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Chaitanya Charan

Chaitanya Charan

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Chaitanya Charan

Reincarnation has always been an enigmatic subject, explored superficially in movies. Why do you think that people do not delve deeper into it?

People watch movies for entertainment, not enlightenment. They evaluate whatever is depicted in movies based on its amusement value, not its truth value. Just as many movies entertain by featuring bizarre story twists, unbelievable stunts and untenable coincidences, so too do some of them entertain by featuring reincarnation – dead characters come back frequently in bodies identical to the ones they had previously, either to continue a thwarted romance or to settle an old score.

When reincarnation is romanticized and sensationalized, it grabs people’s attention. But when it is seriously investigated by careful researchers such as Dr Ian Stevenson of the Virginia Medical School, studying such research requires us to go out of our intellectual comfort zone – and only people seriously seeking answers to life’s big questions are ready to do that.

Having said that, things are changing. Several serious documentaries treat the issue of reincarnation systematically and evidentially. Also, many people the world over are delving deeper into reincarnation. And they include a huge spectrum from the spiritual-but-not-religious crowd, the New Agers, the Eastern wisdom seekers and, scientific researchers looking for a framework that explains consciousness.

Religion is being used across the globe to create divide. How can we put an end to this?

We can decrease religion-triggered divisiveness if we understand that religion is meant more for improving than for proving.

As long as we use our religion to prove that we are better than others, we will find it difficult to tolerate those whose beliefs or practices differ from ours. But if we see our religion first and foremost as a means to improve ourselves, we will focus inwards on purifying ourselves of our pride and possessiveness. Then, as we become more spiritual, we will appreciate the similarities between various traditions and learn to address the differences prudently.

How has the feedback been to the book? Any favourite feedback from a reader?

It has been great. I have spoken on the book all over the world from Australia to England to America – and distributed the book thereafter. Many readers appreciate how the analysis is objective and comprehensive.

A reader from the US, Casey Williams, a science doctorate researcher at a prominent university, told me that she had undergone past-life hypnotic regression therapy that had helped relieve her hydrophobia. During her regression, she had seen herself drowning in a previous life. But the skeptic within her was wondering whether this therapy worked simply the way placebos worked – by making the mind believe in past lives, the way the mind believes the placebos to be medicinal pills. On reading the book, however, she got the evidence to harmonize her intelligence with her experience. She has become a much more spiritual person who now practices meditation and delves into spiritual texts such as the Bhagavad-Gita.

You mentor a lot of people. How do you motivate them?

The biggest demotivator for most people is their own mind. Millions all over the world are distressed because of anxiety, depression, resentment, loneliness and self-loathing. To help my audiences better manage their minds, I draw from the Bhagavad-Gita, the book that I have studied intensively for over two decades. I blog daily at gitadaily.com, where I have over 2500 practical reflections on the Gita’s wisdom. These meditations are read daily by some 20,000 people through email feeds, WhatsApp groups and mobile apps. The GitaDailyWisdom Facebook page has over 641,000 likes.

The Gita offers a three-level model for the self: body, mind and soul – similar to the hardware, software and user in a computer system. Today, the mind is corrupted by the viruses of negative emotions and shortsighted desires. Gita wisdom provides us principles and practices for disowning these viruses and for reclaiming our spirituality.

Which book of yours has been the most difficult to write?

For an author, every book is like a baby; asking an author to compare their different books is like asking a mother to compare her babies. Among the twenty-one books I have written till now, each has had its own birthing pains and joys.

Having said that, I can add that Demystifying Reincarnation gave me the most labor pain. It was conceived more than a dozen years ago through the combination of two sets of experiences. On one hand, I discovered the wealth of evidence supporting reincarnation and on the other hand, I encountered the dismal lack of awareness about this evidence. After the friction of these experiences gave rise to the idea of this book, it remained in gestation for almost a decade as I pored through several hundred books on reincarnation and related topics. Gradually, I managed to weave together the most persuasive evidences and arguments in a coherent thread.

About the Interviewee:

Chaitanya Charan is a mentor, life coach and monk. Building on his engineering degree from the Government College of Engineering, Pune, he complemented his scientific training with a keen spiritual sensitivity.

For over two decades, he has researched ancient wisdom-texts and practiced their teachings in a living yoga tradition.

Author of over twenty books, he writes the world's only Gita-daily feature (gitadaily.com), wherein he has penned over two thousand daily meditations on the Bhagavad-Gita.

Known for his systematic talks and incisive question-answer sessions, he has spoken on spiritual topics at universities and companies worldwide from Australia to America.