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Inner Peace: How to Be Calmly Active and Actively Calm. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1999.

The publishers, SRF, has made another selection of guru statements taken out of their original settings, and put them together under several headings. A basic yoga method for calming down is presented: "Sit . . . in a cross-legged position on a firm surface. Keep the spine straight and the chin parallel to the floor . . . to remain completely still, without moving a muscle." One is to maintain this posture to get a deep meditative state, he tells. [p. 30]

Breathing requires the use of the diaphragm, so do not "remain completely still", but breathe. You should, in other words, not take the directions too seriously. And if you don't breathe, you swoon pretty soon. You can read about the bio-functions of the medulla oblongata.

What if you have double cheeks and cannot get any of them parallel to the floor? Yogananda does not seem to tell what to do in that case, which affects so many, including himself. Also, there are many chin shapes. But he also tells you can sit on a straight chair with your feet parallel on the floor and your eyelids half closed or completely closed - and that is where many teachers of his own kriya yoga tradition disagree with him. They tell he made many changes to kriya yoga to get a public, for example. [See Dasgupta 2006].

Be that as it may, when you meditate well, your mind gathers and is not diffused for as long as it lasts. However, that focus depends on how you meditate. There are other body areas to focus on too. Yogananda simplified yoga teachings for a churchy Western audience that was largely stiff, but not as overweight as tomorrow.

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]

Living Fearlessly: Bringing Out Your Inner Soul Strength. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2003.

A few episodes that highlight 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 (Golden Anniversary, unpaginated). 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." [1982, 222]

This man also said he had been the mass-mutilating 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. [Dasgupta 2006, 112]

Parading words and looking good may be what old cults try to live by.

Man's Eternal Quest. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1986.

The first book of Yogananda's Collected Talks and Essays goes into a variety of subjects, including healing, death, and reincarnation. One could say the Hindu orator rattles off - he used to lecture unprepared and "seldom made even the slightest preparation for his lectures; if he prepared anything at all, it might consist of a factual note or two, hastily jotted down," according to SRF. [Ak xi-xii]

His theology mishmash is revealed in one chapter in particular, and discussed here: [Yogananda Christianity]. He applies concepts from Hindu philosophies, particularly the Sankhya and Vedanta philosophies, onto Christian teachings. The guru's solutions seem not to undermine Hindu canon, but large, central parts of common Christianity are gone. [cf. the just given link].

Metaphysical Meditations. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1964.

A tiny book of brief texts and capsules of thought. The author tells in the book that there are three types of meditations, as he calls demands, affirmations and pep-talk to oneself. They are supposed to be repeated slowly until they take on meanings, which may take time. There are also some directions, such as "Fix your mind inwardly between the eyebrows" [p. 51].

And all may work better in you or for you if you first learn to go deep inside through first-class meditation. Affirming (thinking) from the level you get to, may give far better results - that is a vital part of yoga and meditation teachings, as evidenced in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, in all the passages of samyama. Samyama is a means to gain hidden powers in yoga. It blends or actualises the three upper sides to his yoga simultaneously. The Sutras describe various 'powers' or 'perfections' (Sanskrit: siddhi) that a yogi may gain through well done samyama.

Yogananda presents watered-down teachings at best. It matters to go deep in meditation.

Sayings of Paramahansa Yogananda. 4th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1980

This is a later edition of formerly Sayings of Yogananda [1958] and The Master Said [1957 and 1953], but the pagination differs. In 1957 SRF wrote Paramhansa, they too.

Sayings of Yogananda and the second version of The Master Said have the same pagination. The latest edition, Sayings of Paramahansa Yogananda, is paged differently.

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Sometimes reading helps seeing, that is, understanding.

The victims of grandiloquence may get ensnared and fall into the hands of morally inferior ones.


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