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Hard Work - a Hard Solution?

Problems of work
Yogananda "Hard work has never hurt anyone." - Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, p. 204. Oh yes, it has.

Have a look: ◦"Work kills more people than war". Saying that hard work has never hurt anyone, looks like saying sociopaths have never hurt anyone, in that it is deemed wrong.

Yet what does Yogananda mean by "hard work"? He says that taking care of pleasurable creature comforts is hard work, but not to be feared if we "analyse the problem and see", for "hard work has never hurt anyone" (1982, 46, 204, 205, 206). By this blend from four Yogananda sayings we have a big chunk of his fuller teachings on 'hard work'. [More]

Here are helpful tips, on the other hand:

Meditation can wipe away the day's stress, bringing with it inner peace. . . . Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day and may improve certain medical conditions. . . . A growing body of scientific research supports the health benefits of meditation. . . . some research suggests that meditation may help people manage symptoms of conditions such as: . . . Heart disease. [◦Mayo Clinic Article on Meditation and Stress]

Paramahansa Yogananda (1893–1952) was a guru with some cred in the United States. You may say, "All right, his teachings on hard work may or may not contain one or several slips of the lip, edited and published by Self-Realization Fellowship. Are they or are they not stray shots in the dark?"- Further know there is at least one more Yogananda quotation on work in a book by another publisher, Crystal Clarity in Nevada City, California. In that book he warns against over-indulgence in the pleasures of work and other activities, "for an over-indulgence will yield nothing but unhappiness". Taste on that contradiction - he could be taken to mean that many and sound pleasures are nothing but unhappiness. If so, what an over-indulgence in wrong teachings - The art of living consists in part in making sound pleasures in life not go away or go astray.

The Self-Realization Fellowship Church he founded, claims they find no fault with his guidelines. Yet, all had better know that work has killed many millions, and hard work had better be turned into working well whenever possible, and taking time to rest between, if that is possible too.

Some die of heart attach from hard work. Yogananda too died at fifty-nine from a heart attack, according to the doctor who examined him. [Source: SRF's Paramahansa Yogananda in Memoriam, 1958]

"Heed what someone does, not only what he says," is relevant wisdom many a time.

Hard work may slowly kill, but work with skill is much better. In general, the death toll around the world would depend on how hard and how risky the hard work is. But a fit definition of hard work is missing in this. What is not missing is that Yogananda sanctioned hard work and told it would not hurt - but it does to lots of people.

Is hard work good for all? Absolutely not. It depends on one's health, among other things. This is why persons in reconvalencence will not go for hard work. And people with good health may get it undermined through hard work also. Hard or enervating labour does not have to be painful to wear on a person when the flow of exertions do not go in a health-serving direction. Yet you may learn to endure the hardships that undermine or kill you in the long range, but slow suicide through lots of work definitely kills . . . and is not recommended.

Anyway, hard work is work. And work kills lots of workers. Hard work is not excluded from statistics on work either.

Around 2006, the United Nations' International Labour Organization, ILO, estimated that about two million workers lost their lives annually due to occupational injuries and illnesses, with accidents causing at least 350,000 deaths a year. For every fatal accident, there were an estimated 1,000 non-fatal injuries, many of which resulted in lost earnings, permanent disability and poverty. The death toll of work was more than double the figure for deaths from warfare (650,000 deaths per year). Besides, according to the ILO's SafeWork programme, work killed more people than alcohol and drugs together.

Each year, 6570 US workers died because of injuries at work, while 60,225 died due to occupational diseases. (Meanwhile, 13.2 million got hurt, and 1.1 million developed illnesses that did not kill them.) There was also toxic air, workplace violence, driving accidents, and transmissible diseases. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration warned that poisonous indoor air in nonindustrial workplaces caused thousands of heart disease deaths and hundreds of lung cancer deaths yearly. [50 Things Not to Know: "Work kills more people than war". 29 December 2006]

If work we must, to perform our arts or work with calm, skills and without many sorts of holistic health losses may contribute to saving and prolonging lives - while plain, hard work may be killing off a lot of toilers. Even very skilful work may kill, but is presumably not as risky in itself. On the other hand, hard work with skill while overtaxing one's health reserves and social well-being for long, may not work well; for then exploitation or overtaxing one's resources is likely to get into it.

Hard work while stressing and hard work for long hours each week may be damaging on several levels.

Good teachings do not lead people into harm's way and kill them.

Individuals, overwork, sleep

As shown above, work may kill twice as many yearly as war - about two million workers yearly in 2006. Besides, people who work over 48 hours a week have double the risk of heart disease, according to a 1996 UK government report. People with stressful jobs are twice as likely to die from heart disease, according to a 2002 study in the British Medical Journal.

Some die of heart attach from hard work. And one-sided, repetitive work makes ill too. Some kinds of boring work by the conveyor belt may give rise to boredom and mental problems too.

Overwork and burnout problems may go hand in hand. According to Hazards magazine, workers exposed to stress for at least half their working lives are 25% more likely to die from heart attack, and 50% more likely to die from a stroke. Manual workers are more prone to such illnesses than executives. Besides, rising stress at work is causing increasing numbers of young professionals to grind their teeth while they sleep, according to the British Dental Health Foundation.

One-sided overwork that increases the risks of heart attacks is hardly all that beneficial in the long run.

Family effects of hard work

Not assisting one's nearest ones well enough and problems tied in with that may become the lot of the hard-working man and women who try to keep up with the Joneses: Some effects of stress and hard work for long accumulate and cause illness, bad relationships and lots of other troubles. Work kills more people than alcohol and drugs together, and when the provider is dead, the familiy may get into greater troubles.

One's nearest, are they to live for or die for?

Wider-ranging - and robbing children of their childhood far and wide

One-sided work, boring and massively repetitive work etc. may carry their own risks with them in "future-bags".

Hard work can be judged in the light of abuse too. Child labour is good for exploiters and their trade, but may be harmful for the sound development of the children.

Hard child labour involves future losses or risks for its victims.

Sources so far: 'Work stress and risk of cardiovascular mortality...', British Medical Journal, 19 Oct 2002; The Money Programme, BBC2, 11 Feb 1996; 'Life course exposure to job strain...', American Journal of Epidemiology, 2003; UN International Labor Organisation SafeWork programme, April 2002; PCS survey, May 2003; Hazards magazine no. 81; BBC News Online, 7 Nov 2001; British Dental Health Foundation, 27 Jan 2000; Hazards magazine finding reported by JobServe

Suspect hidden agendas or motives with bosses who say others have to work hard for them or some cause

Yogananda's sweeping "guideline" for hard work could cause those who believe in him to work a lot and maybe unwisely as monastics underlings for minimum wages, and cause some people thereby to develop soft tissue musculoskeletal disorders of the neck and upper limbs and so on, when something far better was really called for instead - more self-sufficiency, a clearer head, staunchness, and so on. Many of us may find we have to work better - with composure and better skills, at least, and look ahead.

Against bosses who need others to work for them, or to work hard for poor wages, see what dictums are well substantiated, and learn to be your own boss. That is, largely independent. A loon family with its nest and clutches is a unit of that sort. Maybe you can make it, and maybe conditions will follow suit. There are good points to serve you, skills to develop, networking to be adhered to, But the life of a Gründer may be far more stressful than the life of a clark. It often is. See if there are statistical figures on that too.

You can sort out your options in life. They may not be many, but see if you can get any, for example by good schooling, finishing your education and thereby get better opportunities. It still happens to some.

One clue is learning to accomplish more work with skill. The risk is being exploited for it, or abused. Yet, relaxed, and at the same time efficiently. There are many clues in books on time management, and so on, even including social skills, so that you learn to stand up better for yourself and with aplomb -

Another clue is hinted at already: Trying to rise to better all-round conditions through a very good and apt education that suits you enough.

Loons can still make it!

Getting Updated Enough Helps in Its Way Too

Transcendental Meditation boost employee health and the bottom line, writes the editor Alena Hall in The Huffington Post (Edited: 08/11/2015). Here is a summary:

"Thanks to the continued research touting its advantages, meditation has hit the mainstream." She quotes Bob Roth: "More and more companies are offering meditation rooms and allowing employees to meditate on company time."

Employees thereby get a chance to learn to meditate and complete their daily practice on company time and get improved workplace conditions, less stress and less burnout.

Roth is executive director of a nonprofit foundation that brings transcendental meditation training to corporate environments and others at risk. The five-step course includes an hour-long group introduction to the practice, individual 90-minute meetings with a transcendental meditation teacher, and then three group follow-up meetings so participants can continue building their practice.

"Such meditation programs are proven to have boosted the bottom line of businesses and the productivity and job performance of employees, in addition to reducing healthcare costs across the board. But a unique benefit of holistic health options like transcendental meditation is the sense of well-being and connection each practitioner finds within themselves.

"The benefit that people notice right off the bat is that they start sleeping better almost immediately. They also wake up feeling fresher in the morning," said Roth. "They also have a sustained energy."

Good, old sources, good methods, skills and kind gurudevas are not to be dispensed with.

Three goings of meditation

It is held there are three main goings of meditation: "focused attention," which involves concentration or control of the mind; "open monitoring," which is mindfulness; and "self-transcending," which is transcendental meditation, or TM, in short. TM requires a person to focus on a given mantra for 20 minutes at a time to key into a space of inner calm.

The first two are dispassionate observational techniques where you're paying attention to your breath, your thoughts and your environment, and TM grants access to a level of the mind that is already calm and settled and silent yet wide like a deep sea.

TM practice helped reduce stress, anxiety and hyperactivity in at-risk youth, and can help decrease hypertension, obesity and diabetes issues in patients struggling with coronary heart disease.

The three meditation goings can often be used along with each other. (1) Focused attention trains a person to be able to concentrate the mind; (2) mindfulness can help in the middle of doing things throughout the day, and (3) TM, when practised 20 minutes twice a day - once in the morning and once in the late afternoon or early evening - can get rid of buildt up of stress and tension and fatigue on a daily basis also. TM uses mantras in the form of thought-sounds in a systematised way that brings benefits.

To learn TM as an individual, try the ◦Transcendental Meditation website to get further.

Thinking can be used to help you get rid of tensions and fatigue every day. And that is a lot!

Yogananda Alleviated

"If you work hard, you will get there." [Ram Gopal to Yogananda, in Autobiography of a Yogi, chap. 13.]

Hard work counts

If you work hard, beware. Working hard and for long can cause problems for your family. You may get short-tempered with colleagues or employees and make mistakes because you have been working too hard. You could lose your sense of perspective if you let work take over your life.

Hard work can be seriously damaging to your health, and go along with stress too. You may not be able to enjoy the fruits of your hard work and golden retirement years if you ruin your health by too hard work along the road of life.

It is not just how long or how hard you work - it's about what you work at too, and how well and balanced in the wider perspective. You can replace hard with smart in this light, or learn to "replenish your jug" by brief periods of meditation. That could come in handy.

You can be able and go along with the sound thoughts in life.

Getting there - getting what?

The fuller Ram Gopal quotation is:

You are asking illumination from me . . . I have not done much. . . . For twenty years I occupied a secret grotto, meditating eighteen hours a day. Then I moved to a more inaccessible cave and remained there for twenty-five years, entering the yoga union for twenty hours daily. I did not need sleep . . .

God is Eternity . . . Do not fix your spiritual ideal on a small mountain, but hitch it to the star of unqualified divine attainment. If you work hard, you will get there. (Ibid.)

"Get there" means illumination here. It may mean other things otherwise, including public recognition, a house with a garden and a swimming-pool to rewind by in Spain, or a castle in Spain - it happens. Yet watch out for the trends of the times if you are not self-sufficient:

First you work hard with few tools at hand and much effort. Second, you get good tools to make the work easier and faster. Third, you start serving the developed tools or machines or computers. The sketched trends suggests how "machines are taking over", hovering, in field after field. And with such domination comes less control for the individual, less human dignity, vast unemployment on an unprececented scale - poverty and unequality - quite a lot that is aimed to go wrong for humans in the long run it seems.

It is part of the art of balanced living to know or guess when to stop. Is there a way to get the best of work, tools and machines, and the easy, convenient living - without falling short as a human being? I do recommend ◦TM, Transcendental Meditation to reasonable persons.

All meditation methods are not documented to work and help soundness.

Good People Employed, Adapting and Perhaps Turning Evil

Through their work many people appear to be caught to take part in doing evil to the planet too. And that is a great danger of the work life today. Work life adaptations that bring people away from moral standards and into a loom that works havoc on animals, less privileged humans and the planet, make decent people bad or evil along with their paycheck. If it happens, it is a tragedy.

Granted that by working for others you probably sustain them and their business, you also share in the fare - the karmic fare, that is. You do your part, and if crooks use your hard, decent work for wicked purposes, you are screwed too. You get better control over the resources you have and your life too if you are able to build for your family and yourself also. If not, you may be exploited, which spells "made a fool of" also.

One should ask, "Working hard for what, getting where?" There is work in the outer world, but also room for getting to grips with life and functioning far better. Balancing the two is a feature of the TM way of living.

You may eventually get better to withstand the pressures, but you should seek ways to increase your favours so as to avoid getting taken in, explointed, abused and scapegoated little by little over time. Overwork is a forerunner, and by it "they" take decency from lots of persons. It is a great danger in the light that people may not just get emptied in the service of others that are not good for them, but people may turn evil by all that too, in the long run. That is where the battle takes lots of conform ones that do not withstand major and unhealthy adaptations that abound. Dr. Philip Zimbardo has written a timely book, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (2008) about sides to that. And the Canadian documentary on large, multinational corporations indicate many of them behave like psychopaths. Sadly, adapting to many of them cannot be full well. Consider their deeds and watch your company. (WP, "The Corporation (film)")

Some say devilish, other say psychopathic; it can amount to the same.

And the bottom line is that hardened psychopaths cannot become all right, says Professor Tollak B. Sirnes. If your company and corporation distinguishes itself by psychopathic traits, if not such overt activities, what can an employee or leader like you do? Find a solution fast, and preferably before getting employed. There are many other sides to the issue and to hard work. "What will my year-long hard work serve before it wears me out? Good, tolerably well, bad, or an evil (psychopathic) take-over?" It may take courage even to ask the question, depending on your main adaptations in life, and who surround you. There are many books on psychopathy in the book list below. What follows here, are abstracts from one such book.

Watch your main adaptations; they may make you evil soon.

Tollak B. Sirnes on Psychopathy

The Norwegian Tollak B. Sirnes (1968) sums up findings about dealing with psychopaths or psychopathy in everyday life. I render him thus:

We had better not try to change a psychopath, for it may not be feasible. Psychopathy is not an illness; it is a persistent state. A person does not have the disease psychopathy, but is a psychopath.

It may be useful for normal and nervous people to know something about psychopaths so as not to become their victims. Psychopaths are the source of many interpersonal conflicts, and can bring mental healthy people to the brink of nervous breakdowns.

Many psychopaths exploit especially the Christian mentality that one should always be willing to help his fellow man. However, watch on whose terms the help is given. Psychopaths have not learned the need to take into account that other people have their needs and needs of fulfilments also. Further, psychopaths have reduced powers of understanding, but without showing morbid symptoms of morbidity, like distress (they are without conscience).

We expect that psychopathic deviations from a range of "normality" to a substantial part is hereditary.

Psychopaths do not suffer in their condition; they let others suffer. Unlike neuroses, psychopathy, at least in adulthood, may not be treatable. However, Sirnes made his summary over forty-five years ago. Since then there has been a change of "labels" and some research.

Many take to the term 'psychopathy', but it is not currently listed as a personality disorder in the official psychiatric taxonomy [the DSM 5 of 2013]. Psychopathy consists of enduring affective, behavioral, and interpersonal components and may be understood as a personality disorder. There are no medications specifically designed to treat psychopathy, but some medications are given for such as aggression and impulsivity associated with the disorder.

Treatment of persons with psychopathic traits yield conflicting data. Some show improvements, and others not. One way to understand the very different findings is that some treatments may work better than other treatments, and "heaven knows why".

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) is the 2013 update to the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) classification and diagnostic tool. In the United States the DSM serves as an authority for psychiatric diagnosis, although it has many weaknesses (WP; "DSM-5").

As for ascertainments of psychopathy, the understanding and definition of the term is not clear-cut. No American psychiatric or psychological organisations have sanctioned a diagnosis titled "psychopathy". However, assessments of psychopathic characteristics are widely used in criminal justice settings in some nations, and may have important consequences for individuals. The term is also used by the general public, in popular press, and in fictional portrayals. The DSM and International Classification of Diseases (ICD) have introduced the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) to replace it, and the psychologist Robert D. Hare has later repopularised the construct of psychopathy. (See book list at bottom of the page.)

The chapter "Treatment of psychopathy: A review of empirical findings" in Christopher J. Patrick's Handbook of Psychopathy (2006), and the chapter "Treatment of Child and Adolescent Psychopathy: Focusing on Change," in Salekin and Lynam's Handbook of Childhood and Adolescent Psychopathy (2010) provide overviews of recent studies that examine treatment outcomes. (See book list at bottom of the page)

Tollak Sirnes further: Psychopaths have little self-restraint when it comes to urges and needs. The psychopathic basic attitude does not seem to change. One of the most characteristic features of a psychopaths life position is that he assumes a constant battle and attack attitude toward fellow human beings, aiming at or struggling for prestige and power.

The psychopath adverse impact on normal and neurotic people can be summarised.

  • Psychopaths wear on normal people and neurotics by their continued assault and fighting attitude. Their constant struggle may hinder many of their relatives from getting rest and sleep, forcing the normal and neurotics to increasingly tense defenses.

    Psychopaths uses certain ruler techniques that often are very effective and difficult to penetrate. Ingjald Nissen is quoted from his book Psykopatenes diktatur (The Dictatorship of the Psychopaths): "It is especially about the way to get spiritual power over others by taking advantage of their weaknesses as a basis for dominating them."

  • Psychopaths steadily circle around their fellowmen's weak points, reveal them, activate them and maneuvre them, without giving them the needed rest and conditions for wounds to heal. They may thereby make even the strongest fellow lose his composure and react in despair, and thus lose in self-respect and respect for another. "It is one of the most demonic aspects of the psychopath" to split others without their being able to prevent it, making them paralysed and despairing.
  • Psychopaths often prohibit any mention of delicate interpersonal problems. For people without knowledge of how psychopaths are, it can be very difficult to realise that the prohibititions are unreasonable and that it is not right to give in to. However, when the normal or neurotics try to set boundaries for psychopaths and say no to their unreasonable expectations or requests or demands, feelings of guilt and inadequacy may grow.

None other than the psychopaths themselves affect them a lot in this world. And what mental healthy people may put up with from psychopaths over the years can be astounding. One reason that it may take many years before people start to suspect they have with a psychopath to do, is that psychopaths may be so charming, especially good at speaking for themselves, and often has a special ability to influence fellow human beings.

Be on your guard against the leader with fantastic ideas about what is possible if they consistently refuse to take due blame and seek to lay the blame on "others" who do not comply with their expectations, deals or whatever.

(Sirnes, 1968, 58-62, passim).

Psychopaths may not be welcome unless they tie in with a cult or religion or get promotions in grand enterprises, and maybe not even then.

A Critical Sidelight

The DSM 5 is an extensive catalogue of the hallmarks of various disorders that good, able psychologists may agree on widely, but not all of them, and not fully, and quite a number protest against parts of it. (See for example James Morrison, DSM-5 Made Easy: The Clinician's Guide to Diagnosis (2014).

Common hallmarks of personality disorders are presented via another page, where the Jesus of the gospels is studied (link at the end of next section). The gospels are later-additions, and there is no verbatim, written quotations by him, so the sources about him need to be studied and ranked as to how likely they are to give a correct picture. In the light of how the Hebrew term 'messiah' (king) took off to mean much more and much else as 'christ' than what was in the messiah term originally, the sources we have about Jesus may be little to boast of. Geza Vermes (2005) does the best he can to assess the four gospels, and Mark comes out on top there. Maybe the real Jesus was not insane or not as insane-looking as the Jesus of the gospels. We need to keep that in mind.

Granted that, very tentative use of the DSM-5 characteristics of psychopaths, sociopaths and the like (by other wordings), suggests he was greatly insane. The evidence may be studied, and many more points may be added to them. But as pointed out, conjectures and gospels are no reliable sources to build a diagnosis on. Also, as Tollak Sirnes says, one has to be careful in labelling another "psychopath", for many reasons. [Tentative mental diagnosis of the gospels' Jesus]

With that in mind, what about the guru Yogananda? One way to study him is to measure him against the criteria that are used by WHO (World Health Organisation) and those used by APA (American Psychological Association). The two lists of criteria are quite similar. It would be a shame if not. Now, checklists may be fit for such tentative explorations. Discretion too. One needs to know a lot about Yogananda to do this well. There are many books about him and by him (helped by editors and secretaries). One needs to go into all that material at least, to know him all right methinks. For the lack of direct contact with him, testimonies by those who knew him, are sources too. [Hallmarks to mull over]

Those who bind others by oaths, are they taken freedom and human rights from them, or helping them to greater freedom?

A critical look at Yogananda's hard work

No Yogananda, but Gustav Klimt. Hope I. 1903. Modified detail.
Many ideas are embedded in paintings, also concepts of the love life.

Yogananda was sent to the West to propagate kriya yoga, and turned into an orator till once when he talked on some subject, he found had better refrain from much public talk. It happened around 1934, the year he gave Mussolini and dictatorship thumbs up in his own magazine. From that year, 1934, Yogananda withdrew from "campaigning" in America, and stayed mostly at his headquarters, a former hotel atop Mount Washington in Los Angeles. He could still give lectures and sermons in his own church. But hard times followed, times when he was eating mostly self-grown tomatoes and perhaps did not plant many other seeds on the large property that housed his headquarters. After all, he did not grow thin, [1]

In our times, a talk that is recorded, may reach hundreds of thousands or more, depending on who talks, about what, and his or her listeners. The efforts are largely taken over by machines. To let machines and computers do the hard work is part of modern times and trends. The alarming consequences of adapting to much of that sort, may get hard in time - since the machines slowly take over, define and control social environment and make human efforts and living more steered, more controlled, and seemingly less worth and influential - but we are not completely there yet.

Another issue highlighted by hard-working Yogananda is what to work hard with. Yogananda adapted kriya yoga and his hype about it. Was is wise to do that? Followers hope "yes," while some old yogis of his kriya yoga line say "no", and other seem to mean "hardly". [2] and [Dasgupta 2006, final chapters]

The first link is to an alternative kriya yoga site, the other is to a book written by a fellow disciple of Yogananda, an eyewitness account to much, and substantiations of this: Yogananda changed kriya, and not all that he did was much welcome among the old-timers. That is in part what his biographer Sailendra Dasgupta tells (2006)

A third and rather overlooked side to Yogananda's efforts is that he changed the kriya yoga hype too, after some time in the United States. First he was told to spread the kriya yoga several kriya gurus had taught him and work hard at "sitting panting next to inaudibly" along with that. Accommodation-willing Yogananda started to simplify kriya, leaving out formerly fixed parts of the system, and including a few methods that are not part of kriya yoga proper: he included hamsa and a nadi-listening method that is called the Om technique. He left out yogic tongue-lifting, a crucial element of original kriya.

At the same time he said his kriya worked twelve times better than the kriya he was given and was expected to hand over to very interested ones in the West, and told that evolution by natural ways and means otherwise took a million years, wherever he got that number from. All the same, his guru Yukteswar had said and written that would take 12 million years. The Yogananda hype thus improved the prospects of success in kriya yoga about 144 times - seemingly as surely as by mathematics. He said so.

However, in time there were disciples who had done their 1 million kriyas without getting Cosmic Consciousness, and how did the yogi manage to get out of such a squeeze? He said devotion was needed too, and blamed the lacking Cosmic Consciousness in followers on lack of devotion.

How smart is that kind of hard work when cleaner procedures should be maintained, one may wonder. And this goes to show that it is not always a matter of hard you work, but how clever you are too, and how consistent in a profitable direction.

I do not doubt that Yogananda reached a high state in 1948, if not now and then before, but the fact is there has been much discord in the ranks, first around 1930 and further. I don't know what happened to his membership count when he announced that people needed a dictator in 1933, but he did. He could have spared himself that trouble, in the light of later events that followed. When Yogananda died, many followers left the SRF ranks and started schools and got their own Yogananda followers, and around 2002 about one third of the SRF monastics had had it and left the premises. They had worked hard, presumably, but some of the gains were bitter lessons. [3]

It reminds me of something Swami Anandamoy told in 1971. He said in essence that a man had struggled and got a ladder in place so that he could climb it to get onto the roof, only to find he had climbed the wrong wall. He then had to climb down again. It often helps to consider goals, means and one's strengths and skills too. Councelling has some good points to offer here, such as:

Professor Mark Williams of Oxford University is a researcher and pioneer in the field of mindfulness and is co-founder, along with colleagues, of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, or MBCT. Williams and his colleagues have studied depression, anxiety and stress over a period of 30 years and have established that it is possible to tackle these problems through the practice of mindfulness as part of daily life. Moreover, they have designed a series of practices, which can be used by anyone . . .(Hough 2014:263)
Those who relinquish the control over their private life to accommodate to a guru through oath-binding, may find it was no small error.

Hard work - make it pay very well to get savings

Very often in life, hard work should be translated into better skills and adequate equipment. Hence, it is often not so much a matter of working hard as of working well. Skilfully, that is, and with sustained efforts too. That suggests "not as much as we can do by straining ourselves too much, but proceeding optimally". Proceeding well has many forms.

See how a boat that at top speed shakes and gets strained so that it gets in dire need of repair quite soon. That could be the best that can happen under straining circumstances or emergencies, but the ideal is not to get shipwrecked by yoga or any other thing. Do the best you can, and it is seldom good enough in the long run, unless you are updating yourself, keeping in shape, keeping your handling skills updated, and your best equipment. It often pays to be informed.

Now a boat at optimal speed (suggested to be about 3/4 of top speed, give and take, can go on a long way and perhaps reach its destination, whatever that may be. Therefore, avoid straining yourself for prolonged periods unless you surely have to. Bodies and minds are not always possible to repair, you know.

Also try to ascertain "What is he working hard with? If working hard, is it not feasible to get smarter some way or other?" There is a risk that the hard worker is exploited by formidable-looking others. A hard worker should be favoured by improving his skills and getting equipment to ease his or her way far and wide. And the essence of good education in yoga-meditation, as in other fields of endeavour or self-help, is to be enabled to get more leisure through know-how and equipment and proper methods to master, and use one's hard-won spare time for lots of good, whatever that may be in each single case. Hearts know, and some hearts may be able to tell too.

The optimal reach here is to work appropriately, by the best methods you could find, and not overdoing it a lot. Getting cramped is a good sign of overdoing things. And if you don't gain Nirvana-Bliss today by contemplating in a good and fit way for yourself, maybe next day, or next month, or the next leap year - you never know. The best is to "fix your eyes" on fit use of methods while diving inwards (meditating), and disregard the rest, including guru-given notions of what to gain. For these doings conform to the methods and aims of sane yoga. And now you have been warned.

Violent criticism is seldom tough enough: Take care of your own working capacity and know better than being worn out by too little rewarding, hard work. Strain is seldom good.

If you do not defend yourself enough, one of your aims should be rigid favours. Learn to bulwark yourself and your house better. Remember that sane "Prevention is better than cure". It costs less and has better chances to work well. That's why it is called better.

Be Taken In: "Jesus Taught as Krishna"

The yogi Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) came to Boston in 1920 and stayed. He started the organisation that is now known as Self-Realization Fellowship, SRF. It has been a registered church in California since 1935. From its current aims and ideals:

To reveal the complete harmony and basic oneness of original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ and original Yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna; and to show that these principles of truth are the common scientific foundation of all true religions.

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.5 describes Atman (inner Self) as Brahman ("Godhood", Transcendent Spirit). The Bhagavad Gita teaches in many places that a human (spirit in man, atman, jivatman) may cleave to Brahman (God), and thereby Immortal Being - and then may not be destroyed. Another Gita verse says atman is unborn, eternal, ever (2:20) and that "My devotee is never destroyed (9:31)!"

Jesus of the gospels is different. He who said beware of false christs and hungry wolves, that his teachings were for Jews only, and that his Salvation and Kingdom was for Jews only too, teaches in Mattew that the soul can be destroyed "Be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. [Matthew 10:28; cf. Luke 12:5]. So what?

"The one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete. [Luke 6:49]"

Such complete destruction says there is no complete harmony.

Besides, there is no agreement among Christian denominations about the soul either. (WP, "Soul > Various denominations").

Then what? A complete harmony flew out of the window.

The Bhagavad Gita teaches the atman can become immortal and is immortal (two teachings). Immortal means "cannot be destroyed". But a gospel teaching put in the mouth of Jesus is that the soul can be destroyed.

The Bible Tells: Fear that Dangerous God

Great zeal is a kind of fire; the hotter it is the more you could lose unawares.

The guru Yogananda set up Krishna, Jesus, and four Indian yogis as the christs and gurus of his church fellowship SRF. He started to teach that that a secretive sadhu called Babaji is in constant communion with Jesus. You know what Jesus said about other christs? He said they were hungry.

Many run for life when meeting with a pack of wolves, because they are so hungry, at least not above suspicion.

Now, Yogananda writes:

YOGANANDA FACE One night . . . I beheld . . . Jesus . . . [Ha 469, emphasis added] [More about visions]

Visions are tricky things. "One man's vision, another man's folly," should perhaps be thought through too, for Yogananda's fellowship and publishers do not teach you should believe blindly. They say so, loud and clear. [Such teachings]

Given that, will you trust a Hindu monk to come in the name of Jesus against Bible warnings of false teachers or false Christs? Don't. Learn to distrust to your advantage, rather. It is feasible, and in tune with the Turkish proverb "Trust is good, but distrust is better."

The problem with a vision is that some see what they wish to see, like Jesus and Krishna hand in hand on a sea of gold. But Jesus of the gospels says his mission was only for Jews (Matthew 15:24; 10:4-10; Vermes 2012). His alleged missionary command at the end of Matthew is a later, added forgery, says Joseph Wheless. See the many solid reasons for telling so.

Now, gospels are not much reliable sources of what Jesus said and did, and contain forgeries too. Take that into account as well.

Yogananda talks for a Spiritual Science

YOGANANDA The science of yoga will take hold in this country . . . The entire trend will be away from churches . . . (Yogananda 1982:394-95; cf.16]

"Away from churches". Yogananda worked hard and then founded his own organisation, registered as a church in the state of California, and came to regret it.

The earlier Yogananda proclaimed his yoga methods were scientific. "Yoga is a system of scientific methods for reuniting the soul with the Spirit. (Yogananda 1982:13; cf. 6)

But lated he added "devotion" as a requirement too. Does that undermine the use of "scientific" or not? He often used the words 'scientific' and 'science', although it could work better to talk of making wise and artful use of various dynamisms of the human body, psyche and total being.

Being taken in is a great danger in Yogananda-land.

"Hard work" by Yogananda


  1. After a while creature comforts become burdens, pleasures no longer, because you find it is hard work to take care of them. Thus you "pay" for everything . . . - Yogananda 1982, 46.

  2. Death . . . is our escape from so many troubles; it is a pension after the hard work of life. I am making death very charming!- Yogananda 1982, 276.

  3. Don't be afraid of hard work; it has never hurt anyone. However, one should learn to work - and to think - calmly. . . . In addition to not working hard enough for success, most people are not mentally active enough. - Yogananda 1982, 206.

  4. A habitually lazy person who is forced to become a day laborer feels a bodily distress unknown to those who are used to hard work. Similarly, the devotee who compels himself to follow a course of self-denial feels physical and mental misery in the beginning [and] should gradually accustom himself to the strenuous life of a spiritual . . . - Yogananda 2001, 958-59.

  5. Analyze the problem and see if you have really made all the effort you could have. Consider the hard work of the president of the United States. - Yogananda 1982, 205.

Half a dozen of the biggest SRF-published books were trawled for Yogananda sayings on hard work. Man's Eternal Quest (1982) yielded the most quotations. There might be more quotations on work in issues of the SRF magazine. Also worth noting is another Yogananda perspective in a book by another publisher than Self-Realization Fellowship: "Do not over-indulge in . . . working . . . or in any activity, no matter how pleasurable it is, for an over-indulgence will yield nothing but unhappiness." (Yogananda 2006, chap. 1) His "nothing but unhappiness" is alarmingly unfit, since he speaks of pleasurable things. Thus, pleasures are had too, at least for a while. It could even be for a long while, depending on how little you overdo things. Moreover, did Yogananda's "nothing but unhappiness" overdoing (over-indulgence in "black-and-white", bring nothing but unhappiness to him?

An old problem with many Yogananda sayings on a topic is that they are more or less fragmentary teachings, taught "on the spur of the oratory", so to speak. They might be all right at the moment they were delivered, but if we combine the meanings of Yogananda quotes, he could actually seem to hold that creature comforts are nothing to be afraid of, and if you work hard on such things till you die, death may be a relief But don't believe it, for there is a big but: In his ◦church charter of late March 1935 he states explicitely that "human life is given to man . . . not for physical pleasure nor selfish gratifications."(Article 2d.13).

Buddha teaches more systematically than Yogananda. His teachings are told to work excellently at first, in the middle span, and the long run. Truly great teachings are valid for a long time: Yogananda's fellowship just dropped his Article 2d.13 less than three years after he fell dead. That was quick! Buddha's main messages include that there is a gentle way on and up from sufferings in many forms (dukkha), to ease and pleasure (sukha) and the crown of it too. Skilful and soundness-helping meditation is the means to traverse - to get across from the realm of senses to beyond thought. [More Buddhism stuff] (WP, "Sukha"; "Dukkha")


Work, hard work and a Paramahansa Yogananda saying, stress, meditation, Literature  

Babiak, Paul, and Robert D. Hare. Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work. E-book ed. New York: HarperCollins, 2007.

Dasgupta, Sailendra. Paramhansa Swami Yogananda: Life-portrait and Reminiscences. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2006. (Google Books, partial view.)

Davidson, Kate. Cognitive Therapy for Personality Disorders. A Guide for Clinicians. 2nd ed. Hove, East Sussex: Routledge, 2008.

Hamilton, William L. Saints and Psychopaths. San Jacinto, CA: Dharma Audio Network Associates, 1995.

Hare, Robert D. Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths among Us. London: The Guilford Press, 1999.

Hough, Margaret. Counselling Skills and Theory. 4th ed. London: Hodder Education, 2014.

Kantor, Martin. The Psychopathy of Everyday Life: How Antisocial Personality Disorder Affects All of Us. London: Praeger, 2006.

Morrison, James. DSM-5 Made Easy: The Clinician's Guide to Diagnosis. London. Guilford, 2014.

Paris, Joel. Personality Disorders over Time: Precursors, Course, and Outcome. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing, 2003.

Patrick, Christopher J., ed. Handbook of Psychopathy. London: The Guilford Press, 2006.

Salekin, Randall T., and Donald R. Lynam, eds. Handbook of Child and Adolescent Psychopathy. London: The Guilford Press, 2010.

Self-Realization Fellowship. Paramahansa Yogananda in Memoriam. Los Angeles: SRF, 1958.

Sirnes, Tollak B. - at vi skal elske hverandre. Mentalhygieniske overveielser. (That We Should Love One Another. Considerations of Mental Hygiene) Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1968.

Stone, Michael H. Personality Disordered Patients: Treatable and Untreatable. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing, 2006.

Taylor, Michael Alan, and Nutan Atre Vaidya. Descriptive Psychopathology: The Signs and Symptoms of Behavioral Disorders. E-book ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 1st ed. New York: Philosophical Library, 1946.

⸻. The Bhagavad Gita. Part 1 and 2. 2nd ed, paperback. Los Angeles, Self-Realization Fellowship, 2001.

⸻. Man's Eternal Quest. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1982.

Yogananda, Paramhansa. How to Be Happy All the Time: Wisdom of Paramhansa Yogananda. Vol. 1. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2006.

Zimbardo, Philip. The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. Paperback ed. New York. Random House, 2008.

  1. Anon. Paramhansa Yogananda: History, Life, Mission. Np, Yogananda Harmony Association, nd. Online:
  2. Satyeswarananda, swami. "Yogananda." Article series at Sanskrit Classics. Online.
  3. SRF Walrus Online Discussion Forum. (Now defunct) A backup site is online.

Harvesting the hay

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

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