Dr Rati Oberoi
Assistant Professor (S.G.), UPES
Assistant Professor, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College
The present paper is a qualitative study aimed at exploring unconventional healing through hypnosis. To achieve the aim, three novels of the Indian author Namita Gokhle namely Gods, Graves and Grandmother (2001), The Book of Shadows (2001) and Shakuntala: The Play of Memory (2005); are investigatedfrom the standpoint of Dr Brian Leslie Weiss’ research on the paranormal. Weiss’ books Same Soul, Many Bodies (2004) and Many Lives, Many Masters (2012); on psycho spiritual practices of hypnosis and meditation prove the efficacy of healing through these methods. The objective is to assuage fear by providing an understanding about the continuity of life after death and reincarnation, and the soul’s existence.Additionally,Yogic meditation helps in cleansing the energy centres in the body enablingitto heal and reach higher planes of consciousness, similar to those reached by Weiss’ patients upon healing.
Keywords : Unconventional healing, hypnosis, paranormal, meditation, reincarnation, soul.
Dr Brian Leslie Weiss’researches showed that therapeutic hypnosis could heal. Knowledge of immortality through regression and progression provides hope and tranquility (Weiss, Many Lives164).
Weiss’ treatment regressed patients to several years in the same lifetime, but in case ofCatherine, his patient, it went thousands of years back (Weiss, Many Lives105). The Masters induced a telepathic bondbetween Dr Weiss and Catherine (Weiss, Many Lives153-4).Catherine became increasing psychic, precognitive and intuitive (Weiss, Many Lives46).Catherine’s super conscious insights transferred to the conscious mind. She radiated tranquility, once cured. Catherine experienced psychic phenomena, provided insights and Godly wisdom (Weiss, Many Lives). Weiss too became intuitive, empathetic and aware. He evaluated psychics and mediums, and on meditating received guidance from the Masters (Weiss, Many Lives 207-9).Gods and Masters are probably the evolved souls or highly advanced aliens (Weiss, Same Soul 143-4).
In Gods, Graves and Grandmother(2001), Gudiyaand her grandmother fled to Delhi in absolute penury. The ingenuity ofAmmi a Muslim singer, a Kothewali, enabled her to set up a temple, which flourished due to her singing. The supernatural is established as Gokhale implores to suspend disbelief (Gods).Witness to traumas ofseparation from her mother and death of acquaintances (Gokhale, Gods 7-107), Gudiya feared the supernatural and death (Gokhale, Gods). Gudiya saw ghosts and spirits on the branches of a peepul treewho reassured her (Gokhale, Gods 3) and helped her emerge stronger.
Ammi, portrayed as an evolved soul performed miracles and healed a patient of coma (Gokhale, Gods42-7). Scientific evidence proves that healing by praying for the patient has a higher recovery rate, than medical treatment (Same Soul53). Mysterious things happened, as Gudiya and Ammi, felt invincible(Gokhale, Gods 13-4). Ammi, uneducated in Hindu scriptures and rituals, preached these (Gokhale, Gods 3). Through hypnosis, a patient of Dr Weiss, corrected the guide on artifacts of Egypt, though she had never studied these (Weiss, Many Lives 24).
As a medium Lila’s featured arranged like Ammi’s, she conveyed Ammi’s message about continuity of life after death, impersonated for a lifelike sculpture of Ammi, and spoke in a garbled Ammi like voice (Gokhale, Gods, Graves 142-3). Lila, Ammi’s aid,had endeared herself to Ammi. Psychic powers can develop through relationships.When regressed, Catherine’s spoke in the Masters blissful voices(Weiss, Many Lives 84).Catherine became an extremely talented medium, channelisingsublime knowledge from the Master Spirits. (Weiss, Many Lives 64).
God is within each human and is accessible through divine wisdom. Weiss used regression therapeutically, upon disillusionment with modern medicine (Weiss, Many Lives 54-7). Transcendental knowledgemade Weiss peaceful. Fortified he lost the fear of death and of losing others (Weiss, Many Lives). Prior to her regression Catherine had never read about occult and metaphysics; neither did she believe in reincarnation (WeissMany Lives 47).
Shakuntala: Play of Memory, weaves religion, history and philosophy. Shakuntala (Gokhale, Shakuntala) identifies with Shakuntala the protagonist of the ancient classic AbhijnanaShakuntalam, by Kalidasa, thus is bound in the cycle of death and rebirth (Gokhale, Shakuntala). A rock-demoness sowed the seed of independence in Shakuntala (Gokhale, Shakuntala) and gave her strength (Gokhale, Shakuntala 37) by introducing her to the powers and grace of the mother Goddess.Rebellious Shakuntala leaves home when her husband brings home another woman; and finds solace in the company of a Greek. Restless, she forsakes the Greek and dies in Kashi, on the banks of holy Ganga, without attaining liberation. Her accumulated Karmas prevented it (Gokhale, Shakuntala).Weiss’ writings similarly state that sins of ancestors affect their children as humans are their own fathers (Weiss, Same Soul 55). A recurrent need of the protagonists of Gokhale to attain liberation culminates in the efforts of Shakuntala.
Genetic transmission of Catherine’s memories was remote, as this requires an uninterrupted chain of passage from one generation to another.Additionally, there were unexplained, bodiless, after life and in between states. Carl Jung’s collective unconscious was too vague; moreover, messages from the Master Spirits were too specific to be out of conscious memory (Weiss, Many Lives 105-6). Life is endless;humans just pass through different stages (Weiss, Many Lives).
Hypnotic regression enables feeling the pain of past lives. This reframing leads to healing (Weiss, Same Soul 55).Gokhale’s Shakuntala, abandoned and dyinghad visions of holy men, benevolent Kali, the fierce Goddess, scavenger of desires, who provided hope;the God of death, Yama; and Yami, the guardian spirit (Gokhale, Shakuntala 3,190-1). Weiss’ patients too exhibited feelings of calm and hope, in the in between stages. They realized the effect of Karma (Weiss, Same Soul, Many Lives). Near death, Catherine saw a bright energizing light, in a previous birth (Weiss, Many Lives 46). Dying people saw a bright, powerful magnetic force that attracted and energized (Weiss, Same Soul, Many Lives).
Dead Shakuntala’s soul had a glimpse of the years that might have been (Gokhale, Shakuntala 208).Out of the seven planes that souls have to pass, in one, souls recollect the life just left behind (Weiss, Many Lives 172).People come back with unequal powers from each plane. They accrue abilities, talents, powers, and debts from previous lifetimes. Lessons learnt progressively, purify and heal humans. This may take several lifetimes (Weiss, Same Soul).
Catherine’s regressions spread over millennia, causing improvement progressively (Weiss, Many Lives 115). One Mastertold Weiss, that he should strive to eradicate fear. Physical state was abnormal, whereas the in between stages were for renewal. Both Weiss and Catherine renewed. This incredible message confirmed the efficacy of hypnosis and regression(Weiss, Many Lives 128).
Knowledge about the endlessness of life, help of spirits in the physical and the in between stage of renewal, presence of loved ones in the intermittent stage would comfort and remove fear. Thus, reduced acts of violence and desire for worldly possessions will bring peace. People need to be acquainted with parapsychological experiences. Initially, apprehensions prevented Weiss from sharingauthentic revelations. Some people sharedout of body experiences, ESP, past life phobias, dreams etc. with Dr Weiss. (Weiss, Many Lives 128). Catherine too validated her past lives through a psychic astrologer (Weiss, Many Lives 199-200).
The Book of Shadows depicts the supernatural, magic and sorcerers. Blamed for her fiancée’s death, Rachita Tiwari suffers an acid attack at the hands of his sister. Claimed by other dimensions, she seeks sanity while recuperating in a hundred years old house, cared for by the mysterious estate manager, Lohaniju. Depicted is the history of the house and ghosts of its previous inhabitants (Gokhale, The Book). A strange shadow-less woman deepenedRachita’s dementia (Gokhale, The Book 203-4).
Rachita believed that she and her uncle’s house had united against the world (Gokhale, The Book 19). On reaching the house, she had a feeling of déjà vu (Gokhale, The Book 10).Weiss realized that the past, present and future are connected, occur simultaneously and influence the future positively, as the soul can take a life form in any place besides the earth. Karma connects the past, present and future (Weiss, Same Soul 13).Catherine witnessed bright light and many souls around in a particular dimension. She experienced planes of higher consciousness progressively (Weiss, Many Lives).
Rachita was clairaudience, clairsentience and hallucinated (Gokhale, The Book 11, 26, 67). Rachitafelt a benevolent stalker, a ghost pursuing her. Petrified, she believed that the house had begun to speak with her (Gokhale, The Book 61). This presence was encouraging Rachita to get over her fears (Gokhale, The Book 64). A patient of Dr Weiss was clairvoyant and clairaudient and possessed telepathic skills (Weiss, Same Soul 82).
Rachitain mental turmoil, felt infiltrated (Gokhale, The Book 25-6) by presences who awaited retribution, hence release. Psychiatrists used medication, and intensive individual and group psychotherapy for treatment. Deficiencies of brain chemicals cause phobias. Weiss treated hallucinations, delusions, schizophrenia, etc. (Weiss, Many Lives 103-4) but Catherine was free from these illnesses, rather sheproduced credible, specific material from her own and Weiss’ past that were beyond her conscious experience (Weiss, Many Lives 104).
Healing happens through empathy, by forgiving oneself and others. Understanding one’s present condition and reaction of others, helps achieve progress towards immortality (Weiss, Same Soul). When regressed, Catherine’s fears diminished on remembering suffering traumas (Weiss, Many Lives 65).
In advanced therapeutic stage, Catherine saw life from a higher perspective; called Higher Self. Catherine’s reaching this state, was a powerful therapeutic technique, as she exhibited insight, spectacular knowledge and wisdom; previously restricted to spiritual states, suggesting that there was an accessiblesuper consciousness or Higher Self, in every human. This was similar to Carl Jung layers of consciousness and collective unconscious (Weiss, Many Lives).
In The Book of Shadows, (Gokhale) belief that the ridge on which the British missionary had built his house was haunted, made people reluctant about its construction after the death of a mountain girl (Gokhale, The Book 55). Villagers believed that at that spot, was buried thearrow of God Airee, the guardian spirit, which the hill people protect (Gokhale, The Book 208-9). However, visitations of Airee, were dreadful events that brought death, despair and dishonour to those who incurred His wrath (Gokhale, The Book 54). It was due to the Lords strength that the villagers lived at the sacred but forbidden spot. These spots, conjunctions between worlds were passages ofentry and exit. (Gokhale, The Book 208-9). Some of the angelic guardian spirits were omnipresent (Weiss, Many Lives).
Lohaniju, connected with the other world. Unintimidated by alien airs, he was familiar with the mysteries of the house (Gokhale, The Book150-1). Lohaniju believed that respect and tolerance was necessary to handle the spirit world (Gokhale, The Book16). Souls from all dimensions have created Karmic debts for evolution. A patient of Dr Weiss, an inhabitant of another dimension, was able to communicate with the dead. Similar to humans, his species were far more intelligent; and could navigate realms and consciousness. Consciousness separates from physical existence for spiritual healing (Weiss, Same Soul143-69).
Ghosts view things in a manner completely unfamiliar to the humans. The presenceentered the space of linearity as it slipped into Dona Rosa (Gokhale, The Book85), symbolically Rachita.Dona Rosa and the ghost talked, though, communication is rare between ghosts and humans (Gokhale, The Book91).
The ghost, the insecurities, resolved to find another dimension and await transition (Gokhale, The Book 87). As the ghost transitioned towards the end, Rachita healed. The immortal soul takes birth repeatedly to learn and evolve spiritually. People accomplished what they sought to achieve, then died, and once rested the soulsare reborn (Weiss, Many Lives 83-4).
Perverted sexuality of the previous middle-aged inhabitants of the house (Gokhale, The Book 98), made them shed reason and dignity for sensual gratification (Gokhale, The Book175).Fear of impotencies made them exploit virgins and sacrifice an evolved male child; setting in motion an incomprehensible Karmic cycle(Gokhale, The Book 107).Panthers mauled them to death (Gokhale, The Book 113-4). Excessiveness and over indulgence destroys happiness. Hypnotic progression revealed that altered state of consciousness caused happiness (Weiss, Same Soul).
Souls return in physical formto repay Karmic debts. One out of the seven planes of transitionenables the souls to recollect the life just left behind. The soul’s progress through spiritual wisdom leads to a euphoric connection with God (Weiss, Many Lives 172-3).
Father Benedictus, the medium, and the ghost communicated (Gokhale, The Book 130-1) throughosmosis by permeating each other’s consciousness and experienced a complete understanding (Gokhale, The Book 139). Through Dona Rosa, the ghost entered the consciousness of the other inhabitants of the house (Gokhale, The Book).Cryptic messages enable one in spiritual stage to contact another who is in the physical stage. Weiss was aware of the physical and spiritual world, connected with them and the energy between them. Masters use psychic abilities to communicate with people in the physical form (Weiss, Many Lives). There is dialogue between the protagonists of Gokhale’s novels and strange beings.
Upon the death of Osborne, another dead inhabitant of the house, past life phobia disturbed the ghost. Trapped in a long illuminated tunnel, the ghost was determined upon release. Devoid of memory, the ghost suspended in time and space, cried out at the injustice, the unfathomable reasons and circumstances that caused the exile (Gokhale, The Book 123-4-5).
On Osborne and Father Benedictus’ death, presences from other planes arrived to aid transmigration. Father Benedictusstated that the past belonged to the past and that the future was free and fearless (Gokhale, The Book140-1).Immense freedom and forgetting, accompanies the transportation of the soul between dimensions. Good Karmas determines this. However, presences deny passage, seizeand suspend the defaulters (Gokhale, The Book179-180).
Rachita saw dead Lohaniju, her dead fiancée (Gokhale, The Book 228) the dead inhabitants and the panthers (Gokhale, The Book222-4) as she healed. During her sessions with Dr Brian Weiss, on leaving the body, Catherine saw wonderful familiar and unfamiliar people coming to help her (Weiss, Many Lives).
Lohaniju, stated that “People neither live nor die, they just move houses, and bodies, and dimensions.”(Gokhale, The Book 209) Hindu and Buddhist mystical writings are full of references to reincarnation and in between stages (Weiss, Same Soul 9) (Lanza, Biocentrism 34).
For spiritual, psychological and bodily healing, consciousness separates from the body in phases reaching the higher stages progressively to unite with the One. The progress of the soul to higher levels depends on free will(Weiss, Same Soul). Metaphysical healing, hypnosis and meditation access the subconscious, to the source of the symptom, to heal,Hypnosis occurs when the conscious and the subconscious converge, but the subconscious plays a dominant role. Humans experience this stage of hypnosis between wakefulness and sleep called the hypnagogic state.(Weiss, Same Soul22-4).Beyond the painless higher planes of pure consciousness, all souls are connected (Weiss,Same Soul12-3).
Weiss advocates eliminating mental and physical pain through mediation, by imagining exhalingnegativity and inhaling pure energy.Weiss’ method of healinginvolves questioning a symptom on how it affects the body and imagining swimming with dolphins, playfully. In another method, after being lead through a beautiful temple andthen a room with healing crystals, the patient sees images of past life that connect and heal. Paired patients heal by receiving impressions from exchanged objects. Dr Weiss cured serious, chronic illnesses by the aforementioned methods. (Weiss, Same Soul 46-53)
Yogic healing arouses the Kundalini Sakti or Supreme Serpent Powerin the human body, whichcleanses the six regions or Cakras,the principle centers of consciousness (Woodroffe, The Serpent Power 1, 3). The awakening of energy at the bottom of the spine arouses the centers progressively. Arousal of the sixth center leads to clairvoyance. This stage activates the pituitary gland, enabling hearing the voice of the Master. The sequential arousal of all the Cakrasenables leaving the body in a fully conscious state by awakening of the seventh center (Woodroffe, The Serpent Power 10). At this stage, the purified soul unites with the Lord.
Biocentrism asserts that the mind consciousness is eternal and infinite (Lanza185-6). Scientifically, everything has indestructible energy, which only changes form. Therefore, everything is immortal (Lanza, Biocentrism 191)Quantum mechanics seeks to evolve a theory on consciousness by including studies onneuroscience and consciousness; and integratingbiology, physics, cosmology and their branches (Lanza, Biocentrism195-7).
Science, psychology and spirituality merge (Weiss, Same Soul17) to heal the human body and soul. Gokhale too writes about the supernatural and healing.Hypnotic delving into the subconscious, called the collective consciousness by Carl Jung,enables accessibility to memories of the entire human race (Weiss, Many Lives11).Hypnosis and meditation can heal and bring peace.
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Gokhale, Namita. The Book of Shadows. Penguin Books India, 2001.
Gokhale, Namita. Shakuntala : The Play of Memory. Penguin Books India, 2005.
Weiss, Brian L. Same Soul, Many Bodies. Piatkus,2004.
Weiss, Brian L. Many Lives, Many Masters. Touchstone,2012.
Lanza, Robert and Berman, Bob. Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe. BeBella, 2010.
Woodroffe, John. The Serpent Power. Ganesh & Company, 2012.