[Note on “A Hindu Story of Re-Incarnation”]
Theosophist, May, 1881
Article Selections from a Story by “A Kshatriya Lady” | Note by H.P.B.
. . . there lived, about forty years ago, a Brahman names Nathu . . . He had a son called Tej Ram. One day, this Tej Ram . . . retired to his chamber to smoke. Just as his hand came in contact with his brazen hooka, a venemous serpent bit him . . . His relations . . . threw his dead body into a neighbouring wilderness. . . .
Nine or ten months after this, [a] Kurmin [woman] gave birth to a son. . . . [later] the woman happened to come again to the village where Tej Ram’s family resided . . . She carried her child in her arms. As soon as the boy saw Tej Ram’s house, he sprang tot he ground and pointed to it . . . saying that yonder house was his—that so and so, naming the several members of the family, were his father, brothers, wife and sisters.
[Note: the story proceeds to tell how the boy was questioned; he claimed to be Tej Ram, related events from Tej Ram’s life, led the people to a buried cache of rupees he claimed Tej Ram had hidden, etc. The author finishes the story with the following request:]
May I ask whether the above case is an example of the transmigration of soul—a case in which it has retained its individuality?
Note.—We have the above pretty tale from a gentleman of character and credibility who certainly tells it in good faith. Upon reflection he will no doubt see, however, that he could not seriously expect us to answer his concluding question, as the narrative comes to us fourth-hand and facts of this kind ever lose by circulation. For one thing, it does not seem to have occurred to the respected Kshatriya lady to enquire how it was that Tej Ram reincarnate had not proved his identity, even with the money-findings, the circumstantial accounts of his death and transmigrations, and the snake-bite scar—that had accompanied him through the episodes of his crow and cock sparrow lives—so clearly as to induce his Brahman castemen to recognize and adopt him. Was a screw loose somewhere, after all?