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Yogananda Praising Fascism in the 30s

YOGANANDA The average man cannot think clearly . . . He needs the master mind of a Dictator in order to think right and do right. - Yogananda. "Interview". East West Magazine, February 1934, p. 25.

A master brain like that of Mussolini does more good than millions of social organizations of group intelligence. - Yogananda. "Interview, East-West, February 1934, p. 3. [◦Download the source]

Above, Yogananda is quoted verbatim from his own magazine. "What the heart is full of, the mouth overflows with." We may wonder whether Yogananda could think clearly himself. On this page there are other demeaning Yogananda stands from the first half of the 1930s. Learn about little skeletons in the closet and hot potatoes for his fellowship.

But there is much more: Into World War II, Yogananda told followers that he had planted the idea into Hitler's mind to invade Russia. If so, the planting would be by Black Arts, and the intention would be to make war, not love. Tens of millions of victims of that escalated war might sue him or hold him responsible in other ways for carnage, bloodshed, warcrimes and sufferings he gave rise to - if he did what he said he had done - if his words were to be trusted, that is. If not, that poses other problems to some. He is rendered somewhat differently in two books that were published after he was long gone. From one of them:

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. (Swami Kriyananda. Paramhansa Yogananda: A Biography, 2011:131)

Kriyananda who writes this, had been trained by and was devoted to Yogananda. A minister, also devoted to Yogananda, saw no reason why Kriyananda should have made up such a statement about the guru he was devoted to [private communication]. But for some reason, Yogananda was not convicted as a mean war criminal during any of the Nuremberg trials. They might not have heard of him and his doings there.

One notes how big claims, hard to prove, give rise to faith.

We might do well to mind that Yogananda claimed to have influenced Adolf Hitler to expand World War II eastwards - causing more warfare, more war crimes and so on. The guru claims are presented in two books (Kriyananda 2011:131; Kriyananda 2004, no. 289). There is more about them further down the page. Aspiring kriya yogis might benefit from getting decent facts up front instead of tucked away - long before committing themselves to a self-proclaimed warmonger that is hailed as a love avatar by many. Do not be fooled too often, but let a spade still be called a spade.

"Keep your heart with you wherever you go."

Adhere to Dogen's deep Zen counsel, "You should not lend support to the misconduct of others." For such a good reason, significant Yogananda misunderstandings of worth may well be addressed. The implications of Yogananda support of fascism and dictatorship are grave and worth considering a while in the light of his fellowship's preposterous stand, that his guidelines are without flaw (!). Mark that SRF claim well, for claimed leader infallibility is a great hallmark of cults, and good evidence of it is in writing (More on it below).

Also consider the Gauss curve (Bell curve), and how intelligence is distributed among people. A few are not bright, most people are somewhat intelligent, and a few are very bright. However, the Bell curve does not tell that the real value of a human and baboon is the heart. Besides, intelligence alone is rarely the only good token of what marks sane individuals [Cf. Abraham Maslow's findings].

All this goes a long way to say: Goadings for dictatorship can appeal to authoritarian-minded simpletons, but disregard the brutalising fare of dictatorship far and wide. Whereas some follies are more or less harmless, dictatorship (tyranny) and goadings for it are not. Dictatorship was alarmingly supported in Europe the 1930s, and still is in some countries. It wrongly takes away from Human Rights and human worth.

Be not fooled, for moral values and hearts may fall short under tyrants. More significant still, the seat of human value is not the brain, but the sensible or supersensible heart, the ancient Egyptians teach, and many others. So should we, and not support dictator sprouts. Instead, we may have good chances to address the heart rightly, which matters a lot. Good homes are ideally for that, and liberal, good homes are better than authoritarian, tyrannical ones, most often. Bright folks with hearts are fit for something, but mere calculating brains may fall short, and often do. Some may get into heavy beer-drinking and such stuff, and fall even more short - in some cases flat on their nose - making higher brain functions "go to sleep" by degrees.

Therefore, keep your heart with you where you go. It may translate to "Be sensible, at least sensible enough," or "Learn from Yogananda what not to go for or to go for, if you can," for he said,

Paramahansa Yogananda quotation 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].

Hm. Do you think he wanted to help people by telling them to do the opposite of that, to make them do the "right thing"? A joke may be fit: "Eager to help people, he talked for dictatorship since he was against it, and his church says his guidelines are always right."

But look to Yogananda fruits, if you can find them: The church he started in 1935, may be well recognised as authoritarian - as a cult - in that it curbs freedom through guru guidelines that invade privacy, some Human Rights, and why not the sex life of members?

The goadings above show dire authoritarian stands, and they are unwise and seldom work well enough for underlings. Against that, good hearts will not wag any tails for dictators, or tyrants, at home and wherever the authoritarian snake lifts its hood. Authoritarians may rise to become dictatorship-minded, and then it goes on, in that those who succumb to authoritarian guts as underlings or by demagogy, may get authoritarian too. So note how Yogananda misconstrued a lot and how later events ran over his declared fascist-fondness. It stands out in retrospect.

Yogananda face

Hitler is to be admired for leaving the League of Nations because peace can never be attained by the victor and vanquished attitude, but on a basis of equality and brotherhood. Instead of preventing Hitler from having equal armament with other nations, the other nations should reduce the armaments to the level of Germany, then the millions of dollars that are thrown away on idle battleships could be used for national or international prosperity. America, France, and Great Britain should reduce their armaments first, and thereby destroy the desire of Japan, Russia, and Germany to become equally armed. An insulted, snubbed Germany, if it gets away from the uplifting guidance of Hitler, may join Russia and make her a more powerful enemy of France and so on. The Allies must reduce their own armaments first, and then they will find out that the example speaks louder than words.

[Swami Yogananda. "Christmas message to the Nations of the Earth". East-West Magazine, December, 1933, p. 25. [Emphasises added by T. K.]

The next year, when Yogananda toured Germany, he tried to have an interview with Hitler. Hitler declined. Also, Hitler desired to be not just equally armed -


In Yogananda's fellowship they say they find no faults with his guidelines, and that his wisdom is flawless (!) [Look at the evidence]. But do they admire Hitler in public? Not that I know of. Does the fellowship or all sorts of Yogananda followers adhere to guru dictatorship, calling that spade a spade? Maybe, and maybe not. Note how underlings of a sour and authoritarian regime may become when they get into power somewhere, somehow. They pick on something authoritarian to support themselves.

Now, in Yogananda's wake we may come across tales of magic.


Did Yogananda Influence Adolf Hitler to Escalate World War II?

Yogananda used his yogi magic to make Hitler invade the Soviet Union, we are told

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 . . . 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)

The idea that Yogananda influenced Adolf Hitler's mind by use of a Black Art to escalate the Second World War and attack the Soviet Union sounds perhaps marring and bizarre. One might ask: "Why end a war by escalating it horribly? Is it fair?"

If the war tale be as reported, Yogananda invaded Hitler's mind and violated his free will and caused massacres of millions. Reflect on that a little, for example in the light of the Nuremberg trials; they were a series of military tribunals held by the Allied forces after World War II. The first set of trials dealt with major war criminals. Many prominent Nazi leaders had killed themselves before they were convicted. Others were sentenced to death. As for Yogananda, he stayed alive till 1952 and was not prosecuted. There are reasons for it. He did not tell in public that he was responsible for the gruesome war crimes that followed after June 1941, when Hitler expanded the war eastwards.

Yogananda did not stand up in public to claim he was actually one of the main war criminals by subversive Black Arts. He did not tell "We stand in this together, Adolf and his main guys, and I - I made him escalate the war that caused the losses of millions on millions!"

Yogananda took credit among disciples sworn to loyalty to him, but not in public, where reactions might have proved fatal. Might it be said, "He took the credit, but not the responsibility"?

Mind as well there was no Yogananda public witch-hunt in the United States after the war, and that there is no evidence that the Israeli ever thought of investigating the claims that Yogananda made to close disciples during the war. Many decades later, what they tell in Yogananda's circles, is that his contributions to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and war of aggression were good - their guru -, and explain away the sayings, discredit the devoted Kriyananda, perhaps resorting to infantile "shallow, self-complacent, lugubrious or doubtful use of karma concepts with a good amount of rationalisation in them.

Example, "At night I can sleep a lot, being told that all the tens of millions of ducks, sheep, bulls, animals and people that the Nazis enslaved, maimed and killed during the war, had it karma-coming." The question is if most of the maimed ones really had it coming, or if the "explanation" is of a surreal quack sort. At any rate, if we lack good evidence of tall claims, much can be won by keeping the claims at bey. The cultish alternative means lots of beliefs-as-told.

It seems like a better idea of Yogananda to put into Hitler's mind just to end the war - to influence Hitler to make peace, not war. Alternatively, some things tend to work better than causing tens of millions of victims to be maimed and killed, for example to make Hitler dig a hole and bury himself and some other main Nazi bosses there. That could have saved tens of millions of lives - so many victims of war crimes.

Now we have been told by Yogananda's follower Kriyananda that millions could have a good reason to grumble over Yogananda: "He caused Hitler to enlarge the war so that tens of millions got wounded and killed if that be true." Should we then blame Yogananda for "the eastern half of World War II"? (Cf. Kriyananda 2011:131)

"One has to hear a lot before one's ears fall off (Norwegian proverb)". Retellings without solid evidence is not as fit written evidence as if Yogananda himself had written it. Yet, the two retellings above are from prize-awarded Kriyananda books. (Book data are at the bottom of the page.)

Staunch humanism is fit

Authoritarianism is something low for a human being and often comes with a dogmatic tone or stench, and the call for submission some way or other. The authoritarianism of Yogananda should not remain hidden to young and ardent ones today, for outlets of it is what you get in SRF, Self-Realization Fellowship, today. When we get engulfed by cult thinking and get poor in humanism*, it could do almost irrepairable harm. Better watch out.

Humanism is in part a stance that emphasises the value of individuals and humans collectively and what they can do singly or many together too. Humanism stresses autonomous human reason and not authoritian subjections of many to the few. Humanists generally prefer critical thinking and evidence over established doctrine or faith (fideism). Totalitarians stand for quote the opposite. (See above). [Cf. WP "Humanism"]


There is much to look into: The German Theordor W. Adorno (1903-69), widely regarded as one of the twentieth century's foremost thinkers, was forced into exile in 1934, for his father was an assimilated Jew. Adorno was exiled the same year as Yogananda hailed dictatorship and praised Mussolini at a distance, far away from them.

Adorno came to America and lived for several years in a Pacific Palisades neighbourhood in western Hollywood. He joined forces with others in formulating a theory of fascism and authoritarianism, and also a personality test in 1947 - the California F-scale (where F stands for fascism). The purpose of the scale was to measure anti-democratic tendencies at the personality level, also termed "an antidemocratic personality structure" that is usually defined by 'authoritarianism'. How well it did it, is another matter.

The F-scale was set up to measure such parts of authoritarianism as conformity to norms and values of the middle class; authoritarian submission; the id to punish and condemn individuals, stereotypy, projectivity and sex.

It has shown up that a high F-scale score most likely goes along with a lower educational level. And the scale has been much criticised because it is ideological and associates societal processes with personality characteristics.

Other tests have been created to try to fix the shortcomings of the F-scale. Bob Altemeyer's Right-wing authoritarianism Scale - a refined descendant of the F-scale -, is the test that is most frequently used. Right-wing authoritarians are people who have a high degree of willingness to submit to authorities they perceive as established and legitimate, who adhere to societal conventions and norms, and who are hostile and punitive in their attitudes towards people who don't adhere to them. They value uniformity and are in favour of using group authority, including coercion, to achieve it.

[See Adorno 1950, and WP, "Theodor W. Adorno"; "The Authoritarian Personality"; "F-scale (personality test)"; "Right-wing authoritarianism"]

Some Interview

In East-West of February 1934, Volume 6, No. 4, there is an interview with Swami Yogananda. [◦Download]

Question: What message has Hindu philosophy to offer toward solving present-day problems of peace between nations and averting international disasters?

Answer: Mahatma Gandhi . . . has demonstrated the philosophy of non-violence and non-co-operation with evil systems and of resistance by a spiritual force.

[T]he nations of the earth must scrap the engines of war and try to settle their international disputes in the Gandhi way.

[B]y love, Gandhi has made over 60 per cent of the people of India stop drinking. By his spinning wheel, philosophy of plain living and high thinking, and the doctrine of all for each and each for all, Gandhi is not only founding India's freedom on solid Spiritual laws, but is showing the nations how they can build an United States of the World . . .

. . .

Answer: We may stumble on the way, we may slip backward a little, but being endowed with Divine Intelligence, mentally we shall be moving constantly toward the goal of Truth and understanding. . . .

Individual national selfishness must be sacrificed for the greater patriotism of international common well-being. Then it will be found that real international upliftment includes the national upliftment.

Question: Individualism and socialism are conflicting philosophies in the modern world. Which is more likely to prevail in the future?

Answer: Individual perfection and social upliftment are interdependent. A master brain like that of Mussolini does more good than millions of social organizations of group intelligence. Yet, {p. 3] if many persons in a group should develop the brain power of a Mussolini, they would be greater than the individual Mussolini.

Socialism, consisting of evolved individuals, will prevail in the end, but as long as people are not highly evolved, individualism will keep coming to the surface. Individualism exists only for the ushering in of Spiritual socialism . . .

Question: Does the rise, in recent years, of dictatorships as forms of government indicate the failure and ultimate doom of Democracy?

Answer: A society of morons and unthinking people will never establish a real Democracy. The average man cannot think clearly, but is ruled by explosions of his emotions. He needs the master mind of a Dictator in order to think right and do right. [But in a] Democracy of universal wisdom and agreement, [the mass of people] will then be able to govern themselves spontaneously by the universal laws of Truth. Then Dictators will be unnecessary.

One real wise Dictator, like President Roosevelt, is much better than too many cooks of small Dictators and politicians, who spoil the broth. Much is discussed and nothing accomplished with many. A whole-hearted co-operation with . . . with active, wise President Roosevelt, will bring prosperity and international balance. Democracy will never fail; it is the growing life of nations, which will mature through the trials of republicanism, dictatorships, capitalism, and any other "isms" which are necessary for its growth.

Question: What effect would independence for India probably have on that nation's diplomatic and commercial relations with other countries?

Answer: Germany and England did a great deal of business with India, but India's non-violence war with England has caused a boycott of most European goods.

Unless England gives complete independence, or self-government, to India, India will boycott all European goods.

A free India will enrich the world . . . when she uses the hoarded gold of the idle princes to buy agricultural and scientific machinery.

The last line above is a classical instance of oversimplification or worse, or what? Sensible agriculture is good. Ecological gardening too, for that matter. And be aware that after humans at large adapt to machines, machines replace humans and humans get somehow trapped as to how they live, what they can do, accomplish and so on. It is a deep hush-hush problem. - T. K.

[Swami Yogananda. "An Interview". East West Magazine, February 1934, Vol 6, p. 3 and 25. Emphasises added]

Some Discussion

The SRF Walrus was a discussion forum for former monks, nuns, and novices of Self-Realization Fellowship. In the string called "early East-West" initiated by one "Divine Gypsy", some adequate thinking around Yogananda's hailing of dictatorship came to the fore. [◦The string on the Walrus].

Yet, cult members react poorly to sound information. Perhaps they are helpless and do not know what to do better than calling Yogananda errors and flaws "good" against reason. Many such posts seem "out on a mission", and how such forums operate cause many opened topics to end in smoke surprisingly well. It seems almost bizarre.

To see how it works, take a look: The extracts of comments on the Walrus that once was here, were put on ◦a page of Rick Ross' Cult Education Forum, by 'Corboy'. What life improvements came out of the thought-seeds sown? That may be difficult to ascertain.

- and there you have it

That Oath of SRF
Satyananda's line
Two kriya lines: comparisons

Also compare:

We do not find fault with Paramahansa Yogananda's guidelines. Since we believe . . . his wisdom is flawless. [Notarised SRF letter]

That is "doctrination".


Adolf Hitler

Not everything Adolf Hitler said was mistaken. But he was a Christian theist that caused much evil in the name of God. Christianity was a role model to Hitler on how to advance his agenda. He often proclaimed how much he valued Christianity, how important Christianity was to his life, and even how much he was personally inspired by Jesus - his Lord and Savior.

Hitler regularly spoke and acted to promote and defend traditional Christian beliefs, values, and political policies. He kept saying that he believed in God and was convinced that he was doing God's work. He learned from the early history of Christianity as well as more recent Christian political movements. Hitler's theism, religiosity, and Christianity are strongly supported in his own words.

Nazi ideology was committed to supporting Christianity. Christians in Germany threw their support behind Hitler and the Nazi Party.

Hitler was convinced that religious faith was needed, quite like the conviction of conservative Christians today. One of the reasons why Hitler was so popular with conservative Christians in Germany was that he opposed abortion, homosexuality, pornography, and just about everything else conservative Christians complained were ruining modern Germany.

American concervative Christians might get less likely to do so much to transform their own Christianity into an American echo of Germany's extreme nationalistic Christianity if they saw these lines, says Austin Cline. (2008)

Adolf Hitler Quotations

Faith is harder to shake than knowledge. [Mein Kampf Vol. 1 Chapter 12]

The great masses of a nation are not composed of philosophers. [Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 10]

The great masses of the people will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.

It is criminal lunacy to keep on drilling a born half-ape until people think they have made a lawyer out of him. [Mein Kampf Vol. 2 Chapter 2]

Those who are passionate themselves can arouse passion in others.

When I recall my teachers at school [in Austria], I realise that half of them were abnormal . . . and quite a few ended their days as honest-to-God lunatics! [Remarks February 1942 recorded by Martin Bormann, published in Hitler's Table Talk (1953)]

How shall we fill people with blind faith in the correctness of a doctrine . . .? ... Here, too, we can learn by the example of the Catholic Church. [Mein Kampf Vol. 2 Chapter 5]


Fascists blame problems of countries' problems on scapegoats. Jews cause major problems, some have claimed. However, good leaders seek good solutions rather than inventing scapegoats [Merriam-Webster, Ebu "scapegoat", "fascism"]. In psychology, scapegoating is tied in with neuroticism. Scapegoating with butchered innocents (animals and Jesus) for the sins of guilty ones, is blatantly corrupt - and the cornerstone of Judaism and Christianity after that, by the way. Insanity is unreasonable, much as other severe mental diseases, and may be uncurable.

Take heed of your company, then. Buddha warns against being among fools, not unlike the proverb "Stay away from fools that you may not be among their number". Refrain from using the criteria to harm people.


Paramahansa Yogananda, dictatorship, Mussolini, SRF Walrus, Literature  

Adorno, Theodor W., Else Frenkel-Brunswik, Daniel Levinson, and Nevitt Sanford. The Authoritarian Personality. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1950.

Austin Cline. Adolf Hitler Quotations: Adolf Hitler on Religion, God, and Christianity. About, Inc., 2008. Online.

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.

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

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

Ay: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 1st ed. New York: Theosophical, 1946.

Clh: Dimmitt, Cornelia, ed., and J. A. B. van Buitenen, tr. Classical Hindu Mythology. Temple University. Philadelphia, 1978.

EB: Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Op: Simpson, John, and Jennifer Speake. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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

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

NA: "early East West", a thread on the SRF Walrus. [◦Link].

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

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