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Of Nuts, Likes and Dislikes

Ole and Lena were up in years and Ole passed on to his heavenly reward. Pastor Sven had the funeral service and offended Lena a bit in his sermon comments, especially when he said,

"Here lies Ole but it is not really Ole. It is just the shell of Ole. The nut, Ole, has gone on to heaven."

- A joke by Pastor Roy A. Steward


Wisdom Yajnavalkya dominates the teachings of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. His contribution to the philosophy of Atman and Brahman is the essence of Advaita Vedanta. . . . He is . . . a subtle debater . . . and at the same time a man with a delicate sense of humour. - Nikhilananda (1964:186)

Humour has many different outlets and forms.

Picasso got millions also

Conventionality fetters many. For example, Yogananda talked down on modernistic paintings -"I have also seen some unbelievably crazy modernistic paintings . . . We reveal something of our mentality by what we are drawn to, by our tastes. - Yogananda (2002, 145). Maybe so. We also reveal something by what we debunk unfairly. Have have a look at his "The true stature of a great work may not at first be recognized by those of a more conventional cast of mind" too. (Yogananda, in Autobiography of a Yogi) and some Pablo Picasso paintings - or picture Picasso "laughing all the way to the bank."

Yet, for many years art critics called Picasso's art insane, and some German critics were busy viewing Picasso as a neurotic: "People are no longer locked away in asylums. Nowadays they found Cubism." (Warnche 1995:11,12)

Ground-breaking works of modernist art - many of them appreciated and sold for millions and tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollars today -, were so often talked down on by clowns without class.

A supreme lesson?

Grow decent suspicions to thrive by if you can.

In the 1930s, Yogananda hailed Mussolini and dictatorship. He wrote well of Hitler as well, for some reasons. Hitler too was rather displeased with modern paintings:

Degenerate art (German: Entartete Kunst) was a term adopted in the 1920s by the Nazi Party in Germany to describe modern art. During the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler, German modernist art, including many works of internationally renowned artists, was removed from state owned museums and banned in Nazi Germany . . . Those identified as degenerate artists were subjected to sanctions that included being . . . forbidden to produce art. . . .

The Nazis promoted paintings and sculptures that were traditional and exalted such as obedience. (Excerpts from WP, Degenerate art")

There might be a pattern here some way or other if you can see it.

In some cases a frightened Child (id) may come to be authoritarian, nay, dictatorial. Yogananda about his guru, Yukteswar: "He was a bit too tough in his ways." Yogananda's biographer and fellow disciple Sailendra Dasgupta fills in how Yogananda "feared [Yukteswar] terribly when it came to practical matters of daily life. His behavior towards [Yukteswar] always was like that of a child." (2006:30). He had not grown up -

A fearful inner Child, it says. To have the mind of a terribly fearful child might lead to something untoward in time by the treatment or lack of it that it got during formative years. It could become one more authoritarian in adult years if not earlier. (Cf. Chap. 12 in Yogananda's Autobiography).

One quite scary result can be, "The hard core of human egotism is hardly to be dislodged except rudely (Ibid)," "Kill the ego."

Authoritarian, wrong control ways have origins. Some lie deep. It matters to detect a budding dictator well. . Consider Mussolini (hanged etc.), Hitler (killed himself) and many others. Beware much of dictatorship-hailing guys. It could be for your own good.

One reason for not to enter a Yogananda flock: It might not be good for you. People are different. Many are democratic.

Yogananda spoke for dictatorship. If you find out only after you have entered the fellowship he started, you could have been outwitted somehow by skeletons in the closet.

Many may not be easily detected. Here is a possible one: Yogananda claimed he had been Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, and (at least) partially enlightened by Krishna as Arjuna in chap. 11 by a long shot. Why reserved about this tale? (1). There is no good evidence that Yogananda had been any polyandric Arjuna with a harem, and so on. (2) There are indications that the original Gita was shorter and probably did not include any chapter 11. If so, there was no chapter on the enlightenment of Arjuna in the original Bhagavad Gita. [More] (3). The enlightenment of Arjuna in that chapter is duality-based (you-turned), whereas genuine Self-realization is "I"-based, that is, heart-based, if you like.

He also told he had been a successful lawyer. Proverbs and sayings about lawyers:

"Woe to you, lawyers!" (Luke 11:52)

Preachers purge the conscience, lawyers the purse. [German]

When the hyena drinks, the dog can only look on. [Hausa ]

A good lawyer, an evil neighbor. [English, French, Spanish]

A client between his attorney and counsellor is like a goose between two foxes. [English]

Hyenas are caught with stinking bait. [Nigerian]

A lawyer and a wagon-wheel must be well greased. [German]

New laws are followed by new tricks. [German]

The better lawyer, the worse Christian. [Dutch]

A lawsuit is a fruit-tree planted in a lawyer's garden. [Italian]

A bad agreement is better than a good lawyer. [Italian]

A peasant between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats. [Catalan]

Make crime pay. Become a lawyer. [Will Rogers]

A lawyer will do anything to win a case, sometimes he will even tell the truth. [Patrick Murray]

A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer. [Robert Frost]

To me, the most important thing is to be truthful. [Spike Lee]

As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough. [Abraham Lincoln]

I think we may class the lawyer in the natural history of monsters. [John Keats letter of 13 March 1819]

Little money, little law. [Anon., The Parliament of Byrdes]


After his claimed enlightenment as Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita (Chap. 11), the soul (jiva) of Arjuna ended up falling short at documenting past lives all right also.

The "Nut" of a Dream

Yogananda says at least not all past lives are enchanting, and that eventually "the nut "has to go beyond heaven and "the shell" not just be left behind, but disappear as part of a dream (The Divine Romance, 2002:169-70).

Few may wonder if the soul that was called Yogananda should take other rounds into murderous, vicious, brutish and greedy activities from his death onwards, or by "In canis corpore transmuto" from the divine side be encased in the body of a vicious, murderous dog for all his murders, mutilations and crimes of greed. Such falls into lower forms could happen, gurus and rishis maintain. If it should happen to Yogananda, what of his sworn-in followers?

Be that as it may, undocumented stories of past lives - and particularly possible, future low lives - may serve ulterior motives. Tales of might and riches and "nobility" are many and entertaining, and many are a bit twisted, and others plainly unfounded, but still fit for folklore and art. Art often appears in the wake of good tales.

Plots in an "imperfect world"

Egyptians believed their pharaoh to be divine with sacred, magical powers, supreme will, and control of nature - but criticised and plotted against him too, and many tried to plunder his grave. It is an imperfect world.

Paramahansa Yogananda All realities seem unreal . . . the material universe is not real. – The body is unreal. - Yogananda (1982:182,421)

To menace others suggests trying to take their dignity or worth away. To imply their bodies are unreal, as Yogananda does by "The body is unreal," (1982, 421), may be unfit for practical purposes.

"Where is the evidence?" is an apt question.


Much May Worsen in Time through Dogmatic Beliefs

Some pay lip service perhaps, for example as to Yogananda's endorsements of Mussolini, dictatorship and socialism - or a hoax book about Jesus in Tibet.

"Our best friends are those who criticise us the most . . . who never condone our faults," is one of Yogananda's sayings.

A better one is credited Buddha in the Dhammapada: "Should you find a wise critic to point out your faults, follow him as you would a guide to hidden treasure (Dhammapada, verse 76). The key is 'wise'.

USA - a Country Teeming with Cults

Yogananda's organisation, Self-Realization Fellowship Church, has been described by former members as a sect, or a cult (Kriyananda, in A Place Called Ananda, 2001, ch. 14).

James Donald Walters (1926-2013), was a direct Yogananda disciple and also known as swami Kriyananda, and for a few years as Nayaswami Kriyananda. In 1962, two years after he had been elected vice-president in SRF, the SRF Board of Directors had asked him to resign. In 1968, he started his own community, Ananda Church of Self-Realization - Ananda Sangha.

There was a long-standing legal feud among the Ananda and Self-Realization Fellowship, SRF, over rights to publish Yogananda material, and even the right to the term "Self-Realization". The case began in 1990 after Ananda added the term "Self-realization" to its name. Self-Realization Fellowship responded by filing a massive lawsuit for trademark, publicity rights, and copyright infringement. After twelve long and costly years of law-suit, a San Franscisco court in December 2002 put an end to the feud, and decided for most part in Ananda's favour [2].

In 2017 there were over 125 Ananda Meditation groups in 19 countries. "Not how many but how vital," is a memento. The same goes for temples: "A temple of bone is more than a temple of stone."

Many other spin-off groups have appeared after Yogananda's death. His biographer, Sailendra Dasgupta mentions splinter groups in the Yogananda biography (2006:108) and that SRF's "power and influence have greatly diminished over the years." (2006,109).

Other teachers and organisations in the Babaji line spread kriya and books on kriya too. Satyananda Yoga is one example. Satyananda tells in Early Teachings of Swami Satyananda Saraswati (1988:89) that Sivananda got kriya yoga from Babaji directly. Satyananda's line teaches kriya yoga freely. The Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School is an independent offshoot of Satyananda Yoga. The central part of kriya yoga is a well known, public pranayama method that is called ujjayi. It is very easy.

Sects and Widespread Humbug

It takes two to tango (Proverb)

Without followers there would be no cult or sect.

Young students may suffer from insecurity - and besides, gullibility is wide-spread. This does not suggest that wealth and pleasures are not good. In Sanskrit the four life aims are termed artha (wealth), kama (pleasures), dharma (righteousness); and moksha (freedom).

Tense cults "evolve" or deteriorate. Philip Zimbardo tells of some lessons to learn from cults. Zimbardo tells that according to recent research by Dr. B. Carducci in Indiana and his own research team in California, more than 50 percent of college-aged adults report being chronically shy (lacking social skills, having low self-esteem, being awkward in many social encounters).

Zimbardo holds that the large society needs to be made nicer and fit for thriving. Amen to that, again and again. Good keys of deterioration: Global warming, starving millions, deforestation, greed put into system. In not a few cases it is how things are done that influences a verdict against them. Lack of proper moral often shows up, lack of foresight, and lack of proper care. It is sad. Landing people on the moon will not solve much.

Now, Hinduism says clearly that going for lust (kama) and wealth (artha) are two of the four main goals in life. The other two are righteousness (dharma, as defined there), and freedom (moksha). The ideal is to incorporate all four goals in a way of life. There are good ways of doing it, and so many other ways -

Loving oneself well is a wise priority to anybody who says God is in himself or herself. It should be wise to discern between healthy self-love and unhealthy self-love. In that lies a clue. Narcissistic "self-love" is more of a parody - it is mock self-love, not proper love of Self, that is. [Link]

Some things tend to get set and stiffen in time. For example, Werner Heisenberg wrote about the quantum revolution in physics that

when new groups of phenomena compel changes in the pattern of thought . . . even the most eminent of physicists find immense difficulties. For the demand for change in the thought pattern may engender the feeling that the ground is to be pulled from under one’s feet . . . I believe that the difficulties at this point can hardly be overestimated. Once one has experienced the desperation with which clever and conciliatory men of science react to the demand for a change in the thought pattern, one can only be amazed that such revolutions in science have actually been possible at all. (in Zukav 1983, 211)


Yogananda, authoritarianism, Literature  

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

Kriyananda, Swami (Walters, James Donald). A Place Called Ananda. Rev. 2nd ed. Nevada City: Hansa Trust: 2001.

Nikhilananda, Swami. The Upanishads. Abr. ed. New York: Harper Torchbook, 1964.

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. Clear-headed.

Satyananda Saraswati, Swami. Early Teachings of Swami Satyananda Saraswati. Paperback ed. Bihar School Of Yoga, Munger, Bihar, India, 1988.

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

⸻. The Divine Romance. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2002.

⸻. Man's Eternal Quest. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1975.

Zukav, Gary. 1979. The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics. London: Rider.

Warnche, Carsten-Peter. Pablo Picasso 1881-1973. Edited by Ingo Walther. Vols 1-2. Cologne: Benedikt Taschen, 1995.


  1. Helen Goa. "Sex and the Singular Swami". The San Franscisco Weekly. 10 Marcdh 1999.
  2. Ananda Sangha. "The Fight For Religious Freedom: Ananda Wins 95% of the 12-Year Lawsuit Instigated by Self-Realization Fellowship" Nevada City, CA: Ananda Church of Self-Realization, 2011.

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

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