Book Review : Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr Brian Weiss

‘Intriguing, thought provoking, will change the way you feel about life and death’- is how I would describe ‘Many Lives, Many Masters’, in one line.

This book falls under the genre of ‘Psychology and Counseling’.

One of the author’s subsequent books has been lying on my bookshelf since a decade and I hadn’t opened it. Then, sometime in 2021, just after covid, I was speaking to a friend about intuition, telepathy, the losses I had faced during covid and the books I had been reading which helped me heal. She suggested I read, ‘Many Lives, Many Masters.’ So, I bought the book and began reading it. I read the first 25 pages- it spoke of past lives, and reincarnation and it provide proof of it by way of a person’s real-life experience. I was amazed to find out that all the connections we make in life are with people we’ve met in our past life. That’s all I talked about to everyone who mattered to me- telling them that we were connected. I found the idea beautiful. However, I did not go back to reading the book- I had got the gist of it and I didn’t think there would be anything more in the remaining 200 pages. So, it conveniently slipped to the bottom of my pile of books.

I picked it up again the week before last with the determination to complete it. And I’m glad I did.

Book blurb

As a traditional psychotherapist, Dr. Brian Weiss was astonished and skeptical when one of his patients began recalling past-life traumas that seemed to hold the key to her recurring nightmares and anxiety attacks. His skepticism was eroded, however, when she began to channel messages from the “space between lives,” which contained remarkable revelations about Dr. Weiss’ family and his dead son. Using past-life therapy, he was able to cure the patient and embark on a new, more meaningful phase of his own career. With more than one million copies in print, Many Lives, Many Masters is one of the breakthrough texts in alternative psychotherapy and remains as provocative and timeless as it was when first published.

From author and psychotherapist Dr. Brian Weiss comes the classic New York Times bestseller on the true case of the past-life therapy that changed the lives of both the prominent psychiatrist and young patient involved—now featuring a new afterword by the author.

About the book

Dr Brian Weiss is a psychiatrist who practises in Miami, Florida. He is a man of science who has always believed in the scientific method of treating patients. This book is based on his experience with Catherine, a twenty-seven year old patient on whom he has been working with for eighteen months but has been unable to rid her of the anxiety attacks that have been plaguing her for years. When Catherine travels to Egypt and takes a guided tour, she ends up correcting the guide with certain facts that there is no way she could have known as she has not been a student of History in her current life or ever read or spoken to anyone about these things. Catherine returns from Egypt and shares this expereince with Dr Weiss, who decides to try hypnosis on her to see if her knowledge comes from her past. During the session, Catherine speaks of her life in Egypt several centuries ago. Over the period of treatment and under a deep trance, Catherine talks of reincarnation, what happens in between lives, people in her life, their relationship with her in her past lives, the spirit’s need to return to settle past debt and to learn the lessons that haven’t been learned in the past. Catherine travels to and fro between lifetimes during the course of her sessions with Dr Weiss and begins to heal and rid herself of her many fears, namely swallowing, her inability to trust people, her anxiety attacks and for the first time begins to experience happiness. The higher spirits, whom Dr Brian Weiss calls the ‘Masters’, speak through Catherine under hypnosis, to communicate with Dr Weiss, revealing the secrets of life and death and everything in between. The doctor deems it his responsibility to share this knowledge for the betterment of mankind, hence this book. However, unsure of how this information will be taken by the medical fraternity and not wanting to jeopardize his practice, Dr Weiss, musters the courage to share his experience with Catherine four years after this incident.

What Dr Brian Weiss says in this book?

The doctor claims the following things in this book which as per him Catherine said under hypnosis. All sessions were recorded and prove that this claim is true. A few doctors that Dr Brian Weiss spoke to about this, apparently have had similar experiences. The idea however, Dr Weiss will have to go under the scientific method of testing, before, reincarnation becomes a widely accepted theory.

a) We are reborn, sometimes several times- In the book, Catherine says she has lived 86 lives before her current life. This thought is bound to make some people frown. It did not surprise me as reincarnation is the basic tenet of Hinduism. However, prior to this book, I had never given rebirth much thought.

b) It is not necessary for a soul to be born under the same gender, status, religion or in the same nation in every birth. Under hypnosis, Catherine remembers her life in Greece, Ukraine, France, Africa and several other countries. If one believes in this, then race and religion wouldn’t be a reason to fight about.

c) Some people are born wiser than others. This is because their souls may be older and they carry the wisdom of past lives with them. Even disbelievers of this concept will have to agree that this probably is the best explanation to why some people have a better IQ and EQ (think siblings) than others despite having the same lifestyle, experiences, brain size, parents, schooling etc.

d) During the hypnosis, Catherine reveals that her niece whom she is very close to in her current life was her daughter in a past life, the paediatrician, Dr Edward, who works in the same hospital as her, and who urges her to see Dr Brian Weiss, used to be her father several lives before. She reveals that Dr Brian Weiss, was the Greek teacher, Diogenes, in 1568 BC and taught her in a past life. Basically, it means that everybody you’re connected to in this life is someone you’ve been associated to in one of your past lives. The variables in the equation never change. We stay in our circles. This means you have been connected in the past to everybody in your circle of influence in this current life. I am assuming that circle includes virtual friends because there are a few people I’ve never met but with whom I’ve connected over words and yet feel I know them. Have you had the same experience- that you’ve barely spent time with a person or spoken to a person but feel connected. If your answer is a ‘yes’, then a past-life connection maybe the answer to why it is so.

e) Two ways to escape the cycle of rebirth is– first, to share knowledge with others and second, to be able to be with even those people whose vibration is different from ours and to help them change for the better.

f) If you do not check your vices, you carry them to another life and only when you decide that you are strong enough to master your problems (greed, selfishness etc) then you will no longer have them in your next life.

g) Life is endless. We (our spirits) never die. There are seven different planes. Our souls are in a state of transition between planes.

h) Time should not be measured in years but in lessons learned. It explains why maturity does not go hand in hand with the age of a person.

i) The subconscious mind of a person under anaesthesia is awake and can hear everything that is being said around it. This explains why sometimes a recovery is quick after a surgery and why sometimes it’s not. In the book, Catherine talks of a throat surgery she had, a few months before she began her session with Dr Weiss. During the surgery, while Catherine was under anaesthesia, the surgeons spoke of the need to put a tube into her throat, the possibility of the throat swelling and resulting in complications- ever since then Catherine had been scared of swallowing. Recalling this experience under hypnosis, helped Catherine get over her fear of swallowing.

j) We are all spirits. Some are in a physical state while others are in a period of renewal. And others are guardians.

k) We have debts that must be passed. If we have not paid out these debts then we must take them into another life in order that we may settle them. You progress by paying your debts. Some souls progress faster than others. If something interrupts your ability to pay that debt, you must return to the plane of recollection and there you must wait until the soul you owe the debt to has come to see you. And when you both can be returned to the physical form at the same time, then you are allowed to return.

Below are a few excerpts from the book-

Balance and harmony are neglected today, yet they are the foundations of wisdom. Everything is done to excess. People are overweight because they eat excessively. Joggers meglect aspects of themselves and others because they run excessively. People seem excessively mean. They drink too much, smoke too much, carouse too much (or too little), talk too much without content, worry too much. There is too much black-or-white thinking. All or none. This is not the way of nature. In nature there is balance. Beasts destroy in small amounts. Ecological systems are not eliminated en maase. Plants are consumed and then grow. The sources of sustenance are dipped into and then replenished. The flower is enjoyed, the fruit eaten, the root preserved.”

Happiness is really rooted in simplicity. The tendency to excessiveness in thought and action diminishes happiness.Religious people tell us that happiness comes from love, from faith and hope, from practicing charity and dispensing kindness. They actually are right.”

Intellectually the answers have always been there, but this need to actualize by experience, to make the subconscious imprint permanent by ’emotionalizing’ and practicing the concept, is the key. Memorizing in Sunday school is not good enough. Lip service without the behavior is no value. It is easy to read about or to talk about love and charity and faith. But to do it, to feel it, almost requires an altered state of consciousness. Not the transient state induced by drugs, alcohol, or unexpected emotion. The permanent state is reached by knowledge and understanding. It is sustained by physical behavior, by act and deed, by practice. It is taking something nearly mystical and transforming it to everyday familiarity by practice, making it a habit.”

Who is the book not for? Anyone who does not enjoy reading or is not open to new ideas or ideas different from their set beliefs.

What was not convincing about the book? The book felt stretched and monotonous as each chapter was Catherine recalling her various lives. It was exhausting reading it as the information was not specific – it sounded like random rambling sometimes- she would recall the smell from the time, the way she looked, the dress she wore but not the time period or the name of the place she was in. Also, at the end of the book, Dr Brian Weiss talks about how his family has flourished and that his wife and daughter have turned out to have above-average psychic abilities and that his son is a natural leader. I wasn’t sure why we needed to know that and how it was connected with the theme of this book. He speaks about listening more to his intuition and his dreams. Coming from a man of science it did not make sense.

Overall, it’s good to read and know that some people in the Western world also believe in reincarnation (the cover of the book says, ‘Over 2 million copies sold’, which is a concept explained a long, long time ago (more than 4000 years ago) in the Hindu scriptures. It’s a good reminder to do good as it explains why you should.

Dr Weiss ends the book with the following words, which sum up his purpose of writing the book.

“I hope you will be helped by what you have read here, that your fear of death has been diminished, and that the messages offered to you about the true meaning of life will free you to go about living yours to the fullest, seeking harmony and inner peace and reaching out in love to your fellow humans.”

To buy the book, click here. This was book# 5 this year. If you enjoyed reading the review, let me know. If there’s something you think I should add or improve upon, do let me know. I’ll be back next week with another review. Bye, for now. Wishing all of you a wonderful weekend.


8 responses to “Book Review : Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr Brian Weiss”

  1. boundlessblessingsblog Avatar

    Yes profound and a wonderful book to read Smitha. I too have the book with me. Very interesting

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Wow! It’s nice to know you have read the book, Kamal, and agree there are some profound takeaways in the book. Thank you for reading the review and writing back❤️.


      1. boundlessblessingsblog Avatar

        Yes completely agree with you Smitha. You are always welcome 🤗🤗

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Mick Canning Avatar

    It sounds extremely interesting, although I admit to being highly sceptical about its claims.


    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Hi Mick, Thank you for taking the time to read the review. The concept and the reasoning given were certainly interesting for those who want to know, ‘what next’ , ‘where next’, ‘Why we’re here’, and ‘for what?’ Also, how we move across planes between death and rebirth. The author claims this idea is under testing, and that’s pretty interesting, too. But, sometimes, he begins to sound like a preacher, and that’s no fun. It’s a bit of too much tell and no show :).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mick Canning Avatar

        I have read what sounds like a similar book in the past. Again let down by the lack of detail. It would have been more convincing if there had been even a few details the author could not have known about, but which research might then turn up, although in these internet days that would be a little too easy to fake.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Smitha V Avatar

          Exactly… it’s hard to believe it without facts. It looks like you may have read this book or the author’s subsequent books. I think he talks of the same thing in the later books, too – with examples of different patients and the info they reveal under hypnosis.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Mick Canning Avatar

            I don’t think it was one of his books, although I can’t be certain.

            Liked by 1 person

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