Could I see a princely man, that would satisfy me. - Confucius (in Giles 1998:61)
It is not wise to believe everything you are told. Keep an eye to strange bedfellows also. The guru Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) writes:
The Mahavatar [Babaji] is in constant communion with Christ; together they send out vibrations of redemption, and have planned the spiritual technique of salvation for this age. The work of these two fully-illumined masters – one with the body, and one without it – is to inspire the nations to forsake [such as] sectarianism.
"One does not praise a thoroughbred horse for its physical strength, but rather for its character," says Kongzi (Slinderland 2003:167) - Yogananda and Babaji have something in common with Freemasons, in that for entering the circles, one has to swear obedience or loyalty to a much secretive leader - without firsthand knowledge of that one. Who is the Babaji that the Americanised guru Yogananda tells of? Much Babaji-information is gathered here: [More on Babaji]
Yogananda said he came to the United States as Babaji's emissary, taught yoga classes and founded his own church in sunny California in late March 1935. The church is called Self-Realization Fellowship. The hybrid church mingles Christianity and Yogananda's forms of Hinduism as he saw it fit, and has its own monastic order to operate it and not find fault with Yogananda's many bad guidelines, but say his wisdom is faultless. They dogmatise.
Yogananda further tells that Babaji asked him to "interpret the Christian Bible and the Hindu Bible [Bhagavad Gita], to point out the basic unity of the Christian and the Vedic scriptures. He sent me to the West to fulfil that mission." (Self-Realization Fellowship 1957:20)
A saying: "There is a right way of doing a thing, a wrong way, and how they do it in the Army."
A Gordian knot: The God of the Bible is a hater or sinners, according to the Bible, and Brahman (God) of the Bhagavad Gita is said to hate none.
Another and another Gordian knot: The God of the Bible is corrupt as measured by normal, human standards. He has instituted slavery, the use of scapegoating of innocents regularly, and further - those who are drawn to Jesus are ill somehow; Jesus says only ill ones need him, and healthy ones do not need him (Mark 2:17; cf. Matthew 9:12-13).
Better stay away from what hurts our inner beings. Some kinds of harm are subtler than the daily awareness manages to perceive, though [Link].
It might pay to steer clear of bosses of vicious and harmful practices and ridicule. We could fare better if we were made aware and not duped and indoctrinated in the first place [More].
The Master said, "Look at the means a man employs, observe the basis from which he acts . . . Where can he hide? Where can he hide?" (Confucius, in Slinderland 2003:11)
KrishnaMuch in the Bhagavad Gita and the Uddhava Gita is said to be said by Sri Krishna -
However, the Bhagavad Gita went through centuries of gestation, and perhaps 615 of its 700 verses are later additions [Dr Simha on the Post-Vedic Bhagavad Gita]. Source inspections are called for, then. The same goes for Bible material: much has been edited there, and many passages are added by forgeries. [Dr Bart D. Ehrman on Bible forgeries and the like]
This means it should be better to be studied that a victim of wrong beliefs.
Yogananda and other disciples of Babaji say the soul is eternal and cannot be destroyed. Jesus holds another opinion of that in Matthew 10:28, saying the soul can be destroyed in hell.
"A man is known by the company he keeps." That is not always as true as can be. It is often quite misleading! Confucius:
Just because someone is able to learn with you does not necessarily mean that they can travel the Way in your company; just because they can travel the Way in your company does not necessarily mean that they can take their place alongside you; just because they can take their place alongside you does not necessarily mean that they can join you in employing discretion. (Analects, 9:30, in Slingerland 2003:96)
Yogananda says Babaji is in constant communion with Jesus. Where does that come from? There is no way it is biblical. What does all of that necessarily mean? One might wonder. Vigilance is good, while getting opinionated is a step toward being indoctrinated: the spiritually or mentally unsound may think it is best to mass in a flock of beasts, not sound men and women.
For example, in the Old Testament, Yahweh likens himself to a shepherd and his chosen ones his sheep. Sheep, they walk on all four and are herded to be sheared and later slaughtered. Sheep are beasts. Different animals show different ways of being around.
Jesus makes use of the same sheep-imagery, minding to tell that those who are healthy do not need him (Matthew 9:12; John 10:27). It seems unwise to ignore that. And that "One sickly sheep infects the whole flock." Yet it would depend on the disease. Some are contagious, some are not.
We have to be careful in choosing gurus too, is the Indian way of seeing it, for there are many counterfeits around, seeking benefits from the duped ones. It is not fair, and counterfeits may not be good company. Many are taken in and may be fooled away from building merit and resources for their own future fare, thinking that some sacrifice that serves others are needed or wanted. It could also be the other way round. To stay detached and relaxed often helps to see better.
To take pleasure in one's deep, inner Self may be great help eventually. Being careful when it comes to great claims of great bosses may be good too.
Original Christianity as Taught by Jesus
In Yogananda's SRF they say publicly in their "aims and ideals" that they stand for "original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ" and yoga as taught by Krishna. See the shewbread for what it is worth. A dominant focus on money speaks a lot, also in the founding document of the SRF church, where the first focus is on getting wealth, land, property. [◦ SRF's original charter]. A revised charter from December 1956 shows the money focus even better.
Now, Jesus told his followers were to embrace poverty, giving away their belongings. Early Christians were a persecuted lot -
By the way, a central part of original Christianity is: There is no purpose in saving someone who does not need it. Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick . . . "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9:12-13)
Have mercy, and don't sacrifice your belongings or any part of yourself then on the commands of Jesus who was sent for lost Jews only (Matthew 15:24, and 10:4-9. . . . that should be "good Latin" for the non-Jewish Christians who are under the Apostolic Deal as it is maintained (Acts 15, 21:25). There is much trickery around in religious circles and quarters. Intrigues, schemes for power and wealth - you name it. The church of Yogananda has some elements in common with that of Mormons, "a new religious tradition," says the Britannica. The Mormons have incorporated the Old and New Testaments into their canon and then supplied reinterpretations. It is much the same with Yogananda's Self-Realization Fellowship, although it is smaller.
Because Mormons use Christian terminology and call themselves Christians, they might - from some points of view and in some areas - belong to a discussion of Christianity. And not unlike Yogananda's church may be perceived as departing from the essence of Christianity. Much of their doctrine may be termed heretical. Yogananda doctrine is called heretical by a Catholic professor too. [Heresy charges]. Both Mormon and SRF-ers may share much of Christian culture anyhow.
Much Construed -
It is known that the last few passages in the last chapter of Matthew, those that bring the missionary command, are later additions. They are forged, maintains Josephy Wheless.
As for the real, original Christianity, which was not formed by Jesus, but rather his brother James and other apostles and the Holy Spirit together (Acts 15; 21:25), non-Jews are not called to pluck out their eyes, tear off limbs, maim their penises - just for desiring this and that.
If the faultily designed sacrifice of Jesus for Jews became the supreme redemptive act for more than Jews, study the Good Book but see if that view really is true: Why did millions of martyrs suffer and die instead of enjoying life and God and the promises of Jesus for his followers, his Jews? Or the institutes of Jehovah - they should be long-lasting, to say the least:
[Aaron] is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites - all their sins - and put them on the goat's head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place. (Leviticus 16:21-22)
Where is Babaji in all this? You do not believe that salvation is through kriya-yoga if you believe that one or two goats sacrificed yearly will put things right between God and all his people, as the Old Testament insists. As for the later-added ideas that Jesus sacrificed himself for all - to the contrary: Gentiles were to be excluded, he told his disciples. His teachings, salvation and healing ministry were for Jews only. That is his version, and he was strict Geza Vermes confirms the gospel sayings in Matthew neatly. (Vermes 2012). And then, In Acts we read that being put right with God - that is, being saved - is getting the Spirit of God on board and maintaining four requirements. No to blood sausage and wrangled poultry are two of them. Those who have broken two of the four - or two or three or more - will the door of heaven be kept open, or will St. Peter strive to keep it locked? And what is the role of Jesus in all this? Is it the role of a dead potato, being buried, but not so deeply that it will not sprout? He is into something like that, speaking of corn. (see John 12:24)
James was the primary authority for the Christian Jews, and the letter of James opposes Paul's anti-law interpretations of the doctrine of justification by faith. Further, all the gospels record how Jesus commissioned Peter as the leader of the twelve apostles. Peter seems to have held some middle position between James and Paul.
The church also inherited from Judaism a strong sense of being holy, and a very negative attitude toward other religions - a view that soon included the Jews. What did really happen? Christianity incorporated a whole lot of elements from paganism, and Jewish Christianity declined. [More].
At any time in the 100s or 200s, Christians could find themselves the object of unpleasant attention in arenas of public entertainment. Before the 300s AD, worship was in private houses. (EB "Christianity")
Jesus did not teach Christianity; he taught Jewish followers. He was never called "Christ", or Messiah. It means the "oil-anointed one", stemming from 1 Samuel 10, and shows how kings were appointed to be God's punishment to the people. So many seem to forget that nice point. (1 Samuel 8; 1 Sam 10:1)
Jesus is claimed to be of the house of David through a non-carnal father, Joseph, and son of God through - was not it an angel who fathered him? So, Jesus was claimed to be a descendant of David through Joseph who was not really his father, if it was an angel. A faulty blood-line or two for seemingly legitimising Messiah claims, is that much?
Different faiths, different teachings. They are not all alike, and may not all be right either. In addition, some crawl to get accepted by misleading gullible guys - that is very ofte young ones.
Yogananda tells Babaji is aligned to the God of the Bible through Jesus - are they partners in sect making? Subtle Essence is the essence of everything there is - that teaching is found in the old Buddhist teachings of guru Padma-Sambhava and also in Vedic teachings like "Ekam sat (Oneness is)". We have to stay aware that it takes someone to experience it too. Will it be you? If so, we are told that not everyone wants to depart from that state of extremely happy Oneness. For example, sons of the Creator-God, Brahma, refused to get born for that reason. They had to in the end, but that is another story.
Not everyone comes back from that state of unification, it is pointed out in Hindu scriptures. It is illustrated some place in The Gospel of Ramakrishna (1942), where two souls who broke through the veils, did not come back. Buddha returned, though, and he taught carefully balanced progress afterwards. Key elements of his teachings are truly helpful, and thus worth noting.
Mangalam, "Blessing, Happiness, May blessing be on it" is a benign wish, and speaks for a good continuation.
If we do not remember what the blessing 'Mangalam' means, we may look up in a Buddhist dictionary. It often helps to look up unfamiliar words when we come across them. Both misunderstanding and false data can cause one to make stupid mistakes.
Freeing the individual is a good purpose to hold throughout life. Hinduism has four main life goals. They are in tune with how a lot of good souls try to live. Wealth, righteousness, lust (kama) and freedom are the four. Krishna points out that those who seek wealth, worship Him that way (Bhagavad Gita 7:16). This being so, there are many Bhagavan-worshippers in the West, far more than calculated. And what about sex-lovers? A yoga, tantra, is available, it it matters.
Take hold of your own future - herded sheep are most often barred from it. They are lorded over and made use of. That is the basic meaning of being a farm animals. They are slaves - and humans lorded over that way are like sheep, and not all healthy, affirms Jesus, adding the telling, "How much more is a [healthy] man worth than a sheep? (Matthew 12:12).
What about pets, or dogs to walk with plastic bags at hand? It matters to a human to act like one and seek good company of his or her kind. Some think they find it in beasts, as "the leader of the pack" somehow, others try replacements.
Comfort-taking people may at bottom be impoverished. As Paul Simon has it: "There were times I was so lonely I took some comfort there. Le le le le le le le, lie la lie, lie la la la lie lie, lie la lie, lie la la la la lie la la lie." (◦"The Boxer", Siman and Garfunkel)
"We cannot join the company of . . . beasts." (In Giles 1996:123).
EB: Encyclopaedia Britannica is today Britannica Online.
Giles, Lionel, ed. The Sayings of Confucius: A Translation of the Confucian Analects. Twickenham: Tiger Books, 1998.
Gupta, Mahendranath. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Tr. Swami Nikhilananda. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1942.
Self-Realization Fellowship. The Master Said: Sayings and Counsel to Disciples by Paramhansa Yogananda. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1957.
Slinderland, Edward, tr, Confucius. Analects with Selections from Traditional Commentaries. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company, 2003.
Vermes, Geza. From Jewish to Gentile: How the Jesus Movement Became Christianity. Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) 38:06, Nov/Dec 2012.
Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 1st ed. New York: Philosophical Library, 1946.
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