Mas: Self-Realization Fellowship. Golden Anniversary. Los Angeles: SRF, 1970.
Self-Realization Fellowship holds it was fifty years when this unpaginated publication of reminiscences appeared, although Yogananda had no other followers in 1920 than a Boston dentist. He was a Rosicrucian who on Christmas Eve that year came to Yogananda in the room that Yogananda rented, and asked to see light. There is no mention of forming a league or fellowship of any sort in what has surfaced from that Christmas and the days further, after Yogananda had moved in with the dentist's family in their house. Let us say for not that the founding year of SRF looks awfully suspicious. At any rate, what came to become Self-Realization Fellowship in late March 1935, was an unregistered fellowship with several names such as Sat Sanga, in the years between 1921 or so and 1935.
A little clarification of how questionable or ill-conceived the possibly backdated founding year may be, is on another page. [More]
Some juicy details are in the book by Rosser (Ttp), and other pieces of information are in a guidebook called In the Footsteps of Paramahansa Yogananda, 5th edition, by the Boston Meditation Group Historical Committee, compiled June 1989 and updated until September 2011, and published by the Boston Meditation Group of Self-Realization Fellowship in Waltham, MA. It is online.
Mem: Yogananda, Paramahansa. 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.
Pea: Yogananda, Paramahansa. 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. 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 Psy].
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 today.
Scf: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Scientific Healing Affirmations. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1958.
Scientific? Yogananda teaches you how to make regular, good use of the subconscious mind by visualisations and affirmations in order to stimilate healing, prevent diseases, and learn chanting on different levels. Loud, audible chanting should fade into whispers, and then to mental chanting, subconscious chanting, and superconscious chanting, he says. The same inward-turning process holds good for mantra chanting too. The guru claims that mental methods are superior to material ones [that would depend a lot on the disease, though]. [p. 31, 53]
Example: "O Heavenly Father, O Cosmic Mother, / O Master mine, O Friend Divine, / . . . I am Thy child, Thou are my Father; / We both do dwell, we both do dwell, / In temple same, / In this temple of cells, / Oh, in this temple of cells." [p. 44]
PS. If a tip should be given a: We may well dispense with the 'O's and 'Oh's, and not automatically think that croaking or parroting largely archaic ways of speaking - copying older versions of the Bible - is more spiritual, holier and better than hay for the cows to chew on during a long winter. Better get to solid meanings.
Another tip or three: Christopher Hansard has written books on Tibetan ways of doing some of these things and others. Three books:
I will show you how to develop and use skilful thought energy in order to create benefits and success in specific areas of your life . . .
From the history: The last decade or so shows Hansard helped many persons to criticise him and encourage other critics, and perhaps to develop more critical consciousness. As time went by, many antagonistic voices were silenced, while selling advertising remained.
"Buyer beware." Apply a little sound, critical thinking to avoid falling for marketing efforts of others and be considerate enough. Some fail in that. Yet we often derive benefits from looking above skirmishes or lies to get to silver or benefits. Books help some of us. Yet, more than reading, repeating words or phrases, and attending to courses may be needed.
Apply with care to get beneficial by and large.