In this article, we present some fascinating cases of people being reborn into a different religion which were investigated by Dr Antonia Mills, currently Professor at the University of Northern British Columbia. When evidence of this kind surfaces, it can spur introspection into the validity of varying religious practices that people fastidiously observe because we are abruptly confronted with the fact that behind those holy foods and holy clothes and prayer rituals, we are indeed innately the same – all orphans of the One Divine; that our religious beliefs are just condensed thought-forms affirmed consistently in the mind, which, if relinquished, might obliviously open us to the nature of the Ultimate Reality.
The cases of rebirth listed in this article occurred between Hindus and Muslims in India. In eight of these cases a Muslim child is said to have recalled the life of a Muslim. In seven cases a Muslim child is said to have recalled a life as a Hindu, and in 11 cases a Hindu child is said to have recalled the life of a Muslim. Of the 26 cases, 5 of the subjects were female. Not surprisingly, Antonia encountered considerable apprehension, resistance and even hostility while crossing the religious boundaries existing between the families of the subjects. These results have been published in her two-part paper “Moslem Cases of the Reincarnation Type in Northern India” [1, 2]. What follows are some interesting anecdotes from her papers.
The first case she mentions occurred in 1927. K.K.N Sahay, a lawyer from Bareilly, investigated a case of Muslim-to-Muslim rebirth and was able to obtain a signed affidavit from the relatives of the current and previous personality. This affidavit is reproduced in Sahay’s 1927 book Reincarnation: Verified cases of rebirth after death . It reads as follows:
My daughter Pirbin died at the age of five. One year after her death the daughter of Mohammed Madari Khan of this village gave birth to a girl child. When the girl was five years old, I chanced one day to go on some business to the house in which she was living. She recognized me and called me “Father.” I brought her to my house with me and she recognized my wife as her mother and my two sons are her brothers. She also knew my parents, grandparents, two brothers, and near relatives of this village; namely, Mordan Khan, Pir Khan, Alisher Khan, Sahib Khan, Tej Khan, etc. She even told which things of the house she had used as her own. She is now with her husband, Mohammed Khandan Khan in Sarolly Village of [District] Bareiily.
(Signed) Mohammed Jahan Khan Hafiz
(Dated) October 17, 1926
Hakim Babu Ram (Landlord of Karanpur Vill.)
(1) Mohammed Mordan Khan (Village Head) (2) Mohammed Nur Khan (Village Head by government nomination) (3) Mohammed Rashid Khan (4) Mohammed Monser Khan (5) Mohammed Jaber Khan (6) Mohammed Mir Sahib (7) Mohammed Maduri Khan
Antonia Mills then lists various cases that she herself investigated and whose records exist at the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia.
These are a few details of Muslims who claimed to have been Hindus in a past life:
- Umar Khan refused to eat meat, saying he was Hindu.
- Mohammed Hanif Khan initially refused to eat fish (the previous personality did not eat fish). He wanted a Rakhi thread tied on him when he observed the practice of this Hindu ceremony which celebrates the brother-sister bond.
- Noor Bano refused to eat meat; in fact, Noor’s mother indulged her in her vegetarian desires, although her father had been unaware that his wife cooked food for her separately.
- Nasruddin Shah refused to eat beef or fish, although he would eat mutton. He resisted the Muslim religion and would not say Muslim prayers or go to the mosque.
And these are a few instances of Hindus who claimed to have been Muslims in a past life:
- Mukul Bhauser was observed bowing to perform namaz (traditional Muslim prayer) even before he could speak.
- Kailash Narain Mishra also performed namaz. He wanted meat and special dishes for Muslim festivals, about which he used to talk.
- Archana Shastri when two and a half years old was observed to say namaz for her father’s health when he was ill. Thereafter, and for some time, she practiced namaz at 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
- Hirdesh K. Saxena said namaz until he was five years old, and he wanted to go to Muslim services.
- Giriraj Soni began to practice namaz before his parents suspected he might be having memories of a previous life. He was continuing to do so up to the age of seven and a half; he was also attending the services at the local mosque each Friday. He asked for mutton and eggs although his parents were vegetarian.
- Manoj Nigam did not perform namaz but recalled that when falling to his (the previous personality’s) death he had called “Allah.”
- Subhash Singhal practiced namaz when about three years old, and felt very attracted to ladies wearing the black outer covering worn by Muslim women in public in India. Even when he was thirty-five years old, he would continue to go to a Muslim shrine to pray whenever he was troubled or wanted special divine assistance. He had introduced his wife to this shrine, but had never mentioned to his father that he was following this non-Hindu custom, suspecting parental disapproval. He asked for Muslim food on a Muslim holiday.
The case of Naresh Kumar Raydas
The paper provides extensive information on the case of Naresh Kumar Raydas (henceforth called Naresh) who was born in Baj Nagar about April 1981.
When Naresh first started speaking, at the age of about two years, he often said, “Kakori, Kakori” and also “karka, karka,” which means “horse-cart” in the local dialect. From the time Naresh was about two years old, he was sometimes observed kneeling down at home as if to perform namaz, the Muslim form of ritual prayer. By August 1987, when Naresh was about six years old, he repeatedly began claiming that he was a Muslim and from Kakori. He asked a Muslim Fakir who used to visit their house, “Don’t you recognize me? In my house there are five neem trees. I was hit by a tractor.” He asked the Fakir to take him home with him, which the Fakir declined to do. The next morning Naresh persuaded his mother to take him to the Fakir’s house in Kakori. Naresh’s mother told the Fakir that on the way she had asked someone for directions to the Fakir’s house. Naresh responded with annoyance, saying, “You mean I don’t know? Come, I will show you.” Naresh’s mother told the Fakir that Naresh then led her to the Fakir’s house, which is in an area of Kakori where he and his mother had never been before.
When they arrived, Naresh again called the Fakir “my Abba [Father].” Naresh called the Fakir’s wife Amma (Mother). It turns out that Naresh in his previous life had been Mushir Ali Shah (henceforth called Mushir), the eldest son of the Fakir Haider Ali Shah by his second wife. Mushir had lived with his parents in the town of Kakori. He was employed driving a horse-cart filled with fruit or vegetables from Kakori to the market at Lucknow. He was approximately twenty-five years old when, on June 30, 1980, a tractor struck him and his cart filled with mangos. Mushir died on the spot, which was on the road from Kakori to Lucknow where it passes about a half kilometer from the village of Baj Nagar.
During the visit to his previous home, Naresh proceeded to recognize Mushir’s brothers and a sister present, as well as the sister’s husband, whom he called by name, Mohammed Islam. Naresh then pointed out one of five metal suitcases inside the house, said it was his, and asked for the key. He described the contents before opening it, saying (according to the Fakir) that there were three rupees and his cap in the trunk, When he opened it, these items were inside. The Fakir and his wife said that they had not known there were three rupees inside Mushir’s trunk.
Naresh then asked the Fakir’s wife, Najima, “Where is my younger brother, Nasim?” She said he was sleeping. Naresh went to him and hugged him and started kissing him. Najima then asked Naresh how many brothers and sisters he had. Naresh said that he had five brothers and six sisters and that one of the sisters was a stepsister. This was correct for the time Mushir was alive. Najima, pointing to Sabiah, a girl about six years old, then asked him who she was. Naresh said, “She was in your stomach at that time.” This youngest child of the Fakir’s was born three months after the death of Mushir.
Naresh recognized a number of people from Kakori who had gathered at the Fakir’s house on Naresh’s first visit. One of these was the wife of a man called Zaheed, and he is said to have asked her, “Have you not given my 300 rupees to my Abba?” In fact, three days after Mushir’s death Zaheed had given the Fakir the 300 rupees that Mushir had deposited with him. Naresh was asked if he recognized a particular old lady who arrived at the Fakir’s house. This lady told me that he had not. However, Mushir’s mother said that Naresh, out of this lady’s hearing, had said that she was “Shafique’s wife who lives near the mosque.” This was correct.
When Naresh was going to be sent back home from the Fakir’s house with five rupees, he said, “What do you mean? That you will send me off without giving me tea and egg?” Mushir had been very fond of tea, eggs, and semia. Tea and eggs were foods that he had every day.
Muslims do not traditionally believe in reincarnation but the Fakir changed his view after observing the boy. After Naresh approached him and said he was his son, the Fakir felt deeply troubled. Unable to sleep, at midnight he prayed, “Allah, what is this mystery?” Naresh’s remarks convinced the Fakir that Naresh was his son Mushir reborn. At first the Fakir’s wife was shocked that a young boy claimed to be her son. However, she too became convinced that Naresh was her son reborn. In recounting the events, the Fakir and his wife were moved to tears. The Fakir’s voice shook with emotion every time he recounted the incidents.
A poem by Kabir
Kabir (1440—1518) was a mystic poet and saint of India. Read more about him at wikipedia
O servant, where dost thou seek Me?
O servant, where dost thou seek Me?
Lo ! I am beside thee.
I am neither in temple nor in mosque:
I am neither in Kaaba nor in Kailash:
Neither am I in rites and ceremonies,
nor in Yoga and renunciation.
If thou art a true seeker, thou shalt at once see Me:
thou shalt meet Me in a moment of time.
Kabir says, ‘ O Sadhu ! God is the breath of all breath.’
- Antonia Mills. Moslem Cases of the Reincarnation Type in Northern India: A Test of the Hypothesis of Imposed Identification Part I: Analysis of 26 Cases. Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 171 – 188, 1990.
- Antonia Mills. Moslem Cases of the Reincarnation Type in Northern India: A Test of the Hypothesis of Imposed Identification Part II: Reports of Three Cases. Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 189-202, 1990.
- K.C. Sahay. Reincarnation: Verified cases of rebirth after death. Bareilly: N. L. Gupta, 1927.
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