1. All-round education for body, mind and spirit.
2. Contact bliss by deep meditation.
3. Getting better or good health by recharging through deep meditation and healing prowess. (2.3 and 5 combined)
4. Eating foods . . . (abridged for GOOD reasons)
6. By realization finding harmony and oneness where you find it and happen to be.
7. Serving one's Larger Self a lot.
8. Demonstrating how the spirit outflanks the mind and body. (rendered)
9. Fighting enemical ignorance (oppressive, harmful, dangerous ignorance and ignorance of impending, great dangers also).
9. (Fend for yourself - [Replaceable]).
10. Overcoming some bad things in life by their opposites.
12. Using life well by developing consciousness.
13. Understand how to manifest divine qualities. [Soundness is not to be left out, for it is another way of saying "health".]
14. Furthering understanding and constructive feature exchange for the sake of a good civilization (in the USA, etc.) (rendered)
15a. Study science.
15b. Study [sound] religion [both soundly to yourself and well, studywise.] ["Study well" leads all the way up to university standards for study and such proficiency. See article 2e:18 some sections further down.
15c. Understanding the principles by which there is science and scientific disciplines. (2.15)
15d. Understanding how a religion is established little by little (through such as fraud in some cases). (2.15)
❋ If it sounds good in the face of it, how is the backside, also called the lack-side or die Nachteile (German)? Going further: "The backside has a backside too (Japanese proverb)."
Nachteil translates to disadvantage, drawback, detriment, disservice, handicap, harm, hindrance, loss, downside and so on.
One should readily insert "sound" or "soundly" or "soundness" into all the goals of SRF, as it is a great good to be of sound mind. "Good health and good sense are two of life's greatest blessings," according to Publilius Syrus (cf. no. 3 above).
As for good sense, appropriate study helps. Consider too, "Never, never, never, never . . . give in except to convictions of honour and good sense [Winston Churchill]. Or: "Science when well digested is nothing but good sense and reason [Stanislaw Leszczynski].
It is well implied that as Yogananda sets up science study as the goal, he is not an arch-enemy of good sense in all his outpourings either.
Yes, one may say that Yogananda here and there talks for what comes down to being facets of good sense, as when he cautioned two ladies to take proper precautions against being robbed. They ignored the warning and were robbed. He talked for reason and caution and being practical too, after the event. [Tms 23; cf. Jse 62]. There are many other examples of Yogananda talking for being circumspect and for using one's reason with skill, on this site.
Further, a good goal speaks of something good-looking that is not (yet) attained. If it were reached, it would not be a goal. So were SRF leaders who go for health and healing in public and allegedly aim at sound minds and the like, truly of sound mind, you think? Or were they lacking in just the things they aimed for? Think twice and consider:
We are all crazy. - Yogananda [Ak 425].
All of us, as Paramahansaji used to say, are a little bit crazy, and we do not know it. - Sri Daya Mata [On; "Qualities of a Devotee"]
"The leaders of SRF should know," but should they if they did not know it? It is a conundrum. To be "a little bit crazy" is at least to be neurotic, and being neurotic is not good for you or those beneath you either. Learn enough to take care.
❋ Bliss to the fore as great, good health and fortune is not bad! but better stay away from crazy leaders that hail dictators or authoritarian cultishness, as the case may be, considering whose backs leaders usually ride on.
1. Universal all-round education, and establishment of Self Realization Fellowship institutions for the development of man's physical, mental and spiritual natures.
2. Contacting Cosmic Consciousness - the ever-new, ever-existing, ever-conscious Bliss-God, through the scientific technique of concentration and meditation taught by the Masters of all ages.
3. Attaining bodily and spiritual health through the Self Realization Fellowship (Yogoda Sat-Sanga) technique of recharging the body battery from inner life energy, concentration and meditation respectively.
4. Intelligently maintaining the physical body on unadulterated foods, including a large percentage of raw fruits, vegetables and nuts.
5. Physical, mental and spiritual healing.
6. Establishing, by a scientific system of realization, the absolute basic harmony and oneness of Christianity, Hindu Yoga teachings, and all true religions.
7. Serving all mankind as one's Larger Self.
8. Demonstrating the superiority of mind over body, and of soul over mind.
9. Fighting the Satan of IgnoranceŚman's common enemy.
10. Establishing a spiritual unity among all nations.
11. Overcoming evil by good; overcoming sorrow by joy; overcoming cruelty by kindness.
12. Realization of the purpose of life as being the evolution from human consciousness into divine consciousness, through individual struggle.
13. Realization of the truth that human life is given to man to afford him opportunity to manifest his inner divine qualities, and not for physical pleasure nor selfish gratifications.
14. Furthering the cultural and spiritual understanding between East and West, and the constuctive exchange of the distinctive features of their civilizations.
15. United science and religion through study and practical realization of the unity of their underlying principles.
16. Finding the common scientific art of super-living underlying all religions.
17 The establishment of a small altar of right meditation in each home in California and in the United States of America, India and all over the world and also Temples of Self Realization Fellowship for collective worship in California and in the United States of America and all over the world.
18 The development of a world spiritual University at 3880 San Rafael Avenue, Los Angeles, California, headquarters, where an universal technique of salvation, art of self-realization, art of super-living and super-technique of body, mind and soul perfection would be taught.
Goals speak of something lacking, something missing and unattained. The bigger and wider the goals, the bigger and wider the lacks and unfulfilments. By several "hows" (means, measures) you seek to get from lacks to your surplus state. So we had better not be tamed by great-looking goals and forget to look at their backsides or lacksides so to speak. Simply put, "They may lack in much where they find it good to arm themselves with great goals!"
Is that a remote possibility only? Think twice again, for you may find to your chagrin that the current Self-Realization Fellowship, SRF, deleted several of Yogananda's goals in the 1950s some years after he had passed away in 1952, and has maintained the parts they thought could suit a structure more fit for monastics in charge. You may wonder why. At any rate, delting a founder's goals for his church is not a good way of saying his guidelines are without fault, as SRF does.
The former SRF vice president Kriyananda was kicked out of SRF and launched the Ananda Church instead. It has sought to keep true to some more of Yogananda's ideals than SRF - but not all of them, such as going hatless in sandals all year long. Was that for good or for bad or a blend of good and bad? Yogananda did not do it himself, by the way. There is a photo of him with hat, coat and a cane. Was that for good or for bad or a blend of good and bad, you think?
❋ All fine fellows that are kicked out of bad groups should get even better for it. One question is "How?" Another is "What does it take?"
But for now, let us focus on some of the farcical Yogananda program to get a fit overview and understanding. One such understanding lies in "how". How are the worthwhile goals to be attained fairly well? That is a big step out of the cloud of ideals.
What is a worthwhile goal is in part up to you to decide. In case you are allergic to nuts, it is better not to eat them than to obey the early Yogananda's aims on your behalf until his help has made you well. You may see that the first set of goals for the SRF Church are pretty much as in his article set from 1928 - from seven years earlier. [See a set of Yogananda ideals for his fellowship, and that SRF dispensed with in part too]. Also: [From Yogananda's East-West magazine, 1928]
So go easily, and do not succumb to eating nuts that kill some by allergic reactions while going bare-headed and only in sandals in the bitter cold to please Yogananda over and above yourself. SRF dispensed with some of the founder's goals for the church when he was gone, and changed "Paramhansa" into "Paramahansa" in his signature. A forgery like that is telling about infidelity in its way.
Now, here is a Yogananda ideal that his own church has refused to work up till now: [Barefoot and hatless on Yogananda's bidding?]
I tell you this to spare you humiliations, embarrassements and false and ridiculous play in the hands of SRF.
❋ Find better leaders than those who tell you to go hatless and foster much lip service to regret in time.
It is not enough to have a good purpose. Good means need to be into it too. Kriya gurus too have aged and died, and SRF leaders get old and die too, without exceptions we know of. On the other hand, there is research to show how deep meditation may help your organism to be younger than average for your age, biologically speaking. However, it is fair to say that results that pertain to TM are not automatically valid for other meditation ways. (◦Increased life span with a higher quality of life]
The opposite is also true: Human life is (fit for) for human pleasures and contacts." How the founding tenet in SRF has been hid away as if it is a shame! Well, sound pleasures often make glad, and that is what Yogananda and SRF could have taught. Having fun reaches the physical level of pleasure too; fair luxury is a pleasure too, at least to some. And more significantly, great lack of physical pleasure spells drudgery at least, and may as well undermine health to the point of causing diseases, according to psychoanalysis-basic theory and in part stress research. Is "no human pleasures" what you really want to get out of life? It is fool's teachings.
ScienceDaily (March 1, 2011) — A review of more than 160 studies of human and animal subjects has found "clear and compelling evidence" that – all else being equal – happy people tend to live longer and experience better health than their unhappy peers. [See SRF's "arrest old age" above]
The general conclusion . . . is that your subjective well-being – that is, feeling positive about your life, not stressed out, not depressed – contributes to both longevity and better health among healthy populations. . . .
The researchers reviewed found that anxiety, depression, a lack of enjoyment of daily activities and pessimism all are associated with higher rates of disease and a shorter lifespan.
"I was almost shocked and certainly surprised to see the consistency of the data," [Ed] Diener said. "All of these different kinds of studies point to the same . . . the evidence that positive emotions and enjoyment of life contribute to better health and a longer lifespan is stronger than the data linking obesity to reduced longevity."
"Although there are a handful of studies that find opposite effects," Diener said, "the overwhelming majority of studies support the conclusion that happiness is associated with health and longevity."
[My emphasises] [◦ Ed Diener, Micaela Y. Chan. Happy People Live Longer: Subjective Well-Being Contributes to Health and Longevity. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 2011]
- or "tax reasons enter religions" if you like. If such purposes are put before making youth lasting and arresting old age, it could be a little signal of something. [◦Sidelight: TM slows aging]
by phrases: Ask for documentation. If neat evidence is lacking, guesswork or good faith in its place may not be much worth.
Religions are basically founded on doctrines, that is faith with ceremonies and ritual worship and iconic items added. Some add carefully calculated, balderdash harmony and unjustified, unverified "agreements" coupled with a so-called foundation that may not be around anyway. SRF stopped any possible rigors toward scientific aptitude before documenting their best methods. SRF has invested far more in their faith than in expert research. Look to their activities and their fruits for the sake of mastering life much better than sectarians are known to do.
❋ "Luxury sectarians" suffer from severely limited outlooks and may not know better.
Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) said a few things along the line that our best friends are those who criticise us the most and never condone our faults. He said other things too, and the fellowship he formed and regretted at a time, go for this: "We do not find fault with Paramahansa Yogananda's guidelines . . . we believe that . . . his wisdom is flawless." It is a wrong and cultish stand, and it could eventually become a dogma related to another dogma common in the Church too. [More] [WP, "Papal infallibility"]
But read a quotation by Mark Twain in the light of it all and ask yourself: Was he close to becoming Jane Austen's best friend?
I don't [criticize books] except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can't conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read [her novel] Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone. - Mark Twain
We may find that Mark Twain went far - Yoganandawise - towards being Jane Austen's good friend. But he obviously lacked persistence against some recurrent frustrations, and perhaps taboos against desecrating her grave or corpse. Words count, and potent deeds can say more. If Mark Twain had persisted in all that he envisaged, Yogananda could have claimed him to be Jane Austen's best friend. Who knows? But Mark Twain was more of a humourist than a grave-looting critic.
Another author, W. Somerset Maugham, found: "People ask you for criticism, but they only want praise." No matter what, here is what Yogananda (dead 1952) asked for - a bit belated, but since the belief in SRF is that he guides followers today too, there is no need for getting his old shin-bone.
There are gross untruths in this particular guru's teachings and guidelines; they are a far cry from flawless. One example: Yogananda and his church teach to be in perfect harmony with the Christianity of Jesus, and Jesus said the soul can be destroyed, but Yogananda's fellowship teaches the soul cannot be destroyed. More on such disappointing "harmony" between "oriental and central" Christian doctrine may be studied here: [More]
Be prepared for guilded guru tall tales that may work harm to the narrowed believer. Teachings teeming with platituded, insincere or dubious matter, outright untrue statements, tomfoolery and authoritarian plots and intrigues could serve cult bosses to their future harm. On the other hand, not putting up with guru faults and the like in his wake, and letting a few hundred big and small cats out of the guru bag may well be just the thing the guru really appreciates.
Now, there are many who assess that the fellowship Yogananda set up, Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), is a cult. Former monastics of it think so too. As a matter of fact, in the society that Yogananda set up - to ◦regret it later - low boss teachings are hailed; the guru is halfway guilded, and church members halfway gelded. It is done by guideline invasions into the private life. For example, "no sex to bachelors and sex about once a month for married couples" go into the favoured teachings of what is formally a church society and protected by being so. But you cannot be a man there, and hardly a woman either, in merry union thrice a day. You dont get these markers up front before you are sworn in. They are imposed on members in time.
The church that Yogananda set up, has typically published only some of its its purposes, but not all of them to the public or prospective members. You could guess why, for many are far from popular purposes. For example, Yogananda's stand (article 2e:13) is that
human life is given to man . . . not for physical pleasure nor selfish gratifications.
Conform sex denial, the rigorous SRF deal for the unmarried, has its registered foundation. And one could profit for being well informed about it in advance, before signing in and being trapped by oath-giving - and from realising the negative impact of this and that in a cult, and also a cult's "glorious means" to lord it over those enrolled without being told in advance that all members are guided to live like monks and nuns, even the married couples most of the time.
❋ Guilded, a figurative term, may suggest lack of proper content or genuineness throughout.
Many attend to their own interests. As a beginner in SRF you are likely to be influenced to believe they have a much secret, wonderful yoga system there, called kriya, and which you have to enroll in SRF to learn in the proper way, and so on. The motivation to get started in SRF is that kriya opens up to immense good for those who trod along.
However, the gist or core kriya yoga is not secret, but a publicly known pranayama method (way of breathing etc.) that is called Ujjayi in the Sanskrit language. Basics are no more secret than being public . . . Besides, a string of quite elaborate kriya methods are public in another line of kriya yoga, called Satyananda Yoga. He has published books where kriya methods are described in graphic details. [Cy; Kta]
As for Yogananda's orator words on kriya, some are not fit for scientists. One problem is that of ascertaining his claims about and around kriya yoga, as he does not mind making grand-looking claims that cannot be inspected and thereby help in cultivating your sensible, rational instance, the adult side, or simply, the Adult in Transactional Analysis. And other claims he makes look dubious or foolish. He and his fellowship have blatantly ignored giving fit evidence to support a lot of grand-looking claims they often muster, alas. The burden of proof rests on those who claim. That is the standard. If they have no evidence to bring for a claim or series of claims, treat them as speculation, and discard them well, in the sense that they are hardly doucmented, that claims are not proofs, and that questionable proofs had better be abandoned.
It is also a sad truth is that the general effects of Yogananda's simplified, partially aborted kriya yoga have not been adequately investigated in ways that that solid research depends on.
In SRF they find it best to keep kriya yoga secret. Much of what they publish is for the purpose of influencing readers or listeners or viewers to learn the aborted kriya they teach. You have to take an oath of fealty for it. What hardly stands out at first is that by your swearing (contrary to a saying by Jesus against swearing), you may come to be a guru's fool or something for the rest of your life. And still the central kriya yoga method is the publicly known breathing method called Ujjayi. [Check] [Cy; Kta].
❋ A claim or propositions that is not tested, is not something to believe in, but to be treated as an unverified claim.
You could do worse than being carefully and sensibly informed and making sure beforehand, being on your guard against the possibility of encountering a carefully posing and feigning cult,
You need to ask for evidence, and get in before entering. It's too late to cry over spilt freedom after being sworn in, for the guru warns against getting out in this way:
There is only one guru uniquely the devotee's own. But if you turn away from the emissary of God, He silently asks: 'What is wrong with you . . .?' . . . He who cannot learn through the wisdom and love of his God-ordained guru will not find God in this life. Several incarnations at least must pass before he will have another such opportunity." - Paramahansa Yogananda, SRF magazine, spring 1974, p 6. From a talk at Mother Centre, 8/17/39
There you have it, the whip that comes along with the goading carrot. For the lack of fair and fit advance information, including what marks cults - you could end up becoming marred after being too naive or gullible to begin with. In the end you may not dare to bring up, "What is wrong with this guru? That deal? Such a fellowship?"
Here you have been tipped about typical existential problems you have to deal with if you make your way into SRF and find your own, nature-given dignity rallied against in the SRF fight against physical pleasure. Read: your physical pleasures. In SRF it is not a a happy both-and, but a more sinister solution. You confess: "I want a long life in a quack-mire - that path" and enter SRF. No one has the right to hinder you if you don't heed the warnings from experienced travellers. But don't enroll out of misleading or withheld information from them before you are sworn in as a cult member - sworn in with no regret buttons for lifetimes, a low pledge with claws or back sides that we are hardly told of or get aware of beforehand - without knowing the society works as a cult in main ways. This said, the guru that set up a registered church, also advocated dictatorship, which makes life more difficult for many normal beings.
Guru followers think it good to flatter-hail the guru, even by going against truths. One should not do that. Flattery and outright foolish, dogmatic stands may abound in the guru cult, but he himself went publicly against flattery and cramped dogmatism too. "Most people choose flattery instead of intelligent criticism," he observed [East-West Magazine, July, 1932 Vol. 4-9, "Second Coming of Christ"]. "A belief, whether false or true, is provisional." Yogananda [Jse 305-06]
It sounds upright and honest, but . . . watch out for the bombastic or dogmatic tone. Instead of being taken in and ensnared by steps, "One should only follow teachings / That are great". That is a savoury point of Tibetan Tantra [Chang 28, 35].
❋ Unfair or unfit guidelines, have nothing of the sort.
Many people are touched by Yogananda's SRF verbose teachings and want to support them. Others go deep and enter the fellowship's monastic branch. One third of all the SRF monastics in the world left the SRF premises around 2001, according to posters on the SRF Walrus, a discussion board that was set up by a former SRF monastic and run for over ten years afterwards. On the discussion board, former monastics and members debated and exposed SRF goings they knew well, many of them. There is today (2013) a ◦Backup Site of the SRF Walrus discussion forum. Among the opinions and sentiments there are facts also.
Apart from the insider way of action critique - of leaving the premises, church or guru - teachings of the SRF church are exposed by Christians. For example:
SRF is a religion with no fair way out "for several incarnations at least" and perhaps not even then, according to Yogananda, and a kind of hybrid theology, Its claims to be perfectly in line with the teachings of Jesus, are untrue. For example, Jesus says the soul may be destroyed (Matthew 10:28, see also Luke 12:4-6; Matthew 5:29) whereas Yogananda teaches it cannot be destroyed. [ref]
Compare SRF's publicly held Aims and Ideals.
Some kriya yogis from the same line of teachings are either in two minds about how SRF teaches kriya yoga, and some deride it.
❋ "A fool is known by his conversation." (Proverb)
Topics that are slightly touched on above, are covered at length in some of the following essays. However, as Yogananda says,
Don't take my word for anything. . . . find out for yourselves. Don't get hung up on words . . . please remember. - Yogananda, in Dietz 1998
Find out by going deep in meditation, applying good methods for such diving, he tells. That is the gist of it. (Ibid.)
Dietz, Margaret Bowen. Thank You, Master. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 1998.
Pilitsis, George. Greek Proverbs and Other Popular Sayings. New York: Seaburn Books, 1996.
Ak: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Man's Eternal Quest. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1982.
Cy: Satyananda Saraswati, Swami. A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya. Munger: Yoga Publications Trust, 1981.
Dr: Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Divine Romance. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2002.
On: Mata, Daya. "Only Love": Qualities of a Devotee. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1976.
Jse: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Journey to Self-realization: Discovering the Gift of the Soul. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2000.
Kta: Satyananda Saraswati, Swami. Kundalini Tantra. 8th ed. Munger: Yoga Publications Trust, 2001.
Tms: Self-Realization Fellowship. The Master Said: Sayings and Counsel to Disciples by Paramhansa Yogananda. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1957.
Tpt: Chang, Garma C. C., ed and tr. Teachings and Practice of Tibetan Tantra. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2004.
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