Severe idealising may end up as near-idiocy and fear of good old facts.
Sauerkraut has a long history, a long shelf life and is a source of nutrients also. It ranges from very mild to very sour, depending on what type it is. Many health benefits have been claimed for sauerkraut, although excessive intake may lead to bloating and flatulence. That is a warning.
"Pretty-painting" has its uses, but takes away from the value of the solid autobiography
Be careful about who you associate with. Here is an example:
Paramahansa Yogananda (January 5, 1893 – March 7, 1952) was born Mukunda Lal Ghosh. He became a guru who introduced many secret kriya yoga techniques to Americans in particular. However, kriya yoga is not all that secret, as the core kriya yoga method, also called ujjayi, is public knowledge, and kriya yoga is taught with no strings attached through the Satyananda Yoga line also. So there are alternatives to fake-secret and very bossy, marring bluffs.
While followers of Yogananda frequently seek to "gild the guy", why not let out the grave and marring truths about him to get a balanced picture and not be taken in so much and get the old fervent-fever? Here is one thing: Yogananda wrote a letter to India, "I have committed a great blunder [an absolutely foolish act; a horrible act like eating feces] by starting an organization." (Many who gild him have been there.) He had got it registered as a church in California in 1935, ten years after he was helped to establish a headquarters on a hill in Los Angeles. Later he said it was he who influenced Hitler to attack the Soviet Union during World War II. If he bluffed, it is bad. If he did not bluff, it is too bad. There are sources. Here is one: "Yogananda . . . During World War II he said it was he who placed the thought in Hitler's mind to invade Russia." (Kriyananda 2011:131). In 1952 Yogananda died, but the little hill is still there . . . [◦Vain regrets all?]
Swami monks and nuns that have run the SRF Church enterprise seem to think it is best to "pretty-paint" belletristically many things about Yogananda, even if dubious or largely unfit. Presenting a fairer view is right. Compare the Yogananda letter, and an SRF letter where they call his guidelines without flaw. They act differently from what they say, though. For one thing, they have withdrawn several tenets and aims for SRF.
Their hailed guru could not even start an organisation without regretting it - and the "gilded guru" becomes a hindrance if the gilding serves ulterior motives - church motives, among them, binding guys to bad - unawares.
"Gilding the guru" may be a work of marred id (libido)
If bossism harm to id is not too bad, maybe you can improve and get better, and if lucky, completely sound too. If not, some unfit, unhealthy and unholy attachments might linger on for decades, if not longer.
Downplaying or removing several ugly parts for the sake of endearing a fellowship, could lead to overall faking, after eager meditation beginners get such wool pulled over the eyes and no one is there to sound the falsity alarm to them. To be fooled by unverified hype and outright bluffs into a sect with marring or authoritarian sides is not something to wish good beginners. For example, who in his or her right mind would bind themselves to Yogananda and gurus behind sent him, if they knew such as:
Such things may not be spoken full well about in SRF, the church that the Black Arts yogi founded. Both Williamson (2012) and Dasgupta (2006), Yogananda's biographer inform about Yogananda's fascination with and use of murky magic in some depth.
Note such things well before you are enticed to learn kriya yoga by the hype they spread, and not after you are sworn in as a church member and hear "he is love incarnated, worship him" regularly, and are sworn to unconditional loyalty to him and other unmet or idealised ones. Better learn about many fooling tricks than fall victim to many of them.
Watch out for loss of authenticity.
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 the whip that comes along with hype or immoral goading.
Loyalty for idiocy to come?
Devotion on demand to many unmet gurus who differ in what they teach, is that for idiots? (1)
To extract unconditional loyalty to four, five or six unmet gurus, is it right? The SRF kriya pledge does. And Yogananda adds to the pledge in a magazine issue (SR-magazine 1974): He want to bind innocent pledgers to himself for lifetimes to come, even. (3)
Time to ask: Who do extracted pledges serve, really? It may be mainly some in power, rightly or wrongly. (4)
An unconditional feature is valid as long as it lasts. You have the freedom to end the guru-bond in a legal sense, and SRF may comply with that. It is a Human Right too. However, Yogananda is bent on getting unconditional devotion and loyalty for lifetimes. Just take in that the SRF kriya pledge does not comply with Human Rights: They say you are free to leave, but not for long - ""Sooner or later, every Truth-seeker will unfailingly find his way back to his God-given guru [after leaving the guru]." [Letter documentation of the faith]
Uncommon loyalty demands may hide or mask something. (5)
It is opposed to how Yogananda's own guru stood for. He told Yogananda he was free to go if he found he did not benefit. And that is a common Hindu way of linking up to a guru of calibre. (6)
At stake - something far more valuable
Those who might pledge unconditional loyalty to Yogananda should take into account these issues, and some larger perspectives. You may well wonder what is at stake for yourself and your family in some matters. Do not forget to ask: "How long will I have to go by such crap?" or "Will my future be too bound by that pledge?" Or "What about loyalty to a future Yogananda if he should be reborn as a clawing creep?" (7)
Luckily, there are fuller kriya yoga systems around than Yogananda's kriya. At least Satyananda Yoga does not do not bind members hand and foot to a former dictatorship-eager guru (Yogananda).
Is Jesus one of the SRF gurus?
After five years in the United States, Yogananda obviously ignored the gospel saying, "Why do you call me good?" by adding "good Jesus" to his publicly venerated ones Marshall Govindam:
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. - Marshall Govindam. [◦Link]
In forming the kriya pledge, it was ignored that Jesus stood for "Don't swear at all" (Matthew 5:34-37) and "Freely you have received, freely give." (Matthew 10:8). Instead of being saved by God entering a person - which is what biblical salvation is about - the new tune may be summed up to look like "be saved by kriya - Jesus is behind it along with the mysterious yogi we call Babaji, who has promised to take supreme responsibility for kriya yogis" and so on. There is a caveat in that scenario, if not three our four.
At any rate, Jesus of the gospels warns beforehand against having other masters than himself.
A marring point more to take into account is that the gospel teachings of Jesus are not really for Americans, unless they are Jewish followers of him. The renowned bible scholar Dr Geza Vermes sums up:
During his days of preaching, Jesus of Nazareth addressed only Jews, "the lost sheep of Israel" (Matthew 10:5; 15:24). His disciples were expressly instructed not to approach gentiles or Samaritans (Matthew 10:5). On the few occasions that Jesus ventured beyond the boundaries of his homeland, he never proclaimed his gospel to pagans, nor did his disciples do so during his lifetime. The mission of the 11 apostles to "all the nations" (Matthew 28:19) is a "post-Resurrection" idea. It appears to be of Pauline inspiration and is nowhere else found in the Gospels (apart from the spurious longer ending of Mark [Mark 16:15], which is missing from all the older manuscripts). Jesus' own perspective was exclusively Jewish; he was concerned only with Jews. (Vermes 2012)
It might do good to go to scholars for Bible outlooks, for a faith that is based on forgeries can treat people like a bog.
Bhagavan Krishna of the Bhagavad Gita was added to the four Indian SRF gurus as late as in the early 1970s. It raises the question: "He was not subjected to SRF's altar picture worship for fifty years earlier, so why after fifty years?" Ananda tries to explain why SRF added a painting said to look like Krishna for its altar pictures ceremonies and included Krishna specifically in the Kriya Pledge, and invoked him too in the SRF prayer to the gurus:
It was to forestall possible rejection . . . in India. There was a concern lest, with Jesus placed alone at the center, SRF might be considered a Christian work. . . . Binay N. Dubey . . . his influence lingers on in both YSS and SRF. Adding Krishna to the altar was done on his insistence. [◦Yogananda for the World: Krishna Added to the Altar]
As Jesus and his teachings for Jews only were added to the SRF lore after five years in America, it could be that Krishna was added to the four Hindu gurus and Jesus to make SRF more acceptable back in India.
There are many who call Krishna Bhagavan (Lord), as SRF has taken to now, but how is the footing for doing it? A typical "Yogananda try" is to say, (1) "I have had a vision. That is good enough." Another "Yogananda try" is (2) "Babaji is Krishna, I was Arjuna in a past life, I remember." A third: (3) "I tuned into the author of the Bhagavad Gita, Veda Vyasa, and got my interpretation through him."
It may do good to lots of folks to be made aware of all three takes.
1. A vision is hardly good enough. Why? [Visions and some of their problems]
2. Claims, odd claims and very odd claims are many in the Yogananda circles, and good and fit evidence is scanty or wholly lacking. Better be told that.
3. "The proof of the pudding" is in the eating, it is said. No matter how Yogananda thinks or says he got his ideas, they had better make sense, and be testable. That is a scientific approach: ideas may be tested as to value or worth. What Yogananda did, was to make a Bhagavad Gita interpretation that may look more like the interpretation of his own guru, Yukteswar than mere coincidence would have it.
In Yogananda's surface-exploring work have not found any mention of the three stages in the making of the Bhagavad Gita. Kriyananda:
I remember Master [Yogananda] telling me, after finishing his Bhagavad Gita commentaries, 'I realize now why my Master [Yukteswar] didn't want me to study other commentaries. As I wrote my own, I didn't have others' ideas to refer to, but tuned in directly to Byasa [Vyasa], the author of the Bhagavad Gita.' [◦Yogananda for the World]
One thing is telling of tuning in to somebody, another is actually doing it. And there are some findings about the Bhagavad Gita and the large epic it is a part of, that suggest that a much better tale might be told:
If Veda-Vyasa communicated with Yogananda, as Yogananda might have thought, and at least said, Vyasa does not seem to have told him: "Hi, you, I wrote perhaps 85 of those verses you ascribed to me. The other 600 verses or so, were added by others in later centuries, as the work grew. One may learn things from scholarly efforts." [The Bhagavad Gita study]
It can also be a good point that the Bhagavad Gita of 700 verses says that those who teach the world is illusory, are demons. [Gathered documentation] The four gurus in the SRF line (parampara) all say the world is unreal (but not they or their teachings in the world).
It boils down to: "Don't believe willy-nilly. Meditate instead."
Beware of a hopeless interpreter of scriptures
Yogananda set himself up as an interpreter of scriptures, but his work is flawed, seriously flawed.
Take a look at how he quack interpreted Omar Khayyam by reading meanings at random into the imagery that Edward FitzGerald invented in his Rubaiyat transmogrification. The most elementary point: Don't try to interpret "Khayyam" by what another has written.
The Bible commentaries of Yogananda suffer from lack of scholarship. Also, Yogananda was not a Jew, and therefore should have honoured Jesus of the gospels (Matthew 15:24; 10:4-9) by a less marring approach than lots of honouring labels and wordy outpouring, and more scholarship. The footing of his New Testament commentary is weak, for he does not discern between forgeries, later additions, and the oldest, least unreliable passages, for example.
The "kriya in the scriptures" fad
In the kriya yoga line of Babaji there are are many works that read kriya yoga into ancient Sanskrit scriptures, but based on juggling with the ancient term kriya, work, action and so on. The Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit includes these meanings of kriya:
act, operation, action, religious rite or ceremony, judicial investigation, worship, ceremony, noun of action, cure, labour, work, sacrifice, last ceremony, occupation with, disquisition, composition, sacrificial act, literary work, applying a remedy.
In other words, 'kriya' in ancient Sanskrit text has many meanings, but not 'kriya yoga', as you may see. To read 'kriya yoga' into 'kriya' in ancient texts, looks like a goal mainly for plotters and undiscerning ones. The method is marring, as indicated by help of a fable fragment:
Now, what is known as kriya yoga was made known as kriya yoga as late as in 1861, according to Yogananda's autobiography (which secretaries helped him with - a committee, said Daya Mata in court, insisting it was their work, for copyright reasons, that is.). Was it a wise undoing of Yogananda's author-authority? Maybe. It depends very much on the truth in the matter.
Undoing of an authorship
Kriyananda tells that SRF's previous president, Daya Mata,
herself signed a declaration, under oath, that Autobiography of a Yogi had not been written by Yogananda himself, but by a committee! [and, further, that] he had written Autobiography of a Yogi as a "work for hire."
Clowning has many outlets.
Is the word 'kriya' in ancient Sanskrit texts good evidence of 'kriya yoga' in them?
Hardly, perhaps not at all. It might also depend on interpretation. But murky backdating of a set of techniques by taking an old Sanskrit word to mean a set of methods, may be too queer to make sense.
After Babaji named a set of yoga methods 'kriya yoga', the Sanskrit word 'kriya' was then - and later - taken to mean kriya yoga, also when the term 'kriya' appeared in Sanskrit texts from centuries earlier, "when the lamb was not even born".
Afterwards, yogis in the kriya lines have read kriya yoga into scripture after scripture with "mystical" discernment, even though Babaji's kriya yoga was named kriya yoga only in 1861, it seems fair to say. Besides, many solid translators of ancient Sanskrit texts do not read 'kriya yoga' into 'kriya in them, for a reason.
It may boil down to "Trust much and be taken, lamb." [More]
Some get outsmarted and some get too outsmarted.
He is not the most outsmarted who knows he has been outsmarted.
Arrogant drivel as means of self-serving
Serving one's Self is fit, and seeking one's Self in good ways is fit, but self-serving and self-seeking is rarely so. When a group of former idealists start to rank the organisation, group, church, cult or sect about individuals, and put its interests before any others, much is at stake through neglect of what really matters. Kriyananda says it happened in SRF years ago. SRF's main editor at that time, Tara Mata, proclaimed, "We are a sect!" (Kriyananda 2012:5)
A former SRF vice president, Kriyananda, has this to tell about the previous SRF president, the nun Daya Mata.
I do not consider Daya Mata to be spiritually enlightened, or even necessarily wise.
One might try to sort out what are self-serving SRF claims. For example, Kriyananda stresses that to his knowing, Yogananda never said every future SRF president would be Self-realised. SRF tells the opposite, which is a SRF-serving myth to keep control, in all likelihood.
It appears to have suited the first woman president-nun in SRF. Kriyananda thinks the feather than became five hens as in an Andersen tale, was something SRF's editor-in-chief once said, something like "Master prophesied that all future SRF presidents would be faithful to his ideals." Face the facts: So far they have dropped his ideals of self-sufficient communities, a university atop Mt. Washington, and not going for creature comforts, against Yogananda's aims and ideals (◦SRF Charter, Article 2e:13). Less than three years after Yogananda's death, SRF changed its Church charter away from their guru's ideas, to make it conform to what they thought they were better served by. Otherwise, why change "Mr Infallible"'s guidelines at all? [Amended SRF Charter of 1954] - [◦More]
There is also Yogananda's ideal that followers in his self-sufficient communities are to go hatless all year.
SRF's ugly kriya swearing
In SRF Kriya Pledge you are to swear in part in the name of Jesus who said "Do not swear at all". You swear unconditional loyalty to God and six unmet ones.
God in the Yogananda-founded SRF is a translation of Self, Atman. Self-realisation is a translation of Atmajnana (Atman-knowledge), Atmabodha (Atman-awareness). Atman is translated into God and Self. Advaita Vedanta teaches that Atman is Brahman (Godhood), and the Self. God is also Truth. So in SRF they make you swear loyalty and devotion to your Self (granting that God is the mirth (joy and bliss too) in it. They make you swear devotion to inward joy and truth too. It you are not truthful, even great Yogananda clowning is no substitute. One may take the court case he lost after it came up he brought false charges in it, as a memento.
To be loyal to God means being solidly who you are, being genuine. It may not mean being first-class in all respects first. The guru Yogananda, for example, said that he had countless faults, but God wiped them away. The good proof is lacking. Hence you should strive not to make it kluge Else (Clever Elsie) matter of concern. For example, if someone says his or her faults are taken care of by God, how can it be proved. Actions persisted in tend to show much. As for taking care of faults, "The youth who likes to kill and main, may be sent to the Army before he gets criminal. He may then become a general and well respected, at least after the war." His major fault was taken good care of - see?
Set yourself's Self first - set Atman first
Yogananda teaches such as " "There is no other saviour than your Self." (Man's Eternal Quest 1982:9) And "I never say that others are my disciples. God is the Guru; they are His disciples." (The Master Said 1952:6). These are part of his confusing medley.
His God equals Self, your inner Self too, although he enlarges on it by Mother God and Father God and murderous Kali, his favourite goddess, according to his biographer. Yogananda "was devoted to Mother Kali as his Divine Supreme Goddess (Dasgupta 2006:26)." Kali's "iconography, cult, and mythology commonly associate her with death, sexuality, violence," informs the Encyclopaedia Britannica. (sv. "Kali") (Dasgupta 2006).
You need to be attuned to your depths or heights (inward sides) to heed the Self well enough in what matters and not be taken in or captured by marring bluffers. It may not always be easy.
From this, your first allegiance should be God and your Self if you can wake up to it or attuned yourself to it too and work up a living Tao-gate relationship inwardly. Yoga, highest yoga, is for that, if that can be. God is also termed Atman, Self, and Brahman. One more word, Bhagavan, Lord, meaning Person-God, rides above the rest.
Of those who drift away from the inward attunement with their deeper sides - manifesting in nightly dreams and conscience and more -, many fall. As a result they may be taken in and made use of by others, as Yogananda. He wanted many monastics to serve the "God's work" he set up, without telling them well enough that their prime duty was to themselves, actually. By the Yogananda cult many seems to have floundered, and many have got severely disappointed, by and by. For example, during the years 2000-2005, a third of all the SRF monastics (monks, nuns and novices) left the SRF premises (Parsons 2012:170) They did not write too well of any other than themselves. Many angry and fearful postings are still around (Summer 2017). [The SRF Walrus Backup]
Led astray and marred for life also
A Christian should be on the alert against being led astray. There are some who come in the name of Jesus, but show they do not really qualify.
To learn kriya yoga in SRF, you have to become a member for it. That means you have to swear unconditional loyalty and devotion to six unmet ones. That is put in the way. Today's six alleged SRF gurus that teach against one another at times are:
Two of the six that SRF officially worship, do not seem to belong there, and could be the result of clowning: (a) Jesus of the gospels warns ahead of time against other so-called christs. They are ravenous wolves bent on other things than sheep welfare, he tells. (More above). (b) Krishna of the handed-over Bhagavad Gita says those who teach the world is unreal, are demons, and all the four Hindu yogis (the parampara) that Yogananda and SRF want loyalty from, say the world is unreal. It has to include them and their teachings in the world too, if so. Interestingly, guru sayings like these leads to "they also teach that they themselves are unreal, unreal devils, or devils". It can be hard to decide, and you do not have to pick any of the choices; just stay away.
Granted that all the above tells the SRF gurus are suspicious to say the least, how get bonded to them in a way that fits? By illusions, is their combined message. Getting stranded in illusions can be marring. Self-realisation is had by dropping illusions. Better take a good path.
Now comes the sad part: It was not meant to be easy. You may have pledged yourself to six unmet ones - one of them, Yogananda, told to be eager in Black Magic -, and discover unpleasant things concerning the gurus later, after having been sworn in. What then? Is there a way out? Yes, says Human Rights laws in many countries. See which parts of the Human Rights to keep intact.
SRF, too, has to let a member go if a member wants to. A letter from SRF headquarters show it. Notarised SRF letter]
If after you think of leaving SRF for its cult-like streaks or worse, or have accomplished it, are you really set free from Yogananda and his parampara (line of gurus)? I hardly think so. Why is that? There is an SRF-published article where Yogananda declares:
What is wrong with you . . .? - Self-Realization Magazine, spring 1974: 6. (The fuller quotation is above)
SRF, along a much similar lane: "Sooner or later, every Truth-seeker will unfailingly find his way back to his God-given guru [after leaving the guru]." [Letter]" This saying goes against the yoga tradition's practice in guru matters. A disciple is free to leave - Yogananda was told that too, by Yukteswar.
In SRF they would say the guru is Yogananda, even though Yogananda clearly says it is God who matters in this - God, also called Self and Atman. Then, better get to the Self and be saved from much evil.
There is a risk of being swindled, and many grievances could result.
Sauerkraut! - Danny Kaye
Dasgupta, Sailendra. Paramhansa Swami Yogananda: Life-portrait and Reminiscences. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2006.
Kriyananda, Swami. Conversations with Yogananda: Recorded, with Reflections, by His Disciple Swami Kriyananda. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2004, No. 189.
⸻ . Paramhansa Yogananda: A Biography with Personal Reflections and Reminiscences. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2011.
⸻ Yogananda for the World. 3rd ed. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 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.
Satyananda Saraswati, Swami. A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya. Munger: Yoga Publications Trust, 1981.
⸻ Kundalini Tantra. 8th ed. Munger: Yoga Publications Trust, 2001.
SRF (Self-Realization Fellowship Publishing House). The Master Said: A Collection of Paramhansa Yogananda's Sayings and Wise Counsel to Various Disciples. Los Angeles, CA: Self-Realization Fellowship Publishing House, 1952.
Williamson, Lola. Transcendent in America: Hindu-Inspired Meditation Movements as New Religion. London: New York University Press, 2010.
Harvesting the hay
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