Sunday, March 2, 2008


1.5 million copies sold. Says the jacket. True story, it says. Of a psychiatrist, his young patient and the past-life therapy that changed their lives.

I made my 18th attempt to complete reading ‘Many Lives, Many Masters’, my interest in half life mode. i.e. going down exponentially - half-hearted as compared to the last time I tried reading - each time.

How come so many folks swear by this book, and I find the going so totally uphill?

Don’t get me wrong. I would absolutely love to do a past-life therapy on myself. Imagine if science can get my DNA to talk, and tell its fascinating history. Imagine – if I can re-look at the seed of me that existed at an earlier point of time – for something of me was there, always, in the past, that is as sure as I stand here living and breathing.

If I decide to begin my journey, say, a mere hundred years ago, there are clearly eight people I am, for sure, merged in – the four sets of parents of my grandparents. Each with future bits of me… my predilections, my genes, my inherent tendencies…Ah, that’s the one I got the dust allergy from. Oh, he’s the one who dislikes sweets, is it? And wow, look at how well she sings and plays the instrument – why did this gene evade me? My ancestors, while they gave me the genes, what I would love to know more of, is what is called the ‘environment’ they each lived in - each bound in social roles, so many untold thoughts, so many untold histories. And all stories, in a real and fascinating way, enmeshed deep deep inside me, in the mist of the past.

Imagine. As I go back further and further in time, there are not just eight, but perhaps hundreds who I am, in a real sense , a part of back at any point of time – I am a living proof of their presence on this planet today. This is such a soul-stirring feeling, such a seamlessly connected to the wide world feeling, so much my-continuing-life feeling. So simple in the truth in it. So awesome too.

Just like the flower blooms so simply,

The morning in my life has woken up the same way.

… and I hope that my evening time also recognizes

To end in the same tune…

Tagore, I think. Who else can put in focus, our time on this planet, so well.

And science tells us there are no endings. If I am a drop in the ocean, I am so, along with billions of molecules. When I merge and go back, and then re-emerge, it will be as another combination of molecules perhaps, but what a mesmerizing history each subpart might have. Like the billions of strands in the double helix of my DNA.

Yet, what do we do - we look at the whole, and seek the past of the complete drop as such. That is because we are so attached to the 'me' of this life!

That’s what this Brian Weiss is missing the point on. When the true reality is so very fascinating, how can these descriptions of past life, by one young girl – each sounding suspiciously like some pages out of a school history text book hold my attention? I mean, her past lives (and the many masters) would do yeoman service to the world, not by providing what is being presented as 'gems of wisdom' but by perhaps going to times that would make it truly incredible - such as deciphering the Indus Valley script, no? Why isn’t anyone ever from some place like this, in her past lives? And that’s the basic defect in the Weiss logic. That he well camouflages under the academic degrees, and with continuous explanations that he rambles on & on about - of his own doubts, and thus smartly tying up of every loose end that could degenerate into outright suspicion by other readers such as me, of course written in a fairly easy to read style.

But then, if indeed she had deciphered the Indus script, the irony is that the book may not have become this famous. Whoever heard of reality – such as archaeology – sell a million and half copies? And that is a telling comment on what we humans seek – doubtful answers to the unknown are always more interesting than some proven and concrete solutions.

I loved watching the movie Ghost – still watch it if I catch it on any of the channels. Enjoy the chemistry between Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, and the story is one you want to believe in - you want to imagine it real. It is exactly what a good 2 hour movie is supposed to do – provide entertainment, in a world of make-believe simulations outside. I loved reading Roots too, once upon a time, and could never understand why folks dissed the book saying Alex Haley created a work of fiction. So what? That’s great, it was well-researched, and an important addition to the racial anthology, I felt.

But I just cannot bring myself to fit this Many Lives Many Masters anywhere into my acceptance grey cells. It is a piece of shit - to me. And my opinion each time I try to complete it, only digs in deeper. And thank god for blogs where one can bare one’s feelings as it is!


JonDanzig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JonDanzig said...

Yours is one of the only critical reviews of 'Many Lives, Many Masters' that I've so far managed to find on the internet. So, I thought I would add my own...

Dr Brian Weiss is a psychiatrist and self-proclaimed ‘scientist’ whose best-selling book, “Many Lives, Many Masters”, claims to have “scientifically proved” reincarnation by hypnotising one of his patients to past lives. His book has sold over 1.5 million copies with rave reviewers mostly giving ratings of 4 or 5 stars out of 5.

I give the book zero stars. I believe it’s a sham, pretending to be a work of scientific discovery when it’s nothing of the sort. The book gives doctors, and science, a bad name. The fact that so many readers believe that this book provides “evidence” for reincarnation shows that our education system has in many ways failed to explain the principles and discipline of science.

I’ve now published my damning review of this work of fiction on ‘Good Reads’. I’ll let Dr Weiss sue me in the next life. J Click to read:

JonDanzig said...

My follow-up article: ‘Fact or fiction? The girl, the hypnotist and past lives’

Short link

Anonymous said...

I read the book, and even went to one of Dr. Weiss's conferences. He is very sincere on believing in reincarnation definitely, he is not on purpose trying to deceive people.

He says that he did not believe in past lives until Catherine, his patient, accurately guesses how and why Weiss's newborn son died many years ago when he was a young man. She tells him that his son was born with his heart upside down like a chicken's heart.

Obviously Dr. Weiss after listening to this was in complete shock, I think this is when I began to notice that something really remarkable happened in these sections. The past live memories could have been a fabrication of her mind or things put in her mind by unseen entities, what he calls "the masters".

I don't know exactly what happened here, sorry! but I wouldn't say that the book is a sham, or not worth reading, maybe call it real science would be too ambitious given that there are so many things that are left unexplained, but Catherine is definitely either a psychic or maybe something more mysterious happened during her hypnosis sections.

by the way in the Bible is forbidden by God to hypnotize people, why? well maybe the mind becomes very susceptible to things that are out there that we can't see (and that are dangerous).

I think Dr. Weiss is a very genuine person, but I don't think he is understanding everything that happens during these hypnosis sections, or considering other aspects such as psychic ability or unseen forces to explain what Catherine and so many others experience during regressive hypnosis.

Jade Graham said...

that’s the one I got the dust allergy from. Oh, he’s the one who dislikes sweets, is it? And wow,