August 2016 By Punya Srivatsava Most of us have been privy to the mystifying experience of déjà vu which collapses the past and the present by filling us with a sense of having been there before. Punya Srivastava explores this phenomenon This happened in March 2014. I was on a short work trip to Kathmandu. On the last morning of my stay, along with the other journalists in the group, I visited the famous Pashupatinath temple. I had barely entered the temple complex when a powerful sensation hit me. “I have been here before!” cried something within. It felt eerie at first. Just a glimpse of the side lawns flanking the path towards the main entrance door released a spool of memories in superfast-forward mode. I was gambolling along those lawns (which were much more sprawling in my memory) as the sun dived into the horizon, splashing the sky with streaks of orange and purple. I was looking for someone – don’t remember who, though. And as abruptly as it had started, the film ended. The strangest part was that it was the first time in my life that I had stepped into this temple, heck, been to Nepal! There was no way I could have revisited memories from my childhood, never having been to this place before. Moreover, I have never been a temple enthusiast, resisting all the efforts of my mother and grandmother to make me visit one. And yet, I could see myself happily ambling along these precincts in those memory flashes. I stood there dazed, flummoxed at what had happened. This was certainly not the first time that I had experienced déjà vu, but it surely was the most exhilarating example of this bizarre phenomenon! I kept rewinding this memory for days afterwards, but couldn’t come to any conclusion and with the passage of time, it started getting blurred at the edges. This happened before An intense déjà vu experience resolved one of the mysteries of Blossom Furtado’s life Déjà vu is that uncanny feeling which tells you that ‘this has happened before’. And it leaves you scratching your head, trying hard to match the current day, time, and venue with the suddenly erupted flash of memory. Coined by a French philosopher and researcher Emile Boirac in 1876, the term means ‘already seen’. Blossom Furtado, a Delhi-based hypnotherapist, defines déjà vu as a strong sensation in the physical body with an even deeper feeling that an event or experience in the present, has already been experienced. “It is a feeling of familiarity – I have been here before – I know this – I have lived through this,” she says. She shares her own very intense experience of déjà vu which ultimately healed and brought closure to a significant aspect of her life. Coming from a large family consisting of a sister and four brothers, she was particularly close to her father and younger brother, and very protective of them. “Both my father and brother have since passed on, and I would frequently question if I had done enough for them, often relapsing into tears at the thought,” she shares. Blossom went on a cruise to Alaska as, in her own words, “I love hill stations, winters, cold… I can be without a sweater even in the bitter cold of Delhi’s December and yet be comfortable.” There she had a profound experience as the cruise docked for an early morning excursion on a rail-road train through the mountains. Choosing to go alone, she started experiencing intense déjà vu as the train went uphill. “I experienced an overwhelming feeling of – I have been here, I know this place, something happened here, I am responsible. I felt sick and started crying all the way to the top of the mountain. Then as the train chugged back, I suddenly had this vision in front of me – it was as if a movie played itself out. I was a male supervisor on this railroad with a team working under me. On a very cold morning I ordered two men to continue the work despite the bad weather. Both of them had died when an avalanche buried them somewhere on this very site. I suddenly knew that those two men were my father and brother in this lifetime,” she recounts. Blossom was still reeling from this memory hit when she heard the tourist guide mention this whole episode to the rest of the tourists. “The tears stopped flowing. I was at peace. I finally knew the reason for my being so close and protective of my dad and brother. I was to complete what I had not done in that lifetime. In this lifetime, I was making it up to them, though without knowing the reason why,” says Blossom. Understanding déjà vu A 2004 survey concluded that approximately two-thirds of the population of the world has had déjà vu experiences. Other studies confirm that déjà vu is a common experience, with 31 per cent to 96 per cent of individuals reporting it. In most cases, déjà vu is recorded as a mystical phenomenon that has no conventional or scientific explanation; something that has its actual roots in our subtle body that is connected to our past and future frequencies. As per Blossom’s experience, déjà vu is an indication of the highest consciousness, or soul, having been through this experience in some other lifetime. “This experience may have been incomplete, and hence the soul chooses the current physical body to re-experience this again, understand or have a new perception, release and be complete with this experience,” she says. In some instances, déjà vu can also be out of our childhood experiences that were suppressed in the subconscious or unconscious mind and activated upon hitting a similar frequency place, event, feeling, emotion or pattern. During a trip to Africa, Carl Jung had a déjà vu experience when he saw a slim, black man leaning on a spear looking down at his train as it made a turn around a steep cliff on the way to Nairobi. Jung wrote, “I had the feeling that I had already experienced this moment and had always known this world.” Although that world and that man were alien to him, Jung saw the whole thing as perfectly natural. He called this a recognition of what was ‘immemorially known’. Fascinating theories There are many theories in science and spirituality explaining the occurrence of déjà vu. One of the most probable theories, according to science, is based on Einstein’s time and space principle that forms the basis of many sci-fi writings and films, the most recent being Chris Nolen’s Interstellar. Einstein stated that time and space do not move in straight lines. They are on a massive curve, thanks to gravity, and wrap around themselves like a sphere, and if one goes in what he or she perceives to be a straight line, one will end up where he or she started. Thus, déjà vu is a recognition of the fact that our consciousness momentarily transcends its confinement in the third dimension. Hence, apparently, we have been here before, and because time and space are on a massive curve, we may not realise it until we have gone far enough along the curve to end up back where we started. It is our non-physical and non-corporeal consciousness – the soul – recognising itself to be in the same place in time and space that it was in the ‘past’. Only our soul can experience déjà vu as it is a spiritual emotion situated outside of our physical body, and beyond the third and fourth dimension. Can deja vu be a quantum phenomenon, queries Dr Michio Kaku Then there is American theoretical physicist Dr Michio Kaku who observes déjà vu to be a quantum phenomenon. According to Dr Kaku, quantum physics states that there is the possibility that déjà vu might be caused by one’s ability to ‘flip between different universes’. “We all are vibrating waves of energy. These waves are continuously vibrating and splitting apart with time,” he says. Now, at any given moment, there exist innumerable universes or multiverses. Sometimes it may happen that for a few moments a person’s vibrational frequency gets aligned to his or her vibrational frequency in a parallel universe. This overlapping opens the door to that parallel universe, thus creating the phenomenon of déjà vu. Purpose behind the phenomenon According to Gurgaon-based Past-life Regression (PLR) therapist, Hitesh Vashisht, we all have a memory bank which he calls soul memories _ a storehouse of all our memories from past, current and parallel lifetimes. In déjà vu, a person recalls a feeling through sensory faculties out of his or her soul memories. So, it is not only an indication of some other lifetime but also could be a recall triggered from the current lifetime’s childhood or a parallel lifetime in other dimensions. These memories have high intensity because it has a deep connect with the life purpose or simply may have some important message to unfold in a person’s life. Ron Rattner, a US-based retired attorney, spiritual author and poet shares his life-changing experience of déjà vu. A Jew by birth, Rattner describes himself as a ‘born-again Hindu’. In spring 1992, he journeyed to the Umbrian town of Assisi, Italy, birth place of Saint Francis, where he experienced an extraordinary feeling of déjà vu. Since his spiritual awakening in 1976, Rattner had been having many spiritual experiences concerning Saint Francis of Assisi, of whom he was until then quite ignorant. His trip to Assissi occasioned many profound flashbacks that immersed him in deep emotions. The climax was his vi
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