Site Map
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
Section › 7 Set Search Previous Next


Reservations Contents  

  1. I Meet my Master, Sri Yukteswar – 86
  2. Two Penniless Boys in Brindaban – 96
  3. Years in my Master's Hermitage – 107
  4. The Sleepless Saint (Ram Gopal Muzumdar) – 139
  5. An Experience in Cosmic Consciousness – 147

10 - I meet my master, Sri Yukteswar

Yogananda Don't take my word for anything. - A Yogananda word, in Dietz 1998

It seems to be good counsel; why would Yogananda give it to his woman disciple Margaret Bowen Dietz otherwise? Yet, there is a knack to it.

It happens that insincere purposes draw on wealth.

A wealthy family may take advantage of good things and encounters.

To withdraw from normal encounters marks many a coming monk.

A fit monk and vanity should not go hand in hand.

Mukunda - the later Yogananda - had promised his father Bhagabati that he would complete his high school studies, but he was not diligent.

One afternoon, Nantu, a brilliant classmate came up to him, laughing heartily: "You are utterly unprepared for the finals!" Then he kindly outlined the solutions to various problems he considered likely to be set by the instructors.

"These questions are the bait which will catch many trusting boys in the examination trap. Remember my answers, and you will escape without injury."

In addition, Mukunda sought out a pundit to aid him interpret a Sanskrit verse he had came across when talking a walk. He writes that "familiarity with that particular poem enabled me on the following day to pass the Sanskrit examination. Through the discerning help Nantu had given, I also attained the minimum grade for success in all my other subjects."

His father was pleased.

🙢 Yogananda in turn referred to him as a Christlike soul, one of those who might have the highest Christ-consciousness, as one of eight Christlike souls that Yogananda knew, apart from the eleven Christs that Jesus made, he writes. (Yogananda. "Yogavatar Shama Lahiri Mahasaya's Ladder of Self-Realization for Salvation for All", in Inner Culture, March 1937)

Yogananda refers to many Christs, whereas Jesus of the gospels did not want the term used about himself at all, the bible scholar Bart D. Ehrman sums up in How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee (2014).

Mukunda, who meant his father was Christlike, also came to tell that he himself was an avatar (a divine descent into human form) - a term spread by Yogananda societies. They took his word for it against his "Don't take my word for anything (in Dietz 1998)." So we find such as, "Yogananda is a great yogi and avatar who came to America (Mata 1992/93, p. 6)."

The world 'avatar' has many meanings.

After he got through high school, Mukunda planned to enter an ashram despite his father's plea, "Do not forsake me and your grieving brothers and sisters."

Yogananda did chose to forsake them. Refusing to listen to his father, he set out for a hermitage in Varanasi. It was headed by a thin monk. He thought Mukunda would learn their ways. Mukunda doubted it. The thin ashram head further said,

"Mukunda, I see your father is regularly sending you money. Please return it to him; you require none here." And there was one more thing: "Even when you feel hunger, don't mention it."

At home, Mukunda had been used to a large breakfast at nine o'clock. "Gone were the Calcutta years when I could rebuke the cook for a ten-minute delay."

One day Mukunda fasted, and the next day there were many delicacies ready in the ashram. An appetising aroma filled the air. But all had to wait for the thin head of the ashram. He was on a train.

"Lord hasten the train!" Mukunda prayed.

It was getting dark before the leader entered the door. Yogananda greeted him with unfeigned joy, but the thin man wanted to bathe and meditate before food could be served.

Gnawing stomach! At nine o'clock the meal was served. Yogananda enjoyed it "as one of life's perfect hours." But the thin man soon told him he had spent the last four days without food or drink, due to rules for monks of his particular order. And, "Tonight at home I neglected my dinner." He laughed merrily.

Shame spread within Mukunda, but he ventured a remark. "Suppose I never asked for food, and nobody gives me any. I should starve to death."

"Die then! Die if you must, Mukunda! . . . Do not imagine that rice maintains you."

One day Mukunda lost his taliman, and his relationship with the thin man's followers grew worse, for the ashram household was alienated and hurt by his behaviour.

Mukunda meditated and prayed for teaching visions or a guru. While he was at it, a young priest in the kitchen called him. Mukunda was needed for an errand. The kitchen priest took him with him for a distant market place, and in a narrow lane Mukunda saw one of those Christlike men in ochre robes standing. After ten minutes or so Mukunda was at his feet.

🙢 The man said, "Thou hast come at last my boy," says the Yogananda biography (Dasgupta 2006:25).

"I will love you eternally, gurudeva!" said Mukunda.

🙢 Should these wordings have been "my proxy boy!" and "I will love you, proxy guru!" Take into account a witness account from 1951, where a woman disciple, Durga Mata, joyfully exclaims to Yogananda, "You were Arjuna" and "he smiled his, 'Yes.' . . . Krishna was my guru and Babaji, being Krishna, is still my guru, Sri Yukteswarji was my guru by proxy for Babaji.'" (Mata, 1992/93, emphasis added)

Much may depend on what we mean by proxy gurudeva, Krishna and love. Dr Erich Fromm (1956) and many others discern between many kinds of love. They are not all selfish, regardless of what Yukteswar tells: "Ordinary love is selfish . . . please promise to put my head on your lap and help to bring me back to the cosmic . . ." An overlooked point is parental love that sacrifices a lot for the nest and chicks.

Mukunda told Yukteswar nothing of his life, but was told by him, "You should go back to Calcutta. Why exclude relatives from your love . . .?"

This suggestion dismayed Mukunda. Each family is different, but all the same . . .

"I am not returning home. But I will follow you anywhere [else]," said Mukunda. "Do you think your relatives will laugh at you? . . . You will return in thirty days."

"Never," said Mukunda and was wrong.

The two parted.

Back in the ashram, he overheard that "Mukunda is a parasite, accepting hermitage hospitality without making proper return." He left the ashram with regrets.


11 - Two penniless boys in Brindaban

  1. Minor plans may teem and some break, but our lives most often rest on many handy plans carried out in order.
  2. To function like a religious freak is definitely a kind of personal attainment.
  3. Good ones may get robber-sacrificed for their good hearts and sincere goings. In the Bible, sacrifices were of first-class ones too.

"Mukunda! How foolishly you are throwing away your life!" his elder brother said, and came upon a plan to make Mukunda stop wasting his life:

"I send you and your fellow disciple Jitendra this morning to the near-by city of Brindaban. You must not take a single rupee; you must not beg, either for food or money; you must not reveal your predicament to anyone; you must not go without your meals; and you must not be stranded in Brindaban. If you return to my bungalow here before twelve o'clock tonight, without having broken any rule of the test, I shall be the most astonished man in Agra!"

He also decided so send one of Mukanda's friends with him: "You must go along as a witness and, very likely, a fellow victim!"

Mukunda accepted the challenge, and then he and a friend were escorted to the train and got one-way tickets to Brindaban, a location associated with Hare Krishna.

In Brindaban they were carried off and well fed with delicacies by a sympathetic and wealthy stranger. Later a young man came up to them and offered to be their host and guide, for he thought Yogananda was his guru, after Krishna had appeared in a vision and showed him two forsaken figures under a tree. He toured Brindaban with Yogananda and his friend, and they visisted Krishna shrines.

Their guide gave them many sweetmeats, and held out a bundle of rupee notes and two tickets, just bought to Agra, where the two came from.

Midnight was approaching when the two friends entered the big brother's bedroom in Agra and astonished him.

Next morning the two friends made a visit to Taj Mahal in Agra. Then they travelled south by train toward Bengal. Mukunda and his travelling friend parted company, and Yogananda went alone to where Yukteswar lived. It was four weeks since Yukteswar in Varanasi had said Mukunda would come to him in four weeks.

🙢 For the lack of enough good order, comfort and sustenance in the home, some try to find it outside it.


12 - Years in my master's hermitage

  1. One had better approach a guru cautiously. In Vedic India that was one of the "rules of the game".
  2. Young disciples may not recognise how hard it is to be respectable on one's own.
  3. Tending to one's own affairs tends to be good.


    Yukteswar greeted his visitor while sitting on a tiger skin. His voice was cold, his manner unemotional.

    "I am here to follow you," said Mukunda, kneeling, and touching his feet. "Your wish shall be my law!"

    🙢 One should see through marring, dilapidated display. When the later Yogananada left by boat for America, Yukteswar asked him to base his teachings in the West on a book Yukteswar had written, and gave him a copy. But the sad fact is that most of Yogananda's output in America was different. Yukteswar's wish was not Yogananda's law in the big bulk his lectures and commentaries that Yogananda's publisher, SRF has edited and published since.[Yogananda book reviews]

    At that time Yukteswar trusted him much, and said: "That is better! Now I can assume responsibility for your life . . . return home to your family . . . enter college in Calcutta."

    🙢 Trust without able insights that matter, or foresight, can bring on disappointments. It showed up that the later Yogananda disappointed Yukteswar much, and on at least two occasions too much for Yukteswar to bear. It is described in the Yogananda biography (Dasgupta 2006).

    "Someday you will go to the West. . . . Come here whenever you find time."

    "Every day if possible . . . [if you] promise to reveal God to me!" said Mukunda.

    After an hour's (!) verbal tussle, Yukteswar said, "Let your wish be my wish."

    🙢 Mukunda writes he had found eternal shelter in a true guru. It should have been "shelter in a proxy guru," if he meant what he said to a woman disciple, Durga Mata (1992/93) - A quote above)

    Yukteswar had a moss-covered house and a rear garden with jackfruit, mango and plantain trees. Balustraded balconies of upper rooms in the two-storied building faced the courtyard from three sides. There was a spacious ground-floor hall with high ceiling supported by colonnades, and Yukteswar's sitting room had a small balcony overlooking the quie Rai Ghat Lane.

    Next morning, Yukteswar initiated Mukunda in kriya yoga. Mukunda had already received the technique from his father and from Swami Kebalananda, Mukunda's Sanskrit tutor.

    Mukunda's father was pleased that Mukunda would study on, and made arrangements. Mukunda was enrolled the following day at the Scottish Church College in Calcutta, and managed to get minimum passing grades from time to time.

    As midnight approached, Yukteswar might fall into a doze. He often lay down, without even a pillow, on a davenport, which is a narrow, upholstered sofa or a small writing desk.

    One afternoon Yukteswar said, "You are too thin, Mukunda . . . Years ago, I too was anxious to put on weight," Yukteswar told further. He was ailing back then, and asked his own guru, "If I think I am well and have regained my former weight, shall that happen?"

    "It is so . . ."


    Yukteswar taught

    "Be comfortable within your purse. Extravagance will buy you discomfort." [The counsel presupposes you have a purse to be comfortable within.]

    "The Vedas teach that wanton loss of a human body is a serious transgression."

    "Saintliness is not dumbness! Divine perceptions are not incapacitating!"

    "A man of realisation doesn't perform any miracle till he receives an inward sanction."

    "In shallow men the fish of little thoughts cause much commotion."

    "The vanished lives of all men . . . ever unreliable."

    "The body is a friend. Give it its due." [Abr. The positive spin of this contraction is not in the original.]

    "Don't allow yourself to be thrashed by the provoking whip of a beautiful face."



    Yogananda, wrong: "Yukteswar was a peerless interpreter of the scriptures."

    🙢 Not so. Yukteswar was not at all a good Bible interpreter. [Evidence] Dare to ask, "If Yukteswar did not comprehend Bible stories even reasonably well, did he comprehend the true nature of matter, as Yogananda would have you think?" Another: "Did he understand the true nature of Kali-worshipping Yogananda?"

    Once Yukteswar suddenly stopped discoursing, saying Mukunda's attention was not fully with him. Mukunda protested.

    Yukteswar: "Your objection forces me to remark that in your mental background you were creating three institutions. One was a sylvan retreat on a plain, another on a hilltop, a third by the ocean."

    Mukunda admitted it, apologetically.

    Yukteswar would hint: "Don't you think it may happen?"

    Yogananda: "Never did his slightly veiled words prove false."

    🙢 Could a "Don't you think that . . ." hint prove false at any time?

    Heeding silence above much drunkenness

    Yogananda: "I always thrilled at the touch of . . . Yukteswar's . . . feet. . . . Never did I find him . . . intoxicated."

    Yukteswar: "When Lahiri Mahasaya [his guru] was silent, . . . I discovered that . . . he had transmitted to me ineffable knowledge." [If unutterable, what to say or do about it?]


    "Even if you put a snake in a bamboo tube, you cannot change its wriggling disposition (Japanese proverb)."
    🙢 If you hammer a snake to make it straight, that won't happen unless you kill it. Accordingly, hammering discipline helps dying. Later in life, Yogananda used to say, "I killed Yogananda long ago." [◦Source] It might be soap good for Yukteswar to know he did not do it. However -

    Yogananda: "Father was strict . . . But Sri Yukteswar's training . . drastic . . . hypercritical."

    Yogananda admits: "My chief offences were absentmindedness, intermittent indulgence in sad moods, non-observance of certain rules of etiquette, and occasional unmethodical ways." [Obviously carried on to his Rubaiyat Soap Commentary.]

    Yogananda on Yukteswar: "He showed no leniency to . . . myself . . .he always spoke plainly and upbraided sharply. No . . . shallowness or inconsistency escaped his rebuke. This flattening treatment was hard to endure, but my resolve was to allow Sri Yukteswar to iron out each of my psychological kinks. As he laboured at this titanic transformation, I shook many times under the weight of his disciplinary hammer. Yogananda's biographer Saliendra Dasgupta writes something else that Yogananda said about Yukteswar: "He was a bit too tough in his ways." Dasgupta fills in how Yogananda "feared [Yukteswar] terribly when it came to practical matters of daily life. His behavior towards [Yukteswar] always was like that of a child." (Dasgupta 2006:30)

    To fear a bad man greatly - that is wise. But here we are faced with authoritarian matters.

    🙢 Above we find titanic Mukunda flaws, according to himself: being shallow, inconsistent, inflated (flattening needed), and with various kinks (mental bends, twists, etc.). Later he said, "I had countless faults, but God washed them all away." That means Yukteswar probably did not do it, unless Yogananda thought his proxy guru was God, though proxy.

    Carping, upbraiding and hammering are probably last resorts, and with uncertain results. Observe: To hammer flat the flaws of others hardly works well enough. Moral and decency had better be awoken from within and nourished comfortably in kindness.

    Don't hammer-flatten; cultivate what is there to cultivate. It is not all black. For example, a slaughter-craving one could learn the trade of a tolerated butcher - The main way is thus from within out, and not enduring hammering carping. Good stories may help young ones unfold, and have transfer value, whereas the effects of being censured and upbraided a lot may not transfer well into new settings. Sane education raises, authoritarian follow-suit-making tends to make ill under a conform dressing. It may take some decades for it to show up. It could be wise to see a possible connection between the flattening treatment of Yogananda and his later lack of maturity in the face of Yukteswar, his lying in a court case, and dogmatism, going for dictatorship, or perhaps his Jesus swindle (if swindle it was, and not maddening insane). "Truth will out."


    Yukteswar: "If you don't like my words, you are at liberty to leave at any time ... Stay only if you feel benefited."

    🙢 The later Yogananda deviated from this, and wanted to control followers even for lifetimes if they first had been sworn in to his line of gurus in the name of "non-swear Jesus". The practice continues, and goes against Human Rights Laws. Better get aware of this in advance than getting hurt after a little. [Spirit-serfs by the kriya yoga oath]


    Very awkward Yogananda teachings on top of Yukteswar

    "Human egotism is hardly to be dislodged except rudely."

    🙢 Egotism is not necessarily bad; it is bad in creeps. Normal persons should not give in to maiming or dangerous teaching. There is a page that goes into this subject at length here. [Don't confuse egohood with egotism]

    "The divine finds at last [it] seeks to percolate through flinty hearts of selfishness."

    🙢 Compare Yogananda's unsystemathic turn from teaching expanding selfishness to teaching unselfishness.


    Brokenhearted and not popular

    Master wasn't popular ... [but could have been] the most sought-after guru in India had his words not been so candid and so censorious."

    🙢 "Of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: "It might have been!" (John Greenleaf Whittier). Yogananda says, in effect, playing on fame: "If Yukteswar had not been who he was, things might have been fame." One should refrain from taking wild claims at face value, or give in to big boasts, "the bigger the better," on Yogananda's own word, "Don't take my word for anything. - A Yogananda word (Dietz 1998)

    Yukteswar attracted carping students who fled when he in turn analysed them.

    🙢 A favourable group climate and delicate handling is something to thank for.

    Yogananda: "Yukteswar's impartial justice did not hinder him from having personal favourite idiosyncrasies. Once his favourite ashram boy, Kumar, had to leave. Yukteswar brokenheartedly discussed with Mukunda that the boy was now unsuited.

    "Mukunda, I will leave it to you to instruct Kumar to leave the ashram tomorrow; I cannot do it!" Tears stood in Sri Yukteswar's eyes.

    🙢 Yogananda also speaks of "I-cannot-do-it!"-Yukteswar as one of indomitable will. Maybe it was a won't-power that was manifested above. . . . "My majestic master could easily have been an emperor or world-shaking warrior had his mind been centred on fame or worldly achievement." All right, maybe with many tears in his eyes, in case. "Worse things happen at sea," is a proverb.
    Monastic regulations don't allow a swami to retain connection with worldly ties after their formal severance. Yukteswar ignored the restrictions.


    Futile attempts

    A scholar to Yukteswar. "I have no inner realisation."

    Yukteswar stressed the futility of mere book learning.

    In a forest hermitage in eastern Bengal, Yukteswar observed the teaching method of Dabru Ballav. The Bhagavad Gita was open before the gathered disciples. Steadfastly they looked at one passage for half an hour, then closed their eyes. Another half hour slipped away. The master gave a brief comment. Motionless, they meditated again for an hour. Finally the guru spoke.

    "Have you understood? ... No; not fully."

    Another hour disappeared. Ballav dismissed the students, and turned to Yukteswar.

    "Do you know the Bhagavad Gita?"

    "No, sir."

    "Thousands have replied to me differently!"

    🙢 If we trust that Yukteswar was right, what about Yukteswar's commentary on the Bhagavad Gita (Sriyukteshvar 2002). Is it worth getting, or do we err in getting it? Yukteswar had earlier said he did not understand it (above), but all the same thought he had his guru's support, blessings and approval in writing it. (Sriyukteshvar 2002, Preface). As for the publishing of it, here is more:

    Priyanath [later: Yukteswar] started an interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita of his own. He published the first nine chapters in 1893 and sent ten copies to his fellow disciple Panchanon Bhattacharya for distribution. Nobody wanted to buy them.

    Bhattacharya wrote to their guru twice and asked what to do. On the second request their guru answered. He preferred an interpretation by Prasad Das Goswami to be published first. If that was an approval of Yukteswar's work, it seemed rather reluctant.

    [Rendering from Sanskrit Classics: Sriyukteswar and Yogananda]


    Nervously squatting Mukunda

    Once a man visited Yukteswar's ashram. Mukunda squatted nervously near the door. Another time a court deputy arrived at the Serampore ashram to serve Yukteswar with a legal summons. The officer said,

    "It will do you good to leave the shadows of your hermitage and breathe the honest air of a courtroom."

    Yogananda: "The unfailing composure of a saint is impressive."

    TO TOP

    13 - The sleepless saint

    "Becoming aware, thus sleepless."

    1. Mature precepts hardly tame simple people that don't succumb to relentless worship. Good order of things or arrangements is much to be desired.
    2. Is a cosmic baron like a cosmic stone, that is, with 'cosmic' added ad lib? In common life there are more or less established or professional limits, as quite ordinary uses bear witness of many times.
    3. Outward obedience cannot be the main thing. For much depends on who you are obeying, on what terms, on how sagacious you become from it, and much else. Human fulfilment is somehow inner-directed, like wit.

    After six months as Yukteswar's underling, Mukunda wanted to go to the Himalayas and asked Yukteswar for permission in ungrateful words. He had grown impatient with hermitage duties and college studies.

    🙢 Hence, being ungrateful and shirking the studies might be added to a list of "wrigglings" (see former chapter)

    Yukteswar: "Many hillmen live in the Himalayas, yet possess no god-perception. Wisdom is better sought from a man of realisation than from an inert mountain."

    Mukunda repeated his plea, got no answer at all, but took it for a consent. The next morning The following morning he sought out a Sanskrit professor at Scottish Church College and asked for the address of a 'sleepless saint' at Ranbajpur, near Tarakeswar.

    Mukunda entrained at once for Tarakeswar. "Innumerable healing miracles have occurred at Tarakeswar, including one for a member of my family." A healing herb had materialised in the hand of his eldest aunt there. She made a brew from the leaves, and a disease vanished at once and never reappeared.

    In Tarakeswar, Mukunda felt disinclined to bow before a round stone, and went looking for 'the sleepless saint' Ram Gopan Muzumdar through paddy fields and across mounds of dried clay. In the middle of the afternoon a stranger approached leisurely and stopped beside him.

    "I was planning to leave Ranbajpur, but I waited for you. That professor had no right to give you my address."

    Mukunda stood speechless, somewhat hurt.

    "Why did you fail to bow before the stone in Tarakeswar?" He patted Mukunda's shoulder. "I see you are running away from your master. You must return to him and your room-cave, your sacred mountain."

    "I see you are famished. . . . You are asking illumination from me. . . . The muscles relax during sleep."

    Ram Gopal fell into silence, and Mukunda lay down.

    "You are blessed to have this experience," Ram Gopal said, and at dawn he gave him rock candies and said he must leave. Tears coursed down Mukunda's cheeks.

    "I will do something for you." He smiled, and Mukunda was instantaneously healed, renewed, and sauntered into the jungle.

    [Retold, much abridged]

    TO TOP

    14 - An Experience in Cosmic Consciousness

    On the path of truth, uncosmic consciousness is far more than cosmic. You have to transcend the cosmos too if the aim is true grits or Self-actualisation. So don't get stuck in the next best only.

    1. Inward diving is not all there is to thriving and a decent, good life.
    2. "Cosmic" suggests huge - Don't spread yourself thin.
    3. 'The draug', a variant suggestion for 'cosmic consciousness', could be twice as fit - who knows?

    The Draug

    Draug highlights. The draug (Old Norse: draugr, and Danish, Swedish and Norwegian: draugen), is an undead creature from Norse mythology. The word draugr can be traced to a Proto-Indo European stem, "phantom", from "deceive". The Old Norse meaning of the word is a revenant, a "returner".

    In folklore, the draugs (draugar) were said to be either dark blue or pale. Further, they slay their victims, or indirectly kill them by driving them mad, and by drinking their blood. One draug is said to have turned himself into a troll. Draugar are noted for having numerous other magical abilities, such as shape-shifting, controlling the weather and seeing into the future.

    Draugar have the ability to enter into the dreams of the living and also to curse a victim. Also, the draugr could also move magically through the earth.

    The motivation of the actions of a draugr involve a longing for things of the life it once had, and greed. Any greedy person can become a draugr. And unlike ghosts, draugs can also come about through infection by another draugs, as in the story of Glámr in Grettis saga. Glámr is one of the best-known draugs on Iceland. After Glámr dies on Christmas Eve, "people became aware that Glámr wrought such havoc that some people fainted at the sight of him, while others went out of their minds". Similarly, in Eyrbyggja saga, a shepherd is killed by a draugr and rises the next night as one himself.

    In Eyrbyggja saga, the draugar infesting the home of the Icelander Kiartan were driven off by holding a "door-doom" and were forced out of the home by this legal method, followed by holy water to ensure they never came back.

    In more recent Scandinavian folklore, the draug is a sea creature and a sign of trouble at sea. He is described as being a headless fisherman, dressed in oilskins and riding through the storm in half a boat. He has the ability to disguise himself. Though the draug usually presages death, there is an amusing account in Nord-Norge of a Nordlending who managed to outwit him. [◦Source] (Wikipedia, "Draugr")

    A collection of legends, ◦The Golden Legend (Legenda Aurea). The Golden Legend was likely compiled around the year 1260 by Jacobus de Voragine. It was widely read in late medieval Europe. although the text was added to over the centuries.

    In the mediaval collection, the following legend from Norway takes place in Paris, and was told to make people remember their departed ones in their prayers. The legends is found in other places and with the same motif and moral, such as Hildesheim in Germany and Durham in England.

    It was Christmas Eve, and Ola went down to his boathouse to get the keg of brandy he had bought for the holidays. When he got in, he noticed a draug sitting on the keg, staring out to sea. Ola, with great presence of mind and great bravery (it might not be amiss to state that he already had done some drinking), tiptoed up behind the draug and struck him sharply in the small of the back, so that he went flying out through the window, with sparks hissing around him as he hit the water. Ola knew he had no time to lose, so he set off at a great rate, running through the churchyard which lay between his home and the boathouse. As he ran, he cried, "Up, all you Christian souls, and help me!"

    Then he heard the sound of fighting between the ghosts and the draugr, who were battling each other with coffin boards and bunches of seaweed.

    The next morning, when people came to church, the whole yard was strewn with coffin covers, boat boards, and seaweed. After the fight, which the ghosts won, the draugr never came back to that district. [◦ A source]

    The connection between the draug and the sea can be traced back to such as drawings by Theodor Kittelsen. Arne Garborg describes land-draugs coming fresh from the graveyards, and the notion of draugs who live in the mountains is present in the poetic works of Henrik Ibsen (Peer Gynt), among others.

    Mukunda Gets a "Draug" Strike on His Chest

    Mukunda returned shame-faced to Yukteswar. "I must have disappointed you."

    "Of course not!"

    Later, Mukunda tried to meditate, but was restless, with flying thoughts.

    "Mukunda!" Yukteswar summoned him three times.

    "I am meditating," Mukunda shouted protestingly.

    "I know how you are meditating, with your mind distributed like leaves in a storm! Come here."

    Snubbed and exposed, Mukunda made his way sadly to his side.

    "Poor boy," said Yukteswar and struck on Mukunda's chest above the heart. As a result, Mukunda could not move and breathe. The roots of plants and trees appeared and he discerned the inward flow of their sap.

    A cow 
    Cows are not unfit in a divine vision, we see.

    He also noticed also a white cow who was leisurely approaching, with his two physical eyes. As she passed by behind a brick wall, he saw her clearly still.

    From Poor Boy to Mr. Big Inspired

    Sea-joy surged on shores of his soul. Glory began to envelop towns . . . floating universes. The entire cosmos glimmered within him, he tells.

    🙢 Afterwards, he died anyway, nectar of immortality or not, at a banquet in 1952.

    🙢 The cosmos is expanding extremely fast, and is much bigger now.

    Yogananda: "I cognised the centre of the empyrean as a point of intuitive perception in my heart . . . the nectar of immortality, pulsed through me."

    🙢 Afterwards, he died anyway, nectar of immortality or not, at a banquet in 1952.

    Suddenly Mukunda could breathe again. Yukteswar was standing motionless before him, holding him upright, saying.

    "You must not get overdrunk . . . let's sweep the balcony floor.

    Sweeping! Even as late as in 1935, when Yogananda described this event, he could not hide how heartbroken he was by being told to do that. (Dasgupta 2006:30)

    That reminds of a few events in the Yogananda biography by Sailendra Dasgupta:

    Yogananda brought a few followers with him to Yukteswar in 1935/36. Yukteswar seemed to disapprove of them, writes Sailendra Dasgupta. Yukteswar had first thought to serve them tea in silver cups, but "Now I hear that one them is a driver and the other is a cook!" he said, and seemed extremely disappointed and sank into his chair. Dasgupta tried to make him understand that the two Yogananda disciples that Yukteswar spoke of, did such jobs because the jobs needed to be done. But Yukteswar "did not want to hear any of this. He just kept on muttering, 'One - a driver, and the other - cook!' It was impossible to reason with him." (Dasgupta 2006:70)

    Yukteswar was displeased. But he and Yogananda were balcony sweepers, and Yogananda is spoken highly of as an able cook too.

    Mukunda fetched a broom and wrote the poem, "Samadhi,", which was abbreviated later by SRF, as if lines in it were of little worth to them. "Don't take my word for anything." - A Yogananda word, in Dietz 1998. In the poem he sought to tell of the "cosmic state" by such as:

    Ocean of Blood (A new title)
    Waves of laughter
    Melting in the vast sea of bliss.
    Present, past, future, no more for me.

    Thoughts of all men . . . to come I swallowed, transmuted all
    Into a vast ocean of blood of my own one being!

    Enjoyable . . .
    I, the Cosmic Sea,
    Ocean of mind, I drink all creation's waves.

    Myself . . . enters the Great Myself.
    Am become the Sea of Mirth.



    Either Yogananda's poem look sane or not. Goring Kali, Yogananda's favourite goddess, is represented as blood-drinking too.

    In Ananda, some think SRF editors should not have left out Yogananda's blood drinking from the printed poem, but they could well have left out more. For Yogananda's words "Don't take my word for anything" (Wight 1992/23) allow us to remove everthing he has ever written if we will, and feel happy about it.

    If the later Yogananda had not only swallowed the thoughts of future folks, but digested them well and made good and sound use of them, he could have secured his finances on horse races.

    He could also have learnt the skills needed for fair commentary work, and textual bible criticism, which is largely absent from his commentary of Bible books, where he reinterprets one New Testament passage after another, and where he finds it fit, says that this and that saying really means something else than what is written there.

    He should not have missed the opportunity to get skilled in his doings and the future backup that Bible scholars have supplied. One of them points out that Jesus insisted that his teachings were for Jews only, and that the much later-added Missionary Command is a late addition and very, very likely forged. So Yogananda spent a lot of time on teachings that were for Jews only. Such a waste of time and effort for himself and those who worked and worked for him for tens of years, editing the output, meaning to make it seem good! "Seeing is believing":

    Fl. During his days of preaching, Jesus of Nazareth addressed only Jews, "the lost sheep of Israel" (Matthew 10:1-8; 15:24). His disciples were expressly instructed not to approach gentiles or Samaritans (Matthew 10:5-8). On the few occasions that Jesus ventured beyond the boundaries of his homeland, he never proclaimed his gospel to pagans, nor did his disciples do so during his lifetime. The mission of the 11 apostles to "all the nations" (Matthew 28:19) is a "post-Resurrection" idea. It appears to be of Pauline inspiration and is nowhere else found in the Gospels (apart from the spurious longer ending of Mark [Mark 16:15], which is missing from all the older manuscripts). Jesus' own perspective was exclusively Jewish; he was concerned only with Jews. (Geza Vermes 2012).

    Yukteswar taught him how to summon that Draug Experience at will, and also how to transmit it to others. One day, however, he took a problem to Yukteswar.

    "When shall I find God?"

    "You have found him."

    "No, I don't think so!"

    Yukteswar: "Ever-new joy is God . . . inexhaustible . . . in meditation one finds his instant guidance."

    "I see, . . . for whenever the joy of meditation has returned subconsciously during my active hours, I have been subtly directed to adopt the right course in everything, even details."

    🙢 He was not. In a revealing letter he rudely shows how he regretted having started Self-Realization Fellowship: "I have done such a horrible act like eating feces by starting an organization."[◦A hand-written Yogananda letter] And there is a court case where the judge was convinced that Yogananda lied in court. Reflect on his "right course in everything" and "The words look good, but the actions woke up many."

    Some think the Greek term 'Christ' is good. It derives from the Hebrew 'messiah', which means, literally, 'oil-anointed.' Its meaning was expanded from earthly king to divine by the early Christians, but not by Jesus, according to Bart D. Ehrman. (2014).

    'Draug' may have older roots, and a wider array of meanings, but still there are some similarities with "Cosmic Consciousness". When the term is lifted a lot on metaphorical wings, like 'Christ', it could serve wise comparisons in the light of how Yogananda's 'Christ Consciousness' (in all creation) came about. Don't you think so?

    "Cosmic" is so menial if the universe is as unreal as the SRF gurus teach. Anyway, the sensation of vastness may be "punctured" for getting to its source, which is Self. In other words, the mental construct of universe, great, vast and infinite have to be transcended in meditation.

    This teaching is much as Ramana Maharsi teaches . Thus, one is to try not to be caught on play on the cosmos and space, but favour the heart.

    There is no material universe; its warp and woof is . . . illusion. [Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi, ch. 30 [Link]

    When man understands by his Parokshajnana (true comprehension) the nothingness of the external world, he appreciates the position of John the Baptist . . . [He was beheaded -]" [Yukteswar 1972:39]

    Whatever Vikara, or outwardness, is seen, is Vrama, or illusion. [Lahiri Mahasaya, Satyeswarananda 1992;60]

    The divine realm extends to the earthly, but the latter [is] illusory". [Babaji, as quoted in Autobiography of a Yogi, ch. 34. Cf. Yogananda 1971:319].

    A lesson? These four gurus in Yogananda's line (parampara) seems to have forgot to count in their own teachings as illusory. That is bad. Don't be fooled by slippery demagogy, and things could get well. And if not well, maybe better. Or not worse. Don't spread yourself thin. Or better: Welcome help to get out of the prison of demagogy. And get a sane meditation teacher. Yogananda said, "We are all a little bit crazy and we don't know it." It is often repeated in his fellowship.

    There is much trickery in words. Mind the:

    Yogananda Don't take my word for anything." - Yogananda (in Dietz 1998).

    If you take that word for anything, it may not be worth much. It is a paradox.

    TO TOP

    Some notes

    1. Sanskrit's alphabetical script is devanagari.
    2. Ji is a customary respectful suffix.
    3. The Shastras, "sacred books," comprise four classes of scripture: the Shruti, Smriti, Purana, and Tantra.
    4. Diksha: spiritual initiation; from the Sanskrit root diksh, to dedicate oneself.
    5. Yuktéswar means "united to Ishwara (Light-God)." Giri is a classificatory distinction of one of the ten ancient Swami branches. Sri means "holy"; it is not a name but a title of respect.
    6. Samádhi, "to direct together", is a superconscious state of ecstasy in which the yogi perceives the identity of soul and Spirit.
    7. Yukteswar was once ill in Kashmir, when Mukunda was absent from him. Jnana, wisdom, and bhakti, devotion.
    8. The Upanishads or Vedanta (literally, "end of the Vedas"), occur in certain parts of the Vedas as essential summaries. The Upanishads furnish doctrinal bases of Vedanta.


Autobiography of a Yogi chapters, Paramahansa Yogananda, Literature  

Dasgupta, Sailendra. Paramhansa Swami Yogananda: Life-portrait and Reminiscences. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2006.

Dietz, Margaret Bowen. Thank You, Master. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 1998.

Ehrman, Bard D. How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. New York: HarperOne, 2014.

Fromm, Erich. The Art of Loving. New York: Harper and Row, 1956.

Mata, Durga. A Paramhansa Yogananda Trilogy of Divine Love. Beverly Hills, CA: Joan Wight, 1992/93: "Master Tells Me of His Arjuna Incarnation"

Sriyukteshvar, Swami. Srimad Bhagavad Gita: Spiritual Commentary. Portland, Maine: Yoganiketan, 2002.

Vermes, Geza. From Jewish to Gentile: How the Jesus Movement Became Christianity. Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) 38:06, Nov/Dec 2012.

Autobiography of a Yogi, chapters, Paramahansa Yogananda, paramhansa, To top Section Set Next

Autobiography of a Yogi, chapters, Paramahansa Yogananda, paramhansa. USER'S GUIDE: [Link]
© 2000–2017, Tormod Kinnes, MPhil. [Email]  ᴥ  Disclaimer: [Link]