This book explores an astonishing statement made by Paramhansa Yogananda: that he was the historical figure, William the Conqueror, in a previous incarnation.
The Norman Conquest of England was one of the pivotal moments in world history, a series of events that affects us even today. Is it possible that two of the greatest men of that era—William the Conqueror and his son, Henry I of England—have recently reincarnated as the great spiritual master Paramhansa Yogananda (author of the classic Autobiography of a Yogi) and his close disciple, Swami Kriyananda? If so, what are the subtle connections between the Norman Conquest and modern times?
Part I: William: Conqueror or Reformer?
- The Past Revealed
- A Righteous Warrior, and a Noble Cause
- “A Lie Agreed Upon”
- “A Flowering Youth”—Intimations of Greatness
- The Testing Ground of Normandy
- The Strength to Mold His Times
- Rebuilding the Moral Authority of the Church
- A Tangled Web—The English Kings Preceding William
- The Rightful Heir to the Throne
- Signs and Portents
- His Divine Birthright
- Establishing His Rule: “A Gracious Liege Lord”
- 1069: A Kingdom Hangs in the Balance
- The New Forest: A Vision for the Future
- Archbishop Lanfranc and King William: A Harmony of Church and State
- Domesday Book—What Manner of Land and Men Has England?
- The Problem of Succession: Who Will Provide the Vision?
- William’s Death, Henry I, and the Birth of the English Nation
Part II: The Life of Henry: His Princehood
- The Winding Path of Reincarnation
- The Treacherous Road to the Throne of England
- 1089: Henry’s Imprisonment
- The Saving of Rouen: The Players Show Their Hands
- A Brother’s Jealousy
- An Unexpected Haven
- The Shifting Balance of Power
- Robert Curthose and William Rufus
- The Death of Rufus
Part III: The Life of King Henry I of England
- A New King
- Fulfilling a Father’s Prediction
- Bishops, Queens, and Pawns
- Battles and Alliances
- The Divine Role of Kings
- Henry’s “New Men”
- Invasion of Normandy: Reuniting His Father’s Kingdom
- Peace Through Justice
- Losses and Betrayals
- The White Ship Tragedy
- Holding the Reins During Rebellion
- Three Decades of Peace
- The Passing of King Henry I
Part IV: Their Reincarnations
- “I Come to Destroy Evil and Establish Virtue”
- Yogananda’s Mission in the Present Age
- The Spiritual “Invasion” of America
- Yogananda’s Contribution
- Past Karma and Present Challenges
- A Guru-Given Destiny
- After Yogananda’s Passing
- The Storm Breaks
- Intentional Communities
- King Henry and Swami Kriyananda: Similarities
About the Author
Further Explorations with Crystal Clarity Publishers
Ananda World Brotherhood Village
Historians see the advance of civilization in terms of progressive sophistication from primitive “hunter-gatherers” to farmers, to city dwellers, to our own age of unprecedented scientific achievement. Their teaching is that basic human nature has remained more or less the same throughout history. They quite naturally dismiss the possibility that man, though he lives in a cosmic environment, is affected by cosmic influences.
Paramhansa Yogananda’s guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, gave us a very different view of history, based on the reality of those influences. He said the earth passes repeatedly through great cycles of increasing and diminishing awareness—from deep ignorance to steadily greater enlightenment, then back again to its former depths. Relying on ancient tradition as well as on his own intuition, Sri Yukteswar attributed these cycles to the sun’s movement around a dual, a revolution which brings our solar system alternately closer to and farther away from a cosmic center of highly conscious energy, or Vishnunabhi.
Interestingly, numerous ancient peoples throughout the world believed in these cycles of time. They even divided each of them into four ages, which Greek tradition symbolized with the words gold, silver, copper, and iron. Orthodox historians today, of course, don’t admit the possibility that such cycles exist. Yet it is from history itself that we get the first glimpses of those cycles’ reality.
These great cycles of time, as Sri Yukteswar explained them, reached their nadir, or lowest point, in the year 500 AD. Indeed, one discerns in the centuries prior to that year a gradual decrease of knowledge, awareness, and sensitivity, amounting to a steady decline in human awareness. Since 500 AD, moreover, there has clearly been a steady increase in that awareness, resulting in evergreater clarity.
The possibility of the earth’s going through a cycle of ascending and descending ages gives credence to the evidence, rapidly accumulating in our own day, that high civilizations existed in the past. Many books today make a case for some of those civilizations, at least, having reached far higher heights than our own. As for there being cycles of time due to the movement within the galaxy of our sun, at least two books so far address this subject in depth: Lost Star of Myth and Timer, by Walter Cruttenden, and The Yugas*, by Joseph Selbie and Byasa Steinmetz.
Consider one simple, known reality which points to the general debasement of consciousness approaching 500 AD: the Roman “games,” in which gladiators ferociously slaughtered one another in the Colosseum, to the applause and delight of many thousands. Today it seems hardly credible, but even Saint Augustine, in his youth, was addicted to those games.
Consider also the widespread poverty and squalor of those times; the general illiteracy; the violence and insensitivity; the brevity of life combined with the prevalence of disease. These and many other symptoms of emotional and intellectual darkness prevailed everywhere.
Since 500 AD, there has been a general rise in human consciousness. Sri Yukteswar corrected old Kali Yuga reckonings as to the correct length of each age, which assigned to Kali Yuga a duration of 432,000 years. Sri Yukteswar said that, in fact, a whole cycle lasts only 24,000 years, and the darkest age lasts only 1,200 descending, and 1,200 ascending years.
The present age, Dwapara Yuga, will, he said, endure a total of 2,400 years. A sandhya, or bridge, occurs between each yuga and the next: 100 years at the end of ascending Kali Yuga, followed by a 200-year bridge into ascending Dwapara.
Thus, the bridge leading out of Kali Yuga, which brought the first hints of approaching Dwapara, occurred from 1600–1700 AD. This century was followed by two more, from 1700–1900 AD, that led into Dwapara proper. There were “rumblings” of the end of deepest Kali Yuga as early as the Italian Renaissance, but the sixteen hundreds saw the true dawn of a new understanding with those pioneers of modern physics: Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, and many others. These men introduced the scientific method, which was a completely new way of thinking based not on a priori assumptions, but on demonstrated facts.
During the next two-hundred-year bridge, or sandhya, into Dwapara proper, we see the Industrial Revolution; the acceptance and increasing use of electricity; social upheaval to affirm the natural dignity of man; the Michelson-Morley experiment (in 1887), which revealed that light is both a particle and a wave; and the dawning realization that the universe is not a giant mechanism, as scientists had believed, but is a manifestation of far subtler realities. Matter itself was seen to be a manifestation of energy. These were but a few of the radical changes human understanding underwent during the sandhya into Dwapara Yuga proper.
Today (2009) man is well into the second century of ascending Dwapara Yuga. Conflict is increasing between old, Kali Yuga ways of thinking and those of Dwapara: between self-aggrandizement and a more generous wish for universal upliftment; between the wish to control situations, things, and people and an impulse to flow with wholesome change in one’s own life, and in the lives of others; between the tendency to close one’s mind to anything new, and an opposite tendency to be open to improvement. The conflict is bringing increasing tension to the human spirit, one that may well soon explode into widespread and major social upheavals: a deep economic depression; global warfare; perhaps even earth cataclysms. After the “dust” has settled, however, I believe that things will simmer down peaceably, and this new Age of Energy will begin in earnest with its more fluid view of life, of human existence, and of objective reality.
The age of William the Conqueror was much darker than our own. Historians, unaware of these great cycles of time, have no choice but to believe that human consciousness itself hasn’t changed much over the centuries. From the knowledge they possess, they cannot but believe that what people did in the past they would do as readily today, if society had not advanced to levels that have made such behavior unacceptable. Naturally, too, people without special knowledge of the yugas believe that what people understood centuries ago has changed only to the extent that gradual, linear developments in society itself have influenced human understanding. How, indeed, could anyone imagine another explanation for the great changes that have affected society over the past one thousand—indeed, fifteen hundred—years, since 500 AD?
In this book, Catherine Kairavi describes a society much more primitive than our own in both knowledge and consciousness. Historians will inevitably object that mankind was the same in William’s day as it is today. They will give facts and figures to defend that belief. For they are intellectual scholars, and there is no aspect of human consciousness more disposed to argument than the intellect. It is kept vital and alive, after all, by argument. Indeed, historians—experts in their field—may well need at least a generation to change this view. In that case, it will probably be other historians who grow up with this new and broader perspective on their subject.
Catherine depicts the days of William and Henry as having been far more brutal than our own, despite the much greater capacity for destruction of modern weaponry. The developing consciousness of our age, however, is certainly toward deeper concern and respect for others, with an increasing desire for worldwide peace and harmony. Ms. Kairavi’s statement that the difference lies in a change toward increasing expansion of human consciousness itself, and not in mere social developments, cannot but be opposed by historians who (by their own lights, necessarily so) reject any thought that human consciousness itself can be essentially improved.
Historians will certainly protest also against some of Catherine’s “value judgments”—for example, her description of Harold Godwinson as a “scoundrel.” Yet she takes the trouble in these pages to explain at length her reason for this adjective. Historians claim to know the whole story of the Conquest, yet many different conclusions can be drawn from the same set of facts. Scholars who are prejudiced on the Anglo-Saxon side naturally view Harold as an Anglo-Saxon hero, and ignore—whether deliberately so or not—such inconvenient facts as his own mixed Anglo-Saxon and Danish blood, and his truly scurrilous family heritage. Those on the other hand who, like Hillaire Belloc, favor the French side underscore William’s very real greatness. A case can be made for either side. The novels of Sir Walter Scott and others, however, who staunchly defended the Anglo-Saxon “cause,” must be classed
simply as romances.
I myself was raised, until the age of thirteen, in the English system, and was conditioned to consider William the Conqueror one of history’s great villains. Imagine my shock, therefore, to find (at the age of twenty-two) that the man to whom, after prolonged and anguished searching, I had pledged my life as a disciple, had himself been, in a past life, that great warrior king, William the Conqueror! Yogananda made this statement to his disciples quite openly. Needless to say, I had to revise my opinion of William, for my own experience of my Guru, Paramhansa Yogananda, was—yes, certainly—that he was gifted with the strong personality of a born leader, but also that he emanated powerfully the supreme virtues: kindness—indeed, compassion—humility, gentleness, truthfulness, universal respect, and all the marks of true spiritual greatness.
What had been his purpose, I asked myself, in even making such a statement?
Years later, when Warren Hollister’s book, Henry I, came out, I felt the time had come to explore this issue in greater detail. For by then I had also come to believe deeply that I myself had been William’s youngest son, Henry I, whose role it was to complete his father’s mission.
The thought of my identity with Henry had been growing in me steadily for years. Indeed, in all my reading about Henry, I found that I saw the world through his eyes, rather than looking at him in the third person. When I read about “Conan’s Leap”—you’ll read that story in these pages—I found my heart racing with the stress and excitement of that day. When Henry appeared at Winchester after his brother’s death in the New Forest, and claimed the royal treasury, and was confronted there by William of Breteuil as he sought to prevent Henry’s entry, I felt I was myself on the scene at
that crucial moment.
Historians will surely oppose much that Catherine has written in this book, as, on many issues, they oppose even one another. Nevertheless, Catherine devoted ten years of her life to carefully researching her subject. For the rest, I think Paramhansa Yogananda’s statement that he himself was William will outweigh, for many readers, any intellectual beliefs, doubts, and challenges that may be presented to disprove certain statements in this book.
On the other hand, if you don’t believe this account, then I suggest you take it as a fascinating slant on a well-known period of history. Read it—if you prefer—as a novel! At any rate, read it. To me it is intensely real, but if to you it seems too large a chunk to swallow whole, read it at least as a first-class adventure story! I think it will give you, among other things, a completely new take on present and future trends in modern society.
Part One – William: Conqueror or Reformer?
Chapter 1: The Past Revealed
This book will explore an astonishing statement made by Paramhansa Yogananda, a universally revered spiritual teacher of modern times. It was, to the best of my knowledge, the first time that a Self-realized master (one who has been liberated from all the egoic desires which compel man to reincarnate) revealed that he had been, in a previous incarnation, a historical figure about whom a great deal is known: William the Conqueror.
Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, one of the world’s most widely read and translated of spiritual classics, has convinced millions of rational, modern minds of the existence of spiritual truths, and of the universal value of the teachings of India, including the twin teachings of karma and reincarnation. Even those of us who at first had to “back burner” a few of the miracles we encountered in Autobiography of a Yogi found ourselves accepting innumerable, completely new possibilities regarding the nature of God, Creation, and man’s place in the greater scheme of things—all entirely because of the purity and personal spiritual authority that come through so palpably in the character of Paramhansa Yogananda.
What Yogananda shares with his readers in Autobiography of a Yogi has struck a deep chord in virtually all who have read it. As the master himself very often said, “One cannot learn spiritual truths: one can only recognize them.”
Even those who entertain deep reverence for Yogananda, however, have had difficulty with the question, “How can someone of his spiritual stature have willingly played out such a life as that of William the Conqueror, a life that called for spectacular bloodshed?” It is safe to say, certainly, that there isn’t one reader of Yogananda’s autobiography who, on hearing for the first time that Paramhansa Yogananda was William the Conqueror, has reacted with the thought, “Well, that does make sense!”
Even if you yourself know nothing about Paramhansa Yogananda, you have probably formed some notion of William the Conqueror’s role in history, and of the manner of man he was. If
you were schooled under the English system, you may have been taught that William, duke of Normandy, was one of the great villains of history. And although most Americans have only vague notions about the Conqueror, they, too, would readily agree that words like “fierce” and “merciless” fit what they do know about the Norman warrior who defeated Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings, subdued all of England, and, as a result, changed the course of Western civilization.
In these pages, I shall investigate the manner of man he was. Was he a warrior driven by ambition for territorial conquest? Or was he a deeply pious leader, dedicated to the greater good of humanity, whose decisions can only be understood by appreciating the loftiness of his vision?
I shall also investigate the history of his youngest son, Henry, who—alone among those who walked in the footsteps of the Conqueror—understood the Conqueror’s vision and brought it to completion. The life span of William was not enough to instill in his kingdom and duchy all the dreams he held of a stability that would endure beyond the Middle Ages, and usher in a new age of expanding knowledge. In investigating Henry’s life, I shall attempt in addition to discern whether he might not, in this lifetime also, have joined Yogananda to bring that master’s vast mission to fulfillment.
Using essentially the same facts as those available to every historian, let us see whether we cannot find William’s deeds and motivations to have been consonant with the life and teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, and Henry’s, with the role of one of his disciples.
"I read Two Souls: Four Lives cover to cover and really enjoyed it. Besides being a well-researched book on an exciting period of history, the author has a delightful, easy-to-read writing style—I was often spellbound.
"This book gave me a better understanding of the fascinating lives of William the Conqueror and Henry I, and the times in which they lived. The author made the period come alive. I felt as if I were right there fighting beside Henry as he sought to establish a more just and noble society.
"Beyond good educational entertainment, Two Souls: Four Lives also helped me appreciate that many of our modern problems are nothing compared to the challenges people faced a thousand years ago. Truly, when we more fully understand ‘His-story’ (and the depths of the Dark Ages), we see that things are really improving.
"Finally, the comparisons to two modern incarnations on the world stage—players whose goals and ideals we can appreciate and relate to—offered a unique perspective to the actions of William and Henry. For the first time, the motives of these two misunderstood kings can be seen in the proper light. Brilliant work!
"Two Souls: Four Lives is a very thoughtful and enjoyable book. I loved it!”
—Walter Cruttenden, author of Lost Star of Myth and Time
"Catherine Kairavi’s new book, Two Souls: Four Lives: The Lives and Former Lives of Paramhansa Yogananda and his disciple, Swami Kriyananda is a monumental work that will enlighten and inspire history lovers, yoga students, and believers in reincarnation alike.
"Her study is based on statements made by a great spiritual master and world teacher—Paramhansa Yogananda, author of the classic Autobiography of a Yogi—who said that he was William the Great (also known as ‘the Conqueror’) in a past life—along with the extraordinary similarities between William’s son, King Henry I of England, and Yogananda’s direct disciple, Swami Kriyananda.
"With ready wit and clear insight, Catherine cuts through the popularly accepted myths of William and Henry’s ‘savagery,’ and for the first time presents these two great and spiritual men as they truly were.
"Two Souls: Four Lives outlines important ties between the Norman Conquest of England and present day events and future trends. Just as in William’s time, we are faced with a critical moment in history; powerful but subtle gears are in motion now that will affect humanity for centuries to come, and Ms. Kairavi tells the how and why of it with admirable clarity.
"As a fellow reincarnation author and student of William’s history, I was deeply impressed by Catherine’s keen insights into William and Henry and their modern-day reincarnations. Ms. Kairavi has a feel for unlocking historical puzzles and a gift for explaining things so that the reader can easily grasp them.
"Two Souls: Four Lives will expand your consciousness and your mental horizons. You will understand inner greatness and how it can manifest in this world. Open this book and get swept away on a spiritual and historical adventure par excellence."
—Richard Salva, author of The Reincarnation of Abraham Lincoln and Walking with William of Normandy: A Paramhansa Yogananda Pilgrimage Guide
"If you, like us, are a great admirer of Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda, then you may be as startled as we were to learn that Yogananda declared that he was the present incarnation of William, who in 1066 led the Norman Conquest of England, and that one of his disciples, Kriyananda, had been his son, Henry I of England. While readers at first may be struck by the disparity of a Master of peace and love having been a mighty warrior, we are blessed with the impressive scholarship of Catherine Kairavi, who weaves the historical lives of William the Conqueror and King Henry I together with incidents from the lives of Yogananda and Kriyananda to create a remarkable tapestry of spiritual destiny. While one may begin this incredible journey with wonder, even skepticism, Ms. Kairavi’s excellent research and writing skills allow one to open his or her mind to the cosmic interconnection of two souls, four lives."
—Brad and Sherry Steiger, authors of Real Miracles, Divine Intervention and Feats of Incredible Survival
"Catherine Kairavi reveals in this fascinating narrative how the lives and former lives of Paramahansa Yogananda and his disciple Swami Kriyananda were connected in unexpectedly related ways in the past—in the lifetimes of William the Conqueror and Henry I. Both William and Yogananda came to offer a new and revolutionary teaching to the world—how to bring spiritual values into daily life. Yogananda’s goal, especially, was to awaken in people an ardent love for God, an urgent longing to know Him. For nearly a thousand years, William’s influence has been extraordinary; similarly, Yogananda commented, ‘You’ve no idea what a great work this is!’
"No spiritual teacher can fulfill a great mission on his own; like Jesus Christ, Yogananda had many disciples who supported his efforts, though some of them betrayed him. He and his disciples have incarnated together time and again to accomplish God’s missions.
"Two Souls: Four Lives increases our understanding that we are all one people on one planet! Catherine Kairavi encourages us toward ‘the conviction that to live nobly for others, and for God, is the highest destiny of all human beings.’"
—Dr. Bob Hieronimus, author of United Symbolism of America
"Two Souls: Four Lives is a fascinating journey through time that interweaves two souls with major changes in history. Catherine Kairavi’s vast ten-year study makes reincarnation come alive as she transcends centuries, continents and cultures.
"Kairavi combines spiritual insight and massive historical research to give the reader a fresh perspective on what it means to be spiritual and fulfill your spiritual mission. Within the historical context, she interweaves the lives and accomplishments of two kings and two spiritual leaders and parallels their impact on the Western world at critical periods in history.
"In acknowledging that the souls of Paramhansa Yogananda and Norman King William the Conqueror, and his son Henry and Yogananda’s disciple Swami Kriyananada, may indeed be the same, readers may shift their view of both politics and spirituality.
"Although William the Conqueror and Yogananda, and his disciple and William’s son, took on different leadership roles, Kairavi makes a strong case that their missions have made a major positive impact on the human race.
"Two Souls: Four Lives tantalizes your intellect, stirs your soul, and challenges you to relook at your current, even multiple-life missions.”
—Barbara Lane, PhD, author of 16 Clues to Your Past Lives, Echoes from the Battlefield, and Echoes from Medieval Halls
"Two Souls: Four Lives takes the subject of reincarnation into never-explored areas of subtlety, meaning, and historical verification. The facts are at hand and the evidence is irrefutable, not only of reincarnation, but also of the workings of a subtle ‘Divine Plan’ guiding this world in ways almost never imagined. Truth is stranger than fiction and far more interesting."
—Asha Praver, spiritual teacher, author of Swami Kriyananda: As We Have Known Him
"Catherine Kairavi’s Two Souls: Four Lives offers the reader a profound, well-researched ‘dive’ into the recognition and understanding of, not only reincarnation and how the elements of two key lifetimes of the same soul reflect one another, but perhaps more noteworthy, how the lives of one soul do not follow in sequence, climbing toward ascension. A profoundly developed soul may choose, from a linear time frame, to demonstrate a descending life trajectory, though ascension or ‘avatar status’ has already been accomplished. At this point in human history our planet is in need of the conscious and energetic impact of far more than one embodied bodhisattva."
—Dr. Linda R. Backman, Licensed Psychologist and Regression Therapist, author of Bringing Your Soul to Light: Healing through Past Lives and the Time Between
"As the author of a biography of Swami Kriyananda (Faith is My Armor), I was fascinated to read Two Souls: Four Lives. The similarities between Henry I and Swami Kriyananda are astonishing, and the parallels between their relationships with William the Conqueror/Paramhansa Yogananda are incontrovertible. Two Souls transcends traditional biography or history and is a unique literary genre—one that creates a new time/space paradigm to enrich our understanding of who we are."
—Devi Novak, author and spiritual teacher
"Two Souls: Four Lives is well-researched, authoritative and totally convincing. It is also beautifully written and full of fascinating information. Catherine Kairavi has done a valuable service for anyone interested in reincarnation, history or spiritual growth. The books of Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda are modern-day classics. I’m convinced this book will become a classic, too."
—Richard Webster, author of Soul Mates and Practical Guide to Past-Life Memories
"Paramhansa Yogananda’s statement, ‘One cannot learn spiritual truths: one can only recognize them’ is demonstrated vividly in Two Souls: Four Lives. Catherine Kairavi skillfully combines her knowledge of the life and times of William the Conqueror and reincarnation, and shows the similarities between him and Paramhansa Yogananda, assisting the reader in reconciling Yogananda’s statement that he was William the Conqueror in a past life. This easily accessible work is inspirational both as historical text and a metaphysical work that clearly demonstrates karma and reincarnation."
—Robert S. Morrison, DCH, Founder of the Institute of Hypnosis and Past Life Regressions
"[Two Souls: Four Lives] is well-researched and, if you like medieval British history, a cracking good read."
—Ian Lawton, Rational Spirituality Press, author of The Wisdom of the Soul
"My first impression on reading this book was that it was a very precise description of eleventh-century England. It became a story about reincarnation, karma, and a triumph over egotism. It is a story about King William I, who, on a mission from God and for service to others, brought positive spiritual changes to his country and the world. William’s son Henry carried on his father’s vision.
"King William returned to another physical life in 1893 as the personality of Paramhansa Yogananda, who became an international teacher of spiritual laws and truths.
"King Henry I also returned to a physical life in the personality of Swami Kriyananda, a disciple of Yogananda.
"I consider it an honor to have been asked to offer my opinion of such an insight to history and the confirmation of spiritual truths."
—A.L. Ward, CHt, author of The Inner Mind Revisited: Researching the Soul
"Because of my background, the story of the Norman Conquest is especially meaningful. Catherine Kairavi has succeeded in resurrecting the spirits of William the Great (aka ‘the Conqueror’) and his son, Henry I, from the dustbin into which historians have cast them. Read this book and ponder: ‘How many times have I entertained angels unaware, and thrown rocks at them?’
"Catherine has done an amazing job of demonstrating how these great souls, William and Henry, have returned in recent years as the great spiritual master, Paramhansa Yogananda, and his close disciple, Swami Kriyananda—and how all four men have given their lives to fulfill similar, world-changing, God-ordained missions.
"This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to know what really happened during the Norman ‘Conquest.’ After 944 years, a truth not hidden but scorned stands revealed in all its beauty."
—Ray Noble, descendant of one of William the Conqueror’s companions
"As someone who has studied the lives of William the Conqueror and Henry I, I read Two Souls: Four Lives with great interest. What a great book! Catherine Kairavi is to be commended for such a well-researched, well-written, and very well thought-out work. Two Souls: Four Lives is at once an accurate history with fresh insightful conclusions about a much-misinterpreted period, and a very useful spiritual explanation of how reincarnation plays a role in life. Most of all, Catherine Kairavi has given us a book that is very readable—a real treat to be enjoyed."
—Tom Cerussi, BASc, amateur historian
"Two Souls: Four Lives is a deep book—the most inspiring history book I’ve ever read. The flow is excellent; it is easy to read; it is entertaining; and it does a good job of showing how great these two particular men were, and how totally unusual they were for their time and place."
—Nabha Cosley, monk, yogi, webmaster
"I majored in history, so I really loved diving into this clearly presented (and some of it, new-to-me) historical information. The added bonus of connecting the lives of these two kings of England with their incarnations in the present time is fascinating! You get a good look at a modern day, fully liberated yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda, and his disciple, Swami Kriyananda, a living saint. You also get to investigate their past lives during the tumultuous eleventh century, as father and son, William (the Conqueror) and Henry I. The astounding similarities revealed make it hard to doubt that these are, indeed, two souls moving triumphantly together through four lives."
—Savitri Simpson, author of Chakras for Starters (book and CD), The Chakras Workbook, and The Meaning of Dreaming: Paramhansa Yogananda’s Teachings on Why We Dream and What Our Dreams Mean
"There are powerful lessons in this book that plead for us to heed. What is more, they are woven superbly into a fascinating and irresistible story. Like William in 1066, we, as individuals and as nations, are faced with crucial decisions that will soon determine our quality of earthly life for decades or even centuries into the future. Unless we act bravely and swiftly now, a new dark age is certain to descend, spreading hardship, scarcity and strife for generations to come. We, who must reincarnate until enlightened, will be the sorrier for it.
"Yet there is hope and great opportunity if we but dare to drive out the culture of greed, waste and corruption that is leading us into chaos. William conquered more than a lawless people. He set in motion a whole new way of right thinking and being. The example of his courage, wisdom and faith, and that of his son Henry, has been firmly and freshly revealed a thousand years later in the lives, teachings and achievements of Paramhansa Yogananda and his disciple Swami Kriyananda. It is for us now, as this book makes clear, to take up the sword of discrimination that they have so nobly wielded, and to make the changes in ourselves that will serve to reunite us in health, harmony and mutual respect before it is too late."
—Surendra James Conti, Manager, East West Bookstore, Mountain View, California
"Catherine Kairavi’s book Two Souls: Four Lives is a detailed work that demonstrates how truly thin the veil is between lifetimes. My experiences working with past lives leads me to draw the conclusion that Catherine’s own soul has a strong bond and a connection with the lifetimes of Henry I and Swami Kriyananda. She is right there beside them as she tells their stories. She demonstrates a passion in her writing and presents it in a way that draws the readers into the story on a personal level. One cannot but reflect on their own soul’s journey while reading Two Souls: Four Lives and consider that they too may be working on karmic balances from their past. The reader has the opportunity to benefit from spiritual enlightenment and inspiration through Catherine’s comparison of these four great leaders connected through their two souls. I would recommend Catherine Kairavi’s Two Souls: Four Lives to anyone seeking proof that there is a soul in all of us that harbors within it the experiences of other lifetimes. Two Souls: Four Lives helps open the door to understanding and enlightenment."
—Michael R. Hathaway, D.C.H., director, White Mountain Hypnosis Center, author of It’s Time to Simplify Your Soul’s Code and A Complete Idiot’s Guide to Past-Life Regression
"Two Souls: Four Lives is a fascinating exploration of the currents of karma and spiritual destiny. Using the tools of history, personal memories of past lives of the great sage Paramhansa Yogananda, and keen psychological observations of the motives, character traits and interests of Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda, the author reveals a stunning continuity of both character and purpose of these two souls. Other souls who played significant roles in their past incarnations and who had reincarnated with them again in similar roles illustrates the significance of soul groups bound together by threads of karma and destiny. The vistas of spiritual growth are illuminated by these two souls who shared a deep devotion to the divine in all four of their lives. Discover the profound spiritual impact that these two leaders had on the history of European civilization."
—Susan Wisehart, MS, LMFT, psychotherapist and author of Soul Visioning: Clear the Past, Create Your Future
"Two Souls: Four Lives offers a unique exploration of the lives of significant historical figures. Catherine Kairavi provides a thorough review of the history of William ‘The Conqueror’ and King Henry I, offering her insights and commentary about these figures in English and European history, based on her scholarship and her knowledge of Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda, the men who claim these personages were their previous incarnations. The latter parts of the book examine the lives of Yogananda and Kriyananda, concluding with a point-by-point comparison of these men and their past-life characteristics observed in William and Henry. By identifying the patterns that are carried through these incarnations, Kairavi offers deeper insights into who these individuals are/were and their guiding intentions and dominant tendencies that shaped their lives. This book also provides an interesting look at past societies and modern civilization, describing how these souls expressed themselves in these different historical eras. For those that appreciate learning about history and are interested in the development of souls, Two Souls: Four Lives will be a rewarding read."
—Jed Shlackman, LMHC, C.Ht., counselor and regression therapist, author of Consciousness, Creation, and Existence: A Guide to the Grand Adventure
"Amazing historic events of William the Conqueror and King Henry I which correspond to the lives of Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda, and their mission to humanity. Readers will enjoy the unveiling of this jigsaw of ‘soul power.’ A new message emerges from reincarnated souls whose purpose is to guide people to the divine path and higher consciousness. Two Souls: Four Lives brings a new light to the field of past-life regressions through the testimonials of great souls and their karmic path."
—Kaiser Shroff, reiki master, spiritual teacher, regression therapist
"Fascinating, compelling and challenging."
—Katherine Diehl, journalist
"I found Kairavi’s excellently written and extensively researched biographies of William (whom she understandably prefers to call ‘the Great’) and Henry both absorbing and elucidating – as I believe should many students of history whose interests are more factual than spiritual. Furthermore, her book makes a convincing case for these two men having reincarnated in the twentieth century as the great teacher Yogananda and his American disciple (who is well known as a composer of sacred music as well as a prolific author). Superficially one might think of William of Normandy and Yogananda as total opposites—the first a bringer of war, the second a man of peace—but Kairavi points out how, the eleventh century having been so very different from the twentieth, warfare was inevitable for the achievement of William’s important mission, which she sees also as a spiritual one."
"Our task during our many centuries on Earth is to evolve spiritually, and most of our learning comes from the mistakes that we make. In this book, however, the latter is shown to apply only to Kriyananda, for Kairavi believes Yogananda to have already become Self-realized before his incarnation in Normandy. So, rather than having karma to work out together, as tends to be the case with us lesser souls, it seems that, just as Henry was the only son who understood his father’s mission and was consequently designated to complete it after his death, so did Yogananda choose William’s reincarnated son to bring to fruition his long-held dream of forming intentional communities."
"Kairavi’s thesis . . . is that our basic personalities do not change over our many lifetimes and, besides going into these four lives in some depth, she discusses the other characters whom Yogananda named as having been around him when he was William, showing how the very same sorts of difficulties have recurred in the relationships between them. But when it comes to her analysis of Henry/Donald Walters’ character, she demonstrates how Swami Kriyananda has learnt from some of the mistakes that Henry made and, though she does not actually say so, it seems very clear to me that his character could well have developed into that of a bodhisattva (that is, a realized soul determined to go on, as Yogananda put it, ‘plying my boat to ferry souls across from Earth to the other side’ until all have made the final return to the Source whence we came)."
"This unusual book raises many interesting questions for students of reincarnation and karma, and I strongly recommend it to historians and spiritual seekers alike."
—Ann Merivale, author of Karmic Release: Journeying Back to the Self and Souls United: The Power of Divine Connection
"If you enjoy history and are interested in past lives, you will want to read [this] excellent book, [which] talks about the lives and former lives of Paramhansa Yogananda and his disciple Swami Kriyananda."
"Using meticulous historical studies, Kairavi gives us information about the lives of William the Conqueror . . . who is said to have reincarnated as Paramhansa Yogananda and his son Henry who is said to have reincarnated as Swami Kriyananda. She shows how the actions taken during those lifetimes are consistent with beings of high spiritual attainment and purpose. Of great interest is her comparisons of their behaviors and actions in both lifetimes."
"[Two Souls: Four Lives is not] a fast read but it offers great rewards to the person who approaches it with an open mind and heart."
—Krysta Gibson, New Spirit Journal