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An Organisation, a Hornet's Nest?

Yogananda meant an organisation was "a hornet's nest" of troubles (Autobiography, Chap. 27) Then he started one. What did he find?

Yogananda I have done such a horrible act like eating feces by starting an organization."

I see organization is the source of much disharmony. . . .
I feel extremely tired of organization and devoid of enthusiasm. [◦More at Sanskrit Classics].

The first citation above is still in view on that site, but the second is not (It is in the page's source file, though (April 2017). An intact copy of the last part above is still around. So: "No documentation problem so far."

It might pay to be alerted to good and bad things about a sect before being enticed to enter, getting sworn in and then want to leave after a while.


About fifty years after Yogananda's passing, SRF was not a peaceful haven. Lola Williamson writes:

SRF is hierarchical in its approach with the Board [of management] essentially controlling the decision-making process. Former disgruntled members of SRF credit this top-down mentality with creating an unhealthy organization. (Williamson 2010:75)

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) [Still more]

"Between 2000 and 2005 more than fifty monks and nuns are reported to have left the organization," writes attorney Jon Parsons (2012:170). More or less enervated ex monastics and others with them contributed to a large discussion board online, the SRF Walrus. It has folded in by now, but a backup from 2006 exists. [SRF Walrus Backup]

The Positive Angling

Learn wisdom by the follies of others (American proverb, Mieder et al 1996:366].

If not, there could be cognitive therapy to try, or something else to go for, as when "A person looking over his life might experience sadness at the wasted opportunities." (Neenan and Dryden 2004:11).

An organisation should ideally nurture winning activity and cater to (some) higher truths without nonsense. If solid and well founded, it could nurse future leaders. This outlook conforms with the old Vedic student ashrama (life stage) too, and spiritual ashrams headed by a kind, loving gurudev. Perhaps five to seven percent of the essential content of Yogananda's oratorials may work well if carefully assembled. We have to consider its transfer value, for he usually spoke without much planning. A previous SRF leader, Daya Mata, explains:

The Master seldom made even the slightest preparation for his lectures; if he prepared anything at all, it might consist of a factual note or two, hastily jotted down. Very often, while riding in the car on the way to the temple, he would casually ask one of us: "What is my subject today?" He would put his mind on it, and then give the lecture extemporaneously. . . . Regardless of the "subject for today". Sometimes, while he was lecturing . . . he would momentarily forget the audience. (Daya Mata, Preface. Man's Eternal Quest, 1982:xi-xii)

That is being casual and more than that. We ought to find alteratives to chatting our lives away.


Divine Mother, Maturity, Biology, Yogananda, Literature  

Mieder, Wolfgang (main ed.), Stewart A. Kingsbury, and Kelsie E. Harder: A Dictionary of American Proverbs. (Paperback) New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Neenan, Michael, and Windy Dryden. Cognitive Therapy: 100 Key Points. Hove, East Sussex: Brunner-Routledge, 2004.

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.

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

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

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