by Dr. Granville Dharmawardena
Ph.D. (Cambridge) Melbourne, Australia
I read the reply written by Prof. Carlo Fonseka to my article on rebirth (
01/01/10). Prof Carlo has mixed up and shuffled most of the material in my article to make up a story of his own. He concocts a story of a love affair and says that the girl, whom he had never seen, started fainting attacks after the boy stopped coming. It’s a mix up in Prof. Carlo’s mind. What I said was that the girl first started fainting attacks, thereafter the boy used to come and touch her hand and later his parents stopped him from coming there. This mix up totally demolishes Prof. Carlo’s arguments.
Prof. Carlo refers to me as a chemist. It is true that I learned chemistry half a century ago. Prof. Carlo learned chemistry even before that. In that sense both of us are chemists. Both of us have not remained simple chemists since then. I qualified as a nuclear scientist, a psychologist and a hypnotherapist. Prof. Carlo also advanced a lot during that time. He has even spoken at political meetings and practiced politics. I was the only Sri Lankan scientist who had a research paper published in an international journal (American) while I was still an undergraduate student. I was the only Sri Lankan scientist who had the privilege of publishing a research paper in the very prestigious science journal The Nature and analysing the moon soil brought down to earth by Neil Armstrong. If I were a shoddy scientist, as Prof. Carlo tries to show, none of these would have been possible and Cambridge University would not have accepted me.
For Prof. Carlo, the case of the 14 - year - old girl is a case of a chemist practising medicine, but for a normal thinking person it’s a case of a hypnotherapist practising hypnotherapy. Prof. Carlo seems to have developed an imbalance in thinking.
Once Prof. Carlo sent a pregnant lady, who had a fear of going into a hospital to me to neutralise that fear. Did he send her because I was a chemist or because I was a hypnotherapist?
Once a lady doctor, working in the Colombo Hospital, came to me and told me that she had got married to a doctor, but was unable to consummate their marriage. Under hypnotic trance, she started crying and described how her uncle kept her on his lap when she was a child and fondled her body. She had got very frightened, at that time, and those fears had got deeply ingrained in her subconscious mind. Therefore, she could not allow anyone to access that part of her body and that was an involuntary reaction which was not under her control. For this reason, she never had boy friends and after marriage, she failed. After neutralising those fears she got over her problem and started normal married life. For Prof. Carlo it’s a case of a chemist practising medicine, but for a normal thinking person its a case of a hypnotherapist practising hypnotherapy.
Once a lady, who married for two years but unable to start sex life came to me. Under hypnotic trance she revealed that when she was a child a dog had bitten the upper part of her thigh and she got very frightened at that time. She was involuntarily not allowing anything approach that area of the body. After neutralising that memory she could start her sex life. Is it a case of chemist practising medicine?
Once a 14 - year - old boy who used to sweat and shiver whenever he passed a police station by foot, car or bus came to me. Under hypnotic trance, he revealed that in his past life he was a police inspector who got run over by a lorry while he was standing in front of his police station. Neutralizing that memory resolved his problem.
A Colombo University female medical student came to me with a very uncommon problem. She had got pregnant while she was still a virgin and that had psychologically devastated her. She explained how it happened and the boy responsible also came and spoke to me. Some sperms had seeped in through her virginity membrane and made her pregnant. I stabilized her psychologically so that she could continue her medical studies. Is it a case of a hypnotherapist practising hypnotherapy?
Once a Peradeniya medical student, who had failed exams because he had a fear of going to ward classes, came to me. After I neutralised his fear he could continue his medical education. For Prof. Carlo it’s a case of a chemist practising medicine.
A year 12 student came to me and told me that she wanted to do the GCE(A/L) exam and go into a medical school, but she had headaches and psychological disturbances. She wanted to get rid of them to start year-12 studies. I asked her to go to a meditation centre and do 10 days of meditation before I did anything. She came back two weeks later and told me that she had done 10 days of meditation under a well known Buddhist monk and all her problems disappeared as a result of meditation. Meditation teachers tell meditators that aches and pains will disappear when they continue meditation and that really happens. Meditation provides health benefits and this is well known. For Prof. Carlo these are cases of Buddhist monks practising medicine. For right thinking people they are Buddhist monks teaching Buddhist meditation. Psychology, counselling and hypnotherapy bring health benefits to subjects. For Prof. Carlo those are cases of psychologists, counsellors and hypnotherapists practising medicine.
After reading my article, Prof. Carlo had diagnosed that that girl was suffering form nothing but hysteria. That is the rational conclusion that he had reached. According to him, when a girl gets hysteria she automatically gets the ability to perform skills that she had never learned such as Bharatha dancing and Karate. According to him when a girl gets hysteria she can understand languages that she had never learned. In other words it is better to be hysterical than normal.
I clearly stated in my article that the 14 year girl’s case was was quoted as a simple example of rebirth and never said that it was scientific proof of rebirth. For scientific proof, I referred readers to my refereed scientific research paper. For scientific proof, one has to use cases that had been scientifically researched. I challenge Prof. Carlo to point out anywhere in my scientific research paper, a copy of which I had given to him at the time it was printed, where I have quoted that girl’s case.
In my article, I referred to my scientific research paper and a case of past life therapy which was done solely to bring relief to a suffering person. Prof. Carlo has mixed up those two. Prof. Carlo also mixes these up with religion. Scientific research involves scientifically studying natural phenomena and it is totally unscientific to mix them up with religion. According to Prof. Carlo the Buddhist teaching about rebirth is only hysteria. At the same time he also says that he believes in rebirth which means that he is not loyal to the teachings of his own religion. Generally we accept that people who are loyal to and abide by the teachings of their religions as good and trustworthy people.
There is a tremendous amount of mixing up on the part of Prof. Carlo. He was not like that when I knew him in Sri Lanka. It is most probably due to the loss of the enormous political clout he enjoyed when his kinswoman, CBK, was the President. He seems to need the help of a counsellor or a psychologist.
As for scientific acceptability, what is most valid is my refereed scientific research paper. But if what Prof. Carlo accepts are only statements made by people in the West and not published research papers, let me quote a few.
Prof. Brian Weiss who is an eminent past life therapist in the USA is the Professor of Psychiatry in the University of Pittsburg and the chief psychiatrist in a university affiliated hospital in Miami. He didn’t believe in rebirth and practised hypnotic regression only up to childhood. One patient, Catherine, a hospital technician in his hospital, changed his beliefs. Prof. Weiss describes Catherine’s condition before past life therapy as "She was suffering from fears, phobias, paralysing panic attacks, depression and recurrent nightmares. Her symptoms had been life long and worsening. After more than a year of conventional therapy she remained severely impaired. I felt she should have been more improved at the end of that time span (of psychiatric therapy)". I quoted verbatim from Weiss’ publications lest Prof. Carlo will diagnose her with these symptoms as mere hysterical.
Prof. Weiss’ hypnotised Catherine and tried to regress her to her childhood expecting the causes of her symptoms to be there, but she drifted to several past lives some as far back as 4000 years and described her experiences. This was his first past life therapy experience and he describes his immediate response to it as, "I was shocked and skeptical. I had hypnotized hundreds of patients over the years, but this had never happened before. I had come to know Catherine well over the course of over one year of intensive psychotherapy. I knew that she was not psychotic. did not hallucinate, did not have multiple personalities, not particularly suggestible and did not abuse drugs or alcohol. But something very unusual happened. Catherine’s symptoms began to improve dramatically and I knew that fantasy and dream like material would not lead to such a fast and complete cure."
Prof. Weiss had obtained a science degree before starting medical studies and had published over 40 scientific research papers on subjects relevant to psychiatry. Therefore, he has a scientific thinking mind. As a result, without dismissing Catherine’s experience as mere hysteria, he went on to studying what he did not know. He says, "After the shock subsided, I returned to the behaviour of a scientifically trained psychiatrist. I scoured the libraries and book stores for more information." He learned the subject he did not know and now he is an eminent past life therapist in the USA and a believer of rebirth.
Prof. Weiss says, "Throughout history, humankind has been resistant to change and to the acceptance of new ideas." This is more so in Sri Lanka where professionals and academics mostly depend only on knowledge acquired decades ago when they were studying abroad. When a new idea comes up they perform mental acrobatics within the old knowledge they possess and concoct some sort of story. A new subject like past life therapy cannot be discussed with decades old knowledge.
At the world conference on Hypnotherapy held in July 2009, in Sydney, where I was a participant, an eminent psychiatrist from the USA said that he had administered past life therapy to a lady who did not believe in rebirth, but he did not use the words life therapy’ or ‘rebirth’ because it could have hurt her belief. He had told her that he took her memories beyond birth because it helps to cure her symptoms and there was nothing more to it than that. A few months later, he met her, but did not talk anything about her therapy because past life talk might hurt her beliefs. But she told him that after her therapy she had studied the literature and became a believer of rebirth. Normally past life therapists and those who undergo past life therapy in Western countries become believers of rebirth because they read and pick up new knowledge without trying to interpret everything with their old knowledge.
Dr. Edith Fiore, a Clinical Psychologist in the USA, speaking at the Annual Conference of the Association of Past Life Research and Therapy held in Los Angeles, said, "Other therapies address the symptoms and leave the cause untouched. Past life therapy attacks the root cause. There isn’t a single physical problem that cannot be resolved by good past life treatment."
On the subject of rebirth, the English Psychiatrist, Dr. Arthur Guirdham, who also practices past life therapy, says." If I didn’t believe in reincarnation (rebirth) on the evidence I had received, I would be mentally defective"
The general tendency of people, who mix up matters due to various psychological conditions is to deny that they have something wrong. Once a middle aged lady telephoned and told me that she was ‘Viharamaha devi’ in a past life, she saved the country at that time, now it is necessary to save the country again and for that purpose she gave up her teaching job. She wanted me to hypnotise her and tell publicly that she was ‘Viharamaha devi". I asked her get one of her family members to call me. Her brother, who was a doctor, telephoned me and I told him that his sister was a schizophrenic and needed treatment. He said that he knew it, but she never accepts that she has a problem and it was impossible to take her to psychiatrist or get her to take any medicine. I asked him to send her to me and told her that in order to hypnotize her she must prepare for it and for that she must take some medicine and referred her to a psychiatrist. Before she went to him I telephoned him and told him about her. He treated her condition without telling her there was anything wrong with her but telling her that the medicine was to prepare her for hypnosis. That brought her condition under control.
Let me mention another interesting rebirth story. A pretty lady, in her mid-twenties, who is very famous in Colombo, came to see me and told me that she had a guilt in her mind. Let us call her Chick. Chick was two years married and she told me that she had the feeling that in her past life she had joined the 1971 riots and got killed by the Black Cats. All those had happened without the knowledge of her past life mother. She wanted to find her past life mother and go and apologize to her. Under hypnotic trance she revealed that in her past life she was a boy. Let us call him Chuck. Chuck had lived in Kegalle and at the age of 17 he had joined the JVP and taken part in the 1971 insurrection. He was at a JVP meeting in his school after school hours and when they were coming out after the meeting the Black Cats had shot and killed them all. Chick described the details of Chuck’s life including the identity and whereabouts of his mother and his girl friend. A boy who was known to Chuck is now a university professor and he confirmed what Chick said about Chuck. After that session, Chick went to Kegalle, met Chuck’s mother and apologized to her.
A very important, unknown phenomenon got revealed during Chick’s past life regression. I told her that it is very important because it is a new and unknown phenomenon in psychology and thereafter she described all the details of her present and past lives including private aspects of life. After his death in Kegalle Chuck (his astral body) had gone to a temple in Moratuwa to look for a mother to come back to this world. There he saw a two months pregnant lady and entered the female foetus in her uterus and she is Chick’s mother. Chuck has changed sex during rebirth. Chick’s husband also had changed sex during rebirth. He was a girl in his past life and a good friend of Chuck. Chick and her husband live happily and in harmony, but they have no sex life. She said that she intended to have sex few months later in order to have a baby. Thereafter, I researched into this phenomenon with many more people. A person who has changed sex during rebirth has much lower sexual desires than normal and if a person who had been very sexually active in the past life changes sex during rebirth that person most likely will drift into gay behaviour. A person who has changed sex during rebirth is not interested in sex and will shun marriage. Such people generally try to present themselves as good, well behaved and exemplary persons. Chick got married because she met a person who was her friend in the past life and because of that friendship they live peacefully and in harmony.