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Reservations   Contents    

  1. The Cauliflower Robbery – 155
  2. Outwitting the Stars – 167
  3. Sasi and the Three Sapphires – 179
  4. A Mohammedan Wonder-Worker (Afzal Khan) – 186
  5. My Guru Appears Simultaneously in Calcutta and Serampore – 192

15 - The Cauliflower Robbery

  1. "No to false teachings" is a dominant "melody" in this first glance survey.
  2. Just what "Lord" concept is Yogananda writing about and his followers singing to? What else lies enveloped in darkness here?
  3. Who's most dazzling? It had better be someone determined to put an end to infiltration medleys that serve bad guys.

So: Better refuse murky teachings. 

Mukunda woke up early one morning, refreshed by the salty sea breezes and the charm of his surroundings. Sri Yukteswar: "Come, let's go to the beach." Soon: "Halt!" And to Mukunda: "You have neglected your duty in safeguarding the ashram; you must be punished."

Mukunda: "I asked Sri Yukteswar that evening to explain the incident."

My guru shook his head slowly. "You will understand it someday."

A humorous occurrence took place a few days after. A certain kerosene lamp could not be found. Yukteswar said, "Seek the lamp near the well."

Mukunda rushed there; no lamp! "Crestfallen, I returned to my guru. He was now laughing heartily."

Music

Keith Richards, melody maker in the Rolling Stones, once held that music is mainly for being listened to. It may be largely so, although some people like to dance to it. Others write about it.

Yogananda on music: "In India, music as well as painting and the drama is considered a divine art. . . . Thus, (1) the Hindole Raga is heard only at dawn in the spring, to evoke the mood of universal love; (2) Deepaka Raga is played during the evening in summer, to arouse compassion; (3) Megha Raga is a melody for midday in the rainy season, to summon courage; (4) Bhairava Raga is played in the mornings of August, September, October, to achieve tranquillity; (5) Sri Raga is reserved for autumn twilights, to attain pure love; (6) Malkounsa Raga is heard at midnights in winter, for valour.

"Indian music divides the octave into 22 srutis or demi-semitones. These micro-tonal intervals permit fine shades of musical expression unattainable by the Western chromatic scale of 12 semitones. Each one of the seven basic notes of the octave is associated in Hindu mythology with a colour, and the natural cry of a bird or beast – Do with green, and the peacock; Re with red, and the skylark; Mi with golden, and the goat; Fa with yellowish white, and the heron; Sol with black, and the nightingale; La with yellow, and the horse; Si with a combination of all colours, and the elephant.

"Three scales – major, harmonic minor, melodic minor – are the only ones which Occidental music employs, but Indian music outlines 72 thatas or scales. . . . The Hindu musician does not read set notes . . .

"Hindu music . . . largely confines itself to the voice range of three octaves. [M]elody (relation of successive notes) is stressed, rather than harmony (relation of simultaneous notes).

"Because man himself is an expression of the creative Word, sound has the most potent and immediate effect on him, offering a way to remembrance of his divine origin.

Privilege

Mukunda: "My guru called me to his side."

Yukteswar: "I am pleased over your cheerful labours today and during the past week . . . you may sleep in my bed tonight."

This was a privilege. One might almost think it topped Cosmic Consciousness, or what? (previous chapter).

〰ೞ⬯ೞ〰

16 - Outwitting the Stars

Outwitting the outwitting things - where does it take us in time?

Stonehenge, brightened photo section
Stonehenge and stars

"Charlatans have brought the stellar science to its present state of disrepute. Astrology is too vast, both mathematically [1] and philosophically, to be rightly grasped except by men of profound understanding. . . . One should not dismiss the wisdom with the 'wise," said astrologer Yukteswar; he did not grasp the fit mathematics of yugas (ages) in his approach to them.

Not to dismiss wisdom with the 'wise' is about the same lesson as "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." This idiom derives from a German proverb, das Kind mit dem Bade ausschütten, recorded as early as in 1512. In a similar vein: "Don't throw out the champagne with the cork."

"An imperfect world is an arena of teachings," one may mention.

"All parts of creation are linked together and interchange their influences. . .

"Astrology is the study of man's response to planetary stimuli. . . .

"A child is born on that day and at that hour when the celestial rays are in mathematical harmony with his individual karma. . . . But the natal chart can be rightly interpreted only by [the] few.

"[Man] has spiritual resources which are not subject to planetary pressure.

"The more he realises his unity with spirit, the less he can be . . . regimented by stars.

"Man is a soul . . . After deep prayer and meditation he is in touch with his divine consciousness; there's no greater power than that inward protection."

"When a traveller has reached his goal [he may] discard his maps. During the journey, he takes advantage of any convenient short cut. The ancient rishis discovered many ways to curtail the period of man's exile in delusion . . . features in the law of karma [may] be skilfully adjusted by [wise ones].

"By prayer, by will power, by yoga meditation, by consultation with saints, by use of astrological bangles – the adverse effects of past wrongs can be minimised or nullified.

"Just as a house can be fitted with a copper rod to absorb the shock of lightning, so the bodily temple can be benefited by various protective measures.

"[Helpful:] a combination of metals, but also of plants and – most effective of all – faultless jewels of not less than two carats. . . . [T]he proper jewels, metals, or plant preparations are valueless unless the required weight is secured, and unless these remedial agents are worn next to the skin."

The SRF bangle

"For general purposes I counsel the use of an armlet made of gold, silver, and copper. But for a specific purpose I want you to get one of silver and lead." Sri Yukteswar added careful directions. [Twisted bangles and why -]

"The stars are about to take an unfriendly interest in you, Mukunda [i.e. Yogananda]. [Y]our liver will cause you much trouble. The illness is scheduled to last for six months, but your use of an astrological armlet will shorten the period to twenty-four days."

I sought out a jeweller the next day . . . The following weeks were a nightmare of excruciating pain. . . But twenty-three days of torture weakened my resolution.

Yukteswar:] "Let me see; you have been ailing for twenty-four days . . .? You say you have pain; I . . . have none."

Yogananda: "I wear even now the heavy silver and lead bangle, a memento of that day."

Refusing ordinary family ways

On three occasions before I reached manhood, my family tried to arrange my betrothal. [3] I brooded . . . feeling like a goat awaiting sacrifice before the temple of triple matrimony.

A clear intuition came to me . . . I set fire to the horoscope scroll, placing the ashes in a paper bag. I put the bag in a conspicuous spot.

Occasionally I told astrologers to select my worst periods.

Sri Yukteswar discovered the mathematical application of a 24,000-year equinoctial cycle to our present age. [4] [Yukteswar calculations grossly at fault]

Cyclic periods are postulated in ancient works like Manu Samhita 1:68 ff (Bühler 1984) and Visnhupuranam (Jolly 1965).

As for the duration of the postulated cycles, the nearest known cycle in astronomy is the Platonic Year of 25 800 years. Sri Yukteswar uses the Platonic Year as time reference for the yugas by equalling the 24.000 years scheme with the 25 800 year scheme (!). Sri Yukteswar's yuga system is defective. [More]

In the Manu Samhita (Bühler 1984), one important outlook of Yukteswar is confirmed: the years Manu writes about are not over-extended years, but our common years: The extended year scale in chapter 1, verse 68, is interpolated, and that is why it is put in round round brackets in the book. (Bühler 1984)

Master enlarged my understanding not only of astrology but of the world's scriptures. Placing the holy texts on the spotless table of his mind, he was able to dissect them with the scalpel of intuitive reasoning, and to separate errors and interpolations of scholars from the truths as originally expressed by the prophets.

Sickening eulogies that sound good at first, but prove to be untrue, had better be left unsaid. Yukteswar shows he lacks fit understanding of the the Holy Bible, demonstrating obvious shortcomings as an interpreter. Ample evidence is here: [Eden and Yukteswar]

Nasikagram means "ahead of the nose," no matter what Yukteswar thinks

Yogananda: "'Fix one's vision on the end of the nose.' This inaccurate interpretation of a Bhagavad Gita stanza [16. 7], widely accepted by Eastern pundits and Western translators, used to arouse Master's droll criticism."

Yukteswar: "The path of a yogi is singular enough as it is. . . . The true meaning of nasikagram is 'origin of the nose, not 'end of the nose.' The nose begins at the point between the two eyebrows, the seat of spiritual vision."

The true meaning of nasikagram is "ahead of the nose," however. That is what Sanskrit dictionaries tell. More about the issue follows:

Nasikagram understanding. To fix one's gaze is a yoga method for steadying the mind somehow. Nasika is nose, and agram means "in front, before, ahead of, says the Spoken Sanskrit Dictionary and also Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary alike. The nasikagram gaze is in the Bhagavad Gita 6:13. Sthirah sampreksya nasikagram svam. Applying it ad lib: "Look steadily in front of your nose" is clearly what the Gita verse says.

"Ahead of the nose" is one of the focal areas that yogis recourse to, among others.

Ask, "How far ahead of the nose?" about half a metre ahead may be fit - with eyes closed or open . . . There is yoga support for it: the method called trataka (tratak, or yogic gazing).

If you practice steady gazing (trataka) in an easy and relaxed manner regularly, it could help you, says Swami Janakananda. He describes some ways of doing trataka with eyes closed or open in the book Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life (1992:106-9). The swami is a disciple of Satyananda Saraswati, who was a disciple of Sivananda (also: Wikipedia, "Trataka"; "Janakananda Saraswati").

In Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines (1967), edited by Dr W. Y. Evans-Wentz, there are practices aimed at getting calm in a meditative way. It is in part done for the sake of getting spiritually blissful here in this world.

One may use an object "like a small ball or a small bit of wood" and place it "in front of thee as an object upon which to concentrate thy thought" without letting the mind stray from a lax gaze. As for the ball, it "may be of any substance, wood, bone, metal, clay, glass, or crystal; and the bit of wood may be of any shape." (Evans-Wentz 1967, 121-24)

And the most pleasant eye positions and meditation ways suit most people. It is fine to keep the eyes closed too.

Another teacher of Satyananda Yoga, Swami Niranjanananda, devotes a chapter in Dharana Darshan. Yogic, Tantric and Upanishadic Practices of Concentration and Visualization (1999, 156-198) to trataka. The word itself means 'steady gazing'. (1999, 156) He explains many ways to mobilise a steady gaze:

There is outer trataka; outer and inner trataka combined; and inner trataka.

Further, trataka may be short, and it may be of some length.

One may gaze in the direction of the nose tip; the area between the eyebrows; and on objects such as a candle-flame or a dot. The last way is for gazing steadily for some time "ahead of the nose".

When outer and inner trataka are combined, first you gaze at an external point and then you close your eyes and gaze in the same direction, and in the same way. It is really simple.

(A summary) - (1999, 159)

Expounding loosely

Yogananda: "Master expounded the Christian Bible . . . the truth in Christ's assertion. . . "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."

"Thrilling, but false" spells demagogy or worse. How can words remain without a universe and heaven? Besides, as far as bible scholars like Geza Vermes know, nothing in the New Testament are verbatim quotations of Jesus, because he wrote probably nothing, and as far as is known today, apostles did not write his teachings either, others did that, in their names, and decades on decades after his death. So all sayings of Jesus in the New Testament are fraught with uncertainty, and there is a great risk of forgeries in some places, as the much-later-added Missionary Command itself. Dr Vermes has sought to find the sayings that may be closest to Jesus. (Ehrman 2005; 2011; Vermes 2005)

[Mukunda:] "The Adam and Eve story is incomprehensible to me!"

[Yukteswars:] "Genesis . . . cannot be grasped by a literal interpretation . . . The tree of the nervous system bears many enjoyable fruits . . . In these, man may rightfully indulge; but he was forbidden the experience of sex, the 'apple' at the centre of the bodily garden.

"Adam' is reason, and 'Eve' is feeling. When the emotion or Eve-consciousness in any human being is overpowered by the sex impulse, his reason or Adam also succumbs.

No. To enlarge on that: Read through the first three chapters of the bible and see that Adam is man, not reason, and Eve is woman, and they are people. Adam and Eve were told to procreate before the Fall too. It is in the Bible, and serves to document that Yukteswar is really a poor Bible interpreter.

Adam was, by the way, the parent of Eve - "a mother and father", sort of - in one of the two creation myths in the Bible. To succumb to artful demagogy is bad.

"God created the human species by materialising the bodies of man and woman through the force of his will; He endowed the new species with the power to create children in a similar 'immaculate' or divine manner. [16] Because his manifestation in the individualised soul had hitherto been limited to animals, instinct-bound and lacking the potentialities of full reason, God made the first human bodies, symbolically called Adam and Eve.

What is the difference between this and a cock-and-bull story as far as evidence goes? Or saying, "Since the time when the Himalayas rose up – Babaji has been on the Earth." (Antonov 2009:114)

The Himalayans rose up about 30 million years ago, give and take, at a time when monkeys were around but not humans, scientists think.

Adam and Eve may not have existed as a main group of people. After all, their offspring married others, the Bible says. For all that, the myth is taken literally, despite human evolutionary genetics and paleonthology findings from far away and further back: a 2014 poll reports that 56% of Americans believe that "Adam and Eve were real people", and 44% believe so with strong or absolute certainty." (Wikipedia, "Adam and Eve")

Many believe as they are told, basically. It is not always good for them. Get informed to counteract grossly dumb beliefs about a couple where the man was the parent of the woman - "mother and father", sort of, and the grandparent and parent of her children with him too. That is what one of the two creation myths in the Bible tells. The narratives are in the first three chapters there. It cost First Man a rib to get a partner, unless it was replaced. Better count yours.

Now, to succumb to slob demagogy is not classy. Study the first few chapters of the bible and see that Adam means man, not reason, and Eve means woman (life). "A wife wakes life". Note how Adam and Eve were told to procreate before the Fall too. It serves to document that Yukteswar is no good Bible interpreter.

"God, or the divine consciousness [mind was] present within the first created pair . . . [T]ouch sensations . . . would enmesh humanity in . . . the way of brute procreation . . . ., Yukteswar said.

Basically, Yukteswar puts a spin on an old story, disregarding that Eve and Adam were made with organs fit for sex and breeding - and commanded to procreate even before the Fall.

Ask yourself the sooner the better, "Is Yukteswar on a wild goose chase once again?" Don't get dumbfounded and ensnared by words: Yogananda established a society where some of his guidelines are "no to sex for singles", and "mimimal sex for married couples". [Sex in Yogananda's fellowship]

Killjoys are many in this world. All gurus are not like Yognanda. Not at all.

〰ೞ⬯ೞ〰

17 - Sasi and the three sapphires

  1. The man that is counselled to wear gems and other sorts of jewellery, might need to recover.
  2. Fit labour-saving measures may include influencing the deep minds of others - even transgressing there - which is far from recommendable for good guys.
  3. The wearing of this and that bangle against coming ills can be understood as one of the ancient cherished means to outwit righteous, jolly good retributions too - which could in turn make others suffer for it according to "To do good to a bad man that does not reform, might equal doing harming good people around that one."

    What is more, if the outer world is designed or "set" for a blend of lawful retributions and awards, what might bangles do to such balances in unwise wearers? Could they prevent just redressing and promote deeper imbalances in time?

    It may be different with persons on a decent, onward and upward path, and who suffer from karmic ills that threaten their lives. If wearing bangles and gems help them to better their health and live longer and do more for their progress - doing many good deeds as well - then a bangle or a good gem might do good on all levels - on the surface and deeper and so on.

So: To wear gems is cherished and might do good to all who are not unwise. 

BILDE
Sapphire

The vet

Dr. Narayan Chunder Roy, a veterinary surgeon, accompanied Mukunda one day to the Serampore hermitage of Yukteswar. A brief interview was marked for the most part by stoic silence on both sides, and then the visitor brusquely departed.

"Why bring a dead man to the ashram?" Yukteswar asked.

Mukunda: "I was shocked."

Yukteswar chuckled. "The horse doctor will take to his bed. The physicians will give him up for lost. However, he will recover if you make him wear an astrological bangle. As soon as the man gets well, advise him not to eat meat. He will not heed this counsel, however, as he is feeling at his best."

Mukunda did as he was told. Later, Dr Roy's physician said: "Dr. Roy has made a complete recovery!"

Mukunda: I did not see the man again for six months. He stopped for a chat.

"Tell that by eating meat often, I have wholly regained my strength." He looked a picture of health. But the next day he dropped dead!

Sasi

To one of Mukunda's friends, one of wild and disordered living, Sasi, Yukteswar said.

"Sasi, do not say later that I did not warn you."

Sasi laughed.

"At least you should wear a two-carat blue sapphire. It will help you."

"I cannot afford one."

"In a year you will bring three sapphires of no use."

Sasi and Yukteswar talked like this regularly. A year later a front door opened.

Yukteswar: "It is that Sasi," he remarked gravely. "The year is now up; both his lungs are gone. Tell him I do not want to see him."

Half stunned Mukunda yet raced down the stairway.

Sasi burst into tears, brushed Mukunda aside, and threw himself at Yukteswar's feet, placing there three beautiful sapphires.

"The doctors say I have galloping tuberculosis! You can heal me!"

Mukunda felt that Yukteswar was merely testing Sasi's faith. After an hour Yukteswar said, "Return your sapphires to the jeweller's; they are an unnecessary expense now. But get an astrological bangle and wear it. In a few weeks you shall be well."

Sasi's smiled. "Shall I take the medicines prescribed by the doctors?"

Yukteswar: "Just as you wish . . . Go now, before I change my mind!"

Mukunda visited Sasi several times during the next few weeks, and found his condition increasingly worse.

Sasi's physicial at last said he could not last through the night. Sasi was now reduced almost to a skeleton. Yognanda hurried to Yukteswar and reported.

"Why do you come here to bother me?" Yukteswar said no parting word. Mukunda returned at once to Sasi's home in Calcutta. With astonishment he found him sitting up, drinking milk.

"I feel I am entirely well."

Afterwards Sasi said he was ashamed to face Yukteswar.

Getting through an exam

Mukunda's first two years of his course at Scottish Church College were nearly over. The Intermediate Arts final examinations loomed ahead, so he fled.

He fled to Yukteswar who was in Puri at the time, and hoped he would escape the exams, for he was embarrassing unprepared.

Yukteswear told him to go for the exam after neglecting his college work. "You shall get through."

Mukunda returned to Calcutta. There he opening each book at random, studied only those pages that lay opened. He did this for eighteen hours a day for a week, It is called cramming.

The following days he passed all the tests by a hairbreadth. Astonished friends congratuled him.

Yukteswar said: "Your Calcutta studies are now over." He smilded mischievously. "I guess I shall have to arrange the matter."

Two months later the Serampore College had raised enough funds to offer a four-year course. Serampore College became a branch affiliation of the University of Calcutta. Mukunda enrolled as an AB candidate.

"Guruji, how kind you are to me! I have been longing to leave Calcutta and be near you every day in Serampore. Professor Howells does not dream how much he owes to your silent help!"

Yukteswar, perhaps without conviction: "Now you will not have to spend so many hours on trains; what a lot of free time for your studies! Perhaps you will become less of a last-minute crammer."

〰ೞ⬯ೞ〰

18 - A Mohammedan Wonder-worker

  1. A truly great man or woman may show that not all that is called wonder-work, is much to brag about.
  2. If ruthlessness or hardheartedness escalates in some miracle-working hick, it is not haphasardly - much was allowed to go wrong first.
  3. The mature Fjord horse is used as a therapist - wonderful!

So: To go wrong, trust in lots of miracles to come your way. Better get adequate help in good time. 

Yogic accomplishments

Once a Mohammedan wonder-worker, Afzal Khan, performed four miracles before Yukteswar and friends in Yukteswar's home. Afzal had got his extraordinary powers when he was a boy. It happened through a chance encounter with a Hindu yogi who said, 'Use this life to reconcile your yogic accomplishments with the highest humanitarian goals.'

He instructed the boy in yoga exercise and then disappeared.

For twenty years Afzal did as he had been instructed, and then began to misuse his powers. Whatever object he touched and then replaced would soon disappear. "He visited large jewellery stores, presenting himself as a possible buyer. Any jewel he handled would vanish shortly after he had left the shop," Yukteswar told.

When he met Afzal, the wonder-worker examined a gold watch and chain that one of Yukteswar's friends was wearing, and said, "You have five hundred rupees in an iron safe. Bring them to me."

The other left at once for his home. When he returned to the party with the money, he smiled with relief, and said he had locked the watch in his safe before he returned.

Afzal offered to supply a lunch. All the food that came through the air was delicious.

Afzal published a confession years later Yukteswar recalles it thus: "I, Afzal Khan, am writing these words . . . I became drunk - But one day I met an old cripple who straightened himself and became strong and youthful. He said, 'I see with my own eyes. You prey on people like a common thief! . . . But no longer!'

The young-looking, straightened, former cripple said further: "Devote yourself to divine understanding in the mountains."

Further yogi accomplishments

Well centred is better than 'cosmic', so learn to get well centred in a yoga way, and benefit. However, Yogananda carps on thinking big, thinking cosmic, "stretching the mind like a rubber band to infinity" and other mind-rubbish. It is generally better to think accurately, get well centred (focused), and learn to let the mind transcend.

Just study the research findings: There are health benefits from ◦learning Transcendental Meditation. Meditation that incorporates better principles than other known meditation ways can lead to better results in general, also for beginners. Support for such points exist nowadays. [David Orme Johnson's summaries]

To repeat, yogi accomplishments tend to rise from focusing very well, and there are meditation methods for it. You do well to learn rise above "cosmic" the sooner the better. Then you don't need to be possessed by any marketed ideas about "one million years of [suspect] natural development to get into said, cosmic consciousness". Instead learn to put first things first, and glide beyond most Yogananda words and his universe, adhering to his "Don't take my word for anything. (in Dietz 1998)" There is something to learn about this in the long yoga tradition too:

Sage Markandeya figures in The Markandeya Purana (Pargiter 1969). Markandeya was an ancient rishi, mentioned in a number of stories and venerated in the Hindu traditions. Cornelia Dimmitt and Jan van Buitenenen write about him in Classical Hindu Mythology (1978):

According to tradition . . . Markandeya is known for his long life, his numerous rebirths, and his great knowledge that falls just short of wisdom - it grants him sight of Vishnu asleep on the cosmic ocean, but not supreme release. (1978, 245-46)

Armed with this knowledge, get to knowhow: Fairly well centred is better than 'fairly cosmic', as it advances transcendence beyond the cosmos. It can be done daily, and that is wise.

〰ೞ⬯ೞ〰

19 - My master, in Calcutta, appears in Serampore

What is talked of below, is telepathic transmission and body transference.

  1. Those who feel beset by doubts, have not learnt to use doubts to their benefits, but you may do it: [Doubt well and benefit in time: the door is opened].
  2. Once Yogananda, in a half-stupor of confusion, questioning whether he had not been the victim of a hallucination.
  3. Indignation may be found even in Kindergarten.

So: To use doubts well, question well and rise above unsophisticated realms of feelings. It may take time and training. 

Dijen Babu started to accompany Mukunda to Yukteswar's hermitage. Dijen and Yogananda were both registered as students for the AB degree at Serampore College. One afternoon a young hermitage resident, met Dijen and Mukunda at the door, saying Yukteswar was not there. "He was summoned to Calcutta by an urgent note."

From Calcutta Yukteswar sent Mukunda a post card: "I shall leave Calcutta Wednesday morning," he had written. "You and Dijen meet the nine o'clock train at Serampore station."

About eight-thirty on Wednesday morning. Mukunda sensed that Yukteswar was delayed, and would not be on the nine o'clock train."

Dijen did not trust Mukunda's intuition, made for the door and closed it behind him.

The room was rather dark, and Mukunda was "bewildered to the point of shock," he writes. He also saw Yukteswar in front of him in the rather dark room, saying he would come to Serampore by the ten o'clock train. . . . I shall be preceded by a fellow passenger."

Mukunda heard a rumbling sound, and saw that Yukteswar's feet and legs vanished, then his torso and head. And then Mukunda found himself alone in the dark room with a barred window where a pale stream of sunlight came in. He remained in a half-stupor until Dijen came back, telling that Yukteswar did not come on the nine o'clock train.

"I know he will arrive at ten o'clock." Mukunda rushed Dijen to the station again.

Yukteswar appeared and told Dijen: "I sent you a message . . . but you were unable to grasp it."

Dijen to Mukunda, later: "A message! . . . You hid it!"

"Can I help it?" Mukunda retorted.

The anger vanished from Dijen's face. "I see."

Soon the two of them had reached Serampore College. Dijen said, " [From this I] feel that any university in the world is only a kindergarten."

A story may be interesting and true, but whether it is representative is another tale.

A story can at times serve as anecdotal evidence - Such evidence is often collected informally and relying much or wholly on personal testimony. Unschooled folks may fall for it, but "There are skerries in the sea", as a proverb has it. It is a figurate ways of speaking about sometimes hidden and sometimes unforeseen dangers. We had better not get stuck on skerries to our long-time harm.

Here is why: Even when accurate, anecdotal evidence may not be representative of a typical experience. Anecdotal evidence is generally held to be of less value than more stringent types of scientific evidence - Yet even though some anecdotal evidence does not qualify as scientific evidence, other anecdotal evidence can can. It largely comes down to how verifiable the evidence is taken to be. Scientific verification (or falsification) depends on rigorous testing a long way - whicht is to say, investigations by a scientific method.

Where only one or a few anecdotes on a subject are given, there is a larger chance that they may be non-representative samples, and thereby likely to yield skewed (distorted) findings. So-called "cognitive bias" may also distort the story. To determine whether an anecdote is typical or not, statistical evidence of a sort is to be found, given, and sorted.

Also worth knowing: misuse of anecdotal evidence is a form of fallacy and is sometimes referred to as the "person who" fallacy ("I know a person who..."; "I know of a case where..." etc.) - it may place undue weight on experiences, and may lead into hasty generalisation. [Matter-of-fact] - [Judging carefully]

It might help if anecdotal stories or testimonials are confirmed by studies; much objective, independent evidence such as notarised documentation; photographs, audio-visual recordings or better. Yet, many of those who claim they have seen UFOs (flying saucers) know that stories with or without photos, or stories told by many credible persons may not serve general acceptance anyway. What tales or versions get barred from cred may well be a matter of hard sabotage. It is an old story.

So people who recount from UFO encounters and other tale-tellers have something in common: Their anecdotal evidence risks being rejected and much worse by those in charge of the communication pathways around too, including the government.

(Main sources: WP, "Anecdotal evidence"; "Unidentified flying object")

  Contents  


Autobiography of a Yogi chapters, Paramahansa Yogananda life, Literature  

Antonov, Vladimir, comp. 2009. How God Can Be Cognized: Autobiography of a Scientist Who Studied God. Tr. Mikhail Nikolenko. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace.

Bühler, George tr. 1984. The Laws of Manu. Delhi: Banarsidass (Reprint from Oxford University's 1886-edition).

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

Dimmitt, Cornelia, ed., and J. A. B. van Buitenen, tr. 1978. Classical Hindu Mythology. Philadelphia: Temple University. ⍽▢⍽ Well sampled. Much material.

Ehrman, Bart D. 2005. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. New York: HarperCollins.

Ehrman, Bart D. 2011. Forged: Writing in the Name of God: Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are. New York: HarperCollins.

Evans-Wentz, Walter Y. 1967. Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines: Or Seven Books of Wisdom of the Great Path, According to the Late Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup's English Rendering. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jacobsen, Knut A., ed. 2012. Yoga Powers: Extraordinary Capacities Attained Through Meditation and Concentration. Leiden: Brill. ⍽▢⍽ A scholarly treatise.

Jananakananda, Swami. 1992. Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life. Rev. American ed. Boston, MA: Weiser.

Jolly, Julius tr. 1965. The Institutes of Vishnu. Delhi: Banarsidass.

Niranjanananda, Swami. 1999. Dharana Darshan: Yogic, Tantric and Upanishadic Practices of Concentration and Visualization. 2nd ed. Munger, Bihar: Yoga Publications Trust.

Pargiter, F. Eden. 1969. Markandeya Purana. Varanasi: Indological Book House.

Radin, Dean. 2013. Supernormal: Science, Yoga, and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities. New York: Deepak Chopra Books / Crown. ⍽▢⍽ Dr Radin tells of telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and mind-reading (mind-sensing), and presents experimental evidence.

Vermes, Geza. 2005. The Authentic Gospel of Jesus. London: Penguin Books.

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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