I have finally began to read “Paramhansa Yogananda: A Biography” by Swami Kriyananda. I am only about half the way through it so I cannot give a full opinion on it. I surely will later. One thing in particular caught my interest tonight and that is a chapter on reincarnation. Kriyananda says that Yogananda told him that he (Yogananda) had been William the Conqueror in a past life. He said that Joseph Stalin had been Genghis Khan, Hitler had been Alexander the Great, and Winston Churchill had been Napoleon.
Whether these were things that Yogananda knew as fact or not is debatable. He may have just been illustrating how reincarnation works. For example, Alexander the Great being reborn as Adolf Hitler. As Alexander, that soul cultivated ambition toward greatness. In the life of Hitler, it could have manifested as greatness, but that greatness is put in our hands and it can atrophy into notoriety instead, which it did in the case of Hitler.
In the case of Churchill, Yogananda had told a devotee how Napoleon had been banished from England and desired to re-conquer the Isle but was unable to. Therefore in another life he was the British Emperor, Churchill. But even Churchill, however, lived to see the dissipation of the British Empire. This teaches us that a life of detachment sees great ups and downs in fortune but would remain unmoved.