"The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success." - Yogananda.
Is it? Say: "Hardly" and realise that the season of success gives good and well sown seeds the better growing-conditions.
Ninety-nine percent of all people fail under this test. Tell a person, for his own good, to do a particular thing, and he will do exactly the opposite. Why? Because he can't help himself. [Yogananda, Ak 321].
"Is it so sure? Is it exactly like that?" you may come to wonder. "Possess the power of thought . . . Utilize!" says Yogananda in The Law of Success. It could well be attainable and useful when facing conundrums and the intrigue tightens. Then it is high time to utilise the power of thought.
Granted the Yogananda "premises" just given, should you think that Yogananda said things for the good of SRF people, but expected them to do the opposite and not go for self-governing communities, or "colonies"? Headquartered on a hill in Los Angeles, his fellowship has discarded founder-guru's ideas that have not suited monastics in charge on the Mt. Washington hill. I say 'discarded', you may say 'abandoned', others hope 'shelved', and in all cases it is 'so far'.
You may also come to wonder: "Should Yogananda have told them not to go for self-supporting communities so that they would establish some instead?"
I for one would not count on it. Further, is it sure that the correct number is 99 and not 96, for example? If it is sure, some evidence might be given.
And can you really count on that Yogananda followers do exactly the opposite of what he tells them to do, and not nearly the exact opposite? I would not count on that either. A follower is someone who does what is told and not anything opposed to it - ideally. An automaton is also marked by that, ideally.
Further, in many cases there is no exact opposite to be found - perhaps something different, as expressed by antonyms. "Opposites" or opposing ideas are fairly often approximations and intimations, and at times hard to find. An example.
Let every man gather from five to ten thousand dollars, and, in groups of thirty, let them build self-sustaining, self-governing colonies, starting with California." - Paramahansa Yogananda
The opposite of "every man" is no man, the opposite of 'gather' is squander, the opposite of 'build' is tear down, demolish, but what is the opposite of California? Opinions may vary.
The guru decreed in a similar vein at a garden party in the Beverly Hills in the summer of 1949: "Thousands of youths must go North, South, East and West to cover the earth with little colonies." Now is the time to decide: "How far west is East and the other way around? Where do East and West meet?" Is it outside your window? It could be. The terms are also relative. He also said: "This colony idea will spread through the world like wildfire," he also said. [◦Source]
Consider what is the opposite of "North, South, East and West" without getting confused. Could it mean 'stay put'? At least, his organisation, led by monastic guru-followers, dropped this community insistence long ago. Also consider how helpful a wildfire all over the world is, and why not compare with Armageddon all over the world, along with hail, earthquake, flooding downpour, fire and sulphur, lightning, and disease. (Revelation 16:16; Jeremiah 25:32-34; Ezekiel 39:17-20.)
However, Yogananda does not seem to focus on just that; his guidelines include:
Live in the luxury of literary wealth. - Yogananda, 1934
Should he have talked less and written less too? Maybe a little bit, such as his hailing of dictatorship and Benito Mussolini in his own magazine in 1934 (PDF). "Truth will out (Proverb)."
Surprised? There is some more, such as Yogananda's lying in court to escape paying money he owed. "Better lie all day long in bed than in court." [The sad evidence]
For persons interested in astrology
The well-known guru's autobiography shows he believed in astrology, and his own guru, Yukteswar, was an astrologer with enlarged interests in "opposites" - teaching that the Piscean Age is a Virgo Age too somehow. [More]
Accordingly, we are dealing with a combo-Age, maintains Yukteswar. This further means that "things" pertaining to Pisces go along with "things" pertaining to Virgo "opposites". But there are many other choices than "exact opposites" in life, and a good and able person's free will rides over astrological patterns, quite as Edgar Cayce often tells in his sleep readings. His dictum may need some qualifications too.
"And just where in Pisces is the Age-defining precession-axis point (vernal equinox) today?"
Astronomy teaching: "The vernal equinox is at present in Pisces, "due south of Omega Piscium and, due to precession, slowly drifting . . . towards Aquarius." This means the vernal equinox is somewhere in the first part of Pisces. We are still living in the Age of Pisces-and-Virgo, that Combo-Age, according to Yukteswar and other sources - the axix refers to intersections. And the Age of Aquarius-and-Leo is yet to come. Now, the irregularly shaped constellations lack clear boundaries and are of different lengths too, so it is a tad difficult to say exactly when the vernal equinox will move from the constellation of Pisces into that of Aquarius, i.e. when the so-called Age of Aquarius will begin. Depending on where the boundary is drawn, this will happen somewhere between 2100 and 2500 AD. Suffice for now: "We're not there yet."
Get out of dregs; that could help. Let us use the reasoning power, as Yogananda calls for.
To begin with: "When Yogananda refused to pay a former co-worker what he had signed that he owed him, was it tantamount to stealing? Then when he accused the other in a court of law and the accusations and claims were proved to be false, was it bearing false witness too?"
A "right thing" is spelled out in moral injunctions. Then, was Yogananda so advanced that he had risen above right and wrong, just wanting his way? Or did he set an inverse example (by deeds and words) to make followers upright by his "99 percent estimate" [Cf. Ak 321]?
I for one find it hard to believe it, but I cannot prove it. Let us study a sad case of withholding money due, false testimony in court - the case of Dirananda versus Yogananda. And if you say, "Do not judge," a society has judges to do that for you. It is not for uninformed persons to judge others, but informed ones are to do it at times. To cut a sad story short: The judge James MacLachlin found Yogananda's money charges against his former fellow worker false and untrue and judged in favour of Dhirananda, against Yogananda.
There is more to say about it. This is what happened:
A very, very sad court case
On 11 April 1929 Yogananda signed a Promissory Note. He was to pay his partner Dhirananda eight thousand dollars for serving as a teacher, lecturer and writer for Yogoda (now: SRF) from 1922 to April 1929. However, Yogananda never did as he had promised. that is bad. Dhirananda received one instalment of a hundred dollars on 1 August, 1929. A little bit, 1/80th of the total, and the only instalment Yogananda ever paid of what he owed.
Dhirananda then filed a complaint in the Superior Court of the State of California in and for the county of Los Angeles in or about December 1929. The original filing of his complaint was lost or destroyed by the court, as stated in the 1935 court lawsuit files. The lawsuit remained on hold.
Swami Dhirananda received a Ph.D. degree in June 1935. He refiled his complaint on the Promissory Note on 3 May 1935. The court permitted his copies of the original complaint files to be used. In the trial of the lawsuit of Swami Dhirananda vs. Swami Yogananda, Yogananda accused Swami Dhirananda "of taking secretly, against Swami Yogananda's will, and without Swami Yogananda's consent 20,066.61 US dollars from 14 April 1923 and each year up to and including 24 April 1929. Yogananda said Dhirananda owed him 20,066.61 dollars. But the financial records were lost.
However, a janitor found them in a box in a rubbish heap in the basement of Yogananda's headquarters on 8 May 1935. Inside the box were the said lost checks and cancelled checks or otherwise, books, confidential records, papers and files. Dhirananda did not know of this box in the rubbish in the basement of Yogananda's headquarters, a former hotel. Dhirananda had not received any pay, but had had his room and board there from about 1 January 1925, to ca. 11 April 1929. He was not the disciple of Swami Yogananda either, even though Yogananda would have it otherwise.
A judge, James MacLachlin, concluded in the light of the box evidence that all charges by Swami Yogananda against Dhirananda were false and untrue. On 22 October 1935 came a verdict in favour of Dhirananda: Yogananda owed him eight thousand dollars. False accusations and claims had not helped Yogananda to prosper. On 26 November 1935, the Court denied Yogananda a new trial.
Yogananda made no effort to pay the Promissory Note. By the time the judgement was made, he had left the USA for India. He was not an American citizen, but was in the USA on a British visa, and could not legally own US property. There was always a stand-in person who served as the owner of his headquarters. And on 29 March 1935, Self Realization Fellowship, which was chartered in the State of California as a church, and by that stroke Yogananda's headquarters was not owned by Swami Yogananda's Yogoda Society any more. The property had changed hands, and the Promissory Note of 8,000 dollars was against Swami Yogananda personally.
Yogananda returned to the US in October 1936, though. A sum of 4,200 dollars was paid to clear the debt of Yogananda's Promissory Note of 8,000 dollars. But the former swami Dhirananda, now Dr. Bagchi, got no money - lawyer fees were to be paid.
Despite much trouble, dr Bagchi got in effect no money of the 8,000 dollars Yogananda owed him and tried to escape paying. It is a sad story, and the saddest part to me is that Yogananda's money claims and testimony in court was proved false, in addition to not paying back anything near what he owed had given his word to pay. Where was his "Where there is a will [to pay] there is a way" in all this? That is something his aged guru could have cried "Shame, shame!" over. He did it too, on another occasion within a year, over Yogananda: "Shame, shame!" he said, and "listlessly sank back into his easy chair." [Dasgupta 2006, 71]
Here is the time to guess: "There, but for the grace of God, goes I (or: - goes John Bradford)." Bradford watched executioners lead prisoners to their deaths. But he was soon enough executed, he too.
The ghoul-on-the-back idea
What was Yogananda really after? His aged guru said within a year afterwards that Yogananda "had a disease - where a ghoul comes and sits on his back". (Dasgupta 2006, 83) I don't know how helpful such a ghoul-on-the-back diagnosis is.
Ghoul: a malevolent spirit or ghost; a person interested in morbid or disgusting things; a person who robs graves. In Muslim legends, ghouls are evil demons thought to eat human bodies, stolen corpses or children, and then taking the form of the person most recently eaten. Such demons chould change their shape but had one unchanging feature: donkey's hooves for feet.
Anyway, give yourself the benefit of doubt, thinking Yogananda had not been eaten up by the said ghoul and that the ghoul had not become Yogananda with hooves - and that Yogananda went for the opposite of hard work to downpay a debt by refusing to pay and by untrue money charges in court.
"The trouble" with such things is that in Yogananda's fellowship, SRF, they are taught that the guru of Yogananda was wisdom incarnate - such things. Handling wrong beliefs in a cult setting - "It ain't easy, you know," as Bob Dylan sings somewhere.
A wake up call
Most people would think that what Yogananda tells on top of the page does not make sense and check to what degree it could fit. Astrology can be used to seemingly prove and disprove a thing, but be guarded: what may be at play could be a corollary to the Barnum Effect, a type of subjective validation in which a person finds personal meaning in statements that could apply to many people. People like to be flattered, that is, and if not, soak flattering descriptions of themselves out of rather thin material that could pertain to "manybody."
One more wake up call
Yogananda: "Five hours of sleep each night is enough."
Follower: "I don't wake up for it. I need more sound sleep, no matter what he says. It is the same with more than half of us ZZZZZ."
The need for sleep is individual. Many need more nightly sleep than the short sleepers. How long we sleep at night increases with diseases and old age too. From 7 1/2 to 8 hours of nightly sleep may suit many. That is the average amount needed, sleep researchers find. Some need more than that, and some less. [The sleep findings]
Preserve Good Ideas If You Can
"No more blind believing," said Yogananda [Ak 456].
If you believe Yogananda blindly - I suggest you shouldn't - you have not given him one thought . . . But assess instead, "Don't believe blindly that the new generation after Yogananda would not give him a thought, for SRF went on and published books about him.
A new generation did think of Yogananda, and SRF spread his teachings too. Two or three generations of Americans and others after Yogananda's passing in 1952 have given him some thought. His devotees assist that by publishing his lectures and books and so on.
So don't believe blindly all that Yogananda said and doctrinated others to believe on his word alone. You may train yourself in this. All scientists have learnt some basics in it, so that they may launch reasonable "alternative hypotheses" to a proposition or claim. And where good evidence is completely lacking, a proposition is justly classified as speculation. It might pay to deal squarely with Yogananda speculation as you are up to it. Why not go for thinking for yourself too, as Yogananda puts it to a follower, Margaret Dietz?
Don't take my word for anything." - Yogananda (in Dietz 1998).
It may be seen as a liberating paradox, a conundrum and a way out from the whirling round dances of "trust Master", "do as the SRF leaders teach the guru says", and "- but is it the opposite that is aimed at for the good of people?"
Avoid reductionism; it has many forms.
Get entertained enough to thrive better.
Preserve freedom. Good homes tend to help it.
Try not to disregard top-notch experts.
Man grapples with theories for the lack of true thriving.
Making a fool of oneself is not absolutely necessary.
Though Jesus let thistles choke the good seeds as his farming method, try bio-organic, decent and sustainable enough farming and gardening and its fruits instead.
You do not have to believe at all to practice yoga and meditation. You just choose neat methods and practice to your ability - almost so may also do.
Skilled uncertainty can help higher mental faculties.
That fools are many and some have might may halfway be reckoned with "A villain, try as he may to act the honest man, should not get away with fooling men of sense without shame." [Fable wisdom, cf. Fo 99].
An all right life functions along with many meanings, and some of them may be opposing.
Through good tales many are helped to understand better.
Not all gurus are deceivers or robbers.
Accepted vice may yet be dangerous.
Higher than well composed tales of art is art itself. Higher than art is the good artist.
It is largely good to go carefully against duping ones, to avoid getting outsmarted.
The burden of proof rests on those who assert.
The more we put our trust in miracles and rare occurrences, the more disappointments we risk, is the bet.
One's awareness can be trained.
Take into account that some stories are formed for indoctrination.
Various old and younger texts contain useful lessons. Sigmund Freud found some in ancient Greek tales, for example.
Fables have favoured thinkers, lawyers, storytellers and audiences for thousands of years already.
Modern science would suffer for lack of taxonomic (grouping, ordering) means. Close enough classifications (a bit tentative groupings, clustering) of interesting material can help too, in general.
Try to consider what is at stake. You can ask "Who, what, where, why, how, when?" to come to grips with anything that seems important, and add "Who benefits?" and "What is most likely at stake somehow?" too.
You have to be extremely ignorant or hard or hateful to lead many astray in the name of Jesus.
When you read Yogananda's glorious descriptions of angelic gurus and the like, also consider that "The best . . . of old had fine natures, mysterious, too deep, they could not be understood. [Tao Te Ching, ch 15], and perhaps only arbitrarily described. This tells us: "Calm down."
Tale-tellers also get heard and believed, not only matter-of-fact people.
Falling for a blunt claim makes it harder to welcome many counter-hypotheses as part of scientific handling.
Being unduly impressed can turn dangerous.
Let no one rob you of what is heart-felt by what they say or set in motion.
Fit measures reach levels and thresholds that count far and wide.
It is fair to add mental reservations to great-looking claims. Much indoctrination goes by the name of 'religious'.
We may use feedback for monitoring our dominant, solid, cogent, not careless climbs upwards.
Dietz, Margaret Bowen. Thank You, Master. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 1998, "Master's Teachings"
Agha: Ashliman, D. L. A Guide to Folktales in the English Language. New York: Greenwood, 1987.
Ak: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Man's Eternal Quest. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1982.
Dr: Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Divine Romance. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1993.
Fo: Handford, S., tr. Fables of Aesop. New ed. London: Penguin, 1964.
Nov: Bø, Olav, mfl, redr. Norske eventyr (Norwegian Folktales). On: Mata, Daya. "Only Love". Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1976.
Psy: Dasgupta, Sailendra. Paramhansa Swami Yogananda: Life-portrait and Reminiscences. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2006. - Also: Google Books, partial view.
Ti: Uther, Hans-Jörg. The Types of International Folktales: A Classification and Bibliography Based on the System of Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson. Vols 1-3. FF Communications No. 284-86, Helsinki: Academia Scientiarum Fennica, 2004.
Vip: Dutt, Manmatha Nath. Vishnupuranam. 2nd ed. Varanasi: Chowkhamba, 1972.
Harvesting the hay
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