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Why All This?

Otto Neugebauer, the historian of ancient mathematics, told a story about the boy Einstein that he characterises as a "legend," but a legend that seems fairly authentic:

Albert Albert was a late talker, and it worried his parents. At last, at the supper table one night, he broke his silence to say, "The soup is too hot."

Greatly relieved, his parents asked why he had never said a word before.

Albert replied, "Because up to now everything was in order."

Self-Realization Fellowship, SRF, may not have thought about the value of not talking or writing anything by their guru Yogananda, even though he is quoted to say:

Yogananda Don't take my word for anything. . . . find out for yourselves. - Yogananda, in Dietz 1998

We find out for ourselves by applying ourselves, by thinking things over and by good meditation. Such things may help. But still, one and the same saying can be understood differently by different folks. For example, SRF has published lectures and dictated works by the swami Yogananda (1893–1952) - book after book. "Don't take my word for anything" might wisely ride above that. Instead of dropping just some Yogananda words we may one day go beyond (transcend) them all. That is much.

Yogananda on smiling -

Alfred E. Neuman
Your smile must spread . . . over the whole universe. (Yogananda, 1982:326).

If you feel that you can't smile, stand before a mirror and with your fingers pull your mouth into a smile. lt is that important! (Same work, p. 88)"

As it is said, "There's a right way to do it, a wrong way to do it, and the way they do it in the Army."

You may feel the universe is not all that big, or that there is a long way to go for a smile to spread over the universe. You could get awfully disappointed if your mouth-pulling smile-training merely stretches the skin of the mouth area only until you get ugly and disfigured, but with no smile that spreads over the whole universe from your face. After much of such training you may find too late it was plain wrong to end up as an extremely grinning Cheshire Cat - such a fellow.

Being forewarned counts a lot.

As for the long series of articles that follow in several collections and as single pages, if everything about Yogananda and his fellowship SRF had been in order (see quotations above), I might not have written many books and articles against getting hung up in SRF-edited Yogananda words and Yogananda-words edited by others as well.

"Not polyandric at all!"

Some who read that Yogananda said he had been the archer Arjuna in the old Mahabharata scripture of which the Bhagavad Gita is a part, may imagine that Yogananda was for polyandry, since Arjuna was a wife-sharer. He shared a wife with his four brothers. But after learning about Yogananda's no-sex guidelines, some could end up disappointed and burst out "But this is not polyandric at all!" [Yogananda on sex: A rude awakening].

The Mahabharata's Arjuna was a polyandric, a wife-sharer, and had wives on his own too: Krishna's sister Subhadra, Ulupi and Chitrangada are mentioned among Arjuna's wives in that epos. Other sources say Arjuna had eight wives in all.

In a Tamil retelling of the Mahabharata, Arjuna married eight women. One of them was Alli (Ali). She was a warrior woman who refused to marry him, but the infatuated Arjuna did not take no for a no. He sought Krishna's help and was turned into a snake, slipped into Alli's bed at night and frightened her to become his wife.

That is one of two versions of it, and none is found in the Mahabharata. [◦The names of many wives]

But the soul that became Yogananda refused to get married even when his own father entreated him. Yogananda wanted to be a monk instead. Those who try to find some reliable, red thread of consistency from one claimed past life to another claimed past life, may not find it. Better be warned. Also: Yogananda's teachings are not polyandric. In a talk he says unmarried people should have no sex, and married couples just a little [Yogananda-no to sex].

The forewarned may avoid serious disappointments
Better forewarned than ending up as a victim of false doctrine.

There may be other disappointments in store also, such as Yogananda's praise of Mussolini and dictatorship in the mid-1930s. The World War II made him stop that. That is not told so much of in SRF, and may be far worse than you think at first, for he also had an interest in Adolf Hitler, an Austrian. Many seem to associate the guru Yogananda with "Make love, not war", for his SRF has polished a public image of him as "love incarnate". Yet the SRF guru said he influenced Hitler to expand the World War II eastwards. Two book sources are here: (Kriyananda 2011:131 and 2004, no 289). Better get forewarned than soul-tied through gullible heed.

Yogananda Belief in a deceitful person . . . or a false doctrine seems to be a sheer wastage of man's good energy. - Yogananda (1997:304)

Belief could get you in trouble in Canada too. False doctrine is of less worth than seeing things well for oneself, according to Yogananda. Good schooling and good training often helps. Consider this an old friend's helping advice.

Benefits to grasp

Why look into things that are not all too pesky? One interesting aspect of it could benefit your brain functioning and health. To your health!

[A]ccording to new research, reading books might be vital to your health.

The study, which was conducted at the Yale University School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut, found that spending time immersed in a good book every day may be associated with living a longer life. . .

[T]he researchers came to the conclusion that a greater amount of time spent reading was strongly associated with a longer life. . . .

The people in the reading groups lived an average of two years longer than those in the non-reading group.

People who prefer to spend their time reading newspapers and magazines had a longevity benefit, but it was not as significant as that found in people who read books.

[T]his result adds to the findings of prior investigations . . . For instance, a 2013 study at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia found that reading an exciting novel may physically improve the function of your brain. It has also been linked with reducing stress and lowering the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

[From an article by Beth Levine, "Reading is Fundamental to Health." Baseline of Health 11 August 2016 [◦The whole article, with further references]


Yogananda, why and wherefore, SRF's Yogananda, Literature  

Dietz, Margaret Bowen. Thank You, Master. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 1998, "Master's Teachings"

Kriyananda, Swami. Conversations with Yogananda: Recorded, with Reflections, by His Disciple Swami Kriyananda. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2004, No. 189.

⸻ Paramhansa Yogananda: A Biography with Personal Reflections and Reminiscences. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2011.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. Journey to Self-realization: Discovering the Gift of the Soul. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1997.

Man's Eternal Quest. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1982.

Harvesting the hay

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

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