This third series of essays contains some teachings by the famous yogi Yogananda (1893-1952), who has quite a following in California. A deep issue much revolves around is reliance, or trust. What gurus to rely on when they tell differently about vital concerns, for example?
This series of articles opens with a troubled person's questions and answers he get for it. He soon decided to leave Self-Realization Fellowship, SRF, for something better - or so he hoped.
SRF is called a sect by some, including its former editor-in-chief, Tara Mata. If it is not a sect, it borders on being one.
What could happen to persons who leave a cult? That depends on many factors, such as what cult it is and how widespread it may be. One thing could improve for about half of persons who leave SRF, though: The length of one's nightly sleep. This is on condition that Yogananda decrees against sleeping a lot are done away with properly. The need for sleep is individual, but there is good reason to go for at least 7 1/2 or 8 hours of nightly sleep for most persons. [Sleep needs and sleep deprivation]
In Yogananda's fellowship there is a wealth of words about how not to go head - "no-no-wisdom" of a kind. Some guidelines are good, some not so good, and some are very wrong, like his "Hard work has never hurt anyone." It surely has; it has killed millions on millions too. [Statistical findings] If someone believes Yogananda in this, he or she is getting indoctrinated against common sense. That is how bad it is.
Sound education and wisdom to get along well in life, without getting infirm, ranks higher. Perhaps one learns to detect "goddy-crap" better, dictatorial or authoritarian mentalities, and dares to go for what may warm one's heart. It could happen, and it takes what it takes.
At times the present biology and other developing -logies tell us other things than Yogananda. How we react in such a squeeze tells interesting things about ourself, most likely. Or about Yogananda's murky infallibility - and a cult that sticks to blatant, wrong teachings. It could happen. But there are delicate helpers for some - for those who venture into such as Bach remedies. Try them out, and life could get a bit or a lot better.
There is a lot to learn from plants, animals - such as fish - and other people. One may also learn about oneself, for example by updated psychometric measures, like the Big Five, also called OCEAN. And if we hold on to that claims without evidence is not as good as claim supported by evidence - preferably first-class evidence - we may function to our own benefits far better than a poor believer in swindles.
You can rise and tend your life well. If you find the energy for it, you may caution newcomers on a path you have been through about the obvious fall-traps in the way, and the hidden fall-traps too, for example. If you find the energy to help others somewhat. If not, struggle on.
Then see if you find other, constructive outlets, a purpose of life, and if your karma takes you that way, a great partner. Try to be a good partner yourself - there are indications of how partners help one another. Learn from experiences and get creative too.
If we hold less restrictive views than many conform crews, we may prefer living temples - like women with boobs and so on - to stone churches. Restricted persons tend to hold a different view, and not like to see naked guys above cathedrals - understand it right. But see what the New Testament says about similar things, and relax. Then, should we relax to the point when statements of mermaids glide in, and we too take to believing in mermaids in heaven, because we read that two SRF gurus teach so? But what does another SRF guru teach? "All is illusory. There is no doubt about this. People are mad . . ." [Lahiri Mahasaya, Abadhuta Gita, 2:7] Now, what is illusory? Is a Lahiri statement included in "all"? Is the majority or the minority mad, cultish, bad? There are differences of opinion. Usually, a minority has problems where there is no religious tolerance, or the minority views are not hidden or masked well enough.
This leads to another topic: "Is a dream a dream?" If a guru teaches "The world is a dream only", is that teaching a part of the dream or apart from it? Apart from the world? Or aparte (queer)?
It's no good to be "raped" by SRF mishmash, an thus opinionated.
And this ends the introduction to the pages in this series.
A Round of Questions and Answers
Q. Are your religious views solely based on the mental/logical interpretations of the Bible?
A. No [why should they].
Q. What led you to believe (I assume with total conviction) that the Bible and its varied versions are the only Books which represent God's teachings?
A. I have no such belief.
Q. Why do you think it is valid to connect phrases from virtually any part of the Bible with others (including partial sentences) to prove a viewpoint?
A. I don't.
Q. Do you believe that all writings/books in the Bible chosen (chosen by many people and groups of people over many centuries) to be in the Old and New Testament were of equal quality - in terms of divine inspiration? How do explain the apparent differences in the God of Love in the New Testament with the God portrayed in the Old testament?
A. (a) Of course not. (b) The key is "apparent". Having one's own son maimed and killed so as to help sinning ones is hardly that much to boast of - and besides the plan failed.
Q. How do you explain the fact that concept of Reincarnation in the early Christian religion, including the Catholic Church, was supported by many learned and respected Church leaders (Origen comes to mind) until the 500s?
A. People believe a wide variety of things.
Q. How do you know when it is appropriate to employ a literal, symbolic/cryptic or figurative interpretation of a Bible verse/s? (Is there a totally logical system that makes it clear how to interpret the verses or does the choice of method of analysis require inspiration?)
A. (a) That is none of your business; it is "internal affairs". (b) Lasswell's formula is a good help, though. A variant: "Who says what to whom along which channels, with what intent, with what effects?"
Q. Do you believe that in this day and age that people can receive direct Divine Inspiration and Guidance? (Do you consider your writings or any other Christian writers who you agree with your views - either directly or indirectly - Divinely Inspired?)
A. (a) I say some can. (b) That is none of your business either. One should stick to issues instead of groping for the private, internal origins of what comes out of the mind or head.
Q. Do you distrust your friends when they do something for which you can see no immediate rational explanation, or claim to have done something which you think unlikely?"
A. That would depend on what their claims were. See a story:
A particular claim
John Cremony was a famous Western figure. He told one story of a desperate flight from pursuing Indians.
"I had a fine horse and managed to keep far enough ahead so their arrows could not reach me. I picked 'em off until my last cartridge was gone. Then I headed up a canyon. It ended in a sheer wall. I was trapped like a rat with a dozen Apaches closing in on me. And me without as much as a penknife to defend myself."
"What happened, Colonel?" someone in his audience would invariably ask.
"Why, they killed me! Damn them, sir, they killed me!" [Of]
The SRF member who asked these questions, went on and read into the material checked the information about Yogananda's changes of kriya, and left SRF. He stopped trusting in Yogananda's changed kriya, the one they spread in SRF.
Of: Fuller, Edmund. 2500 Anecdotes for All Occasions. New York: Wings, 1970.
Psy: Dasgupta, Sailendra. Paramhansa Swami Yogananda: Life-portrait and Reminiscences. Portland: Yoga Niketan. 2006. Online pdf.
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