Ramakrishna, Decay, and Kriyananda Teachings on Child Education
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As a man, Ramakrishna felt the pangs of a child separated from its mother. Sometimes, in agony, he would rub his face against the ground and weep so bitterly that people, thinking he had lost his earthly mother, would sympathize with him in his grief. And sometimes, in moments of scepticism, he would cry:
"Are you real, mother, or is it all fiction - mere poetry without any reality? If you exist, why don't I see you? Is religion a mere fantasy and are you only a figment of man's imagination?"
Sometimes he would sit on the prayer carpet for two hours like an inert object. He began to behave in an abnormal manner, most of the time unconscious of the world. He almost gave up food; and sleep left him altogether.
But he did not have to wait long. He has described his first vision of his Mother thus: "I felt as if my heart were being squeezed like a wet towel. I was overpowered with a great restlessness and a fear that it might not be my lot to realize her in this life. I could not bear the separation from her any longer. Life seemed to be not worth living. Suddenly my glance fell on the sword that was kept in the Mother's temple and I determined to put an end to my life. I jumped up like a madman and seized it, when suddenly the blessed Mother revealed herself. The buildings with their different parts, the temple and anything else vanished from my sight, leaving no trace whatever, and in their stead I saw a limitless, infinite, effulgent Ocean of Bliss. As far as the eye could see, the shining billows were madly rushing at me from all sides with a terrific noise, to swallow me up. I was panting for breath. I was caught in the rush and collapsed, unconscious. What was happening in the outside world I did not know; but within me there was a steady flow of undiluted bliss, altogether new, and I felt the presence of the Divine Mother."
[From Nikhilananda, translator: The Gospel of Ramakrishna (by M), Abridged edition. Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center. New York, 1974, p. 19-20.]
Did you never see in the world a . . . woman, eighty, ninety, or a hundred years old, frail, crooked as a gable roof, bent down, resting on crutches, with tottering steps, infirm, youth long since fled, with broken teeth, grey and scanty hair, or bald-headed, wrinkled, with blotched limbs? And did the thought never come to you that also you are subject to decay, that also you cannot escape it? - Buddha, in "The Three Warnings".
❖ Many seem to have other, juicier associations to "Divine Mother", even though she is said to be ancient and a lot older than this one. Well-well.
Brain research suggests that words like "Divine Mother" calls forth a certain association pattern in the brain. There is room for billions of other association sets. The number of networking brain patterns may be beyond firm calculations. The psychologist Tony Buzan has indicated how many brain patterns that are possible in Make the Most of Your Mind [Mum], a decent book for self-help study.
There is room for more perceptions in our minds.
If by Srwityb we understand that everything is empty, that nothing is of value, we overlook things, for example that the "I" inside holds the notion Srwityb too. Ramana Maharsi when he talks about the void (sunyata) that one may experience in deep meditation. He said.
"You must have been there during the void to be able to say that you experienced a void. To be fixed in that 'you' is the quest from start to finish. [. . .] It is the mind that sees objects and has experiences and that finds a void when it ceases to see and experience, but that is not 'you'. You are the constant illumination that lights up both the experience and the void. [. . . Illustration:] In complete darkness we do not see [. . .] and we say: "I see nothing." In the same way, you are there even in the void you mention." - Ramana Maharsi [Osborne, Arthur ed: The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharsi in His Own Words. New ed. Rider. London, 1971. p. 132]
Also, according to Daizetz T. Suzuki (1870-1966), the total self-identity of "I am I" is the state of non-time and is equivalent to the emptiness of Buddhist philosophy.
That emptiness is not "nothingness, non-existence, or non-reality," according to Eihei Dogen, founder of Soto Zen in Japan. He states, "Sunyata is not non-existence." Roshi Nishijima explains, "In Master Dogen's teaching sunyata is not the denial of real existence - it expresses the absence of anything other than real existence." [Nishijima, Gudo Wafo and Cross, Chodo, trs.: Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Book 2. Windbell Publications. London, 1996, chapter "Bussho"]
Will Durant, writing of child education in the Cosmopolitan, said,
He learns by imitation, though his parents think he learns by sermons. They teach him gentleness, and beat him; they teach him mildness of speech and shout at him; they teach him a Stoic apathy to finance, and quarrel before him about the division of their income; they teach him honesty, and answer his most profound questions with lies. [East West, March-April, 1928, Vol. 3-3]
This may be all that needs to be said about Kriyananda at this place, maybe not. You may think, "What does a monk know about child rearing?" for example. So here are a few highlights.
Swami Kriyananda, born James Donald Walters (1926-), is basically inspired by the yogi Paramahansa Yogananda. Kriyananda became a minister of Self-Realization Fellowship. Yogananda put Walters in charge of the monks of the Self-Realization monastic order, asked him to write articles for the SRF magazine, and had him lecturing in Southern California. After Yogananda's death, and becoming vice-president of SRF, he was kicked out from there. He then founded Ananda Village as a World Brotherhood Colony in 1968 on 40 acres of land near Nevada City, California. The community has grown to 840 acres (3.4 km2), with over 250 residents, schools, businesses, gardens, and a retreat centre. All adult residents practise Yogananda's kriya yoga and other of his teachings. Kriyananda also started Crystal Clarity Publishers, and developed a system for educating children called "Education for Life".
Self-Realization Fellowship has spent twelve years, and millions of dollars, suing Kriyananda and Ananda over various copyright and trademark issues, and lost nearly every issue in court. As a result of the lawsuit, Ananda began publishing the first edition of Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi, which is in the public domain.
Kriyananda married in 1981, and publicly renounced his monastic vows on the occasion of his second marriage in 1985. He was later divorced. In 1995, he officially resumed his monastic vows and title.
In 1997-98, a former resident of Ananda filed suit against Ananda, an Ananda minister, and Swami Kriyananda. Eight women testified under oath that Kriyananda had used to obtain sexual gratification from them when they were in their twenties.
Kriyananda admitted sexual contacts with most of the women. If he writes of carnal love, he might know what he is doing.
Swami Kriyananda, who did not appreciate being judged by what others said, was judged to have misrepresented himself as a monk and to have caused emotional trauma, and was eventually ordered to pay 400 000 US dollars in punitive damages. Ananda settled the lawsuit by paying $1.8 million dollars to that former resident who filed a suit, and her attorneys.
In March, 2004, Italian authorities raided the Ananda colony in Assisi, responding to allegations of a disgruntled former resident who accused Ananda Assisi of fraud, usury and labour law violations. Nine Ananda residents were detained for questioning. They also had a warrant for Kriyananda's detention, but Kriyananda was in India. No charges were filed.
In 2006, Swami Kriyananda was nominated and accepted as a Creative Member of the Club of Budapest because of his service to the spiritual future of humanity, and in August, 2007, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National InterFaith Council at the Wadsworth Theater in Los Angeles.
So you can see, a monk may have an eventful life, he too, and lots of sex - maybe a bit offhand, as the case may be.
How Useful are Sermons?If you don't learn to apply a sermon, it does little good. Few think of that. Is the scandalised minister worth listening to? Maybe. For some reason or other. But many think no, adhering to throwing out the baby (good points) with the dirty water. Below is another approach: that of ferreting out several good and decent points he makes, and sorting them to make many, many times more sense, if you learn how to read the frieze, or "table-essay". How to do it is explained at least partly elsewhere on the site. Basically you go straight ahead. The novel arrangement forms the main content of the essay, so you may also say it is by me, using inferior input by Kriyananda. Each gleaned point is supposed to be generally useful. Put together, they should make more (and more) sense, and form syntheses that could be applicable in real life too. [Link]
When reading great-looking statements, it is good to keep plenty of mental reserve. See the "Reservations" on top of the page for how to develop more critical, rational skills by qualifications, and "disclaimer" at bottom too, as you like. Sound and helpful qualifications are subsumed below. And as for the rest of such table-essays, it tends to pay to get a grasp of some main, multiple drift of things in it, for example by reading the summary first, which I recommend.
Hence, a table essay surpasses the points that go into it. Here is how to use it to your best advantage:
There you have it. It is time for examples. You may note, in passing that the table-essay below allows for many hundred solutions of the kind I have described right above - so many different solutions that it is hard to count them. At the lowest level (of single quotations) there are 20 x 11 x 27 = 5040 takes, theoretically. But if you fuse and blend a few points from each stage above, you get many times more takes, for example 20 000 ideas of education.
When you have 20 000 great-looking ideas to implement, you may soon get the idea that "life is too short". That cannot be helped. And in passing, 20 000 three-steps-ideas, each of, say 5 lines, make up a book of 100 000 lines in itself - roughly, a work of 500 pages or a three-volumed work at most. However, I recommend that you simplify things, and make do with one good book instead, if you won't learn the art of writing friezes, you too. Make use of them!
This is to say there is plenty of information embedded in a table essay, and that I never care to think through all the possibilities. A computer program may help it, as a rough guide, but the delicate touches of humans are vital too.
Here you see why the "Get Tao" essays (friezes, table essays) are thought highly of too. Reminder:
Now for examples on how to use them. I just take the third point under each of the three headings:
(1) Jim Corbett was lying in a tree on a platform when he saw a grown Bengal tiger stalk a kid goat. At some point during the tiger's advance the kid heard him and turned around. Observing this unknown but enormous creature, it tottered over trustingly and began to sniff at him with curiosity. The tiger rose from his crouch and allowed the kid to sniff at him a few moments longer. Then, with great dignity, he turned away and walked off into the jungle. [Don't read too much into this tale, though.]
(2) Much of popular modern music works directly contrary to any serious attempt to help children in their development towards maturity.
(3) All students are not . . . equally sensitive, creative, receptive, energetic, willing, or, in fact, equally anything . . . Can we point, then, to progressive levels of development in these capabilities? In the case of intelligence, such a progression is more or less discernible. But what is needed also is a general criterion that will be helpful in developing all aspects of a child's nature.
That is what the man says. Now try to find key points of each, and fuse those keys.
A bit of trusting innocence makes a stalking enemy go away at times, but most often not.
Innocent trust in and fascination for musicians makes them go away - on world tours and the like - leaving others time to develop their tastes afterwards. (Joking)
Your may trust that fascination with some forms of music reflect id (libido) played on, and that if such libido is given good chances, may develop maturer tastes in time. (Seriously)
Don't trust naïvely that all kinds of music will help your development. (Another)
Here you have a few ideas to implement. Some forms of music have what it takes to follow us from teens to the grave, though. There is a reservation there.
Now you try. See if you can make 300 guidelines on top of the following extracts and quotations, for example. It is feasible. Help yourself.
Allow Reality to be practical, and with great dignity in some way
One method for developing clear reasoning is the deliberate, though playful, practice of sophistry [Sophism: an argument apparently correct in form but actually invalid. Sophistry: subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation]. [Ch 19]
What is the alternative? If we rely on logic alone, we find ourselves entangled in so many strands of possibility that it becomes almost impossible to move. [Ch 19]
Jim Corbett was lying in a tree on a platform when he saw a grown Bengal tiger stalk a kid goat. At some point during the tiger's advance the kid heard him and turned around. Observing this unknown but enormous creature, it tottered over trustingly and began to sniff at him with curiosity. The tiger rose from his crouch and allowed the kid to sniff at him a few moments longer. Then, with great dignity, he turned away and walked off into the jungle. [Don't read too much into this tale, though.] [Ch 15]
Teachers may devise tests of a child's reactions to challenges. For instance, how readily does a child share his enjoyments with others? [Ch 11]
I have known many highly intelligent people who pride themselves on the range and subtlety of their self-understanding, but who never take the first step toward actual self-betterment. [Ch 9]
Show enough concern to let him or her know that you understand and empathize. [Ch 17]
By right behaviour, a person (a child, in this case) will avoid pain to himself; even more important, he will increase his own measure of happiness. [Let us hope that, for it is not that simple either. - TK] [Ch 7]
Maturity is not a finishing line reached automatically at a certain age. It is a continuous—even a never-ending—process. Who, indeed, may claim that there are no levels of reality to which he still needs to learn to relate? [Ch 4]
Compassion has helped to evolve a system that is not dogmatic . . . but . . . practical. [Ch 21]
How different the great scientist . . . from the average pedagogue, who represents the scientist's discoveries in the classroom! More or less forgotten, by the time the scientist's life and findings are included in textbooks, is his enthusiasm, his total commitment to his subject. [Ch 3]
Certain contrasts might be considered also. Is the child's nature expansive or contractive? outgoing or withdrawn? positive or negative? constructive or destructive? imaginative or literal-minded? creative or imitative? aggressive or passive? assertive or submissive? - [Ch 10]
Business colleges fill their students' brains with marketing techniques, organizational charts, and secrets . . . How is it, the graduates wonder later on, that so few of them make the grade?
Even more incomprehensible to them is the large number of highly successful business people whose training couldn't compare with their own. [Ch 14]
Why, then, don't our schools teach students not only how to be successful materially, but successful also as people?" [Ch 1]
Great men and women, whether scientists or artists or leaders of any kind, are great in some way, at least, as human beings. [Ch 5]
A recent survey of professors found that the majority preferred wordy, intellectually intricate and abstruse articles on subjects in their own fields over articles that made the same points, but in a style that was simple and easy to read. [Ch 2]
A delightfully stuffy book of guidelines that I was once shown for the English-speaking tourist in Germany included this helpful sentence: "Stop, barber, you have put the brush in my mouth!" [Ch 8] (2)
It may also be possible to help him see that he never hates qualities in others if there isn't at least a suggestion of that quality in himself. [Ch 17]
A battle was fought during the middle ages by Swiss peasants against their aristocratic overlords. What the peasants did was flood the battlefield on the eve of battle with water from a nearby river. The water froze overnight. When the oppressors sallied forth on the following morning, the horses slipped and fell all over the ice. The peasants came to battle shod for walking on ice, and dispatched the lot of them with ease . . . Why not be selective, then, with an eye also to the students' actual needs? [Ch 8: "Humanizing the Process", extract.]
Nature will provide the teacher with endless opportunities for expanding children's awareness. [Ch 16]
Suggest dances that work well at the moment and later, in the culture the child grows up.
Discrimination is impossible without humility, for it demands an understanding that truth exists. [Ch 19] (3)
The tongue should be trained . . . to enjoy wholesome food, and to speak kind words . . . The imagination should be trained also. [Ch 17]
Much of popular modern music works directly contrary to any serious attempt to help children in their development towards maturity. [Ch 16]
[Famous violinist's remark:] "If I had listened to my mother, I would never have become Fritz Kreisler." - Quoted by [Ch 20]
Every mental attitude has its counterpart in physical positions and gestures. [Ch 17] (4)
An important point to remember, I think, is not to suggest dances that the child might come to ridicule later on in life. For by such ridicule a prejudice might develop around the whole system. [Ch 16]
Too much mental recognition, and the intellectual conceptualization that such recognition entails, may actually rob people of the energy they need for practical action. [Ch 17]
A young man was aggressively atheistic. I offered him and a few others rides to their various destinations. A sixteen-year-old girl in the car made the statement, apropos of nothing, "I don't believe in love."
After I'd let her off at her home, the self-styled atheist turned to me in amazement. "Can you imagine that?" he exclaimed: "Not believing in love!" [Ch 17]
Sartre was . . . a nihilist. He accepted no established human norms. And he was not joking . . . One wonders: Why have these nihilistic teachings been given so solemn a hearing in the classrooms? [Ch 5]
Paramhansa Yogananda . . . discovered that two of his students were bitter enemies. . . . He then had them share the same bed. After some weeks, Yogananda tiptoed silently to the head of their bed as they slept, reached down cautiously and rapped one of them on the forehead, immediately withdrawing his arm.
The boy rose up wrathfully and accused his bedmate of breaking the peace.
Both settled back to sleep. After a few minutes, when they were sleeping soundly again, Yogananda rapped the other boy on the forehead.
They were on the point of blows when, looking up, they beheld their school principal smiling down at them.
"Oh," they exclaimed. "You!" [Ch 9, an extract.]
Simply level with those that heed you, and maturity is wont to set in
Proper training during the first . . . years, and proper reference, later, to the values learned during those years, will be a great aid [for] development toward maturity. [Ch 15] (5)
Far better . . . would be another kind of encounter group altogether: one in which the students offered one another suggestions in true charity [and] for strengthening their positive qualities. [Ch 19]
All students are not . . . equally sensitive, creative, receptive, energetic, willing, or, in fact, equally anything . . . Can we point, then, to progressive levels of development in these capabilities? In the case of intelligence, such a progression is more or less discernible. But what is needed also is a general criterion that will be helpful in developing all aspects of a child's nature. [Ch 10]
"Spare the rod and spoil the child." We have simply to accept that Life itself applies this truth. [Ch 6]
There is much to be gained from learning to approach any new subject as it were from within — from its core. [Ch 8]
Great scientists demonstrate greatness also in their ability to rise above petty self-preoccupation and reach out toward broader realities. [Ch 5]
Maturity means, among other things, a state of inner equilibrium. [Ch 22]
Affirmations should become . . . an important part of the child's daily routine. [Ch 17] (6)
A visit to Ananda schools would be an obvious way to begin the process. First-hand observation is always more instructive than hearsay.
There is also another possibility, that of inviting advisors . . . to give classes and seminars. [Cf. Efl 22]
The first six years of a child's life are taken up primarily with the development of physical awareness. [Ch 15]
All who have ever tried to mould truth to their own liking have failed. [Ch 19]
Exercise should be approached in the manner of a long distance runner . . . the physical body may have to serve its owner for another seventy, eighty, or more years. [Ch 14]
A child with a naturally strong will may show willfulness in the very cradle. [Ch 18]
The purpose of schooling is to pass on to students what has been learned already in the great school of life . . . A good start in the schools, then, would be to include among the subjects covered in the classroom an intelligent study of these findings.
The need, moreover, is to approach these findings with the same objectivity that true science has shown — not cold, intellectual objectivity, merely, but the objectivity also of calm feeling. [Ch 3]
We see here a basic weakness of modern education: It is theoretical, primarily. [Ch 2]
What is dismaying is the widespread assumption that, if one can only train oneself to adopt a completely scientific outlook, he will rise altogether above human feeling, and that, in his cold objectivity, he will achieve superior understanding—as though, in that unfeeling state, he could become some kind of intellectual superman. [Ch 3]
Ignored is the fact that, usually, the greater the scientist, the more deeply he feels his subject. [Ch 14]
An inclination that is present in everyone, including children, not only to cling to what they already know, but also to enlarge their horizons, if only gradually and by small increments. [Ch 7] (7)
I remember my father once giving my brother and me a spanking for something we'd done wrong. Well, wrong in his adult eyes, but not in ours. As we boys saw it, we'd only been helping to beautify the bathroom with large stars that we'd scratched with a screwdriver into the newly painted walls. [Ch 10]
A likely explanation for the attention presently being given to this and to similarly faddish philosophies is that they offer no call to serious action. [Ch 5]
One of the dogmas of modern thought, presented with smug self-satisfaction in the university classrooms as a sign of the teacher's "objectivity," is the belief, supposedly drawn from science, that life has no meaning. [Ch 4]
However full a student's head is crammed with book learning, his understanding of things, and of life in general, after twelve or sixteen years of education, is completely unrelated to actual experience. [Ch 2]
"A nation is known by the men and women it looks up to as great." - Quoting S. Radhakrishnan, former president of India. [Ch 3]
At twelve years, or thereabouts—that is, with the onset of puberty—the ego begins to assert itself more forcefully. [Ch 15]
I heard a popular writer once address a large audience with the statement, "I don't know what I'm doing up here [on the platform]. You all should be up here teaching me! And I should be down there, listening to you."
"Come off it!" I thought. "If you really mean what you're saying, why don't you just get down here . . .?" He was posturing, merely . . . For one thing, he was being paid to speak. [Ch 4] (8)
Teachers talk long and patiently about the need for objectivity. But is it objectivity their pupils actually acquire in the process? They are taught to sneer at subjectivity as a mark of bias and emotionalism. [Ch 4]
Reality dances to those who heed it.
Further Information: Kriyananda is a Direct Disciple of Yogananda
The "pristine" message of Yogananda was of Self-Experience, Self-Realization. To accommodate to Westerners and spread his message and methods better, he learnt to accommodate, and the word "God" became very frequent in time, replacing the "Self" concept very much, unfortunately.
TIP OF THE DECADE: "Where they speak frequently or fervently of God, expect a rat hidden somewhere."
Ay: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 1st ed. New York: Theosophical, 1946.
Efl: Walters, James Donald. Education for Life. Rev. ed. Nevada City: Living Wisdom, 2001. www.livingwisdom.org/html./efl_online.htm.
Goa: Nikhilananda, swami, tr. The Gospel of Ramakrishna. Abridged ed. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1974.
Mum: Buzan, Tony. Make the Most of Your Mind. Rev. ed. London: Pan, 1988.
Szi: Nishijima, Gudo Wafo, and Chodo Cross, trs. Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Book 2. Windbell Publications, London: 1996.
Tb: Osborne, Arthur ed. The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharsi in His Own Words. New ed. London: Rider, 1971.
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