Abraham Lincoln, [Yogananda] 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,” [Yogananda 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. —from The Path, by Swami Kriyananda.
Q. Many devotees have read Yogananda’s statement about Lincoln and Lindbergh quoted by Swami Kriyananda in his autobiography, The Path, but you are the only one who has investigated it. Why did you decide to do that?
A. After reading what Yogananda had said, I was intrigued. So I began to do a little research. For years that was all it amounted to. Then, one day, I felt inspired to do a more in-depth investigation.
At the start, I had no idea what I would find — possibly only a few things suggesting a connection between the two men. What I discovered was simply amazing.
I found hundreds of connections — resemblances in their physical appearance, thoughts, feelings, spiritual aspirations, friendships, and the circumstances and events of their lives. I was especially impressed with the connections that tied both men to the path of yoga.
The depth and quantity of the evidence persuaded me that if Lindbergh wasn’t Lincoln reborn, he darn well should have been! The ties between them shed much light on karma and reincarnation, making those concepts vividly real for me.
Q. When did you first decide to write a full-length book?
A. The idea for this book came to me on an airplane flight. I was flying east to Baltimore and during the flight, I realized that I had come to a turning point in my life.
Much of my spiritual service up until then had involved expressing creativity through art, music, or the spoken or written word. At the time, however, it seemed that every door of creative expression had been closed and that I had no creative way to serve as Divine Mother’s instrument.
Knowing how much one’s spirit can stagnate without some means of sharing with others, I closed my eyes and began to pray for some creative means of sharing some of the inspiration and insights Divine Mother had given me on reincarnation and other subjects.
Within about a minute, the idea for this book came — and very strongly. It felt like I had received a commission. The book project was ideal for me and I am very, very grateful to Divine Mother.
Q. What were some of the challenges you encountered?
A. The first challenge came when I ran up against the fact that I had to eat and sleep! From the start, this project grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go. So many ideas and inspirations came to me that it was difficult to write them all down.
Usually I found some means of recording the ideas, but I regret to say that some of them were lost for lack of writing materials, or time to stop and make a note.
Some years into the project, I even had to pray that the inspirations about the connections between the two men would stop coming — I was worried that I would never finish the book! But as long as I remained interested in the information, Divine Mother kept giving me more.
I didn’t include in the book everything I discovered, only the best examples — those that made the point about reincarnation in the clearest possible way.
Q. Were you able to interview any of Lindbergh’s surviving relatives?
A. I thought of trying to contact them, but what would I say? Reincarnation is still a somewhat unusual concept in our culture, and from what I had read, there was no reason to think that any of the Lindbergh children believed in it. I also knew from my research that the Lindbergh family had a history of odd people pestering them. So I let go of the idea.
Q. How widespread is the belief in reincarnation among Americans?
A. I was intrigued to discover that about twenty-one percent of all Americans, including Christians, believe in reincarnation. Yet for most of these millions, it seems that the belief is rather vague. I hope through my book to bring some clarity to the subject.
Q. Did you at any point feel that you had actually tapped into the consciousness of Lindbergh or Lincoln?
A. Yes. About a year or two after I began this project I was on an airplane passing over Illinois. While looking down at the checkerboard farmlands, I had a strong desire to visit the places where both Lincoln and Lindbergh had lived. Within about a week I made that trip.
During my time in Illinois, I felt a definite connection with the spirit of Lincoln/Lindbergh. It was very beautiful. I experienced the same thing when I visited Minnesota, where Lindbergh lived for a while.
Q. It has been said the Lindbergh will probably become a yogi in his next life. Do you agree?
A. That’s what Swami Kriyananda wrote in The Path, based on statements by Yogananda. After working on this project for the past eight years, I have to say that I agree with him.
From what I can see, Lindbergh slipped a little in his spiritual progress after his lifetime as Abraham Lincoln. All of us need to put out some sort of spiritual effort to maintain forward momentum on the path, and neither Lincoln nor Lindbergh did that.
To me, Lindbergh was Lincoln “on vacation.” He was almost the same as Lincoln spiritually, but you can see that he was starting to slip a little. However, my impression of this soul is that he wants to be free, that his desire for liberation is strong.
You can see that desire reflected in Lindbergh’s final book, Autobiography of Values, where he expresses his disillusionment with modern science and technology and his curiosity about the spiritual realm. Three times in the book he refers to his metaphysical experiences while making his historic flight from New York to Paris.
Lindbergh traveled all over the world, met many famous people, was feted in practically every country, and achieved incredible fame and considerable worldly success. But it is clear from Autobiography of Values that his heart’s desire lay elsewhere, in something more spiritual. So what could be more natural than that he return to yoga practice in his next life?
Q. Do you believe that Lincoln’s lifetime as Lindbergh was karmically “necessary?”
A. I think Lincoln’s soul accumulated great good karma from his selfless lifetime. He left that life suddenly, before he had a chance to reap the fruit of his actions — widespread acclaim and recognition.
But we know from Yogananda’s teachings that all karma, even good karma is binding, because the product of ego-based actions based on the thought that, “I am the Doer.” Now that the soul of Lincoln/Lindbergh has reaped its karmic reward, it may be freer to move forward spiritually.
Q. Your book presents the best evidence you could find on the soul identity of the two men but allows readers to draw their own conclusions. Has anyone read your book and rejected your thesis?
A. Yes, but that truly doesn’t matter. The main thing is to share my findings with those who are interested.
Q. How did you gain spiritually from writing this book?
A. I gained in many ways: by tuning in to the soul that incarnated as Lincoln and Lindbergh; by acting as a channel for Divine Mother; by developing my ability to hear and follow Divine Mother’s guidance; by raising my energy to the level required to communicate my ideas as clearly as possible; and by overcoming any unwillingness in having to rewrite the entire book many times.
Q. Were any aspects of the writing process superconscious?
A. There were times when it felt as if I were taking dictation — the right words would simply flow through me. Also, whenever I needed something, Divine Mother brought it to me or guided me to it.
For example I would need a piece of information and soon after, I would then see a book that I felt compelled to open. And on that exact page would be the answer I was looking for. This happened over and over.
Q. Did you ever feel like giving up the project?
A. At times I felt frustrated, mainly because I thought this project would take two years and it ended up taking four times that long. And I sometimes worried that I hadn’t captured exactly what Divine Mother wanted me to say.
But our meditation training is a great gift: it teaches us to sit still, calm down, and ask for guidance in moments of doubt or frustration, And every time I asked for help or guidance, it came.
Q. Do you have any plans for any future books?
A. Yes. While writing this book I received inspirations for many other books about reincarnation and other subjects. I pray that Divine Mother will give me the time to write them.