Consider Kriyananda - Swami Kriyananda (born James Donald Walters, 1926–2013) was a disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda (1893–1952) and the vice president of the Yogananda-founded Self-Realization Fellowship from 1960 into 1962, when he was shovelled out.
In 1968, Kriyananda founded Ananda Sangha. Ananda was at first an alternative community, and has later became a worldwide movement that also includes several Yogananda ideas of self-supporting communities, but hopefully not his first ideals of going bareheaded, barefoot or in sandals in rain or shine and harsh winter weather. Let us hope that, for:
"Man is supposed to get something out of this life. (. . .) Make [some] effort beyond obvious necessity," said Yogananda (1982:257, 255).
How? Some general ideas help thinking if they are applied cleverly too:
Impartiality helps a lot, and to maximise boons and minimise losses by filtering and bulwarking tend to do to. Mobilising or spending concerns and efforts according to plans in decent, fit directions may also be for one's good. Bulwarking well is fit too, and good performance. Holding on and maintaining one's discernment are other helpers.
For all that, individual successes are not guaranteed; it depends on those involved with you, for example. Still, we have to consider things on our own. Sound education should help.
What about a few improvements?
"The seemingly simple human body . . . I sometimes think God could have made a few improvements," said Yogananda (1982:251)
"Speak for yourself," is a good thought if others seek to drag you into their nets or woes by their tongue.
Experts and their testimonies differ. So what? You may read about Kriyananda on the Wikipedia and consider how much of his work and perhaps societal reputation was threatened or worse due to court cases.
Now, the Reverend Pamela Cooper-White said in the role of an expert witness in a court case about "sexual abuse of parishioners by their clergy" that it her opinion, "Kriyananda by linking himself as the spiritual successor to the famous Hindu, Yogananda and claiming to be Yogananda's psychic "channel" from beyond the grave, Walters/Kriyananda elevated himself to the position of ultimate spiritual authority very close to being an incarnation of God Himself." Is it all "Yak, yak, yak"?
There is a need to consider many a claim of others well. Cooper-White signed such statements under the penalty of perjury. [◦Link]
Add to this the following: Appointed experts tend to disagree among themselves, till at last a judge or jury - who are not experts - are left to judge. Isn't there a twist of irony somewhere?
There is a penetrating Chinese proverb for some cases: "It is not certain that the one who cries the loudest is in the right." Take Jesus, for example. Law experts of his time found him unworthy of living and had him executed. Compared to it, what is the big fuss about Kriyananda? Or what is the fit perspective, one may come to wonder.
It may do good to heed "The other party needs to be heard too", as long as we are able to reserve our judgements well.
A married clergyman served as a judge in his village. His son was by his side to learn the office of giving justice. A man came to complain, "I had a robe fitted for me. As soon as I dressed it and walked out in the street, the poorly sewn clothing fell apart and, pardon me for mentioning it, left me quite naked in shame in front of a crowd. Therefore I must not pay the tailor."
So what does Ananda say? They do not present Kriyananda as Cooper-White presented him in a court case. See for yourself: [◦About the Lawsuit, from a main Ananda source - she should know]
Granted that court verdicts may range from fair and based on true testimonies to all wrong and based on lies, twisted and false testimonies and obstructions of justice by yet other means, it may behove the outsider to reserve his or her judgement, just as the Confucian Analecs say: "In matters which he does not understand, the wise man will always reserve his judgement." (Analects, ch 1)
Others have presented Kriyananda in a far better light than Self-Realization Fellowship in another court case. There are for example books by and about Kriyananda (see the selected books at the bottom of the page).
Regardless of such fine testimonies as the books bring, some tried to present Kriyananda as a sexual abuser.
Kriyananda's sexual improprieties are shocking to the core. There are so many that have been so extensively documented . . . Kriyananda has had sex with more than 20 women, many ongoing on a long term basis, for over 40 years . . . At least eight or nine different women had the courage to testify against him in open court."
There are false charges of sexual abuse or rapes in the world: newspapers bring such stories from time to time. They also bring tales of rapes that are not untrue. But rape is not the only troublesome thing between persons. Kriyananda admits in chapter twelve in his book A Place Called Ananda that in 1960 he first was voted into the SRF Board of Directors as its first-ranked vice-president, and later had an affair with one of the nuns at SRF in 1960, five years after he first became a Swami as a member of SRF.
There was a nun at Mt. Washington . . . She fell in love with me . . . Before I knew it, I found myself drawn into an emotion that I had hoped to have left behind me forever. I struggled against it, but to no avail.
A picture arises: Someone falls into a ditch and then for decades tries to get up from it by climbing delicate women until old age sets in. Afterwards, several people have testified that through the 60's, 70's, 80's, and 90's while Kriyananda was claiming to be a celibate, he routinely and often engaged in sex acts with women. Most of them were his own followers, also called students.
Well, well, where there is such smoke, has there been any fire? And has it been as great and bad as they say? Massing 'yes, yes' or 'no, no', is not good enough to qualify as evidence.
Yogananda saying "Its all play" is all play too - right? In the life of Kriyananda, in 2006, because of his "service to the spiritual future of humanity", he was nominated and accepted as a Creative Member of the Club of Budapest. And in August, 2007, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National InterFaith Council at the Wadsworth Theater in Los Angeles. Etc., etc. [WP, sv. "Kriyananda"]
Yogananda further: "In this complex world our lives are nothing but plays (Yogananda 1982b:43)."
Being self-sufficient has many forms or outlets: The nayaswami. Swami, Nayaswami, Walters, James, Donald and so on - have you too felt a calling to change your name and title several times as best you can? Or have you succumbed completely to be dictated by others about what to wear when, how to dress, work to look seemly and submit to make it?
"Ho-ho-ho, it doesn't have to be that way," signals Santa Claus and in part Kriyananda.
A question of good leads in life. Noble ones prepare in advance for distress so as to bulwark it, prevent it from happening, or defend oneself against it. There are at times problems from the relationship between counsellor and counselled, priest and parishioners, and also monky ministers who get intimate with lovely wives and altar boys as the case may be.
However, there are worse problems that have their roots in Jesus and what started as one tense sect: Crusades, child crusades, the Great Inquisition, religious wars for long, and abusive clergyman problems. Keep the perspective, and avoid being beaten a lot. And Kriyananda's guru claimed to be allied to Jesus - How few ask, "How bad is that?" in the light of a frank Jesus analysis from such "expert" statements as "He's . . . raving mad" (John 10:20) - His fishermen are still around.
Fish, used to live in schools, are they enjoying living in traps, in cramped, stressing conditions, getting virulent diseases from their trap-conditions and without the great chance of real life fulfilment throughout life's phases? When the fisherman says he loves a more or less caught fish, what is the meaning of it? "It depends on how he loves me," the fish should reflect, along with, "If you love somebody, set them free."
A hint or three may not suffice in this complex world, but then again, just a few hints may be better than no good leads at all. [Jesus diagnosis - heed it]
Kriyananda, Swami. Living Wisely, Living Well. 2nd rev ed. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2010. ⍽▢⍽ The author offers advice related to his own life experience coupled with many ideas. Here is one: "Choose your music wisely, for its influence on you can be deep. A woman once tried to commit suicide [and as a result] found herself in a hellish region where the vibrations . . . were very similar to the beat of heavy rock 'n' roll music." (5 May).
⸻. The New Path: My Life with Paramhansa Yogananda. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2009. ⍽▢⍽ The few years they were together, they produced much written material.
⸻. A Place Called Ananda: The Trial by Fire that Forged One of the Most Successful Cooperative Communities in the World Today. Rev 2nd ed. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2001. -- A very remarkable and personal account of the years after Kriyananda was shovelled out of SRF (1962). Six years later he started Ananda. It became a figurative thorn in the flesh of SRF, which launched an expensive and long-lasting lawsuit against Ananda too. The lawyer Jon Parsons has written about the long lawsuit. He has much good to write of Kriyananda too.
Parsons, Jon. A Fight for Religious Freedom: A Lawyer's Personal Account of Copyrights, Karma and Dharmic Litigation. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2012.
Praver, Asha. Swami Kriyananda as We Have Known Him. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2006.
Yogananda, Paramahansa. Man's Eternal Quest. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1982.
⸻. The Science of Religion. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1982b.
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