Hi Helen, thank you for asking this question. It is a very complex question to answer. Will anyone have sufficient proof to prove to me that I am not Mahatma Gandhi reincarnated? Reincarnation sometimes resembles the arguments of the sceptics; how do you know that you are not a brain in a vat? World population has seen exponential growth in the past 2000 years. Where were all these souls prior to these 2000 years? Reincarnation might struggle to answer these questions comprehensively.
I would argue that even if there are these so-called “memories” it does not imply that you are actually that other person now. When one flame goes out does it light another candle? These memories could be attributed to being sensitive to the spiritual world. Or in your friends’ case, without trivialising her experience, a form of some phobia.
My concern would be, in what way is her memory enabling her to avoid her bad karma of the previous life now, as a woman. She will have to work really hard, in order to redeem herself and be born as an upper caste man in her next life. However, she will never know what she did, right or wrong, to be deserving of her current state of affairs. The only thing she knows, as of now, is that she has done something terrible to be born a woman. Whereas Jesus did not view women as a result of bad karma. He treated them with respect.
To live out our dharma (morality/duty) perfectly is impossible. The Indian epic, Mahabharata, struggles with this conflict; when one man’s duty comes in the way of another man’s duty. The question arises, how am I to know which of my duties is going to grant me divine acceptance?
The good news is that in Christianity it is not good deeds over bad deeds. Rather it is Jesus imputing divinity in each one of us. With the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to live out our dharma. And this enables us to achieve liberation in the here and now.
A couple of areas to consider while you are engaging your Hindu friends is the uniqueness of Jesus in the context of fulfilling our hearts deepest longings and his exclusive offer of salvation. This has to be done sensitively. Good arguments might not be very successful but engaging in polite discussions might help a lot. So you have the solemn responsibility of translating all your information into a polite conversation. All the best!