Yes, I am talking about the famous saint Paramhansa Yogananda, who wrote “An Autobiography of a Yogi”. There is no doubt that he is one of the most famous Yogis of the modern India. I am not his follower, but I have respect for him for two purposes – (1) He spread the Vedic and Indian spirituality outside India. (2) Despite keeping the different view in some aspects, some of his writings help me in my spiritual researches and practices.
But, while searching about him, there is one thing, which has really amazed me. In one of his statements, he once said that he was the famous 11th century king “William the Conqueror” in this past birth. A book was also written named Catherine Kairavi by Two Souls: Four Lives, in which she explained about it in detail. Now, this is not only amazing, but also shocking for me. The reason is a vast difference between the natures of William and Yogananda.
It is difficult to understand how the disciples of Yogananda try to glorify William and connect the nature of the two extremely opposite dignitaries. As a matter of the fact, William is supposed to be a cruel emperor in his time. In Wikipedia, it has been mentioned that he is also known as “William the Basted”. Rather than expending this topic, I would like to give two examples from the life of William.
William forcefully made his cousin wife
At the age of 26, William was in love with the tiny, beautiful twenty-two year old woman named Matilda. She was the daughter of Baldwin, Count of Flanders. She dismissed his proposal of marriage. It is said that William dragged Matilda by the hair into the mud, kicked and beat her until she agreed to be his wife. But, later on, their marriage was dismissed by church because she was his cousin. Now, some who are trying to prove that William was of forgiving nature should think it again. That person couldn’t even bear the refusal of marriage proposal, then how can he be recognized as a forgiving person. Yes, there may be the incidences of his forgiveness, but if you only see some incidence than all of us can be forgiving in some instances of life.
William made agricultural land to forest for his amusement
Another fact of his life is that he changed the agricultural land to forest just for his amusement of hunting. This shows selfish motive of William.
Nothing against Yogananda and his disciples
I haven’t written this blog post for the condemnation of Yogananda or his disciples. I still respect the saint for this noble works. Even, if it is fully proved someday that Yogananda was William, then also it will not affect this respect. Because, I am prominently concerned with what he has done during this lifetime rather than the previous lifetimes. But, when I talk conceptually, the question comes in mind whether it is possible that the great saint Yoganand was the reincarnation (punarjanma) of William. Some Yogananda’s supporters try to show some positive traits of William to convince the people. Well, in this I will just say that a large number of kings in the history used to have both positive and negative traits. But, a person cannot be recognized as great unless he/she is raised above his/her selfish motives.
Eeshwar knows what the truth is. If I find something more on this topic, I will update it. If someday I read the book on the subject as mentioned above, I will post accordingly.