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Wiser

Many get wiser as years go by; some secretly wiser, and others openly wiser. At any rate is is wiser not to be taken in than realising how it happened if bulwarking or prevention is better than slow cures or failed cures.

The church society Self-Realization Fellowship has its monastic branch to lead it. Between 2000 and 2005, fifty of SRF's monastics left the premises. They were about one third of all its monastics at the time (Parsons 2012, 171). Many got a hard time adapting to the world outside "SRF walls" - the SRF ashrams and other centres.

Some try to be up to living on; some think problems are opportunities: Sound education helps many. Seeing this, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi agreed to have an American university. It is an accredied university today, named ◦Maharishi University of Management, MUM. The word 'management' in the title stands for managing one's life through deep meditation and quality education hand in hand. Decent self-management and self-cultivation are like brother and sister in this.

Did the Wise Men of Matthew's Gospel ever exist?

Don't believe to your harm; make sure. For a cult's misty tentacles into men and women may cause long-time hard: Shared beliefs may see to that.

One problem with the teachings of Yogananda is that he said Jesus was behind the spreading of kriya yoga, and that he was and is one of the SRF gurus. Where is the evidence of that? It is not in the Bible. So the words in the gospels that Jesus taught for Jews only, that his Kingdom and salvation were for Jews only, and that salvation was only from the Jews - are they fluffy words that mean just about anything?

Fl. During his days of preaching, Jesus of Nazareth addressed only Jews, "the lost sheep of Israel" (Matthew 10:5-8; 15:24). His disciples were expressly instructed not to approach gentiles or Samaritans (Matthew 10:5-8). On the few occasions that Jesus ventured beyond the boundaries of his homeland, he never proclaimed his gospel to pagans, nor did his disciples do so during his lifetime. The mission of the 11 apostles to "all the nations" (Matthew 28:19) is a "post-Resurrection" idea. It appears to be of Pauline inspiration and is nowhere else found in the Gospels (apart from the spurious longer ending of Mark [Mark 16:15], which is missing from all the older manuscripts). Jesus' own perspective was exclusively Jewish; he was concerned only with Jews. (Geza Vermes, 2012)

To clarify these matters still further:

Hm Jesus reserve his teachings and salvation for Jews (Matthew 15:24; 10:5-8; Vermes 2012), but only depraved Jews: those of sound moral and spirit are not called by him, and the healthy do not need him (Mark 2:17; Matthew 9:12-13; 12.11). Jesus further puts his sheep on a path to perdition in that he teaches his sheep what is opposed to sound self-preservation. Thereby eyes, limbs, property, fit living-conditions and life itself soon enough are at risk (Matthew 5: 29-30; 39-42). Finally, marring losses come to those who call him 'Lord, Lord' without doing as he tells. (Luke 6:46)

For Gentile followers, all the disciples and the Holy Spirit dispensed with all but a few laws for Jews. And not a word by Jesus for ill Jews was included in the Apostolic Decree from 50 CE either (Acts 15:19-29; 21:25). The four requirements for all Gentile Christians include no to eating blood sausages (blood food) and wrangled chickens and other poultry (choked animals)

Jungian The healthy man does not torture others. - Carl Gustav Jung

Had the salvation that the New Testament speaks of become too moldy with time, so that Jesus had to go to India and ask a secret yogi there for salvation help, and got kriya yoga - a publicly known yoga breathing method called ujjaji? If so, it shows how essential good yoga breathing may be if persisted in daily or so.

Yogananda holds in effect that Jesus meant that the Biblical salvation of the Holy Spirit entering a human, was not good enough. Or by his time it was defective for some reason. It may pay to heed this basic: Sayings in the New Testament and by Yogananda do not match a lot, although Yogananda and his sect claim a lot otherwise (SRF's Aims and Ideals, No. 3). Don't believe to your harm; make sure. - [Fabricated Christianity]

A wandering, non-scathing miracle of a star

Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) tells that when Jesus was born, three of his nearest gurus in the SRF line of gurus came to visit him. They were the wise men, he claims, and as so often otherwise, without evidence. Now, the wise men that Mattew writes about in the first two chapters of his gospel, were they three, and were they so wise after all? According to the first couple of chapters in the gospel of Matthew, they caused a king they visited, to start killing off infants to get rid of a future competitor.

However, the best question may be: Is the nativity story in the first two gospels of Matthew just fabricated, a folk tale that was current at the time, and dressed up in new feathers in Matthew? You may not think so, but the Jesus scholar Geza Vermes does, after years of research. He writes:

A contemporary of Matthew, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37c.100 CE), reports, and later rabbinic literature confirms, a folk tale which was in circulation in New Testament times. It relates to the birth of Moses and his miraculous escape from the hands of Pharaoh of Egypt. (Vermes 2010:84, 85)

We are led . . . to this conclusion: that the awesomely influential Nativity story in the first book of the New Testament is a speculative, rather than a historical text. Far from being a report of a literal happening, it is an amalgam of flawed Greek-Christian scriptural references, and of 'birth tales' current in Judaism in the first century CE. The story with which we are all so familiar is not fact, but folklore. (Vermes 2010:87)

The tale of wise men and a wandering star in the first two gospels of Matthew (from about 80-90 CE) is a folk tale, says Dr Vermes. The Nativity tale is missing in the Gospels of Mark and John, and appearing in a radically different form in Luke, where there is no mention of a star, wise men or Herod, nor of the murder of the innocents and Jesus' escape to Egypt. (Vermes 2010:84). Matthew's Gospel was written for Christians who were not Jewish. [More Bible criticism]

Unproven tales and a said folktale

Yogananda claimed that three gurus in SRF apart from himself, were the three wise men of the Bible, "great sages of India" (2004, p. 5659). Infiltration takes many forms.

According to Western church tradition, Balthasar is often represented as a king of Arabia, Melchior as a king of Persia, and Gaspar as a king of India." These names apparently derive from a Greek manuscript probably composed in Alexandria around 500 . . . Another Greek document from the 8th century, of presumed Irish origin and translated into Latin with the title Collectanea et Flores, continues the tradition of three kings and their names and gives additional details. (Encyclopedia Britannica).

(Making many reservations as highlighted in the quotation, serves being uncertain, or woolly. [Space-saver].)

Now, it may not be important who were around at the birth of Jesus, how many and so on, if they were parts of a canonised folktale, as Dr Vermes says. He is a Jesus scholar. And Lahiri Mahasaya, in a book published by Sanskrit Classics in San Diego, tells of past lives and never mentions he had been there at the birth of Jesus (Matthew 2:1-119). He says:

In Satyayuga Lahiri Mahasay was born as Satyasukrita, in tretayuga he was Munindra; in dwaparayuga Karunamaya; and in kaliyuga he was Kabir [a 15th century mystic and poet]. Later, he became Shyama Charan [182895]." (In Satyeswarananda. Babaji Volume Two - Lahiri Mahasay (The Polestar of Kriya. Chap. 13, ◦No. 70.]

Other names, other frames of reference (yugas). What this SRF guru meant by satyayuga, tretayuga, dwaparayuga and kaliyuga, may not be what his disciple, Yukteswar meant, for there are different opinions about the ◦lengths of yugas. "Yuga basics" are dealt with in Manu Samhita (Bühler 1984). At any rate, there is not much to build on, for claims of past lives are not proofs of those lives. The same goes for yugas. Claims are not good enough, and some claims are clearly not good.

We might as well confess we lack fit evidence that in another past life Yogananda had been a vicious, murderous marauder - even though he said he had been so, shivering while telling it. For all that, in reincarnation research, unverified claims tend to be given little weight, if at all. (Dasgupta 2006:112)

Adjust to "There are better things to be occupied with than unproven claims or soap"

It is wise when dealing with the fanatic or fantastic to ask for evidence to avoid being taken in and perhaps outsmarted from there on by steps and degrees. And are there other explanations from good sources? Well, as for the birth of Jesus,, the renowned Jesus scholar Geza Vermes' tells the Nativity tale in the first two chapters of the gospel of Matthew is a folktale (Vermes 2010:87). [More by Dr Vermes].

Facts are fine only as long as you can stand them. And things are not always black or white. There are colours and shades too. And that is to say that tales and claims about this and that may not be wholly lies, but can contain some morsels of truth and fact in them, for example.

As to the Yogananda claims about the wise men of what might be a folktale, the best attitude for handling them is far from believing them, but asking for reliable evidence by that claimer or his publishers (SRF). For the lack of clear-cut and good evidence, also consider you may not have any real evidence to the contrary, and settle the matter by shelving it, so to speak. Be resonable or as scientific-minded as you can, and don't support unproven claims.

Contents


Life anew, Meeting Yogananda teachings, Literature  

Bühler, Georg, tr. The Laws of Manu. Delhi: Banarsidass (Reprint from Oxford University's 1886-edition), 1984.

Dasgupta, Sailendra. Paramhansa Swami Yogananda: Life-portrait and Reminiscences. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, 2006.

Lahiri, Shyama Charan. Garland of Letters: Correspondence between Yogiraj Sri Sri Shyama Charan Lahiri Mahasaya and His Disciples. Tr. Yoganiketan. Portland, Maine: Yoga Niketan, 2005.

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.

Vermes, Geza. The Authentic Gospel of Jesus. London: Penguin, 2005.

Vermes, Geza. "From Jewish to Gentile: How the Jesus Movement Became Christianity." Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) 38:06, Nov/Dec 2012.

Vermes, Geza. The Real Jesus: Then and Now. Minneapolis, MI: Fortress Press, 2010.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Second Coming of Christ – The Resurrection of the Christ Within You. Los Angeles, CA: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2004. ⍽▢⍽ It looks like a cult book. It would perhaps be better to spend your money on a suit or dress.

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