90 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYING The expert and archaeologist of Petra who accompanied Arthur Flowerdew could not explain this very ordinary Englishman's uncanny knowledge of the city. He said: He's filled in details and a lot of it is very consistent with known archaeological and historical facts and it would require a mind very different from his to be able to sustain a fabric of deception on the scale of his memories—at least those which he's reported to me. I don't think he's a fraud. I don't think he has the capacity to be a fraud on this scale. 4 What else could explain Arthur Flowerdew's extraordinary knowledge except rebirth? You could say that he might have read books about Petra, or that he might have even received his knowledge by telepathy yet the fact remains that some of the information he was able to give was unknown even to the experts. Then there are fascinating cases of children who can spontaneously remember details of a previous life. Many of these cases have been collected by Dr. Ian Stevenson of the University of Virginia. 5 One startling account of a child's memories of a past life came to the attention of the Dalai Lama, who sent a special representative to interview her and verify her account. 6 Her name was Kamaljit Kour, and she was the daughter of a schoolteacher in a Sikh family in the Punjab in India. One day, on a visit to a fair in a local village with her father, she suddenly asked him to take her to another village, some distance away. Her father was surprised and asked her why. "I have nothing here," she told him. "This is not my home. Please take me to that village. One of my school-friends and I were riding on our bicycles when suddenly we were hit by a bus. My friend was killed instantly. I was injured in the head, ear, and nose. I was taken from the site of the accident and laid on the bench in front of a small courthouse nearby. Then I was taken to the village hospital. My wounds were bleeding profusely and my parents and relatives joined me there. Since there were no facilities to cure me in the local hospital, they decided to take me to Ambala. As the doctors said I could not be cured, I asked my relatives to take me home." Her father was shocked, but when she insisted, he finally agreed to take her to the village, though he thought that it was just a child's whim.
EVOLUTION, KARMA, AND REBIRTH 91 They went to the village together as promised, and she recognized it as they approached, pointing out the place where the bus had hit her, and asking to be put in a rickshaw, whereupon she gave directions to the driver. She stopped the rickshaw when they arrived at a cluster of houses where she claimed she had lived. The little girl and her bewildered father made their way to the house she said belonged to her former family, and her father, who still did not believe her, asked the neighbors whether there was a family like the one Kamaljit Kour had described, who had lost their daughter. They confirmed the story and told the girl's astonished father that Rishma, the daughter of the family, had been sixteen years old when she was killed; she had died in the car on the way home from the hospital. The father felt extremely unnerved at this, and told Kamaljit that they should go home. But she went right up to the house, asked for her school photo, and gazed at it with delight. When Rishma's grandfather and her uncles arrived, she recognized them and named them without mistake. She pointed out her own room, and showed her father each of the other rooms in the house. Then she asked for her school books, her two silver bangles and her two ribbons, and her new maroon suit. Her aunt explained that these were all things Rishma had owned. Then she led the way to her uncle's house, where she identified some more items. The next day she met all of her former relatives, and when it was time to catch the bus home, she refused to go, announcing to her father that she was going to stay. Eventually he persuaded her to leave with him. The family started to piece the story together. Kamaljit Kour was bom ten months after Rishma died. Although the little girl had not yet started school, she often pretended to read, and she could remember the names of all her school friends in Rishma's school photograph. Kamaljit Kour had also always asked for maroon-colored clothes. Her parents discovered that Rishma had been given a new maroon suit of which she was very proud, but she had never had time to wear it. The last thing Kamaljit Kour remembers of her former life was the lights of the car going out on the way home from the hospital; that must have been when she died. I can think of ways that one might try to discredit this account. You might say that perhaps this little girl's family had put her up to claiming she was the reincarnation of Rishma for some reason of their own. Rishma's family were wealthy