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Two Lessons

Embarrassing Medulla Teachings

Yogananda "When the sperm and ovum unite to create the physical body, they do so at what becomes the medulla oblongata, at the base of the brain.

From this medulla, the life force moves out into the brain, down the spine and into the nervous system, then on to the muscles, etc., creating the body. " - Yogananda [1]

A medicine student, "He says the medulla is so very important because it stems directly from the very first fertilised cell. Well, all body cells stem from the first cell."

That is correct.

It is better to know than to be taken in.

The Egg, the Weed, and the Organ

One rotten egg of counsel may ruin a whole basket. A state of negentropy (good order, shape, and the like) may be hard to attain. In the body, many, many cells, organs, and organ systems work along in great synergy. Good life depends on it.

The food for thought we start to chew on and swallow, had better not fester and poison us as time goes by. There is much at stake.

The teaching "Cry for God" - is that good?

"Cry to Divine Mother and she will come," exhorts Yogananda. You may get awfully disappointed if you cry aloud and she does not come, only an ambulance to take you away. [More]

The days got worse and worse and now you see I've gone completely out of my mind.
They're coming to take me away, ha ha
They're coming to take me away, ho ho he he ha ha
to the funny farm where life is beautiful . . .

You thought it was a joke and so you laughed . . .

And they're coming to take me away, ha ha
They're coming to take me away, ho ho he he ha ha . . .

- ◦They're Coming To Take Me Away (YouTube), a hit novelty song by Napoleon XIV (aka Jerry Samuels)

That is one side of the problem of Yogananda's cry-for-Mother-like-a-naughty-baby teachings. Mature yoga meditation is different - Another problem could arise if one of the Mothers around should come and says she cannot stand you. What then? Something like that happened to Yogananda's close disciples during a Christmas meditation at the SRF headquarters.

Yogananda Every year, on the day before Christmas, the disciples would gather with Yogananda at the headquarters for meditation. The session would usually last all day and into the evening hours. During the Christmas meditation in 1948 the Divine Mother appeared to Yogananda, and the awed disciples heard him speaking to Her. Many times he exclaimed, with a deep sigh: "Oh, you are so beautiful!"

Suddenly he cried: "Don't go! You say the subconscious material desires of these people are driving You away? Oh, come back! Come back!" [Tms 74, Spa 74-75.Retold]

To repeat the question: What if she appears and says she does not stand you? Then you may have bothered her at a risk of getting disheartened, and may have wasted many years on begging for a view that you did not really need - provided that you had practised good meditation and improved yourself by adhering to good counsel, such as Buddha's. [Link].

It should not help to yell for God. Try for some form of meditation to mature by, rather. What can be helpful, is to practice deep meditation, and ◦TM is of that sort. It is very benign.

For example, as early as in the 1970s, the Swedish government's National Health Board conducted a nationwide epidemiological study that found that hospital admissions for psychiatric care were 150-200 times less common among the 35,000 people practicing Transcendental Meditation in Sweden, than for the population as a whole. The calculation was made by Professor Jan-Otto Ottoson, Scientific counsellor of the National Health Board in Sweden (Suurküla, University of Gothenburg, Vasa Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden, 1977.) - Paper 127: Jaan Suurküla. The Transcendental Meditation Technique and the Prevention of Psychiatric Illness. Vasa Hospital, University of Gothenburg, Sweden- Paper prepared in May 1977.

Dr Suurkuula concludes: "The remarkably small incidence of psychiatric illness among the population of individuals who had learnt the Transcendental Meditation technique compared to the general population indicates that the TM technique is not only safe but also has considerable value in the prevention of psychiatric illness."

After the tip and its back-up, here is another thing: Do not let others exploit your feelings by "divine": If you have unresolved relationship issues - unfulfilled back-up from "dear mother, father, friend, beloved" and so on - the bet is that crying for Mom "up there" will not help, and could even derange you in the long run. It could work you harm. Seek professional help instead.

The "cry for God" seems like a "bug" let into the kriya teachings by Yogananda. In the teachings of Lahiri Mahasaya the guidelines include, "practice of Kriya, abandoning expectations for results." That is parts of what is required in the kriya tradition. (Satyeswarananda 1986:52). On the other hand, Yogananda in America made a play of aggrandised expectations. He violated the original kriya teachings and made a mess, writes Swami Satyeswarananda frankly: [More on Yogananda] But there is more to this issue:

A puzzled man asked Buddha: I have heard that some monks meditate with expectations, others meditate with no expectations, and yet others are indifferent to the result. What is the best?

Buddha answered: Whether they meditate with or without expectations, if they have the wrong ideas and the wrong methods, they will not get any [good] fruit from their meditation. . . .

But if somebody meditates with a wholesome attitude, with right attention and mindfulness, then whether he has expectations or not he will gain insight.

[Contracted from the Bhumija Sutta in the Majjhima Nikaya - Bancroft 2010:58-59, emphasis added. (The complete Bhumija Sutta)]

We can combine counsels too: Before we choose a meditation method or system of methods, we can do ourselves a good turn by seeing which methods come out on top among the researched methods, and thus be informed about which method to expect the most of, from the averages that research findings are typically based on. Further, in between meditations we may measure up changes in our lives, say, every month or two or so. Then, based on changes or trends we get aware of we may tentatively or halfway expect further beneficial results too - provisonally. Still, during meditation sessions we could aim at just doing the methods to benefit that way.

During such sessions, vagrant thoughts and expectations may calmly be replaced by resuming the method as often as we find we have drifted off from the wholehearted practice, and that his how to do it during simple, elegant ◦TM, Transcendental Meditation, the test winner far and wide. Study the research.

Thus, through a fit training perspective, we reach higher ground - a synthesis in step with Buddha and TM practice, and without discrediting Lahiri's statements if they are understood to apply for meditation sessions only.

Bhakti variants

Many bhakti (devotion) elements are part of Yogananda's work. And bhakti was not and is not a necessary part of the traditional teachings that Yogananda was sent from India to America to make known.

"The believers in a Personal God . . . enjoy Him through many different attitudes [bhavas]: the serene attitude, the attitude of a servant, a friend, a mother, a husband, or a lover," says Ramakrishna. [Goa 254].

Ramakrishna further talks of three kinds of bhakti, or love of God: The better one makes no outward display and "loves privacy". Another sort makes a display of his devotion before others. A third sort is marked by the boisterousness of highway robbers, and by shouts as if by mad people. [Rap 494]

Yogananda's half-institutionalised "Cry for Divine Mother and she will come" could be of the lowest type of devotion. SRF further makes a show of devotion (medium type) by its rigmarole, altar worship of Jesus, Krishna, and four more of its Christs, and things like that. Piousness, that sort of inward-turned, delicate fondness, rides on top. Adi Shankara:

Wisdom Piousness suggests intentness of the soul on its own nature. [p 10-12]

Piousness may also be called intentness on the reality of the Self. [p 12]". (Shankara 1946)

Inward-turned awareness is what deep meditation is for. Piousness is of the Self inside.


Divine Mother, Maturity, Biology, Yogananda, Literature  

Shankara. The Crest-Jewel of Wisdom and other writings of Shankaracharya. Tr. Charles Johnston. Covina: Theosophical University Press, 1946.

Satyeswarananda, sw., tr: The Commentaries' Series Vol. III: Hidden Wisdom. With Lahiri Mahasay's Commentaries. 2nd rev. ed. The Sanskrit Classics. San Diego, 1986.

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

Goa: Nikhilananda, swami, tr. The Gospel of Ramakrishna. Abridged ed. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1974.

Rap: Gupta, Mahendranath. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1942.

Spa: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Sayings of Paramahansa Yogananda. 4th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1980.

Tms: Self-Realization Fellowship. The Master Said: Sayings and Counsel to Disciples by Paramhansa Yogananda. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1957.


  1. Kriyananda, comp. The Essence of Self-Realization: The Wisdom of Paramhansa Yogananda, recorded and compiled by his disciple Swami Kriyananda. 2nd ed. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2009. The abstracted "The Way To Inner Freedom" by Yogananda in it.

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