Past Lives: Visiting the old home

Young children chat about their past lives in casual ways that are easy to dismiss as fantasy. In the twentieth-century Western world, if a child of four mentioned his old job, or his wife and children, it would usually be ignored as childish prattle.

But Professor Stevenson found that parents in India took this kind of chatter more seriously. As a result, he was able to verify several cases that began with a child talking about their ‘other’ family.

Those children were quite clear that they were talking about real people who lived elsewhere. They often had a good idea exactly where that was. They could help to direct the search and would recognize their old home when they got there.

Sometimes they pointed out real changes that had taken place since they were last there. For example, when little Swarnlata saw her old house again, she asked what had happened to the veranda and the neem tree. The amazed family said that both had been removed some years ago.

One of the old men in the house was Swarnlata’s husband from her previous life. She immediately recognized him. To prove it really was her, she reminded him of the box of 1200 rupees that she’d once given him. Astonished, he said that only the two of them had ever known about that.

In another case, it was the cushions that did it for young Mallika. As soon as she saw them, she declared, ‘I made those!’ They had been made by a woman called Devi – who had died 10 years earlier.

Professor Stevenson’s research confirmed that children can provide real and verifiable information about their past lives. This not only tells us a lot about childhood – it also validates reincarnation itself.

Children may also remember how they died. Sometimes this gives them a phobia about it. For example, Parmod had died in a bathtub and now hated being in water. Children’s games can be their instinctive way of healing that kind of phobia.