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Remaining Practical


A Blessed Expression

The Hindu monk Yogananda (1893-1952):

"I've got the POWER!" - and fervently and infinitely changing expressions. [2]
One night while I was engaged in silent prayer, my sitting room in the Encinitas hermitage became filled with an opalblue light. I beheld the radiant form of the blessed Lord Jesus. A young man, he seemed, of about twenty-five, with a sparse beard and moustache; his long black hair, parted in the middle, was haloed by a shimmering gold.

His eyes were eternally wondrous; as I gazed, they were infinitely changing. With each divine transition in their expression, I intuitively understood the wisdom conveyed. In his glorious gaze I felt the power that upholds the myriad worlds. A Holy Grail appeared at his mouth; it came down to my lips and then returned to Jesus. After a few moments he uttered beautiful words, so personal in their nature that I keep them in my heart. [Ha 469] [1]

Some explanations

  1. GRAIL MATTERS: The gist of grail matters: We cannot say what the Holy Grail was or if it was anything in particular at all, although speculations are many. Some think the suspect grail was nothing, others that it represents blood. If so, the grail to Yogananda's lips could mean he was found worthy of "refined cannibalism à la Jesus": That makes your hair bristle.

    Further, in his autobiography, Yogananda tells in the semi-poem "Samadhi" that "salvation, lust, I swallowed, transmuted all / Into a vast ocean of blood".

    Also, the Yogananda biography by Sailendra Dasgupta tells how Yogananda had been more than a trifle bloodthirsty in a previous life as a "vicious and murdereous desert marauder" which made Yogananda himself shiver with horror from time to time at the thought of it [Psy 112].

    Interestingly too (to some), Dasgupta also reveals that Yogananda's favourite goddess was the Kali: associated with death and violence by many.

    It could be time to bring those sides to the guru to the fore a bit better. [Psy ]

  2. SEMI-ICONGRAPHY: In the above illustration by Carl Barks (1901-2000) there is, rather similarly, a halo, black hair "bristling with power" from the electrical eel that is held. The eel forms an upside-down, large heart. The "wondrous eyes" may express "fervent". Maybe the blue contains opal too. The wisdom conveyed: "Be careful with electrical eels, or . . .," "To benefit from power, you must be up to handling the power," and even more! A "power-sensing" gaze is the centre of the illustration, and at his mouth is a mysterious Grail - it could be an astonished tongue - and so on. "Beautiful words" are also in the illustration, like FIZZZ.

    The picture is from one of about 500 Donald Duck episodes by Barks. I thought you might like to have similarities or reminders suggested - along with the outstanding quality of a Carl Barks drawing. [Wikipedia, s.v. "Carl Barks"]

Back to the guru and his "episode": This is what you are up against: Someone who at once understands eye expressions and feels the power that upholds the worlds - according to himself. He uses many strong, emotive expressions, like "fervently", "implored", "opal blue", "blessed Lord Jesus", "shimmering gold", "eternally wondrous eyes", "intuitively", "glorious gaze", "power that upholds the myriad worlds", "Holy Grail", "uttered beautiful words" "them in my heart".

There is room for surreal artistry. And if you mean to be practical, go for good evidence before believing "supremist" tales. Such a rationality-helping approach is perfectly fit for spiritual persons, and advocated both in Buddhism and Hinduism, for example by Vivekananda who said, "Learn to see things in the proper light. First, believe in this world." "I have every respect and veneration for Lord Buddha, " and "Vedanta has no quarrel with Buddhism."



A Portuguese sculptor, upon his death bed, had a crucifix placed before his eyes by a confessor, who said, "Behold that God whom you have so much offended. Do you recollect him now?"

"Alas. Yes, Father," replied the dying man, "it was I who made him."

Hare Christ-na - How Normal Is That?

Yogananda's and his fellowship's concoction "original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ" is very original, but is it good for any other than gurus?

Yogananda further taught that the teachings of Bhagavan Krishna and Jesus are in perfect harmony, but they are not [Pa 499]. Jesus teaches the soul can be destroyed, for one thing, whereas Yogananda and Krishna teach the soul is immortal.

But in Yogananda's fellowship they teach that Jesus is behind the fellowship or involved in it on the word of Yogananda. The gospels teach straight against that possibility by "one shepherd, one master, one teacher, no false Christs (wolves)", and so on. Jesus claims to be the sole shepherd of his sheep, and warn against wolves in sheep's clothing.

In religious circles there may be much feigning. If you treasure good proof or evidence, choose central, fit and first-class items and drop hearsay-makers and their creeds. That could make the future less bleak.

To mislead on purpose is not kind. Yogananda's Hindu church has omitted Holy Communion, speaking in tongues and various sacraments: they are not regulated features of Yogananda's SRF Church (of All Religions) [Ap 346].

Judged by the evidence, it should be doable to decide to what extent Yogananda's church of Self-Realization is Christian and whether so many who call themselves Christians, can do what Jesus said his genuine followers would be able to - thowing mountains into the sea is a good mark, but there are many other such signs. You are welcome to make a list of core criteria and mark off on a a scale from one through six for each item, and see what it adds up to.

EGR A "Bible-groomed" sect does not become Christian by just calling itself so against rather pregnant content of the Bible.

Is feigning OK to you?



The Duke of Newcastle, when Prime Minister, once told the author of "Tristram Shandy," that men of wit were not fit to be employed, being incapable of business.

"They are not incapable of business, my Lord, but above it," replied Sterne. "A sprightly generous horse is able to carry a pack-saddle as well as an ass, but he is too good to be put to the drudgery."

Theft is okayed in Christianity, but not in yoga training - did you know that?

The apostles and the Holy Spirit chose to waive many of the Jew restrictions that were counted as valid in the time of Jesus, and dispense with the decrees of Jesus [Acts 15; 21:25]. So the New Testament tells that non-Jewish Christians are free from marring sayings of Jesus; see also John 14:12 and big words about the fantastic, fantastic power of faith and prayer [Mark 9:23; Matthew 17:21] - they did not help the martyrs from becoming martyrs, but maybe you feel luckier? The apostles dispensed with his teachings, and the Holy Spirit. What was and is left of commands for non-Jews are just four things: "You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality." [Acts 15,22-29; 21,25].

Look to the bright side of it if you can: Circumcision was to be everlasting according to the Old Pact, but God has not been good at all his "everlastings", frankly. The services connected with the goatskin telt fell asunder too, even though they were ordained to be "everlasting". Gentle and Gentile followers do not have to maim themselves to call themselves followers of Jesus, even though he commands plucking out eyes and other dangerous acts of self-molestation "without end", so to speak. Be happy about that - that it is not necessary to do as Jesus tells, no matter what. [Romans 2:26; Acts 15; 21:25]. The superior reason, however, is that he himself says that the healthy, moral guys do not need him. "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick . . . I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." [Matthew 9:12-13].

Thank God for that.

So you see: You don't have to take part in the swindle where fellows say they follow Jesus without following him, treating some of his commands as rattling, empty barrels while saying "Lord, Lord" and things like that. The same holds good for Sabbath ceremonialism from Friday evening to Saturday evening: it was dispensed with for Gentile Christians at least. It is similar for many other rules and commands, such as those that institute execution for those who eat blood food, which includes black pudding, Brat, Wurst, and blood sausages, or hamburgers with blood proteins added . . . Well, would you know!

Why do so many waste time on charades? Won't you get healthier and freer than hypocrites that band together? Maybe you will!

Yak, yak in so many words

To be eminently practical and spiritual, you have to rise above big words. Against perverted justice and sham or low-life righteousness, Buddha shows in the great Apannaka Sutta what is beneficial and right in most ways. In short, Buddha tells there are four types of individuals: (1) One sort torments and tortures himself. (2) Another sort torments others, but not himself. (3) Another kind torments and tortures himself, and also others. (4) A fourth sort torments and tortures neither himself nor others. He lives in the here-and-now, sensitive to happiness, with an uplifted mind. I suggest the world would become a better place to live in if all heeded those words and speedily went for acting like the fourth and best kind of people.

Adharmic Christian teachings may not do you good. Did the millions of martyrs get a beneficial, pleasant life and death? I hardly think so. But at any rate you can feel free to go for balanced practical and spiritual development, as is done by accomplished ones in the Transcendental Meditation movement, and also sketched in the Gentle Middle Way of Buddhism.

Many who think they are above the Natural Law (dharma, universal justice), may be mistaken. Be lifted enough to avoid being mistaken. For example, Jesus says the healthy ones do not need him. Won't you be healthy? [cf. John 14:12; 2 Corinthians 4;1-9]

Do not let old demagogy mess up. Remain as moral and fit as you can, and seek to develop - that is the essence of pretty much.

EGR In one place they teach this, in another place that, and opposed to it, and so on. The powers to structure and organise is correspondingly poor and inadequate. Help yourself by any decent means you can.

Do not be fooled

Jesus said a seed has to die for new plants to grow. It is not like that. It is like this: The whole plant is seen through all of its phases - seed, sprout, maturing plant with flowers, fruits, and decay. To be more precise: A seed does not die, it sprouts.

What is left rotting after a while, is the food for sprouting. From this we learn that Jesus was a gardener of inadequate understanding of some facets of life. He who decreed, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick," was not good at treating weeds either, but decided to let evil choke good. Do not be like that [Mark 2:17; Matthew 9:12-13].

EGR Jesus says that you do not have to trust and turn to him at all if you aim [skilfully] for health and proficiency along such as the Noble Middle Way. And thank God for that.

Is Slavery acceptable to you?

Paul accepts slavery in Titus and Philemon. Buddha does not endorse it.

Christians are likened to sheep [John 21:15-17]. But "How much more worth is a man than a sheep!" says Jesus too.

Jehovah did not teach that victimising scapegoating was too bad; but it is cruelty to animals, violence to innocents, and corrupt according to standards of law the world around.

The Christian teaching that evolved by steps and stages and many by-paths finally became that God himself appeared as Jesus a long time after having formed man and woman in his own image. And Jesus had to be subjected to Jewish ritual and circumcision to be accepted by Hebrews or Jews - The main signs of belonging to God in the Old Pact - sticking to Sabbath rest and circumcision - along with slaughtering innocent animals and birds and allowing slavery and concubines - but all that was before Acts 15, where such as blood pudding was pregnantly forbidden. Not everyone notes how eating blood food is put side by side with committing adultery in Acts 15 - Under some circumstances meat like Brat and Wurst is acceptable in Buddhism and Hinduism, and is not put en par with adultery.

Nailed on the cross Jesus cried God had left him. Have the nerve to ask: What kind of God would and could leave God?" Was it one of the things that were possible with God? And so on.

You can have personal property and get rich too - wealth - the thing that so many common Christians really go for - is also allowed and encouraged in Buddhism and Hinduism as one of the worthy life goals. It is different with the Christian who holds on to that it is commanded by Jesus to sell all and give it to the poor [cf. Luke 18;20-22] - and then ignored by the Holy Ghost and all the disciples in Acts 15. Granted that freedom, keep it - that is sound advice.

Instead of falling victim to incoherent salvation bandits, just turn away from them and embrace good company and sanity-helping, much better teachings.

EGR Adjust to your real profit as a developing, decent human being.

Seeking only a pension - beware

In Acts, chapter 5, old Ananias and his wife Sapphira tried to save a sort of "pension" for their old age, but were taken to task by Peter and dropped dead in front of him. The topic is interesting. Two old followers kept some of their money, presumably for a rainy day, and were not upright about it.

Today's followers of Jesus do too, but most avoid spectacular deaths. A rigidly overlooked point is that the Holy Spirit and the apostles changed much rather quickly, perhaps after having killed off a few Jews like Ananias and his wife in the process. [cf. Matthew 5:17-20, Acts 15; 21,25].

We may judge some trees by their fruits, other trees by their foliage and other features. Old ways of gardening are superceded. Jesus was no smart gardener and spoke for putting 99% of a herd of sheep at risk, possibly, in order to search for missing one - but that is not what a truly good shepherd would do. He should not allow a herd of pigs belonging to another, to be drowned either. Yes, the Second Vatican Counsil thinks there is divine wisdom in other religions, and those are no empty words. [Omo]

EGR Have you considered that the Holy Spirit may kill off arbitrarily? Samson, strong as an ox, went berserk and killed off a lot of people when the spirit of God came over him, says the Bible. Others took to dancing, perhaps swing-like.


"Be practical"

Yogananda teaches the world is unreal, but not his guidelines.

Not everything that the guru Yogananda and Jesus purport is all right. Inconsistent teachings over and over and cheating teachings may eventually weaken and disappoint you. If so, maybe the deep feeling of disappointment is help from deep within or beyond. Use it to detect and find out better. After all, disappointments suggest we were too kind and inexperienced in the first place, maybe taken in by mumbo-jumbo words and all that. To fall victim of hearsay - unverified phrases over and over - is no sign of good upbringing.

In the last analysis, Yogananda and his soap opera teachings rose into esteem given him by hundreds of thousands of Americans. Note where the "bed of esteem was" then.

No to Perverted Pleasures

Let us talk of compensations. Unsound individual take up lifestyles that reek of compensations. For example, if you feel unholy and of little worth inside, you had better seek genuine worth at once, or you could be diverted to a pretence of holiness as your life style - or a show of godliness, holiness, saintliness and such fine-looking things in ritual ways, ceremonies, and yet with much lacking, including savoury mirth. So have fun enough.

What is recommended is not the perverted pleasures of being unfair, harmful, foolish and the like.

To associate with hypocrites can ruin the day, perhaps your life fare too. Hypocrites were condemned by Jesus; he accused and condemned religious people for some of the things he did himself. [Matthew 5;17-20].

And millions of followers were executed, clearly against John 14:12. If only they had had the guts to go for sanity enough to have rewarding and fulfilling lives instead.

Remaining practical, END MATTER

Remaining practical, LITERATURE  

Ap: Mieder, Wolfgang (main editor), Stewart A. Kingsbury, and Kelsie E. Harder: A Dictionary of American Proverbs. (Paperback) Oxford University, New York, 1996.

Ha: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 12th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1981.

Omo: Det 2. Vatikankonsils erklæringer. Om kirkens forhold til de ikke-kristne religioner og Om religionsfriheten. Oslo: St Olavs, 1967.

Pa: Yogananda, Pa.: Autobiography of a Yogi. 11th ed. Self-Realization Fellowship. Los Angeles, 1971. – ONLINE 1st edition

Psy: Dasgupta, Sailendra. Paramhansa Swami Yogananda: Life-portrait and Reminiscences. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2006. Pdf: and at Google Books, partial view.


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