Satwant Pasricha and
Ian Stevenson, documented 16 cases of Indian
near-death experiences in the
Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research
(77,1 15-135). Their small sample shows, Indian
and American near-death experiences resemble each
other in some respects but differ in others. Subjects
of Indian near-death experiences do not report seeing
their own physical body during the near-death experience,
although American subjects usually do. Subjects
of Indian near-death experiences frequently report
being taken to the after-death realm by functionaries
who then discover that a mistake has been made and
send the person back, whereupon he or she revives.
In contrast, American subjects, if they say anything
at all about why they revived, mention meeting deceased
family members who told them to go back, or say
they came back because of ties of love and duty
with living persons or say they were told it was
not their time to die.
Many people have asked
me (the webmaster) why experiences, such as Hindu
near-death experiences, are so different than western
ones. The reason is because everyone has their own
cultural and religious background by which they
see their experience.
Jody Long, a near-death
NDERF, put it best:
"One of the near-death
experience truths is that each person integrates
their near-death experience into their own
pre-existing belief system." - Jody Long,
This important truth
must be kept in the back of one's mind when
reading these different reports.
The following Hindu
near-death experiences come from Pasricha's and
Stevenson's research as well as other sources on
near-death experiences in India.
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1. Vasudev Pandey's Near-Death Experience
Vasudev Pandey was interviewed
in 1975 and again in 1976. He was born in 1921 and
had nearly died in his home of what he described
as "paratyphoid disease" when he was about 10 years
old. Vasudev had been considered dead and his
body had actually been taken to the cremation ground.
However, some indications of life aroused attention,
and Vasudev was removed to the hospital where doctors
tried to revive him, using "injections," with eventual
success. He remained unconscious for 3 days and
then became able to describe the following experience
(as narrated to us in 1975):
Two persons caught
me and took me with them. I felt tired after
walking some distance; they started to drag
me. My feet became useless. There was a
man sitting up. He looked dreadful and was
all black. He was not wearing any clothes.
He said in a rage to the attendants [who
brought Vasudev there]:
"I had asked
you to bring Vasudev the gardener. Our garden
is drying up. You have brought Vasudev the
When I regained consciousness,
Vasudev the gardener was standing in front
of me [apparently in the crowd of family
and servants who had gathered around the
bed of the ostensibly dead Vasudev]. He
was hale and hearty. People started teasing
him saying, "Now it is your turn." He seemed
to sleep well in the night, but the next
morning he was dead."
In reply to questions about
details, Vasudev said that the "black man" had a
club and used foul language. Vasudev identified
him as Yamraj, the Hindu god of the dead. He said
that he was "brought back" by the same two men who
had taken him to Yamraj in the first place. Vasudev's
mother, who died before the time of the interview,
was a pious woman who read scriptures which included
descriptions of Yamraj. Vasudev, even as a boy before
his near-death experience, was quite familiar with
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2. Durga Jatav's
Durga Jatav, a man approximately
50 years old, was interviewed in November, 1979,
and again 3 months later. About 30 years before,
he had been ill for several weeks, suffering from
what had been diagnosed as typhoid. When his body
"became cold" for a couple of hours, his family
thought he had died. He revived, however, and on
the third day following this he told his family
he had been taken to another place by 10 people.
He tried to escape, but they cut off his legs at
the knees to prevent his escape. He was taken to
a place where there were tables and chairs and 40
or 50 people sitting. He recognized no one. They
looked at his "papers," saw that his name was not
on their list, and said, "Why have you brought him
here? Take him back." To this Durga had replied,
"How can I go back? I don't have feet." He was then
shown several pairs of legs, he recognized his own,
and they were somehow reattached. He was then sent
back with the instructions not to "stretch" (bend?)
his knees so that they could mend. Durga's
older sister, who was also interviewed, corroborated
his account of his apparent death and revival.
A few days after Durga
revived, his sister and a neighbor noticed marks
on Durga's knees which had not been there before.
These folds - or deep fissures - which appeared
on his skin in front of his knees were still visible
in 1979. There was no bleeding or pain in his knees
other than the discomfort engendered by Durga following
the "instructions" to keep his knees in a fixed
position. X-ray photographs we took in 1981 showed
no abnormality below the surface of the skin.
Durga had not heard of
such experiences until his own near-death experience.
He did not see his physical body from some other
position in space. He said afterward the experience
seemed like a dream; nevertheless, he claimed it
strengthened his faith in God.
One informant for this
case was the headman of the village where Durga
lived who said at the time of Durga's experience,
another person by the same name had died in Agra
about 30 km away; however, neither Durga nor his
older sister were able to confirm this statement.
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3. Chhajju Bania's
Chhajju Bania was interviewed
in 1981, at which time he was about 40 years old.
His near-death experience occurred some 6 years
earlier. He became ill with a fever and his condition
deteriorated until he was thought to have died,
at which time his relatives began preparing his
body for cremation. However, he revived, and he
gave the following account of his experience as
he remembered it afterward:
Four black messengers
came and held me.
I asked, "Where
are you taking me?"
They took me
and seated me near the god. My body had
become small. There was an old lady sitting
there. She had a pen in her hand, and the
clerks had a heap of books in front of them.
I was summoned
One of the clerks
said, "We don't need Chhajju Bania [the
trader]. We had asked for Chhajju Kumhar
[the potter]. Push him back and bring the
other man. He [meaning Chhajju Bania] has
some life remaining."
I asked the clerks
to give me some work to do, but not to send
me back. Yamraj was there sitting on a high
chair with a white beard and wearing yellow
clothes. He asked me, "What do you want?"
I told him that
I wanted to stay there.
He asked me to
extend my hand. I don't remember whether
he gave me something or not.
Then I was pushed
down [and revived].
Chhajju mentioned that
he later learned a person named Chhajju Kumhar had
died at about the same time that he (Chhajju Bania)
revived. He said his behavior changed following
his near-death experience, particularly in the direction
of his becoming more honest.
Chhajju's wife, Saroj,
remembered her husband's experience, but her account
of what he told her about the near-death experience
differed in some details from his statement. For
example, she said he told her (about reviving) at
the place to where the four men had taken him,
there "was a man with a beard with lots of papers
in front of him" (not an old lady). The bearded
man said, "It is not his turn. Bring Chhajju Kori
(a weaver)" (Not Chhajju Kumhar). Other discrepancies
between the two accounts concerned unimportant details.
Saroj remembered her husband telling her that he
had not wanted to leave "there" and that he had
been "pushed down" before he revived.
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4. Mangal Singh's
Mangal Singh was interviewed
in March, 1983, when he was 79 years old. He described
his near-death experience, which occurred approximately
5 or 6 years earlier. Unlike most subjects who have
near-death experiences, he was not ill at the time,
or did not consider himself to be so. He gave the
following description of his experience:
I was lying down
on a cot when two people came, lifted me
up, and took me along.
I heard a hissing
sound, but I couldn't see anything. Then
I came to a gate. There was grass, and the
ground seemed to be sloping.
A man was there,
and he reprimanded the men who had brought
me, "Why have you brought the wrong person?
Why have you not brought the man you had
been sent for?"
The two men [who
had brought Mangal] ran away, and the senior
man said, "You go back."
Suddenly I saw
two big pots of boiling water, although
there was no fire, no firewood, and no fireplace.
Then the man
pushed me with his hand and said, "You had
better hurry up and go back."
When he touched
me, I suddenly became aware of how hot his
hand was. Then I realized why the pots were
boiling. The heat was coming from his hands.
Suddenly I regained
consciousness, and I had a severe burning
sensation in my left arm.
The area developed the
appearance of a boil. Mangal showed it to a
doctor who applied some ointment. The area healed
within 3 days but left a residual mark on the left
arm, which was examined.
In response to questions,
Mangal said he thought he might have been sleeping
at the time of the experience, but he was not sure
of this. He was unable to describe the appearance
of the persons figuring in the experience. It seemed
to be less visual than auditory and tactile. He
did remember the senior "official" picking up a
lathi (a heavy Indian staff) with which he intended
to beat the lesser "employees" before they ran away.
Another person had died in the locality at or about
the time he revived, but Mangal and his family made
no inquires about the suddenness of this person's
death and did not even learn his name.
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An Analysis of Hindu Near-Death Experiences
The Hindu near-death
experiences profiled here are typical of the cases
studied in India by researchers Satwant Pasricha
and Ian Stevenson. The subject does not view his
or her physical body, as do many subjects of western
near-death experience cases. Instead the subject
is taken in hand by "messengers" and brought before
a man or woman who is often described as having
a book or papers that he or she consults. A mistake
is discovered. The wrong person has been "sent for,"
and this person is then brought back by the messengers
to his or her terrestrial life; or the subject is
"pushed down" and revives. The error supposedly
made is often a slight one, as a person of the same
given name but a different caste, or someone living
in a different but nearby village, should have died
and been brought instead of the subject of the near-death
experience. In six of their cases, the informants
said that another "correct" person (corresponding
to the subject's information from the "next world")
did, in fact, die at about the time the subject
revived; but the researchers did not verify those
In contrast, subjects of
western near-death experiences usually give no reason
(in psychological terms) for their recovery; if
they do give one they may say that they revived
because they decided to return of their own accord,
often because of love for living members of their
family. Sometimes they are "sent back" by deceased
persons who tell them their "time has not yet come."
Indian subjects sometimes report meeting relatives
and friends in the "other realm" in which they find
themselves, but these persons have nothing to do
or say about the prematurity of the subject's death
and a need for him or her to continue living. The
idea of prematurity of death, or "your time has
not yet come," occurs in the cases of both cultures;
but the persons involved in sending the NDEr "back
to life" differ.
All in all, researchers
Pasricha and Stevenson uncovered 16 accounts of
near-death experiences in India. Later research
by Pasricha documented another 29 near-death experiences
by people living in India.
A comparison of Hindu near-death
experiences with western accounts reveals the following:
In 45 Hindu near-death accounts, Pasrich
and Stevenson found no evidence of a tunnel
experience which is frequently found in
western accounts of the near-death experience.
However, another near-death researcher,
reported accounts of a tunnel experience
in her research of 8 Hindu near-death experiencers.
Only one account contained an out-of-body
experience, which is another aspect that
is frequently found in western accounts.
Osis and Haraldsson
did find several accounts of out-of-body
experience in the Indian near-death experiences
Consistent with western accounts, some Hindu
near-death accounts included a life review.
However, whereas in western accounts the
life review often consists of seeing a panoramic
view of a person's entire life, Hindu accounts
consists of having someone read the record
of the dying person's life called the "akashic
In Christian circles, this is equivalent
to reading from the "Book
as known from the Christian doctrine of
the resurrection. In Hindu circles, it is
a traditional belief that the reading of
a person's akashic record occurs immediately
after death. This concept is widely believed
by Hindus all over India. However, the panoramic
life review, which is commonly mentioned
in western accounts, does not appear in
accounts from India.
As in western accounts, Hindu near-death
accounts sometimes describe the meeting
of religious deities and deceased loved
Karlis Osis and
Erlendur Haraldsson, documented the first major
accounts of near-death experiences in India. In
their interviews with 704 people living in India
about their near-death experiences, 64 accounts
of near-death experiences came to the surface. The
remaining accounts had to do with death-bed visions.
They published their findings in their book entitled
At the Hour of Death: A New Look at Evidence for
Life After Death.
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6. Hindu Afterlife
the ancient set of Hindu religious texts, postulated
an eternal, changeless core of the self called as
This soul or "deep self" was viewed as being identical
with the unchanging godhead, referred to as
(the unitary ground of being that transcends particular
gods and goddesses). Untouched by the variations
of time and circumstance, the Atman was nevertheless
entrapped in the world of
(the cycle of death and rebirth). Unlike Western
treatments of reincarnation, which tend to make
the idea of coming back into body after body seem
exotic, desirable, and even romantic, Hinduism,
Buddhism, and other southern Asian religions portray
the samsaric process as unhappy. Life in this world
What keeps us trapped
in the samsaric cycle is the law of
In its simplest form, this law operates impersonally
like a natural law, ensuring that every good or
bad deed eventually returns to the individual in
the form of reward or punishment commensurate with
the original deed. It is the necessity of "reaping
one's karma" that compels human beings to take rebirth
(to reincarnate) in successive lifetimes. In other
words, if one dies before reaping the effects of
one's actions (as most people do), the karmic process
demands that one come back in a future life. Coming
back in another lifetime also allows karmic forces
to reward or punish one through the circumstances
to which one is born. Hence, for example, an individual
who was generous in one lifetime might be reborn
as a wealthy person in the next incarnation.
is the traditional Sanskrit term for release or
liberation from the endless chain of deaths and
rebirths. In the southern Asian religious tradition,
it represents the supreme goal of human strivings.
Reflecting the diversity of Hinduism, liberation
can be attained in a variety of ways, from the proper
performance of certain rituals to highly disciplined
forms of yoga. In the Upanishads, it is proper knowledge,
in the sense of insight into the nature of reality,
that enables the aspiring seeker to achieve liberation
from the wheel of rebirth.
What happens to the individual
after reaching moksha? In Upanishadic Hinduism,
the individual Atman is believed to merge into the
cosmic Brahma. A traditional image is that of a
drop of water that, when dropped into the ocean,
loses its individuality and becomes one with the
sea. Although widespread, this metaphor does not
quite capture the significance of this merger. Rather
than losing one's individuality, the Upanishadic
understanding is that the Atman is never separate
from Brahma; hence, individuality is illusory, and
moksha is simply waking up from the dream of separateness.
The most that the classical
texts of Hinduism say about the state of one who
has merged with the godhead is that the person has
become one with pure "beingness," consciousness,
and bliss. From the perspective of world-affirming
Western society, such a static afterlife appears
Beginning at least several
centuries B.C., devotionalism rejected the impersonalism
of both the ritual strategy of
and the intellectual emphasis of the Upanishads.
Instead, God was approached as a personal, supremely
loving deity who would respond to devotional worship.
The afterlife in devotional theism is not the static,
abstract bliss of merging into the ocean of Brahma.
Rather, the devotional tradition views the liberated
soul as participating in a blissful round of devotional
activities in a heaven world that is comparable,
in certain respects, to the heaven of Western religions.
Along with heaven realms,
Hinduism also developed notions of hell worlds in
which exceptionally sinful individuals were punished.
Many of the torments of Hindu hell worlds, such
as being tortured by demons, resemble the torments
of more familiar Western hells. Unlike Western hells,
however, Hindu hell worlds are not final dwelling
places. They are more like purgatories in which
sinful souls experience suffering for a limited
term. After the term is over, even the most evil
person is turned out of hell to once again participate
in the cycle of reincarnation.
Painting © The Bhaktivedanta
Book Trust International.
Used with permission.
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Dying to Be Me: My Journey from
Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing
by Anita Moorjani
truly inspirational memoir, Anita
Moorjani relates how she lost her
four-year battle with cancer resulting
in an extraordinary NDE where she
realized her inherent worth and
the actual cause of her disease.
Upon regaining consciousness, Anita's
condition had improved so rapidly,
she was released from the hospital
within weeks without a trace of
cancer in her body! As a little
girl in a traditional Hindu family
residing in a largely Chinese and
British society, she was pushed
and pulled by cultural and religious
customs. After years of struggling
to forge her own path, she had an
epiphany from her NDE: she had the
power to heal herself and that there
miracles in the Universe never even
imagined. In "Dying to Be Me", Anita
freely shares all she learned about
illness, healing, fear, "being love",
and the true magnificence of each
and every human being! This is a
book that definitely makes the case
that we are spiritual beings having
a human experience ...and that we
are all One.
Physics of the Soul: The Quantum Book of
Living, Dying, Reincarnation and Immortality
At last, science
and the soul shake hands. Writing in a
style that is both lucid and charming,
mischievous and profound, Dr. Amit
Goswami uses the language and concepts
of quantum physics to explore and
scientifically prove metaphysical
theories of reincarnation and
immortality. In Physics of the Soul, Dr.
Goswami helps you understand the
perplexities of the quantum physics
model of reality and the perennial
beliefs of spiritual and religious
Jesus in India: A Reexamination of Jesus'
Asian Traditions in the Light of Evidence
James W. Deardorff
provided by the accumulated historical
and textual evidence supporting
reincarnation, this book first examines
Gospel evidence that Jesus actually
taught reincarnation and karma rather
than resurrection. Deardorff's
compelling analysis bolsters other
studies indicating that the concept of
resurrection displaced reincarnation in
earliest Christianity due to its
pre-belief by certain Pharisee converts,
and specifies how the Gospels came to
reflect this belief. Jesus in India
reexamines the evidence that the "lost
years" of Jesus' youth were spent in the
The Burden of Proof
by Deepak Chopra
Chopra has touched millions of
readers by demystifying our deepest
spiritual concerns. Now he turns to
the most profound mystery: What
happens after we die? Is this one
question we were not meant to
answer, a riddle whose solution the
universe keeps to itself? Chopra
tells us there is abundant evidence
that “the world beyond” is not
separated from this world by an
impassable wall; in fact, a single
reality embraces all worlds, all
times and places. In Life After
Death, Chopra draws on cutting-edge
scientific discoveries and the great
wisdom traditions to provide a map
of the afterlife - a fascinating
journey into many levels of
consciousness. But far more
important is his urgent message: Who
you meet in the afterlife and what
you experience there reflect your
present beliefs, expectations, and
level of awareness. In the here and
now, you can shape what happens
after you die.
Children Who Remember Previous Lives [Kindle]
This is the revised
edition of Dr. Stevenson's 1987 book, summarizing
for general readers almost forty years of
experience in the study of children who
claim to remember previous lives. For many
Westerners the idea of reincarnation seems
remote and bizarre; it is the author's intent
to correct some common misconceptions. New
material relating to birthmarks and birth
defects, independent replication studies
with a critique of criticisms, and recent
developments in genetic study are included.
The work gives an overview of the history
of the belief in and evidence for reincarnation.
Representative cases of children, research
methods used, analyses of the cases and
of variations due to different cultures,
and the explanatory value of the idea of
reincarnation for some unsolved problems
in psychology and medicine are reviewed.
At the Hour of Death: A New Look at Evidence
for Life After Death
Erlendur Haraldsson and Karlis Osis
In this classic
book, veteran psychical researchers Karlis
Osis, Ph.D and Erlendur Haraldsson, Ph.D
collated compelling evidence suggesting
that we, as conscious beings, do survive
physical death. This book is the product
of extensive interviews of over 1,000 doctors
and nurses who have been present when cases
of "post-mortem existence" have occurred.
Extensive computer analyses of their observations
have been made. The results are reported
in this first truly scientific investigation
of the experiences of the dying at the hour
of death. What these doctors and nurses
have witnessed cannot be explained away
by medical, psychological, cultural, or
other conditioning. Yet it may answer the
fundamental question of human existence.
Hindu Hell: Visions, Tours and Descriptions
of the Infernal Otherworld
In the long tradition
of Hindu literature there was a significant
development in the concept of hell from
the period of the Vedas (c. 1500-1000 BCE)
through the period of the Puranas (c. 300-1500
CE). The earliest descriptions are vague,
particularly in terms of topography, alluding
only to an underground, dark, putrid place
for punishing sinners. Later descriptions
calculate the huge dimensions, and designate
almost innumerable subdivisions, of hell.
Hell descriptions have been collected here
from eight Hindu texts: The Rig-Veda, Atharva-Veda
[Veda of the Wise and the Old], The Mahabharata,
The Ramayana, The Markandeya Purana, The
Vamana Purana, The Padma Purana, The Agni
Purana. Includes notes, glossary, web resources.
A Second Chance: The Story of a Near-Death
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
The law of karma
reveals how we’re all responsible for our
actions. When we do unto others, the same
will be done unto us. Death is the crucial
moment when this mysterious force acting
behind the scenes determines our destiny.
At a time when reincarnation, OBEs and NDEs
are quickly gaining acceptance, “A Second
Chance” is an amazing narrative is based
on an ancient book of Eastern wisdom called
Srimad-Bhagavatam. It shows us how we can
employ the techniques of meditation and
bhakti-yoga to overcome the obstacles of
materialism, meet the challenge of death,
and ultimately attain spiritual perfection.
Life After Death: A Study of the Afterlife
in World Religions
What happens to
us when we die? What is the soul? Where
are heaven and hell? Is there a reckoning
with the Creator? Questions such as these
about death and dying have frightened and
fascinated humanity since the beginning
of time. This book explores these questions
in detail by providing a general overview
of answers from the scriptures of seven
world religions: Hinduism, Zoroastrianism,
Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam,
and the Bahá'í Faith. The book examines
the viability of reincarnation and transmigration
theories, as well as various ideas that
attempt to explain near-death experiences.
Theological scholarship combined with insight
and sensitivity make this book thoroughly
readable, a simple introduction to profound
and complicated subjects.
Ancient Near Eastern Hell: Visions, Tours
and Descriptions of the Infernal Otherworld
from the Ancient Near East reveal a cosmology
that included a dark underworld realm, principally
associated with fertility cycles and describing
fertility gods and goddesses who are captured
and imprisoned in this realm. In this underworld
contrary gods live permanently in a world
without joy where there is only dust to
eat and drink. This land also served as
a great warehouse for dead mortals. It was
not conspicuously a place of punishment,
but hints of judgment and retribution are
already evident, and these elements became
significant elements in other cultures as
the idea of hell developed.