Two issues on this page:
● Views of Self-Realization Fellowship differ from some of the Catholic Church
Aims and ideals, are they good enough?
The guru Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) was a Hindu emissary to the West. He founded the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) in 1920, and it has developed into a yoga church. Headquartered in Los Angeles, it is headed by swami nuns and monks. SRF states in their "Aims and Ideals" that their purpose is:
To teach that the purpose of life is the evolution, through self-effort of man's limited mortal consciousness into God Consciousness.
First, "these principles of truth" in the SRF aims and ideals is a grossly unclear reference on the surface. That is bad. Worse, there is no utter harmony between "original Christianity" and Krishna's Yoga, for:
The Christianity of SRF - founded by a Hindu swami and headed by Hindu swamis also - is veneer-like. At bottom what we are dealing with seems to be a hybrid sect and its fraud. Christianity has lots of issues on its own, but why not leave them aside here for now? Some sects may be bad, but why propagate a cult under false colours? Why go for general acceptance by menial and distorted viewpoints and outlooks? One answer: They did not know the most authentic teachings of Jesus, as the Bible scholar Geza Vermes found (2005), and how fraud and distortions eventually could backfire on them, and even blow up in their face.
There are many good things in the SRF teachings too, not just mediocre and worse and wrong attempts at alignments. Still, it should be good to be alerted to flagrantly false teachings in it, so as not to be taken in all too often. I let Catholicism speak for itself. Now, if we do not denounce fraud in our path, what are we then? Accomplices, either silent fools or active ones.
I am no Catholic, I think Abraham Maslow's pyramid and thinking is of much help, at least for most part, although his pyramid figure is not all-inclusive. And I have come across that "Father Mateo", a Catholic professor of Scripture and classical languages, has denounced some parts of the doctrines of the Hindu swami Yogananda. Self-Realization Fellowship now upholds such doctrines.
The Catholic Father brings three charges that could be alarming to some, and good for others, as the case may be:
The summary is taken from mail where the Father answered questions till he died on July 18, 1996.
Letter to Mateo, and His Answer to It
Why not ask yourself before you go on: "What is a pope without his staff and robes and ceremonies apparently lifted over from pagan religions of old, aimed at herding flocks and masses of bleating humans? What is the bird without his beak, feathers and talons? What is a pope without clothes?" - I think "Nude" is a good answer, but somewhat inconclusive anyway.
This chapter consists of gist atop a work by Rabbi Dr. Jacob Immanuel Schochet: The Mystical Tradition.
Watch out for the Theological Debris
"CULTS" stick to forms of faith or belief that are based on unfounded commitments. The narrow believer may be sincere. The doctrines the leaders espoused may appear noble. The goals may be many and have an idealistic veneer at times. Some strive to make them look commendable.
Nonetheless, if the commitment is devoid of rational foundations and with ample lack of valid "reasons for the belief", then those who like to live on their own terms may feel justified to condemn such things - the tragic commitment and false reasoning that many cult leaders live on top of. So what you choose to believe and how you choose to believe and stick to it further, may get charged with consequences; for some easily submit to some "members way" of life and practices - a foolish way also.
If the basic stance of handling beliefs seems logical, it points to how justifications of bottom beliefs are founded. Such "bottom beliefs" are of paradigms, "basic stances". However, if the premises and conclusions considered are blatantly untrue and the teachings are inconsistent, there is something false going on too.
Instead of Naivete and Gullibility: Rational Thinking and Handling against Humbug
Beware if some Great Leader repeatedly teaches seemingly whimsical elements of the faith, as he or she may do it to self-serving ends, perhaps with plays on devotionalism, which may be of human id (libido) to a great extent, and which may be hard to deal with unless straight and natural enough. The oddly gross and ill-behaved teacher:
Hope to be able to investigate what is needed on an even keel in a practical, pragmatic way; do what it takes to get the training. Think carefully of the stakes before you spend and surrender much of your resources, time, money, and other valuable assets on anything. Substantial sums of money and freedom degrees may be at stake in the long run for those who are engulfed and become members that go out of their way to protect their common group of reference and belonging - the cult, eventually. Many members give up their property for the cult, and thereby allow it to grow and spread. Alas.
Rational people, on the other hand, make efforts to understand, to investigate, to evaluate, to consider with care who is a reliable and conscientious authority. The guru should be no life-threatening, whim-led narcissist behind the curtains.
Above cult dictates and guidelines an individual has to guard his main assets - they include social standing, well-being and all-round comfort. They include making good use of the time and opportunities too.
It should indeed pay to be trained to be rational, careful, critical and investigative, even in matters of salvation, the beyond, or Eternal Being (God). Good yoga allows for it. Science and scholarship too: endure scholarship!
Sanity is needed to combat blunt self-contradictions in the cult or sect, but hardly blind commitments in gullibility or credulity. Seduction that wants to save all - stay away from it altogether. Never let your so-called rebirth start a path to a suicide. Do not rely on the utter charm and whimsical promises and presentations of the salesman (emissary). You must not be called to make vain promises and ignore faulty premises just because of sluggard fervour mentality, emotional Führer magnetism, and the promised dreams of something.
All who feel drawn to the cult side of life should have read horror-stories of youngsters (and elderly) involved with the cults around, and note how cult people approach issues by dramatic overdoing, blatantly allying themselves or Great Leaders with the Highest around, or get seduced and brainwashed by stealth or otherwise to benefit leaders.
Seek to mould and shape both your Sachlichkeit (rationality, being matter-of-fact, neutral, etc.) and moral stands instead of being pampered out of it. In a Californian murder case one of the defendants addressed the jury before sentencing: "What I did came from the heart, from love. Whatever comes from the heart and flows out of love cannot be evil. You cannot stand in judgment over me . . .!" Odd drivel or self-serving blunderbuss talk and obsession with ideas that are not first-class but run contrary to it, is a sign of a cultist, one of the crudest fellows of all. Your Country fists for enough matter-of-factness (Sachlichkeit) from you too.
❋ Your Country is the kingdom that is found in your insides: Don't be too narrow in your concepts, as "the kingdom of God is within you." [Luke 17:21]
Below are easy summaries of what Father Matheo might have meant above by his unexplained theological concepts; especially "indifferentism", "Pelagianism" and "the incarnation". They are all defined in Catholic theology. We have got no negative feedback on the summaries that follow.
Indifferentism is not religious indifference. This is how Catholics classify these things:
Pelagianism: See Britannica Online and The Catholic Encyclopedia.
The self is not revealed either by the scriptures or by the instructions of a preceptor . . . It is only when the scriptural knowledge, instructions of a preceptor and true discipleship come together that self-knowledge is attained. [Yoga Vasistha, Yv 302]Sailing under a false flag is not quite appropriate in times of peace and shared plenty.
Agj: Vermes, Geza. The Authentic Gospel of Jesus. London: Penguin, 2005.
Ay: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 1st ed. New York: Philosophical Library, 1946. Online.
Ha: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 12th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1981.
Mtj: Schochet, Rabbi Dr. Jacob Immanuel. The Mystical Tradition - Jewish Mysticism - The Meaning and Relevance. New York: Kehot Publication Society, 1990.
Pa: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 11th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1971.
Say: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Sayings of Yogananda. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1958.
Trj: Vermes, Geza. The Real Jesus: Then and Now. Minneapolis, MI: Fortress Press, 2010.
Yv: Venkatesananda, Swami, tr. The Concise Yoga Vasistha. Albany: State University of New York, 1984.
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