The Americanised love guru Yogananda said: "Love is secondary to joy [The Divine Romance, p. 4-5.]."
To aim for the highest and best that is available may not be the silliest thing to do. It could end well! As for what Yogananda said about meeting the devil, read on. Below that again are thematic Yogananda quotations on the arch-enemy, fun, love and joy.
Yogananda was much tormented. Before his passing in March 1936 at 81, Yukteswar told his disciple Yogananda to wear a certain bangle as a special protection. Yogananda, who had come from America to visit his aged master, put it on in faith.
After Yukteswar was buried on 10 March, Yogananda carried on as usual with lecturing and other activities, but with "a hollow smile" and in "a stream of black brooding," and with "a tormented spirit", he writes [Autobiography, chap 42].
Then, one day in June he was in a Bombay hotel before going back to America. In the hotel he felt that a power was trying to destroy his life, but he was not afraid, he asserts. Remembering that his master had promised to protect him, he put a little light on in his room "because the evil forces do not like light." After a while he felt sleepy. Then:
As I opened my eyes and looked toward the right wall of the room, I saw the black form of Satan, horrible, with a catlike . . . tail. It leaped on my chest, and my heart stopped beating . . . my heart would not work. Suddenly I glimpsed an ocher robe, and there stood Master [Yukteswar]. He commanded Satan to leave; and as soon as he spoke, the evil figure vanished and my breath started to flow again . . . He said: "Satan was trying to destroy you. But fear not. I am with you evermore."
Yogananda could smell Sri Yukteswar too, as when he had lived on earth. [From Self-Realization Magazine [SRM], Summer 1976, p. 8-9.]
Two on cots and fear. The devil story is not included in Yogananda's Autobiography, but chapter 43 there is devoted to the marvellous appearance of Yukteswar in the Bombay hotel on 19 June.
Interestingly, years earlier, after Yogananda had managed to fund his own school in Ranchi, India, one night he screamed out from his room there. He said that a cot penetrated through his closed door and a horrific being was seated on that cot. From that time on, a student would sleep in a separate cot in his room. Yogananda said that if he slept alone, he saw many different beings, and some of the times he woke up in fear, writes his biographer Sailendra Dasgupta [Paramhansa Swami Yogananda, Psy 112].
In 1945 Yogananda gave a lecture in Hollywood, and said such as:
"There is another world, the astral, hidden behind this universe. Its inhabitants are garbed in an astral form made of light. Lacking a physical body, they are "ghosts," invisible to us . . . Sincere seekers after God who practice scientific methods of prayer and meditation need never fear such beings." [Ak 270]
Yogananda himself, the kriya guru, had feared them for years.
Some years earlier, in Encinitas, California, 1938, he said, "Sometimes when I sleep on my left side, I see all kinds of dark souls dancing around . . . I rarely see such souls when I sleep on my right side." [Dr 292]
Adjoining Yogananda Lessons
Questions and Queries
Wrong teachings - beware. Do not be pigheaded about lots of wrong teachings or seemingly wrong teachings. At different times it could be this, at other times it could be that. The "greatest enemy" of Yogananda, as gleaned from his three books of collected talks and essays, is the bills, yourself, moods, anything that weakens your mind, bolshevism (communism), Satan of ignorance, and the body. According to him, then, you have many greatest enemies. Yet, have you considered that he says the Lord is behind "your greatest enemy" (and yourself)? Add to that: "At different times, maybe," and then check if any of them are true. How? Get Self-realised first - and to go deep in meditation you need to discard Yogananda sayings totally, by transcending. That is formidable. So it pays to go beyond that he teaches the Lord is the doer of evil against you because "The Lord does everything (and everything you do)". It pays to go beyond enemies and evil and being cornered and led astray by lots of guru teachings.
Or how do you like the guru-given idea that you yourself are Satan - and bills - and so forth? What will it be, laughs or cries or indifference and so on? He teaches other "God-things" too. We may come to wonder whether he had better keep his mouth shut: [Link].
Yogananda painted himself into lots of corners by his tongue. Stop being a victim of it. Do good to yourself; rise above his glimmering teachings in good meditation. You probably do well not to take every bombastic guru statement as evil or bad - too. If that is well enough, is a different question.
First, you meditate because it is good for you - if you do it well, that is. Why disregard jokes if they do good? If they form parts of hard-headed intrigues it may be fit to drop most of them. So if you read that Jesus is "one of the masters", why not think: "What else do some gurus do to take in naive, Christians and get values from such guys?"
Beware of encumbrances so as not to get caught and tangled up through them and their follow-ups in the form of regular hindrances along the way.
Man's supreme and immediate duty (is:) Each [!] minute of life should be a divine quest [!]. The burning [!] question in our heart should be: "When shall I find Thee [sic!], O [!] Lord?" - Yogananda [Ak 432-3]
Why not drop humbug-hardened oratorial-spirituality? Go for the Real Thing instead. Folks have sat down for it for ages.
One normally does very, very well to drop unnormal, pretentious attitudes and foolish, exaggerated zeal (as dictated).
Besides, the (figurative) sailing winds count. A good wind helps to sail or glide above given concepts and 'finding' and other roadblocks, up to as many times daily as you meditate deeply and well.
"When shall I find you God?" leaves out why, how, what is meant by "find Thee, O", how often, how long, by which routes. Go from oratorial output to something ideally practical, in other words. Yogananda's talkative and oratorial "fervency approach" smacks of ruining meditation. Let us drop humbug-hardened, oratorial, goofy questions for our own good, so we can glide deep inwards. That is what proficient meditation (dhyana) is for.
The cool yogi may add, "The poor, misguided Yogananda followers. Much rigmarole in the name of God tends to work for the good of big shots by religious propaganda." It could also reduce the standing of commoners beneath the guru-fixated leaders - you never know.
One had rather stay away from what stultifies free, fit, fair and good meditation. Basic, light panting (and gasping) without toil (pranayama) may bring about higher states of meditation without Yoganandic heartburn.
Now, there are no concept obstacles when you meditate full well. Otherwise much strange may be erected with "O Thou, O Lord, canst, wilst" added to ceremonialist, ritualist and and high-flown, pompous words - but it is not necessarily so. Not everything is helped by cogent thinking that works damage either. However, sound, decent meditation is independent of tomfoolery and insensible quackery.
As if in deep sleep
Vasistha asks: At the end of the life of the cosmos . . . how have you managed to survive?
Bhusunda: I practice meditation on Varuna (Hindu God of Waters, much like Neptune) and remain unaffected. When the wind blows so that it uproots even mountains, I meditate on the Mountain (parvata). When the whole universe is flooded by cosmic dissolution, I meditate on Wind (the Vedic god Vayu). Then I remain as if in deep sleep (in yoga nidra) till the start of the next cosmic cycle. [Yv 279-80, rendered, abridged]
Some might revolt to the idea of having fun with Yogananda's inconsistent teachings. Such persons have not understood the basic ideas of "Your outer experiences should be only fun" or having "a lot of fun playing", and doing things "for the fun of it". Have fun! is a repeated part of Yogananda's message.
A considerable part of Yogananda's output revolves around joy. The joy of the soul, the joy part of the godhead in Hindu thinking, that is, Sat-Chit-Ananda (Being, Consciousness, Great Joy). Even though the joy the guru loves to talk if is "beyond description", still he sermonises on and on about it in many sermons. Talking "masterfully" or otherwise about things that are "beyond description" amounts to wasting a lot of time.
Besides, there is a lot more to God, life and Self than joy and love. Balance is required.
But within such a deeper, wider and better scenario, the essence of the guru's joy teachings is that joy may be uncovered within by "scientific means". He means yoga meditation.
Ak: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Man's Eternal Quest. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1982.
Ap: Mieder, Wolfgang (main ed.), 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: Philosophical Library, 1946. Online. [oaks.nvg.org/pv6bk12.html]
Dr: Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Divine Romance. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1993.
Ha: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 12th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1981.
Jse: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Journey to Self-realization: Discovering the Gift of the Soul. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1997.
Pa: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 11th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1971.
Psy: Dasgupta, Sailendra. Paramhansa Swami Yogananda: Life-portrait and Reminiscences. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2006. Also at Google Books, partial view.
Pusb: Maslow, Abraham. Motivation and Personality. 3rd ed. New York, HarperCollins, 1987.
Rvl: Maslow, Abraham. Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences. Columbus: Ohio State University, 1964.
Say: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Sayings of Yogananda. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1958.
Scp: Yogananda, Pa. The Science of Religion. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1953.
Scu: Barrass, Robert. Scientists Must Write. London: Chapman and Hall, 1978.
Scw: Barrass, Robert. Scientists Must Write: A Guide to Better Writing for Scientists, Engineers and Students. 2nd ed. London: Routledge, 2002.
Yv: Venkatesananda, swami, tr. The Concise Yoga Vasistha. Albany: State University of New York, 1984.
Zun: Maslow, Abraham. Toward a Psychology of Being. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1968.
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