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The Sob-Cry-Wail Way of Yogananda
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Told to Sob, Cry, Weep and Wail

- even if you were pleased and happy to begin with.
Divine Mother beating a child
"Cry unceasingly, rending the heart of the Divine Mother" - Yogananda

I have heard better advice. So did Yogananda: "By being happy, you please Me," was one. (Yogananda. Whispers from Eternity, 1st ed. No. 189, its last line in standard language)

The unruly cry-baby set up as an ideal of menial torture of God in the name of yoga, is a facet of "Unless you become like little children . . . (Matthew 18:3)"? Better: Is it fit? Stop crying like an erring fool all night. The happy baby pleases, and good, likable meditation makes some persons happy!

Yogananda also taught: "Your smile must spread . . . over the whole universe. (Yogananda, 1982:326)." He also advised practising in front of the mirror: "If you feel that you can't smile, stand before a mirror and with your fingers pull your mouth into a smile. lt is that important! (Same work, p. 88)"

Should all guru followers try to combine these two guidelines by crying and torturing God at night while with their fingers pulling their mouths into widening, perhaps disfiguring smiles? It depends on how hard you pull and how hard you cry.

Face it: many Yogananda guidelines are not fit and first-class. They could result in a feigning following - and feigning is a forerunner of hypocrisy. You don't help yourself that way in the long run. Better take care and learn meditation from the good sources around.

Divine Mother Worship in the name of Jesus

The guru Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) advocates menial torture in the name of yoga:

Yogananda "Don't cry to Divine Mother like the baby who stops crying immediately his mother sends him a toy, but cry unceasingly, rending the heart of the Divine Mother like a Divine Naughty Baby, throwing away all lures and toys," says Yogananda. [East-West, "Getting Your Prayers Answered". February 1933 Vol.5-4. Emphasis added]

Such unsound or marring teaching is repeated in book after book. Reasonable consideration could be far better. And here is the better part of a prayer-demand he composed too:

Yogananda Divine Mother, I will play the naughty baby. I will sob unceasingly. No more toys of earthly pleasures shall stop my cries. O Divine Mother, Thou wouldst best come soon, or I will wake all creation with my cries. All Thy sleeping children will wake and join me in a chorus of wails. Forsake the busy-ness of the housework of Thy creation! I demand attention. I demand Thee ...!

[Whispers from Eternity, 1949 ed., No. 141 = Wfe No 141]

What should we say about his attitude? A baby cries when irritations make it do so; when it is wet, wet, wet, ill, or craving food, as the case may be. All that is perfectly natural. Crying for pleasant contact may not be as intense. And it could be wise to leave "naughty" out of consideration when it comes to babies too, and seek for the likely explanation for its crying. It could be in the diphers.

Now there are more naughty cryer examples in Yogananda's writings than the ones below too:

I will be Thy naughty baby, O Divine Mother!

Yogananda O Divine Mother . . . I will be Thy naughty baby; I will sob unceasingly. Never again shall I be silenced by trinkets of transient pleasures. Thou wouldst best come soon . . . I demand attention. [Wf 50]

"When the child refuses to be comforted by anything except the mother's presence, she comes. If you want to know God, you must be like the naughty baby who cries till the mother comes." [Wl 182; cf. Whi 32; Yj 77]

"Be like the naughty baby and cry for God. Be satisfied with nothing less . . ." [Dr 362]

"It is the naughty baby who gets the mother's attention . . . the naughty baby wants the mother only, and goes on crying until she comes. Cry until the Divine Mother comes! [Ak 446-47; cf. Iss 100-01]

"[A] statue of the Divine Mother assumed a living form and spoke to me". - Yogananda, [Ak 53]

The Master said: "The moment when Divine Mother beats you the hardest is the time you should cling tenaciously to Her skirt." [Tms 94]

Say, the sooner the better, "Infantile teachings: whew." You don't have to become a cry-baby to get things going in meditation. To the contrary.

Tennessee Ernie Ford, Mooch Mulligan, the Caravelles, and other artists sing:

You don't have to be a ba-a-aby to cry
Or to lie awake the wh-o-le ni-i-ght long.

Yogananda's assurances of cry-baby response and his naughty baby fixation forms part of his deal that SRF claims is in harmony with "original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ" [Au 432]. Yogananda and SRF do not seem to care at all how deranged sobbing and crying and whining can mislead disciples into marring inner torture and ineffective yoga either.

On the psychological level the guru-taught Mother crying may develop a neurotic and thus unsound, unproficient or illogical attitude. And to focus on some Other - an avatar, an idol, a golden calf - is to get caught by senses and fixated ideas, instead of gliding above and beyond such things in proficient, deep meditation. A word to the wise -

The Yoganandic discipline does not seem to be well allied to how the basic id system (libido) operates. A discipline that falls short about it, may cause faltering and dwindled self-acceptance, self-esteem and respect.

"The ancient sages of India taught that all habits begin to form in man at the age of three," says Yogananda [Ak 340]. Wrong. Think about all the things you started with only after that tender age, such as lacing your shoes - and today few master the art before the age of six. And who are those "ancient sages of India" that Yogananda uses for upkeep and woolly support? Keep your mind free from the dogmatic debris if you can.

The main point is: A lot of habits begin to form only later in life, for example drinking habits. Sexual habits form later too, if at all: some who trust Yogananda's sex stands, strive to live up to such as his "single persons should observe abstinence. [Jse 14]." The guru who hailed Mussolini and dictatorship in his own magazine in the February issue in 1934 (p. 3, 25), did not speak for a fulfilling sex life. His view was that "never fed, ever satisfied" was true about "unwholesome sense experiences." He included "overstimulation by sex" and "abuse the sensory powers by overindulgence" there. [Ak 194]. More on Yogananda's restrictive or repressive sex views: [Link]

Concerning Yogananda's "ancient sages" and habit formation: Suppose you move to another place after you were three and have to speak differently, go to school and develop study habits too.

Astarte sidelights

Astarte relief
Goddess of war and sexual love

The guru-formed Mother worship in SRF may in some ways resemble what took place in ancient European and Middle Eastern palaces with the Astarte figure in its chapel. The monarch and sometimes other members of the royal family played a leading role in the most significant cultic acts and festivals. Early Israelites seem to have adopted the local Canaanite rites, practised publicly till a reform of King Josiah about 622 BCE.

The Astarte figurine depicts a nude woman, often with exaggerated breasts and genitalia, and sometimes holding a child. The figurine was not confined to sacred places.

Ishtar, or Inanna, was the Akkadian counterpart of the West Semitic goddess Astarte: She was a goddess of war and sexual love in Mesopotamian religion, focused on very carnal love. Part of her cult worship probably included temple prostitution. She was widely popular in the ancient Middle East.

Inanna was also a fertility figure, characterised as young, beautiful, and impulsive. In later myth she was known as Queen of the Universe.

Inanna is not wholly unlike Yogananda's Mother God: his favourite Divine Mother was gruesome Kali, who is also backed up by skulls. Yogananda "was devoted to Mother Kali as his Divine Supreme Goddess [Psy 26]." His "Divine Mother" stands out as Kali in several places. Further, fierce Kali's "iconography, cult, and mythology commonly associate her with death, sexuality, violence." [1] One should add "and destruction" too. She is also revered as Bhavatarini (literally "redeemer of the universe".

A note about SRF

Self-Realization Fellowship tells it was founded in Boston in 1920. Right?

Some web sites on the Net have got that detail wrong, writing it was founded in Los Angeles in 1920. Wrong?

Or are both tries wrong?

Yogananda, the founder of the fellowship, writes in his autobiography that he came to Boston in late September 1920. There he remained for some years: "Four happy years were spent in humble circumstances in Boston." Also:

The Self-Realisation Fellowship centre in Boston. What joy to see again the kriya yoga band who had remained steadfast since 1920! The Boston leader, Dr. M. W. Lewis, lodged my companion and myself in a modern, artistically decorated suite.

"Sir," Dr. Lewis said to me, smiling, "during your early years in America you stayed in this city in a single room, without bath."

Source: Autobiography, ch 48 and ch 37.

So it makes sense to rule out this founding place and date: "Los Angeles 1920". Is "Boston 1920 right or wrong, you think? It depends on what is called a founding.

SRF: Founded in Boston, but Was It Really in 1920?

On Christmas Eve 1920, Yogananda got an unannounced visitor in the room he stayed in - the dentist Minott W. Lewis. He was a Rosicrucian and intent on seeing Light. Yogananda said he thought he could show it to him, and so he did. The meeting lasted into Christmas Night. Then Dr. Lewis went home to his wife. He had not told her anything about his visit, so she waited for him at home with a rolling pin in her hand, writes their daughter Brenda L. Rosser in a book of reminiscences.

In The Master Said, Yogananda confirms that the dentist and Rosicrucian Dr. Lewis was his first disciple in the US, but that he did not look on him as his disciple -

Yogananda "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." (Tms, p. 6)

This brings us to a delicate question: Is it right to say that SRF (In its first years in the US called Yogoda Sat-Sanga, Sat-Sanga and similar), was founded as an unregistered society in Boston in 1920 if there is no evidence of such an event?

SRF became a registered church only in 1935. It happened in the state of California at the end of March in 1935. Earlier it had been an unregistered organisation known by several names - and from the Rosser reminiscences and In His Footsteps, a guidebook by the Boston Meditation Group, one may get the impression that there was no formal Yogananda organisation in the USA in 1920 at all. If so, SRF was founded the year they say in SRF, perhaps with disappeared evidence of it, perhaps not all disappeared, and perhaps not founded that year either.

All in SRF may evade the topic of what year SRF was founded. However, it depends on what is meant by "founded by Yogananda in 1920". Only a group of guru followers took shape during the first few years in Boston, after Christmas Night 1920, but good facts seem hard to find. Can we trust SRF to have got its founding year right?

By the way, there are at times "other Yoganandas" for things Yogananda tells. Here is one: "The purpose of life is to attain . . . tremendous happiness. [Paramahansa Yogananda, Ak 445]. Altogether, clownish wailing seems unlikely to open up for it. More on love and joy quotations by Yogananda]

The bottom line can be: Second-rate, confusing mishmash of teachings should not be spread to breed neurotics or insane guys in the name of Mom and yoga.


Fool Yoga, Yogananda, Divine cult crying, Literature  

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

Au: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 13th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1998.

Dr: Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Divine Romance. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1993.

Psy: Dasgupta, Sailendra. Paramhansa Swami Yogananda: Life-portrait and Reminiscences. Portland: Yoga Niketan. 2006. Online pdf.

Tms: Self-Realization Fellowship. The Master Said: Sayings and Counsel to Disciples by Paramhansa Yogananda. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1957.

Wf: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Whispers from Eternity. 8th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1959. ⍽▢⍽ NOTE. Much post mortem edited by SRF.

Wfe: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Whispers from Eternity. Ed. Kriyananda. 1st ed. Paperback. Nevada City: Crystal Clarity, 2008. Online. ⍽▢⍽ Yogananda's 1949 edition of outpourings, from before his passing.

Wl: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Where There Is Light: Insight and Inspiration for Meeting Life's Challenges. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2000.

Yj: Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Yoga of Jesus: Understanding the Hidden Teachings of the Gospels. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2007.

[1] Encyclopaedia Britannica, sv. "Kali"]

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