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Sex, Begone! says Yogananda

Miniature painting showing a Persian couple. Modified section
There are those who are led to believe that denying themselves autonomy, sex, and the like is good for them, and that some kind of subtle vigour can be helped that way.

If all that is not good for them, then it might be for others.

Build Good Karma, Learn from the Wise

Stick to your money and other assets, including the freedom you have, rather than let a cult take over by persuasion and bossy (authoritarian) teachings. Don't trade a lot of your freedom away because of big words (demagogy) coming your way.

Both Buddhism and Hinduism allow for getting fair wealth called artha, both encourage it and place it in a wider, sound context. In Hinduism it is one of four main life goals. Living out desires, kama, is another. In Tantra, which is a significant part of both Buddhism and Hinduism, sides to the art of pleasure is found too.

The karma teachings of Buddha tell that many thoughts have to manifest in actions too to work truly well, and even then the results of good works may not all be likely to manifest in a life. Buddha tells us to stay away from fools for our own good. There are many sorts: louts (awkward, brutish persons), hicks, boors, dolts, oafs, klutzes, and blunderbusses are some. They can destroy a harvest.

One should seek the company of truly wise and liberating ones, Buddha also says. Wise men tend to be marked by unusual learning, judgement, or insight, and may or may not be known as sages, that is, distinguished by breadth of knowledge, experience, wisdom, and sound judgment. However, in some cultures or settings the village idiot may be the one to seek to the degree that "It takes a wise man to hide his wisdom and another to know him for it". The proverb may reflect an obscure tradition of preserving truly good assets by wearing a mask or something - and maybe not.

The wise young ones, the old wise ones, and geniuses may help us make hay when the sun shines. But will they? You could have to ask some of them much politely and follow up also.

If the longer many-lives perspective is missing, many sayings of building good karma may be over-optimistically understood. Good luck with decent thoughts and their harvests. [More] Another question is if you get a lot of future lives here on earth to reap your good karma, or "good luck", if the planet is hit by an asteroid and the floods and volcanos go amok too, and so on. Be prepared for setbacks, in other words, it makes sense to make good use of the body and time and conditions you have left so long as it lasts. Life might be used for spiritual progress -

Those who think that their works (karma) follow them in very subtle thought forms and refrain from sacrificing innocent animals or guys to get good times, are not as bad as they could have been -

Loyality or Decadence?

Yogananda in India

Yogananda says he is not for flatterers, but from the SRF Headquarters in Los Angeles once came this message, which is quoted verbatim and notarised on top of it all: They "do not find fault with Paramahansa Yogananda's guidelines. Since we believe that he had attained complete union with God and therefore his wisdom is flawless". However, there are lots of faults in his guidelines. Consider this:

  • "Hard work has never hurt anyone." (Yogananda) The opposite is true.
  • Yogananda is uninformed about the value of sleeping enough, which to some means sleeping long.
  • He contradicts himself badly in vital matters.
  • He wants to impress and persuade-convince and exhort to the preference of informing soundly, fair and square. The latter attitude is fit in science circles, or for scientific endeavours. The first one leads to bullying, among other things.
  • Big commentary works of Yogananda are unreasonable and on loose foundations. [A Rubaiyat study, for example]
  • He has a history of going for things less than ideal, like dictatorship (!)
  • His guidelines about such as "folly cries to God Mom" may mar in the private lives of members in less than favourable ways.

It adds up

The liberal guy may not say all these blemishes and errors are too bad, one by one and separately, but they add up. And when errors are not amended and corrected, and impolite goading for fascism and dictatorship are not taken back, but work like skeletons in the closet, the liberal guy finds it best to raise a warning cry. "Is it too late to remedy these matters?" for example.

The church that Yogananda had registered in California on March 29, 1935, Self-Realization Fellowship, SRF, does not adhere all the aims he once set up for it,, but withdrew several of them two years after his passing. They wanted to make do without several guru guidelines "without flaw". SRF made emendments to its founding articles, on December 5, 1954, after "the cat" was away. Better be warned. A word, "sect", is used about SRF by former monastics there. [◦Former SRF monastics speak of their grievances, a lot, and anonymously]

Submission is the issue

Yogananda requires deep submission of kriya yoga followers, even unconditional loyalty. His restrictive guidelines about sex are not liberal, as he wants even lay followers to limit sex severely. "Single persons should observe abstinence," is one of his decrees. "In such a case I might as well be a monk," you may think, but do not overlook the added burdens of monks and nuns. Willy-nilly submission to an authoritarian structure is one of many. As for "Yogananda sex", here are verbatim Yogananda quotations: [Yogananda on Sex].

Submission is about in the book The Master Said [1952], for example. Or see a list of what words Yogananda uses the most in Autobiography of a Yogi, a book that has been edited for decades after the guru's death in 1952. [Critique]

Regular customs of "bowing at the lotus feet" of saintly personages is at times a sign of deep respect in other cultures. But it should not become a feature of very submissive Western cults where members suffer from insecurity, lack of assertiveness, and are typically bombarded with demagogy without realising it fully. Also consider "There is a right way to do it, a wrong way to do it, and many others; some of which could be successful."

By submission to unfair or less than valuable authoritarianism is called loyal, devoted and valuable we can be fooled

SRF is headed by monastics. A largely authoritarian culture can make free-flowing personal development and fisting much more difficult. Authoritarianism may create alarming problems opposed to individual freedom of thought and action. It denotes that power is concentrated in the hands of a leader or a small elite. Authoritarianism stands in fundamental contrast to democracy.

Yogananda and his own advice
Yogananda "You must not be satisfied with telling people things – you must show them how to experience God for themselves. - Yogananda (1952:51)
Does it sound good or not? Compare this Yogananda counsel in a booklet by Margaret Bowen Dietz also:
Yogananda Don't take my word for anything. . . . find out for yourselves. Don't get hung up on words . . . please remember. - Yogananda, in Dietz 1998

But see what happened: Yogananda spent much time and effort on writing, dictating and lecturing, and he and his fellowship went at lengths to publish his words - and not focus as much as in earlier years on presenting the kriya yoga methods.

  1. In short, Yogananda was sent to the West to teach kriya yoga to Westerners, and be based on what is in The Holy Science, a slim book by his own guru. That books drowned in the output of Yogananda.
  2. He came to the United States, where he first taught the methods he was sent to teach. Then he started a career as a travelling orator. He talked for and against several things. Much of his time and efforts were spent on telling things to people who did not need generalities and platitudes. Some of his talks are preserved in books published by SRF.
  3. Bits from Yogananda told, poems, sermons and so on, went in to a correspondence course that his SRF church publishes. He was not satisfied with showing how people could do kriya yoga.
  4. In fact, he and his fellowship also removed the more demanding parts of the kriya yoga system and put other parts in there. Parts that he removed, are told to be essential in the Indian kriya yoga tradition.
  5. Yogananda was not satifised with teaching the methods purely and stick to the lore of his tradition: he incorporated Jesus in his line of gurus to get a better welcome in the USA, and it worked, says Marshall Govindan:
    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 Govindan. [◦Link]

  6. But Yogananda left some people dissatisfied with all the words he added to the first lessons, expanding them with words, words. That he did not redress these things better than saying, "Don't take my word for anything" and "You must not be satisfied with telling people things", may seem puzzling because neither he nor SRF have gone all the way in such a direction, considering their output.
  7. Yogananda did more - he found it best to change his kriya yoga and add other methods to it. Other kriya yogis were sceptical to that approach. For example, Satyeswarananda sums up Yogananda's contributions as a modified mess, thinking that Yogananda "completely changed the Kriya practice and reduced it to something else which would be an unproven, new approach with uncertain or crazy fatal results." That is what Swami Satyeswarananda at the Sanskrit Classics writes. [◦A Sanskrit Classics page]

Good education promotes reasonable scepticism - at least scepticism enough - about claims that sound dogmatic or are made without evidence, hence an ignorant or unreasonable authoritarian regime is not likely to please the educated for very long. Sceptics may benefit from skills in analysing data well and handling much with aplomb. Many skills may enrich the living thanks to good sceptics. Many scientists have to be it, in that research designs incorporate a sort of doubting process revolving around the alternative hypotheses and more too. [EB "authoritarianism" and "propaganda"]

Much submission is not necessarily all wrong, it depends on circumstances and other things, but ideally, in a decent, all right family the loved children are enabled as they grow up and develop, and set free. If not, good and pleasant living is waning along with much joi de vivre, is the bet. By demands for submissions and "convential humility" for top-dogs, healthy individuals may get ill, and neuroses may result from fears, in the long run.

Submission - bootlicking

There is wrong submission and too wrong submission, for example narcissist bootlicking. This was to hint at that submission is the stiff Game. If you want to do anything substantial about alarmingly uncultivated submission, first look at bootlicking (submission) in the light of Yogananda quotes against flatterers and flattery. Further, SRF has not shown any interest in having some of his public blunders exposed, such as his hailing of dictatorship and the dictator Mussolini. See for yourself. Authoritarianism is at the heart of cults and dictatorship.

Bootlicking and unreasonable submission may generate problems and downfalls to make folks afraid and even destructive. It may pay to be discerning about your company, as the Dhammapada tells. It should be fit to be able to shun fools, including bootlicking fools, no matter how God-turned they appear to be.

Those who submit wrongly to leaders may submit too much, or too little, or in wrong ways and areas, and so on. Yogananda as folks know him through his monastics-governed SRF, appeals much to submission, as something slowly brewing over the decades.

Submission to the art and principles of growing individual freedom is not all wrong either - It takes what it takes.

A dirty bootlicking appeal can have a godly facade.

Cultish disrespect for humans may grow

The hope of SRF-submitting ones may be that they, by discarding their normal human rights and freedoms, will be granted heavenly freedom or greatness later - maybe in another life, as the case may be. Hopes and trust played on make some people willingly bear up heavy burdens. Booklicking may be a result of initial calculations from implausible and unverified information.

But what if the submission "game" ends for some reason? Some years ago the rumours that Yogananda had an illegitimate son, and the truth-telling that the present leader of SRF had not felt well in the company of the other nuns and monks at the SRF headquarters and had lived secretely away from there in a villa for twenty-thirty years, presaged an "exodus" among SRF monastics between 2000 and 2005. The fifty monastics who left SRF premises, were about one third of all SRF monastics at the time. (Parsons 2012:170)

But only few dare to leave Yogananda, for Yogananda says in an article printed in Self-Realization Magazine:

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, that you foolishly leave the one I have sent to help you learn the divine science of the soul? Now you shall have to wait long, and prove yourself, before I shall respond again." 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

Good grief! Another place he says:

Yogananda quotation "Master, Dr. Lewis was your first disciple in this country, wasn't he?" The Master answered, "That's what they say."

Seeing that the questioner was a little bit taken aback, he added, "I never say that people are my disciples. God is the Guru. They are His disciples." (Paramhansa Yogananda. The Master Said, 1952:6).

Confusing for a following - is that it? Fear is a latent factor to reckon with. It can manifest as a big problem also.

Strong submission and its growing loss of Eigenart (own distinctions, uniqueness) may sooner or later call forth disrespect for genuineness and for normal human rights, and contribute to a control society.

Hailed gurus may not be flawless

Where members and ex monastics do not dare to deliver deserved criticism and use their real names in so doing, there may not be much hope of sound and corrective householder thoughts after SRF members got bound by a guru-dictated pledge that demands submission called "unconditional loyalty". Then what should be done when the fellowship or guru errs again and again? Where does unconditional loyalty take one in such cases?

In Yogananda's Autobiography there is a marring presentation of the supreme guru in the SRF line of gurus. He is called Babaji. On one occasion he broke a seemingly wondrous promise to Lahiri Mahasaya over a trifle, it says (1998:277-78). And Lahiri got a reprimand - [Beware a lot and don't be drowned in jelly].

Sound criticism may work for good, but can cost overmuch too. The solid approach is, to my knowing, not to enter SRF at all, and if one is not initiated in kriya there, leave it with as few scars of indoctrination as possible. Some scars run deep.

Best thoughts come later, and often too late. [Swedish]

A Chuang Tzu story

Chuang Tzu was fishing on the P'u River when the Prince of Ch'u sent two high officials to see him and said, "Our Prince desires to burden you with the administration of the Ch'u State."

Chuang Tzu went on fishing without turning his head and said, "I've heard that in Ch'u there is a sacred tortoise which died when it was three thousand (years) old. The prince keeps this tortoise carefully enclosed in a chest in his ancestral temple. Now would this tortoise rather be dead and have its remains venerated, or would it rather be alive and wagging its tail in the mud?"

"It would rather be alive," replied the two officials, "and wagging its tail in the mud."

"Begone!" cried Chuang Tzu. "I too will wag my tail in the mud." [Watson 1968]

Let fine attainments crown your reading

We often need to take care to check to what degrees what inspires and motivates us, also nourishes our future well-being and sound development.

Real nourishment supports individual order and other good results, also called bearing fruits in time.

Many inexperienced youths are in for wrongly submissive and shameful dangers or cult exploitations. If so, they could bein for authoritarian deals for most part, and folly that slowly or quickly change a life and carry with them degradations away from helpful contacts, very good attainments. A piece of advice from various SRF ex-monastics is not to give SRF money, to "starve them thus". It suggests: Keep your already gotten assets and refrain from following dictatorship advocates with their "loyal devotees". Rather, adhere to present and future well-being and learn yoga from better sources too.


Sex, Begone! says Yogananda, Literature  

Dietz, Margaret Bowen. Thank You, Master. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 1998.

EB: Encyclopaedia Britannica. Same as Britannica Online.

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. ⍽▢⍽ A revealing work by a reflective, able and humorous lawyer.

Watson, Burton, tr. The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu. New York: Columbia University Press, 1968.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Master Said: A Collection of Paramhansa Yogananda's Sayings and Wise Counsel to Various Disciples. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship Publishing House, 1952. ⍽▢⍽ Retitled Sayings of Yogananda and Sayings of Paramahansa Yogananda in later editions, where several Yogananda citations from the first edition are changed. It tells you cannot trust that Yogananda told exactly all that SRF has edited him to say, frankly. Consider SRF's editorial efforts for decades and many Autobiography changes.

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