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My Indian friend and colleague Dr. K.S. Rawat has in a more general context given me permission to quote from an unpublished manuscript of his about similarities between Pre-Birth Memories and Near Death Experiences.
K.S. Rawat writes about this case: "Shanti Devi was born in a middle class family of Delhi on 11th December 1926. She was just like any other ordinary girl, expect that till the age of four she did not speak much. But, since four, when she started speaking, she ceased to be an ordinary girl. She changed and changed forever. She started talking about her 'husband' and 'children'. She would repeatedly describe her home and her husband's shop at Mathura. She said was a Chouban of Mathura and her name was Lugdi Devi. She would talk of the food and dress in the former life.
For five years her parents tried to distract her mind but they could not. At last a sympathetic grand uncle came to her aid. He asked her to give him the name and address of her husband at Mathura."
Thus it was possible to verify most of her statements.
The case is among the strongest evidence for reincarnation. It was studied by many scholars and skeptics, most of which seem convinced that there is no normal explanation of her memories.
Apart from her vivid memories of her previous lives, Shanti also possessed some prebirth memories. These are the main details.
"Mr. Nahata interrogated Shanti Devi on 22nd February 1936. The relevant portions (translated from Hindi) are as follows:
Q. Tell us, what did you experience at the time of death?
A. Smoke. Three men wearing yellow clothes. I went with them till the third plane. To the fourth plane, I went alone.
Q. What did you see there?
A. There were saints at all three places.
Q. What did you see at the fourth place?
A. Krishnaji was sitting on a throne.
Q. What else was there?
A. In front, there was a saint.
Q. Did he have any beard or long plaits of hair?
A. He had a white beard. There were many saints.
Q. What else was there?
A. Krisnaji had a paper in his hand and was reading from it.
Q. What was he reading?
A. I don't know about other things, but I know he read out House number 565.
(The number of the house which Shanti Devi is residing these days is 565)
Q. What happened then?
A. I returned to a black cell.
Q. Were those three persons with you while returning?
Q. What was there on your way?
A. Staircases of gold and silver.
Q. Did you remain hungry in the dark cell?
A. No, I didn't feel hunger or thirst."
There was a hypnotic test, conducted on April 13th 1936 by Mr. Jagadish Mitra which confirmed some of the items maintained above.
"Mr. Sushil Bose interrogated Shanti Devi on 25th and 26th July 1936. His monograph, entitled "A case of reincarnation", was published in 1952 in English. Mr. Sushil Bose does not mention the language in which the interview was originally taken"
"The relevant portions from his monograph are as follows:
Q. Do you remember how you felt at the time of death?
A. Yes, just before death I felt a profound darkness and after death I saw a dazzling light. Then and there I knew I had come out of my body in a vaporous form and that I was moving upwards....
I saw that four men in saffron robes had come to me... all the four seemed to be in their teens and their appearance and dress were very bright. They put me in a cup and carried me... It was about nine or ten inches broad and rectangular in shape.
Q. What did you see as they carried you up?
A. After going up for sometime I saw a very beautiful garden, the like of which I have never seen in this world. It is beyond description. And I saw a river also.
Q. Did you not ask them anything about the river?
A. When asked they said that those who aspired for higher life sincerely, but who had committed fleshly wrong in this life, were dipped in the river before moving any higher... Arriving on the fourth plane I saw that there are still more saints, brighter in appearance than those on the third plane. And in the midst of them, seated on a huge dazzling throne was Lord Krishna. He was showing each person a record of his activities on earth, good or bad, and accordingly what would be his condition in the future.
Q. What happened then?
A. Then those persons who carried me, took me to a place like a staircase where it was very bright. I was seated there.
Q. Is there anything like darkness or light there?
A. No, nothing like light or darkness. It was all full of light. It was very soothing. Something like the light of a full moon. It was all day and night; very mild, and soothing and enlivening light.
Q. Did you have a sense of time? Can you say how long you stayed there?
A. No, I can't say how long I remained there. I had no feeling of time.
Q. Did you feel there was a higher plane above the one where you were?
A. Yes, I observed and felt that there was a higher plane but I can't say anything about it...
On the fourth plane, near the throne of Krishna, I saw someone with a long beard.
Q. What happened finally?
A. After remaining on the staircase for a long time, I was taken to dark room, from all sides of which a very bad smell was coming out. I was made to lie down in a clean place there.
Q. Did you feel any pain at the time of death?
A. I did not feel any pain, I simply passed into a state of unconsciousness, and at that very moment I saw a very brilliant light."
Dr. K.S. Rawat, along with Dr. Ian Stevenson and Dr. Satwant Pasricha, interrogated Shanti Devi at her residence in Delhi on 3rd February, 1986. The interview was in English. The relevant portions are as follows:
" Shanti Devi: .... Before my death, I saw a dazzling light... very dazzling. Four persons, very handsome boys, with large yellow garments. They came with a square shaped vessel and a sort of roomal (handkerchief) or whatever you call it. All of a sudden light came out from the body that I was. Then they put this light into the vessel and took me up, up, and up... I saw a very extraordinary and very good light, dazzling. First plane, second plane and third plane. I saw Lord Krishna sitting on a golden seat -Singhasan. At his feet people (were) calling names. Then he called my name also and told me, "This is your last Birth".... Then again these four persons came and put me in the vessel. Then they descended me a very bright staircase and then I came in a cell, a dark cell."
Later, on 30th October, 1987, when Dr. Rawat again interviewed Shanti Devi (this time, alone), she mentioned something about a river and the appearances of the souls present on the fourth plane, in addition to the various details she had given previously. This interview was recorded on video cassette:
"Sh. Devi. They took me up. There was a river. It was quite clean and pure like milk.
(About the appearance of the soul she said:)
"They were like flames in lamps"."
(This case was contributed by
Titus Rivas, a Dutch researcher, who would like to hear from others with similar experiences. To contact Titus, please click
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