Skip to comments.Reincarnation - Famous Past Lives (excerpt)
Posted on 03/14/2004 1:54:38 PM PST by Gilead
People who believe they live only once are compelled to compromise their hopes of perfection. Orthodox believers may try to conduct their lives in such a way as to avoid hellfire after death, but most I think, even so, are inclined to ask themselves pragmatically, "How bad can I be and get away with it?"
Belief in the principle of rebirth helps one to view progress joyously, without fear and self-doubt.
"Is there any end to evolution?" a visitor once asked Paramhansa Yogananda.
"No end," the Master replied. "Progress goes on until you achieve endlessness."
At Mt. Washington, reincarnation was a normal part of our way of thinking. We took it quite in stride if ever Master told us, as he sometimes did, about our own or someone else's past lives.
Looking at Jan Savage, aged nine, one day he exclaimed laughingly, "Little Jan is no child. He's still an old man!"
I once told him I had always wanted to live alone. His reply was, "That is because you have done it before. Most of those who are with me have lived alone many times in the past." He made such remarks so casually that it rarely occurred to me to ask him for more information. A few others expressed deeper interest, however, and sometimes Master responded to them quite explicitly.
A few years after Dr. Lewis lost his mother, Master, knowing Doctor's devotion to her, informed him, "She has been reborn. If you go to . . ." he mentioned some address in New England, "you will find her there." Dr. Lewis made the journey.
"It was uncanny," he told me later. "The child was only three years old, but in many of her mannerisms she seemed exactly like my mother. I observed, too, that she took an instantaneous liking to me. It was almost as though she recognized me."
Mrs. Vera Brown visited a theater one evening with Master and a few of the disciples. A little girl in the row ahead of them captured her interest. "I couldn't take my eyes off her," she later told me. "There was something about that child that just fascinated me. I guess it was because she looked so old and wise for her age, and at the same time so sad. Afterwards Master said to me, 'You were interested in that little girl, weren't you?' 'Yes, Sir,' I answered. 'I don't know why, but I found myself watching her the whole time we were there.'
"'In her last life,' Master said, 'she died in a German concentration camp. That is why she looks so sad. But her tragic experiences there, and the compassion she developed as a result of them, have made her a saint. That was the wisdom you saw in her that attracted you so.'"
One day Master was given a newborn baby to hold. "I almost dropped it," he told friends later. "Suddenly I saw in that little, seemingly innocent form, the brought-over consciousness of a murderer."
Discussions on reincarnation sometimes became intensely interesting. One day I asked Master, "Did Judas have any spiritual realization?"
"He had some bad karma, of course," Master replied, "but all the same, he was a prophet."
"He was?" This variation on the common theme of Judas's villainy astonished me.
"Oh, yes," Master asserted emphatically. "He had to be, to be one of the twelve. But he had to go through two thousand years of suffering for his treachery. He was liberated finally in this century, in India. Jesus appeared to a certain master there and asked him to free him. I knew Judas in this life," Master added.
"You did!" Eagerly I pursued the matter. "What was he like?"
"Always very quiet and by himself. He still had a little attachment to money. One day another disciple began poking fun at him for this tendency. But the Master shook his head. 'Don't,' he said quietly. 'Leave him alone.'"
In 1936 Master visited Stonehenge in England. To his secretary, Richard Wright (Daya Mata's brother), he remarked quietly, "I lived here myself thirty-five hundred years ago."
Sometimes he intrigued us with references, always casual, to the past lives of certain well-known public figures. "Winston Churchill," he told us, "was Napoleon. Napoleon wanted to conquer England. Churchill, as England's Prime Minister, has fulfilled that ambition. Napoleon wanted to destroy England. As Churchill he has had to preside over the disintegration of the British Empire. Napoleon was sent into exile, then returned again to power. Churchill, similarly, was sent out of politics, then after some time came back to power again."
It is an interesting fact that Churchill, as a young man, found inspiration in the military exploits of Napoleon.
"Hitler," Master continued, "was Alexander the Great." An interesting point of comparison here is that, in warfare, both Hitler and Alexander employed the strategy of lightning attackblitzkrieg, as Hitler called it. In the Orient, of course, where Alexander's conquests were responsible for the destruction of great civilizations, his appellation, "the Great," is quoted sarcastically.
Master had hoped to reawaken in Hitler Alexander's well-known interest in the teachings of India, and thereby to steer the dictator's ambitions toward more spiritual goals. He actually attempted to see Hitler in 1935, but his request for an interview was denied.
Mussolini, Master said, was Mark Antony. Kaiser Wilhelm was Julius Caesar. Stalin was Genghis Khan.
"Who was Franklin Roosevelt?" I inquired.
"I've never told anybody," Master replied with a wry smile. "I was afraid I'd get into trouble!"
Abraham Lincoln, he informed us, had been a yogi in the Himalayas who died with a desire to help bring about racial equality. His birth as Lincoln was for the purpose of fulfilling that desire. "He has come back again in this century," Master said, "as Charles Lindbergh."
It is interesting to note that the public acclaim that was denied Lincoln, though so richly deserved, came almost effortlessly to Lindbergh. Interestingly, too, after Lindbergh's death a Hawaiian friend of his, Joseph Kahaleuahi, exclaimed, "This is not a small man. This man is like a President." (59) Charles Lindbergh was noted for his interest in Indian philosophy. Perhaps (one wonders), having fulfilled his desire, as a yogi, to work for racial equality, and having rejected, as Lindbergh, the acclaim that was his karmic reward for Lincoln's success, he will once again in his next life become a yogi.
Of more saintly people, Master said that Therese Neumann, the Catholic stigmatist of Konnersreuth, Germany, was Mary Magdalene. "That," he explained to us, "is why she was granted those visions of Christ's crucifixion."
What a sad belief. Not much to put your faith in here.
Oh really? Under your believe on my next go around perhaps I'll become more enlightened. Under my belief, well...
"And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment" Hebrews 9:27