 60 students into three groups. He told the first group that they were
about to experience an exciting new therapy that could help them uncover their
past lives. Eighty-five per cent in this group were successful in “remembering” a past
life. He told the second group that they were to learn about a therapy which may or
may not work to engender past-life memories. In this group, the success rate was
60%. He told the third group that the therapy was crazy and that normal people
generally do not experience a past life. Only 10% of this group had a past-life
“memory.” (http://www.skepdic.com/pastlife.html Retrieved on 4th October 2011)
It took several years for Dr. Brian Weiss to accept the idea of reincarnation
despite his pervasive involvement in the procedures of past life regression. There
appears to have been evidence in both the sides. Our ancient Hindu scripture
provide extensive references to the idea of reincarnation and Law of Karma. The
readers may formulate their own opinion and either reject the whole idea or keep
it under observation until more evidences are generated.