Avatar Animals and Yogananda Outpourings
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In this article Yogananda tells of an avatar squirrel and a lion that stopped being a vegetarian when it came through its sheepishness. Enjoy.
This page suggest that solid freaking is OK if carefully done. "Not too little, not too much." I would encourage everyone to freak out carefully away from "Nature's dog-eats-dog design", and proceed so measuredly, solidly, in harmony with some old, well-proved ways of your own traditions, or as referred to below. And best of all, as guided from within. For one thing, human culture is had through it and depends on it. Successful, fabulous artists, elevators of general culture, may offer glimpses into their routes too.
The page also contains two Yogananda invocations for the lack of proper Self-assertiveness. You may crave what you lack for years on end, but find it comes to nothing. One of the Yogananda invocations is by a usually hugely editor-helped Yogananda, and the other is "the same poem" rewritten in his name after his demise by his helping, typing hand, who seems to belong to his main editor. The changes are rather many, and not explained by the publishers, and such sleek editing occur surprisingly much in the cult. See for yourself. May such editorial "freaking" be termed OK? It depends on whether you have standards and skills. I would refrain from editing old poems in the name of their long gone, credited writer, for the sake of authenticity, for one thing. We need to give due consideration to things at stake when freaking greatly.
As for the content of the two contributions in the name of Yogananda, the main theme is "be self-assertive". There is "a right way to do it, a wrong way, and that in the Army." In other words, what matters is to get properly self-assertive, enough to get your own home and keep it, all in fair and fit ways, first of all, it may be further suggested. Fit assertiveness stems from your depths. People who are happy to learn Transcendental Meditation (contemplation), get more self-certain. There is much research on TM. Also, the assertiveness that various pep talks and self-help books offer, may or may not. It depends on whether the flow comes around and how lasting it gets, and also on how clarified you get too. Cowed persons may benefit from both avenues. Skills in expressing oneself may also be trained. Some forms of education are for that.
The two "Yoganandas" in his "Bible style" derive from a yogic fable. I would encourage you to freak out otherwise than writing in obsolete language too. It gets too cumbersome. Bible societies try to update their Bible language with consistency, at any rate. As for the linking between assertiveness and a lion, someone who is not a lion, had better refrain from maiming one's way on and up: Mind that lions are gang killers.
Also note that squirrels are nest-building rodents who breed once or twice a year. Humans who want to be like that, what is the matter with them? Here is a Yogananda story:
Once an old hermit lived on a brink by the sea at a place where a mother squirrel fostered her young. The hermit was so fond of this company that he was reborn as a female squirrel to look after youngs, he too (this has gone too far already).
[Yes, that's what the holy man did, and an avatar squirrel he was, decrees Yogananda, and vouches for a fairy tale against nearly all odds in so doing.]
Great waves took the holy squirrel's nests and cubs one day she was away looking for eggs and other food for them. She saw that the big sea had taken them, and started to threaten the sea. "Bring me back my children, or I will dry you up with my bushy tail," she said.
The sea gave no particular reply. So the squirrel mother started to dry the ocean by
soaking her tail in the sea and letting the water drip off on dry land again and again.
Little did she consider that the water would seep and run down into the sea again.
But the sea got so alarmed by the squrrel's determination that it swelled up a huge
wave where the cubs were floating, and put them all beside her on the brink and lo, they
were all alive and well again, after being drowned and gone for many days. (#1.1) [The story is in Swami Yogananda's Praecepta Lessons, 1934, and also in Crystal Clarity ◦Magazine, December 15, 2010]
A being with a bushy tail triumped over sea and waves and nature and death. But in ordinary cases the one who is bereaved has to learn to face the facts. Several stages of recovery has to be passed through, usually step by step. Master Squirrel had reached the denial stage it could not come to terms with what had happened.
Yogananda claims that the squirrel was holy and an incarnation of a liberated sage. This sage did not mind becoming a squirrel either; Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) vouches for that.
Tip: Take a look at the Panchatantra story "The Plover Who Fought the Ocean" for comparison.
Do not stoop below what you are already. Even an elephant cannot do much against the ocean.
❖ Do not be taken in by romantic stuff that does not hold water.
Invincible Lion of the SelfSelf-Realization Fellowship would have us believe that Yogananda wrote the following text.
O Invincible Lion of the Self! Thou didst drag me to the water hole of meditation, saying: "Thou art a lion, not a sheep! Open thine eyes, and roar!"
After Thy hard shakings of spiritual urge, I gazed into the crystal pool of peace. Lo, I saw my face like unto Thine!
I know now that I am a lion of cosmic power. Bleating no more, I shake the error forest with reverberations of Thine almighty voice. In divine freedom I bound through the jungle of earthly delusions, devouring the little creatures of vexing worries and timidities, and the wild hyenas of disbelief.
O Lion of Liberation, ever send through me Thy roar of all-conquering courage!
[Whispers from Eternity, 8th ed. 1959: 226-27]
There are some problems. For your outpourings to last, let them be solid and well rooted, and not so frail that they are edited halfway out of existence, for example. Large trees succeed in part that way. What was written when the guru was alive (below), was not exactly like that, even though the general drift of the text is still the same. It is a postmortem edited poem.
It seems to derive from the Indian fable about a lion cub that was reared among sheep and thus became docile till another lion entered the scene. By extensive parallell-making, such as "Invincible Lion of the Self" and "Lion of Realization", is a "lion of cosmic power", "lion of immortality", "a cub of the Divine Lion," and "a lion-cub of the Divine Mother" etc. The author(s) put extensive meanings into the old fable: "I feel frail; I have forgotten my inward Self, that Lion. I need to calm down to see it, and get more courage yes!"
That is perhaps what Yogananda teaches, and he is known for invoking and crying for Divine Mother and telling others to do it too. His church, the Self-Realization Fellowship, or SRF for short, works to spread his messages far and wide, saing it is a mission.
The Yogananda text, of 1949
Make me a lion of Thy all-conquering Wisdom (1949)
A lion-cub of the Divine Mother, I was somehow thrown into life in the sheep-fold of human frailties. Living long with the sheep of fear, failure and disease, I bleated with weakness. I forgot my roars which had frightened away all wicked, pestering sorrows.
O Lion of Realization, Thou didst drag me away from the sheep-fold unto the waters of meditation. And Thou didst say: "Open thine eyes and roar!" But I kept my eyes tightly closed and bleated with fear. The roar of Thy wisdom reverberated through me, and Thy hard shakings of spiritual urge made me open my eyes. Lo! there in the crystal pool of peace, Thou didst show me my face to be like Thine!
Now, I know I am the Lion of cosmic power. I will no more bleat in fear of weakness and suffering: I will roar with the vibrant power of the Almighty! Bounding in the forest of experiences, I will seize the little creatures of vexing worries, the timid fears, and wild hyenas of disbelief, and devour them ruthlessly.
O Lion of Immortality, roar through me Thine all-conquering power of wisdom!
[Whispers from Eternity was first published in 1929. It was edited by Yogananda himself for the 1949 edition, which is online, and which the poem above is taken from. SRF has made extensive changes to some of his texts after his death, without informing duly about it. [Much more]
The Lion Woman
An article appeared in the Miami news in 1928: A superintendent of a hospital for nervous and mental diseases told a court of law in Miami that a woman entered his hospital on January 31 and refused to eat unless assured that her food "had come in contact with the swami" [Yogananda]. The superintendent testified that she "imagines she's a lion, and attempts to roar and conduct herself as a lion does." She said the swami told her he was a lion and held Miami in his grasp.
Yogananda said she came to his meetings on request of her husband who asked that she be cured of sleepwalking. When the "cure" is not better than the disease, beware - Yogananda told he wanted Americans to improve and get more self-assertive. Then he should have told the woman the truth: that he was not an animal, and that she was a woman. That helps proper assertiveness too. [More]
First, be yourself. Develop yourself by following up inborn interests too, and get skilled to make a decent living. These three parts of it had better go together and overlap. The Old Testament is into at least two of the cardinal principles: God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM [or I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE]. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: "I AM has sent me to you.'" [Exod 3:14]". Yogananda teaches:
God created each man as a soul, dowered with individuality, hence essential to the universal structure. [Ha 166]
To bring into being a diversified creation, the Lord had to bestow on everything the appearance of individuality. [Tms 8]
The idea of individuation, evolving into someone unique more or less, in some ways or others is upheld by notable psychologists like Carl G. Jung, who in turn inspired Abraham Maslow. Carl R. Rogers keeps a similar goal for good development, and refers to the fully functioning person.
Above it is documented, however, that Yogananda talks with two mouths about individuality too. Thus, half of his teachings in the matter are quack. Which half? One of them . . . The last one only seemingly has his "the world is an illusion" on its side. However, such a Yogananda teaching is part of the universe and therefore as false as the universe if the universe is false . . .
Yogananda teaches on many occasions that God is the Sole Doer of everything false, as the maker of the false universe, a dream only. And that is his overriding falseness message, even. If things were as the guru says in an illusory universe, God's teachings are not lovable or reliable either, and neither the guru nor his teachings are true.
Lions are gang killers. That point should not be overlooked when reading "O, make me this and that, and not the human I am supposed to be" (above). If you become a lion, through behaving greatly wrong, it may not be easy to become better than a killer, unless and until someone else helps you to go against your killer instincts and go against what seems "normal" thereby. Many pet animals of prey could profit from the help they get by not having to kill their food themselves.
A lion is a cat and lives by ambush and murder. That is being good as a cat. A man that murders is hardly different in gross outline if he has no other choice than to butcher in order to survive. But if he has other choices, he could be said to be far more inconsiderate than wild animals. Buddhism advices against killing.
As most often happens, few wild animals may swerve very much from the over-all plan for his species without much trouble, travail and being looked on as oddballs somehow and soon it is over with them.
Some Indian masters teach in essence that man degenerates by living as a lion, while the lion can go upward again from living like able lions to.
Swerving from common behaviour patters could bring progress, boons, blessings, but is risky in a conform setting, and animal settings are marked by brutal ranking business and pecking-based order. Group animals lions are hardly have much leeway today, and the same goes for conform humans too.
Study who gets rich on teachings on karma and reincarnation before you just believe the dogma-bringing guys. Suspect as early and well (discreetly) as you can to stay on the safe side [cf. Ha 332-3].
❖ You may have to swerve from the conform setting to make it well enough, where the conformity is not good and decent, for example.
TENET: Natural evolution is hardly an all-round good influence.
Let us visualise that someone has become used to gang-robbery and killings and is reborn as a lion. That is as gurus may decree in harmony with many a karma-and-rebirth teaching. Lions live by similar activities they too kill in gangs. It is called natural to them. How does a lion evolve away from that? The overlooked answer: By NOT doing what is deemed natural.
It is the same with lots of men, Buddhism and Hinduism teach: Good ones should try to live out what is handy and a little unnatural (aka unselfish) in certain basic, regulated ways without doing themselves harm, for some such measures may help inner development. In Buddhism it is likened to turning the wheel of dharma, in Hinduism it can be called tapas (sacrifice, penance etc). The clue is: Even if it is not totally in accord with natural living, it allows for having houses and homes, utensils and other goods, and fine food too. Even cattle may be had, hopefully in nice ways too.
Tapas, in essence, is doing what is hardly deemed natural or natural enough, through what does not come by itself through id (libido). It is "meddling or intervening with nature" somehow, just like Freudian sublimation seems like. It is not without hazards or risks, and the goings may get tough, even dangerous, with skerries beneath the surface of the sea, out of sight. That should be considered too.
Yet, after all, it is not any "either-or" we deal with, but a "both-and" aiming to make the humanely best of natural zest (id) and regulated id too. The fit balance is gentle enough to last throughout life. Buddhas gentle Middle Way of avoiding extremes is a very good example of the patent solution, in my opinion. Thus, do and adhere to what fosters growth within, along with the adaptations to nature and people we prefer or like best.
An added rule of the thumb might be useful right here: "If it is not the least pleasant, drop it for now." Another: "If it is not tenable, drop it." A third: "If it jolts being peaceful and modest, drop it," and so on. What you can do while keeping calm and reassured, that could help. Buddhism contains many tips to study, and Buddha's original teachings do not take freedom away. They were made to suit self-help effort.
Among good people, there are facets of upbringing, culture and items that assist, and tact helps too. Some facets of "going against raw nature" can be cultivated, then.
Now, some means and ways may assist GENTLE GROWTH IN SPIRIT, and that is the much desired fruit of ascetism, by and large. A decent way of mantra meditation can help that too.
In a larger picture, then, what assists MENTAL evolution is not flowing along in nature, but such as schooling, which is one form of tapas (penance).
If tapas makes us loose all zest in life, it is too severe. There is that danger of going too far against what counts and is valid.
What assists spiritual growth of awareness, may not all be part of what common people regard highly or venerate. It is probable that much that the general people disregards or does not live by for example simple living in the West grants spiritual development too. To be truly spiritual-minded can look like "freaking out" in some intrinsically beneficial ways. Abraham Maslow has found similar features surrounding outstanding persons too. They are not all very much accepted by those around them, their non-conform moral may be experienced as a threat by others, and so on. Maslow has written many books about such helpful individuals. You are referred to them for further reading. [More]
It should help to be aware that growth in individual expression and spirituality is had through "freaking" cleverly and beneficially from what others may say is "natural" or "normal", basically. Tapas is for that as understood in a wider perspective and not all animals in the wild have the means to it, assumedly. For one thing, deviating as a flock member is a great danger, and not hunting for prey may be lethal too. "It is ruthless out there."
Solid skilfulness is advocated by Buddha in the Gentle Middle Path of avoiding extremes that he etches out. Fit education is not thought little of. Good learning methods assist a fuller or better use of the brain. To such an end, mind mapping methods can be tried, all according to "Every little helps".
Learn to discriminate. Do not accept blindly everything that you read; it should meet the tests of your mind. Paramahansa Yogananda [Ak 389]
Yogananda (1893-1952) teaches with two or three mouths about evolution too. If you look for consistency, look another way. He says evolution is real, he says it is not real; something like that. First quote:
Nowhere in his thirty-year long career is shown just what seers (rishis) he refers to by this and there are many of them and in what scriptures it might be written, regrettably. At least I cannot recall any sound documentation in the matter, only changed tales about how fast kriya works. But no matter:
"Hasten your evolution by proper diet, healthful living, and reverence for your body." [Tms 51]
Do such quotations mean he thinks evolution is real? Hardly:
"Evolution is a suggestion of God in the human mind . . . Actually everything is taking place in the present . . . The Lord can turn the motion picture of creation backward or forward." [Tms 57]
Remember to demand good evidence of what Yogananda's God does before you place trust in sayings like that. Turning creation backward (putting the world in reverse) is not feasible, just like running at full speed backwards in a wood, without seeing where you are running. Also, if your will has anything to say in your world, you cannot reverse it either. That's what I think. If you disagree and want to prove me wrong, fine and good: get the grip on how to not-eat and get your urine back into you: [More]
Ak: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Man's Eternal Quest. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1986.
Tms: Self-Realization Fellowship. The Master Said: Sayings and Counsel to Disciples by Paramhansa Yogananda. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1957.
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