To a friend who asked me to write about Paramhansa Yogananda’s statements regarding Judas Iscariot and his present spiritual status.
Master Yogananda knew Judas in India, where he had been reborn in Bengal in 1865, and was named Sarat Chandra Chakravarty. One day Jesus appeared to Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa and told him that Judas had suffered greatly in many lives and that he was sending him to Sri Ramakrishna to be put back on the path to liberation. Shortly afterward Sarat came to Dakshineswar, met Sri Ramakrishna and became his disciple.
When Yogananda knew him he was Swami Saradananda. Other disciples of Sri Ramakrishna told Yoganandaji about Jesus’ appearance to Sri Ramakrishna regarding the reincarnated Judas.
In a conversation about Saradananda/Judas, Yogananda said that he very early on displayed “an unusual” attitude toward money–the same attitude that had played a major part in his life as Judas, bring about his betrayal of Jesus. The other disciples of Ramakrishna began to tease him about this, and Sri Ramakrishna very forcefully forbade them to ever do so again, fearful that such teasing might actually awaken past negative samskaras.
Yoganandaji said that Swami Saradananda had attained liberation. So the love and mercy of God had prevailed and brought him home to union with the Divine. Surely Jesus would say with Krishna: “Understand: no devotee of me is ever lost” (Bhagavad Gita 9:31).