Shooing Divine Mother:
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There was a Indian guru who taught the world is ureal, and all pain in it too. That did not hinder him for crying out loud in pain from time to time.
The monk Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) founded Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) in late 1920, when he had come to the United States as a delegate to an International Congress of Religious Liberals, held in Boston. The first few years he stayed in a Boston hotel, in a single room without bath. SRF's present headquarters is on Mount Washington, a former hotel estate on a hilltop in Los Angeles. Yogananda bought it with money he could get or borrow in late 1925. SRF was incorporated in the State of California as a church in 1935.
Yogananda lectured and preached to Americans for about thirty years, and he dictated works intensively toward the end of his life. Plenty of his output is published by SRF, which is run by a hybrid Hindu-"Christian" monastic order he formed. The order is a Hindu deal with some modifications. SRF keeps spreading the yoga guru's message the world over, and informs there are centres and meditation groups in over fifty countries. And that does not imply all the groups and centres are big one. I know; I helped in starting one of them.
Around 2000 one third of the monastics left the SRF premises, and some of them were disgruntled. A band of them formed and took part in a discussion board from that time. Its 28,265 total posts reflect shattered hopes and dreams, up-to-cultish beliefs and narcissism also, it appears. Some had therapy, they wrote. Such guru fruits do not indicate that the holistic health of the individual members were fostered or mattered for many years. The board was intact until 2011. Then it folded in. Postings until 2006 are on-line today, as a backup-page.
Anyway, cult issues and cult ways can be hard to penetrate for outsiders. Some guru outvertures may be hushed down for the sake of a glorified image of the one with wisdom without fail and the like. By way of example, Yogananda decreed in 1934 that some "Socialism . . . will prevail in the end", but the vast majority of his followers do not excel in that, or in hailing dictatorship à la Yogananda: [Yogananda hailed dictatorship]
In fact, his appreciative remarks on Mussolini and Hitler and call for dictatorship is nothing they front in his fellowship today, and the evidence from the 1930s that he really did talk for such persons and orientations, speaks volumes - but is not among the cherished guru guidelines that the society openly tells are without flaw either. So in an old SRF magazine from years before Watergate, and lying around in an SRF building in Encinitas, Richard Nixon on a visit to the SRF headquarters was on the front cover. It all goes to suggest say that SRF for many decades has been fronting more conservative and authoritarian values than socialism . . . And since the magazine where the dictatorship hailing of Yogananda seems awfully hard to find these days, I bring gist from it. Do not get messed up by big talk and God-verbiage all the time; instead consider "What's Bin Did and What's Bin Hid." [Wikipedia, s.v. "What's Bin Did and What's Bin Hid"] [Yogananda siding with dictatorship in his own magazine]
And even though Americans are afraid of socialism as Communism with a democratic face, in the Old World socialism has worked quite well as long a it has been held in democratic check. A positive angling is a gladdening angling. It should be very clearly expressed.
Healthy Teachings and Happy Followers
Humans and animals unfold from inside unless powerful others prevail over them, stilt them and trap them and use them for other purposes than the inborn ones.
Try and let men become their selves as best they can. There are some ways out of possible guru snares, but not every cult trapped member finds honourable ways out. It is not liked by cult members that things like these are leaked out. [Compare Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 1.4.10]
Self-realization can unfold naturally and in a healthy fashion, but there may be dangers and traps also on deeper levels of mind and existence. For example, the guru Yogananda learnt to "talk big" in the United States, and adapt his teachings to listeners. He became a famous orator in his days. And then it shows up that the later Yogananda contradicted the earlier Yogananda on key issues for those who came to SRF to get methods and counsel to help maturing and developing. Some have got awfull disappointed, and among them some have resorted to therapy too. Most likely, limited ideas and soap teachings trap some where such things abound.
Most people distort without help of a guru according to whims and desires that get the best of their time. Sectarians may have fallen into the grip of thwarting clutches.
Genuine interests are of id (libido), and if followed up, they bring about a personality, says Gordon Allport.
The Self alone is to be meditated upon, for in It all these become unified . . ." -- [Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. 1.4.7.
None should try to destroy one's ego; for that personality instance is a part of your Selfhood and a tract into It. And normal id (libido, zest) is of the inner Self too, just as egohood is.
Unify your own, main endeavours while you have enough control and space for doing it; that could pay, even nicely.
Religious beliefs that cultists people find agreeable and comfortable, could serve fetish uses to many of them.
Those who adapt to bossy leaders are in for being herded. There are definite dangers of waiving human rights in Cult Country.
Humans unfold interests and thought from id developments, and possibly neurotic, maladaptations of id in the second place if things go wrong. Sensitive periods are discussed by Erik H. Erikson. There lies much id-help in his epigenetic scheme.
"When the sperm and ovum unite to create the physical body, they do so at what becomes the medulla oblongata, at the base of the brain.
Oh really? How could that be? A medicine student commented, "He says the medulla is so very important because it stems directly from the very first fertilised cell. But all body cells stem from the first cell."
Yes, the medulla oblongata at the base of the brain is particular because it stems directly from the first cell of the fetus. But the same is true for any part of the body. That is the point.
With cult status as an avatar of flawless wisdom comes the need for better teachings than that . . .
❖ It is better to know than to be taken in.
The Egg, the Weed, and the Organ
ONE ROTTEN egg of counsel may ruin a whole basket. Here are variations of what it could mean, depending on context:
One small infection can kill a large elephant. One rotten organ may kills the larger organism that depends on it. One severely diseased body organ may kill the whole body, even though all the other organs were fine.
If a bug appears among stored wheat seeds, the whole wheat store may get infested.
A state of negentropy (good order, shape, and the like) may be hard to attain, even though it may be well worth striving for. In the body, many, many cells, organs, and organ systems work along in great synergy. Good life depends on it.
Also, in an organisations that turns toward sectarianism, not just a single leader may be to blame. "It takes two to tango".
So, suppose an alien guru taught a dozen things that do not make sense, has erroneous notions and ill-adapted slogans that in time put many men and women off a the beaten track - a few grave errors might suffice to "do the trick" or havoc.
Cry to drive God Mama away if you can
Let me give an example: "Cry to Divine Quiver Mom and she will come," exhorts Yogananda. You may get awfully disappointed with God Mom if you cry (bleat) a lot and she refuses to come. [More]
That is one side of the problem of his cry-for-Mother-like-a-naughty-baby teachings. They have nothing to do with mature yoga meditation, and do not reflect real love. Another problem may set in if she does come and says she does not like you. What then? It happened during a Christmas meditation at the SRF headquarters.
Every year, on the day before Christmas, the disciples would gather with Yogananda at the headquarters for meditation. The session would usually last all day and into the evening hours. During the Christmas meditation in 1948 the Divine Mother appeared to Yogananda, and the awed disciples heard him speaking to Her. Many times he exclaimed, with a deep sigh: "Oh, you are so beautiful!"
To repeat the question: What if she appears and says she does not like you? Then you may have bothered her at a risk of getting disheartened, and may have wasted many years on begging for a view that you did not really need - provided that you had practised good meditation and improved yourself by adhering to good counsel, such as Buddha's. [Link].
It should not help to yell for God. Try to be mature, rather. What is held to be helpful, is to practice meditation.
Another thing: Do not let others exploit your feelings by "divine": If you have unresolved relationship issues - unfulfilled back-up from "dear mother, father, friend, beloved" and so on - the bet is that crying for Mom "up there" will not help, and could even derange you in the long run. It could work you harm. Seek professional help instead.
The "cry for God" is a "bug" let into the kriya teachings by the guru. Lots of bhakti (devotion) elements in it are Yogananda's work. And bhakti was not and is not a necessary part of the original kriya teachings. Besides, in a historical light, bhakti forms cults by and by. SRF has been observed to drift cultwards. And kriya yoga was not supposed to be cultish.
Initiation in kriya yoga establishes a bond that is said to be stronger than that between husband and wives in a harem. Also, "The believers in a Personal God . . . enjoy Him through many different attitudes [bhavas]: the serene attitude, the attitude of a servant, a friend, a mother, a husband, or a lover," says Ramakrishna. [Goa 254].
Ramakrishna further talks of three kinds of bhakti, or love of God: The better one makes no outward display and "loves privacy". Another sort makes a display of his devotion before others. A third sort is marked by the boisterousness of highway robbers, and by shouts as if by mad people. [Rap 494]
Yogananda's half-institutionalised "Cry for Divine Mother and she will come" appears to belong to the lowest type of devotion. SRF further makes a show of devotion (medium type) by its rigmarole, altar worship of Jesus, Krishna, and four more of its Christs, and things like that.
Yogananda's sincere opinion of an organisation was "a hornet's nest" (Autobiography, ch. 27). Then he started one.
Later, one third of his monastics left the SRF premises, and some put up a large discussion board online, the SRF Walrus.
Learn wisdom by the follies of others [Ap 366].
S-s-shake says the online SRF Walrus discussion board looks boring. Another that at least parts of the Walrus look like a swamp.
Much depends on our ability to see, next conclude.
An organisation should ideally nurture winning activity and cater to (some) higher truths without nonsense. If solid and well founded, it could nurse future leaders, including gurus. This outlook is conforms with the old Vedic student ashrama (life stage) too, and spiritual ashrams headed by a kind, loving gurudeva. On the other hand, faulty and messy teachings could work fine in a way if administered to enemies, but I do not recommend it.
I often think that perhaps seven to ten percent of the essential content of Yogananda's oratorial lecturing could work well if carefully put to decent use; it would depend on smartness. To consider its transfer value helps too.
Compliment Nice and Decent Postings
I figure that one of the things that may contribute to mar a good discussion board, is that we do not take the time to compliment and thank others for their likable contributions.
We can take time to agree and say what we like about other postings. That could gladden some and shield good feelings. More contributors could go for enforcing things that are lovely and decent - take the time.
It is at times a matter of directing focus. Looking at the lovely and not neglecting it may be a good thing to do.
Contrary to this sensible approach we write things in reply to postings that rub us the wrong way, to the end that discussion boards get censured.
Dealing with postings that rub us the wrong way we feel errors must be corrected at once - maybe so. And clumsily we neglect the gentler contributions that are in harmony or breathe good things -
Why not be glad that you do not fit in among cult victims? If not, you may get stuck in dealing with vile postings, nonsense postings, utterly distorted or biased outlooks, and soon there is no delight. On the Walrus, most posting guys have stopped posting for some of these reasons and probably many more, as many Walrus comments show.
Some cult "animals" do not dare to direct well-meaning criticism to the guy on top or to where criticism is really due. They hide behind pseudonyms and are afraid, some of them. Fear is a big problem in cults, according to findings.
Q: What else can we learn from such as the Walrus?
Hopping about: There is much "hopping about". One may focus on one subject and keep postings on the likely string, if there is a fair choice. Often there is none.
Too long strings. Nothing to be done with that, I am afraid - unless the board manager is up to the task and works as needed.
Change of subjects in a string: The string may then be divided in sections (new strings) by the board manager.
Q: What else can we learn?
Refrain from posting things that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, tortuous, defamatory, obscene, libelous, or invasive of another's privacy. What is called defamatory is not easy to deal with. Also visualise a worst case scenario for the sake of hindering that the worst may ever happen, or to limit impending damage.
Ap: Mieder, Wolfgang (main ed.), Stewart A. Kingsbury, and Kelsie E. Harder: A Dictionary of American Proverbs. (Paperback) New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Goa: Nikhilananda, swami, tr. The Gospel of Ramakrishna. Abridged ed. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1974.
Rap: Gupta, Mahendranath. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1942.
Spa: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Sayings of Paramahansa Yogananda. 4th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1980.
Tms: Self-Realization Fellowship. The Master Said: Sayings and Counsel to Disciples by Paramhansa Yogananda. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1957.
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