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Section of The Muse Melpomene by Nicolas-René Jollain. Modified.
A duping fellowship that makes one wear masks of conformity, may stultify one's human growth.

The Group of Cooperation-and-Competition

Cooperating and competing, more will follow. Different group climates are built when slight envy or slight tolerance gains momentum. A good leader also manages processes toward the sort of group climate that helps members and does not hurt a lot of them.

A group

In social psychology, a group is a dynamic entity of a certain duration. Beyond this there are some broad classifications of what groups are. There is a chance this knowledge may eventually serve you.

Several dilemmas go together

One may leave one's group or fellowship for many reasons. Some problems appear before leaving, and some afterwards - perhaps. There are some things that could be helpful to know of at least before entering a group, and perhaps before leaving it, if that is doable. Arne Sjølund wrote a book on group psychology with conclusions that may still help our understanding.

A person's behavior is determined not only by his orher psychological build or make-up, but also to a high degree by relationships to other people. (Sjølund 1992:11)

In a group the runs well, there is no conflict between the parties or members. (Sjølund 1992:30)

Group dynamics may eventually be built up and controlled by educational means, if one has knowledge of group dynamics and is aware of what goes on in the group. If we abolish an authoritarian leadership (tyranny) and avoid adding harmful pressure on the group, and if we abolish harmful forms of competition, and replaces such things with group-oriented leadership, cooperation and a common, all right goal to work towards, then authoritarian pecking may be replaced by members recognising one anothers on quite equal terms - if the setting makes for it. Thus single members may better recognise and accept individual differences without exerting pressure to conform. (Sjølund 1992:31, 36.)

How groups are governed, differ. A long series of studies and observations have shown that "the psychological climate" in a group depends, among other things, on the kind of leadership that the group is influenced by. Three extremes are sorted out here: (Sjølund 1992:24

  • Authoritarian groups and what they do to people. Some groups have distinctive "top figures" and a pronounced hierarchy, even "scapegoats". Under an authoritarian leadership, where the leader decides everything and group members get dictated what to do, a pecking order will be firmly established among the group members, with some resulting distance between them too. Authoritarian leadership is associated with dictatorship, which presupposes permanent places for people in the social order. The security of members in an authoritarian group depends on pleasing leaders or others in prominent positions. Pleasing "upwards" can reinforce a tendency to look down on those who are ranked below them in the pecking order. This tendency tends to "scapegoating". The more group members are concerned with battles for ranks and positions in the group, the less tolerant they are against each other, and the more they look down on each other. Also, the more pressure that is put on a group, the firmer its ranking-order and the more "pecking", and the less tolerant one can afford to be towards others. (Sjølund 1992:"23-26, 27-28 passim)

  • Laissez-faire groups may breed insecurity or nervousness. Groups where the group members' assessments of each other are more "alike", can have a lot freedom from being told what to do, that is, freedom from the management, and up to a random interplay of forces or influences. Such a group does not have any organised leadership, with the result that members are more or less uncertain, and nearly anarchic conditions prevail.

  • Groups with group-oriented (also called democratic) leadership. Such groups are neither strictly managed nor non-managed. The leader(s) and the group members speak together about things, they seek to make each person involved, understand what the group is about, realising what makes it legitimate and needed. In such groups, members regard one another more as equals. The more equal or like one another people in the group are, the more tolerant they get towards "those who are different." The more tolerant can differ from the less tolerant by a greater need for independence, along with less need to dominate others. They show more kindness, and feel a need to be socially useful, are more accepting, There is a pervading us-feeling, a feeling of fellowship, among members, a feeling that authoritarian groups sully, dwarf, or corrode. (Sjølund 1992:25, 26, 29, passim)

    Group life

    1. Members shares motives or goals, which determine the direction the group is moving.
    2. Members develop a set of norms that mark the limits of the mutual relations (interpersonal relations) that can be established and what may be done.
    3. If the interaction goes on, a set of roles is stabilised, or several of role sets, and the group stands out more than before from other groups.
    4. A network of mutual attraction develops, based on whether members like each other or not. (All: 36-37)

    Opposing forces (interests and a lot else) in the group may keep it moving nowhere. (Sjølund 1992:37)

    A group may also swerve from one or more of its original goals, and be mismanaged, as the case may be (Sjølund 1992:37)

    The overriding purpose of a group determines how it is structured, its goals and leadership. (Sjølund 1992:37)

    Primary and secondary groups

    The groups that usually mean the most to a person, the groups that characterise us most, are the small groups where everybody knows each other, the so-called primary groups. They are marked by more or less continuous and direct contacts between members. The social interaction is marked by intimacy and reciprocity - close relations and intimate cooperation, often face to face.

    In larger groups, so-called secondary groups (cultural circle, sport group, etc.), relationships are quite random and often result from some particulal tasks or interests rather than from long-lasting bonds. Such larger groups influence members less than their primary groups; the members are not as close to each other. Still, the feeling of belonging to a group like this, may be a decisive influence for the single member. (Sjølund 1992:38)

    Formal and informal groups

    We also sort groups according to how formally they are organised.

    A formal group has a specific purpose, and as a rule is somewhat impersonal. It is equipped with rules and regulations for the group function, the choice of leaders, etc. Management is established and functioning in accordance with more or less detailed rules and laws. In such a group individuality does not count for anything. Group members are merely cogs in the machine and can be replaced.

    Informal groups are formed spontaneously by two or more persons out of a common interest or a mutual personal dependence. In such groups the individual's position is not determined by rules and regulations, but result from individuality and interaction with the other members. Such groups are for friendships and companionships. Individuality matters too. Such groups change with changing conditions and member bonds. The degree of intimacy between members can also vary. (Sjølund 1992:39)

    A formal and the informal group formation may coincide where the real goals and norms are not different.

    Reference groups and membership groups

    For understanding of the behavior of a given group member: Although a single member of a group is usually strongly influenced by the group, this is not always so. This shows a need to distinguish between reference groups and membership groups. The reference group "stamps some mark" on a person's behaviour; is something he or she identifies with or as it aspires to.

    The reference group is often a group one is a member of, but it could also be a group one aspires to be a member of, a group with norms he or she therefore seek to live up to. If so, the groups delivers norms, and are normative. A reference group that one does not try to get assimilated in, but is used for comparisons, has what is called a comparative function. (Sjølund 1992:40)

    On Guard

    It pays to be on guard. The issue here is whether deep, revolving problems experienced as a group member are resolved by leaving it, after finding that it has many of the characteristics of a cult. And then one has to decide whether one is to be like an oyster or a magpie about it or go for something else, such as lifting the skirts of "Good Old Mothers" to study a little. Few are willing to go that far and talk much of what they saw, maybe like little Ole:

    The teacher was writing some sentences on the blackboard when she dropped her chalk. As she bent over to pick it up, little Arnie piped up, "Teacher, I can see two inches above your knee."

    Outraged, the teacher said, "Arnie, for your impertinence you are expelled from school for one week."

    Shortly, the teacher dropped the chalk again and bent over to pick it up. This time little Ralph spoke up, "Teacher, I can see four inches above your knee."

    Infuriated once again, the teacher ordered little Ralph to be expelled for two weeks. Ten minutes later the teacher once again dropped the chalk; and again, stooped over to pick it up. As she raised up, she noticed little Ole grabbing his school books and heading toward the door.

    "Ole, where are you going?" asked the teacher.

    Answered Ole: "I'm going home teacher, my school days are over." (Stangland 1995:115)

    To study something opens for decisions the world over.

    From bad to worse - a possibility

    Suppose you find out things about a cult and and its leaders that are not to your liking, after you at first felt fortunate and laughing. As a sworn-in member you may or may not be bound by a ruthless oath, where "Your word is your bond. (Sicilian Proverb)." Suppose you were misled, for example by far-fetched and preposterous claims, or claims, and that you wake up too late, after being sworn in against "Do not swear," by Jesus of the gospel - Jesus, a claimed figure among Christians, although he said his teachings and ministry, salvation and Kingdom were for Jews only (Matthew 5:1-9; 15:24). Besides, the Missionary Command at the end of Matthew is a later-added piece of forgery in the early church. Junk!

    Suppose you consider the evidence, and take other common sense with you in your life. Then you laugh at those who say the world - with them in it - is illusory.

    The US writer and philosopher Margaret Fuller (1810-50) once cried out enthusiastically, "I accept the universe."

    Hearing of this, Thomas Carlyle, the Scottish historian, snarled, "By God, she'd better!" (Fadiman 1985)

    Who has an Illusory Fellowship member sworn to be loyal to? Being illusory is less than being glorious -

    If you were a Christian when entering, and felt you could enter since Jesus was said to be in it, and you later study his words in the gospels against having other masters than Jesus, and warnings against false messiahs (christs), and that the teachings of Jesus were for Jews only, you see you have been fooled, but not only fooled, tied also. And not only tied for one life, but for possible future lives.

    Be careful with whom you believe in

    The guys who seek to be bosses overyou by talk without good evidence, keep them away from your home and also your wallet, so as to avoid being robbed and worse in the name of religion.

    Yes, there is a risk of getting fooled somewhere by someone. The art of living includes avoiding ties that drag us down all life long, and does not stop there -

    Grave things may have a funny coating.

    To top

    Getting Closer to a Showdown

    This has been eked out for all

    Here is the further problem: The group you are in, may say you are free to leave - they could get known as law-breakers against Human Rights laws otherwise. Still they hold and have published as a belief: "you will have to come back sooner or later". If so, that looks like a creed. Study an example:

    Paramahansa Yogananda teaching "There is only one guru uniquely the devotee's own. But if you turn away from the emissary of God, He silently asks: 'What is wrong with you, that you foolishly leave the one I have sent to help you learn the divine science of the soul? Now you shall have to wait long, and prove yourself, before I shall respond again.' He who cannot learn through the wisdom and love of his God-ordained guru will not find God in this life. Several incarnations at least must pass before he will have another such opportunity."

    - Paramahansa Yogananda, SRF magazine, Spring 1974, p 6. From a talk at Mother Centre, 8/17/39

    Is that a dirge at the funeral of your soul independence? It goes against the handling that Yogananda himself got by his guru, Yukteswar: Yogananda was told he could leave if he found it fit.

    One reason to leave Yogananda could be: "He often said he was crazy. Crazy folks may be dangerous to be with." [Yogananda's "We are crazy" talk]. He also hailed dictatorship in his own magazine (1934). In and around SRF there is also a good deal of sayings circulating, where Yogananda claims this and that on behalf of his former lives. It seems to be fit to tell that he claimed he had once been Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita (Mahabharata), and as such at least partially more or less enlightened by Krishna as Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita's chap. 11.

    However, if that be true, the soul of Yogananda later fell from whatever elevated levels that had been given him. Afterwards it appears the soul of Yogananda (1) fell and fell into being the unreliable, ruthless, greedy and mutilating tyrant we call William the Conqueror. (2) Yogananda said with a shiver he had been a vicious and murderous desert marauder too, as recorded by his biographer. (Dasgupta 2006:112)

    Consider this well: Yogananda found it fit to hail Mussolini and dictatorship on his way too. Too sad to find out of that Yogananda was for fascism and dictatorship in the 1930s only after enrolled as his underling, bound for lifetimes at worst.

    A sleeping student helped Yogananda to sleep . . .

    The guru-founder of Self-Realization Fellowship was troubled by seeing ghosts, tells his biographer: One night Yogananda screamed out from his room. He said that a cot penetrated through his closed door and a horrific being was seated on that cot. From that time on, a student would sleep in a separate cot in his room. Yogananda said that if he slept alone, he saw many different beings, and some of the times he woke up in fear (Dasgupta 2006:112). What will become of Yogananda in future lives, one may guess at. If a former pattern of being a notorious killer and crazy guy is repeated, getting help could dwindle and fall apart. It might be a possibility. Is it so sure that Yogananda favours people, including his sworn-in follower disciples? Is it so sure that his Jesus is among the SRF gurus against teachings of Jesus in the Bible?

    A ghost on a cot scared Yogananda a lot, the later world guru.

    Screaming "Ghost! Ghost!" could be a sign of an imbalance, but doesn't necessarily mean they're coming for you in reality. There is often more to take into account too.

    Babaji Shifts His Promise

    Babaji, a promise-shifter

    Is it sure that the kriya oath will work if Babaji shifts his promise once again? Yogananda tells he assumes supreme responsibility for kriya yogis. 'Assume' has many meanings. pretend, feign. Those who believe this means he takes responsibility, trust Yogananda's words in the matter, such as: "Babaji consented . . . to assume life-after-life responsibility for the spiritual welfare of . . . Kriya Yogis . . . initiated by . . . Kriya teachers (Yogananda 1971:323n)"

    But those who brood over Yogananda books may soon discover that in once place of Yogananda's famous Autobiography of a Yogi, Babaji changes a wondrous promise he had given, and why? Because of a trifle, as he called it. He did it to a follower, Lahiri, according to Autobiography of a Yogi, chap. 34 . But in SRF the guru-given airy belief is that Babaji takes responsibility - "Babaji compassionately promised to assume life-after-life responsibility for the spiritual welfare of all faithful and loyal Kriya Yogis who have been initiated by duly authorized Kriya teachers." Autobiography of a Yogi (13th ed. Los Angeles: Self- Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1998:276n).

    [Yes, it says that Babaji broke his word for a trifle.]

    Lahiri Mahasaya, according to Yogananda:

    "As I knelt the next morning at my guru's feet [Babaji's feet] for a farewell blessing, he sensed my deep reluctance to leave him.

    "'There is no separation for us, my beloved child.' He touched my shoulder affectionately. 'Wherever you are, whenever you call me, I shall be with you instantly.'

    "Consoled by his wondrous promise . . .

    "I spent a few days with a Bengali family in Moradabad . . . I felt impelled to relate my miraculous experiences in the Himalayas [with Babaji, who had called forth a palace in a night and made it disappear just as fast]. The little company was politely incredulous. . . .

    "I spoke without due thought. 'if I call him, my guru will appear right in this house.' . . . I asked for a quiet room and two new woolen blankets.

    "'The master will materialize from the ether,' [ether, a tricky thing] I said. 'Remain silently outside the door; I shall soon call you.'

    "I sank into the meditative state, humbly summoning my guru. The darkened room became filled with a dim, soothing glow; the luminous figure of Babaji emerged.

    "'Lahiri, do you call me for a trifle?' The master's gaze was stern. . . . 'Let me go!'" and "Henceforth, my son, I shall come whenever you need me; not always when you call me.'" (Autobiography of a Yogi 1998:277-78)

    Babaji's wondrous-looking first promise was cancelled for a trifle - What Babaji reportedly calls a trifle, was perhaps not really so in the light of Yogananda's: "Distinctions of "important" and "unimportant" are surely unknown to the Lord, lest, for want of a pin, the cosmos collapse!" (Op.cit, p. 72). Be that as it may, whether the trifle was a trifle or something else, Babaji broke his word - that he would come to Lahiri whenever called by him. Lahiri did not break any promise or deal - but was reprimanded. As Swami Satyananda writes about this incident in chapter 3 of his Lahiri biography:

    Even such a great being and avatar can succumb to error; they are also not beyond reprimand! (2001, chap. 3)

    There we have a testimony that the guru that Yogananda tells assumes supreme responsibility for many kriya yogis, also breaks his word, even over a trifle. That looks bad.

    We had better take care that beliefs do not amount to making us crazy or small.

    As for Yogananda, the faith-giver, his biographer Sailendra Dasgupta writes that "Yoganandaji was a many who lived in the world of imagination and spiritual [?] feelings. Towards the end, he often did not perceive a difference between the two." (Psy 99)

    Once again, better take care. Yogananda was helped to write and edit his autobiography "towards the end".

    Think about it before becoming old in a "crazy gang", for if you wake up only after going for the bait, you have got on the hook and may not like what happens further. "What are the chances this goes well?" may come too late when you are gasping for air, feeling out of your waters, maybe swindled, misled and fooled, and at worst to no avail. The good reasons not to take one of the many baits and want assumed shelter, may be less helpful if you are on the hook.

    "The Crazy Gang" has nothing to do with Wimbledon F. C. here.

    Undocumented, undocumented - beware. Not all tales are totally true

    Fair and decent information gives a basis for straightforward opinions. Let them be mature and well informed. See how "several incarnations" are talked of by someone who told nobility-fancying followers this and that without any good evidence.

    Based on Yogananda's past life claims, the tyrant William came after his subsumed enlightenment as Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita (Chap. 11). That means the soul (jiva) of Arjuna fell and fell in future lives, and ended up falling short at documenting past lives all right also . . . Sober evidence that Yogananda told the truth when he told of past lives is hard to find, if at all. That is another snag.

    Then what if the soul that was called Yogananda takes other rounds into murderous, vicious, brutish and greedy activities from his death onwards? Such a plot or turn might turn ugly for his loyalty-sworn followers, or what?

    Be that as it may, undocumented stories of past lives may serve ulterior motives.

    Do well and document past lives if you make claims of them.

    Stuck? Here is a way out, at least in theory

    Giving up or getting stuck might both give rise to problems. (1) Attachments and fears of the mundane sort are to be considered; (2) A prospect of being bound to the guru for lifetimes has to be dealt with too.

    Solution 1. Get enlightened! Afterwards, leaving SRF on a mundane level is not a real problem as long as the world with SRF and its gurus are illusory - humbug. - It is their teachings - all the four SRF gurus teach it.

    If you are well enlightened, you know what Yogananda is about around the bend or corner - since the future is in the Self, according to his disciple Kriyananda (2010:Feb. 2), and an enlightened one has access to it if so desired. That is the teaching of Yogananda too: the future is now - He says it in Sayings of Paramahansa Yogananda: "The past and the future, though invisible, remain in the deeps of God. He reveals their secrets to devotees who are in tune with Him." (p. 55).

    Solution 2. Advance still better. "Invisible" does not exclude "feelable" or "sensable", though. He writes somewhere that he "stood in the land unveiled, and found streams of rushing, glistening thoughts, felt rippling thoughts of millenniums – of born and unborn civilizations . . . All futurity danced in me." (Yogananda 2008, No. 212). "All futurity", that cannot be little.

    By getting Self-realised, enlightened, awakened, you get tall, good proficiencies - that is the teaching here. Patanjali Yoga Sutras, book 3, tells of many of them. Further, if you get enlightened enough, it may not be interesting for you to know ahead how Yogananda will appear again and how good or bad he will be, if so - for example.

    Here I have pointed to a good solution and follow-ups. However, the great and delicate solution may not be gained in a few months. And proof is hard to get by here, and there are facades to be reckoned with.

    A parrot may render many teachings. A question is if the parrot has the deep understanding. Another question is why good yoga lore vexes some troubled people.

    Wearing SRF masks, is that a problem?

    It depends on which SRF we are referring to, just to make it clear.

    Moreover, the masks that are spoken of here, are not physical masks put in front of one's face and body somewhat like shields, but other "things" one may unthinkingly put on "like the others". 'Mask' refers to conduct, clothing, body stances, ways of grimacing and speaking too, if it is not genuinely "from oneself".

    In psychoanalytical theory there are many mental processes and formations that make the mind able to reach compromise solutions to problems that it is unable to resolve. Such largely unconscious compromises tend to involve hiding from oneself such internal drives or feelings that threaten to lower self-esteem or provoke anxiety. The psychoanalyst views defense mechanisms as part of every neurotic structure. But defensive activity is in itself considered no sign of pathology. [EB (Encyclopaedia Britannica), sv. "defence mechanism"]


    suggests one is sustaining a wrong notion that a situation is pleasing or good (idyllic), while it is not. Opposed to it, "moving on" serves some, but there are good ways to do it and other ways. The move-on issue has loomed for some time among SRF members under their guru Yogananda. Attachment of a non-beneficial kind can be hard to combat, and that is one more basic problem to many. The Bhagavad Gita (2:47; 3:19 etc.) suggests that attachment can hinder freedom.

    Some are told that detaching oneself from a SRF is to enter the mire of the world. So far the world is not all mire, so beware of "doctrination astray". It is another problem for ex-cult members. And in the world there are lists of movements, cults and sects too. Yogananda and SRF are in a governmental list of movements (with cults included). [◦Governmental Belgian report]

    In the large society one can come across differences of opinions and a materialistic, tough go that is too hard on many; that is true.

    To top


    Gleanings Centred on Moving On

    The winds can blow cold and life become tougher than thought of. Most of the following gleanings are from a discussion board. In the clippings that are brought into a light and easily digestible system here, the "move on"-emphasis has been added for easy identification. Comments are added.

    LoYou are to drop the emotional attachments to Yogananda the sooner the better

    A. Stop drawling "move on" indiscriminatingly

    Dwapara Yuga keeps moving forward inexorably. [Should Free (1/20/02 11:41 pm)]

    COMMENT: The post has a rather fatalistic ring to it. It presents the concept of time periods, eras, or yugas. Ask: "What is the good proof that the Bronze Age (Dwapara) is here now; or the Age of Aquarius?"

    One ancient scripture says that satya yuga also called krita yoga and "the Golden Age" is the highest era, and is with great yogis anyhow, no matter which era is otherwise at play. A truthful and just fellow and a fellow who accomplishes his worthy aims righteously represent Satya, as so do great souls preoccupied with Vedic austerities, teaching worthy students and further, says the Manu Samhita (1:80-86):

    The various ways in which a king behaves [resemble] the Krita, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali ages; hence the king is identified with the ages (of the world). Sleeping he represents the Kali (or iron age), waking the Dvapara (or brazen) age, ready to act the Treta (or silver age), but moving (actively) the Krita (or golden) age. [9:301-302]

    Moving on means many different things. Some drop SRF but stick to Yogananda, and some leave both SRF and its hovering Yogananda.

    Leaving one's identity-fostering group, like SRF is a guilt issue and also a giver of loss. Loss gives grief, but grief may be dealt fairly with, say James and Friedman (2009)

    B. Maybe moving on does not work

    Could you please post the contact info for the Pasadena therapist . . . ? He/she is obviously familiar with SRF and the many issues that have arisen for those who struggle to move on. [InSearch (1/12/02 7:34 pm)]

    It just may be that the SRF environment just did not work for many people, monastics and lay members, alike . . . As the former Sister Dhriti allegedly said to her fellow nuns, "I am leaving because I can no longer grow spiritually in this place." [chuckle chela (10/29/02 7:48 pm)]

    I have moved on to another guru, but I am still working all this out in my head, trying to understand it all. [nagchampa2 (2/11/04 5:28 pm)]

    COMMENT: A cult may cause or aggravate many problems for members who (a) did not adapt full well in the large society, and (c) did not adapt full well in the cult setting.

    Alfred Adler proposes that a person is mentally healthy if he is able to function well in a society (in Sirnes 1968:11). Put differently, allowing for more facets of it, "the Adlerian approach can be categorized as cognitive, systemic, existential, and psychodynamic. More recently, . . . some Adlerians have begun describing it as a constructivist or constructionist theory and therapy." (Carlson et al, 2007:269)

    Implied in Adler's bottom line that frictionless adaptation to society is a good thing and sign of a healthy mind, is that the society is good. But that view is too naive, and dangerous if the society is pernicious, primitive, totalitarian, unjust etc., and those who live in it are unsound of mind and body too, for example. Adapting to a degrading society may work for one's ruin. A healthy individual may work against his society's overt shortcomings or try to lift it up somehow. And in a case of discord, the most stubborn one's may win, even a single person, and even a healthy, single individual.

    In short, the simplistic, faulty view that a person is healthy mentally if he behaves like most of his fellows, should be gainsaid, according to Abraham Maslow. He points out that the so-called average person is not the paragon or example of health in every way. Far from it. At markets of fools, few are winners.

    Further, Maslow sought to identify better humans and termed them plus variants (deviatons from the average on the positive side of the Gauss curve). His very interesting findings are incorporated in Motivation and Personality as its chapter 11, "Self-actualizing People: A Study of Psychological Health" (Maslow 1987:125-49).

    The Lonely Crowd

    That takes us to The Lonely Crowd (1950). It is a sociological analysis by David Riesman, Nathan Glazer, and Reuel Denney, and is considered a landmark study of American character.

    Riesman and his colleages identify and analyse three main cultural types: the tradition-directed; other-directed; and inner-directed. The authors say that society changes from a tradition-directed culture with social types obeying fixed rules to the present one, which is more challenging. Consumer "culture" and material abundance in the United States were accompanied by a shift away from traditional forms to keeping up with the Joneses somehow in things consumed, ways of spending time, and so on. Riesman and his co-workers found that such "other-directed" people would accommodate others to gain approval, and that large organisations preferred this type of personality, in America. And large parts of the world have copied Americans widely and also oddly, without considering the risks involved.

    By the 1940s, the other-directed guys were beginning to dominate society. This type of social personality dominates the large society, and may be rather easy to identify as restricted in knowing themselves. Thereby their autonomy is also compromised. The Lonely Crowd also holds that an other-directed society faces profound deficiencies in leadership, individual self-knowledge, and human potential.

    Thus: Being or looking like "all the others" one compared with and competes with, is not really the full measure of success. It may also lead into being successless. It depends on one's potential too. In somewhat congenial conditions, autonomy can grow out of being outer-directed, the authors hope. (Riesman, Glazer and Denney, 1961:260 etc.)

    Now, conformism may be good up to a level, so-so, or bad and very dangerous and ruinous. It depends on how the society is, how the people one is surrounded by and supposed to adapt to, are too. People of robust health may in fact defy a wicked, degrading society that is peopled with fools who think they are good - and by their sheer numbers they are average citizens . . . But according to Abraham Maslow, common people are rarely a good yardstick of man's inherent capacity, for many live unfulfilled lives. Maslow (1987, chap. 11) sought out the hallmarks of elite persons instead, and what he detected, gladdened him. After all, he saw the "direction to move, a direction of hope".

    Health concerns mind, body, and adaptations in the environment. Now compare the saying, "Cheat me once, shame on you. Cheat me twice, shame on me." The planet is not well run by and large. It suggests that mankind is footlose and needs a sound, inner foundation.

    Just to move on without enough regard for the holistic health and our common foundation, the sustaining planet, may do more good than harm - or more harm than good - depending on one's luck and other factors, unforeseen ones included.

    Those who defend moving on by lack of (registered) spiritual growth, have to deal with the official attitude of SRF in the matter: that spiritual growth is not always easy to note, not always easy to become aware of, that it may take time to some, and so on. This line of thinking serves to comfort some. But the same argument is valid for spiritual retrogression and degradation too. The impoverishments deep inside can be so subtle and devious that the victims of a groaning fare do not become aware of them for tens of years, even. It is a theoretical possibility.

    You can help yourself to keep your soundness by many means. They include dream interpretations, and feeling deeply into subjects - Carl Rogers' method - as they come your way. Knowledge of what marks moral development could also be a help, even a comfort. Maslow finds, again, that the common man and woman are not the best witnesses around. The best witnesses distort less and register more true to fact than most people. They are more clear-headed. They look like Winners in Transactional Analysis (TA). Maslow thinks that

    "serious" people are coming so close together as to suggest that they are becoming a single party of mankind, the earnest ones, the seeking, questioning, probing ones, the ones who are not sure, the ones with a "tragic sense of life," the explorers of the depths and of the heights, the "saving remnant." . . . Almost, we could say, we wind up with adults . . . (Maslow 1964, chap. 8)

    Maslow sees it fit to "produce the good human being, to foster the good life and the good society. Renouncing this is like renouncing the reality and the desirability of morals and ethics [Ibid]."

    You have to matter to be heard, most likely. Therefore, do not give away your hard-won assets.

    Here is a deep problem: Yogananda has tied those who swallowed his bait and became members of his SRF church. A tight kriya pledge could scare many from leaving, since Alf says that several incarnations, at least, must pass before one is given another such glorious chance as by formal entry into the SRF Church. There are hard facts at the bottom of this. You find them by following the links.

    LoFind out what suits yourself best. Soaring is not unfit for a bird of prey, and swimming and diving for a dolphin, and so further

    C. Maybe you ought to move on if you are deeply changed thereby

    Maybe its time to move on for your peace. [cf. premdas (2/14/02 9:19 pm)]

    Some have suffered greatly at the hands of SRF . . . I wonder how. [member108 (10/4/02 9:55 pm)]

    COMMENT: Many attitudes of grumbling disciples appear to be encompassed by: "Take and grab, take and grab, not so much give and share any more." Buddha's counsels, if well followed, tends to one's worth and the building of resources both within and without so that you can live well, married or not.

    SRF nowadays seldom or never bring up that Yogananda advocated dictatorship and hailed Mussolini in 1934, but he did. [Evidence]. Simply, the sayings that a church endorses, are selected to not undermine that church. The Game of Selectivity is found.

    Some have suffered greatly because of the SRF cult. But maybe most of those who never get out of the cult, suffer too - within, in silence, brooding, and all that.

    As for Yogananda's favourite brotherhood colonies - meaning self-serving communities - they have been greatly abandoned by the current management.

    D. Older folks may get uncovered and disturbed by moving

    The teachings in SRF [are] making subtle remarks about all the negative things that will happen if you leave the path, kriya, Yogananda etc. . . . this is a very scary thing for a lot of people . . . [gardendiva (6/29/02 7:19 am)]

    COMMENT: Asking for donations was a typical SRF thing.

    Without honesty to oneself, how can self-knowledge be?

    LoWhile trying to understand scams and set-ups of others, favour yourself while you have such chances

    E. Both hanging out and moving on may cost a lot

    After having been involved with Yogananda and SRF for around twenty years, then becoming informed, disillusioned and now finally feeling like I've moved on, I now feel [something] . . . [milkherenow (11/14/03 10:41 am)]

    Even though many other groups came forward with declarations against SRF having the copyright on self-realization . . . SRF was not able to accept it. [Pig Ma (3/9/02 7:01 am)]

    COMMENT: Three approaches appear:

    1. Move on and try to sort out things from then on.
    2. Try to understand things before taking further action.
    3. Move while you try to sort out things - as you are in a hurry.

    Summary: Quite as in Zen training

    IN SUM
    1. If you can drop unsavoury id-based emotional leader attachments, go for it the sooner the better.
    2. Find out what suits you best. Soaring is not unfit for a bird of prey, or swimming and diving for a dolphin, and so on.
    3. While trying to understand scams and set-ups of others, favour yourself while you have those chances.
    IN NUCE Drop leader attachments to find a deep friend by soaring or diving [= meditating] and swimming and understanding the chances of this and that too.
    Ripping off masks: It is advocated to read the summaries first, to get an inkling of the line of thinking involved and key "pegs" for one's mental associations.

    Further, I have not been consumed by conformist fear that the links on this page will not make sense -


Leaving SRF and Self-Realization Fellowship or Yogananda, Literature  

Ansbacher, Heinz L., and Rowena R. Ansbacher. The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler: A Systematic Presentation in Selections from His Writings. New York: Basic Books, 1956.

Carlson, Jon, Richard E. Watts and Richard Maniacci. Adlerian Therapy: Theory and Practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2006.

Dasgupta, Sailendra. Paramhansa Swami Yogananda: Life-portrait and Reminiscences. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2006. ⍽▢⍽ Also: Google Books, partial view.

Fadiman, Clifton, general ed. The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1985.

James, John W., and Russell Friedman. The Grief Recovery Handbook. 20th Anniversary Expanded ed. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.

Kriyananda, Swami. Living Wisely, Living Well: Timeless Wisdom to Enrich Every Day. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2010.

Maslow, Abraham. Motivation and Personality. 3rd ed. New York, HarperCollins, 1987, chap. 11, "Self-actualizing People: A Study of Psychological Health" (p. 125-49).

Maslow, Abraham. Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences. Columbus: Ohio State University, 1964.

Riesman, David, Nathan Glazer, and Reuel Denney The Lonely Crowd: A Study of the Changing American Character. London: Yale University Press, 1989. (or reprint ed. 2001)

Satyanananda, Swami. Yogiraj Shyama Charan Lahiri Mahasaya: A Biography. Tr Amitava Chaterjee. Portland, Maine: Yoganiketan, 2001. ⍽▢⍽ The biography has since been included in a book of four biographies, A Collection of Biographies of 4 Kriya Yoga Gurus (Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2006)

Sirnes, Tollak. - at vi skal elske hverandre. Oslo: Gyldendal, 1968.

Sjølund, Arne. Gruppepsykologi. Oslo: Ad Notam Gyldendal, 1992.

Stangland, R. C. Red Stangland's Norwegian Home Companion. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. (13th ed. Los Angeles: Self- Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1998:276n). ⸻. Sayings of Paramahansa Yogananda. 4th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1980. ⸻.. Whispers from Eternity. Ed. Kriyananda. 1st ed. Paperback. Nevada City: Crystal Clarity, 2008. Online. ⍽▢⍽ Yogananda's 1949 edition.

Self-Realization Fellowship gurus, SRF, To top Section Set Next

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