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El Greco. Hl. Franziskus und Bruder Leo, über den Tod meditierend. Modified section.
"The life of a monk isn't easy!"
[SRF's Swami Bhavananda]
It may not be so difficult either.

Severe Disappointments Could Be in Store

Those who are much encouraged by the early Yogananda's writings about dying through kriya yoga and embrace a lifestyle that is not for physical pleasure or selfish gratifications, may feel Yogananda has much to offer. Much does not mean much good here, or much sane and fulfilling either - just "much".

After they happen to read that Yogananda stuff and only that, they may enter the church he left Americans in particular, and be oath-bound to him through the kriya yoga pledge. Is that to be bound for glory or for yak-yak? It could be a little of both. It depends in part on you, for Yogananda says among other things,

Yogananda Don't take my word for anything. . . . find out for yourselves. Don't get hung up on words . . . please remember. - Yogananda, in Dietz 1998

Something like "Don't get hinged on words" might be hard to say for someone who had lectured throughout the United States for long years, lecturing, dictating, and so on - almost as hard in its implications as "We are all crazy. (Yogananda, 1982:425)".

That mentioned, what Yogananda denounced in the quotations above, by and large, was parts of his "life work", words that his "crew go on with and feed on" in several ways. One of them is publishing books by Yogananda and helpers. As the crew (loyal disciples) carry on, they may come to think that the church that Yogananda founded, SRF in short, has changed its course, away from those early Yogananda ideas of conscious death through kriya, and "sell" great happiness rather. If that is a disappointment, it is a disappointment.

Copeful or hopeful, what will it be?"

Another group of grave disappointments may be had by those who begin doing kriya yoga in the hope of great happiness and also want to become monks or nuns in the SRF church. If they later discover that membership ruined them a lot, and that Yogananda also talked for dictatorship, praised Mussolini, talked for and against the same subject on different occasions and failed to speak truth in a court case, they may somehow lose faith. Is that for good or bad or something else? It depends in part on how awkward, unfounded and damaging the lost faith is.

Losing a failing faith may work for good, for bad or something else. It depends in part on part on who you are too - your chances to go on without the faith and the fellowship that went along with it in a cult or whatever. It may also depend on how demented, optimistic and realistic you get, how lucky, how "copeful", stress-resistant and more (see Wiseman 2004; Inman 2007; Murray 2012). When inmate followers later find that the SRF monasteries are hotbetds of skirmishes, happiness might give way and something else hold sway. Yet disappointments can remain. Better be warned in advance.

Also, some who enter the chuch fellowship Yogananda founded and one day regretted he had founded, may want to marry and have good sex too. When that happens, for example three hours after entering, could be the time when their troubles begin, since "Yogananda doesn't like that!" His words may prick like needles and pins, needles and pins when those troubles begin, if not before. There is room for other uncalled-for torments and disappointments by SRF-devoted guru guidelines too.

A joyless Yogananda, horse-riding and gratifications

You can say, "Horse-riding isn't easy" until you master it. Then it may be pleasant, even fun. The same goes for much else. It suggests that growing in mastery of something is accompanied with ease and pleasure. That is so outside Self-Realization Fellowship circles of the Old School, Yogananda's Old School, where "[H]uman life is given to man . . . not for physical pleasure nor selfish gratifications. (◦SRF's founding article, 2e.13).

Note as well: "By being happy, you please Me," Yogananda was once told (1949, No. 189, retold. In an edition of 2008, it is No. 188 - with a rather different wording, but with a similar message). The best sort of people do not make a living of torturing others and themselves, indicates Buddha. What about dentists, then? [Apannaka Sutta].

A former dentist removed "rotten Yogananda teeth"

Something dangerous first: pomposity for wrong reasons. It may originate in vanity. How to deal with pompous hype, if it is detected? A dentist may know how to deal with it like toot decay.

It is not so easy to be happy with a toothache. To quote Minott Lewis, a retired dentist who became SRF's first vice president in 1952: "Two roads diverge, stop, take your choice." He illustrates the problem himself. Drilling and boring in the teeth of others, is it inflicting pain on fellows? And commanding soldiers in war, is that too? It could be for a just cause, and a bad cause, and something in the middle, but may be called necessary. There are demands to submit and so on.

Dentist work might be wisely and well done, eventhogh painful at times. Had Dr Lewis been "cruel to be kind" for years, or to make a living? Both? None of that? That could be . . . The retired dentist was among the SRF directors that found it fit to remove a killjoy article 2e.13 (above) and some more founding articles by Yogananda, as a dentist removes some rotten teeth (many founding ideas by Yogananda). Dr Lewis and the majority of the SRF directors at the time made such a choice soon after Yogananda lay dead on a banquet floor in downtown Los Angeles, and ◦the emended SRF articles of incorporation were officially registered on 5 December 1954.

We have to go for wider perspectiver than merely to avoid dentist "torture", if we mean to preserve our teeth or get a number of them extracted, as the case may be.

The SRF change might reflect a change of attitude, since the early Yogananda wanted to teach Americans how to die. A book he is credited with, The Science of Religion, says rather pompously, "We ought not to fear to practice conscious death . . . Death will then be under our control." (1953:78). You should say, "Oh, will it?" To make it clear: all former SRF leaders have died, and the second president died of pneumonia. The cause of Yogananda's banquet death was heart failure, an examining doctor concluded.

Before all that, after five years with few followers in the early 1920s, Yogananda had started to talk of Jesus as one of the gurus siding with him, and to focus better on getting happy too. Yes, later the focus was on great happiness. But Yogananda's formidable killjoy article (2.13, further down) could in time have been considered dangerous to that idea, even to all-round happiness and successful living. Marshall Govindan comments:

After five years of effort in America, beginning in 1925 . . . Yogananda began to modify and adapt his teachings to the West . . . to overcome the . . . resistance of Christians who were suspicious of the foreign teachings of a Hindu swami. As a result, Yogananda began to enjoy remarkable popularity. . . . However, . . . most readers of his "Autobiography" . . . are left with many unrealistic expectations. [◦Link]

Unfulfilled expectations may give rise severe disappointments. Hype has in it to make fools of those who merely believe it, without asking for good evidence. Things may not end well where hype acts like false facades that cover ignoble doings in such an establishment. False play is not uncommon in such places. Quackery may occur too. Behind many unworthy doings may be all too common greed, greed for wealth, lands, lots of property, and other beings to ride on, and further.

Sometimes a marketing attempt is so wrong that it mars. At other times it can be somewhat misleading: Swami Satyananda, one of Yogananda's early companions, is rendered by Swami Kriyananda in the preface of God Is for Everyone: there Satyananda reportedly tells that Yogananda wrote an outline of the book's ideas in Bengali, and asked Swami Dhirananda, a member of our little group, to write them in English as a booklet." Accordingly you find ideas by Yogananda, text by Dhirananda; but only Yogananda credited (Kriyananda 2004:Preface). So much for the change of focus from "Westerners, die as I say", to "Great Happiness, Westerners" and from there to alarming monastic agonies (further down).

Getting helped by guidelines and getting ridden by them may be two very different things

Self-Realization Fellowship, SRF, is not just a local Californian thing; it aims to spread his teachings world-wide. It is headed by monastics that mean to dominate members through a kriya-yoga pledge and lots of do's and don'ts - regulations -, also called guidelines by Yogananda, who claimed to be an avatar (divine descension in human form), as cited in at least two places. The claim from SRF management circles is that they do not find faults with Yogananda's guidelines, and that his wisdom is flawless. He advocated dictatorship.

The ochre-robed SRF monastics belong to a particular hybrid branch of Hindu swamis. Also, the SRF monastics has in part been governed by Yogananda nuns of Mormon upbringing for over sixty years by now (2017). At one point in their "career" sisters of this Americanised swami order are formally called matas, mothers in SRF, whereas male swamis are not called babas, fathers at any time, but just 'brothers'. "Equality, have you lost a foot?"

All who learn kriya yoga through SRF, become sworn-in members of that hybrid religion. They swear loyalty to a Jesus who is credited with this telling saying, "Do not swear an oath at all (Matthew 5:34)." The current ◦aims and ideals of SRF were originally ◦article points by Swami Yogananda.

"Crowing hen[s] will bring no luck to the house they are in. (Irish)" - but "always come to some bad end." "It's a sad house where the hen crows louder than the cock (Scottish)."

The SRF swamis of both sexes are governed by cloistered nuns that used to be 'sisters' before Yogananda died in 1952. Two years later, in late 1954, the SRF board of directors made big changes to the SRF Church as well. If they did not think something was wrong with their removed Yogananda aims for the Church, why take them away? Here we see that already in 1954 the SRF board of directors showed they thought they knew better than "infallible" Yogananda. Alas, some of ◦Yogananda's original aims and ideals for his church were silently removed.

Some original Yogananda ideals for the church he started

The source of the following abstracts and quotations is Yogananda's founding SRF Charter of 1935: [◦Yogananda's SRF charter] — SRF's amended charter of 1954, to compare with: [SRFs amended charter]

  • "[T]o make lasting youth and arrest old age by using . . . Energy instead of trying to obtain health only from the use of the physical means of food and exercise." (2.d).

  • "Fighting the Satan of Ignorance (2.9)." [Yogananda's ignorance about dictatorship should have been fought better, accordingly. However, it is not given to everybody to foresee which is which and what is what either: "We don't really know what is right or real . . . we are often incorrect in our judgements," said Yogananda (1982:414). If 'we' means he speaks for himself too, let him speak for himself.

  • "Realization of the purpose of life as being the evolution from human consciousness into divine consciousness, through individual struggle. (2.12)" ["Pelagian heresy!" decrees a Catholic professor about that one]

  • "[H]uman life is given to man . . . not for physical pleasure nor selfish gratifications. (2.13)" [There will hardly come many members if more such killjoy stuff is made better known.]

  • "United science and religion (2.15)" [So they mean to believe they do that, without doubting it.]

  • "[E]stablishment of a small altar of right meditation in each home in California . . . and all over the world. (2.17)

  • [Teaching an] universal technique of salvation and soul perfection (2.20). [To bring about salvation by a technique goes against the concept of salvation in Christianity, and is deemed heresy by a a Catholic professor "Heresy" signals something the Church does not want. Contra that: If a technique works that way, it works that way. And if so, it may be wisely documented, so we may gauge our odds of success, if any.]

Also, the guru and his friends wanted to be given "real and personal property of any kind or nature whatsoever . . . real estate of every kind (etc.)". That came first (1.a-c). After SRF had emended SRF's articles of incorporation in 1954, more changes were to follow. Changes are not wicked in themselves, but false play is. To say a guru is divine, his guidelines without fault, and so on, while dropping several of them and forging his signature, is crossing a line, it is cheating, and innocent guys may be fooled into Yogananda submission through it by stages.

Even though the founding guideposts once stood out as prime guidelines for SRF, some were discarded a few years after he lay dead. The main reason seems to be that SRF board of directors were not very happy with them then, or not happy enough. They could in fact have been very unhappy with many of Yogananda's aims for SRF, such as that killjoy article (2.13). At any rate SRF's directors removed it from the aims and ideals they are holding up today, as you can see if you follow the links.

Signature forgery discovered

Original points (articles) for the church Yogananda founded, have since been formulated as SRF Aims and Ideals, but not all of them. Some juggle to get their way and titles, and change Paramhansa into Paramahansa too, through silent signature forgery. Beneath was dominant mata disbelief that Yogananda knew best how to write his own signature. It is kind of grotesque in its way. Jon Parsons writes in A Fight for Religious Freedom, chap. 7.

In the summer of 1958, after Sister Daya's trip to India, SRF suddenly changed the spelling of Yogananda's title from "Paramhansa" to "Paramahansa." Without announcement or explanation, an extraneous "a" mysteriously appeared in Yogananda's title beginning with the July-August 1958 issue of Self-Realization [the SRF magazine]. . . .

If Yogananda could not get his own name right, how could he be trusted on less verifiable matters such as achieving union with God? . . .

[SRF changed] his signature as well as his name. . . . Why . . . such subterfuge? (Parsons 2012:72) [A fuller Parson quotation on it]

"There, but for fortune, go you or go I (with variations)"

All who have aspired to become main editors or even presidents of SRF, or neither aspired to any of those positions but have been elected into them, might say "There, but for fortune, go you and I." Now, Professor Richard Wiseman (2004) has found that good luck is something to be reckoned with in a life. He has detected four main components, and they can be learnt. So luck can be had by paying attention to these four: (1) Creating chance opportunities; (2) Thinking lucky; (3) Feeling lucky; (4) "Denying" fate. "Override fate well" seems better. How to align ourselves with the four principles? Dr Wiseman has written a book about it . . .

SRF has had its troubles, and some seem to be ridiculous too, and self-made. "Ridiculous to outsiders, tragic to many of the inside victims." For all that, a measure of good luck could come their way, or if not good luck, then better luck. A question: "Better" here, is that better than good or worse than good?"

No one should have high hopes that bats will learn new tricks in a thrice. As for SRF managers, maybe. But will tricks lead to better over-all conditions and fair teachings, rather than glorified hails? That is indeed the question. Many SRF troubles may result from inadequate SRF management - those "little bit crazy" ones, as a long-time former SRF leader said, echoing Yogananda.

Erupting bad goings
Yogananda We are all crazy. (Yogananda 1982:425)

I often say that we are all a little bit crazy and we don't know it, because people of the same craziness mix with their own kind (Yogananda 2002:270).

It is repeated by a former leader of the organisation that Yogananda set up (and one day regretted), Daya Mata: "All of us . . . are a little bit crazy, and we do not know it." (1976: "Qualities of a Devotee")

A question may arise: "If they say they are crazy without knowing it, how can they tell it truly?" Some may also say on reflection: "We all have our share in the bad goings," as it takes two to tango, letting nuns have their ways and so on. To be lenient with chatters may not improve the fare of those who succumb to it.

Lola Williamson describes the SRF goings:

Disagreements about how the organization should be run and how Yogananda's words should be interpreted have existed throughout SRF's history, occasionally erupting into organizational crises. (Williamson 2010:75)

Something similar is stated in Sailendra Dasgupta's Yogananda-biography (2006). He informs that under the Daya leadership SRF and its Indian twin organisation, YSS (of 1917),

went through many changes. Many of the men and women who where older disciples of the order either removed themselves from the central organization or were forced out - not only in America, but in India as well. (Satyananda 2006:106)

Satyananda then names several of them, including a former vice president in SRF, Kriyananda. He was forced out. Williamson describes further:

SRF is hierarchical in its approach with the Board [of management] essentially controlling the decision-making process. Former disgruntled members of SRF credit this top-down mentality with creating an unhealthy organization. (Williamson 2010:75) . . .

A labyrinth of difficulties beset the organization. Some people could not even sit in the same room with others because there was so much bad feeling. . . . SRF hire[d] outside communication and organizational consultants to offer advice on how to handle the situation. They also suggested that SRF hire counselors and psychologists to deal with the festering psychological problems that some of the monastics seemed to be experiencing. Two new committees . . . were formed to execute the suggestions made by the consultants. This was the beginning of a split among the monks and nuns who resided at the Mother Center. Some viewed the promise of change with exhilaration and hope; and some viewed it with fear. The end result was that about one third of all the SRF monastics left the SRF premises between 2000 and 2005 (Parsons 2012:171). Due to entrenched resistance to change, the communication consultants were let go, the existing committee members replaced by others content with the status quo, and the psychologists relieved of their duties. It may be that so many people needed to talk to the counselors that the leadership became fearful of losing control. They reverted to the old style of dealing with problems, which, as the SRF catchphrase goes, is to "take it to your altar:' (Williamson 2010:76) [More]

For their own good and later developments, the lives of monks and nuns should not be made harder than needed, Yogananda's killjoy article or not. Assuredly, the SRF monk Bhavananda's "The life of a monk isn't easy!" reflects his experiences as a swami-monk in the SRF church.

Are Yogananda's "crazy fellows" still crazy after all those years subjected to SRF and him?
We drank ourselves some beers
Still crazy after all these years

I would not be convicted by a jury of my peers
Still crazy after all these years.

Fragments from "Still crazy after all these years", by Paul Simon

If a little bit crazy ones leave a place where they were gathered, strolled about and thought they were normal, are they sane for being let loose, or different? We do well not treat all alike. Even so, when birds of a feather that flocked together, stop flocking together, do the birds change? Further, will one diseased or crazy bird fester many others it comes into contact with? It could be.

To get a first og beginning grip on things, generalisations tend to be used. And 'used' does not necessarily mean 'useful' in this, just to make it clear.

First, those who entered and left SRF, were monastics for a while, up to many long years. There is a stereotype about prison inmates who once they are let loose, may seek to catch up - However, an alarming, indoctrinated Superego, airily marred or abused "conscience-stuff", in SRF-adapted Yogananda followers, may come in the way. After all, Yogananda dictated no sex for singles and very little for married followers. [Details: Sex and Yogananda]

Maybe some who have left SRF forcibly were not celibates. Details are hard to get in such cases. A few stories have surfaced, but not so many.

In the history of the Catholic Church, there are differences between what is officially professed and what has been actually carried through. We who are able to count saints here, archbishops there and Catholic Masters of Theology too among our ancestors, cannot easily equal 'monastic' with 'celibate' - not even with 'unmarried'. A little study of countries like Denmark and Norway in medieval times may bring to light that many of the Catholic clergy at that time had children, even many children. Quite a number of Vatican cardinals had children as well in those times. Things got stricter since, at least officially.

How many monastics that are gay is another delicate problem. There are various ways of being gay, not only altarboy-molesting ones. How different nuns and monks make do just with sexual urges, not orgies, is another. SRF-based statistics that deals with such matters seems hard to come by too, if at all. Since intimacy between a church's counsellors and laypersons may lead to more intimacy, the handling of such a fare may become crucial. Dr Leon J. Podles:

Spiritual direction, therapy, and counseling all can be dangerous even to well-intentioned people. Emotional intimacy itself can be problematic, and can lead to physical intimacy. . . .

There are grave dangers in the therapist/counselor/priest becoming emotionally involved with the person with whom he is relating. Freud discovered the process of transference in his psychotherapy sessions and therapists have had chronic problems with sexual involvement with patients. [◦Leon J. Podles. DIALOGUE 2017]

Even more important, it is not necessarily sinful to love and be loved. It depends on what kind of love the brotherly love is, who loves, how, how much and often, when, and outer conditions too. Nyingma, the oldest school of Tibetan Buddhism, is known for its Vajrayana teachings; they include yab-yum, sexual union, ways of doing it, and outcomes of it. It is a tantra way, and known in Hinduism too. (WP, "Nyingma"; "Yam-yum")

Not just intimacy and sex may disturb in sects, such as SRF. Suppressions of other sorts abound there too. They could seem necessary and godly to those who ride on top of others, goading and demanding loyalty, obedience, unconditional devotion from underlings. However, such frames can often hinder good development for the "sons of Aaron", that is, descendants of the brother of Moses. "Part of the Law (Torah) that the Old Testament's Moses received at Sinai granted Aaron the priesthood for himself and his male descendants, and Aaron became the first High Priest of the Israelites. Aaron was married, and had sons.

Jesus had no monks among his followers that we know of. Further, he said his ministry and teachings are for Jews alone (Matthew 15:24; 10:4-10; Vermes 2012). And to make one more thing clear: Christian monasticism arose in Egypt centuries after Jesus was born, and is no original fixture of Jesuanism.

In about five years after 2000, about one third of all the monastics in the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) Church left. SRF professes to preach "Original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ" (It is a bluff). SRF monastics who left, in part with signs of fear and mental troubles, contributed with tragic stories on the SRF Walrus, a former, online discussion forum. The monastics had been lorded over for years. [◦:SRF Walrus Backup site till into 2006] While the backup site lasts, we may get to a large part of raw material that was sampled and made use of in the latter half of essays in this collection, also called book.

Beware of original bogus and plots

Why is preaching "Original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ" bogus? Here are the simple reasons. Each is elaborated on elsewhere in the Yogananda-SRF collections.

  • There was no Christianity of Jesus. He had only Jewish followers. Christianity came later.
  • Christianity arose on the ashes of a failed sacrifice for Jews only, when a couple of goats should have done the trick as instituted. (Acts 15; Deuteronomy 16)
  • The only followers that Jesus acknowledged were Jewish. He would not let others have his teachings or ministry, and expressly forbade it while he was alive. (Vermes 2012; Matthew 15:24; 10:4-9)
  • The Missionary Command is a later addition to gospels, and very, very likely forged. (Joseph Wheeless goes into details. He is supported by such bible scholars as Bart D. Ehrman and Geza Vermes.
  • Christian monasticism is a late-comer in Christianity. It arose in Egypt several hundred years after Jesus [More]. SRF is governed by monastics. Jesus knew no such ones, and reserved his teachings for Jews only. Nowhere in the bible monasticism part of his designs. It is, in Self-Realization Fellowship. It was founded by a Hindu monk, a swami with followers, and continues to be governed by swami-nuns that preach Christianity. It is "monky business" in more than one way we have at hand.
  • Christ comes from Messiah, 'king'. Jesus did not want to be called it. The title took off and flew sky high after his death. It may remind of a "faithy compensation" of a sort, if that is not what it is. (See Bart D. Ehrman (2014) about how a preacher from Galilee was later called the son of God and God himself through faith.

Bluffs can be put down in writing

If you want to teach what Jesus taught, first find out what he taught. In the understandable The Authentic Gospel of Jesus (2004), the renowned biblical scholar Geza Vermes has sifted through the four canonical gospels in search or the most reliable words put in the mouth of Jesus. Mark stands out as the most reliable to him, along with Matthew. But there is not a single verbatim quotation around, for Jesus wrote nothing. His disciples did not either, as far as we know. We are left with gospels that were put down in writing tens of years after his death, and the writers were not the apostles. This goes to say we may not be absolutely certain that Jesus said exactly what he is quoted to have said, if he said it. His teachings are not for non-Jews anyway, on his own word (Matthew 15:24; 10:4-19)

There could be little value in Yogananda tactics or SRF's bluff-facade. Perhaps it would help if SRF could teach and preach something like Modigyriginal Hyperboreanity of Apollon, a God instead. What might the advantages of that be?

1. Maybe it is awfully hard to teach old hens new tricks. But if they can apply their already learnt tricks and trade on Apollon - who knows?

2. The often confusing teachings of Jesus-for-Jews-only would not go into it, and since there is no proof of what they are, only "circumstantial evidence" for most part or wholly, it could be wise to start with a clean slate and go to Apollon with the diseases and craziness, hoping for hel, health and healing (Apollon is the god for such things too, Greeks tell and write and symbolise).

3. The teachings of Apollon are not denied anyone, and may be just as obscure as any tales of Jesus-for-Jews alone. What we are left with, consists of art which may be interpreted, but fit teachings may not be find. Oracle teachings are not clear teachings.

4. There has been a long tradition of erecting temples with rituals and worship - fit for many. SRF ministers may "just" pick of the threads that already exist, instead of inventing things about "Modigyriginal Hyperboreanism of God".

5. There are no clearly fit teachings, and hence no calls for self-mutiations, making oneself poor, letting bad guys win and take over on the command of Jesus (Matthew 5)

6. Is there a need for tongue-twisters, matas and sisters? "Modigyriginal Hyperboreanism of God" - what about that?

Yes, advantages could be many . . . There could be much room for ceremonical drivel and displays too, altar worship and shepherd choirs singing, lutes played and robes for those who hold on to such low levels of development. But in Hyperborealism too, hard facts might be hard to find, much as with Enoch, even though there is a book of Enoch.

To top

Going North

Section of a Carl Barks litography as modified.
"Thousands of youths must go North." (Yogananda)

Enoch went North

The Book of Enoch is an ancient work, ascribed by a tradition to the great-grandfather of Noah. The book is explicitly quoted in the Letter of Jude 1:14-15 and by many of the early Church Fathers. However, it is not part of the biblical canon of any Christian groups. Modern scholars estimate that the older sections (mainly in the Book of the Watchers) date from about 300 BC.

The oldest and first section of the Book of Enoch describes the fall of the Watcher angels, fallen angels who take human wives to "beget children". The fallen angels, chiefly Azazel, taught men to make swords, knives, shields and breastplates, and made known to them the metals and the art of working them. And so, they were angel smiths. There arose much godlessness.

The angel Raphael was then to imprison the fallen angel Azazel and cast him into the darkness: to make an opening in the desert and cast him in it. "And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness." Also, "[H]eal the earth which the [fallen smith teacher angels and mating] angels have corrupted . . . that all the children of men may not perish through all the secret things that the Watchers have disclosed and have taught their sons . . . Azazel: to him ascribe all sin."

God gave Gabriel these instructions, "Destroy [the children of fornication and] the children of the Watchers from among men: send them one against the other that they may destroy each other in battle . . ."

Michael was to bind the fallen angels who have united themselves with women. When their sons hadslain one another, Michael was to bind them fast for seventy generations in the valleys of the earth, till the day of their judgement in store later on, and "the torment and the prison in which they shall be confined for ever." (Rendered)

Forever seems like a long, long time, but see what happened to many of the things Yahweh had instituted to as everlasting ordinances, for example the goat tent services and the scapegoat sacrifice in Leviticus 16. Lesson: "Many Biblical forever's do not seem to signify a long, long time anyway."

In the twentieth section there are names and functions of seven archangels. They are Gabriel (Sunday), Michael (Monday), Raphael (Tuesday), Uriel (Wednesday), Raguel (Thursday), Remiel (Friday) - but Remiel is possibly replaced by Phanuel (angel), and Sariel (Saturday). The names get different and their placement shuffled in later works. An archangel for each day of the week may remind of Babylonian astrology, where the days are lorded over by the Sun, the Moon, Mercury (Tuesday), Odin (Wednesday), Thorr (Jupiter) (Thursday), Freya or Frigg (Friday) Saturn (Saturday).

It is high time to ask: "Is the seven-days long week something arbitrary. Why seven days in a week and not eight, nine or five, for example?" There are more planets in the solar system to be counted in today - Uranus and Neptune are heeded too among astrologers. "May we get a nine-day long week with Uranus days and Neptune days soon?" you may wonder. Ask in passing as you like: "How was the first round of seven days fixed? How did the ancients decide with days in the long stream of days were Sun-days, and so on with the others?"

Good questions may need better than light answers. Traditional is not always good enough either.

Sections 24 and 25 are about seven magnificient mountains in the North-West and the Tree of Life. The seventh. Fragrant trees encircled the throne. Among them was a fragrant, robust tree with fruits that resembled dates. The archangel Michael told Enoch that the top of the high mountain in the middle was the throne of the Lord of Glory. There the Lord would sit when He came down and visited the earth with goodness. Moreover, the fruit of the fragrant tree was to be food to the elect, and its "its fragrance shall be in their bones".

Take care - the mountain top you sit on, might be a glory-throne if you get lucky.

When Enoch looked towards the north over the mountains, he saw seven mountains full of choice nard and fragrant trees and cinnamon and pepper. He went over these mountains and came to the Garden of Righteousness. There he saw the tree of knowledge - as high as a fir, whose holy fruit they eat and know great wisdom. It had beautiful fruits like the clusters of the vine. The fragrance of the tree penetrated afar.

Sections 34 is about Enoch's journey to the North. "There I saw a great and glorious device at the ends of the whole earth. And here I saw three portals of heaven open in the heaven: through each of them proceed north winds: when they blow there is cold, hail, frost, snow, dew, and rain. And out of one portal they blow for good: but when they blow through the other two portals, it is with violence and affliction on the earth, and they blow with violence." (34)

Going North to Get Happy

"We must go on - not only those who are here, but thousands of youths must go North." (Abr. from a Yogananda garden talk, Beverly Hills, California, July 1949)

If going north is a good thing to do, the next question may be "How?", and "For how long?" "Under what conditions?" may also be added. "Why?" is another good question, and the answer the guru gives is, "to the greatest happiness!"

Alas, if a swarm of bats went to the far North, they might not survive the Arctic winter. And a swarm of Norwegian lemmings should decide to go against their habits of flocking westwards, and instead venture north in search of the supreme happiness that Yogananda speaks of, they would possible need to swim also. As for humans going north on Yogananda's dictate, there is a north that is north of Scandinavia too, where polar bears still roam, hungry for food. Unlucky tourists are treated as prey.

Idealism is not enough. And it could be hard to cash in dollars in North Siberia too.

Your well-being and thriving could depend on where you start from, how far north you get, and what community you settle in, and if you demand warm sea water to take daily baths in. There could be others clawing there already, eager to keep the good life to themselves. Still more poignant, the North is cold. It takes what it takes to live there.

Ancient Greek Claims: In the North Are Hyperboreans and Apollon

Thousands of youths must go North." (Abr. from a Yogananda garden talk, Beverly Hills, California, July 1949)

If SRF exchanged their "Jesus and Christianity" matters to something like "Modigyriginal Hyperboreanity of Apollon, God", it could be for good if it is not hypocritical. Maybe not great good, maybe not a little good, but still for good, possibly, and better than the no good of false play for money.

In the far North is where Hyperborea is in Greek tales. At least these old tales are much older than the recorded Jewish Book of Enoch. Mark it well: Not just Enoch is said to have travelled to the far North. The Greek God Apollon does it too, spending the winter there among Hyperboreans.

Completely happy and of "arrested old age" - the otherworldly North-of-the-North-Wind-ers

Of the Twelve Olympians, Apollon was the only one venerated among the Hyperboreans; the Hellenes thought he spent the winters among them.

In Greek mythology the Hyperboreans were mythical people who lived "beyond the North Wind". The Greeks thought that Hyperborea was a region far to the north of Thrace. This land was supposed to be perfect, with the sun shining twenty-four hours a day. The classical Greek poet Pindar writes that "neither by ship nor on foot would you find / the marvellous road to the assembly of the Hyperboreans." Pindar also described the otherworldly perfection of the Hyperboreans.

Here we have a counterpart of a heaven, already.

The earliest extant source that mentions Hyperborea in detail, Herodotus's Histories (Book IV, Chapters 32–36), dates from circa 450 BC. Herodotus recorded three earlier sources that supposedly mentioned the Hyperboreans, including Hesiod and Homer.

Pomponius Mela placed the Hyperboreans in the vicinity of the Arctic.

A preserved fragment by Diodorus Siculus: "In the regions beyond the land of the Celts there lies in the ocean an island no smaller than Sicily. This island, the account continues, is situated in the north and is inhabited by the Hyperboreans, who are called by that name because their home is beyond the point whence the north wind (Boreas) blows; and the island is both fertile and productive of every crop, and has an unusually temperate climate."

Hecateaus of Abdera also wrote that the Hyperboreans had on their island "a magnificent sacred precinct of Apollon and a notable temple which is adorned with many votive offerings and is spherical in shape".

Ptolemy (Geographia, 2. 21) and Marcian of Heraclea (Periplus, 2. 42) both placed Hyperborea in the North Sea, the "Hyperborean Ocean".

Along with Thule, Hyperborea was one of several unknown tracts (terrae incognitae) to the Greeks and Romans, where Pliny, Pindar and Herodotus, as well as Virgil and Cicero, reported that people lived to the age of one thousand and enjoyed lives of complete happiness. Hecataeus of Abdera collated all the stories about the Hyperboreans current in the fourth century BC and published a lengthy treatise on them, lost to us, but noted by Diodorus Siculus (ii.47.1–2). Also, the sun was supposed to rise and set only once a year in Hyperborea; which would place it above or upon the Arctic Circle, or, more generally, in the arctic polar regions.

Greek legend asserts that the Boreades, who were the descendants of Boreas and the snow-nymph Chione (or Khione), founded the first theocratic monarchy on Hyperborea. This legend is found preserved in the writings of Aelian: "This god [Apollon] has as priests the sons of Boreas (North Wind) and Chione (Snow), three in number, brothers by birth, and six cubits in height [about 3 metres]."

The Boreades were thus believed to be giant kings, around 10 feet tall, who ruled Hyperborea.

Northern Europeans (Scandinavians), when confronted with the classical Greco-Roman culture of the Mediterranean, identified themselves with the Hyperboreans. This idea was especially strong during the 17th century in Sweden, where the later representatives of the ideology of Gothicism declared the Scandinavian peninsula both the lost Atlantis and the Hyperborean land.

John G. Bennett wrote a research paper entitled "The Hyperborean Origin of the Indo-European Culture" (Journal Systematics, Vol. 1, No. 3, December 1963): there he claimed the Indo-European homeland was in the far north, which he considered the Hyperborea of classical antiquity. This idea was earlier proposed by Bal Gangadhar Tilak (whom Bennett credits) in his The Arctic Home in the Vedas (1903) as well as the Austro-Hungarian ethnologist Karl Penka (Origins of the Aryans, 1883).

H. P. Blavatsky [and others] thought Hyperborea was the Golden Age polar center of civilisation and spirituality; [a] mystical otherworldly homeland in the Far North.

Robert Charroux first related the Hyperboreans to an ancient astronaut race of "reputedly very large, very white people" who had chosen "the least warm area on the earth because it corresponded more closely to their own climate on the planet from which they originated".

[Selections. Source: Wikipedia, "Hyperborea"]


Apollon, the ancient God of god of light, balance, order, healing, poetry and music, art, oracles, (far-shooting) archery, plague, medicine, sun and knowledge - is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities, and one of the most widely revered and influential of all the ancient Greek and Roman gods too. Apollon's most common attributes are the bow and arrow. Other attributes include the lyre, the plectrum and the sword, the sacrificial tripod, representing his prophetic powers. The bay laurel plant is used to crown victors at games in his honour. The palm tree is also sacred to Apollon. Animals sacred to Apollon include dolphins, roe deer, swans, cicadas (symbolizing music and song), hawks, crows and griffins (eagle-lions)

Among Apollon's other Greek epithets are Nomios (Herdsman), and Lyceius, presumably because he protects the flocks from wolves (lykoi). A patron defender of crops, herds and flocks, he is a divine bulwark against wild animals and disease, as his Greek epithet Alexikakos (Averter of Evil) indicates. He is protecting shepherds and pastoral life as well.

And because herdsmen and shepherds beguiled the hours with music, scholars have argued that this is Apollon's original role. As the patron god of music and poetry, a gentle side of his nature is shown by the lyre: it proclaims the joy of communing with the divine through music, poetry, and dance.

In addition to protecting shepherds and pastoral life, Apollon also protects roads and homes, and wards off evil. Presiding over religious law and the constitutions of cities, he is associated with dominion over colonists too. As god of colonisation, Apollon gives oracular guidance on colonies.

Apollon is a common theme in Greek and Roman art. Greek art puts into Apollon the highest degree of power and beauty that can be imagined. In art, Apollon is represented as a beardless youth, either naked or robed. He has many love affairs. The statues of Apollon embody beauty, balance and inspire awe before such beauty.

Apollon is often associated with the Golden Mean. This is the Greek ideal of moderation and a virtue that opposes gluttony. In ancient Greek philosophy, especially that of Aristotle, the golden mean or golden middle way or Goldilocks Theory is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency. In literary contexts, Apollon represents harmony, order, and reason.

From the time of Homer onward Apollon is the god of divine distance, who sends or threatens from afar. Distance, death, terror, and awe are summed up in his symbolic bow of (far-reaching) archery. Also, Apollon is the god who makes men aware of their own guilt and purifies them of it and who communicates with mortals through prophets and oracles his knowledge of the future and the will of his father, Zeus (Roman: Jupiter). Only his father and his mother, Leto (Roman: Latona), can easily bear his presence. His forename Phoebus means "bright" or "pure," and the view became current that he is connected with the Sun.

The Cretan cult of Apollon Delphinius superseded that previously established there by Earth (Gaea). During the Archaic period (8th to 6th century BCE), the fame of the Delphic oracle spread as far as Lydia in Anatolia and achieved status all over ancient Greece. The god's medium in Delphi was the Pythia, a local woman over fifty years old and who delivered oracles in the main temple of Apollon. The oracles were in turn interpreted and versified by priests. Other oracles of Apollon existed on the Greek mainland, on Delos, and in Anatolia, but none were held in such regard as that in Delphi. There, Apollon was venerated as the slayer of Python, the dragon living at the centre of the earth: only four days after his birth, Apollon killed that underworld, hellish dragon in a cave at Delphi.

A lot of temples dedicated to Apollon were built. The oldest temple probably dedicated to Apollon Ismenius was built in the 9th century BC.

The Greek God of knowledge might have much to teach us, and might use poetry freely to advantage too, but nothing helpful may exist . . . We may not be sure what his messages were or what his novel messages are. And there is a danger of being mistaken about them, through faulty interpretations. That is in the tradition.

However, there is much art, temples, statues, depictions and stories and other references, with many added, later inventions to look into and not just browse. It could be very wise to take such things into account with Bible matters too, for there are forgeries in the Bible, before and after Christ (BC and AD) Bart D. Ehrman shows many of them. Ehrman books with annotations]

[Selections from Encyclopaedia Britannica and Wikipedia, "Apollon"]

Liberal Monastics Do Good

Do you not see the sailors of the ships, how their ships are tossed to and fro by the waves, and are shaken by the winds, and are troubled? (Book of Enoch 101:4)

It is not good enough to anchor a ship in the thin air, as such attemps are calling for needless troubles. Proper means and ends mean a lot to followers and other people. It is seldom good enough just to have as one's aim to "make lasting youth and arrest old age by using . . . Energy". Since claims are many and evidence suggest something else is at work, what to adjust to? Will it be the map or the terrain? Where is the anchor? Is it up in the air among floating clouds, or fixed to the bottom of the sea, as fit? Many cult members who let group conformity decide that "Air Is Good for Anchorage - I'll go North, hatless and without socks and shoes on Yogananda's word," they could be in for trouble. Maybe not at once, maybe not in this life, but maybe later. Or maybe not, if they get cowls and hoods lined with fur or better, furry neck warmers and specially designed mukluk skin boots traditionally made of skin or sealskin. Sandal strips around them might work. Otherwise, the boots may be warm enough to go barefoot in without freezing anyhow. It is a joke, unlike Yogananda's bizarre exhortations.

Inuit pic. Section. Source, WP.
Consider your needs and the lifestyle required before venturing far north for good.

North to Alaska

Big Sam left Seattle
Below that old white mountain,
Sam crossed the Majestic mountains to the valleys far below.
He talked to his team of huskies.
As he mushed on through the snow.
With the northern lights a-runnin' wild.
In the land of the midnight sun.

Where the river is windin', big nuggets they're findin'.
North to Alaska, go north, the rush is on.
North to Alaska, go north, the rush is on.

Fragments of ◦Johnny Horton's "North to Alaska"

There are many groups of Yogananda adherents today. One group, Ananda Sangha, keep the guru's thoughts about Yogananda communities alive, and another group, Self-Realization Fellowship, ignores them. It may not be easy to decide which is worst. It would depend on how far north we venture, and on the local climate and challenges. Maybe there is a good reason why Inuits do not wear hats, but something else instead. Instead of socks one might use mukluk and extra insulating soles, perhaps?

It may be fine to find a way not to die of pneumonia as the second SRF president, James J. Lynn did in 1955. (Self-Realization Fellowship 1959:5)

Long-lived and happy up north?
May you live (to) a hundred, and a year for contrition (to repent it). - Irish well-wishing

It matters more to live well than to live long, and it matters more to live long and well, than to live for a short time and well, if there is a way to make life fruitful here and for the further fare. There is such a way; that is what Buddha's key teachings assert, and Vedanta teachers too.

Going far north for happiness and a long life may not be such a good idea, depending on what conditions you get and work up. There are some stories of a happy folk up north, the Hyperboreans, and of Apollon travelling to them each winter, because it is pleasant there at that time. Think twice about old myths too. Now, Enoch too travelled north to look around, but not to stay among long-lived Hyperboreans. That seems fit to say. As for getting long lives, Enoch and his kin from before the deluge, got several hundred years only, and not thousands of years old. But then there are the old Babylonian kings.

Ziusudra, or Zin-Suddu of Shuruppak, was the last king before the flood. He is recorded as having reigned as both king and priest for 36,000 years. His name means "found long life" . . . In this version, Ziusudra inherits rulership from his father Shuruppak, who ruled for 36,000 years. [Babylonian old age with sayings]

How did they do it if the pre-deluge sources do not fail?

The SRF Church heads Self-Realization Fellowship, and it is not just a local Californian thing. It maintains that advanced yogis could live on really long. How do they do it? In SRF, after the founder guru died of a heart attack at fifty-nine, it was not good enough for ageing SRF managers to "arrest old age". Means to work effectively toward a goal might be good to have too, or the aim or ideal counts for nothing.

Neither Aaron, the father of sons; Enoch (365 years on earth) and the father of the still more long-lived son, Metuselah (reportedly 969 years); nor Jesus said anything about being lorded over by monks or nuns. Being governed by monastics or celibates is not in the Jewish tradition.

The Hyperboreans are mentioned in ancient Greek tales: the Hyperboreans used to live longer than Metusalah in a northern region supposed to be perfect, with the sun shining twenty-four hours a day. That may not be as good as you might think - there may be no dark corners where you might kiss your Jenny or other girls without being observed, for example. So, going north may not be such a good idea. It may get freezing cold, the more severe the more north you go. But wait - the Arctic is getting warmer these years!

Many liberal monastics are good
If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past. - Baruch Spinoza

Christian Monasticism is a later-addition to the Church, but it is not of Jesus and the apostles.

A former SRF monastic set up the SRF Walrus Discussion Board, which folded in in late 2011 after some ten or eleven years online. On the board, also called "the Walrus", former, once sworn-in SRF monastics and others gave vent to a host of grievances against SRF of "original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ". SRF and they were blatantly ignoring the gospel message that Jesus taught Jews only, and had no Christian followers, only fellow Jews. And they overlooked that monastics are alien to Jesuism.

Quite fresh out of SRF, some former monastics sought to get things right or straight after they had been dominated for years by some church superiors. Many former monastics on the board showed signs of fears, and went to psychologists for treatment.

SRF's discipline may not in all respects be altogether well allied to how the basic id system (libido) operates. Marring diseases could follow stunted id-development.

Maybe it should not be overlooked that Yogananda's favourite Divine Mother was gruesome Kali (Dasgupta 2006:26). Her "iconography, cult, and mythology commonly associate her with death, sexuality, violence." (Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Kali") One may add "and destruction" too.

There are at times better Yogananda tellings and not good Yogananda tellings about one and the same thing. "Stop, two roads diverge, make your choice," as a dentist said poetically. Beware of all the second-rate, confusing mishmash -

Sinners will come to shame. - Book of Enoch 97:1


SRF Monastics, that special breed, Literature  

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

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

Ehrman, Bart D. How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. New York: HarperOne, 2014.

Inman, Nick. The Optimist's Handbook: Facts, Figures and Arguments to Silence Cynics, Doom-mongers and Defeatists. Petersfield, Hampshire: Harriman House, 2007.

Kriyananda, Swami. God Is for Everyone. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2004. ⍽▢⍽ The preface is online at Ananda Sangha.

Mata, Daya. "Only Love". Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1976.

Murray, Michael. Stress, Anxiety, and Insomnia: What the Drug Companies Won't Tell You and Your Doctor Doesn't Know. The Natural Solutions That Can Change Your Life. Coquitlam,BC, Canada: Mind Publishing, 2012.

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.

Self-Realization Fellowship: Rajasi Janakananda: Great Western Yogi. Los Angeles, Self-Realization Fellowship, 1959.

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.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 13th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1998.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. Man's Eternal Quest. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1982.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Science of Religion. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1953.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. Whispers from Eternity. 5th ed. Los Angeles, CA: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1949. ⍽▢⍽ "The first edition of Whispers from Eternity was published in 1929. The "third enlarged edition," published in 1935, includes all of the 1929 edition, plus twenty-nine more poems, chants, essays, and prayers. The fifth revised edition, copyrighted 1949, is identical to the 1935 version, except two works were added and two others deleted. From 1929 to 1949, Whispers was enlarged but otherwise unchanged.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. Whispers from Eternity. 8th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1959. ⍽▢⍽ Much post mortem edited by SRF.

Yogananda, Paramhansa. Whispers from Eternity. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2008.⍽▢⍽ This volume is based on the version of Whispers from Eternity from 1949.
    Very different from the 1949-edition, but with the same author and title, SRF published an revised eighth edition of Whispers from Eternity in 1959, as rewritten by Tara Mata under the guise of "editing." Large sections were removed. Of what remained, almost every sentence had been changed. It would have been proper to inform about the many changes, and who did them, and why. - "Yogananda for the World".

Williamson, Lola. Transcendent in America: Hindu-Inspired Meditation Movements as New Religion. London: New York University Press, 2010.

Wiseman, Richard. The Luck Factor: The Four Essential Principles. London: Arrow Books, 2004.

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