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Deep Meditation

TM could be good for you too

You could learn about TM (Transcendental Meditation) and improve your life and yourself through it. TM is compatible with wise enough religions. The present pope, Benedictus XVI, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, signed a newsletter in 1990 where TM, along with other eastern meditations, was described as helpful . . . to attain peace "even amidst turbulence". At that time the Ratzinger was the prime custodian in the world of the purity of catholisism, overseeing the doctrine of the Catholic Faith. [◦Link]

The Buddhist leader Bhikkhu Sanghasena practices Trancendental Meditation, and has decided to introduce TM in his schools and monastery in Ladakh, Kashmir in Himalayan India. People from all over the world formerly came to his international meditation center to learn his buddhistic meditation techniques. Sangashena has expressed great appreciation of Maharishi and his teachings, which he will implement in Ladakh, including Maharishi Ayurveda and Consciousness-Based Education. [Ibid]

During the last few years, Rev. Koji Oshima, a Japanese Buddhist monk, a TM-Sidha, who practices TM since 9 years, has inspired Buddhist monks in Thailand and Sri Lanka to learn TM. Today over 3100 Buddhist monks have learned TM. [Ibid]

Deep meditation such as TM may assist men and women of many kinds of faith. You do not have to be estranged from it through hearsay and the like.

"Bah, bah, little lamb" and its likely impact

"At the end of the rainbow is wine to be found." The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow may be nature smiling to you.

Save those you care about from dangerous faults, in any decent way you can come up with.

"Bah, bah, little lamb" shows concerns that eventually make it "clear" in abundance to a little tot that sheep can be sheared and made use of beneath us.

Some folks have great needs to whitewash facades. However, insincerity can make hospitality tricky. Insincere guys and hypocricy should not be more welcome than a fart.

Have neighbours got the blame – all of it?

Competing with one's neighbours and others for a living and esteem, brings about stress. Much stress tends to make unsound - make very unfit - not much to boast of. Nervous tenseness causes wear and tear. Medical doctors estimate that 50% of all common body diseases are related to stress, wholly or partly [cf. Hi 505].

Psychosomatic disorders are physical diseases that are believed to have a mental component derived from stresses and strains of everyday living. "Stress-related disorders encompass a broad array of conditions, including psychological disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder) and other types of emotional strain (e.g., dissatisfaction, fatigue, tension, etc.), maladaptive behaviors (e.g., aggression, substance abuse), and cognitive impairment (e.g., concentration and memory problems). In turn, these conditions may lead to poor work performance or even injury. Job stress is also associated with various biological reactions that may lead ultimately to compromised health, such as cardiovascular disease, or in extreme cases death." [Wikipedia, s.v. "Workplace stress"]

"Stress-related problems include mood disturbance, psychological distress, sleep disturbance, upset stomach, headache, and problems in relationships with family and friends. The effects of job stress on chronic diseases are more difficult to ascertain because chronic diseases develop over relatively long periods of time and are influenced by many factors other than stress. Nonetheless, there is some evidence that stress plays a role in the development of several types of chronic health problems – including cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, and psychological disorders." [Ibid]

There are many things a leader or firm can do to prevent job stress, such as (1) designing jobs to provide meaning, stimulation, and opportunities to use skills; (2) provide opportunities for social interaction among workers. [Ibid]

Sane yoga, meditation, and relaxation can counteract gross effects of stress.

The best wine

Contemplation is deep meditation. Now, there are recognised stages of good yoga and contemplation and some rise high above the need for rest and relaxation and regaining health more or less. If you are not interested in climbing all of them, how will you get conscious of your divine side - what is higher up - fine vistas and much else.

According to yoga, the best wine is found within. Some call that wine heart-gladness. It is not a stale thing. Besides, once higher states are gained, they need to be protected, stabilised and integrated, and that's not little. Compare the Being-needs that Abraham Maslow postulate. They include drives to realise or actualise yourself [Link].

Helpful meditation tries are marked by ease and not tenseness, and you feel your awareness glides inside somehow. This diving within the deeper mind is known as contemplation and meditation alternately. Among meditation methods you may come across the "wall-blank stare" of Zen, a meditation method that Bodhidharma is credited with; and then there is the "sleepy stare".

Sleepy, halfway upturned gaze

Tratak: (1) Look up (about 50 degrees, give and take) with half-closed or closed eyes as you feel for it. (2) If you want to practice with open eyes, have a hanging, round and nice object at that angle and about a meter's distance to look at if you feel for it. The distance to the object is not so important; it is the focusing that is. This method is part of Tibetan training, explained by W. Y. Evans-Wentz [Til]. You may vary between the two ways of trying too.

There are other methods too. Follow the link to the meditation methods that are explained onsite: [Link]

Proper boundaries

Sunlight
Through proper boundaries, try to benefit yourself too.
If you meditate tolerably, you "rise above" - get uninterested in - questioning a lot. You may get liberated from the desire to think and probe during the meditation session. Having proper boundaries and comrades is good too.

Training in contemplation is often done by steps and stages. However, TM is a far better, simpler, and integrated practice, imo.

Go for gains in respected, respectable ways.

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Yogananda Varied Many Hindu Concepts

LoThe audience in time lowered the concepts most used and the spectacle

Paramahansa Yogananda's (1893-1952) teachings are lined up to the Yoga-sutras by Patanjali (2nd century BC). One end goal is called Self-realisation, as the goal of his meditation system. There are many levels and outlets of accomplishment, though, for those who trudge on. TM uses some of the Patanjali verses for advancing meditation practice - but contemplation on sutras is not part of the basic TM method, and is not absolutely necessary for making advancements within either.

Yogananda crossed the Atlantic by boat

As for Yogananda, despite his claims that his gurus who sent him to America were almighty and things like that, had to get to America by boat. He did not fly or swim across the ocean, neither in the shape of an eagle or a fish or whale or in his own human shape. Compare how the Danish "King Harald told a warlock to hie to Iceland in some altered shape, and to try what he could learn there to tell him: and he set out in the shape of a whale." [From The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway, King Olaf Trygvason's Saga, chapter 36.]

Yogananda did no such things. He turned into no whale. And yet his ardent followers hold him to be God incarnated, an avatar, because he said he was -

He begged his way (it was not uncommon in his case) on and upward to god-realisation, he writes in his Autobiography. There are some incidences where he nagged and bothered men for it. To get a ticket on the ship, he even annoyed a clark. Yogananda tells about it in some detail in SRF's Golden Anniversary Booklet.

But where is the Biblical evidence that apostle-given Christianity is to be lorded over by Hindu swami-monks with centres and meditation groups in over 50 countries?

Some decades after the guru did not swim across the ocean, he sat down to write his Autobiography, very much helped by disciples. The book was first published in 1946, and he later confessed that God (not himself) made him edit it too. That suggests (1) God was not much into it in the first place, or God later saw that the first edition was not quite good enough! Consider that Yogananda and two other masters of his line declare that the Lord is the Sole Doer. It should not be necessary for God to do things twice if time was short - but don't succumb to chastising words like "Bad God!" and not even "Bad work!" - for good work may be improved too, even a lot, for different times, different people, different -isms, and the like.

Yogananda also dictated other works, and his tendentious commentary to the Rubaiyyat has recently been published by two separate publishers. The americanised guru's books have become popular and influential. Swami lectures from many US cities have appeared in a collection of books. So far it is a trilogy. [Ak; Jse; Dr]

The guru also turned some followers into monastics, even teen-age girls. The current SRF president became a monastic at 14 or 15, and the previous one was ca. 17 when she became a monastic.

The concept "guru farm" may hint at something, just as the tentative "A monastic is a serf; not his or her own". The whole organisation the guru strove to build, is governed over by "guru devotees" today, if that is what they are. They keep saying dogmatically his wisdom is not just OK, but without flaw - things like that. if they really mean it, it is bad, and if they do not mean it while they say it, it is bad too. Moreover, Yogananda spoke well of Hitler, Mussolini, and dictatorship. He was "that kind of future blind."

SRF - who claims to be in 100% harmony with "original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ", ignores central parts of the gospels that do not get along well with its founder's quite rabid ideas. But let us suppose they represent the teachings of Jesus for the sake of argument. In that case they stick to slavery, such as "Keep the Canaanite slave forever." It is part of the Law that Jesus said was valid - but broke when he felt for it [Matthew 5:17-19].

Maybe all the four, five or six gurus that are Yogananda-claimed to be behind SRF, is one unified gel. I dare say they are not, however, among other plausible-looking reasons that Jesus of the Bible warns against false Christs who lead astray and things like that. I have also found reasons to reflect on a message from the Sanskrit Upanishads:

"He who worships another (than one's own godhood deep inside) . . . is not wise, but like a house-dog (or beast). - Brihadaranyana Upanishad 1.4.10 [Puh 62]. (The Upanishad in Max Müller's translation is here: [Link])

The attraction to get bound hand and foot

Cow
"These farm teachings - moo."

You had better not succumb to Yogananda's half-ritual "cry for Divine Mother till she appears" either. It is a deviant yoga practice. You can get hurt by it.

Yogananda taught a simplified, aborted kriya yoga. The basic kriya method is taught onsite, and may be learnt from a book or two too. The same is the case with the hong-so method of meditation.

A large part of Yogananda's attraction on gullible guys is his unverified and suspect kriya hype. Almost overnight he changed the prospects of doing kriya. One round of the kriya yoga he was sent to the West to teach, was said to equal one month's natural progress. But when he had taken away techniques that are held to be indispensable to higher kriyas in his own kriya line, he also made the claim that his simplified kriya yoga could bring about cosmic consciousness faster than the handed over kriya system - wherever he got that idea from.

A very good thing in our days is that you do not have to be bound hand and foot by a morally faulty SRF pledge to learn kriya and hong-so and so on. You can learn them elsewhere and still preserve your freedom. I would go for that.

You do not have to go bananas (crazy; wildly deranged) to be a kriya yogi.

Nimbarka stands of Self-Realization Fellowship

Hinduism contains much good, but is extremely diversified. Yogananda's so-called Church of All Religions is basically of Hinduism. Even though Yogananda and SRF hardly mentions Nimbarka, they propagate a kind of duality in unity, or duality and nonduality at the same time, they too. It is the Vaishnava Theology of Dvaitadvaita. Nimbarka refers to five methods to Salvation. They are:

  1. Ritual action within one's caste and phase of life;
  2. Knowledge, vidya, for those inclined to spend much time in scriptural study and reflections;
  3. Upasana or dhyana (meditation) of three sorts: (a) meditation on the Lord as one's self, as the Inner Controller; (2) meditation on the Lord as the Inner Controller of the non sentient; (3) meditation on Lord as different from the sentient and non-sentient;
  4. Surrender to God as Radha Krisna. This method is available to foreigners too. It is referred to as devotion (bhakti) through regulations.
  5. Devotion and self surrender to guru.

1. Yogananda's Self-Realization Fellowship, SRF, hardly stresses the first point on the list, for the guru's teachings were adapted to American Christians by hook and crook.

2. He does advocate study, as in his unprompted counsel to the US president Calvin Coolidge.

3. Yogananda also teaches "a little of this, a little of that" about how to meditate, as seen in his collected talks and essays and other books published and edited by SRF.

4 and 5. He also teaches devotion and surrender, and Krishna is included among the six SRF gurus, along with Jesus and four more.

Yogananda teaches Vedanta and Krishna's Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras, etc. However, Vedanta is variegated, and there are many Vedanta schools. One of them is the nondualist Vedanta school of Shankara, another is the school of Ramanuja, and still another that of Nimbarka.

Vedanta schools teach differently about the relation between the self (jiva) and God (Brahman). Some hold that the self and God are different entities. This view is called dvaita, dualism. Some others, like Shankara, hold that the two are the same, and that view is called advaita, non-dualism. Others again, like Ramanuja, hold that the two are related like parts and whole, and that view may be called qualified monism. There are still other views, but the best known among the Vedanta schools are those of Shankara and Ramanuja.

Like Ramanuja, Nimbarka too believes in a kind of identity-in-difference, bhedabheda. The doctrine of Nimbarka has very much in common with that of Ramanuja. Both regard the difference as well as the non-difference, as real. But, for Nimbarka, difference and non-difference are on the same level, while for Ramanuja, non-difference is the principal, and only qualified by difference, which is thus subordinate to it, V. S. Ghate points out. [in Wo 424]. A Nimbarka-looking sort of hovering Hinduism is a marked feature of SRF. [cf. Wo 11; 349-50].

Gist

In sum

  1. The audience in time lowers the concepts most used and the spectacle.
  2. Blaming a yogi's illusions on Maya far and wide is too short-sighted. Mature guys at least seek to be responsible for wrongs and awkward things in their charge or hands, and which ardent followers parrot. Gurus teach different things; is anything right?
  3. Handy teachings are good for you. Some instruct and others may astonish and amuse, but seldom all of it at once.

In nuce Naturally, concepts (constructs) often repeated, may assist or dwarf our minds and development if firmly put to use - or glance off. It depends a lot on how nuanced, accurate, and beneficial they are. Effects depend not solely on the sender and the message, though. The involved ones who receive messages and transmit them further, may respond to parts of a whole, distort a few things, and so on, and in the end influence the outcomes of message medleys too. Both proficiency and forethought could help.

Contents


, an essay, Literature  

Ak: Yogananda, Pa.: Man's Eternal Quest. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1975.

Ap: Mieder, Wolfgang (main editor), Stewart A. Kingsbury, and Kelsie E. Harder: A Dictionary of American Proverbs. (Paperback) New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Dr: Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Divine Romance. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1993.

Hi: Smith, Carolyn D., ed, et al. Hilgard's Introduction to Psychology. 14th ed. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth, 2003.

Jse: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Journey to Self-realization: Discovering the Gift of the Soul. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2000.

Pa: Yogananda, Pa.: Autobiography of a Yogi. 11th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1971.

Puh: Deussen, Paul. The Philosophy of the Upanishads. New York: Dover (Reprint of Clark's 1906-ed), 1966.

Say: Yogananda, Paramahansa: Sayings of Yogananda. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1958.

Til: Evans-Wentz, Walter Yeeling, ed. The Tibetan Book of the Dead: After-Death Experiences on the Bardo Plane, according to Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup's English Rendering. London: Oxford University Press, 1927.

Wo: Chatterjee, Satischandra, and Dhirendramohan Datta. An Introduction to Indian Philosophy. 7th ed. Calcutta: University of Calcutta, 1968.

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