Many Lives, Many Masters is the true life story that most people would find it hard to believe. Dr. Brian Weiss, M.D., psychiatrist by profession, graduating from Columbia University and Yale Medical School, spent years in the disciplined study of the human psychology, training his mind to think as a scientist and physician.
He held steadfastly to conservatism in his profession, distrusting anything that could not be proved by traditional scientific method.
In this book he recounts his experience with a patient, Catherine in 1980, who came to his office seeking help for her anxiety, panic attacks and phobias. When traditional methods of therapy failed, he tried hypnosis on her. During these sessions she recalled her past life experiences and even the time in-between her lives. Her recollections were so vivid and revealed information she could not have known at all, that he was convinced that they were definitely from the past lives. For the first time, Dr Brian Weiss came face-to-face with the concept of reincarnation and the many tenets of Hinduism, which as he says in the last chapter of the book, "I thought only Hindus...practised."
For 18 months, Dr. Weiss used conventional methods of treatment to help his patient Catherine overcome her traumas. When nothing seemed to work, he tried hypnosis, which, he explains, "is an excellent tool to help a patient remember long-forgotten incidents. There is nothing mysterious about it. It is just a state of focused concentration. Under the instruction of a trained hypnotist, the patient's body relaxes, causing the memory to sharpen... eliciting memories of long-forgotten traumas that were disrupting their lives."
Dr. Weiss started researching on this phenomenon to get a better understanding of what was happening to Catherine. He studied the works of Dr. Ian Stevenson, another psychiatrist from Virginia University, who had collected over 2000 experiences of children who had memories of their past life. Some even exhibited ability to speak languages that they were not exposed to (xenoglossy). He also found references of reincarnation in the old and the new testament. The Roman emperor Constantine deleted these references because he felt that this concept would weaken the growing power of the church by giving humans too much time for salvation.
During the initial sessions, the doctor regressed Catherine back to her early childhood and she strained and stretched her mind bringing out isolated, deeply-repressed memory fragments. She remembered from age five when she swallowed water and felt gagged when pushed from a diving board into a pool; and at age three when her father reeking of alcohol molested her one night. But what came next, catapulted skeptics like Dr. Weiss into believing in parapsychology, and in what Shakespeare had said in Hamlet (Act I Scene 5), "There are more things in heaven and earth... than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
In a series of trance-like states, Catherine recalled "past life" memories that proved to be the causative factors of her recurring nightmares and anxiety attack symptoms. She remembers, "living 86 times in physical state" in different places on this earth both as male and female. She recalled vividly the details of each birth - her name, her family, physical appearance, the landscape, and how she was killed by stabbing, by drowning, or illness. And in each lifetime she experiences myriad events "making progress... to fulfill all of the agreements and all of the Karmic (from Hindu concept of Karma) debts that are owed.
Dr. Weiss's skepticism was eroded, however, when she began to channel messages from "the space between lives", messages from the many Masters (highly evolved souls not presently in body) that also contained remarkable revelations about his father and his dead son. Catherine was able to provide information about them which no one else could possibly know. She revealed the Hebrew name of his father, the heart condition due to which his new born son died and the reason why Dr.Brian chose psychiatry. She also said that his son was born and to repay his parent’s debts. Often Dr. Weiss had heard his patients talk about near-death experiences when they float out of their mortal bodies guided towards a bright white light before reentering their discarded body once again.
But Catherine revealed much more. As she floats out of her body after each death, she says, "I am aware of a bright light. It's wonderful; you get energy from this light." Then, while waiting to be reborn in the in-between-lives states, she learns from the Masters great wisdom and become conduit for transcendental knowledge.
More than her recollections of her past lives, what I found amazing was her messages from time in-between lives. She heard messages from whom she termed ‘masters’ and they provide some profound philosophical insights. “Our task is to learn, to become god-like through knowledge. By knowledge we can approach god”. This sounded so much like Vedantic statement, “knowledge alone can lead to god-hood”
These experiences made Catherine increasing psychic. She was able to remember her past life recollections; however, she was not able to remember the in-between states. What was remarkable about Catherine’s knowledge according to Dr. Brian, which defied all other explanations, was that it was not only detailed and specific but beyond her conscious capacity. Within three and a half months of her first hypnosis session, her symptoms virtually disappeared. Here is another very Hinduism-like message from the masters “We have debts that must be paid. If we have not paid out these debts then we must take them to another life…”
--------------------------------------------------------------------------Source: Excerpts from the book on "Many Lives, Many Masters" by Dr Brian Weiss