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Claimed Gurus of SRF

Below is information about the claimed gurus of Self-Realization Fellowship, and something more around them too, including a Guru Jesus. But first an alert: SRF cultists may feel disconcerted if they should read on. There are reasons -

ALERT. Self-Realization Fellowship may not be as Christian as it present itself to be, since it is headed by nuns and monks that are female and male swamis (Hindu nuns and monks) and not to be confused with Catholic Sisters and Brothers, for example. [WP, "Self-Realization Fellowship: Self-Realization Fellowship Order"]

If you wonder why there are no offhand stories of SRF members who stab themselves to death behind gas stations, jump off bridges, or die of alcoholism out of fear of having to get back to Yogananda if they should sober up, it is because there are no statistics available. It may be fit to make statistically based evidence. For single cases or a row of them (also called anecdotal evidence) one had better consider: "We don't know enough in each case. We don't have much material to indicate just how many SRF members kill themselves compared to those in the general population - that is, we don't know if the suicide rates are better or worse."

For the lack of fit comparison data one may refrain from lots of single stories.

Some may be reminded of what Dr Jaan Suurküla recounts from Estonia when Transcendental Meditation was being spread in that Baltic country.

"In December 1990, the Soviet powers began to use all the tricks in their book to dampen interest in the Transcendental Meditation. Propaganda was spread ('TM is completely useless yet extremely dangerous,'" was a typical claim from the authorities)

One of the most colourful episodes occurred when Dr Suurküla had to stand in front of a committee of psychiatrists to answer charges of Transcendental Meditation causing mental illness.

Dr Suurküla and Dr Tony Nader - the present-day leader of the global TM organization - were given 15 minutes to defend the meditation technique.

Jaan Suurküla: "I started by saying: 'I hear that four people have reported psychotic incidents in different parts of Estonia.'

The psychiatrists confirmed it with angry looks on their faces: "Do you realize that these are very serious accusations, Dr Suurküla?"

Jaan Suurküla said: "This is very good news, indeed. I'm very happy to hear these numbers!"

They looked at him as if he was crazy.

Then he asked, "What is the percentage of acute mental illness in Estonia?"

They said, "Five per cent."

Dr Suurküla: "Good. So let's say, if 20,000 people have learned Transcendental Meditation in Estonia, what would be the number of mentally ill people among them? 1.000, right? Well, you see, 20,000 people have not learned Transcendental Meditation here. There have been 23.000 people.'"

"I really enjoyed that moment! We finished with a one-hour introductory presentation on Transcendental Meditation!" [◦Source]

Thus, it is often better not to base one's verdicts or opinions on just a few cases, but to go for many more data to build on as sensibly and well as one can.

Dr Jaan Suurküla. Photo used with permission

Over seven millions have learnt Transcendental Meditation (TM) word-wide so far (2018). The TM way is designed to work well by and large. It is very, very safe, shows official research in Sweden, headed by Dr. Jaan Suurküla:

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 Suurküla ends the paper thus:

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."

Dr Suurküla also concludes in 2010:

TM has not only a preventive effect against psychiatric illness but effectively promotes mental stability and improved mental health, even in severely disturbed cases. . . .

Considering that there are important differences between the TM technique and [other] meditation techniques, there is no scientific basis for concluding that these results are valid for meditation techniques in general. [◦Suurküla findings] - [◦Dr Suurküla on self-actualised leaders, authoritarians, corporate psychopaths, stressful superiors etc.]

Lola Williamson's Findings about Self-Realization Fellowship

Aristotle, truth and Self

"At first God created man and made him lord over all things and animals on earth. And man created the Institution and made it lord over himself."

Some people go for truth, though. Aristotle is credited with: "Plato is friend, but truth is more friend (to me than he is)."

We cannot all be Greek philosophers, but "to your own Self be true" is a good way of not becoming a nervous wreck in time too.

The public facade of a cult and what is really going on in there, can perhaps get very different or difficult, and by that disappointing too.

Lola Williamson has written about Self-Realization Fellowship and two other movements in her book Transcendent in America: Hindu-Inspired Meditation Movements as New Religion. (2010).

She provides an overview of three emerging new religious movements. The hybrid movement is being formed by combining some Hinduism with some accepted Western concepts and values. As a result of the decades' long process a hybrid form of religion sits. One may consider it a cult, or a result of corruption of the original teachings, or better - there are several options. Such a change away from the first leaders and their teachings and ideals is nothing new. In the early church the same thing happened in that Christianity changed the idea of how its founder was, forged his teachings, settled on other ways to live than what was the one option for early followers, and further. It did not stop there either, but diversified into denominations and sects also. Do we find similar trends in today's SRF and its spin-off groups, including hollow forgeries? We may study salient points and facts first and mull over them afterwards.

Williamson offers glimpses into the outlooks, motivations and experiences of long-time practitioners of the growing hybrid stand - SRF not excluded. The emerging form of religion combines Hindu religious practices, founder output they find serviceable or palatable, and in the end an emerging group adherence becomes a dominant factor, regardless of professed, former values and ideals of the founder. Such could be the scenario of the "play" at work in groupish settings by and large. The series of accommodations may also overtake the spiritual purposes and high goals of the practices - to conform in some new religion that is neither fish nor fowl. Study SRF in the light of "How widely has SRF altered Yogananda's works so far?" Or just as well: "How has the SRF movement already changed?"

Troubles and their possible value

Some think troubles are bad. Bad for the Institution's or for Man? A proverb: "It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good."

Some say controversies, others say troubles. SRF has had a series of controversies after it was registered in 1935, including several court cases. Some of theme have hampered and bled Yogananda and SRF too. Swami Satyeswarananda lists up a series of them. [◦The Sanskrit Classics supplies evidence] Further, the Yogananda biographer Sailendra Dasgupta (2006) informs that when Daya Mata became SRF's leader in 1955, many followers left.

Under her leadership, Yogoda Satsanga gradually went through many changes. Many of the men and women who were older disciples of the order either removed themselves from the central organization or were forced out – not only in America but in India as well. (2006, 106)

SRF's spin-off church Ananda made SRF bleed in an extended court case.

In 1990, SRF filed a lawsuit against Ananda in an attempt to gain exclusive control over Yogananda's teachings and world mission.

The lawsuit failed. By 1994, SRF had lost at least 95 percent of the judge’s rulings in the case. [◦"Self Realization v. Ananda Church"]

SRF trouble did not end with that or the financial burden of the lawsuits. Between 2000 and 2005, one third of the SRF monastics left after years of conflicts in the movement.

From the background: In the 1990s, a new SRF Management Committee

realized that a labyrinth of difficulties beset the organization. Some people could not even sit in the same room with others because there was so much bad feeling. The committee suggested . . . that SRF hire outside communication and organizational consultants to offer advice on how to handle the situation. They also suggested that SRF hire counselors and psychologists to deal with the festering psychological problems that some of the monastics seemed to be experiencing. Two new committees, the Monks Spiritual Life Committee and the Nuns Spiritual Life Committee, were formed to execute the suggestions made by the consultants. This was the beginning of a split among the monks and nuns who resided at the Mother Center. Some viewed the promise of change with exhilaration and hope; and some viewed it with fear. The end result was that a large number of monastics left SRF from about 2000 to 2001. Due to the entrenched resistance to change, the communication consultants were let go, the existing committee members replaced by others content with the status quo, and the psychologists relieved of their duties. It may be that so many people needed to talk to the counselors that the leadership became fearful of losing control. They reverted to the old style of dealing with problems. (Williamson 2010:76).

Jon Parsons informs further, "Between 2000 and 2005 more than fifty monks and nuns are reported to have left the organization." That was estimatedly one third of all the SRF monastics at that time. (Parsons 2012:170). [◦Also here]

Not all hybrids are bad and unsuccessful in all ways

One thing is facade, another thing is what happens behind it.

Lola Williamson offers examples of the beliefs and practices of current SRF members. Their words and experiences shed light on their world view, lifestyle, and relationship with their movement, its superiors, and claimed gurus, whose views are more or less dethroned to suit the group's management. Williamson makes a case that Hindu-inspired meditation movements are distinct from Hinduism. That may be true, but then again there are different kinds of Hinduism, and there are different kinds of movements. Hybrid religious group in the United States may have an added risk of becoming cultish, perhaps, while staunch societies could escape it in America too, as in other places. It the long run, some things could depend on:

  • The course for the organisation as envisaged and upheld by its first leaders;
  • The stature, maturity and influence of the first leaders;
  • The key teachings themselves;
  • The transmission;
  • The foremost qualities of adherents or proponents;
  • The terms for all members;
  • What is going on beneath folly and facades, pomp and decor;
  • The qualities and the ranking of qualities that the organisation sets up for those who embrace the way of life that is propagated.

Time will show, or it won't. Neuroticism, if not cured, may stultify growth and hindes insights. Neuroticism through sect membership against the growth-need for Self-realisation could well be an issue to take into acount. (Cf. Horney 1950).

If truthfulness is disregarded by hypocricy, forgeries and things like that, hanky-pankies are not a good solution. Bad solutions of management troubles can foster dukkha, discomfort, stress, pain and suffering and other nasty things, on many levels and in many fields and walks of life. There are many other parts of this "whole machine" (organisation) to study, on many levels. If troubles set in (see further down), troubleshooting may be helped a lot by such lists, bearing in mind that parts of a machine work together for good, for bad, or something in between. When a badness-inflicting soap opera machine gets troubles, it may be good for most people. One is to take such things into account too.


Oddities in Life

Yogananda and SRF in his wake fawn on Jesus. One may wonder why.

Hope: "We can do without extreme cultishness": Williamson finds that SRF is a "hybrid religious movement." If a cult grows big and old, it is diversifies and may be recognised as a religion. There are lots of cults in America - 5,000 in the estimate of Margaret Singer (2003:xvii). The number is otherwise estimated to range between a thousand and five thousand. Cults take big bites through faith.

The many cults could suggest a need for belonging, perhaps coupled with underlying tensions or nervousness and insecurity, or maybe a need for social padding. Some try to for happiness and thriving in cults and may flounder by it. One who warns against effects of insecurity is Dr Philip Zimbardo (cf. 1977).

Vermes and Wheless findings enlarged on

As a group changes, the impact of its leader guidelines change - subtly or by silly forgeries also. It happened to "guru Jesus" who taught his teachings are for Jews only (Matthew 15:24 etc.) - but still his many self-molester and dangerous teachings were incorporated in the early church through later-added gospels. It happened against his gospel teachings that his teachings, salvation and kingdom are for Jews alone. (Geza Vermes 2010, 37,41):

Fl. During his days of preaching, Jesus of Nazareth addressed only Jews, "the lost sheep of Israel" (Matthew 10:5; 15:24). His disciples were expressly instructed not to approach gentiles or Samaritans (Matthew 10:5). On the few occasions that Jesus ventured beyond the boundaries of his homeland, he never proclaimed his gospel to pagans, nor did his disciples do so during his lifetime. The mission of the 11 apostles to "all the nations" (Matthew 28:19) is a "post-Resurrection" idea. It appears to be of Pauline inspiration and is nowhere else found in the Gospels (apart from the spurious longer ending of Mark [Mark 16:15], which is missing from all the older manuscripts). Jesus' own perspective was exclusively Jewish; he was concerned only with Jews. (Vermes 2012)

A clarification: "For Jews only" means "Only for ill (depraved) ones among the Jews" and "Healthy ones do not need him." He says so:

Hm Jesus reserve his teachings and salvation for Jews (Matthew 15:24; 10:5-8; Vermes 2012), but only depraved Jews: those of sound moral and spirit are not called by him, and the healthy do not need him (Mark 2:17; Matthew 9:12-13; 12.11). Jesus further puts his sheep on a path to perdition in that he teaches his sheep what is opposed to sound self-preservation. Thereby eyes, limbs, property, fit living-conditions and life itself soon enough are at risk (Matthew 5: 29-30; 39-42). Finally, marring losses come to those who call him 'Lord, Lord' without doing as he tells. (Luke 6:46)

For Gentile followers, all the disciples and the Holy Spirit dispensed with all but a few laws for Jews. And not a word by Jesus for ill Jews was included in the Apostolic Decree from 50 CE either (Acts 15:19-29; 21:25). The four requirements for all Gentile Christians include no to eating blood sausages (blood food) and wrangled chickens and other poultry (choked animals)

Jungian An understanding heart . . . cannot be esteemed highly enough. - Carl Gustav Jung

The teachings of Jesus were forbidden for Gentiles - by Jesus in the gospel of Matthew (15:24; 10:5-8). Christianity (the deal for Gentiles) and Yogananda's fawning on gospel teachings represent something unauthorised by Jesus. How? The Missionary Command at the end of Matthew, and in Mark 16:15 are forgeries, the Jesus scholar Vermes finds. Joseph Wheless does so too He goes into detail in showing why one can say so, using "intrinsic evidence" - showing how the Missionary Command in Matthew is "out of character" somehow, in that it contains terms that were not used at the time of the apostles. Wheless also shows how these late additions to the gospels do not match other core passages, in Acts. [Forged Missionary Command - Wheless]

Through forgeries to faith and "faithfulees"

It may be far-fetched to enroll Jesus among the gurus in SRF. Why? He warned against false Messiahs (Christs) for one thing, and compared them with ravenous wolves.

One is to look behind the facades of cliches, dumbening phrases, ostentations show of respect that could hide a deep, thoroughgoing disrespect for the gospel sayings attitributed to Jesus: "For Jews only (but only ill ones among them)." Surely there is much silly disrespect around, disrespect that looks like customary respect - it is shown by ceremonies, rituals and repeated stock phrases that are not even close to gospel sayings of Jesus. An example from SRF's kriya pledge: The "Do not swear" by Jesus is ignored for the sake of an oath in part in the name of Jesus.

Disrespect may be masquerading, and so may cruelty too, in the name of help.

Forgeries of gospel parts and massive incorporation of pagan elements in the Church may suggest that as a Gentile Chistian you have been tricked a lot. Many more might benefit from learning what bible scholars tell. Some have told for decades or more, so that many, many get rid of Bible material used for duping and "doctrinating" even little children.

"Why call me 'Lord, Lord' while not respecting what I have said? Away from me."

That looks like a hard experience at the door
unless there is something good in store
such as a better door.

Being saved

Being saved from and saved to may be markedly different.

Some options stand out:

  • Saved from Yogananda's teachings and sway
  • Yogananda's teachings saved from SRF
  • Saved from Yogananda's teachings
  • Saved from the Bible's salvation to breathing man's calm, at least.
  • Saving time and so on.

"The only way to save an hour is to spend it wisely," is an American Proverb. "Grasping a Jesus for leading Americans away from Biblical salvation," is not. Faking can breed hypocricy. Jesus of the gospels condemns hypocrites.

One may come to wonder who or what is to be saved, from what and to what, how, and so on. There may well be a need to ruminate. Cows do not eat thistles and need time to lie down and chew its cud before milk is made. Good folks need to ruminate on many matters to. Sometimes results come in dreams. Consider:

One of SRF's former vice presidents wrote a book, Rescuing Yogananda (2010), which was metamorphosed into Yogananda for the World. What or who could Yogananda need to be rescued from, now that he is dead? A Catholic who has read 'Father Mateo''s heresy charges concerning teachings of Yogananda and SRF, might say: "Saved from purgatory or worse - but isn't it too late now, if he used Black Arts to influence Hitler to attack the Soviet Union?" (Kriyananda 2011:131).

Kriyananda, however, thought Yogananda needed to be saved from SRF. Faith has many outlets.

Yogananda founded a fellowship that by and by suppressed material from Yogananda, for example his siding with Mussolini and dictatorship like an idiot (1930). Kriyananda does not talk of how Yogananda fawned on Jesus and the gospels only five years after coming to America, but Marshall Govindan has tackled it thus:

After five years of effort in America, beginning in 1925 . . . Yogananda began to modify and adapt his teachings to the West . . . to overcome the . . . resistance of Christians who were suspicious of the foreign teachings of a Hindu swami. As a result, Yogananda began to enjoy remarkable popularity. . . . However, . . . most readers of his "Autobiography" . . . are left with many unrealistic expectations. - Marshall Govindan. [◦Link]

The former SRF vice president meant the fellowship that Yogananda had founded and one day ◦regretted he had founded, had chosen to run over tall ideas of Yogananda. In SRF they forged his signature (!) - and made other changes after Yogananda's demise in 1952. Mature editing is different. [More], [Still more], [And so on]

The author of Rescuing Yogananda tells how SRF has strayed and abused old teachings in many ways and for long. He thinks it has to do with SRF's "Ask yourself first, 'What is best for the organization?'" In SRF the answer to that means power in the hands of a few (the leaders), and obedience for others who strive under them. He relates to the life mission of SRF's founder Yogananda and original, main ideals for the movement instead. Ananda, the alternative movement he built to follow up on them, has kept growing.

We are told Yogananda influenced Adolf Hitler to escalate World War II

Swami Kriyananda was a direct disciple of Yogananda and stayed much with him during Yogananda's last years. He writes:

When Hitler allowed himself to be seized by ambition for power . . . several masters began to work against him . . . They were at liberty . . . to put the thought in Hitler's mind to make the mistakes that led to his eventual destruction. They suggested to him from within, for example, to divide his forces and fight both in the east and in the west, and also in Africa. . . . Militarily, there was no need for Germany to divide its fronts. That self-division proved, for it, a fatal error. (Conversations with Yogananda, No. 289)

Yogananda . . . During World War II he said it was he who placed the thought in Hitler's mind to invade Russia, thereby dividing his fronts and making it possible for his "invincible" army to be destroyed. Paramhansa Yogananda: A Biography (2012).

The idea that Yogananda influenced Adolf Hitler's mind by use of yogic Black Arts to escalate the Second World War and attack the Soviet Union sounds perhaps alien to flower power, but . . . - Consider what we are told: make some effort to ruminate.


To ask for good evidence before believing much, that is something to keep at heart. So far as Yogananda is rendered fairly by Kriyananda (2011:131), the guru used a Black Art and thereby caused tens of millions dead humans, and much likely several millions of killed animals too - ducks, horses, cows, sparrows and so on. If so, the guru murkily caused untold harm, sufferings and deaths to many millions. A better person might have tried to make peace by other means than causing sufferings, damages and deaths of millions. If an invasion of Hitler's mind by Black Yogananda Arts was to help, it stands out that causing grotesque mayhem and havoc is not a good way when there are better ways.

Suppose Yogananda did not influence Hitler at all, but wanted to take credit and told something untrue. The snag: Wanting to take credit for magically having caused horrible things after the events can leave many sorts of suspicions.

Code breaking

By contrast, the code breaker and mathematician Bill Tutte (1917–2002) used his mind to break a German code that the British called Tunny. Thereby Tutte contributed to shortening the World War II by about two years, it is estimated. The war toll was about ten million lives each year. "Tutte's breakthroughs led eventually to bulk decrypting of Tunny-enciphered messages between German High Command (OKW) in Berlin and their army commands throughout occupied Europe." And the decrypting "played a crucial part in shortening the war." (WP, "W. T. Tutte") And thus, many millions of lives were spared.

The work of Tutte and those he was at work with at Bletchley Park north of London was deeply secret. One of these men, Thomas Flowers (1905–98), came up with the first computer, called Colossus - a long-time secret too (WP, "Colossus computer"). Yogananda did not seem aware of these brains, ways and means to outwit Hitler. And why did he not influence Hitler to live in peace?

Honour to whom honour is due.

The grim view

The story that Yogananda caused one of the most horrible worsenings of a war, may make fallen German soldiers and many (other) victims of an escalated war hate him if the story is true. If Yogananda just imagined he had influenced Adolf Hitler to attack the Soviet Union, "to end the war", one may pity him for not telling the truth for some reason.

Now, before the war Yogananda had hailed Mussolini and dictatorship in his own magazine. SRF today does not underscore that side to the guru. [More]

We are faced with tales among some Yogananda followers - original Yogananda claims are perhaps hard to find, if at all. But there is printed evidence of Yogananda's support of dictatorship and Mussolini. Besides he thought socialism would conquer, and thought well of both Hitler and the "benevolent dictator" Roosevelt.

Yogananda founded his SRF church in the state of California around that time. SRF stands for Self-Realization Fellowship, In 1935 it was registered as a church to "arrest old age"; for spiritual healing; for eating nuts (!), fighting ignorance. Lving for physical pleasure is not part of that document either. Imagine. However, former SRF leaders all the same grow old, they too, and Yogananda himself died when he was fifty-nine. There is a danger of gilded facades. [◦SRF Articles of Incorporation 1935]

"Eat nuts," says Yogananda repeatedly. He later went on to say "We are all crazy (eg. 1982:425)". The slogan "You become what you eat," may not explain all of it.

Eating nuts is potentially life-threatening if you are allergic to them. Millions are. Older aims and ideals as taught by Yogananda. [Former list of SRF ideals].

SRF's former editor-in-chief, Tara Mata (Laurie Pratt, 1900-71) tells it is a sect. Others have problems classifying it as that. However, there are fair indications that SRF is a sect. Louis J. West has estimated there were about 2,500 cults in the United States in 1981, most of them religious, some small, some large. [1]. And cults are not recessarily bad, but some may be risky to get involved with, and for many reasons, tells Dr Philip Zimbardo (2008). [2].


Great-looking Claims

In its line of gurus are these four: (1) Unknown, called Babaji ("Honoured Father"); (2) Shyama Lahiri, also known as Lahiri Mahasaya; (3) Yukteswar; and (4) Yogananda (1893-1952). The last two in the line were swamis.

Later-added guru: Jesus: In the history of Yogananda's fellowship, now known as Self-Realization Fellowship, Jesus was not fronted the first five years or so. Later on, and maybe to get more widely accepted among US Christians of his time, Yogananda also said that Jesus of the gospels was into his fellowship. If so, Jesus had changed his mind a lot after many centuries - What has been guru-told in SRF, massive changes of heart and mind in Jesus topples the very foundation of Christianity that the four gospels and Acts refer to.

But note:

  • There was no such thing as Christianity of Jesus; Christianity came after he had been executed (see Acts 15 and 21:25);
  • Jesus said his words (and Kingdom, and Salvation) were for Jews only (Matthew 15:24; Vermes 2005; 2010).
  • He also warned against other Christs than himself; Yogananda and SRF tell their gurus are Christs.

Since there was no Christianity of Jesus, and his commands in the gospels are for Jews only - for ill Jews, on his words - it goes without saying that if you are not a Jew his words are not for you. The first church was founded without any gospels of Jesus. (Acts 15; Wikipedia, "The Council of Jerusalem")

One good reason to wade into the loosely founded gospel sayings could be to help others out of that mire. Consider it done.

Later-added 2: Sri Krishna. Sri Krishna "made it" as an iconic figure to the SRF altars and their worship only around 1970. The public worship of Hari Krishna in SRF was a long time in the coming. Today SRF includes Sri Krishna too among its gurus. One may wonder: "Is he there after being so neglected and kept out in the dark for fifty years by Yogananda and SRF?"

You have to guess for yourself how well-founded the claimed line of gurus is, considering for example how it shames several teachings of Jesus of the New Testament - against other Christs, against swearing, on salvation, and so on, on and on.

What did Jesus represent?

You are supposed to think about what the gospel's Jesus stands for [Self-maiming on Jesus' command]. Or it could be wiser to stick to the Deal for Gentiles and avoid strangled chickens and blood sausages. (Acts 15:18-29) [More on blood food]

A case for the Deal for Gentiles: The teachings and salvation of Jesus were for Jews only, and he would not have other followers than Jews. Gentile followers were strictly out of the question for him. (Vermes 2005; 2010, 37; 41) [Much more]

Jesus vouches not only for self-maiming in several places, but also for a law that regulates slavery and vicarious sacrifices en masse, cruelty to masses of animals. [Matthew 5:17-18] He lays burdens on his ill ones among Jewish followers too, in that his gospel teachings demand poverty and serpenty-wise non-assertiveness. Who in his or her right mind wants self-defeating Jesuism (for Jews only), in part self-molesting, self-defeating? "[One] had to surrrender . . . all one's possessions. (Geza Vermes 2010, 23)".

Yogananda and SRF embrace Jesus without questioning him and without being Jews in any sense of the word. Lip service is not a lot. (Matthew 15:24; 10:1-8; Vermes 2012; 2010,37;41)

The sayings of Jesus in the gospels are not verbatim sayings of Jesus. That is what scholars tell (e.g. Vermes 2005). No need to be elated about Yogananda's commentaries on partly forged gospel sayings either. And after all, according to the gospels and Acts 15 a Gentile Christian can do without Jesus "main yourself" commands and others.

Jesus sayings are not incorporated in the Deal for Gentiles. The gospels, which contain them, are later-comers on the scene, and edited, with forgeries in some places also. (Matthew 15:24; cf. Vermes 2005; WP, "Council of Jerusalem").

Most followers of Jesus fled from him. There were about 120 left when he entered Jerusalem and was executed, but even his few left apostles (down from 70 to 12) fled like fays when soldiers came to fetch him. Anyway, what is called the Holy Spirit fell on them some time later when they were gathered. That is also Christian salvation -

[Key sources of "Guru Jesus": Geza Vermes, 2005; 2010; cf. WP, "Jesuism"] - [Geza Vermes findings]

Led by "Original Christianity of Jesus" swamis of both sexes - how can it be at all?

A fellowship that says it stands for "orginal Christianity as taught by Jesus" and is led by monastics - Well, Since there was no Christianity of Jesus, it hardly matters that the fellowship is led by monastics either if they do not mislead innocents and inexperienced ones.

Christian monasticism arose centuries after Jesus, in Egypt, and were not part of any fit following of Jesus while he lived - it is not Jesuistic, then, according to the New Testament. SRF is led by monastics and aims to show and reveal "original Christianity as taught by Jesus". Well, there was none. Mission accomplished . . . Besides, Jesus said his teachings were for Jews only (Matthew 15:24); his recorded sayings in the gospels are not verbatim, and some are not authentic, but fraudulent [Joseph Wheless shows one of the biggest gospel forgeries: the missionary command]. The table is set for a charade or some more.

The Apostolic Decree has no direct reference to Jesuism

To make life easier for Gentile followers, non-Jewish followers, that is, all the apostles and the Spirit formed the Apostolic Decree in Acts 15:19-29. They said nothing about following Jesus, his commands and so on, but getting to God by having a Spirit enter. "You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things." These are all four requirements of Gentile followers (read: non-Jewish Christians) in the Apostolic Decree from c. 50 CE, in Acts 15:19-29. It is the basis of all non-Jewish Christianity. Eating blood food, like black pudding, Brat, Wurtz, is put side by side with sexual immorality there, but beer is not. The chances are the apostles did not know about it. (WP, see "Council of Jerusalem")

Moreover, the four canonised gospels were written many years after the Apostolic Decree, with additions to such gospels from centuries later too. Alle such competing gospels were serving fractions of the early church by disregarding the words of Jesus that his teachings were not for Gentile followers (Matthew 15:24), and further substantiated by the decree in Acts 15:19-29, where there is no mention of Jesus, teachings of Jesus or following Jesus. The good thing was to become living sacrifices, said Paul. "I urge you, brothers, . . . to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy . . ." wrote Paul. (Rom 12:1; cf. Rom 3:25). Yes, there is a sinister undertone there. There is also a glimpse of that in Acts 10:10-47, where the apostle Peter first get a vision and hear "Kill and eat". He wondered what the two times repeated vision and words meant, until he was told enough to gather that the unclean food was Gentiles (read: non-Jews), and "kill and eat" meant letting the Ghost fall on them.

Later, lots of early Christians became martyrs. Millions, we are told. More]

Also worth repeating is that it is unclear which sayings attributed to Jesus in the gospels are genuine quotations, for documentation of any verbatim quotations of Jesus is not yet around. We are left with variants and old forgeries among them too. That cannot be good. And that is what Biblical scholars know, after finding no evidence of verbatim quotations of Jesus. (See also Bart D. Ehrman, Forged, 2011)

There are also sayings attributed to Jesus from recently discovered gospels that did not make it to the Bible. Which sayings are reliable among them? Maybe no one can tell with good evidence in hand.

All the black pudding that you ate during Christmas and which made you fall as much as an adulterer or adulteress perhaps, did it save you from getting sacrificed? That is also a question. By all means, consider it carefully!

Yogananda pretences and Jesus gone ravingly insane?

"There was no original Christianity of Jesus. Salvation in the Bible and Yoganandic salvation are two things and not one thing."

If Jesus supports Yogananda's ministry and SRF, he has become forgetful of his own sayings about who his words were for, his warnings of ravenous wolves, and the salvation in the way of the New Testament - and there are still other possibilities.

Yogananda and SRF are given to pretence. All the universe is make-believe, says Yogananda, and he should know, his fellowship asserts, saying his guidelines are flawless - However, if the cosmos is illusory as the guru says, so is the part of him that is in the world, and his teachings and so on: Just pretence.[Dream teachings]

Wise at it was supposed to be to begin with, the SRF hybridisation costs. Why is it not recognised as an embarrassment?

Words in the Bible are hardly as Yogananda would have them, for he twisted them so much.

A few more topics

(1) Swami Satyeswarananda holds that Yogananda violated lots of rules about how to hand over the yoga system called kriya yoga. Yogananda disregarded "the rules of that game", the swami tells. So does the Yogananda biographer Dasgupta (2006).

(2) For whatever reason, Yogananda came to regard the organisation he had founded, as a great blunder and got disinterested. Regardless of that, he kept it rolling. It has since dropped many of the founder's grand-looking goals for the organisation, like starting self-supporting communities all over the country.



Summing Up

Jesus was cruel - but his teachings were for Jews only.
With Yogananda "all is pretence" - on his own word.

From Judaism rose a tense sect among others. Small groups of believers or adherents are called cults and disregarded, while big groups of believers or adherents are called major religions and respected through "the power of the many", if nothing else.

There have been many fractions and denominations of Christianity since the early church, and much, long and hard warfare among some of them.

SRF has sought to be acceptable by "we are Christians and yogis". However, some who have managed SRF, think they find no faults with Yogananda's guidelines (after tucking away some of the nasty ones). They should stop that. Perhaps SRF monastics do not leave the setting they pinned their lives on without much tension or fit reasons.


Self-Realization Fellowship, SRF gurus, Yogananda, Literature  

Dasgupta, Sailendra. Paramhansa Swami Yogananda: Life-portrait and Reminiscences. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2006.

Dietz, Margaret Bowen Dietz. Thank You, Master. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 1998, "Master's Teachings".

Horney, Karen. 1950. Neurosis and Human Growth: The Struggle Toward Self-Realization. New York: W. W. Norton and Co. ⍽▢⍽ (2nd ed. 1991). In Neurosis and Human Growth, one of the most influential psychoanalysts of the twentieth century discusses the neurotic process as the antithesis of healthy growth. Dr Horney unfolds the neurotic's maladaptive solutions for relieving the tensions of conflict in such emotional attitudes as domination, self-effacement, dependency, or resignation instead of living up to one's potentials.

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

Kriyananda, Swami. Conversations with Yogananda: Recorded, with Reflections, by His Disciple Swami Kriyananda. . Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2004.

Kriyananda, Swami. Paramhansa Yogananda: A Biography with Personal Reflections and Reminiscences. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2011.

Kriyananda, Swami. Rescuing Yogananda. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2010. Online.

Lewis, James R. Cults: A Reference Handbook. 2nd ed. Oxford: ABC-CLIO, 2005. ⍽▢⍽ The book contains an in-depth look at brainwashing and the issue of alternative religions and violence. Movements that have made the headlines are also examined.

Martin, Walter, and Hank Hanegraaff (ed). The Kingdom of the Cults. Rev. ed. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1997.

Mathison, Richard R. Faiths, Cults and Sects in America: From Atheism to Zen. New York. Bobbs-Merrill, 1960. ⍽▢⍽ Self-Realization Fellowship is described on pages 188-95 in it.

Parsons, Jon R. A Fight For Religious Freedom: A Lawyer's Personal Account of Copyrights, Karma and Dharmic Litigation. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2012.

Rosser, Brenda Lewis, comp. Treasures against Time - Paramahansa Yogananda with Doctor and Mrs. Lewis. Borrego Publications, 1991. (Rev ed 2001).

Satyananda Saraswati, Swami. A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya. Munger: Yoga Publications Trust, 1981.

Satyananda Saraswati, Swami. Kundalini Tantra. 8th ed. Munger: Yoga Publications Trust, 2001.

Singer, Margaret Thaler. Cults in Our Midst. Rev ed. San Franscisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003.

Stewart, Robert B. The Reliability of the New Testament: Bart D. Ehrman and Daniel B. Wallace in Dialogue. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2011.

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

⸻. From Jewish to Gentile: How the Jesus Movement Became Christianity. Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) 38:06, Nov/Dec 2012.

⸻. The Real Jesus: Then and Now. Minneapolis, MI: Fortress Press, 2010.

Williamson, Lola. Transcendent in America: Hindu-Inspired Meditation Movements as New Religion. London: New York University Press, 2010.

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

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

⸻. Man's Eternal Quest. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1982.

⸻. The Master Said. Los Angeles, CA: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1952.

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

⸻. The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You. 2 Vols. 1st ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2004.

⸻. The Wine of the Mystic. Paperback. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1996.

Yogananda, Paramhansa. The Second Coming of Christ. 3 Vols. Dallas, TX: Amrita Foundation, 1979 (Vol 1), 1984 (Vol 2) and 1986 (Vol 3).

WP. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.

Zellner, William W., and Marc Petrowsky, eds. Sects, Cults, and Spiritual Communities: A Sociological Analysis. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998. ⍽▢⍽ American society contains a variety of religious denominations, sects, cults, and self-help groups. The nine groups subjected to sociological study here are Heaven's Gate, Jesus People USA, the Love Family, The Farm, Amish Women, Scientology, El Nino Fidencio, Santeria, and Freedom Park. The number of US sects, cults, and spiritual communities has doubled during the last fifty years or so, and study of them has grown as well.

Zimbardo, Philip G. Shyness: What It Is. What to Do about It. London: Addison-Wesley, 1977. ⍽▢⍽ The American Psychological Foundation has honoured Dr Zimbardo for his teaching and writing. Through his book he wants to help shy people remove barriers to greater freedom and fuller participation in life, and to a personal sense of worth and mastery" (p. 120). Some think the book helps a lot still. Other books may have more recent findings incorporated. Regardless of that, this is an OK work still.


  1. Karbe, Klaus, und Manfred Müller-Küppers: Destruktive Kulte: Gesellschaftliche und gesundheitliche Folgen totalitärer pseudoreligiöser Bewegungen. Göttingen: Verlag für Med. Psychologie 1983 (ISBN 3-525-45227-6): Das Kapitel "Die Kulte als Problem der öffentlichen Gesundheit." [◦Link]
  2. (Karbe and Mueller-Kueppers: Destructive Cults: Social and Health Consequences of Totalitarian Pseudo-religious Movements. Publishing House for Med. Psychology Goettingen 1983 [ISBN 3-525-45227-6]): The chapter "Cults: A Public Health Approach". [◦Link to a translation of the work]
  3. Zimbardo, Philip. The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. Reprint ed. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2007. - Online parts: 2006-2014. [◦Link]
  4. Swami Yogananda. "How to Acquire Initiative - by Swami Yogananda". East-West Magazine, March—April, 1930 Vol. 4–4.
  5. (a) SRF. "Organizational Leadership ". Online. [◦Link]

    (b) SRF. "Monastic Order: A Centuries-old Tradition". Online. [◦Link]
  6. Self-Realization Fellowship. Paramahansa Yogananda Reveals the Light of the Spiritual Eye: The first meeting of Yogananda and Dr. M. W. Lewis. 2015. Online.

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

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