for The New York Times on Aug. 28, 2010
Gadadhar Pandit, a member of ISKCON and the Hindu Chaplain at Columbia University and New York University was featured with two quotes and a photograph in the New York Times in an article about an upsurge in belief in reincarnation.
Interest in reincarnation is growing.
In one of his past lives, Dr. Paul DeBell believes, he was a caveman. The gray-haired Cornell-trained psychiatrist has a gentle, serious manner, and his appearance, together with the generic shrink décor of his office — leather couch, granite-topped coffee table — makes this pronouncement seem particularly jarring.
In that earlier incarnation, “I was going along, going along, going along, and I got eaten,” said Dr. DeBell, who has a private practice on the Upper East Side where he specializes in hypnotizing those hoping to retrieve memories of past lives. Dr. DeBell likes to reflect on how previous lives can alter one’s sense of self. He, for example, is more than a psychiatrist in 21st-century Manhattan; he believes he is an eternal soul who also inhabited the body of a Tibetan monk and a conscientious German who refused to betray his Jewish neighbors in the Holocaust.
Belief in reincarnation, he said, “allows you to experience history as yours. It gives you a different sense of what it means to be human.”
Peter Bostock, a retired language teacher from Winnipeg, Manitoba, says that in the early 1880s he managed a large estate — possibly Chatsworth — in Derbyshire, England.
In a twist that would make Jane Austen blush, he thinks he was in love with the soul of his current wife, Jo-Anne, then embodied as a cook in the estate’s kitchen. Married to someone else, Mr. Bostock could not act on his feelings.
He says he and his wife share the kind “of attraction and recognition that a soul makes when it encounters the familiar.” In that spirit, the couple traveled last month to Rhinebeck, N.Y., where they and more than 200 others paid $355 each to attend a weekend seminar run by one of America’s pre-eminent proselytizers on the subject of reincarnation, Dr. Brian Weiss.
On this second, sweltering day of the seminar, Dr. Weiss, a 65-year-old Florida resident with a hawk-like visage and placid blue eyes, was wearing a polo shirt the color of robins’ eggs. He took a break from teaching and, over a healthy lunch, reflected on the rise of interest in the West in reincarnation. Like Dr. DeBell, he is a psychiatrist with an Ivy League pedigree (Columbia University and Yale Medical School).
Dr. Weiss was censured by the medical establishment in 1988 after he published “Many Lives, Many Masters.” In it he details his work with a patient he calls Catherine, who, under hypnosis, the book says, remembered multiple past lives, relieving her of paralyzing phobias. It has sold more than a million copies.
For Gadadhar Pandit`s contribution and the complete article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/fashion/29PastLives.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=style