Respect truth wherever you perceive it. - Paramahansa Yogananda [Ak 401]
"Spending for God's work" is often used to extract money from believers, and may be related to the Catholic indulgence, which was so bad in the eyes of many that the fissured Church gave birth to Reformed Churches.
The biblical term water
In The Yoga of Jesus, Yogananda reads things into the gospels that are not really made explicit there. Example:
"Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." [John 3:5]
Does 'water' really mean protoplasm? Is that so sure? To whom? What is the evidence?
The definition or understanding of 'protoplasm' has changed over the last two centuries, with much controversy over what sort of substance it was. Protoplasm is today understood as the living content of a cell that is surrounded by a plasma membrane. Protoplasm is also defined as living substance in its broader sense.
Yogananda's interpretation looks insufficient, because he does not tell how he defines 'protoplasm'. So, can his variant of "heureka!" be justified? [Heuristic Link] Among Christians, many interpretations have been offered to explain the phrase 'born of water'. It matters to see the cited fragment in its original context, although there may not be much help in it.
The guru says above that Jesus did not mean just what he said - in other words, Yogananda interprets something so that it suits him to advocate. The question is how fair he is in so doing. On another page he is shown to run over many pivotal Christian concepts - the Father, Holy Ghost, Christ the soul - and misinterpreting a lot to make it seem fit for his own form of Hinduism without decency. The rogue smith and bandit Procrustes in Greek mythology operated on the way between Athens and Eleusis. There he had an iron bed, and invited passers-by to spend the night in it. Then he set to work with his smith's hammer - stretching them and cutting of their legs so that they fit the size of his iron bed. Figurative Procrustean handling may be bandit work.
Yogananda's hybrid yoga church claims to be in one hundred percent harmony with the teachings of Jesus, which they are only in a fooling, Procrustean robber way, bringing conformity to Yogananda by such unskilled or unkind methods. Ask who is responsible for them, and for correcting them. [Link]
❋ Heurekas and aha's may be channeled into useful activity. Archimedes did it.
Keep what is unfounded or undocumented at bey
How to tackle bossy statements without good evidence? Scientists of many sorts learn to listen well to claims and ask for evidence. If good proof is lacking, the claim is treated as speculation, and put in a drawer, put away, neither believed in nor discredited if it lacks evidence, and nothing substantial goes against it.
Here is how to handle a lot of unfounded religious claims: Keep them at bey (in suspensio) as well as you can. Skilled scepticism is the alternative to be made a fool of by ridiculous claims, superstitions masked and garbed as religious truths and necessities, and ballyhoo (rituals, ceremonies, and such rigmarole). You should learn to meditate well to get higher and improve your life.
❋ How to deal with unsubstantiated religious claims: Discard them. Treat the most promising of them as provisory hypotheses if you are able to test them a long, long way, and listen to those who have ventured along those roads before you, to get a lot safer.
The art of handling authority views
There is often a great need to cultivate and examine oneself after being taken in by bigwigs - or so-called authorities. Some are bluffs, others a little off mark, and so on. If your gullible, native id has been caught by folly, then it can be next to impossible to get freed from it, because rational arguments and the like are hard to like and accept by those who embrace folly and drivel uncritically - by faith, also called.
For example, if you have a quite normal sex drive and get influenced by a monk like Anti-sex Yogananda and learn how that guru talks for no sex for unmarried ones, his devotionalist views (very typical of bhakti yoga cults of Hinduism) hardly help cultivating oneself or progressing fairly by the sex drives. Tantric yoga may serve that, but it may not suit all.
Other folks think differently than Yogananda in such vital matters, and other yogis too. Buddhist tantra speaks for having sex, although it may not be necessary to all.
Thus, getting informed, and getting informed second or third opinions in advance - at least in good time - could leave you a choice in matters that are vital to your health, and your family.
❋ Tantric yoga includes sex postures, practices and thoughts surrounding them. Being fit for it does not mean a demand for it, though. There are many books on the subject today.
Look for a kind guru first of all
Success and cultivation may depend on how good we are at seeing through tricks and narrow views og egotists with a religious facade, and at handling the bottom issues without complications. It is much to handle or deal with, and some serious issues appear only in time. Those who do not offer better advice to struggling ones than ensnaring views, do not qualify as real friends.
A waylay masquerade may have grieveous turns. Fair truths will not suit the leaders and ardent followers of a cult setting, for they tango with the cult somehow or for most part; one is to expect that. It takes two to tango; it takes more than leaders to form a cult. Members are involved, and conform and belong a lot, is to be expected too.
❋ Some forms of grieveous complications may be due to leaders, and other forms from followers that become leaders in their turn, changing the course of events a little or much, as it suits them. These things happen.
Keep your earnings to yourself as "God's work"
About two thousand five hundred years ago, Buddha councelled about saving earnings according to plan and more proficiently than just "for a rainy day". [Buddha counsel]
Many monastics from the "hybridish" monastic order Yogananda once established, found out a bit too late that they might have fared better if they had kept their main resources for themselves.
Keep something for the old man [yourself when getting older] - you never know how needed it may be.
If you don't think you are God's work, and your world is of God's world, maybe you are led or misled to the notion that "God's work" is an organised church - with a Great Inquisition, religious warfares and horrible cowing at play as it grows mighty. The term "God's work" is often used by religious con artists or demagogues to get money from feeble fellows who are first lured to their nets, and then made use of - or milked.
Be that as it may, many SRF monastics who gave up a lot for the sake of "God's work" - alias SRF in those circles, found out too late, according to some of the contributors on the SRF-related discussion forum called the SRF Walrus. It is closed today, but a backup from the time until somewhere in 2006 is still around. ◦SRF Walrus Backup address]
❋ Don't let "God's work" serve a wrong bait.
Some peculiar troubles
What surrounds yoga methods may go against the benefits and proficiency that good methods offer. There are suave standards that could help you to avoid wading into a mess.
Reasonable yoga and Transcendental Meditation is recommended far and wide. Good meditation helps interiorising the awareness by stages, and brings relaxation and destressing far and wide to beginners. It also accelerates growth or development in a lot of areas. Fair and fit methods advocate themselves, for example by research findings. Fair and fit research findings may be resorted to in order to find out of things (variables).
Good methods may call for some regularity of practice, such discipline. That said, much that is called fit in some cultish circles, is unneeded verbiage. Watch out for this little token: The poorer methods you have to work with, the greater the need for time to practice in, and the greater need for "seller" propaganda - even tricks, such as unsocial pep talks, hype, demagogy, propagande, lies, and coercion.
One may gradually come to suspect at least one dynamism at work through lack of interiorisation. In a long-range perspective, a desire for pomp tends to set in, for example. Some who succumb to authoritarian calls or demands for control, obey dictates or guidelines for such as sexual abstinence instead of being all right frivolous in their own right. A sad possibility is that they may get so stiff or weakened that they do not wake up to realise they were barred from sound id-based societal development as human beings.
❋ Some good forms of discipline can accelerate development. For example, a learning process that is catered to well enough, helps.
You do what you can
The guru Yogananda was a monk. He severely limits the sex life of disciples by decreeing something like "Have sex never, if you're not married, and otherwise only rarely." There is a full page on the guru guidelines here: [Yogananda on Sex] But what about those who really enjoy having copious sex, even several times a day in old age? Luckily for such virile or lusty ones there is tantric yoga. You don't have to be a pariah to go for it.
Otherwise, the averages is not a norm, but a reference, if you can find it. There are great variations. "The unhappily married woman has sex 3-4 times a month while the happily married woman has sex 11 times a month, says the psychotherapist and writer M. Gary Neuman to Business Insider, based on data got from 400 women.
Now compare with Yogananda guidelines "Married couples, have sex close to never" and understand why one woman married to a devoted SRF member blurted out in a company, "I hate Yogananda. He ruined my marriage!"
I have other, related reports too, but this incident I witnessed myself. Several American reports and a British, representative study shows that women and men below 50 have sex 1-2 times a week (only). Similar results have been forthcoming in Finland, Sweden and Norway. (See Tidsskrift for Norsk psykologforening, Vol 45, No. 6, 2008, p. 683-694).
I suggest you don't take lightly on this subject, for getting a marriage ruined by by guru decrees and unfit guidelines is not good help to all involved; it can be far worse.
❋ That couples in average have sex once or twice a week, means that some have it once in five years, and others six times a day, for example. There is great variation within an OK range of sex outlets.
❋ You don't like having sex at all? A psychological analysis could help the search for possible causes, after some thorough medical checks reveal nothing in particular.
By living out your interests you may get educated, may get skilled, may gain a living and develop your character too, as it is held in psychoanalytics that the personality is a result of being true to your deep self and its natural interests and inklings. Transcendental Meditation can help many to develop in some ways.
Yet there are many factors or influences in a life, many traps for virgins and others, and some are detrimental to higher growth. Group mechanisms may either favour or stunt the growth of individuality or uniqueness or maybe they are rather "neutral", if that can be. You may say there is a gliding-scale that ranges from harmful to helpful. A supportive group helps you to develop with its limits. But a bet is that individualist proclivities and self-actualisation urges may not be appreciated full well, not at first, at any rate, because they deviate from the group common, probably. An artist's unique works may still be appreciated after his death, however, and used for bargains, and hanging in museums. It does vary, but drunkards are not good role models all the same. Again it would depend on the kind of group you are in.
The psychologist Abraham Maslow has studied unique persons that deviated from the statistical averages at hand, and developed theories on top of that. One should guard against that conformity pressures hinder self-growth above conformism. However, we may be helped onwards by comrades and even a congenial, decent group somewhere, somehow. A congenial partner and helpmates along the road to evolve, are truly good to have, if not downright blessings.
There comes a need to be alert to difficult circumstances and shielding a proper balance. Many try to bulwark themselves in various ways. Houses have walls and gardens for it. Fences and some ridges could be OK, and so on. There are social fences, physical fences, and other kinds of fences too. From antiquity and earlier, people have been in dire need of stone walls, ramparts, fences and strong hedges for the sake of safer living.
In India some yogis live in remote and secluded places and shielded places called ashrams to benefit from the protective measures offered. When a teacher says "Take care," to you, maybe you should consider shielding yourself better in one or several ways and not go venture out on a limb, and so on. Carelessness and inexperience can cost dearly.
❋ "Take care" has many meanings, each of which can have many ramifications. "Security First" is a fit motto for a lot of parents.
Consider well - that is likely to be beforehand
Let us say you have ignored some of the basics of the yoga terrain and floundered: Maybe your own development and gliding inside on your own, free terms is set aside for the sake of belonging to someone or something, such as a church of yoga. To the degree your life gets directed by others and also ruled over by prominent others, you are probably bound for troubles, and did not take care well enough.
Troublesome relations and encounters and environment may scar us mentally, and false teachings also. The guru of SRF, for example, repeatedly teaches "get rid of the ego," as if it were possible. However, it is the Self that illumines the ego, tells Ramana [Sib, ch. 2]. The unwelcome effects of marring Yogananda teachings may not be easy to get rid of, and the effects of being bullied may linger on afterwards. Meditation may activate repressed memories of unresolved problems, as part of the self-cleansing process it tends to be, if effective.
Feigning can be a big problem, and so is hypocrisy and corruption. Let the problems of those that are not close to you be their own problems as you help the world by being charitable to yourself and your nearest ones first. As the Tibetan yogi Milarepa is into, don't be too eager to help others; get Enlightened first. "One should not be over-anxious and hasty in setting out to serve others, but have the one resolve to attain Buddhahood. [Tm 271]"
It works better not to impoverish yourself or reduce your well-being unreasonably, unwisely for others, but improve yourself in a fine way, just as Buddha says in a great many counsels. It is not any "either-or" though; Buddha advocates a sensible "middle path", building up wealth and funds for living all right, to get time and means for developing your mind and wake up too. Such is the Eightfold Path toward Enlightenment (Nirvana) in a nutshell.
"Charity begins in the home, but it does not have to stop there [American proverb]." A point to maintain is that unless or until you have helped yourself well enough, you are not able or resourceful enough to maintain a family or help others as you go on.
❋ You had better not be asked to lessen or ignore yourself and your long-term needs throughout life, but adhere to what is valuable or essential. It is not always easy for gentle souls.
Learn to prepare well
Loose, very general warnings may not help you or young ones. But all-round training on top of such warnings could help.
Murphy's Law comes in handy: "If anything can go wrong, someone will sooner or later see to it that it does." But if you learn to bulwark well, take fit precautions and be on and up in time for great things to come your way, maybe - maybe you then have learnt to expect the worst and bulwark against it so that alarming things don't happen to yourself or your next of kin, no matter how violently sudden storms may rage.
In some cases it is possible to prevent bad happenings, by foresight channeled into sage bulwarking, for example.. In other cases it is not feasible. So it is not always enough to live out "prevention is better than cure". Rather, stick to "expect the worst and bulwark against it in good times". That may slowly work if put to work by steps and stages.
To be well rehearsed is fine too. It often makes a difference, even in president candidate debates on TV.
In preparing and safeguarding, don't get depleted or emptied. A little eaglet doesn't have to practice flying till its wings have grown to size and the skeleton and rest of the organism are matured. Thus, it stands to reason not to rush things. Training or prevention has to rest on both readiness (including physical maturity) and interests, perhaps.
Learn to prepare yourself well for what may come and lie ahead. It is no as easy as it sounds. To prepare well is not just to prepare for a rainy day or three, but a full-fledged hurricane and a snowstorm that last for long, for example. Most often these things don't happen, but when and if they do, your building (character) has to be calibrated to withstand and resist lots of harmful influences and unfairness, even from your own kin.
If soundness is not jeopardised, preparing for life and its encounters, dangers and things to resist may assist personal strength. If not, one may be tamed, which is not cultivated.
To create something of worth, you can let high skills assist general soundness and well-being. And observe the rules of conduct which a yoga aspirant (sadhaka) should follow. They are sound moderation in food, sound, welcome moderation in sleep and sound moderation in speech. [cf. Ramana, Sib, ch. 2].
❋ To be richly prepared, learn to bulwark in ample time against the worst things that could happen, so that they probably won't happen anyhow. Lots of practices ought to be derived from that basic norm.
Going deeper, getting better, and preferably both
Big troubles, were they sloppiness, tardiness, or some other things earlier?
It is a good thing to have sense enough not to heed misleading teachings of others, or mediocre teachings that try to distort and deafen what your core comes up with or tries to get to the fore from deep within.
Take into account that the one who considers a teaching is ideally more worth than the teaching. and that a Deep Soul, or Self, is a lot more worth than many consider.
Neighbours and friends can be a peculiar mixture in the largely tangled web of life.
Big trouble may be due to this: Earlier we turned outside to the extent of not heeding substantially our deeper nature and its concerns and needs. But the moment we are dead, our insides (mind and soul) are alive, and so is a soul's karma. This we are told. What else might be found as being of worth enough depends on "how winds are blowing". That is also part of the teaching of Buddha.
The best is not to ignore all your chances to glide into your deeper self and consolidate valuable gains and assets while we are well, or not very well, or infirm.
Colour sensitivity can be developed and refined, and a mental grasp and proficiency can be developable, perhaps by skilled training. A decent grasp on the basics of meditation may likewise help. Many things co-depend on skilled training.
❋ You can accommodate as best you can.
Sect brothers arm in arm?
Hoping or begging for friendship and contact and belonging may seem to find glowing fulfilment in other than the real relationship figures - not really natural or one's own father figures, mother figures, brother figures, friends and so on. Some monastics typically feed on forged relationships - of strained relationships, one may gather. For the sect brother is not a real brother, the sect mother is not a mother, the sect sister not a real sister in almost all cases with monks and nuns involved, and so on. There is a slogan play on words and at times on inadequate feelings of belonging and estrangement through being unguarded.
If a minister gets a bit too close and indulging, maybe a few words as those from "The Miller's Tale" by Chaucer could suit you, or even better, the essence of them: "I will call for help and cry 'alas!' / Do take your hands away, for courtesy!" - Or some judo. [More Chaucer]
❋ Where they talk and write of divine love and friendship your way without ever having met you, suspect a "wolf of relationship" is loose. And refrain from adjusting to your own deep loss.
Fit Teachers Welcome Budding Uniqueness in Artists and Others
Effective yoga contains methods and customs that make you deviate from the average or common unless you surround yourself with like-minded people in some decent rural community or gets shelter in other nice ways. You may see this happening if you first take up hatha yoga of body postures, and then gets gradually interested in and involved in higher yoga forms, such as meditation. Along with the calming practice, which may restore health to some and fasten it in still others, in a crisis, the interests may grow wider and deeper, and the "thing" called "my way" or "my ways" may take on momentum. In other words, significant individuality may come into the open and want a piece of the action.
To be individual is to be unique, not like anyone else. Therefore be warned. Not everybody is welcoming and friendly towards those who get unique - much like artists - unique, and thereby different - yes, deviant. Sound protective measures may be called for. But be as discreet as you can, and make full use of the side of life that is called the right to privacy. It pertains to both thoughts and practices.
❋ Deviants may grow too - some for good, others for bad. Besides: "You learnt all that is to be learnt, but have you learnt (to know) yourself?" [Ramana, Sib, ch 1]
Unfulfilled Lives Little by Little Go Punished That Way
Sects and cults often give their members problems. Some problems are severe. There is a danger of reducing your self-esteem and self-worth. Remain alert to: While good yoga methods may help and foster inner growth as suggested, conformity measures - in yoga circles and other flocks - may hinder that. There are many low mechanisms sects may put to use.
It may help to get into significant ideas of the psychologist Abraham Maslow, as they carry weight and relevance. He fronts the view that average-looking and conform people may not be much worth as norm-givers of what is sane or of great worth. Those who deviate in positive ways from the average could be rewarding to get influenced by. Such plus-deviants are generally saner than the average, and with sane outlook on things. According to Maslow such people show standards in many ways and walks of life. However, useful as his lists of properties may be in some cases, they do not seem complete. [see Pusb, Rvl, Zun].
Living unfulfilled lives instead of going on works like a punishment - and going on - progressing in a good way - is the thing to do. The Gentle Middle Way is designed for it, for example, and you don't have to be a Buddhist or call yourself a Buddhist to derive benefit from it either.
❋ Method of practice: The Self of a person who tries to attain Self-realization is not different from him. There is nothing other than or superior to him to be attained by him. Self-realization is the realization of one's own nature. [Spiritual Instruction [Sib] by Ramana Maharsi, ch. 2]
Learn to Assuage Well
A typical thing about good advice is that those who need it the most, may welcome it the least. In consequence, adequate forewarnings are typically quite masked and figurative. Such "assuaging" may help. Some parables forewarn in that they tell in metaphors about important things that could happen so that these things may not happen. That is, those who have ears to listen or take heed may be warned, and thereby escape much pain and suffering in the long run. Much depends on that, including happiness of life.
Skilled storytelling combines some sorts of distance making with entertaining, structured layout of the tale, so that young and old ones derive benefit and understand basic ideas that make sense after some time.
❋ Avoid and minimise pains in life through good stories - old narrative ways have regained even academic prestige in our time, and are "hot" discourse takes.
Speaking of cross-planted guru lore
Speaking of cross-planted yoga lore and hybrid plants: Do we deal with grapevines without thorns; or brambles with a lot of them? Before you bleed to death or do better than that, take a look and find out the difference between the plants and learn to deal skilfully with whatever you have to deal with to make the juice you were after.
Good wine (that tricky, figurative term) can be made of both brambleberries and grapes, and "in wine lies a lot of verity swimming around". Compare the Latin "In vino veritas." It may not be as easy as that, though, so the counsel is, "Hold on to your own Fertility Garden: Make your own life prosper and not flounder."
❋ Good old ways with words can work like music on the soul, and in the family.
Teachings of Tao (the Way)
Greater teachings - or fun teachings - are not for everyone; great teachings often look bizarre to many commoners.
Lend ear to Lao-tzu in the Tao Te Ching:
When the highest of men hear of Tao [the Way] and truth they put it into practice quite diligently.
Figurative stories abound the world over
There are also parables of Buddha around. [Link]. Parables are teaching stories that can have many pregnant and relevant messages, depending on how uplifted you get, among other things. To some, the possible wisdom of a parable depends on what we put into it, possibly by projecting ourselves that way.
Buddha found it fit to tell figurative stories to help the masses, wheras Jesus told parables only to deaf ears, a gospel emphasises. A difference is to be noted right there: Jesus in Matthew 13:13-14 speaks of his futile telling and time and effort wasted. [More]
❋ Peals of loud laughter suggest "No Way!" in some way or other.
Farm Animals May not Have a Bad Time at First
There is an entertaining story about a revered but false, fiendish guru - [Narada].
Millions of young individuals have become cult members and sect members, and some to their loss, as Steven A. Hassan shows, among many others. [Wikipedia, s.v. "Steven Hassan"]
What about farm animals, such as cattle? Victims of hoaxes - What substantial that has been denied to old farm animals may make them little fit for freedom later. And yet, both pets and farm animals may evoke a sense of uncomplicated contentment.
A stupendous old teaching is: One had better refrain from men and circumstances that take freedom degrees away. Becoming one of the goddess Circe's magically converted pigs instead of remaining as a man, was unbecoming to Ulysses at least.
❋ If figurative mentions carry lots of meaning, they may serve higher mental functions.
Conformity pressures hinder nudity and frivolity rather often.
Walking the dog and serving the animal by picking up its droppings in a plastic bag is part of city life now.
WP: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Ak: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Man's Eternal Quest. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: SRF, 1982.
Ap: Mieder, Wolfgang (main ed.), Stewart A. Kingsbury, and Kelsie E. Harder: A Dictionary of American Proverbs. (Paperback) New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Ay: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 1st ed. New York: Philosophical Library, 1946. Online.
Co: Watson, Burton tr: The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu. New York: Columbia University Press, 1968.
Fu: Lund, Hjalmar, og Gunnar Lid, redr. Norges fugleliv. 3. utg. Oslo: Det Beste, 1979.
Ha: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 12th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1981.
Pa: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 11th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1971.
Pusb: Maslow, Abraham: Motivation and Personality. 3rd ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1987.
Rvl: Maslow, Abraham: Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences. Columbus: Ohio State University, 1964.
Say: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Sayings of Yogananda. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1958.
Sib: Ramanan, V. S. tr. Spiritual Instruction of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. 8th ed. Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanashramam, 1974.
Tas: Ramakrishna: Tales and Parables of Sri Ramakrishna. 5th ed. Madras: Ramakrishna Math, 1974.
Tb: Osborne, Arthur ed: The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi in His Own Words. New ed. London: Rider, 1971.
Tm: Evans-Wentz, Walter Yeeling, ed. Tibet's Great Yogi Milarepa. 2nd ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1969. Partial view of the 2000 edition at Google Books.
Yj: Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Yoga of Jesus: Understanding the Hidden Teachings of the Gospels. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2007.
Zun: Maslow, Abraham: Toward a Psychology of Being. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1968.
Harvesting the hay
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