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Gilded Goat Lore

Some play fair and some don't. A shiny goat that has been gilded with fine-looking claims on one side has another side too, a side that might not be so pretty if carefully studied, as by a vet. What if you loathe that other side?

Based on a Carl Barks drawing from 1955.
In Hollywood and nearby they seem to think that shallow Hollowoody diva-making is good.

It makes sense not to give up basic freedoms to a one-sidedly gilded someone you know only little of. Get a fair and balanced overview of the whole Yogananda to begin with; then there is a chance you may be less victimised by claims without sound evidence.

Belletristical Hollywood diva

In 1925, the swami Yogananda set up an American headquarters in a run-down hotel on a hill northeast of Chinatown in Los Angeles. His church, Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), is run by Hindu swamis - nuns and monks. Officially they teach Jesuanism - that is, largely giving up on the word of Jesus for Jews only (!). They also mean other things by Holy Spirit, the Father, Christ, and soul than in handed-over Christianity. Better be aware of it. Look at the evidence: [Basics]

One more thing: Yogananda's "killjoy-article" from the SRF charter about two years after he lay dead has been removed: "[H]uman life is given to man . . . not for physical pleasure nor selfish gratifications." (Article 2:13) [◦First SRF charter][Amended SRF Charter]

After Yogananda died of a heart attack in March 1952, his followers made changes to many things and have in part taken away from the value of the fair and square presentation thereby. It could lead to massive, misplaced worship or worse in time. We may not find any focus on his early, central teachings that kriya yoga was for dying, but it is in his first book. "We ought not to fear to practice conscious death . . . Death will then be under our control," writes Yogananda (1926, 80). [More]

Paramahansa Yogananda (January 5, 1893 – March 7, 1952) was born Mukunda Lal Ghosh. He took to "big baits" to impress Americans and perhaps others too, and talked big about handed-over techniques with many greater-than-facts results. That is to say, lots of great-looking Yogananda claims go unverified so far. It can hardly be otherwise with "cosmic consciousness", which he talks of gaining. The cosmos is expanding, and the freshly faster-than-light expanding universe is thought to be beyond what can be investigated - by accepted scientific methods of today.

And yet Yogananda phrases are repeated indiscriminately by the organisation he set up, Self-Realization Fellowship, SRF. It is a church with teachings that are full of great-sounding ideas, unproven tenets and much bias. [Several SRF flops]

A claimed SRF aim is to teach science, but does it? Science is not based on mere belief in a guru's words, but on sound verifications or falsifications and much else, as the case may be. Qualified doubt is fit for science, apt measurements are needed, and conclusions of some quality go into research as we know it. And good-looking words used as baits are neither scientific nor fair, and may give rise to sulks or clowns. Better be informed than taken in by-and-by or quickly.

Now, kriya yoga's pivotal technique is public knowledge and has been for a long time. It is the hatha-yoga way of breathing that is called ujjayi [Link]. It may be learnt with no strings attached in the Satyananda Yoga line. There are several variants of ujjayi and many distinctive parts of kriya yoga.

What about Adolf Hitler?

Did some guru claims get out of hand? The idea of "greatest star in the show" is an American thought-pattern to recognise or consider along with facets of Hollywood diva making - but below you get a translation from a hand-written Yogananda-letter:

Yogananda I have committed a great blunder [an absolutely foolish act; a horrible act like eating feces] by starting an organization. [Letter source at Sanskrit Classics]

His organisation soon enough fell into "gilding that guy", without saying Yogananda was a Mussolini admirer, an advocate of dictatorship and a hypnotist. Study the evidence first. There are links to evidence further down. Then consider. And lastly, take up running a little too if it helps you avoid getting tied. Running may be good for many.

Does SRF make a guru presentation that suit their own longings and belongings, or yours? Can it be their lot in life to uphold a gilded guru in part in their own image in an American way, for example by talking big about a "greatest in the world" - guru, gurus, methods - or less?

There are many signs of americanisation in the hybrid church that Yogananda once set up. The guru had got Self-Realization Fellowship registered as a church in California in 1935, ten years after he was helped to get a little hotel 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 also 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 influence lingers on . . .

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 thoroughly fair and fit view seems wiser. Compare the Yogananda letter, and an SRF letter from the headquarters where someone calls his guidelines without flaw, However, those in charge of SRF also act differently from what they say here, and have withdrawn several tenets and Yogananda aims for SRF from the public stare.

After all, that pink sky above Los Angeles has not been a sign of love, but great pollution.

Yogananda on Americans

Many Yogananda words might pose problems to the gilding guys who try to make him popular among Americans, so some Yogananda dictums are not put forward much, if at all. But there are some in the magazine that Yogananda was responsible for, and many issues and copies of that magazine are in the public domain.

Americans are fond of saying their country is God's own country, but what about the rights of Native Americans to it all, perhaps except Manhattan? Self-Realization Fellowship wants Americans to think that Yogananda came to help them, and liked them! That may be a truth with modifications, as he talked down on them, and withdrew from American disciples a lot toward the end of his life. Face those facts, yet allow for exceptions.

It seems that the guru that SRF likes to present as a love guru, at least at times did not hold them in much esteem, all of those in "evil's land", as he once wrote in a poem around 1940. That was before he got disinterested in his own organisation and withdrew much to a resort in the Californian desert during the last years he lived. A solitary cottage was set up for him there (Dasgupta 2006, 102).

Yogananda Americans . . . the majority are drowned in theological ignorance, extreme love of money, speculation, fast living, living beyond their means, and inflated prosperity. - Yogananda

The American people . . . because a perfect standard of national government has not been achieved, political graft, gangster and bootleg rule, divorces, juvenile crimes, and immorality are stalking wildly in this land in spite of her being a nation ruled to death." - Yogananda

Source of both: Swami Yogananda. "What is the Best Polity?" East-West 1935, (Continued from November Issue)

He published that after fifteen years among Americans. And fifteen years later he summed up:

One day in May 1950, while they were walking together at Twenty-Nine Palms, the Master said to his disciple [Kriyananda] with deep earnestness, "Apart from [James J.] Lynn . . . every man has disappointed me." With intensity then, he added, "And you MUSTN'T disappoint me!" (Novak 2005, Chap. 6)

Man means at least man! Anyhow, it might just have been all right for Americans to disappoint a Dictatorshipfondananda -

"Gilding the guru" could 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 want for good-natured beginners. For example, who would forge ahead and bind themselves to Yogananda and gurus behind sent him, if they knew such as:

  • A court case where the judge, James MacLachlin, found Yogananda's money charges against a former co-worker false and untrue and judged against Yogananda. Tsk, tsk. (More, with details)

  • The guru advocated dictatorship in his own magazine in 1934? (Self-Realization Magazine 1934).

  • The guru boasted of the dictator Benito Mussolini. There was not much Yogananda foresight in that - (Ibid)

  • Yogananda reportedly claimed he had influenced Adolf Hitler's mind to make the Nazi regime attack the Soviet Union. If so, Old Nick might have done no better if war crimes, havoc, mayhem and plundering was what he was after. "Yogananda . . . During World War II he said it was he who placed the thought in Hitler's mind to invade Russia." (Kriyananda 2011:131; also see Kriyananda 2004, No. 189)

  • The guru stood for no sex for the unmarried beneath him, and very little sex for married SRF members. Better be warned of guru guideline invasions into the privacy of family living, including the bed chamber. His guidelines are not all plain stupid, but some of them can easily derange the sincere follower by and by in such vital areas as sleep, work, fasting, clothing and, well, sex. (An incomplete list with further links)

  • The guru experimented with necromancy. (Williamson 2010:71)

  • Yogananda also delivered false and misleading prophecies. He prophesied a third and fourth World War to come before 2000 CE; Europe would be devastated by then, and Russia annihilated. Japan would be swallowed up by China, America would survive, and "England is finished. Finished. Finished!" All of it was to happen before 2000 CE. (Kriyananda 2011:125-26. Extracted; 1973, ch 6). [Failed Yogananda prophesies and gullibility]

  • A professor of the Catholic Church, "Father Mateo", says Yogananda brings heresy "to town": "His theology cannot be squared with Roman Catholic doctrine. He teaches . . . all religions are equally true . . . He also seems to teach the . . . heresy of salvation by human effort alone." (Read the article)

the shame of it Such things may not be spoken full well about in the American fellowship that the Black Arts yogi founded. Both Williamson (2012) and Yogananda's own biographer Dasgupta (2006) 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.

Paramahansa Yogananda quotation 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

Were you enticed to get Yogananda as a helper, and did his Fellowship withhold these quoted Yogananda phrases for you until you were sworn in and bound by your word? Then you were not treated fairly, which is not wise.

The quotation shows a whip that comes along with hype aimed at getting members, maybe members that are out for exceptional gains. Ask instead, "What is wrong with SRF and Yogananda?"

Aim for paradise and better, not a hellish region. That is sound counsel.

Loyalty for idiocy to come?

Devotion on demand to many unmet gurus who differ in what they teach, is that for simpletons? (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. ✪ 

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 dictatorship-fond Yogananda.  

But see the many findings about the meditation method called TM, Transcendental Meditation. [Some methods compared] - [TM research findings (Lynch)]

Is Jesus one of the SRF gurus?

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]

The kriya yoga pledge (oath) blatantly ignores "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 guru 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 or two in that scenario, if not three our four.

At any rate, Jesus of the gospels warns beforehand against having other masters than himself.

One more 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:

Fl. 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)

To clarify these matters still further:

Hm Jesus reserve his teachings and salvation for Jews (Matthew 15:24; 10:5-8; Vermes 2012), but only depraved Jews: those of sound moral and spirit are not called by him, and the healthy do not need him (Mark 2:17; Matthew 9:12-13; 12.11). Jesus further puts his sheep on a path to perdition in that he teaches his sheep what is opposed to sound self-preservation. Thereby eyes, limbs, property, fit living-conditions and life itself soon enough are at risk (Matthew 5: 29-30; 39-42). Finally, marring losses come to those who call him 'Lord, Lord' without doing as he tells. (Luke 6:46)

For Gentile followers, all the disciples and the Holy Spirit dispensed with all but a few laws for Jews. And not a word by Jesus for ill Jews was included in the Apostolic Decree from 50 CE either (Acts 15:19-29; 21:25). The four requirements for all Gentile Christians include no to eating blood sausages (blood food) and wrangled chickens and other poultry (choked animals)

Jungian The healthy man does not torture others. - Carl Gustav Jung

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

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 there seems to be no mention of the three stages in the making of the Bhagavad Gita, and that is odd. 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 ascribe 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]

Also beware of bluffs. 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). A snag is found: They should have counted in themselves and their teachings, if so. [More]

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. [Kriya and Scriptures]

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:

The Wolf and the Lamb

A wolf came upon a lamb straying from the flock, looked for an excuse, and said at last, "Last year, you grossly insulted me."

"That is impossible, sir," bleated the lamb, "for I wasn't born then." . . .

Said the wolf, "I'm not going without my dinner": and he sprang upon the lamb and devoured it without more ado.

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."

The judge himself was not impressed by these outrageous assertions. In open court he asked SRF's legal representatives, "Are you saying that your guru was only an employee of yours, and had to do exactly as you, his own disciples, commanded him?" [◦From Yogananda for the World, Chap. 16]

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.

Daya Mata exalts the organization, and her own position in it.

Daya cries fervently, "Master! Master's will! Master's organization!" I cannot help feeling, however, that what really moves her is pride in her own position, and attachment to the power she wields. She treats condescendingly anyone whose views don't coincide with her own.

What Daya has done is put out the dogma that . . . SRF is the guru.

Kriyananda cites from a letter from Rhani Bhan: "Daya Mata does not even justify her name." [◦Kriyananda divulges things]

A COMMENT. The Daya Mata that Kriyananda speaks of, thought it best to stay away from the organisation she exalted with her lips, and for thirty years. For about thirty years she lived in a villa with a view to the mountains, while monks and nuns of the SRF order thought she lived at the headquarters. After a Los Angeles newspaper published the story, about fifty monks, nuns and novices left the premises. (Russel 2000) "What they say and what they do may be different."

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:

  1. Krishna of Hinduism. Very many words that are ascribed to him may be the doings of others later, though.
  2. Jesus, originator of a hard sect of Judaism, who reserved his teachings for Jews only, the Bible says.
  3. "Babaji" ("revered father", no certain name and dates given), but Yogananda tells in the Autobiography he was a promise-shifter, one who changed a seemingly wondrous promise he had already given, and for what he called a trifle (Chap. 36).
  4. Shyama Charan Lahiri (1828-95),
  5. Yukteswar (1855-1936),
  6. Param(a)hansa Yogananda (1893-1952). When he was alive, it was Paramhansa. When he was dead, the fellowship altered it, in part by surprising forgery, which was disrespecting him.

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


War Criminals and Yogananda claims, Paramahansa Yogananda, Black Arts, Hitler, sacrificing innocents, Self-Realization Fellowship, Literature  

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.

Novak, Devi. Faith is My Armor: The Life of Swami Kriyananda. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2005.

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.

Russell, Ron. 2000. "A Mountain of Discontent." New Times Los Angeles, 1 June.

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.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2004. ⍽▢⍽ It is not many words that will do it. Here you get over 500 000 words that fail in it.

Yogananda, Paramhansa. The Second Coming of Christ: From the Original Unchanged Writings of Paramhansa Yogananda's Interpretations of the Sayings of Jesus Christ. Vol. 3, 1986.

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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