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March 16, 1959
|Occupation||Author, speaker, consultant|
|Spouse(s)||Danny Moorjani (m. 1995)|
|Relatives||Anoop Shamdasani (brother)|
Anita Moorjani (born Anita Shamdasani) (born 16 March 1959) is a New York Times best selling author of the book Dying to be Me, speaker, and intercultural consultant for multinational corporations. In 2006, after suffering cancer for almost four years, Anita's organs started shutting down and she slipped into a deep coma. She was in coma for 30 hours. She was rushed to the hospital where she claims to have crossed into the afterlife during what is often referred to as a Near Death Experience (NDE).
Early life and education
Moorjani was born to Indian parents Hargobind (father) and Neelu (mother) Shamdasani in Singapore. Shortly after her birth, her family moved to Sri Lanka, and then at age two, moved to Hong Kong, where she and her older brother Anoop grew up. Anita and her brother both studied in British schools. As an ethnic minority in a majority British school, Moorjani says she was often the victim of bullying. Moorjani's parents are Indian, and because of her diverse cultural background, grew up multilingual, speaking Sindhi (an Indian language), Cantonese (a Chinese dialect) and English simultaneously.
Near Death Experience (NDE)
In February 2002, while living and working in Hong Kong, Moorjani was diagnosed with lymphoma after finding a lump on her neck. Initially, Moorjani rejected conventional medicine. She had watched several people close to her die of cancer, including her brother-in-law and her best friend, despite extensive conventional treatments. Over the months that ensued, Moorjani experimented with various alternative healing practices, but to no avail. She subsequently underwent several conventional cancer treatments. However, by that point, despite these treatments, her doctors informed her and her family that it was "too late" to save her life. The lymphoma had spread throughout her body and had metastasized. Moorjani had large lemon sized tumors all over her upper body from her neck to her abdomen. Her body would no longer absorb nourishment, her lungs were perpetually filled with fluid that needed to be drained regularly, and she was connected to piped oxygen. On 2 February 2006, she fell into a deep coma. The doctors told her family that her body had gone into organ failure and she was in her final hours of life.
Moorjani came out of the coma thirty hours later and told her family that during her NDE, she had been greeted by her deceased father and deceased best friend, who had told her that it was not her time to die. During those 30 hours, Moorjani experienced many characteristic details of a near death experience as well as details unique to her. Her account includes an out-of-body experience with observations and awareness of physical surroundings. Moorjani said she had a strong reluctance to return to her suffering and dying physical body, but was encouraged to return by her father and best friend who told her that she needed to return and to "live her life fearlessly".
Subsequent to coming out of her coma, Moorjani experienced a spontaneous healing. Her tumors shrunk by about 70% within four days, and within five weeks, she was cancer-free and released from hospital, although she had to spend a few months in physiotherapy to regain her strength and the use of all her muscles and limbs.
Shortly after her full recovery, Moorjani started sharing her story and the insights she gained from her NDE on the internet. She submitted the description of her NDE and subsequent healing to the Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF) website, a site owned and run by oncologist Dr. Jeffrey Long and his wife, Jody Long, a family law attorney . NDERF is a site dedicated to NDE research and within hours of submitting her story, Moorjani was contacted by Dr. Long, who questioned Moorjani further to verify her case, and subsequently posted her story on the home page of his website as he felt hers was an "exceptional NDE". Although NDERF has thousands of NDE stories, Moorjani's story went viral, and created enormous interest on an international scale.
Shortly after her recovery, The University of Hong Kong learned of Anita's spontaneous remission from her oncologist, who introduced Moorjani to the head of the Department of Behavioral Sciences. She was then invited to address the faculty and students on a regular basis, to speak about topics such as facing death, facing a prognosis of terminal illness, dealing with cancer, how to support someone with a terminal illness, fear and stress from illness, and so on.
As her story was further promulgated via the internet, people from all over the globe began contacting her through the NDERF website to ask questions about her NDE and to seek advice or counsel. She subsequently set up her own website, and soon received hundreds of emails a week from people wanting to know more about her experience or how to deal with illness and other topics germane to her experience.
Her story came to the attention of American self-help author, Dr. Wayne Dyer, who contacted his publishers, Hay House, asking them to locate Moorjani and suggest that she write a book, which they would publish.
Dying to be Me was published in March 2012, and hit The New York Times bestsellers list two weeks after its release. Moorjani was then invited to be on Wayne Dyer's PBS special titled "Wishes Fulfilled", and since then, has been interviewed on "Fox And Friends"; CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360"; National Geographic International, Karen Davila's Headstart on ANC Philippines, among many others. Dying to be Me has subsequently sold over a million copies worldwide, and has been published in more than 40 languages.
As a featured Hay House author, Anita travels the globe on behalf of her publisher speaking at conferences such as I Can Do It and gives seminars to large audiences at Conferences such as UPLIFT, and TEDx.
Moorjani asserts that her cancer was caused by her emotional state, and preaches the message that a person's physical health is affected by their emotional well being.
Skeptics denounce Anita's Near Death Experience and criticize the message that she speaks. Vicky Allen, journalist at the The Herald Scotland, states "These people are at the centre of a disturbing approach to illness, and cancer in particular, that sees it as a disease to be tackled with the mind and positive thinking. It is a movement which many within the medical establishment believe is dangerous." Dr Peter Allmark of Sheffield Hallam University, co-author of a 2011 paper, A Critique Of Positive Thinking In Cancer Care, denounces the approach as "quackery". However, Moorjani herself says that her experience cannot be reduced to positive thinking or mind control.
Medical explanation of recovery from cancer
Oncologist haematologist T.K. Chan, who treated Moorjani at the critical stage of her illness, ascribed her recovery to the draining of her lungs carried out by medical specialists after she was admitted to hospital, followed by chemotherapy which she had refused for three and a half years. Chan stated "with lymphoma, it's never too late" and "Hodgkin's disease is quite curable .. it can have a dramatic response to chemotherapy". However, Peter Ko, MD, an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, heard about Moorjani’s recovery and decided to investigate. He gained access, with her permission, to her medical records. He concluded: “Her recovery was certainly remarkable. Based on my own experience and opinions of several colleagues, I am unable to attribute her dramatic recovery to her chemotherapy.”
Moorjani met her husband, Danny Moorjani in Hong Kong, and they married in December 1995. She also has an elder brother, Anoop Shamdasani. When she is not traveling and speaking at conferences all over the globe, Anita spends part of her time in Hong Kong and part of her time in California.
- #81-100 on the Spiritual 100 List in 2014
- "2012 New York TImes Best Seller List". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
- "Dying to be me! Anita Moorjani at TEDxBayArea". TEDx Talks. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
- "Anita Moorjani's amazing NDE and miraculous healing". International Association for Near-Death Studies. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
- Kaye, Randi (29 November 2013). "Stories of life, death and faith: 'To Heaven and Back'". CNN. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
- "Proud to Be Me Growing up in a cultural mélange". Hay House. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
- Moorjani, Anita (1 March 2012). My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing (1st ed.). USA: Hay House; Unabridged Version edition (1 March 2012). p. 98. ISBN 978-1401937515. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
- "Anita M's NDE". Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF). Retrieved 3 September 2014.
- Dyer, Wayne. "Dr. Wayne Dyer: Wishes Fulfilled". PBS. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
- Allen, Vicky (16 September 2012). "Is there a negative side to positive thinking?". The Herald Scotland. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
- Parry, Hazel (3 February 2007). "A remarkable recovery, but was it mind over matter or modern science?". South China Morning Post: International Edition. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
- Video link