Why Reincarnation?

May 23, 2010

The question I’m asked most frequently these days is, “Why did you write about reincarnation?” It’s a subject that first captured my attention back when I was in grade school. At that time, I thought it explained oh so much. (Like why I was so strange. And why my parents sometimes looked at me as if I’d recently arrived from another planet.) And of course its always nice to imagine that you might have been someone more “interesting” in previous existence.  Like Amelia Earhart or Miley Cyrus. (heh)

(The other question I’m always asked is, “Do you believe?” Here’s my answer. I like to keep an open mind. And as I said, I find the subject extremely interesting. Believing is something very, very different.)

It was only a few years back that I began thinking of reincarnation as a possible subject for a novel. That’s when I came across the book Old Souls by journalist Tom Shroder. (Highly recommended.) The book follows Dr. Ian Stevenson (note the nod to the name in my book), the western world’s foremost expert on the subject of reincarnation. Once head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia, Dr. Stevenson devoted four decades of his life to the scientific study of reincarnation. And some of the things he found . . . let’s just say they make a girl think.

Dr. Stevenson was fascinated by the stories children sometimes tell of “other lives.” (Need an example? Click here.) In our culture, these stories are often dismissed as flights of fancy. Stevenson wondered if there might be another explanation. He traveled around the world collecting the stories and studying the children who told them. Some of his most interesting case studies were brought together in the book Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation. (So named because, while he found a great deal of evidence, Stevenson never believed he’d found the “smoking gun.”) Here’s a little taste, taken from Wikipedia:

One boy in Beirut described being a 25-year-old mechanic who died after being hit by a speeding car on a beach road. Witnesses said the boy gave the name of the driver, as well as the names of his sisters, parents, and cousins, and the location of the crash. The details matched the life of a man who had died years before the child was born, and who was apparently unconnected to the child’s family. In such cases, Stevenson sought alternative explanations—that the child had discovered the information in a normal way, that the witnesses were lying to him or to themselves, or that the case boiled down to coincidence  . . . in scores of cases, no alternative explanation seemed to suffice.

I’m not sure I’d recommend Dr. Stevenson’s book unless you’re really interested in reincarnation. It is quite dry, as scientific studies should be. But . . . wow.


4 Responses to “Why Reincarnation?”

  1. Kristin Gill Says:

    Hi Kirsten
    Kristin from Penguin Australia!
    We’re looking forward to working with The Eternal Ones so will be back in touch soon to tallk to you about the book etc


  2. Krystal Says:

    Hi Kirsten,

    Just finished reading The Eternal Ones, and I loved it! Is it going to be part of a series? Please tell me it is! 🙂

  3. Anirudh Kumar Satsangi Says:

    I read a report (brainstorm) on Afterlife episode? It’s in your mind by Jonathan Leake published in The Times of India dated 31-5-2010 quoted from Sunday Times, London. The arguments/findings are very convincing. I have also a Revelation on previous birth. What you feel about this?


    In Bhagavad-Gita Lord SriKrishna says to Arjuna:
    “I taught this immortal Yoga to Vivasvan (sun-god), Vivasvan conveyed it to Manu(his son), and Manu imparted it to (his son) Iksvaku. Thus transmitted to succession from father to son, Arjuna, this Yoga remained known to the Rajarisis (royal sages). It has however long since disappeared from this earth. The same ancient Yoga has this day been imparted to you by Me, because you are My devotee and friend, and also because this is a supreme secret”.
    At this Arjuna said: You are of recent origin while the birth of Vivasvan dates back to remote antiquity. How, then, I am to believe that you taught this Yoga at the beginning of creation? Lord SriKrishna said: Arjuna, you and I have passed through many births. I remember them all, you do not remember.
    1. Radha Soami Faith was founded by His Holiness Param Purush Puran Dhani Huzur Soamiji Maharaj on the prayer of His Holiness Huzur Maharaj who later on became second Spiritual Head of Radha Soami Faith. The prime object of the Radha Soami Faith is the emancipation of all Jeevas (Souls) i.e. to take the entire force of consciousness to its original abode. There is a tradition of succession of Gurus or Spiritual Adepts in Radha Soami Faith. I am one of them as is evident from the following facts or …………………….
    “My most Revered Guru of my previous life His Holiness Maharaj Sahab, 3rd Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith had revealed this secret to me during trance like state.
    HE told me, “Tum Sarkar Sahab Ho” (You are Sarkar Sahab). Sarkar Sahab was one of the most beloved disciple of His Holiness Maharj Sahab. Sarkar Sahab later on became Fourth Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith.
    Since I don’t have any direct realization of it so I can not claim the extent of its correctness. But it seems to be correct. During my previous birth I wanted to sing the song of ‘Infinite’ (Agam Geet yeh gawan chahoon tumhri mauj nihara, mauj hoi to satguru soami karoon supanth vichara) but I could not do so then since I had to leave the mortal frame at a very early age. But through the unbounded Grace and Mercy of my most Revered Guru that desire of my past birth is being fulfilled now.”

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