When Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum started for Carthage to face what they knew would be an imminent martyrdom, Hyrum read these words to comfort the heart of his brother:. A few short verses from the 12th chapter of Ether in the Book of Mormon. Before closing the book, Hyrum turned down the corner of the page from which he had read, marking it as part of the everlasting testimony for which these two brothers were about to die.
Heart and Souls
I hold in my hand that book, the very copy from which Hyrum read, the same corner of the page turned down, still visible. Later, when actually incarcerated in the jail, Joseph the Prophet turned to the guards who held him captive and bore a powerful testimony of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon. As one of a thousand elements of my own testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon, I submit this as yet one more evidence of its truthfulness.
Never mind that their wives are about to be widows and their children fatherless. Disregard all of that, and tell me whether in this hour of death these two men would enter the presence of their Eternal Judge quoting from and finding solace in a book which, if not the very word of God, would brand them as imposters and charlatans until the end of time? They would not do that!
They were willing to die rather than deny the divine origin and the eternal truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. And still it stands. None of these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator.
Witnesses, even witnesses who were for a time hostile to Joseph, testified to their death that they had seen an angel and had handled the plates. Now, I did not sail with the brother of Jared in crossing an ocean, settling in a new world. I did not hear King Benjamin speak his angelically delivered sermon. For the past 10 years, she has done intensive, groundbreaking research into the lives and past lives of Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda.
She currently resides in Seattle where she works with East-West Bookshop. 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. 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.
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. These great cycles of time, as Sri Yukteswar explained them, reached their nadir, or lowest point, in the year 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 AD, moreover, there has clearly been a steady increase in that awareness, resulting in evergreater clarity. Many books today make a case for some of those civilizations, at least, having reached far higher heights than our own. Today it seems hardly credible, but even Saint Augustine, in his youth, was addicted to those games.
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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 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 , years. Sri Yukteswar said that, in fact, a whole cycle lasts only 24, years, and the darkest age lasts only 1, descending, and 1, ascending years. The present age, Dwapara Yuga, will, he said, endure a total of 2, years. A sandhya, or bridge, occurs between each yuga and the next: years at the end of ascending Kali Yuga, followed by a year bridge into ascending Dwapara. Thus, the bridge leading out of Kali Yuga, which brought the first hints of approaching Dwapara, occurred from — AD.
This century was followed by two more, from — AD, that led into Dwapara proper. 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 , 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.
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These were but a few of the radical changes human understanding underwent during the sandhya into Dwapara Yuga proper. Today man is well into the second century of ascending Dwapara Yuga. 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.
The age of William the Conqueror was much darker than our own. 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 AD? In this book, Catherine Kairavi describes a society much more primitive than our own in both knowledge and consciousness. 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.
Historians claim to know the whole story of the Conquest, yet many different conclusions can be drawn from the same set of facts.
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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. A case can be made for either side. 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. 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.
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. 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. This book will explore an astonishing statement made by Paramhansa Yogananda, a universally revered spiritual teacher of modern times.
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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. What Yogananda shares with his readers in Autobiography of a Yogi has struck a deep chord in virtually all who have read it. 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.
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?