Monday, December 7, 2009

The Case of Shanti Devi

Shanti Devi was a case of a girl in the 1930's in India. Shanti was born in Delhi, to her family (the Devis) and none of them had ever been to Mathura which was many miles away from Delhi. This case was brought to the public's attention when the girl was nine and many believed it to be a publicity stunt since reincarnation was not a commonly held belief at the time (Rivas 127). Shanti had an ordinary Childhood, but the conductor of her interview has noted that she learned to talk a little late (primarily at four years old) and when she began talking she spoke only of her past life and who she used to be: a girl named Lugdi Choubey and was from Mathura.

As Rivas points out, Shanti's family ignored her claims and tried to make her stop talking about it, but after five years the girl was still describing everything from her husband to the food she liked and clothes she wore as Lugdi. After a while, her uncle finally wrote a letter to the family she claimed to have been from containing the claims Shanti was making about being Lugdi. Lugdi's cousin-in-law wrote back verifying the details Shanti spoke of. Finally, a meeting was arranged and all of Shanti's claims were verified by the cousin of Lugdi's husband. He even claimed her as his own kin (Rivas 129).

This case is notable because it focuses on a girl who had made many detailed allegations about her past life as a girl (Lugdi Choubey) in a village that she could have had no knowledge on since she and her parents had never visited there before. The fact that she could recall her husband's name and her past address at only nine years old is very impressive as well as she remembered it from the ages of four to nine years old despite being oppressed by her family. This is significant because in many of Stevenson's cases the children tend to forget by the time they are around six, primarily in the Western and European examples because they, too, are oppressed by their parents. Also, Rivas and Rawat made sure to note that Stevenson is a credible source and begin discussing cases similar to that of Shanti Devi's case. I also found this case to be reliable because it was reported in a time when reincarnation was not a hugely held belief in India (Rivas 126).

Rivas, Titus, and Kirti Swaroop Rawat. "The Life Beyond: Through the Eyes of Children Who Claim to Remember Previous Lives." Journal of Religion & Psychical Research 28.3 (2005): 126-36. Print.

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