A spiritual regression session
Dr Satyapal Anand
It was during my one week stay (1982) on the campus of the British Columbia University, Vancouver, Canada, that I heard from a faculty member that in the nearby Washington State, a few miles from Seattle, there was a Buddhist ashram with a distinct program that he had attended. The monastery and its school were run by an American lady who had embraced Buddhism while she was in Nepal and chose to be renamed Renuka Devi Sarsawati.
The program, I was told, was called ‘Spiritual Regression’ and volunteer subjects had so sign a contract of sorts absolving the ashram of any responsibility in case the subject suffered some kind of mental disorder during the session.
I chose to go with an old Irish lady colleague who thought she would also volunteer for the session. There was no cash fee. The only condition was that the recordings done during the session – were the copyright property of the ashram and could not be printed or shared with the public or the press.
My colleague, the Catholic lady from Ireland was senior to me by about twenty years and she opted to be the first examinee. It took her about two hours to be closeted inside a room with the Buddhist lady. I had filled in my contract form by the time she came out and I offered to go inside as there were no other candidates waiting for their turn. However, for reasons unknown, I was rejected as a candidate but asked politely to come after a month or so when I was in a ‘better state of mind’.
I dare not argue and ask what was wrong with my state of mind at that moment and how it could not endure the session on that particular day. So I meekly accepted the proposition, knowing that I would be back in India after the seminar in Vancouver was over and would never be able to come back.
My conversation with my colleague, Professor Mary Wright (the name is fictional) brought out quite a few points that I pondered over for months. There was no clause in the contract that a ‘subject’ could not share his or her experiences with others or write about the session. What she told me I reproduce here, not verbatim, but whatever I can remember.
I am seventy-two now, Dr. Anand,” she said, “someone who has seen the world around, has a husband, three grownup daughters, five grandchildren … and an academic career of forty long years. I had all but forgotten about some instances in my life that I thought were just dreams or bad memories of events that had never occurred in actuality…”
“… The session began with me lying down on a canopied bed while the Buddhist lady chanted her mantras – not the same mantra again and again, but a set of differently toned and tuned incantations. I was told to close my eyes and think of white clouds in the sky. I don’t know how much time I took to slip into obvious oblivion but her voice was suggestive. “…You are now twenty one … go back … you are now, the fifteen years of age.” At that point, as it happened, the wall clock struck and I started speaking. I could hear myself in a dreamy sort of way …”
“….I seem to be telling my story to no one in particular. When I was fifteen, I said, I was raped by an uncle of sorts, not a sugar daddy, mind you, but someone who was a father-figure in our family. I became pregnant. I was in the third month of pregnancy and lest people start noticing and I told my family about the culprit, this uncle of mine took me to a midwife of sorts who performed the illegal procedure of abortion …. I had the termination of my pregnancy. I was told that the fetus was feminine and was destroyed with other medical waste in the electric hearth …
“….It was indeed a traumatic experience. My innards healed very soon, but I had wild dreams. Invariably in these dreams the doll-like face of a little girl cried and accused me of killing her. “You had no right to kill me”, it said in babyish tone. Night after night, I broke out in cold sweat and even with the help of sleeping pills I could not go back to sleep. I did not talk to any one, but tried to free my mind of this affliction. Later, its frequency of occurrence decreased, and finally, it stopped altogether.”
“Did you tell your story the way you are narrating to me now, I mean, in the past tense and in the form of a narrative …. like a story, I mean,”I asked.
“No, while I was lying in the canopied bed I was probably speaking like a commentator giving a running commentary….. As if the things were happening to me here and now and not there and then.”
I nodded. I knew about the seances with the holy men in India and how they mesmerized the subjects to deep sleep. I nodded my head again. “Please go on…”.
She continued. “During my session here all this came back to me …yes, came back to me with a vengeance. There always was this little girl with her accusing finger pointed at me, but this un-born fetus of a baby girl never told me about what had become of her soul after the tiny unformed body was destroyed. Now in this session the baby face was not accusing me, but just laughing. She told me that her endeavor to be born again as my daughter had finally succeeded and after a few cycles of birth and re-birth, she had succeeded to be born from my womb … this time a healthy baby girl, who is now herself a mother……”.
“….When I had my first delivery after my marriage, it was a girl. I was sure that she was the reincarnation of the soul I had so mercilessly denied a place in my womb. I treated this little daughter of mine as a special being. Even my friends noticed that I was extraordinarily attached to her. But there was no visible sign from her. Three years later, I had another baby , a girl again … and then, two years later, I had yet another baby. This time again it was a girl …”.
The only question I could ask my colleague was about my guess as to which one of the three daughters, she thought, was really the original soul.
It was a sad smile she gave me. “How would I know which one of these three is my blessed or accursed
daughter that I had killed before her birth? They are all alike. There is no distinguishing mark anywhere. I always hoped that I would get a sign in a dream, but now I do not have a recurrence of those frightful dreams and even this seance has not pin-pointed which one of my three daughters is the lost soul.”