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Learn Discernment

Some need to learn to discern.

Simple trust in yourself should not be abandoned, although many sorts of beliefs that are implanted by words and phrases can be of value up to a level. There are several books that seek to help students and others to discern well. One avenue is to make aware of tricks and faulty arguments, persuasive language, attempts at convincing others in sloppy ways, and further (Book list). But how well such learning works in any case, depends on how odd and unsuitable the beliefs at hand are.

Watch out for a faith without a good enough base if it demands belief. You need to favour yourself above a group that fosters blind belief in words. Against it, the faith of sprouting mustard seeds is said to work well. It often happens if conditions follow suit (Luke 17:5-6). This is to say, tend to your own, decent development toward functioning more or better on your own. That is a challenge, for it is easy to be taken in, even a lot.

Trust in reincarnation as told - but told by whom?

A deep issue that much revolves around in life is reliance, or trust. There are many different teachings or guesses in the world, and different faiths. Suppose that most of them are wrong faiths on some points or others.

For example, some - like Yogananda - say the Bible teaches reincarnation, and others - many Bible scholars - do not:

Mark 9:13; Matthew 11:13– 14; 17:12– 13; and Luke 1:17 . . . If taken out of context, these passages, especially Luke, do sound as if Elijah was reborn as John, but when they are examined in context it becomes clear that John is being spoken of only metaphorically as a prophet “in spirit and power” like Elijah. In fact, in the Gospel of John 1:21 the personal (reincarnational) identity between Elijah and John is clearly denied. The passage reads, "Are you [John] Elijah?" "No," he replied."

That reincarnation is not implied in the Gospels is further shown by Mark 8:27–28, and the corre- sponding passages in Matthew (16:13– 14) and Luke (9:18– 19). (McClelland 2010, 84-85)

There is a difference between interpreting a saying fairly - as unbiased as possible -, and reading things into a saying. Yogananda was prone to the latter approach, which we probably should know is unreliable. Further, in Yogananda's society, the reincarnation faith is different from that of several gospels passages, but see if various pieces of implanted Yogananda faith are fairy based. The contexts often tell things too, and many Bible scholars tell a lot of the contexts. There is good reason to trust good scholars above a faith-bully who gets a following.

Then, what could happen to persons who leave a cult? That depends in part on the amount of one's nightly sleep. 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]. Don't be taken in by authority figures, for being taken in much, hard, and for long may change your lot in life. Sound education and wisdom to get along well in life, without getting infirm, ranks higher.

Some find life illusory and others find such doctrine unfit

At times present biology and other developing -logies tell us other things than Yogananda. How you react in such a squeeze could tell interesting things about yourself. Or about a church's infallibility doctrine. Some who seek mental health for gaping wounds inflicted by an insane teaching, venture into such as Bach remedies. Good luck with that. There may be other and better means at hand to try against simple naivety too.

See if you find constructive outlets, a purpose of life, and if your life zest or something takes you that way, a great partner.

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] Four of the SRF gurus teach much the same, but you may sense their teachings in the matter are of no worth. How? Ask, for example: "Are all Lahiri statements and himself included in his "all is illusory" - and thus missing?" Also, if all is illusory, illusion is itself illusory, as Ramana Maharsi stated. Again, there are differences of opinion; and many different opinions in time beget differing faiths. [The wise men of Gotham learnt to count in themselves].

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 faithy mishmash, and thus opinionated.

Questions and Answers

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. 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:

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!" (Fuller 1970)


The SRF member who asked these questions, went on and read some Gold Scales material, checked the information about Yogananda's kriya yoga changes, and left SRF.


Reliance, SRF and propaganda, Yogananda, Literature  

Barnet, Sylvan, and Hugo Bedau. Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing. 7th ed. Boston, MA: Bedford / St. Martin's, 2011.

Bennett, Bo. Logically Fallacious: The Ultimate Collection of over 300 Logical Fallacies. Updated Academic ed. Sudbury, MA:, 2013.

Brink-Budgen, Roy van den. Critical Thinking for Students: Learn the Skills of Critical Assessment and Effective Argument. 3rd ed. utg. Oxford: How To Books, 2000.

Fuller, Edmund. 2500 Anecdotes for All Occasions. New York: Wings, 1970.

Hills, Debra. Student Essentials: Critical Thinking. Richmond, Surrey: Trotman, 2011.

Kerlinger, Fred Nichols. Foundations of Behavioral Research. 4th rev. ed. Andover, Hampshire: Cengage Learning, 2000.

Lewis, James R. Cults. A Reference Handbook. 2nd ed. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2005.

Mayberry, Katherine J. Everyday Arguments: A Guide to Writing and Reading Effective Arguments. 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2009.

McClelland, Norman C. Encyclopedia of Reincarnation and Karma. London: McFarland and Co., 2010.

Paul, Richard, and Linda Elder. The Thinker's Guide to Fallacies: The Art of Mental Trickery and Manipulation. Tomales, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking, 2008.

Satyeswarananda, Swami, tr. Complete Works of Lahiri Mahasay Vol. I: The Gitas: The Vedic Bibles. Guru Gita. Omkar Gita. Abadhuta Gita. Kabir Gita. 2nd rev. ed. San Diego: The Sanskrit Classics, 1992.

Singer, Margaret Thaler. Cults in Our Midst: The Continuing Fight Against Their Hidden Menace. Rev. ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003.

Walton, Douglas. Fundamentals of Critical Argumentation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Weston, Anthony. A Rulebook for Arguments. 4th ed. Cambridge: Hacketts, 2008.

Winn, Denise. The Manipulated Mind: Brainwashing, Conditioning and Indoctrination. London: The Octagon Press, 1983.

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