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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

TALE

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. Paramahansa Yogananda said:

Yogananda In the matter of likes and dislikes we are all crazy. - Yogananda (1982:425)

It is a crazy world. I see it so clearly. - Yogananda (2002:169)

I often say that we are all a little bit crazy and we don't know it, because people of the same craziness mix with their own kind. - Yogananda (2002:270)

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)

How could Yogananda know he was crazy without knowing it? Because he was crazy - that is an answer that stands to reason (above). In any case, when others who matter say "we", the proper attitude may be "Speak for yourself". By that we can avoid being goofed.

Picasso got millions also

As for Yogananda's foul taste of modernistic paintings, 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. 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 or worth millions and tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollars today -, were so often talked down on by clowns without class.

Grow decent suspicions to thrive by

If Ole of the joke had become a kriya yoga member of Self-Realization Fellowship before he died, could he meet SRF's founding guru in the beyond and in other lives on earth as well? Would the SRF guru be of any help then, or?

Here are some reasons to get awfully suspicious, for Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952), the founding guru of Self-Realization Fellowship, also said:

Paramahansa Yogananda teaching "There is only one guru uniquely the devotee's own. But if you turn away from the emissary of God, He silently asks: 'What is wrong with you, that you foolishly leave the one I have sent to help you learn the divine science of the soul? Now you shall have to wait long, and prove yourself, before I shall respond again.' He who cannot learn through the wisdom and love of his God-ordained guru will not find God in this life. Several incarnations at least must pass before he will have another such opportunity."

- Paramahansa Yogananda, Spring 1974 SRF magazine, p 6. From a talk at Mother Centre, 8/17/39

A supreme lesson?

It seems the runaway-inclined boy and youth that later became a monk called Yogananda, had control issues from his childhood and through his youth and training under the swami Yukteswar. Later in life, Yogananda hailed Mussolini and dictatorship. There might be a pattern there some way or other.

Yogananda told about his guru, Yukteswar: "He was a bit too tough in his ways." And 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)

A fearful child, that is. To have the mind of a terribly fearful child might lead to something untoward in time, after being "hammered into shape" through rebukes, humbling, metaphorical blows and flattening treatment for several formative years. It could lead the grateful fool to think that such treatment is all right and not offensive. Later in life he could end up an authoritarian if he was not so already. (Cf. Chap. 12 in Yogananda's Autobiography).

One quite scary result can be a grown-up's decadent views like, "The hard core of human egotism is hardly to be dislodged except rudely (Ibid)," "Kill the ego" and further teachings of such a sort.

Authoritarian, wrong control ways have origins. Some may lie deep in the individual, and should be told of fairly, for it matters to detect a budding dictator well before he gets into power, gold and prestige. Consider Mussolini (hanged), Hitler (killed himself) and many others. They wreaked much havoc. So let us beware much of dictatorship-hailing guys.

Well, in matters of psychoanalysis there are no hard facts, but suspicions, attitude tests, and maybe statistics pertaining to some of them. Thus, we cannot be careful enough when we start to mark the authoritarian streak - the careful guys do not submit. Then, what about those who first submit and later wake up a victim of authoritarian tomfoolery - more or less so? Hard to tell. Better be advised not to join any dictatorship-advocate, even after conventional adaptations later, for "the wolf may change his fur, but not his nature." And that inborn nature is what astrologers say they can find out of by the patterns in the sky at birth, and through projections from that again. It is true; such claims are found. But regrettably, there is astrology and astrology, astrologers and astrologers, and they do not teach the same things. Even so, the Swiss psychologist Dr Carl Gustav Jung says:

Jungian While studying astrology I have applied it to concrete cases . . . [D]angerous in the hands of a fool, . . . [i]s an apt tool only when used intelligently. - C. G. Jung (Letters, volume 2, 1951-1961, pages 463-464, letter to Robert L. Kroon, 15 November 1958.)

That is the point -

One reason to leave Yogananda could be: "He said he was crazy, and crazy folks may be dangerous to be around. It is often like that." Another reason: "Yogananda openly went for dictatorship. If you find out only after you have entered the fellowship he started, you could have been played on by all who hide such unpleasantries (skeletons in the closet) from you. If so, you have been unfairly led; up to swindled by guru and followers."

There may be a need to think through the "wait long" part of Yogananda's low control stance in the light of the Bhagavad Gita's teachings [Bhagavad Gita 2:40 etc.]. [Some more]

Undocumented, undocumented - beware. Not all tales are true

Fair and decent information gives a basis for straightforward opinions. Let them be mature and well informed. See how "several incarnations" is said by someone who told nobility-fancying followers such as:

  • Yogananda said he had been the ruthless killer William the Conqueror in a past life. He did not describe William as an unreliable, greedy and ruthless tyrant and wife-batterer, but historians do.
  • He said with a shiver he had been a vicious and murderous desert marauder in a past life, as recorded by his biographer. [Dasgupta 2006:112]
  • He claimed he had been Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. If so, he had been at least partially enlightened by Krishna as Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita's chap. 11 by a long shot, since the original Gita was shorter and probably did not include chapter 11 . . . If so, there was no chapter on the enlightenment of Arjuna in the original Bhagavad Gita. [More]
  • And he told he had been a successful lawyer in yet another life. He talks well of Mohandas Gandhi, who was a lawyer. Yogananda also says, "If one wants to be a lawyer, the best course is to seek out a good one and learn his methods, the ways in which he trained his mind to deal in legal matters." [Yogananda 2002:235).

⍽⍽⍽⍽

Now, every successful lawyers in the world has not been popular anyway. Observations and stabs blend:

"Woe unto 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]

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After his claimed enlightenment as Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita (Chap. 11), the soul (jiva) of Arjuna ended up falling and falling short at documenting past lives all right also - Fair proof that Yogananda got it right when he told of past lives may not be found. That seems to be another snag.

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).

Yogananda In my dreams of earth life I was born many times. And never have I died, though many times I dreamed the death of my body in this dream world. In this one incarnation I can sleep and dream that I am born in England as a powerful king. Then I die and dream I am born a devout man. And then I die again and am born as a successful lawyer. Again I die and am reborn as Yogananda. But they are all dreams. That is what I am saying. I used to find such pleasure in discovering my past incarnations. But that has lost its enchantment. They are just so many dreams. . . . this world is His dream. - Yogananda, in The Divine Romance, 2002:169.

Then what 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, for example? It could happen, according to sayings of gurus and rishis. Such a plot or turn might turn ugly for Yogananda's loyalty-sworn followers, or what?

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"

In SRF they say in an ashram (closed community for monastics and novices) that those who live there have "at least been pharaohs". Boasts of oneself by assumed former lives - or be boasted up by them - are not ideal, but blunt denials without a shred of proper evidence are not good either. To leave good space for "I don't recall" or "I don't recall it all," if that seems fit, could help.

Speaking of kings of ancient Egypt, 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 even plundered his grave. It is an imperfect world.

Yogananda in hot water in Miami i 1928

It is a world where Yogananda once got 25 dollars from about 200 Miami women each to learn intricacies of his love cult. Wealthy women were taught "how to love". Angry husbands in Miami did not like Yogananda touching their wives in private sessions, and threatened him with violence and asked the police to arrest him or get him out of town.

"I'm ordering you out of town to satisfy a horde of protests against your activities and save you from a repetition of what happened to you in Los Angeles, when an irate husband handed you one on the nose," Chief Quigg said, but Yogananda's nose did not seem hurt.

The Swami stared fixedly across the desk at the beginning of the interview, seemingly intent upon hypnotizing Quigg.

"Cut that out," snapped the chief, "and listen to me!"

Later the police came and placed themselves with tear gas bombs in their hands outside the hall where Yogananda was scheduled to deliver an address. The meeting was called off.

"There won't be any more lectures," said the police chief.

Yogananda left town embarrassed. [◦Miami Daily News Evidence]

An imperfect world -

A lion woman A woman who entered a hospital for nervous and mental diseases, had refused to eat unless the food assuredly had come in contact with the swami. The woman imagined she was a lion, and tried to roar and act as a lion does. For the swami had told she was a lion and held Miami in his grasp.

Yogananda said the woman had come to him for sleepwalking. [◦Documentation]

Traces abound

At least traces of these lion teachings are seen in Yogananda's book Whispers from Eternity and elsewhere.

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 they are unreal is like "You mean nothing to me!" and so on. Is Yogananda menacing or not? SRF contains a farcical mental universe - body of teachings - to tackle as you accept the guru's repeated words: It is all unreal, quite like a movie. Fair evidence is not found so easily there. Hearsay and rumours and strange feelings abound, though.

Further reading: [Link].

From a Belgian overview of movements

The Justice Commission of the Belgian House of Representatives set up a parliamentary inquiry commission to work out a policy against cults. On April 28, 1997, the parliamentary commission issued a rather long report with a list of 189 movements, but without saying all of them were necessarily cults. [◦Paramahansa Yogananda and Self-Realization Fellowship are both listed in the Belgian governmental report].

About Yogananda and Arjuna

YOGANANDA Durga Ma (born Florina Alberta Dufour, 1903-93) was a happy woman disciple of Yogananda. One day in 1951 Yogananda said to her: "I remember you had asked me years ago if I was Arjuna." She exclaimed, "You were Arjuna." He smiled his, "Yes." She then asked him if Rajasi [Yogananda's successor as head of SRF] was with him at that time. He answered, "Yes, he was one of the twins, . . . Nakula. He was my favorite brother . . . Krishna was my guru and Babaji, being Krishna, is still my guru."

She then asked him if she was also with him at that time. He looked at her and said, "Sure, you were. . . ."

[Durga Mata. A Paramhansa Yogananda Trilogy of Divine Love, "My Life and Service to My Guru," Beverley Hills, CA: Joan Wight Publications, 1992/93 and 1997, p. 54.]

Ask before duping sets in: "Where is the evidence of all that?" Lots of people believe too easily to their own future harm. Some get the worst of their cult memberships as well.

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Much May Worsen in Time through Dogmatic Beliefs

YOGANANDA We should seek the society of superior men - those who tell us the truth and help us to improve ourselves. - Yogananda 1982:100)

Flatterers do not help us. Yogananda (1982:100) [Cf. More quotes on criticism and flattery by Yogananda]

Some of that unlucky band pay mostly lip service perhaps, for example as to Yogananda's endorsements of Mussolini, dictatorship, socialism, and the hoax book about Jesus in Tibet. Or to a poem where he likens himself to a jasmine bush that is cut down with an axe.

YOGANANDA Just as a jasmine vine fails not to shed its flowers on the hands administering axe-blows at its roots, so do Thou teach me not to deny the showering blossoms of forgiveness and help over those who cut me.

  - Paramahansa Yogananda, Whispers from Eternity.

Everyone ought to put some faith in the value of their own good conduct, and there is a place for proper self-defence, by all means. Stupid non-violence that helps bad guys to go on and win the day, is passively helping them on and up.

"Our best friends are those who criticise us the most . . . who never condone our faults," is one of Yogananda's sayings. SRF has said they find no fault with his guidelines, and that his wisdom is faultless. A dogmatic attitude like that is a hallmark of a sect. You do well to consider the evidence without too much prejudice to fail by.

A Cultish Country

There may be about 5,000 cults in the United States, writes Margaret Singer in Cults in Our Midst (2003:xvii). Other estimates are within the range of a thousand to five thousands.

Yogananda's organisation, Self-Realization Fellowship Church, has been described by former members as a sect, or a cult. The former editor of Yogananda's autobiography, Tara Mata (Laurie Pratt), once sent a letter to the SRF vice-president Kriyananda. It was some twenty or thirty pages long, written and signed by her. He was accused of deceitfulness and "crafty guile . . . Your scheme was to split the work and set yourself up as the new guru in India." The wole letter was "vitriolic, accusatory, and utterly damning," he writes.

He pleaded, "Please don't misjudge my motives." He got an angry reply:

Shame on you for trying to justify your actions, first, and now your motives. Master never let us try to justify ourselves. . . . You are a traitor to your guru . . . so unbelievably presumptuous . . . Your delusions of grandeur have inflated your ego to the point where your head is likely to burst. . . .

You told [India's Prime Minister, Jawaharlal] Nehru we aren't a sect. I admit Master said we aren't one. Well, we are a sect.

And now you say you're tired. No true disciple would ever admit he's tired. Sometimes Master worked us to the limit of our strength, but he never let us say, 'I'm tired.' (Kriyananda, in A Place Called Ananda, 2001, ch. 14, abr. Highlighting added).

Kriyananda explains further: "Again, this is only a paraphrase. Tara's answer was much longer, and much more vitriolic (caustic)." (Ibid.) In addition, what he writes has been much filtered here too. It means Tara Mata was lacking in politeness.

From what Kriyananda writes, he was horribly humiliated and badly treated, and later dismissed, in 1962. Some years afterwards, in 1968, Kriyananda established Ananda Village as a World Brotherhood Colony on 160,000 m2 of land near Nevada City, California. He later founded many more retreat centres. In 2017 there were over 125 Ananda Meditation groups in 19 countries, and all of them were inspired in one way or another by Kriyananda.

When we try to find out what happened in those very closed circles, we may judge trees by their fruits. Kriyananda is known for more than his sex life: they write well of him and his influence in Ananda. Even the good attorney Jon Parsons (2012) thinks very well of him after representing him and Ananda through a twelve long year feud with SRF.

As for SRF, it could have been marked by avoidance behaviour, and then great conflicts. For example, between 2000 and 2005, fifty of its monastics left the SRF premises. They were about one third of all SRF monastics, according to Jon Parsons (2012:170). Besides, the SRF leader back then, Daya Mata, shied away from the SRF headquarters: for thirty years she and her sister had lived away from there in a villa with a mountain view. It was unknown to the other monastics that their leader preferred to live where they were not.

Thus, two different climates, or "fruits", may be glimpsed:

  1. Participative: Expansive too.
  2. Maternalistic: Marked by leadership, and may have conflicts seething "under lid". May create "nuts", whether we like it or not.

Management has several functions: to control, nourish, protect, support, educate and motivate are some. The form of management where motivation is stressed, may call for participative involvement. Where control and obedience and humility is stressed, as in a monastic setting, the management style is more top-down, often rigorous, demanding, and not too liberating. It could be good for you to know which is which - Lola Williamson offers meat on the bones of the SRF fare:

A labyrinth of difficulties beset the organization. Some people could not even sit in the same room with others because there was so much bad feeling. . . . SRF hire[d] outside communication and organizational consultants to offer advice on how to handle the situation. They also suggested that SRF hire counselors and psychologists to deal with the festering psychological problems that some of the monastics seemed to be experiencing. Two new committees . . . were formed to execute the suggestions made by the consultants. This was the beginning of a split among the monks and nuns who resided at the Mother Center. Some viewed the promise of change with exhilaration and hope; and some viewed it with fear. The end result was that a large number of monastics left SRF from about 2000 to 2001. Due to the entrenched resistance to change, the communication consultants were let go, the existing committee members replaced by others content with the status quo, and the psychologists relieved of their duties. It may be that so many people needed to talk to the counselors that the leadership became fearful of losing control. They reverted to the old style of dealing with problems, which, as the SRF catchphrase goes, is to "take it to your altar:' (Williamson 2010:76) [More]

Sailendra Dasgupta mentions splinter groups in the Yogananda biography (2006:108) and that SRF's "power and influence have greatly diminished over the years . . . because of the lack of an appropriate successor." (2006:109).

So, Yogananda spin-off groups have appeared after the guru's death. Two of them are Ananda Sangha and Sunburst (Solar Logos), founded by Kriyananda (aka. James Donald Walters) and Norman Paulsen, respectively. That they stem from disciples of Yogananda, does not mean these spin-offs are cults. Or if they look like cults, they may not be bad cults, or dangerous and insane.

  • One scenario may start with the founding of YSS (Yogoda Satsanga Society) in India in 1917. Its founder was a Yukteswar, Hindu monk and guru of Yogananda.

  • Its American associate, Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), was founded in 1920 by Yogananda when he lived in Boston. In 1925 a Los Angeles hotel was bought to serve as a headquarters. In 1935 the founder made the fellowship a registered church. The guru's monastic order from the early 1930s went into it. Monks and nuns of the SRF Order who take their final renunciant vows, thereby become members of the old Hindu Swami Order that their guru belonged to. Thus, SRF is headed by Hindu nuns and monks. The guru founder died in 1952. YSS and SRF form a dual organisation. There are members and groups in over 50 countries. They publish frilly books and so on.

  • Small spin off groups were formed when former helpers of Yogananda broke with him and started on their own in various ways, and early, direct disciples of Yogananda were allowed by the guru to start groups as well. Many spin-offs appeared after the guru's demise. Sunburst (formerly Solar Logos), founded by the late Norman Paulsen, is one derivate.

  • 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.

    What is more, "Membership in Ananda involves the progressive commitment of one's autonomy and financial resources to the church." A vow is used to that end [1].

    Ananda and Crystal Clarity publish many books, vidoes, casettes, etc. too, in part in competition with SRF. There was a long-standing legal feud among the two 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].

    Some of Kriyananda's works are online at Ananda, and there are books that can be bought.

  • Other teachers and organisations in the Babaji line spread kriya and books on kriya too. There is quite a number of them already.

Kriya teachings without any SRF gurus: The Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School teaches a kind of tested kriya yoga and publishes books. The School is the name of a group of teachers who run several independent schools in Scandinavia and Germany. The School is free of any commercial, political or religious interest. The Danish yogi Swami Janakananda founded the School in Copenhagen in 1970 as a non-profit organization. A significant element in the school is a thorough-going yoga teacher education.

The Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School is an independent offshoot of Satyananda Yoga. Swami Satyananda was a disciple of Swami Sivananda, who started Divine Life Mission. 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 without guru-given bonds. Now, the central part of kriya yoga is a well known, public pranayama method that is called ujjayi. It is very easy to do it.

Sects and Widespread Humbug

It takes two to tango (Proverb)

A sect is a group adhering to a distinctive doctrine or to a leader. A cult is a group adhering to religious beliefs and ritual; maybe of a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious. Members are often required to show great devotion to some person, idea, object, movement, or work. A cult is usually a minor group of people characterized by such devotion. 'Cult' and 'sect' are often so similar that one has trouble in discerning between the two. [Merriam-Webster Dictionary]

There are sects in many religions, and in some cases they may complement one another. For example, in the Zen school, which has had lasting influence on the cultural life of Japan, there are different methods recommended in the various sects, such as Soto, Rinsai, and Obaku. And in modern Japan, Zen sects and subsects claim some 9,600,000 adherents. [EB "Zen"]

In Hinduism too there are many sects. Hinduism itself consists mostly of sects, in fact. Vallabha's Vishnu-worshipping sect with its emphasis on erotic imagery, stresses absolute obedience to the guru. Many of the sect's senior monks got very rich . . . In the intensely emotional Caitanya sect, where Krishna is worshipped, legends of Krishna and his youthful beloved, Radha, are in the middle of cultish, devotional self-surrender.

Without followers there would be no cult or sect. Sect leaders and their followers form the sect web together, so not only leaders are involved in it and are to blame, believe it or not. "It takes two to tango": There are complementary roles to battle with, and that is a rich field of study.

Young students may suffer from insecurity - and besides, gullibility is wide-spread. It could well be that secretly and overtly insecure young folks - at first duped or taken in somehow - later develop neuroses as paying sect members. Deep neuroses may support the deviant structures of some closed group. They may even feel guilty and truant for leaving an abusive sect and master behind. Time and again media have disclosed that a fair amount of cultish leaders go for money (wealth), power (influence), and sex (animal fulfilments), - it is in part due to narcissism. It has shown up in time in a lot of scandals. By such signs many charismatic fellows have been detected, maybe after many years.

This does not suggest that wealth and pleasures are not good. One should assimilate the basics of Buddhist living, where wealth is fit and used for noble purposes. Compare the four basic goals of life in Hinduism - of getting wealth and pleasures with due righteousness, and try not to get entangled and increase one's degrees of freedoms too - so as not to create failures and neurotics. In Sanskrit the four life aims are termed artha (wealth), kama (pleasures), dharma (righteousness); and moksha (freedom).

Tense cults tend to look like sects as they "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). That is a problem.

Zimbardo holds that the large society needs to be made nicer and fit for thriving. 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 -

To combat sects on the Internet, try to submit evidence and do not fail to be very articulate and polished - even polite - to save yourself some trouble. But be forewarned that not all opponents play fairly. So guard yourself too, preferably beforehand.

I think loving oneself is a first priority to anybody who says God is in himself or herself, or that the Self is what is worth striving for. It is 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]

A sect consists of perhaps self-loving, narcissistic followers who want to get things from the leaders. If the followers do not get all they strive for, they can be awfully disappointed and take to acting against being followers, against former leaders, and may not know what to do too.

Leaders that once were followers may not change either. By the way, similar things happen in the sciences when new basic ways of perceiving and thinking appear and challenge the status quo - things often stiffen with time. Not only limbs do that. [Thd 211].

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Spin-off from a Big Walrus Study

In the following a technique of creating mental distancing or space to the SRF guru and his church is employed. Folly may surface more easily by such means, but there is no guarantee it will. Distancing is frequently used in cartoons, even fables. Distance-making techniques of various sorts can help humans deal with difficult topics and hence get it better, better, especially if forewarned. An example of distancing is when fable animals portray humans and speak like humans too.

Forewarnings are coming. The content is in part in the form of abstracts, and many pen names are changed further, mostly for the fun of it - and you may probably realise who Sir Alf and his QUAG in the mire of the world are:

LoNow kriya is more than loosely associated with the church of QUAG

ALL MY life I thought Sir Alf was my Alf and I was involved in QUAG - Sir Alf's Church of Alf-Realization - on many levels. Since leaving 5 years ago, removing everything associated with QUAG from my home, and not returning to the temples, I no longer feel anything for or from Sir Alf. So, can it be said that I left him or he left me? [D. E. Cadent (6/9/04 7:55 pm)].

QUAG gives kriya only to the rules that limited human conditions, and it will kill the spirit of QUAG.

QUAG are trying to build their own church, the only way church – Isn't it so? - Somehow there is a big kink here – Two different intiations makes perfect sense. It may be why Sir Alf gave [some of his followers] the OK to give Kriya - QUAG even goes so far as to say the Blessings can't be in the "Other" Kriya, because they are outside the org! [troyfel (6/8/04 10:04 pm)].

Sir Alf had more than one teacher. And visited many teachers - It was good enough for Sir Alf. [juiceyum (5/15/02 1:14 pm)].

I took kriya, with a "vow," - While it shouldn't bother me, it still kind of does. [Rhapsody (5/15/02 2:35 pm)]. (2)

Sir Alf have resonated through my life.

Sir Alf offers guidance and love to all - that makes the troubles at QUAG sadder somehow.

I felt there was something unnaturally rigid about QUAG that kept me at a distance. It has been interesting to have that confirmed [Ice Chimes (6/6/04 10:10 am)].

LoEarlier, Kriya was not made conditional on any kind of cult membership

I AM BLESSED to have Sir Alf's friendship.

As the result of a "big dream" I had this year, (after mentally severing my QUAG membership), I am deeply convinced that Sir Alf's friendship is given regardless - Can he be my Sir Alf if I believe so little of what he (apparently) taught? - he was not too concerned about that either - gave kriya to a sceptical scientist-type, saying " - Try kriya and find out for yourself."

Kriya was not made conditional on any kind of church membership until 1960.

I think - that QUAG started down it's slippery slope in changing - They probably had good intentions (the kind the road to hell is paved with) - Combine that with threats. [Damor (6/7/04)]. (4)

Sir Alf said that Hahihi stands in for all kriya yoga disciples and give's them initiation whether they know it our not [taokqumm (6/9/04 7:07 am)].

QUAG make you feel that loyalty to QUAG is the same thing as Sir Alf-loyality - and leads to some of the weirdness - QUAG are a cult and use Sir Alf as the draw. [Hsss (1/17/02 7:12 am)].

I believe the kriya initiation to be the entry into a teacher/disciple relationship with Sir Alf - an advanced disciple can also stand in as proxy for the Alf. [Lotto (6/7/04 11:41 pm)].

LoThe guru-given prospect of a lifetimes sentence if you quit, really exists.

THERE are all kinds of rumours (I guess they're rumours) [however, they come from the lips of Alf] about how if you give up doing kriya you won't have the chance again for this "higher" technique for another x amount of lifetimes.

It has felt awkward to seek other teachings or paths to help myself, because of the feeling that I get that I am doing something wrong. [ladygodiva (5/14/02 1:21 pm)]. (5)

"Who wants to know if So-and-so is Really her Alf?" [prantee (1/1/04 1:51 am)].

Summary: On the Wrong Track

A BEWARE ICON
Beware.
  1. SRF's kriya yoga is not the only sort of kriya around. SRF has caused many to fall.
  2. It may be far better to stay away from a kriya or kriya line of gurus that make kriya conditional on cult membership, especially if you like the hovering freedom you have.
  3. The sordid prospect of a lifetimes' "sentence" if you leave Yogananda, exists (see top of the page).

Contents


SRF Walrus Study, Literature  

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

EB: Encyclopaedia Britannica, see Britannica Online.

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.

Singer, Margaret Thaler. Cults in Our Midst.. Rev ed. San Franscisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003.

Williamson, Lola. Transcendent in America: Hindu-Inspired Meditation Movements as New Religion. London: New York University Press, 2010.

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.

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

Notes

  1. Helen Goa. "Sex and the Singular Swami". The San Franscisco Weekly. 10 Marcdh 1999.
    www.rickross.com/reference/ananda/ananda1.html
  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.
    www.ananda.org/news/self-realization-fellowship.html


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