A NSW spiritual healer suing an ex-client for defamation has told a court that most people have lived at least 2,300 lives and he is the reincarnation of Leonardo da Vinci.
Serge Isaac Benhayon testified on Wednesday that he received information about past lives by accessing the ‘ageless wisdom’, and he was a female author in his most recent former life.
The 54-year-old former tennis coach said he had not counted all his lives but he had gone back as far as necessary – about 10,000 years – to learn what he needed to do in the present.
‘I would probably say I know very little of my entire catalogue and I know a little about some of them,’ Mr Benhayon told the NSW Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The spiritual healer is suing Esther Mary Rockett for defamation over a 2014 blog post, two comments she later made on the post and 14 tweets.
Mr Benhayon denied under cross-examination by Tom Molomby SC that he was concocting his understanding of past lives as he went along, and said it was energetically confirmed to him that he was Leonardo in a past life.
Mr Benhayon also told the court there were spirits in the room during his testimony, which he could sense rather than see.
‘There were some that were present when I walked in and particularly when you walked in,’ he told Mr Molomby.
However, he refused the barrister’s repeated requests for him to count the spirits, saying he could not break the rule of his soul.
The jury has heard Mr Benhayon founded Universal Medicine in northern NSW and was a teacher and practitioner of the business, which ran seminars, healing courses and retreats.
His barrister has contended Ms Rockett’s blog contained defamatory meanings, including that his client was the leader of a socially harmful cult, a sexual predator, had indecently touched her in the treatment room, preys on cancer patients and is delusional.
Ms Rockett, a former acupuncturist, is fighting the case on the defences of truth and honest opinion.
Mr Benhayon said on Wednesday he felt she had ‘basically crossed every line’ and attempted to demolish his reputation when he first saw her blog post about him.
‘You feel raped. You feel that you’ve been stripped,’ he said.
He said Ms Rockett’s claims definitely were not true and he was taking her to court to protect his reputation and because he strongly believed in having a fair and decent society.
The defamation trial continues.