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Know Yourself and Get Glad

Guarding one's happiness and solvency is far better than losing it and then try to regain it. Cult adaptations may do something to your happiness, life solvency and other sides to having control enough for living a good life.

Christs and cults in our midst

'Christ' is Greek for Messiah. Messiah in Judaism originally meant a divinely appointed king or "anointed one." Messiah claimants have been many. (WP, "List of messiah claimants")

The guru Yogananda appoints some old acquaintances as Christs, Christs, and Christs. The Autobiography of a Yogi (1998) refers to three of them thus :

Paramahansa Yogananda citation "Babaji ... Yogi-Christ of modern India". (Yogananda 1998, 332)

"Prophets like Christ and Lahiri Mahasaya". (Ib. 309n) (2)

About Babaji and Christ: " ... these two fully illumined masters ... one without a body". (Ib. 334)

"Yukteswar, a modern Yogi-Christ". (Ib. 209) (4)
      "Lahiri Mahasaya ... and many other Yogi-Christs had blessed the soil." (Ib. 105)

[Babaji] "deathless guru". (Ib. 335, 339, 342)

"Claiming something is one thing, proving it may be difficult." And "It takes one to know one" may come in handy too.

It seems there have been a whole lot of self-appointed messiahs and gurus throughout time, summarises Dr Margaret Singer in her Cults in Our Midst (2004), adding that these types only get substantial followings in periods of breakdowns in the structure and rules of the prevailing society. They attract only modest followings in eras when a society is functioning in a way that conveys structure and a sense of social solidarity, she says further (2004, 29).

However, when segments of society cannot see where they fit in, what the rules are, or what the socially agreed-upon answers to life's big questions are, then, like a dormant disease, the ever-present potential cult leaders take hold and lure followers to their causes. (2004, 29)

Determined self-designated gurus seem to have the only and sure way of life. They induce people to follow them by touting a special mission and special knowledge. The special mission is to preach the contents of a supposedly "secret" learning, which the leaders assert can only be revealed to those who join them. (Singer 2004, 29-30)

Cult leaders usually claim a special mission in life. Whether the lure is warmed-over ancient lore or the most avant-garde secrets of the universe. To step into the elite sphere usually means leaving behind family and friends and forsaking most of the ordinary world. In return, followers are told that they will be let in on the special knowledge, and are recruited as followers. So people at a loss and who look for direction, become victims of the manipulations and exploitations of the skilful con artists. Masses of people are showing they are vulnerable and susceptible to the cults' lure. (Singer 2004, 30)

Many seem to sell their independence and a large part of their happiness to be members of something bigger than a family. That could be a mistake, but we are not all alike. Still, "Do not fall away from happiness," teaches Buddha.

Encouraging prospects:

To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace . . . If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him." (Buddhist thought, in Bukkuo Dendo Kyokai 2004, 80)

A word of warning:

Charity bestowed on those who are worthy of it is like good seed sown on a good soil that yields an abundance of fruits. But alms given to those who are yet under the tyrannical yoke of the passions are like seed deposited in a bad soil. The passions of the receiver of the alms choke, as it were, the growth of merits." (Buddha, as rendered in Carus 1915, 97)

Accordingly, it should more worthwhile to caution against an undemocratic yoke than to sow good and fair seeds in those under it and upholding it by their passions (id-linked hanky-pankies, neuroticism, authoritarianism, or whatever). Probably.

Use the many following points in a check-list and tick off

To develop the understanding further, sort the answers into five groups instead of two, and you will most likely be rewarded with a more nuanced picture - and hence better understanding of what might be at work against your deep happiness-and-great-freedom, Self-actualisation and happiness hand in hand.

Happiness wells up from deep within. If this spring gets stifled - by repressions, subservience and "guru clogging", unfairness - whatever - then things are not working all right. SRF-members and other sectarians - who have pledged devotion and loyalty to the SRF gurus no matter how mistaken they might be or how badly they act, have been heedless, to say the least.

Right involvement means a lot

Some former group members and similar may blame their group for much badness, without considering what enticed them to join it. Self-inspection may work well in such cases, but you never know. Some were fooled to enter also.

Authoritarian groups and setting tend to produce authoritarianism in members, if they were not so from the start.

Run through a set of opportune questions and see if looking twice and looking better if it gives help for life.

  1. Have enough control of your own. Think for yourself. It is a Human Right. If you should become a kriya yoga, you get bound to Yogananda by an oath without regret buttons anywhere - against Human Rights also.

  2. Ascertain how far you have a say in the group. Consider how far the group serves you and your development on the whole and not the other way around. Kriya in SRF is managed from afar by monks and nuns.

  3. Does someone claim infallibility or wisdom on behalf of the leader or guru? In SRF they do (in a notarised letter). A Canadian, Geoff Falk, has written about ◦ his SRF experiences. "Each one of the SRF line of leaders/gurus . . . are regarded by obedient SRF devotees as being infallible . . . I, too, once foolishly viewed them thusly."

  4. Do you get confused? Self-contradictions en masse might suggest neuroticism or breed it. Self-contradictions abound in Yogananda's teachings, and, by the way, in the Bible too. [Link]. The Bhagavad Gita is venerated in SRF. It says that demons teach the same as Yogananda and many other gurus in SRF: that the world is illusory. That makes some of the claimed gurus in SRF demon christs [Link]. Jesus cast demons out of people - but Prahlada in the Bhagavata Purana did not misbehave and became a demon king - [Dimmitt and van Buitenen 1978, 312-20]

  5. Are you permitted to question teachings? The ancient Kalama Sutta clarifies a lot. To be lorded over by a faith that is good for leaders could form neurotics.

  6. Is there a strong emphasis placed on recruiting new members? "Go east, west, south and east to spread the message," said Yogananda in SRF's unpaginated Golden Anniversary Booklet (1970). The SRF organisation publishes books and other material.

  7. Are you free to come and leave as you will? In SRF you may come as you wish, but not leave Yogananda for lifetimes, on his word. (SRF magazine, spring 1974, p 6. From a talk at the Headquarters, 17 Oct. 1939.)

  8. Are leaders honest about the activities? SRF wears a Christian facade of Jesusism, which fails for many reasons. [Self-molesting demands]. In SRF a new member of the church swears unconditional allegiance to Guru Jesus who is credited with saying, "Do not swear." A proper Jesusian does not base his future on oaths, then. (See WP "Jesusism")

  9. Is there a high degree of secrecy? Kriya teachings are much secret in SRF, even though they may be learnt for free with no strings attached in another kriya yoga line. (Satyananda 1981; 2001). SRF's policy is far from that of the gospel's Jesus (one of the SRF gurus, SRF holds), who makes it clear that a follower must give away freely what was had freely. Buddha says in the Maha-parinibbana Sutta, (Digha Nikaya 16), 2:32, that he gives his teachings open-handedly. "I have set forth the Dhamma without making any distinction of esoteric and exoteric doctrine; there is nothing, Ananda, with regard to the teachings that the Tathagata holds to the last with the closed fist of a teacher who keeps some things back."

If you consider that "yes" is a fit response to five or more of the questions above, better not get into the authoritarian group, for you might get a debasing, subservient role there. Cults express authoritarianism, in their own ways, and some secretly. It may take time to find out. Dolls do not feel deprived of autonomy, but with humans it is different.


In the years 2000-2005, fifty of the SRF monastics (one third of them) left the SRF premises. (Parsons 2012, 179). With Daya (Faye R. Wright, 1955–2010) on top:
Many of the men and women who where 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. (Dasgupta 2006:106)

Between 2000 and 2005, fifty of the SRF monastics (one third of them) left the SRF premises. They were one third of SRF's monastic stock. (Parsons 2012, 170). Many were in need of therapy, some wrote on their ◦SRF Walrus Board. Under the Daya leadership (1955-2010):

Many of the men and women who where 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. (Dasgupta 2006:106)


There are good fares and other fares. It can be easy to be misled. Consider anyway:

You should seek to go for decent fares where you're allowed to accomplish things on your own, and stick to what helps a man or woman or family on and up.

It is unwise to get ridden by others and thereby leak out your own basic frivolity; keep it guarded.

Keep your assets.

Have your strong marks. Good things in life can take time.

It is unfit to let weird teachings steer your life and hopes. For example, Yogananda foretold "doom and gloom" including two more world wars, Europe devastated, Russia annihilated, and England finished - all of it before the year 2000 CE. A false prophet with unreliable tellings was about. Consider the implications. (Kriyananda 2011:125-26; 1973, ch 6). Some followers who had changed their lives to accommodate to this, got angry after 2000 CE, but on the whole one should be glad such devastating things did not come to pass as foretold by Yogananda, or what.

Yogananda was an orator who talked big and used the Bible to promote his kind of yoga. The late Catholic professor Mateo finds he teaches heresy. [More].

Good teachings allow for clever inspection. And avoid the company of fools, teaches the Dhammapada. But who is a fool and who is not may be too hard to ascertain for exhausted, conform people, as "It is a fool who cannot hide his wisdom." (Proverb). Compare: "Who knows?"

Cults Considered and "Fever Lessons"

To obey wrong may be fit to stop, if Yogananda lets you. He doesn't allow initiated ones drop him, he says (above). This stand goes against Human Rights, and decent guru dealings in India.

Consider further that among subjugated monks and nuns, a vicarious greed for show-offs of wealth and splendour may come to the fore in time.

The yoga methods that SRF offer, have been mixed. Fellow yogis of Yogananda's line did not welcome his changes or amputations, if you will (Dasgupta 2011, 101; 109-10). Yogananda also made many changes to how kriya yoga is to be spread in his own line, the SRF ways of distribution kriya yoga are not welcomed by anyone. [◦:Article about violations]. Besides, when the SRF Lessons were expanded, many older members did not like it, and for good reasons, such as:

Yogananda Don't take my word for anything. - A Yogananda word, in Dietz 1998

It appears to be excellent counsel, but is it all the way? Hm.

"Fevers" might need to be controlled.


Cult detection, probing cultish dealings, sect basics, sectarians at a glance, Self-Realization Fellowship, Literature  

Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai. The Teachings of Buddha. New Delhi: Sterling Paperbacks, 2004. -- Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai, BDK, stands for 'Society for the Promotion of Buddhism'. BDK is compiling Mahayana teachings (the Chinese tripitaka collection) and provides translations of various Buddhist texts - and more.

Carus, Paul. The Gospel of Buddha: Compiled from Ancient Records. Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company, 1915.

Dasgupta, Sailendra. Paramhansa Swami Yogananda: Life-portrait and Reminiscences. Rev. ed. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, 2011.

Dietz, Margaret Bowen. Thank You, Master. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 1998.

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

Kriyananda, Swami, ed. The Road Ahead: World Prophecies by the Great Master, Paramahansa Yogananda. Nevada City, CA: Ananda Publications, 1973.

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

Pevsner, Nikolaus. An Outline of European Architecture. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972.

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

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

Singer, Margaret Thaler. Cults in Our Midst: The Continuing Fight Against Their Hidden Menace. Rev. ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003.

SRF. Self-Realization Fellowship: Golden Anniversary. Los Angeles: SRF, 1970.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. 1998. Autobiography of a Yogi. 13th ed. Los Angeles, CA: Self-Realization Fellowship.

Watson, Burton, tr. The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu. New York: Columbia University Press, 1968.

Added: Books on Social Psychology

What goes on in groups influences the lives of many. Some ways and some groups help, and others hardly so. It might be good to know about ingroups and other flocks, and group dynamics as a help to improve one's standing in life. "Group psychology" is treated in many books on social psychology. Many are well laid out. One way or the other, any of these might be rewarding:


Aronson, Elliot, Timothy D. Wilson, Robin M. Akert. Social Psychology. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Educaton, 2013.

Baron, Robert A., and Nyla R. Branscombe. Social Psychology. 13th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Educaton, 2012.

Baumeister, Roy F., and Eli J. Finkel, eds. Advanced Social Psychology: The State of the Science. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Delamater, John D., and Daniel J: Myers. Social Psychology. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2011.

Gilovich, Thomas, Dacher Keltner, Richard E. Nisbett. Social Psychology. 2nd ed. New York: Norton and Co., 2006.

Rohall, David E., Melissa A. Milkie, Jeffrey W. Lucas. Social Psychology: Sociological Perspectives. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Educaton, 2014. -- Rewarding

Stroebe, Wolfgang. Social Psychology and Health. 3rd ed. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press, 2011. -- Health perspectives rule.

Markers, brackets and other symbols on several pages are for easing the reading and handling: (1) Graphic representations explained. (2) Digesting.

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