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Yogananda sayings, and here is Manet. The Absinthe Drinker. 1858-9. Modified detail.
In 1925, Yogananda followers got him a run-down hotel in Los Angeles for his headquarters. He did not own it. However: "Everyday people looked at him basically as a wealthy man worth hundreds of thousands of dollars." (Dasgupta 2007, 46)

Yogananda Fighting Nervousness

Those whom wisdom satisfies
Don't fall beneath the power of craving.

The vile are overcome by pleasure
The greedy are not satisfied

Buddhas understand that even a heap of gold
As big as a high snow mountain
Cannot satisfy even one person

A wise person is like a silversmith
And gradually, step by step,
refines and purifies the mind.

- The Tibetan Dhammapada 2.5-19, passim. (Sparham 1986)

Yogananda fighting nervousness The wisdom the Dhammapada talks of, is innate, also known as jhana (gyana, jnana), or gnosis, insight, a higher awareness.

The guru Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) was a Hindu emissary who came by boat to Boston in September 1920 and got a Rosicrucian for a follower there at Christmas Eve that year.

In 1925, with the help of friends, Yogananda had got a worn hotel with eighteen rooms on a hilltop in Los Angeles for his group's headquarters. It still exists. Yogananda did not own any US property, for he was not a US citizen. There are stories about how very hard it was for him to keep it in times of trouble as well (Dasgupta 2006, 58-59).

The ownership further changed in 1935 when Yogananda left the States and thereby avoided being dragged to court for not paying back money he attestedly owed a previous fellow-worker, Dhirananda. But the hotel remained the fellowship's headquarters with its new owners.

In late 1935 his hitherto unregistered fellowship - which had been presented by several names earlier, such as Sat-Sanga - was registered as a church in the state of California. The name: Self-Realization Fellowship Church (SRF). [◦The SRF charter of 1935]. Its article 2 a, b, and c shows that what was put first in the church he set up, was property and real estate, and also to borrow and lend money, besides getting and having assets is what many businesses go for also.

Yogananda got quite a following after 1925. Marshall Govindam:

After five years of effort in America, beginning in 1925 . . . Yogananda began to modify and adapt his teachings to the West . . . to overcome the . . . resistance of Christians who were suspicious of the foreign teachings of a Hindu swami. As a result, Yogananda began to enjoy remarkable popularity. . . . However, . . . most readers of his "Autobiography" . . . are left with many unrealistic expectations. - Marshall Govindam. [◦Link]

Elliot Miller explains further:

Although SRF's attempts to promote unity between Hinduism and Christianity appear commendable on the surface, such a goal can be achieved only by subtly glossing over significant, irreconcilable differences between the two. In the end, we find Hinduism unscathed by the transaction, while Christianity becomes stripped of its defining and distinguishing characteristics. [Elliot Miller. Swami Yogananda and the Self-Realization Fellowship: A Successful Hindu Countermission to the West. [◦More]

Here is meat on the bones: [Yogananda's uncommon teology].

Words from the Hindu swami mouth flowed and were in need of being edited. He got people to help him. One of them was a long-time friend in Inida, Dhirananda. Yogananda sent for him. Dhirananda worked a lot, and after some years wanted money for his work, and took Yogananda to court in California to get a sum that Yogananda had signed he owed him, but had not paid. Yogananda brought money charges against Dhirananda instead. They were shown to be false and untrue, and Dhirananda won his case. But did he get his money? There was nothing left for him after his lawyer had got his pay.

Several women helped Yogananda later on. Two were of Mormon upbringing. They became stenographers and editors along with the editor-in-chief, the woman Tara Mata. One of the Mormon girls was about fourteen when she joined in, and the other was seventeen.

When full-grown and becoming swami-nuns, such women stenographed and edited many Yogananda phrases. Decades after Yogananda died of a heart attack at a banquet in Los Angeles at the age of 59, they might have got funny ideas into their heads. A sacked SRF vice president. Kriyananda, reveals from a court case that the long-time SRF leader Daya Mata (who had joined at seventeen), in her eighties

signed a declaration, under oath, that Autobiography of a Yogi had not been written by Yogananda himself, but by a committee! [and, further, that] he had written Autobiography of a Yogi as a "work for hire."

The judge himself was not impressed by these outrageous assertions. In open court he asked SRF's legal representatives, "Are you saying that your guru was only an employee of yours, and had to do exactly as you, his own disciples, commanded him?" [◦From Yogananda for the World, Chap. 16]

Yogananda wrote his influential autobiography with the help of at least three American woman devotees, the sisters Lucy Virginia Wright (Ananda Mata) and Rachel Faye Wright (Daya Mata) - and Laurie Pratt (Tara Mata), writes a fellow nun of theirs in a book (Durga 1992/93, 151).

Slapstick or Not, That's the Question

Realize that all power to think "We are incompatible and tire of each other and even the size of limes" comes from God and may cause nervousness.

The sayings below are gathered from Yogananda's article "Super-Method Of Overcoming Nervousness." It was published in the magazine East West in November, 1932. The text from here and till the summary consists of Yogananda quotations. Apart from headings, nothing is added, but the order og the quotations is rearranged. Such sifted Yogananda selections appear according to this matrix: [Link].


LoOn tiring of each other and the size of limes

IN THE body factory, the brain is the main dynamo which sends energy through a complicated system of special conductors, or nerves, to the different organs and members, which in turn act as the machines to produce vision, touch, hearing, taste, smell, movement, metabolism, circulation, breathing, and thought. You are the manager of your own body factory.

A soothing drink made of fresh limes . . . : To one glass of water, add the juice of one-quarter of a fresh lime and about a tablespoonful of sugar. Stir thoroughly, and add a little crushed ice. It is difficult to give exact measurements because of the difference in the size of limes, but it should not taste at all like the ordinary limeade, bought at soda fountains. This is far too strong. This drink should be blended so that the sweetness and sourness are equal, and you cannot distinguish which you are tasting. Ground rock candy is even better than sugar, but do not use honey. If properly blended, every nerve will feel calm. Sip two or three glasses. If you have too much lime or too much sugar, it will not produce the result. The blending must be equal.

Lack of the necessities for normal and happy living, such as proper exercise, fresh air, sunshine, right food, agreeable work, and a purpose in life, aggravate, if they do not actually cause, a condition of nervousness . . . too great a stimulation upsets the functioning of the nervous system.

People tire of each other unless they have the Divine attitude in which the soul is constantly filled with the joy of God.

If you are nervous, you cannot meditate deeply and thus acquire peace and wisdom.

LoRealize that all power to think "we are incompatible" come from God

REFORM yourself. That is where your greatest problem lies.

[Yet:] It is difficult for married people who are incompatible to have to live in the same house. Either one or both are likely to develop nervousness.

People attend churches . . . They find only empty words.

Realize that all power to think, to speak, and to act, comes from God, and that He is with you now, guiding and inspiring you.

The particular disturbance of equilibrium which we call nervousness, may be caused by great and continuous excitement.

LoLet God flow through you till you are dead

FEAR AND worry are very closely connected . . . a calm analysis of the cause will usually remove worry.

A real holy man acts as a raft to carry you through suffering.

Sometimes the power of God comes like an ocean, and surges through your Being in great boundless waves, sweeping away all obstacles. ✪ 

Let God flow through you, and you will have all the power you need.

There is nothing to fear, because as long as you are not dead you are alive, and when you are dead, it is over . . .

In Short

  1. On tiring of each other and the size of limes and soda fountain plots, if any;
  2. Realize that all power to think "we are incompatible" comes from God.
  3. Next, let God flow through you till you die.
Simple adages

Remember to get tired of massing "I am a victim of largely non-essential and immoderate goadings" too.

Don't Give up Trying to Understand

Talking is cheap, people follow like sheep. - The Tremeloes from "Silence is Golden".

You have to take care what you fill your mind with, and interpret it reasonably. Once we study Yogananda's changed and conflicting teachings in the light of his adaptations to his American audience - his fame-givers - we could get alerted to reasons why his teachings drifted and changed in time. An enlarged perspective tends to carry such boons with it, including the boon of not being ensnared by many of his herding words either.

We should not give up in trying to understand the guru who decrees, "Sincerity will save you." Also, "The greatest blessing would be to develop international understanding by which we may realize this truth . . . If we can learn to understand others . . . we begin to express the perfect image of God within us . . . (Yogananda 1993:351)."

Will sincerity actually save you? Is it saved from, saved to, or something better (Nuances are often important)? Is it saved completely, saved a lot, or a bit (Gradations can be of service too)? And maybe you know under which circumstances it could be helpful. Suppose a former vicious marauder sincerly says, "Yes, I have killed some," (see Dasgupta 2006:111-12) is that what it takes to save him? From what? All the way? What if he was saved (liberated) in a former life and robbed and murdered others in lives after that? [Yogananda's former lives]

Do you really think sincerity is all it takes? And why guess Yogananda is true to his word on sincerity on your behalf when that old marauder (according to his biography [Psy 111-12) fails to be consistent?

You probably function better if you try not to trust in isolated, fine-sounding phrases, and instead learn to inspect them [Kalama Sutta]. To such worthy ends we have such as Lasswell's formula and Kipling's "six serving-men," the interrogative pronouns who, what, where, when, why, and how. For your own sake, check a statement by seeking proper answers to these pronouns, and focus on whichever of them that seems most interesting, fruitful, relevant, valid, and tidy.

A variant of Harold Lasswell's communication formula is

Who says what to whom along which channels, with what intent, with what effects?" Add if you will, "Who profits, and where does the money go?

If you wisely seek the most likely tentative answers in such veins, you could benefit.


Paramahansa Yogananda on fighting nervousness, Literature  

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

Durga Mata. A Paramhansa Yogananda Trilogy of Divine Love. Beverly Hills, CA: Joan Wight Publications, 1992/93.

Kriyananda, Swami. Yogananda for the World. Rev. ed. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2012. Also online.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Divine Romance. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1993.

Harvesting the hay

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

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