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Jason Pollock. One. 1950. Minute detail fronting the article on kriya yoga pledges.
"Don't swear any kriya oath to save yourself." What does it mean? [1]

Kriya Oaths

Don't be bound by anything. That philosophy will save you. - Yogananda (2002:26)
  • To learn kriya yoga through Yogananda's line, one gets bound through an oath. However, such swearing goes against a saying of Jesus, who said no-no to swearing, and that his teachings and salvation were for just lost Jews. False notes may be found somewhere. (Matthew 5:34-36; 15:24; 10:5-8)
  • Oaths are for binding people; and it can become very unwelcome in time.
  • Do not promise what you are unsure you may be up to and not in control of, to be on the safe sid.
  • Know where your best interests lie. To be saved from being oath-tied is wise, is included in Yogananda's "Don't be bound by anything. That philosophy will save you." In this case it may save you from Yogananda, his fellowship, all his gurus and their oaths -

Select quotations on promises: [Promises]

Sworn in and made a "special serf" through it
One may put oneself in harm's way by swearing. That is an old lesson. The effects of having been deceived or bound through false play makes so many hearts ache and even break. Watch out that no one deceives you or seduces you. After all, that is how Jesus-for-lost-Jews-only sees it. (Matthew 24:4; 15:24)

There are different kriya yoga traditions. Let us talk more around "Watch out that no one misleads you, leads you astray, seduces you, deceives you (Matthew 24:4)." Yogananda and the Self-Realization Fellowship he started and one day came to repent he had started - in a ◦hand-written letter - claim they are in perfect attunement with Jesus, who told followers not to swear at all (Matthew 5:34-37; also see 15:24; 10:5-9)" But SRF's Kriya Pledge is still there.

To have nothing to do with such mean plotters will be wise.

There are other kriya oaths than the SRF kriya oath, where the inexperienced, too eager beginner in kriya yoga is made to swear unconditional loyalty and devotion to many unmet gurus, even for lifetimes on end. That suggests unreserved subservience. To trade away lots of human freedom, including the freedom to change your mind in the face of facts - is folly.

That the kriya swearing is taken to be a pledge for lifetimes as an underling comes to the fore in a Yogananda talk that SRF published in its magazine in 1974. The effects may be worse that you have thought of.

Yo There is only one guru . . . if you turn away from the emissary of God, He silently asks: 'What is wrong with you . . .? 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.

Such dictatorial teachings are out of step with ideal gospel teachings of "giving freely", for example. What to do about a sect's contract fraud? (Cf. Matthew 10:9) In Hinduism one has the freedom to change gurus.

Those who wake up a bit, find perhaps, "Hey, that many-lives clause was not in the contract I signed!"

SRF surface deal: You are free to leave (Human Rights Laws seem valid).

They say it, but also write in a notarised letter that "sooner or later, every Truth-seeker will unfailingly find his way back to his God-given guru.". Their "real deal" includes Yogananda will not let anyone go, if once in his "fangs"! Many lives! That is what they really think. [They claim infallibily on behalf of Yogananda too]. However, here is an example that guru brought false and untrue charges to court in a case and lost it on 22 October 1935. [No infallible, untrue charges in a court case]

It could be good to ask a fine lawyer how to refuse a fraudulent or double-bottomed deal, or how to deal with it otherwise, or get help not to get insane.

Consider how little Yogananda and other SRF gurus accommodate to fair deals here and lets Self-Realizaiton Fellowsip go up binding inexperienced ones. Why not stop hoping bluffers will improve?

Now, if SRF does not inform about Yogananda's suspect lives-binding in advance of any kriya initiation, but on the surface of things appear to be normal - or quite normal - or at least normal-looking -, consider how swindled you may end up by Yogananda's church of late March 1935. Its kriya pledge goes against many ◦Human Rights.

Look and find that SRF has done little to expose Yogananda's "gilded dictatorship-hailing" Many Jews learnt a different lesson after dictatorial Hitler and Co. rose to power in Germany. Some escaped to other countries, but millions did not. They were set to work and killed in the millions.

Basically, to be oath-bound by your tongue (an oath) or placed in the role of of a serf or spirit-slave is not fine.

The SRF guru Babaji, is claimed by Yogananda to be in constant communion with the gospel's no-oath Jesus - but Babaji has seemingly allowed that Yogananda and SRF extract by oath severe violations of Human Rights from followers all the same.

How to deal with what you sniff on and find is fraud? Make a hasty escape if you can. If not hasty, then in good order, and if not in good order, then good enough, and so on.

A broader view might help

And take in a wider view if you can: Yogananda said he had been a vicious, murderous desert marauder. There could be very good reasons not to promise what you cannot fathom. (Dasgupta 2006:112)

The forgotten thing: the ego in good people is good

The ego in psychoanalytic thinking is a dear, irreplaceable personality instance. [EB "ego"].

For most part Yogananda teaches the dangerous "kill the ego", although a sane egohood is needed.

Now, If you mistakenly thinks that killing your I-sense is being loyal to all the SRF gurus, like Babaji, you are mightily mistaken if it really is Babaji Nagaraj that has taught:

Always keep close to the "I" that is nearest to the heart and never slacken the vigil over the straying of your mind. . . . Let the small "I" grow bigger and bigger . . . Let the heart, the Inner Man in the heart guide you, rather than emotion and intellect. Try to get nearer and abide by that "I" . . . Build up your individuality . . ." (Neelankantan, Ramaiah and Nagaraj 2003:26-27, passim)

"A person must be something. That something, to be anything of worth, must be useful and pleasant to himself . . ." (Neelankantan, Ramaiah and Babaji 2003:32)

You can be pleasant to yourself - at least try.

Sivananda and Satyananda

In Satyanana Yoga you can learn kriya yoga without any oaths, by learning kriya from publicly available books (Satyananda 1981; 2001). This line of kriya goes back to the illustrous Swami Sivananda (1887-1963), and through him to Babaji in the mid-1920s, says Sivananda's disciple Satyananda in Early Teachings of Swami Satyananda Saraswati (1988:89).

When Sivananda was young, his name was Kuppuswami. Later in life he got a guru who ordained him as a swami. Sivananda wrote 296 books, but said, "An ounce of practice is better than tons of theory."

Sivananda's disciple Satyananda also writes how Sivananda one day in 1956 taught kriya yoga to him in ten minutes.

Sivananda called him and asked, "What . . .? You don't practise kriya yoga?"

No, Satyananda did not. On this, Sivananda took him to his room and in ten minutes he taught him kriya yoga. Sivananda went on to give him 108 rupees and said, "Now you can go. This ashram is not the place for you." (Satyananda 1988:89)

He did not say, "Machines are becoming more important than man in the world of man," but see what is taking over in the guise of progress for man. And if you cannot, try and see what gets the work done, is regarded as indispensable, and so on.

Sivananda wanted Satyananda to take the word yoga "from door to door and from shore to shore and from home to home." After Sivananda died in 1963, Satyananda started teaching kriya. And some of the kriya practices that Satyananda teach, were never taught by Sivananda, but culled from other sources.

Satyananda kept moving for many years, and taught kriya to many people, and today it is given freely through books, with no swear-strings attached.

That is an example of free yoga.

Odd demands

"Each sect magnifies its own view," says Ramakrishna. (in Gupta 1942:489)

In a field of many odd claims and cloven hoofs against Human Rights, it may prove rather impossible to know how you will feel through the years.

What is reproduced below is a part of Yogananda's kriya oath from 1921, when he had been in the United States for half a year. At that time there was not any demand that you should love six gurus. That part was conveniently added later by steps and stages. Krishna was the last one, appearing as late as around 1970. Yogananda dictated the following on 10 January 1921.

I promise and swear to act according to the following rules.
  1. . . .
  2. I will never reveal it to anyone without your permission.
  3. I will try my utmost to follow your general advice . . .
  4. . . .
  5. If I divulge without your permission extreme misery will overtake me according to natural laws. [COMMENT. Know better natural laws than that.]
  6. I will in every way help to spread this cause . . . I will help others to get this divine knowledge if I myself think I enjoy it . . . [SOURCE: Rosser, Brenda Lewis. Treasures Against Time - Ttp 380]

There could have been other versions at that time. "In every way" looks like driving a hard bargain. There is no limit; a guru is given all power thereby. Better take care than freak out and swear in the name of no-swear Jesus. There is a risk of getting manipulated and swindled by oaths and gifts with strings.

Where is the gain?

Good hearts can be fooled.

There are fine things to do, such as being educated. You may then support some others.

Hinduism, also known as Sanatan Dharma, holds there are four main goals in life, and artha, wealth, abundance, is one of the four.

We may also come to study how Buddhism minds good self-help.

Old, very old

To make my life a success
there was a need to be me -
just myself in my own right.

The fruits and berries - consequences - of thankful endeavours might be growing self-sufficiency. This knowledge is a boon against demands for self-sacrifice for this and that great cause of others, isn't it? [Apannaka Sutta]

Kriya yoga initiation and practice work to your loss if you get deranged from them.

Many have learnt ujjayi pranayama for free. It matters to know that one delicate ujjayi variant is the basic kriya yoga method.


Kriya yoga oaths and pledges, Babaji kriya pledge, early Yogananda kriya pledge, Literature  

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

Dietz, Margaret Bowen. Thank You, Master. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 1998.

EB: Encyclopaedia Britannica: the same as Britannica Online.

Gupta, Mahendranath. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Tr. Swami Nikhilananda. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1942.

Kriyananda, Swami. The New Path: My Life with Paramhansa Yogananda. 2nd ed. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2006.

Neelankantan, V. T., S. A. A. Ramaiah and Babaji Nagaraj. Babaji's Death of Death (Kriya). Mylapore, Madras: 1953.

Neelankantan, V. T., S. A. A. Ramaiah and Babaji Nagaraj. The Voice of Babaji: A Trilogy on Kriya Yoga. Eastman, Quebec: Babaji's Kriya Yoga Order of Acharyas, 2003. ⍽▢⍽ In 1953, Neelakantan published recorded a series of verbatim talks given by Satguru Kriya Babaji . . . . "They were originally printed in three volumes . . . Includes the fascinating accounts of the meetings with Babaji in Madras and in the Himalayas by authors V. T. Neelakantan and Yogi S. A. A. Ramaiah."

Rosser, Brenda Lewis, comp. Treasures against Time - Paramahansa Yogananda with Doctor and Mrs. Lewis. Borrego Springs, CA: Borrego Publications, 1991. (Rev ed 2001).

Satyananda Saraswati, Swami. Early Teachings of Swami Satyananda Saraswati. Paperback ed. Bihar School Of Yoga, Munger, Bihar, India, 1988.

Satyananda Saraswati, Swami. Kundalini Tantra. 8th ed. Munger: Yoga Publications Trust, 2001.

Satyananda Saraswati, Swami. A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya. Munger: Yoga Publications Trust, 1981.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 1st ed. New York: Theosophical, 1946.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Divine Romance. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2002.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita: An Introduction to India's Universal Science of God-realization. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2007.


NOTE 1. The painting on top of the page is a detail of a large painting by the American artist Jackson Pollock (1912-56). He explored sheer handling of paint assumedly without ulterior motives. Pollock had been captured by Surrealism, but soon learnt to put his canvas on the floor and dripped, poured or threw his paint on it to form many a tangle of lines and drops like the one shown. By surrendering to childlike impulses the extreme form of painting called "Action painting" and Abstract Expressionism was a fact. It was influenced by Chinese art and Zen mysticism.

NOTE 2. In the case of future link rot, try ◦Internet Archive's Wayback Machine to retrieve pages in question. Searching for a direct quotation on Google may also work well at times.

Harvesting the hay

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

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