Hos: Yukteswar, Swami Sri. The Holy Science. 7th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1972.
The Holy Science was a book whose overall program was given the author to carry out. The result is not as good as proselytes would have it: the book contains grave errors of outlook and other flaws that are presented and commented here: [yukteswar.html].
Iss: Yogananda, Paramahansa. In the Sanctuary of the Soul. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1998.
A guide to prayer by someone who thinks you should increase your "demand power" by yoga, praying wisely, cultivating inner peace, and concentrating on your real needs. When you do it well, God "will satisfy your every desire when you are one with Him. Your wildest dreams will come true," says Yogananda [p. 66].
The thing to observe: "Get one with God first". High meditation is for that. The Bhagavad Gita teaches it is a "one-in-some millions" thing, so setting off ample time for deep meditation as time goes by - or life and life goes by, as the case may be, is good. Some things take time to mature. A quick fix is not always recommended. And suppose your wildest dreams had better not come true? Compare the movie Jurassic Park and the dreams you wake up from in alarm
Yogananda also told, "I don't pray. That may seem a strange thing to say [Ak 121]." So we are dealing with someone who does not pray, but speaks at length on how to do it!" If we first face it, then we may come to wonder, for example like this: "Maybe some dreams will come true, maybe the dreams of others, and dreams of others that oppose mine. What then?"
One had better avoid being manipulated or twisted in one's outlooks. "Fair play is a jewel," is a proverb. Anyway, the prayer way is open, and "every little helps someone . . ."
The main method Yogananda vouches for, is related to the yoga method of samyama (sanyama), mentioned by Patanjali [3:4 ff]. During samkalpa one focuses in deep meditation on something in order to make it real, manifest (get) it. That is the key to the guru's method.
Jse: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Journey to Self-realization: Discovering the Gift of the Soul. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2000.
The third volume in the set of collected talks and essays on a variety of subjects by Yogananda. "Journey" can and should be replaced by "awakening", though. The publishers claim Yogananda is "one ouf our era's most revered and trusted guides to the spiritual life." [BC]. They also teach the current era is not much enlightened, but there are exceptions. [The documentation].
What is praised and trusted in a quite dark era, may be looked down on by good gurus and many enlightened guys.
"Trusted guide" - one should comment it by "Not by me," when that is the case. I learnt the hard way that some SRF-ers do not live up to Yogananda's "Sincerity is one of the things I prize most . . . I have always appreciated constructive criticism." His disciples are rather "yes people" in a rather authoritarian setting. [p. 134, 135]
Lfb: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Living Fearlessly: Bringing Out Your Inner Soul Strength. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2003.
A few episodes that highlights Yogananda's own "soul strength" may too easily be overlooked: "You must stand unshaken amidst the crash of breaking worlds," he declared from his own hotel's balcony once [Mas].
Another time he had been asked by a mother to hold her new-born baby just a little. He did, but suddenly he couldn't hold it any more, he just couldn't do it. He almost dropped it. He had to hand it back at once. "I almost dropped it, for God suddenly revealed to me that that baby had been a cruel murderer in a previous life." [Ak 222]
This becomes even more strange when we consider that he often told he himself had been the mass murderer William the Conqueror in a previous life. William's deathbed confession contains, "I . . . am stained from the rivers of blood I have shed . . . It is out of my power to count all the injuries which I have caused during the sixty-four years of my troubled life."
Yogananda's biographer has this one: In yet another life, he was a vicious and murderous desert marauder. While describing this, Yogananda shivered with horror from time to time. [Psy 112]
A fit lesson is: "Don't be taken in by parading words alone, for they may be what old cults live by."