Is Reincarnation Real? The Case of Parmod Sharma

The remarkable case of a 5-year-old boy who recalled detailed events from an Indian man's life, as documented by Ian Stevenson.

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Parmod's parents never investigated or tried to verify their son's claims, perhaps because of the Indian folk custom that children who remembered a previous life were fated to die early. News of Parmod's statements, however, eventually reached the ears of a family in Moradabad named Mehra which fit many of the details of his story. The brothers of this family owned several businesses in Moradabad including a biscuit and soda water shop named "Mohan Brothers." The shop had been started and managed by Parmanand Mehra until his untimely death on May 9, 1943, eighteen months before Parmod was born. Parmanand had gorged himself on curd, one of his favorite foods, at a wedding feast, and had subsequently developed a chronic gastrointestinal illness followed later by appendicitis and peritonitis from which he died. Two or three days before his death, he had insisted, against his family's advice, on eating more curd saying that he might not have another chance to enjoy it. Parmanand had blamed his illness and impending death on overeating curd. As part of his therapy during his appendicitis, Parmanand had tried a series of naturopathic bath treatments. While he had not in fact died in a bathtub, he had been given a bath immediately prior to his death. Parmanand left a widow and five children--four sons and one daughter.

In the summer of 1949, the Mehra family decided to make the trip to Bisauli to meet Parmod, who was a little under five years old at the time. When they arrived, however, Parmod was away with his family and no contact was made. Shortly thereafter, Parmod's father responded to an invitation from the Mehra family and took him to Moradabad to explore his son's compelling remembrances first hand.

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Among those who met Parmod at the railway station was Parmanand's cousin, Sri Karam Chand Mehra, who had been quite close to Parmanand. Parmod threw his arms around him weeping, calling him "older brother" and saying, "I am Parmanand." (It is common for Indians to call a cousin "brother" if the relationship is a close one, as was the case for Parmanand and Karam.) Parmod then proceeded to find his way to the "Mohan Brothers" shop on his own, giving instructions to the driver of the carriage which brought them from the station. Entering the shop, he complained that "his" special seat had been changed. (It is customary in India for the owner of a business to have an enclosed seat--a gaddi--located near the front of the store where he can greet customers and direct business.) The location of Parmanand's gaddi had in fact been changed some time after his death. Once inside Parmod asked, "Who is looking after the bakery and soda water factory?" This had been Parmanand's responsibility. The complicated machine which manufactured the soda water had been secretly disabled in order to test Parmod. When shown it, however, Parmod knew exactly how it worked. Without any assistance, he located the disconnected hose and gave instructions in its repair.

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Christopher Bache
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