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?
What Others Are Saying
"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 Selfand 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