When it comes to cumbersome fellowships and their often odd teachings, a fine point from ancient Egypt stands out: "Do not let yourself be called "the prattler" because your tongue is everywhere. (Demotic)." A question or more may also rise: "What is real in these waters, what is well grounded, and what of that again may be fit?" Some answers are easy, at least initially. When they get elaborated on over a bottle of beer, they may seem less easy, even complicated. So the basics first:
Pumpkins creeping on dung
On a big heap of dung some plants may strike root and bear fruit, like pumpkins. However, if you dig in the heap, the smell may be offensive and drive all around it away. It depends in no small way on what is beneath the dung's surface and the creeping, grovelling Cucurbita plants on top of it, covering large parts of it and with roots into it. They live off the dung. With other plants than creeping ones it is often different, as with Scots pines, for example.
❋ A heap of dung and Yogananda teachings serve who?
From all the wrong assertions of SRF
Self-Realization Fellowship, SRF, is a California-based society. They worship a "guru Jesus" and five other gurus they say are behind them, speak of many christs, mermaids in heaven, and want others to believe they are preaching "original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ", although there was no such thing, and, further, his gospel teachings were for Jews only. What could the many problems be?
1. There was no Christianity of Jesus. Christianity (for gentile followers) started later, in 49 or 50 CE. The requirements for a Christian stand out in Acts 15:22-30, and are confirmed in Acts 21:25.
2. Jesus was keen on keeping his teachings, salvation, Kingdom and healing service for Jews only, and forbade that apostles taught Gentiles. (Vermes 2012)
❋ Gentiles were not to be followers of the living Jesus, he says expressly in Matthew 10:1-10 and 15:24. Besides, the teachings of Jesus did not go into the founding requirements of the gentile Church either (Acts 15:22-30).
Bluffs and the religious veneer
The SRF demagogy is already on thin ice. But there is much, much more:
1. The SRF use of "Christ-Christs" dangles in the air - awkwardly. The term developed in the early Church from "king" to get bigger and better, bigger and better contentwise, but Jesus of the gospels never used it. Bart D. Ehrman sums up a dogmatic development that spanned centuries after Jesus had been executed:
In early Christianity the views of Christ got "higher and higher" with the passing of time, as he became increasingly identified as divine. Jesus went from being a potential (human) messiah to being the Son of God exalted to a divine status at his resurrection; to being a preexistent angelic being who came to earth incarnate as a man; to being the incarnation of the Word of God who existed before all time and through whom the world was created; to being God himself, equal with God the Father and always existent with him. (How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee, 2014:353).
❋ In a gospel, Jesus-for-Jews-only forbids having other Masters than himself, and warns against false messiahs too, for what it is worth. In SRF it is worth nothing. (Matthew 23:8; 24:24-25)
2. SRF is governed by Hindu monastics. There were no monastics in "original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ". No Hindus either. Christian monasticism arose centuries after Jesus, in Egypt. Yet SRF is led by monastics. Such monastics are Hindu-swamis too. See for yourself: ◦Monasticism was unknown in Christianity until the end of the third century. It arose in Egypt, very long after Jesus had died in despair, heart-broken as he saw his mission failed and his life expired.
So how can non-Jewish swami-monastics front original teachings of "Jewsus"? It would depend on what is meant by "original". "Jewsus" is easier to graps. It is short for "Jesus the Jew, with teachings and healing ministry strictly reserved for Jews only, according to the Bible".
That cleared up a bit, how qualified are Hindu swamis to lead gentile Christians? Consider the the foundational Four Requirements of the Church and that they could lack the glossolalia-Spirit. Add the question: "To parrot teachings of Jesus when you are not worthy of it as a non-Jew, is it disrespecting him a lot or not?" Matthew 15:24 and 10:1-10 are clear about it.
❋ Disrespecting so many of the teachings of Jesus by the common and uncommon ways of giving blatant lip service and so on among non-Jews, who do not qualify for them, do you think it is honouring him at all?
3. What about some old forgeries - are they "original Christianity" too?
That is a tough one. It is not clear which teachings in the four canonical gospels that attributed to Jesus, really are genuine sayings of his, Geza Vermes shows in The Authentic Gospel of Jesus (2005). Some gospel sayings freely attributed to Jesus are very, very likely forgeries, like the later-added end of Matthew, with its missionary command: it contains phrases that were alien to the world of 'Jewsus', as you can see:
Jesus says in Matthew 15:24 and Matthew 10:1-10 that his teachings are for Jews only, and not for Gentiles. "Jewsus" serves as a reminder of that. His name was too hard to keep as it was, so Yeshua, Yeshu, Jeshua, Joshua, Yisho and Isho became replaced by the Greek 'Iesous', which in turn gave rise to the Latin Iesus, which in turn became 'Jesus'. Granted that, neither Jesus nor Jewsus are the original name. [WP, "Jesus (name)"]
❋ The much later-added Missionary Command is very, very likely forged. (Vermes 2012).
One sensible thing to do
To get outsmarted by bluffs in the form of sleek doctrine and claims without a basis, is not the wisest thing to do. Say, "Get out of my way" to those who are served by fake teachings and drop all teachings you don't qualify for. Hope to get and adhere to better ones and get happier than the self-maiming Jesus-adherents instead. If you should fall from straightforwardness and get emeshed in the nets of fakers, you risk becoming another victim - or buyer/member the "servants above you" live off.
There are other good reasons for keeping or getting happy than getting rid of the teacher of self-molesting and other shames (Matthew 5) and the oh-so-good followers of faking or fakers, as the case may be.
If you find you may be a Christian then, and not one of those hypocrites that call Jesus 'Lord, Lord', without doing what he says, only to be condemned for it, there are these four requirements ("four pillars") for you: No blood food (black pudding); no wrangled poultry (choked animals); no adultery and one more. Judged from the founding, four requirements of the Apostolic Decrees (see Acts 15:22-30) having blood food and wrangled chicken is about as bad as adultery. Is there a gleam of hope in that? I hardly think so. The Ten Commandments were replaced by Four Requirments - but not only decent moral is moral that counts far and wide. (Cf. Acts 21:25 again).
At any rate, better check how the chicken on your table ended its life. For who can tell that eating a wrangled, well prepared chicken is better or worse than Bible adultery? How can you tell that having black pudding is better or worse than irregular adultery? Better get the point: A good Christian had better commit to the requirements of one's own deal or pact. A danger: Committing to what is wrong for you can make you an obvious misfit for it.
If you have broken one or more of The Four (Requirements), are you on thin ice, or do you think that common agreements and practices of your group here on earth will help in the very long haul without sound, good moral to back you up?
❋ Who refuse that blood food is about as bad as adultery? It might be some among those who like black pudding, blood sausage, Brat and Wurst, assumedly, and walks about with unopened eyes so far. Eating customs have downgraded words in Acts 15:22.30.
For Jews only - why?
Jesus said he came to herd depraved persons like sheep, but that being healthy deep inside and of mind and body was better than being herded by him. Healthy ones did not need him, and he found it better to be a human than a sheep. It adds up, and it is all in the Bible (Matthew 9:13; 12:12; John 10:2-6; Luke 5:31-32).
❋ A human that repents immorality may be helped to remain human instead of getting lessened a lot.
Who instils false hopes to ensnare others may be plotting tricksters playing on faith they find
There is much bad to ponder about, for those who have not been too deeply tricked and are able to relax well too. If a person can learn deep and ◦swift meditation, such as TM, that might help too - But good facts are and "Bibleland" do not always go hand in hand, "thanks to jerks". Deep meditation takes us beyond brooding and much pondering in vain.
It helps not to get outsmarted:
If you suffer from a tight and falsely based Christian upbringing and would like to use yoga-meditation to become a better human, or be more comfortable in body or mind or both, you should not like trickeries that make fools of eager beginners. But if you want to learn kriya yoga in SRF, you have to bend your knees and get so low - There are better alternatives than that membership.
Having read through the following, you may get encouraged to answer tricky questions like these and read more of disappointed SRF members on-line. Between 2000 and 2005 one third of the SRF monastics groped their way out of the monastic herd. What are their lessons? Where are they now? And how time flies!
❋ Decent facts can be good helpers if you manage to handle them well.
SRF, however -
But SRF also holds they stand by their twisted "guru Jesus Christ" and five more gurus and christs, perhaps unaware that according to gospel sayings his teachings are not to be taught non-Jews, they are for Jews only. That is according to gospels who allegedly quote him. So in SRF they like to claim "Guru Jesus", an impossible figure today since he came for Jews only. Most Jews dropped him. Besides, there was no genuine Christianity of Jesus. Read the evidence and you can avoid being looted by a glowing but shallow faith, one that is not deeply rooted in good soil that suits you.
Playing fair is good: everyone is entitled to know these things to avoid a sect trap or three or four or five.
❋ Read New Testament teachings and compare with the SRF teachings to see how wide apart they might be. [Fundamental disagreements]
Jewish Christianity fell by the wayside
. Jewish Christians, or Judeo-Christians, were the original members of the Jewish movement that later Christianity derives from. As Christianity grew and evolved, Jewish Christians went on with Jewish traditions such as Sabbath observance, observance of the Jewish calendar, observance of Jewish laws and customs, circumcision, and attending a synagogue - Jews who converted to Christianity kept their Jewish heritage and traditions.
The early "Jewish Christians" were like other religious Jews but for their claim that Jesus was their Lord. Some of them, the "Judaisers", taught that Gentile Christians ought to adopt more Jewish practices. However, at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:6-35), things were settled with less burdens and just four requirements for Gentile converts. Still, "Judaising" continued for several centuries among Jewish Christians, until the fifth century.
As Christianity grew throughout the Roman Empire, Christianity grew hostile to Jews and persecuted them. (Vermes 2010). Jewish Christianity fell into decline during the Jewish-Roman wars (66-135). Jewish Christians sought refuge outside the boundaries of the Empire, in Arabia and further off, while Gentile-given Christianity became the State church of the Roman Empire and gained much control over minds, in part by humbug doctrine and forgeries that suited the clergy at the time.
To sum up in line with Dr Geza Vermes:
During his days of preaching, Jesus of Nazareth addressed only Jews (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 eleven apostles to "all the nations" (Matthew 28:19) is a later-added idea. It is nowhere else found in the Gospels (apart from the spurious longer ending of Mark (16:15), which is missing from all the older manuscripts). Jesus' own perspective was exclusively Jewish; he was concerned only with Jews (Geza Vermes, From Jewish to Gentile: How the Jesus Movement Became Christianity ).
You can read the article here: [◦Vermes sums up]
❋ Jewish Christians are subjected to a much stricter tradition than gentile Christians from Acts 15:22-30 - which founded non-Jewish Christianity about 50 CE at the Council of Jerusalem (Wikipedia, s.v. "Council of Jerusalem".
Sheep on two legs?
To clarify it: Jesus of the gospels says he came only for sick persons to herd them like sheep, It is better to be healthy on all levels than sick and deranged and morally depraved. And if you do not agree, you disagree with Jesus in the canonical gospels. And if so, it presumably indicates a problem. [Mark 2:17; Matthew 9:12-13; 12:12; Luke 5:31-32; John 10:2-6].].
Healthy people - which he suggests are better than ill sheep - do not need him, he says in some quotes, Still, unhealthy non-Jews imagine they are called to heed him and follow him like flocks of sheep - also making themselves poor, never planning ahead, and self-molesting and non-assertive versus the wicked, on his word, you may think. Think twice. Gentile Christians got a milder deal. No molest-thyself commands of Jesus went into it; they are for Jews only, he says. Also consider such Jesus-commands are variants of commands for self-sacrifice.
At any rate, grandmothers who gnash their teeth today, saying "I should have known this a long time ago, before I committed like a fool!"
An evangelist was exhorting his hearers to flee from the wrath to come. "I warn you," he thundered, "that there will be weeping, and wailing and gnashing of teeth!"
Add to it such as: "How can I act without getting entangled below heaven, so as not to become a misfit or some cultish sheep?" "As for guru teachings, which among them must stop and get discontinued? Nearly half of them?
Many who are not watchful but get enamoured by strange and honeyed words that make up to gentile Christians but cover traps, might be in for shocks.
❋ As a human, why not seek alternatives to get better than ill sheep around?
There is more. What about the following items?
Low and Menial Gurus Plot, and Signs of Demons
"Our best friends are those who criticize us the most . . . who never condone our faults," said Paramahansa Yogananda, originator of what is now told of as the Self-Realization Fellowship cult (SRF) First it was named Yogoda Satsanga Society.
Your immediate reaction might be, "With that sort of friends, who needs fierce enemies?" Further, if you think that his followers try to be his best friends by acting on these words of his, you could be mistaken. They may be lazy in that respect, or maybe the SRF founder Yogananda was right when he said they were a crazy lot, for he said it: "All of us, as Paramahansaji used to say, are a little bit crazy, and we do not know it. - An SRF President, Sri Daya Mata [1976; "Qualities of a Devotee"] Perhaps a certain drive to venerate one's boss (guru) seems to get in the way of Yoganandic "best friendship" . . . That is both "monkey" or monky nature for you, or rather, boss-servile authoritarianism to win by" by longer words.
"Are four gurus of Yogananda's line crazy or some traditional demons according to the Bhagavad Gita or not?"
The answer seems to lie in this: "Four SRF kriya gurus say the world is illusory, and the Bhagavad Gita says that those who teach things like that, are demoniacs. And SRF also claims to be in one hundred percent harmony with the Gita."
The Gita's Krishna says the world is real and those who teach differently are demoniac [Bhagavad Gita 16:7-8]. The four kriya gurus of SRF state that the material world is illusory. That teaching signifies that the four gurus are demoniacs, but a lot in tune with the Bhagavad Gita. Quotes:
There is no material universe; its warp and woof is . . . illusion. [Paramahansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi, ch. 30 [Link]
Evidence - What will you do with it if hard evidence of the earthly realm is illusory? or without it? - if there is no material universe to do things in? If there are "real teachings" in an illusory universe and no real gurus either? And if you, as found in the universe, is as unreal? Repeat: What will you do with these tidings? Some have thrown them in the gutter. But it is possible that some small babies are thrown out with the dirty water also. Beware a lot.
As far as theory goes, I think the solution to quibbling about "real world" and "unreal world" lies in part in Nimbarka's Vedanta (qv.). I may even recommend his Vedanta!
❋ Buddha says that what he teaches, he does too. Try not to go for slavish fellowship with one or more plot-gurus to fool you around. Very much valuable time could be wasted if so.
No Goat Ritually Hailed in SRF, but a Lamb (Jesus)
An SRF goat!
We used to have here at Mt. Washington a goat that was invariably attracted by my voice. One day, while I was speaking in this chapel, the goat came trotting in and right on up the aisle to me! . . . it simply liked to hear my voice. [Yogananda 1982:23]
Self-Realization Fellowship claims in their forlorn Aims and Ideals to stand for one hundre percent Christianity as taught by Jesus, and that Jesus says the Law of Moses is fully valid [Matthew 5:17-20]. He also says, "In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets [Matthew 7:12]." Well, does it? You cannot abolish demands of butchering the rather innocent animals and keep all those slaughter-demands too. That cannot be. Stop being misled right here.
It must be unwise to adhere to crooked slogans when they are discarded as "not fully it": All the apostles and the Holy Spirit thus decided in Acts 15 (also confirmed in Acts 21:25) that all the demands of Jesus were to be dropped for non-Jewish followers - also the falsely ever-lasting covenant of sacrificing a couple of goats yearly for sinning Hebrews "to put everything all right" by scapegoats [Leviticus 16] - However, the Ghost and apostles did not discard the old no to eating blood food. Judged by this, there are plenty of rather unrecognised sinners around, alas: They have relished black pudding and sausages, with repenting and confessing as ruefully as for having committed adultery too?
Where does this take us? It takes us into a terrain of "Slyly misled and confused by slogans in the name of God." You can tend to your own fare far and wide by adhering to good norms of yogis and Vedanta (Hinduism) and Tibetan Nyingma Buddhism instead. As it has been pointed out, there are many forms of Vedanta and many forms of Buddhism. Some forms of Vedanta and of Buddhism have basic ideas in common.
All are not "a little bit crazy". Some are crazier than that
All of us, as Paramahansaji used to say, are a little bit crazy, and we do not know it. - Sri Daya Mata [1976; "Qualities of a Devotee"]
However, Yogananda said "We are all a little bit crazy": he included himself. This spells that the guru and his followers are crazy, and some do not know it. You can also believe that "he (she) is not the most crazy who knows (s)he is crazy." But there is more to it than that.
If you can't smile, stand before a mirror and pull on your cheeks so that the corners of the mouth will turn up. [Yogananda, Journey of Self-Realization, p. 203.
Ask: "What are the backsides to this, if there are any, apart from being goaded too much?" Say as tentatively as you please: "There may be none to what can't be done."
But see what Yogananda found: "The day you make up your mind to smile, you will see that everything seems to conspire to try to make you cry!" (in Journey of Self-Realization, p. 9). It looks like a paranoic idea, and not as reasonable as "Just because you're paranoic it doesn't mean they're not after you!"
The bet is that people, twigs, rocks and so on on the other side of the globe are not able to find out what you are up to. Why should they conspire? Why should Yogananda talk so big and say, "If I had a thousand mouths, I would speak through them all."? [Yogananda 1982:111]. If he himself had got one mouth as wide as the universe, why demagogically want a thousand mouths?
"You must this, you must that" - Ask how many such Yogananda musts there are in Yogananda's trilogy of talks and sermons, and if they all reflect ignorance - that airy enemy. A count:
For specifics, count and estimate the number yourself: The sum above is 446, and about fifty have been subtracted from it, since some phrases are repeated from book to book. However, there is more to consider, for there is repetition of ideas too, the same or similar ideas, but with different wordings. Also, one had better count in some of Yogananda's don'ts and do's too, and a good number of "You should" and "You shouldn't". Some are in the three books, others are in other books, and many in the SRF Lessons.
The estimate offers help on the road to understanding the submission called for by SRF and Yogananda. One danger in the Game that is offered, is that of losing much of your freedom, giving it away by hopes and the like, since very many musts hanging over you can clip your wings of independence and all right autonomy. To be subjected to very many musts in life spells being too outer-directed. Outer-directed moral is somehow fit, and not always bad, but the best form of moral comes from within, from a decent, normal heart. That is much of what being inner-directed means. There is something on moral facets here: [Peck and Havighurst, Kohlberg and Abraham Maslow]. But here is Yogananda's way out:
Don't take my word for anything. . . . find out for yourselves. Don't get hung up on words . . . please remember. - Yogananda, in Dietz 1998
Why give a "thousand" (if not more) don'ts and then say, "Never mind, find out for yourself"? What marring trick will that serve as?
Don't be duped: There are basics and norms to mind and adjust to, for our long-range good; necessary to begin with. Sanatan Dharma teaches many of them, and Buddha too. He teaches five moral basics for lay followers. Ancient Egyptians were served by many others, going for order, harmony, balance - in short Maat.
If you give away your stirrups, can you ride your horse well?
If you let SRF take control of much of your life - that horse - are you free to ride as you will? Hardly. Now for a slight discussion: Yogananda and SRF worship Jesus as one of the SRF gurus, also against gospel warnings against other christs than him. By claiming Jesus as a guru, they submit to his authority or fake it. They fake it, and Jesus says hypocricy is bad, and hypocrites at fault - severely. Some lose heaven thus. Here is the very simple evidence:
SRF in their Aims and Ideals claim to represent a form of goading called "original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ". The problem is that there was no Christianity with Jesus. Christianity arose after he was dead. What Jesus did, was to teach Jews and Jews only, at least for most part. Gentiles were to be kept out of it, he says in a gospel. His teachings and further are therefore forbidden food for others, like a Yogananda. Clearly, Yogananda and SRF disrespect that wandering Jewish prophet by honouring him with their lips while disregarding what he says.
The likely result seems clear: "Why call me "Guru, Guru" and not do as I myself tell? Away from me," and so on. But is it that clear? No. Clearly authentic sayings of Jesus do not exist, finds the Jesus scolar Geza Vermes (2005). The trouble is we do not have any verbatim, authentic teachings of Jesus, only different versions in different gospels that were written decades after he was dead, and there is no indication that any of his apostles ever took notes. Vermes finds we cannot say for sure that Jesus said what the gospels state, but that we are skating on thin ice - uncertain quotations and forgeries alike. In The Authentic Gospel (2005), Dr Vermes goes to Mark for the most likely ideas of Jesus. In another book, The Real Jesus from 2010, he lays bare that Jesus reserved his teachings for Jews.
Then comes the questions. Are SRF members circumcised, keeping the Saturday (Sabbath) restful, and so on? If the group does not have the main marks of Jews and do not do as the Law of Moses tells, is that group a for real? It depends among other things on such as Matthew 5:17-20, where Jesus is said to have said:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.
There you have it. In SRF they have the musts of Jesus added, and also that he guarantees for the blood-dripping Law of Moses - a set of musts that include brutal, vicarious sacrifice of innocents, slavery, and so on. The self-molester, self-insulter commands of Jesus for Jews in Matthew 5:39-42. And one "had to surrrender . . . all one's possessions. (Geza Vermes 2010:23)". Such unfavourable "deals" are seemingly thrown into the bargain too for those who submit to SRF's authority out of desire for Elps-tall gains (goadings). Do not want to molest yourself on the commands of another that meets the criteria of a madcap. Alas for that! You could need your eyes, sexual organs, and limbs to do good too - at least try to.
Now, if you are not a Jew, you do not qualify for reading them, and according to the Deal of the Apostles and Spirit you do not have to if you are not a Jew. You may keep your foreskin and limbs and other organs. There are just four requirements of the Apostolic Deal of 49 CE. (Acts 15:19-32]. Not one word of Jesus is not into it. And this is also the basis of all forms of Christianity - in theory.
The Law of Moses contains 613 commandments according to different counts. Here is a bit: "Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life. [Leviticus 25:46]"
As an SRF believer you may think you are commanded to let your Canaanite slaves work forever unless injured in one of their limbs [Leviticus 25:46] and not let any of them remain alive [Deuteronomy 20:16] Hope not go get involved in such zombie-foul schemes as "dead Canaanites working forever". Just take care that they do not fool and enslave you too.
As the SRF leaders if they go for that Law-regulated slavery on the word of Jesus who taught Jews only, a Guru Jesus they offer public prayers to against his words about not praying in public. [Matthew 6:5-6]
Here is a list of 613 Mitzvot (commandments) for Jews. "Not to make an idol for others" [Leviticus 19:4] is one.
With Yogananda and SRF, you apparently get those too in the bargain, for he includes Jesus among the SRF gurus contrary to several warning gospel sayings. Further, SRF's Aims and Ideals talks of an invented complete harmony with Jesus who said in Mark 5 that he stood by the Law of Moses to the least detail - and there you find the 613 commandments and much else old stuff aiming at outerdirectedness, in part.
Further, the idea that Yogananda and SRF load only 446 "you must" on members and students, is mistaken, for the Yogananda trilogy contains only some of Yogananda's talks and sermons with "musts" in them. And his lighter "shoulds" should be added to them, apart from Yoganandic do's and don'ts and more too.
In addition to Yogananda's lectures and sermons, there are also commentaries and other books in his name. For example, in his Second Coming there are 10 more. The dictator-hailing Yogananda said some more "You must" and some times too much, if you ask me my opinion about indiscreet musts invading the private life a lot. A danger that you should be alerted to is one of becoming estranged.
Stranger, there is danger in such murky waters
On this site you find brought together material on sides of it: inappropriate guru words are considered infallible, and the slaughter of a goat yearly and driving another to the wilderness, is not held in honour, even though it is written in the Bible that such an indelicate practice is to be: "This is to be a lasting ordinance for you." [Leviticus 16].
SRF tells in their Aims and Ideals that they stand for original Christianity one hundred percent. This means they stick to the teachings of Jesus, who told his words were for Jews only, who told followers to pluck out the eye (etc) if it offends somehow, to sell all to follow him, and who told in Matthew 5:18-19 that the Law was to be valid. "Till heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law till everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, (etc)." And that Law ordains such as execution for Saturday work, ostracism for eaters of blood food, and keeping the Canaanite slave forever.
They keep monks and nuns in SRF, but do they keep Canaanite slaves, or do they stick to cud-chewing of Yogananda's demagoguery as if they are drunk with his words and call it wisdom? Compare a more detailed study of the guru's bluff in the matter, one which SRF perpetrates: [Sham Christianity]
As for having monks and nuns to head the only purported original Christianity society, there was no monasticism at all among the first Christians. Christian monasticism are several centuries younger. A stop to false play at the right place should be called for; there should be no compromise it it. [◦More]
Thus we have come to see that it is written in the Law that SRF finds it fit to say they take to, to sacrifice a goat yearly for the amassed sins of the chosen people that year, and take the other goat into the wilderness and leave it there - as a lasting ordinance. [Leviticus 16]. In the light of that, there should not be any good reason to have Jesus executed for the sins of those with no foreskins at the time (He said he came for Jews and his words were for Jews). Thus, SRF crazy guys are and are not on biblical and Christian ground by feigning and maladaptations and misplaced honouring -
If the Israelites had kept up the rigid, ritual slaugther, there would have been no reason to have Jesus enter the scene and try to die for their sins. Yes, then there would have been no need to hail a guru Jesus in SRF either - but is looks like decorum for most part anyway, in that they do not follow his commands either. "Have ony one master, (me)", he said. In SRF there are many, and some are perhaps more becoming than the "goat-vicar" of yore. Say: "Why wasn't there a goat?"
I did not say I am for sacrifices of innocent animals. I did not say I am a follower of Jesus. I have only pointed out that there are many inconsistencies around, and conform and ridiculous feigning and hypocricy in some circles, and SRF is no exception. Nitwits band together and seem to decide that things they agree on are fit, just because they have agreed among themselves. And that seems to explain why Christianity changes too, away from what was presented as God-given rules to follow - in the New Testament too. Moreover, In SRF there has been a notable drift from essential yoga to church-followerism over some decades. There are good sides to it, and many other sides too.
❋ Judged by Bible premises [see Leviticus 16], two goats yearly could have saved the Israelites better than Jesus did (his given mission for Jews only surely failed).
Neurotic and religious vile deeds dictated on a people in the name of God, may offer some short-sighted help or release. But who really thinks that to make scapegoats of other beings - humans and animals - does not create offensive, long-term karma and is for the worse in that perspective? Better improve yourself. That is the fair, good deal. You find it advocated by Buddha in the Apannaka Sutta.
"Infallibility . . . is not my problem"
Followers and lay devotees may not appreciate this site at all. But what can be expected of those who love to call themselves "devotees" while qualifying poorly by a certain "gangism"? To honour a guru's incorrect infallibility with one's lips without letting actions follow suit, is not straight, for one thing, but rather a side to narcissism. But that is not my problem. I have left the guru, his teachings, and the servile gangism he instituted and SRF has kept up, if not increased, far behind me, I hope. I am a former SRF member, then, one of the initiates in all the kriyas, and so on.
In SRF, total and even life-after-life commitment -also called binding - is required of members. And newcomers in SRF get drenched in Yogananda waffling, where proven facts can be rare finds. Further, those who aspire to enjoy the supposed benefits of becoming an SRF members, must be willing to subordinate personal desires to the guru's directives. Getting second thoughts and misgivings may bring on lots of "bad karma", it seems: You do not know how bad, but that old dictatorship praiser Yogananda speaks of miseries, possibly for life after life for SRF members who leave him. That could be the long-time result, according to him - fastening the scaring reins.
You may learn kriya yoga elsewhere - there is a book on it
Do you feel a need to burn yourself somehow?
Through the documented information on this site you may find out of the lay of the land. As for yoga - kriya yoga too - this site is considered one of the best sites world-wide by some. It hardly undermines you. Mind as well that if you are eager to learn kriya yoga, it works best to keep your freedom intact. There is a course by Swami Satyananda Saraswati that presents kriya yoga in detail without that gruesome, incredible Yogananda binding. Thus, study alternatives and preserve your dear freedom, and consider that kriya yoga is a yagna, a sacrifice: Consider there are sides to yourself that could be sacrificed in SRF. It is no joke. I wish it were. Yogananda writes in his online autobiography that
Kriya yoga is the real "fire rite" often extolled in the Bhagavad Gita. . . . The yogi offers his . . . human longings to a monotheistic bonfire . . . This is indeed the true yogic fire ceremony . . . The ultimate flame receives the sacrifice . . . His bones stripped of all desirous flesh, his karmic skeleton bleached . . . he is clean at last. [Autobiography of a Yogi, ch. 26.]
With a bleached skeleton you are probably dead too. At any rate, you are told not to have sex very much, even if you are married - for example once a month. That spells "quite dead to normal sex" most of the time for many. Certain parts of Yogananda's sex teachings are rooted in the idea of conserving "vital fluids". Monks of many religions try not to have sex outlets. Yet there are other ways to the top, one is taught outside of SRF.
Who are demons?
Not everything is a science that is called science, and Yogananda puts his own spin on Bhagavad Gita, in part by the use of selections, and also by outright ignoring the obvious: that he seems to be a demon, according to the Gita. For the Gita says those who say the world is not real, are demons, and Yogananda and some more SRF gurus say the world is unreal. The Gita says: "Those who are demoniac . . . Neither . . . proper behaviour nor truth is found in them. They say that this world is unreal, that there is no foundation . . . (Bhagavad Gita 16:7-8).".
Yogananda claims that the world is unreal, an illusion. Where does that take him?
The material universe is not real. [Paramahansa Yogananda, 1982 182]
There you have it. It serves to illustrate another side to split-mind teachings of Yogananda: Claim the Gita authority and overlook significant parts of it. He does the same with Bible teachings. Thus, watch out for sleek or unprincipled decorum hailing in these waters. It might save you from embarrassment and being caged in. Further, it is wise not to believe blindly, but adhere to well documented facts, in that we get less fooled or less often fooled that way. Against it, the "art of dogmatism" is long.
The right approach does not exclude the good parts of the old yogic tradition, where rational inquiry is told of as fit and rites are not. That is what Adi Shankara tells in the prologue of his Crest-Jewel of Wisdom (1946, v. 40-77):
Rites cannot lead to Freedom. Therefore let the wise one strive after Freedom, approaching the good, great Teacher (the Higher Self), with soul intent on the object of the teaching . . . Setting all rites aside, let the wise, learned ones who approach the study of the Self strive for Freedom . . .
Yogananda - a Hindu monk in the Shankara tradition - talks for kriya yoga as the rite, whereas Shankara talks against rites. It is good to note such things at the very start of one's quest, so as not to be taken in by foolish devotionalists at every turn. Much in a life could eventually go down the drains by that (see next page). [More]
About one third of the world-wide SRF's monastics left its premises around 2002
There is much valuable in yoga, and many valuable sayings by Yogananda too. However, there is also a need to expose decadent, foolish and harmful yoga and to hinder many deeply unrewarding, unproductive efforts and attitudes - the waste of years and assets a cult can bring. In short: Yogananda and most of his gurus repeatedly teach the world is unreal. But if those teachings be true, there would not be any visible gurus and Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) teachings either. SRF is world-wide.
Is it obvious that Yogananda, his teachings, and his cult are weird or illusory? What is there to say if all is illusory?
You get many good stories along with the pinpointing
The focus in the following is: Watch out for teachings that serve to make you sheepish. The obvious thing to do is to stay completely away from Yogananda and his fellowship and remain on the safe side. The next best use of one's time could be to investigate things seriously and thereby avoid getting enrolled in a cult of followers. Some evidence has surfaced on the Internet lately, especially since the year 2001 or so, when about one third of his monastic followers left the SRF premises for several reasons.
In the section that speaks against cultish teachings and practices, you can also come across good stories, a lot of verbatim Yogananda quotations, and artistic illustrations. The hundreds of book references are correct and may be checked.
On the next page already there are nudges that could wake up followers. But if they do, they are not free to adjust their course, for they are more or less dictated by Yogananda, who set himself up on top of them. For example, there is a cult pledge that serves to binds followers, opposed to normal Human Rights, and a serious saying by him - quoted verbatim on the next page - that those who leave him are in for colossal sufferings for many future lives. That forms part of the world picture he laid on the souls and hearts of followers.
Belief in a deceitful person, a failing business, or a false doctrine seems to be a sheer wastage of man's good energy. - Yogananda [1997:304]
A Canadian, Geoffrey D. Falk, decided to write about his negative SRF experiences too. He went to southern California to spend time as a resident volunteer at the Hidden Valley SRF ashram outside Escondido, near San Diego, after he had been a member of SRF for over ten years. He came to the conclusion that most monks were there for "the power trip" to regard later-arrivers as "less spiritually advanced" and that those who questioned their leadership were "resisting the will of God as manifested through them." Falk writes among other things,
Each one of the SRF line of leaders/gurustheir "popes"from Daya Mata back to Krishna, are regarded by obedient SRF devotees as being infallible . . . I, too, once foolishly viewed them thusly. [Falk 2008, chap. 26]
Falk writes he experienced nine months of psychological abuse at the place. You can say he did not like it there. Then he went back to Canada. There he wrote the on-line e-book called "Stripping the Gurus: Sex, Violence, Abuse and Enlightenment". It has been called "gripping and disturbing". The author writes: "Be prepared. Be informed. Find out what reportedly goes on behind the scenes." He surely gives a lot of detail as to hearsay that circulates in SRF circles, and tells of wrong prophesies by Yogananda too.
Cult evidence is not lacking on these pages
God is a dictator because He created us against our will. But He is surely trying to rectify that by being a spiritual dictator. - Yogananda [1997:219]
On this page you get cult evidence and a whole lot of verbatim Yogananda quotations on how good dictatorship looked to him, for example. "The average man cannot think clearly . . . He needs the master mind of a Dictator in order to think right and do right." - [Yogananda. "Interview". East-West Magazine, Vol. 6.] Frankly, many are not happy about that - either. And we may say SRF has de-emphasised that point too.
Entering a sect could be to your ruin. Those who have entered and then read such material as is gathered here, may get shocked or stunned. But they may not all recover to a normal love life and adequate communication either. Some disgruntled or disoriented ones, including former SRF monastics, have sought to discuss their plights on discussion boards, and may be overly watchful against outsiders and afraid of SRF. The now folded-in discussion board called the ◦SRF Walrus has furnished plenty of evidence. It was set up by one or more former SRF monastics, and a backup from 2006 is online.
These pages have kindled some Yogananda devotees. Some are helped by the SRF methods, others tell they have not been helped by them. Some ask me what to do. That is not easy to answer. Generally speaking,
LOOK TO PLANTS
So remain sincere to your inwardness. Tank up to nurture your inner sides well. Listening to your own conscience, you probably have to push aside impediments to full growth as you maintain correct mindfulness, and that could be fit self-assertiveness. Get more proficient too. All this could lead you to weigh and consider things carefully as you go toward the lofty Spirit.
Sound prevention is better than futile attempts at cure.
Why ask, "Where are the SRF [Self-Realization Fellowship] goats?"?
Reply: SRF keeps monastics, and feels it to be an all right arrangement so far, for all I know. As for their false claim of being in one hundred percent aligned to the self-contradictory teachings of Jesus, he said in one place [Matthew 5:17-19] that he was to uphold the Law (of Moses), a law that demands one goat ritually sacrificed and one more led out into the wilderness yearly [Leviticus 16], and "Keep the Canaanite slave forever. [Leviticus 25:46]" Sensible moral: You cannot eat your cake and have it too, and you can hardly embrace folly teachings without making a fool of yourself. [More foolishness]
Why ask, "Having no good foundations, may it become a big part of your future ruin?"?
Reply: Some of the disgrunted, former monastics of SRF and others counsel others not to give their money and other assets to SRF. There is deep wisdom in, "Give away all you have, and you can give no more." It is no shame to keep control over your ennobling assets and be moderate either.
Why ask, "Will you be headed for disappointments by becoming a fervent believer in a crazy tradition without getting all insane?"?
Reply: That looks possible.
Why ask, "How may you get disappointed with a cult's quagmire tradition of saying conflicting sayings show perfect harmony?"?
Reply: It depends on how fair you are within.
Why ask, "Are the gurus crazy or some traditional demons according to the Bhagavad Gita or not?"?
Reply: Four SRF kriya gurus say the world is illusory, and the Gita says that those who teach things like that, are demoniacs. SRF also claims to be in one hundred percent harmony with the Gita.
Why ask, "Could the fellowship guru be one third infallible?"?
Reply: I have not counted all of his dictums about dictatorship and many other issues, but he does not have a one hundred percent score. His fellowship - which he wrote was his big blunder to have started - should stop calling his guidelines infallible.
Why ask, "Can you keep to your tradition rather than sucking up strange names and such decorum?"?
Reply: You may have to fight for going on as yourself and without sacrifices of among false friends or in vicious circles. Seek not to end up as a craven monastic with strange names too.
Why ask, "If only demons enter a destructive cult and get infirm and insolvent through it, it could prevent evil. Should we hope that?"?
Reply: Hopes may become expensive too.
Go for making the best of your fare. It is thought to be better to avoid becoming a sectarian than entering a sect, unless it is benign - But if you have entered a gross cult and there seems to be no other way for you afterward, you should seek to do your best under such circumstances too. As an Yogananda adherent that is probably focusing on doing the bargained-for yoga meditation methods neatly, sifting out the truly helpful decrees or guidelines of Yogananda from the others, favouring yourself and your future development, and taking plenty of time to rest too. By getting proficient and following counsels like these, you may not get over-abused for a while longer. One of these hints is taught by the Swiss-born Anandamoy in SRF too. "Focus on doing the techniques," he says.
Daya Mata. "Only Love". Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1976.
Dietz, Margaret Bowen. Thank You, Master. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 1998.
Ehrman, Bart D. How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. New York: HarperOne, 2014.
Falk, Geoffrey D. Stripping the Gurus: Sex, Violence, Abuse and Enlightenment. 2008. On-line.
Fuller, Edmund. 2500 Anecdotes for All Occasions. New York: Wings, 1970.
Guba, Egon and Lincoln, Yvonne. Naturalistic Inquiry. Newbury Park: Sage Publications,1985.
Shastri, J. ed. Siva Purana, Vols 1-4. Delhi: Banarsidass, 1969.
Vermes, Geza. The Authentic Gospel of Jesus. London: Penguin, 2005.
⸻. The Real Jesus: Then and Now. Minneapolis, MI: Fortress Press, 2010.
⸻. From Jewish to Gentile: How the Jesus Movement Became Christianity. Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) 38:06, Nov/Dec 2012.
Wheless, Joseph. Forgery in Christianity: Documented Record of the Foundations of the
Christian Religion. (originally published in 1868) About.com.
Yogananda, Paramahansa: Autobiography of a Yogi. 11th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1971.
⸻. Journey to Self-realization: Discovering the Gift of the Soul. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1997.
⸻. Man's Eternal Quest.2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1982.
⸻. Sayings of Yogananda. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1958.
Yukteswar, Swami Sri. The Holy Science. 7th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1972.
Satyeswarananda, Swami, tr. Complete Works of Lahiri Mahasay Vol. I: The Gitas: The Vedic Bibles. Guru Gita. Omkar Gita. Abadhuta Gita. Kabir Gita. 2nd rev. ed. San Diego: The Sanskrit Classics, 1992.
Shankara. The Crest-Jewel of Wisdom and other writings of Shankaracharya. Tr. Charles Johnston. Covina: Theosophical University Press, 1946.
Harvesting the hay
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