"In these troubled times, we need information . . . intended for the layperson who is curious about a good many topics that fall under the "alternate realities" umbrella." (Guiley 1991, ix, xi)
A boat carried Yogananda and his company to Bombay. From there they drove the Ford to Kolkata (Calcutta), where they were flower-garlanded from head to foot.
Yogananda's aged father embraced him.
Yukteswar met him too. Richard Wright writes he had a jovial and rollicking laugh, and was clad simply. He has merely to clap his hands together to be served or attended by some small disciple.
Another side to the story - not panegyric at all
Yogananda noticed that Sri Yukteswar's tiger skin was placed over a torn rug. Yukteswar: "Behold, my tiger mat is nice and clean . . . Beyond it is . . . externals."
Then Yogananda set out with Mr. Wright for Ranchi. The Ranchi institution was in dire financial difficulties. The old Maharaja whose palace had been converted into the central school building, and who had made many princely donations was now dead.
Many donations including one huge check from American Yogananda students saved the educational centre, and it was legally incorporated, teaching sports and games, sword and stick play, jujitsu and first-aid.
Ranchi lies 2000 feet above sea level; the climate is mild and equable.
The charitable hospital and dispensary of the Lahiri Mahasaya Mission, with many outdoor branches in distant villages, had ministered to 150,000 of India's poor by 1945.
Generally, an idyl is marked by "less speed, less haste, and usually stress-free natural surroundings that conform to old fares of the mutually suited, well matched people and nature elements free from semblances." Good and sane, genuine persons are vital, yet they too depend for thriving on grass (corns are grass seeds), trees, gentle-natured animals like ducks and geese, cats and others that go well together (congenial "things")." A certain spaceousness can help too, and sticking to what you like, really like well, from deep within. Such things differ.
There is more: Grasses, trees and bushes may be the better for growing old without much trimming and cutting and mowing. It is a Buddhist stand. Select suitable species at first, then, species that grow into the shapes you and your neighbours may stand without any feuds. Buddha says to monks not to cut down grasses and trees, for example. If you love a rose, don't pluck-kill it, but let it be. If you love plants, let them grow soundly. It applies to humans too:
Waldorf Education embodies principles taught by the eminent Dr Rudolf Steiner. Many apply to children in Kindergarten and later stages. Ideally, such education helps children develop into adulthood as themselves, not as a trimmed, suffering conformised crew of public schools, progressively adapted to a rather enervating or ruthless society. Nourish children with tact and lead them gently. Backing up good children properly is a giant part of what good homes are for, as people are above things. (Patterson and Bradley 2000)
There are also the principles of organic gardening and farming. Pesticides that kill song-birds and bees lessen the joys of mankind. If you can, support organic produce and learn how to protect the soil you have, if you have any.
But many machines are not old . . . And to replace the real by a semblance is a form of faking. Faking and mere surface shows may leave genuineness. Hypocricy may result in time. There is much at stake.
False flowers may not smell well, and machine-animals (toys) fail as long-lasting benefits. Steiner goes against polished dolls like Ken and Barbie too, for the sake of a child's fit development. With rag dolls made by mum it could be different. They may be good for the child, Steiner says. There is much to fathom in Steiner's books and lectures. [◦Rudolf Steiner Lectures]
By unifying some of the parts above you could form one or more idyls yourself, in part indoors, in part outdoors. A private garden is a fit solution for some. Identify the main or common factors of idyls where you are (environments differ), and seek to create one in and nearby your house to thrive there.
In creating a relaxed environment, maybe some systematisation could be fit too. [◦Vastu architecture].
Yogananda benefitted from the idyls of others in this chapter, and mostly described by words. It may be more worthy to identify what marks idyls in general so that people can create their own restful gardens and homes. Self-help efforts in harmony with nature parts may be for good.
To be fair, Yogananda went for self-help communities too, even a Golden World City in Encinitas in San Diego county, California. And to be fair still, his fellowship scrapped it all, even after Yogananda had declared that he would make a supreme effort to create a city like that. His plans, aims and "supreme effort" did not suffice. Let that be a lesson. [A tragedy of Yogananda efforts]
Yogananda: "My companion Richard Wright and I were spending the month of November, 1935, as guests of the State of Mysore.
"Mr. Wright and I were now relaxing.
"Greek historians have left us many vivid and inspiring pictures of Indian society."
Thayumanavar has left us:
You can control a mad elephant;
The mind also gains from getting fruitful ideas along life's road. Some ideas lessen many loads, other make for stronger backs, better journeying, and so on.
Yogananda: "Serious evils arose when the caste system became hardened . . . So entrancing is southern India that Mr. Wright and I yearned to prolong our idyll."
Yukteswar to Yogananda: "During my married life I often yearned for a son."
Hm! The tales differ.
A Winter Solstice Festival was celebrated at the end of December in the Serampore hermitage. Yogananda told the assembled disciples that Yukteswar's guidance was with him daily throughout his fifteen years in America.
Given that, it might have been poor guidance and guidance without knowing it - See: There are records of a court case from those years when Yogananda was found guilty of untrue, false money charges to the effect that Yogananda was judged to pay what he owed another, called Dhirananda. What kind of guru guidance lets a disciple ◦bring untrue charges to town or court? Panegyric Yogananda's actions should have followed suit with "good-looking words".
There is also an incident where Yogananda had written an article in the USA. When his "omnicient, daily-guiding" aged guru Yukteswar got the article read out loud to him in Calcutta, he was taken by more than surprise. To cheer him up, Dasgupta had read an article that Yogananda had written and which was published by the Statesman, a Calcutta newspaper.
Yukteswar said, "Read it to me again, will you?" After the repeat reading Yukteswar stared with a strange and questioning look and asked, "You're saying that Yogananda wrote all this?" He had only one thing to say, "You're saying that Yogananda wrote all this? Shame, shame!"
The incidents put some fine-looking Yogananda claims into perspective. To be taken in can be easy.
Yogananda says Yukteswar bestowed on him the title of Paramahansa. There may have been no eye witnesses to it but birds in surrounding trees or flying above them.
After Yukteswar's paramhansa joking, he said to Yogananda, "My task on earth is now finished; you must carry on."
Yogananda's heart palpitated in fear. Yukteswar who was nearing his eighty-first birthday, went on. "You'll be able to successfully sail the boat of your life and that of the organisation to the divine shores."
Not so! He needed help, lots of help, even from Yukteswar from beyond the grave. [Yogananda attacked by the devil, he says]
And to cut some things short: Go to Dasgupta's biography for stories that do not look like lies.
Yogananda wanted to go to a religious festival in Allahabad, for he hoped to meet Babaji there.
"I do not think you'll meet him there," said Yukteswar.
Yogananda, who called his guru omnicient when it suited him, went anyway, and did not meet Babaji there.
So he took to word-painting again, and his travel companion, Richard Wright, wrote things too.
After the festival, Yogananda sought out Keshabananda, a direct disciple of Shyama Lahiri, for he sought to get documents and other information about him. However, they feared he could not do it well enough and do justice.
Nevertheless, Swami Keshabananda greeted his party and told:
"I maintained a small ashram outside Hardwar, surrounded on all sides by a grove of tall trees. It was a peaceful spot little visited by travellers, owing to the ubiquitous presence of cobras. Later a Ganges flood washed away the hermitage and cobras alike. My disciples then helped me to build this Brindaban ashram."
"Occasionally I left my seclusion to visit my guru in Varanasi. He used to joke with me."
After dinner, Keshabananda told that Babaji had made him lose his way.
Yogananda and his party drove the Ford to Puri, after they got a telegram. It said: "Come to Puri ashram at once." But then Yogananda heard a voice:
"Do not go to Puri tonight," so he did not leave that night for Puri.
When he reached there, he cried, "The Lion of Bengal is gone!"
Yukteswar was buried when he was 81. By then he had established Sadhu Sabha with the co-operation of leaders of various sects and faiths, to inculcate a scientific spirit in religion.
Yogananda's smile was hollow after Yukteswar was buried, as well as polluted by a stream of black brooding. His spirit was tormented and his heart lamenting. He said gloomily, "Let my tears once again water the grave of my guru."
A good conscience helps a lot. In some ways it helps, in other ways not. It depends. Dasgupta's Yogananda biography (2006) tells why Yogananda fell victim to a tormented sprit, black brooding and a lamenting heart: He had disappointed Yukteswar a lot! The flattening is not flattering.
If Yogananda had not made untrue and false money charges in a court case, many of his words about the beyond and much else might have fallen on more or less receptive ears . . .
He who does not bellow the truth when he knows the truth makes himself the accomplice of liars and forgers. - Charles Peguy
Yogananda sat one day in the Regent Hotel in Bombay. His Western voyage had been cancelled for the time being.
Yogananda also tells something that did not make it to his Autobiography, but it was published in the Self-Realization magazine, Summer 1976, p. 8-9. There you can find the whole story. Extracts are here: [◦One day in June, 1936, a "black form of Satan, horrible" jumped on Yogananda in a Bombay hotel room and made his heart stop]
Before we go further, here is a saying, wherever it comes from, and no matter why:
Lies rarely develop one's character, one's mind, one's heart or one's soul.
Now, here is what "Book of a Yogi: A Collaborative Effort by P. Yogananda (dead 1952) and SRF editors" tells from a Yogananda stay in Bombay:
"Sitting on my bed in the Bombay hotel at three o'clock in the afternoon of June 19, 1936 . . . I was roused from my meditation by a beatific light. Before my open and astonished eyes, the whole room was transformed into . . . supernal splendour.
"I beheld the flesh and blood form of Sri Yukteswar!"
Good to know
Many of these tidings are contracted, and many are verbatim quotations as well.
Yogananda to the form of Yukteswar: "Why did you let me go to the Kumbha Mela? How bitterly have I blamed myself for leaving you! But is it you? Are you wearing a body?"
Yukteswar: "Yes. To your sight it is physical. I am resurrected on an astral planet. There you and your exalted loved ones shall someday come to be with me."
Yogananda: "I could detect the same odour which had been characteristic of his body before.
Yukteswar: "I have been directed to serve on an astral planet as a saviour. It is called Hiranyaloka or 'Illumined Astral Planet.' The Hiranyaloka inhabitants have already passed through the ordinary astral spheres. Hiranyaloka is the astral sun or heaven, where I have resurrected to help them. There are also highly advanced beings on Hiranyaloka who have come from the superior, subtler, causal world."
Hiranyaloka (of hiranya + loka) may be translated as "golden realm", "level of gold" and so on.
A Rather Long Thought-transference-assisted Talk Is Contracted Here
The rest is in part due to thought-transference, says Yogananda.
Transference of thought (mind-reading) by extrasensory means from the mind of one individual to another is a form of telepathy. There is not enough accepted or convincing evidence that telepathy exists, and the topic is generally considered by the scientific community to be pseudoscience. And still, there are many cases of thought-transference around. There are scriptures that tell how to develop it. In some cases it is inborn, says Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. The hard lesson: Lack of lots of evidence of something does not equal "does not exist".
Yogananda: "My mind was now in such perfect attunement with my guru's that he was conveying his word-pictures to me partly by speech and partly by thought-transference."
Yukteswar: "There are many astral planets, teeming with astral beings. The inhabitants use astral planes, or masses of light, to travel from one planet to another, faster than electricity and radioactive energies.
"The astral universe, made of various subtle vibrations of light and colour, is hundreds of times larger than the material cosmos.
"The astral world is infinitely beautiful, clean. Weeds, bacteria, insects, snakes – are absent.
"Astral planets maintain the even temperature of an eternal [non-Nordic] spring, with occasional luminous white snow and rain of many-coloured lights [and] abound in opal lakes and bright seas and rainbow rivers.
"Among the fallen dark angels, friction and war take place with lifetronic bombs or mental mantric vibratory rays . . . in the gloom-drenched regions.
"In the vast realms above the dark astral prison, all is shining and beautiful.
"Flowers or fish or animals can metamorphose themselves, for a time, into astral men. All astral beings are free to assume any form, and can easily commune together. Any astral tree, for example, can be successfully asked to produce an astral mango or other desired fruit, flower, or indeed any other object.
"No one is born of woman; offspring are . . . condensed forms . . . drawn by similar mental and spiritual tendencies.
"The astral body is an exact counterpart of the last physical form . . . in youth . . . occasionally an astral being chooses, like myself, to retain his old age appearance.
"The astral spheres are visible to the all-inclusive sixth sense – intuition. By sheer intuitional feeling, all astral beings see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. They possess three eyes, two of which are partly closed. Astral beings have all the outer sensory organs [but] they can see through the ear, or nose, or skin. They are able to hear through the eyes or tongue, and can taste through the ears or skin, and so forth.
"Friends of other lives easily recognise one another in the astral world.
"The intuition of astral beings pierces through the veil and observes human activities. Man cannot view the astral world unless his sixth sense is somewhat developed."
Yogananda: "Do astral beings eat anything?"
Yukteswar: "Luminous raylike vegetables abound in the astral soils," he answered. "The astral beings consume vegetables."
"The earth-liberated astral being meets a multitude of relatives, fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, and friends, acquired during different incarnations on earth, as they appear from time to time in various parts of the astral realms.
"The span of life in the astral world is much longer than on earth. Visitors to the astral world dwell there for a longer or shorter period in accordance with the weight of their physical karma.
"Experiencing astral death in due time, a being thus passes from the consciousness of astral birth and death to that of physical birth and death.
"Man as an individualised soul is essentially causal-bodied.
"God thought out different ideas within Himself.
"Causal desires are fulfilled by perception only.
"On the borderline of fusion between mind and matter one perceives all created things as forms of consciousness.
"Souls in the causal world recognise one another as individualised points of joyous Spirit; their thought-things are the only objects which surround them.
"Both death and rebirth in the causal world are in thought.
"When a soul is out of the cocoon of the three bodies it escapes forever from the law of relativity and becomes the ineffable Ever-Existent . . . butterfly [with] wings etched with stars and moons and suns!
"When a soul finally gets out of the three jars of bodily delusions [it is] without any loss of individuality.
"The undeveloped man must undergo countless earthly and astral and causal incarnations in order to emerge from his three bodies.
"Beings with unredeemed earthly karma are not permitted after astral death to go to the high causal sphere of cosmic ideas, but must shuttle to and fro from the physical and astral worlds only.
"After each loss of his physical body, an undeveloped being from the earth remains for the most part in the deep stupor of the death-sleep and is hardly conscious of the beautiful astral sphere.
"Just as most people on earth have not learned through meditation-acquired vision to appreciate the superior joys and advantages of astral life and thus, after death, desire to return to the limited, imperfect pleasures of earth, so many astral beings, during the normal disintegration of their astral bodies, fail to picture the advanced state of spiritual joy in the causal world and, dwelling on thoughts of the more gross and gaudy astral happiness, yearn to revisit the astral paradise. Heavy astral karma must be redeemed by such beings before they can achieve after astral death a permanent stay in the causal thought-world, so thinly partitioned from the Creator.
Yogananda: "Never from song or story had I ever received such . . . knowledge.
"Your body looks exactly as it did . . . "
Yukteswar: "Yes, I materialise or dematerialise this form any time at will.
"You were only dreaming on earth. I have now told you."
"How much I had missed the chastisements . . . Rebuke me a million times – do scold me now!"
One of Yukteswar's disciples, called Ma, arrived at the ashram and asked to see him. She was told he had died a week ago.
"That's impossible!" She smiled. "This morning at ten o'clock he passed in his usual walk before my door! I talked to him for several minutes in the bright outdoors.
"'Come this evening to the ashram,' he said."
The Scientific Spirit
Doubt if you will,
A scientific mind does not want to convince and impress first and foremost, but to present thoughts or findings fairly. Rigorous use of alternative hypotheses is a form of "doubt with skill". So do not misplace trust. Candour helps some of the times:
One can avoid much "other-author colouring" by reading Gandhi himself.
Yogananda and his little company, Miss Bletch and Mr. Wright, visited Gandhi in his Wardha ashram. They were well received.
Gandhi's secretary wrote a list of eleven points that devoted Gandhi followers were taught to observe. Control of the palate was one, and use of home manufactures another.
At lunch, Gandhi ate chapatis, boiled beets, some raw vegetables, and oranges and neem leaves. He served Yogananda bitter neem leaves too.
Miss Madeleine Slade at the place said, "Rural reconstruction work is rewarding . . . simple hygiene . . . by example!"
Gandhi's wife thanked her husband for putting God and country before bribes (etc.)" Gandhi said how he understood ahimsa. "The avoidance of harm to any living creature in thought or deed."
"Diet is important," he said.
Yogananda, ten years later: "Years have rolled by . . . The Mahatma is indeed a "great soul," but . . . [t]his gentle prophet is honoured in his own land."
"Americans may well remember . . . the Quakers of Pennsylvania . . . Others were slain; others were massacred; but they were safe."
There are books by Gandhi and mature books about him too. Book data of a select few are found further down. Moreover, here is a page of 200 select Gandhi quotations.
Yogananda: "Manu is the universal lawgiver; not alone for Hindu society, but for the world. All systems of wise social regulations and even justice are patterned after Manu." (note 8)
Oh là là - Such a view stems from not having read Manu Samhita (The Laws of Manu) well, methinks. Here it is: Manu Samhita (The Laws of Manu)
"That man who in a court (of justice) gives an untrue account of a transaction (or asserts a fact) of which he was not an eye-witness, resembles a blind man who swallows fish with the bones. (Manu 8.95)"
Yogananda was found in an US court of law to have brought false and untrue money charges against a former fellow worker, Dhirananda, who had had it. ◦False money charges are sad, in part like swallowing fish with the bones, in part like killing the born and unborn, maintains Manu.
If we don't romanticise, some things get easier, is the bet.
Dasgupta, Sailendra. 2006. Paramhansa Swami Yogananda: Life-portrait and Reminiscences. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse.
Fischer, Louis. 1951. Mahatma Gandhi – His Life and Times. London: Jonathan Cape.
Gandhi, Mohandas K. 1993. Gandi: An Autobiography. The Story of My Experiments with Truth. Tr. Mahadev Desai. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
Gandhi, Mohandas K. 1996.The Essence of Hinduism. 2nd ed. Ahmedabad: Navajivan Mudranalaya.
Grimes, John. 2009. A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy. New and rev. ed. Varanasi: Indica Books.
Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. 1991. Harper's Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco.
Jacobsen, Knut A., ed. 2012. Yoga Powers: Extraordinary Capacities Attained Through Meditation and Concentration. Leiden: Brill.
Patterson, Barbara J., and Pamela Bradley. 2000. Beyond the Rainbow Bridge: Nurturing Our Children from Birth to Seven. Ed. Nancy Parsons. Amesbury, MA: Michaelmas Press.
Radin, Dean. 2013. Supernormal: Science, Yoga, and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities. New York: Deepak Chopra Books / Crown.
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