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Silly Praise and Better

The sweetest of all sounds is praise - American proverb (Ap 479)

Finest praise, well deserved - OK. The proverb may be true unless there are false tones in the chorus. Which is the most rewarding forms of praise? Is it loud praise, muttered praise or silent praise? Do not laugh at the gospel-attuned idea that it may be silent praise that works best. Consider it instead, and reap benefits accordingly.

Parable wisdom applied to praise and bearing fruit

Someone went out to sow seeds. Some of them were eaten by birds, some fell on shallow soil and sprang up quickly, but were soon scorched and withered in the sun because they had no deep rooting. Other seeds fell among thorny plants that choked the seeds and sprouts there. Other seeds fell on good soil. How did such soil "praise" the seeds and excel above all the other "seed praisers" when it came to bearing fruits?

When anyone hears a good message and praises it without understanding it, he may be likened to a soul-soil that the basic ideas are snatched away from because they did not get deep enough at first, to get sheltered. The seed-ideas falling on rocky ground are received with joy, but the living of the receiving ones fails due to troubles - and so the poor rooting made the growing plants short-lived. The seed-ideas that fell among thorns refer to the receiving soil-soul who praises a good message well at first, but which anyhow becomes unfruitful due to the influence of worries, concerns with wealth, being looted, and such things. But the message falling on good soil refers to a soul that learns something well enough to grasp central meanings and keep them well enough. Like a seed, core ideas may grow silently and well in such a soul-soil, and in time produce great yields. (Basic stuff in Matthew 13:3-23).

One may study why people praise, what they praise and thereby show they think well of unless they are envious, hypocritical and merely conformised praisers, of course. Waldorf Education is much according to the idea of sowing kernels in the minds of pupils and students, let them sleep on them and then work a bit on them by artistic means. It is a wholesome process that is aimed at.

Manu Samhita (2:85) tells how to bear soul-fruit accordingly: "An offering, consisting of muttered prayers, is ten times more efficacious than a sacrifice performed according to the rules (of the Veda); a (prayer) which is inaudible (to others) surpasses it a hundred times, and the mental (recitation of sacred texts) a thousand times."

The term 'prayer' may here be back-translated into mantra, a word of power.

Now, Maharishi introduced the TM Sidhi Programme in tune with these cardinal processes to accelerate well-being: First go deep within through the art of meditation. They focus in a relaxed, settled state on some well-picked thought-seed, and make thoughts manifest much effortlessly - act on them also." That is somehow how to make progress and bear fruit, we are told. [◦More]

Another outlet of the meditative tradition: [Lojong, mind-training]

Thus, now you have been given several ideas of how to go into kernels and make some of them work in your life if things go well. It is also a very good way of studying, tells the British psychologist Tony Buzan, an author of many books about smarter learning.

As for praise, know what or who you praise, and why, and then you can find the kernels that work, presumably. One caveat: Things that many praise, are seldom rare. Take at look at Maslow's so-called plus deviants (excellent people) and what they live out, and thereby get better off if there are some things you want to emulate.

Lifting praise

Frogs* croak a lot, but is it high praise on the frog level? Now, there is silly praise and better praise, depending on time, place, environment - all combined with the kind of praise.

"Every man likes his own praise best," is an American proverb" but learn from Buddha to excel mere froggy* praise well, and for long. He says, "He honours me best who practices my teaching best." (Narada 1988;287). Buddha also says his teachings are "excellent in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end." Just seek to keep a long-range view to your benefit.

The best kind of praise may be called deep honouring, and shown in a fruitful life well lived. It is a bit akin to Ralph Waldo Emerson's "What you are shouts so loud in my ears I cannot hear what you say."

* According to Transactional Analysis, . . . every child is born to be a little prince or little princess. Unfortunately, childhood experiences may cast their own version of an evil spell and make many people feel like frogs instead. On certain days, if things go wrong, even you may feel that way. On other days, if things go really wrong, even you may act a little froggy. . .

Well, it takes a bit of positive stroking to change any frog back into the prince or princess it was meant to be. - Dr Murial James, Transactional Analysis for Moms and Dads, 1974:4-5)

Frogs and froggy have more or less fixed meanings in Transactional Analysis, TA. "We are born princes and the civilizing process makes us frogs." (Dr Eric Berne (1910-1970), originator of TA)

"Honour to whom honour is due," is a proverb. And the right sort of honouring is not dwarfing, not froggy either. To be shown honour is humbling, rather, and humility is generally good, much as the American proverb suggests: "Before honour is humility. [Ap 307]"

Also, many sorts of praise might work well, and not overdoing the praise is good too. To praise when it is too late, is failed praise, quite as "Give me a flower when I'm alive; not a flower on my coffin," and similar sayings express.

When is the best time to praise in time? How much of it is too much? It depends. The Norse teaching-poem Havamal says:

Praise day at evening,
a wife when dead on her pyre,
a weapon when it has been tried,
a maid after she has got married,
ice when it is crossed,
and ale when it is drunk. (v. 81)

It suggests: Reserve your praise well, for example until things are settled, if you are up to it. As for overpraise, it goes a long way toward mockery, as the case may be. "Be careful" includes "Don't praise too late," and "Medium praise is not always the most fit praise; some deserve better."

Also consider:

Some praise at morning what they
blame at night;
But always think the last opinion
right.

- Alexander Pope (1688-1744): An Essay on Criticis (1711)

Seedlings grow tall if . . .

Seeds may be compared with seed thoughts, seed ideas. They enter a mind and either gets expelled, lie dormant or sprout to wither, flower or bear a fruit harvest, even a very good harvest.

Quite similarly with praise: There is early-sprouting praise in shallow soil, flowering praise that withers before anything substantial is reached, and praise that leads to good and lasting results and still new seeds also.

This may remind of a gospel story, but it should be heeded that Jesus allegedly says in Matthew 10:5-8 and 15:24 that his teachings were for Jews only. He did not take it back. Accordingly, Jesus, his teachings and kingdom are for the Jews. For them the gospels are no Forbidden Gospels - forbidden teachings for non-Jews, according to Jesus. If you think the Missionary Command should change that, think twice. It is a later addition and besides a forgery, shows Joseph Wheless. Forgery is bearing false witness, a sin. (cf. Geza Vermes 2012, 2010:37,41)

Who praises whom, and why?

We had better consider who praises whom, with what possible intent, and in what soil the seeds fall. Deep, fruitful soil is best for some seeds, whereas shallow soil fits Scots Pine - Seeds are different, the quality of seeds and soils and climates are different, and people are different. Climate counts too, and care helps too. The right sort of seed in the soil that fits it, goes a long way toward a sustainable, dear solution. Such hopes are what many farmers stick to.

Yet also consider: What fools praise and devote their lives to, can be shallow and wrong. What mediocre persons praise, may not be well enough either, after the flowering phrases have been delivered. Good persons, on the other hand, they are able to think things over well and for long, and may be able to bear good fruit too.

Praise Your Own Breathing Above Much Else

Those who lose their breath for long, stop living normal lives, and cannot say any words of praise full well either. Breathing keeps us alive, and deep yoga breathing can be good to know, for a little touch of it from time to time may improve the quality of your life. Also, the gentle breathing method called ujjayi pranayama may god lots of good, if well done. There are many levels of doing it. Moreover, ujjayi is at the bottom of kriya yoga, the system that Yogananda started to make money on, and get much property by. Ujjayi is free here: [More]

There is quality breathing and more cramped ways to breathe. About some who praise to be given property - a form of flattery - it might be said, "He had better save his breath."

We are told that the Americanised guru Yogananda (1983-1952) started to praise Jesus a lot after he had been in the United States for about five years. Marshall Govindan explains that after five years in America, Yogananda began to modify and adapt his teachings to the West in order to overcome the resistance of Christians.

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]

Or perhaps you would say Yogananda fawned on him for acceptance among stiff Christians at his time. It seems enigmatic or laughable in the light of bible research since:

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).

What devils praise, is not lasting good. So take care how the praised thing or animal develops in time too. What is commendable and praiseworthy, is good at the start, in the middle and at the end, says Buddha. So keep a larger view than the obviously shortsighted.

Libidinous urges can cause praise

What persons praise and devote their lives to, may as well reflects their id (libido system). Something is fit for humans, and something is fit on lower levels of life. [Erik Erikson's scheme].

Just consider: A member of a dog pack waggles for the leader and submits, but inwardly he may aspire to become one himself, when big enough. Sect life may be "a dog's life". Higher levels of life and performance may be glimpsed through Abraham Maslow's pyramid of needs. See how people use their spare time, if they are privileged to have anything of the kind.

Abraham Maslow's Pyramid of Needs

Figure. 1. Abraham Maslow's Pyramid of Needs

Apply the best of Maslow as you care. Try not to let your praise go astray.

Narcissists pose still other angles and stipulations.

Praise matters

Jubilant praise may not be bad. However, too long and loud disregard of one's surroundings could have negative effects. Or swelling praise indicates one's realisation-sprouts need to be moved to a better place to grow and thrive. Moving on could have that form of wise thought behind it, for what bystanders know or care to know.

The brooding one, on the other hand, may not come up with anything jubilant if no seeds strike root in that one.

Understand and bear fruit in time

A dog praises what dogs appreciate. Somehow the master of a dog is its "leader of the pack", and pecking-order and submissions are into it, like it or not. From this it stands out that leaders of many may have much doglike work to do, like it or not.

The previous leader of Self-Realization Fellowship, called Daya Mata (Faye Wright), once likened Yogananda to a dog. She was speaking of how an avatar descended into human form, and likened it to a human descending into dog shape. Maybe the comparison is out of place in the light of the Bible, which is also praised in SRF.

What is a human being that you are mindful of him,
a son of man that you care for him?
You have made him a little lower than God [or the angels]
and crowned him with glory and honor. (Psalms 8:4-5)

The level spoken of here is not a dog level. What about subjects who praise "His Lordship" in a symbiotic dance of a sort? Farm animals get devoted to the farmer they serve and makes use of them down to selling their hooves to the glue factory, and common people in several countries shout in praise of the king and queen and kiss the hands their forefathers would rather cut off for their warfare, heavy taxes and much viiolence. Don't let anyone twist your mind by deranging natural id development. It is needed to see where the money and resources go before it is too late to do anything substantial about it, for the prestige follows money and wealth in time.

Why not mind some enlightening words by the American scientist Charles Sanders Peirce and Fred Kerlinger on "fixing faith"? Kerlinger asserts, "A metaphysical explanation is simply a proposition that cannot be tested. (Kerlinger and Lee, 2000:6)" Theories of humans being reborn as dogs are to be handled as metaphysical, so long as they cannot be proved well.

Four Methods of Fixing Faith

Fred Kerlinger (1910–91) gives us Four Methods of Knowing so that many lower desires will not get the best of all of us. Based on Charles Sanders Peirce, Kerlinger says there are four general ways of knowing or fixing belief

  1. Fixing beliefs by tenacity. Here people hold firmly to the "truth" they know because they hold firmly to it. A tradition may come to light this way. Frequent repetition of such "truths" "seems to enhance their validity. People often cling to their beliefs in the face of clearly conflicting facts. And they will also infer "new" knowledge from propositions that may be false."

  2. Fixing beliefs by authority. This is the method of established belief. "If the Bible says it, it is so." "If Yogananda says it, it is so." "If the current SRF says it, it is so", and so on. "If an idea has the weight of tradition and public sanction behind it, it is so," and therefor safe to eat and drink, figuratively or concretely. Humans take a large body of facts and information on the basis of authority. The method is not necessarily unsound, but it is undeveloped.

  3. The a priori method of knowing or fixing belief relies heavily on what may seem self-evident and also "agrees with reason". Whose reason? If something is self-evident to many people, for example that American education is inferior to Asian and European education, does this mean it is so? According to the a priori method, it "stands to reason."

  4. The fourth method, the method of science. The scientific approach is one of self-correction by built-in checks all along the way to proposed knowledge, more dependable knowledge. "Even if a hypothesis seems to be supported in an experiment, the scientist will test alternative plausible hypotheses that, if also supported, may cast doubt on the first hypothesis. Scientists do not accept statements as true, even though evidence may at first look promising. They insist on testing them. They also insist that any testing procedure be open to public scrutiny. There are a number of methods that scientists can and do use," but it can still can be said that there is one scientific approach.
        As Peirce says, the checks used in scientific research are anchored as much as possible in reality lying outside the scientist's personal beliefs, perceptions, biases, values, attitudes, and emotions.

    (Source of all: Kerlinger and Lee, 2000:6-7)

    Scums praise too; scum praise poses added problems and concerns

    There is lip praise and better ways and means of praise.

    Scum praise is hardly of much worth in itself, although it may be a door-opener. The praise that worthy ones gives, seems better. And the best praise lies in acting on it also - by treading the path of the most praised one. "He honours me best who practises my teaching best," said Buddha [Thera 1988:287]. Such praise or appreciation should not be taken to be flattery.

    Some praise like others, without really knowing why, and some praise out of appreciation. Americans on the West Coast in particular manage to praise the Americanised guru known as Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952). Is it because they have seen his inner nature and found it to be beautiful? Or do they praise for reasons inferior to that, for example by camouflaged, narcistic self-praise through loudly praising a gur who adapted to their thoughts and taught accordingly? You tell me.

    Are those who praise Yogananda aware that he talked for dictatorship?

    The New Testament developed in tune with a lot of needs among followers to aggrandise the Jewish healer Jesus also. [See books by Bard D. Ehrman]

    If it takes one to know one, how could the guru's followers recognise the dictatorship-plotter Yogananda as someone fit for their praise?

    What about the Yogananda followers in the church he founded in 1935 already? They praise him and continue to live off it. Various ailment signs are seen. They forge his signature while claiming his guidelines are without flaw - They keep on praising him as it suits them, while modifying or embellishing his writings so as to conform to a sell-well image fit for "a new church rising", an image much better than that of the pope, for example.

    Applauding Chaplin and applauding Einstein - for different reasons or for getting familiar with their names?

    When you come fresh out of the bush it can be hard to see through poor praise that is gilded, and good praise that is peppered. And many forms of popularity look strange.

    In 1931 Charlie Chaplin invited Albert Einstein, who was visiting Hollywood, to a private screening of his new film City Lights. As the two men drove into town together, passersby waved and cheered. Chaplin turned to his guest and explained:

    "The people are applauding you because none of them understands you and applauding me because everybody understands me."

    People praise qualities or attainments they like to see in themselves too. "It matters less what religion a rich man is of as long as he is wealthy", for example. Wealth brings power, brings prestige, admirers, gold-diggers - you name it.

    Then, in many cases, most people praise those who embody what the majority reckons with - and that is, statistically speaking, average, and not the full measure of being human, if we trust Abraham Maslow and the Bell curve of how human qualities are distributed.

    Accordingly, the less famous you get, the better or worse it could be for you, or the better or worse you seem to be - because of mechanisms that function in groups, ensuring a sort of averagingconformism enough to keep it valid or running in its way. If you deviate like an artist, you might benefit under the wings of the mighty. A patron could take care of you.

    However, there is a knack to getting fame too.

    A Next Generation Came and Went, and Another, and Yogananda is Still Talked Of

    Yogananda also said "The next generation will not give us a thought." [Yogananda 1982 344]. See if it fits. They keep on publishing books and other material about their master, and thereby operate against their guru's words. It does not seem to bother them. Yet: "We 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." This is certainly hogwash. [Hogwash evidence]

    Nothing and the Self inside

    Yogananda also said, "In God's eye nothing is large" [Pa 85]. Accordingly there is no largeness to his teachings and organisation, and avatars are not really great ones, even though he also calls them that - great ones. "Realisation teaches you that self-mastery." [Yogananda 1982:345] Oh, does it? Maybe "Accomplished Ones" serves better.

    Now the Chandogya Upanishad teaches: "This Self of mine within the heart, is smaller than paddy or barley or mustard or a Shyamaka seed, or the kernel of Shyamaka seed. This Self of mine within the heart is greater than the earth, greater than the interminable space, greater than the heaven, greater than the worlds" (III. 14. 3)." It is a paradox. However, a higher teaching is that size - great or small - has nothing to do with it after you drop space-and-time for a little or long spell by diving well inside.

    Illogic Abounds

    Dogmatic starts with dog-

    That the words uttered by a truthful fellow come true, is one more Yogananda teaching. The evidence is that the generation after Yogananda did give him a thought, some more, so how could he have been a truthful guru? He could not. Not all that Yogananda's guru Yukteswar and Yogananda himself said, was true, or came true. In the case of Yogananda, his organisation - a guru cult if you like - spewing forth books by him - have they reached illogic that counts? I for my part hardly think so.

Contents


Praise of Yogananda in SRF, Literature  

James, Muriel. Transactional Analysis for Moms and Dads: What Do You Do with Them Now that You've Got Them? Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1974.

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

Mieder, Wolfgang, et al., eds: A Dictionary of American Proverbs. Oxford University Press Paperback. New York, 1996.

Narada. The Buddha and His Teachings. 4th ed. Kuala Lumpur: Buddhist Missionary Society, 1988.

Vermes, Geza. From Jewish to Gentile: How the Jesus Movement Became Christianity. Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) 38:06, Nov/Dec 2012.

Vermes, Geza. The Real Jesus: Then and Now. Minneapolis, MI: Fortress Press, 2010.

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

Much and loud Yogananda praise in Self-Realization Fellowship, SRF Section Set Next

Praise of Yogananda in Self-Realization Fellowship, SRF USER'S GUIDE: [Link]
© 1997–2017, Tormod Kinnes, MPhil. [Email]  ᴥ  Disclaimer: [Link]