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Sob: Self-Realization Fellowship. Paramahansa Yogananda in Memoriam. Los Angeles: SRF, 1958.

The Fellowship's own memorial booklet contains glimses and pictures of the guru's last days, tributes, and appreciations. Included is a notarised letter (a facsimile) that contains details of what actually happened after Yogananda died. Among other things it tells the body was enbalmed and a spot developed on his nose before his casket was closed and sealed. [Link]

And since present-days followers of Yogananda do not seem to know how he wrote his own title, there is reason to point to this SRF booklet for those who need evidence that it was Paramhansa, not Paramahansa, before he died. The efforts of SRF to change the title, in part by forgery, set in many years after his death, and it speaks volumes! In this booklet we see their efforts in full bloom. Whenever they can, they write "Paramahansa", but the real title shines through in photocopies of letters and tributes from those who knew him and paid tributes in the booklet.

Awkwardly, SRF has written out his clear handwriting below the tribute, and there it says "Paramahansa" in the place where Evans-Wentz uses "Paramhansa". Be informed: Forgery practice violates the rules of academic citation. [Sob 23; 35]

A photostat copy from a page in TIME news weekly (August 4, 1952 issue) reveals the weekly got his name right too: It is Paramhansa (written three times) not Paramahansa at all. [Sob 57]

Governor Goodwin J. Knight referred to his good friend Paramhansa Yogananda. [Sob 117]

In a letter from Mortuary Director Harry T. Rowe, which also is presented in photocopy in the SRF booklet, it is Paramhansa throughout. That is official. [Sob 121-24]

About five years after Yogananda's death SRF resolved to forge his signature and Rowe citations [eg. Ha 478] and others they cite, to conform to a notion that Paramahansa was more correct that Paramhansa. The fact is that there was no need for any citation swindles. Further, in current English, Paramahansa is 3.3 times more frequent than Paramhansa - which is to say that both are in use. [Google-search]

It is said about thieves that "it started with stealing a spoon" and something. Little tendencies or breaches can grow a lot, and even toward alarming sentences and executions.

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

This is the latest edition of formerly Sayings of Yogananda [Say, of 1958] and The Master Said [Tms of 1957], but the pagination is different. In 1957 SRF still wrote Paramhansa too.

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

Quotation: "I am sorry for a man who is sick," the Master said. "Why should I hate a man who has fallen into evil? He is really sick." [Tms, p. 64]

Srg: Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Science of Religion. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1982.

The pagination of this edition differs from the 1953 edition, Scp.

This is the first book that was published in Yogananda's name. He had not accommodated much to American culture the book was written - some say it was done by the ghost writer Dhirananda - so he talks for the art of dying by kriya yoga throughout.

I have published a brief online version with comments. [yogananda-explains.html]. It reveals that the guru actually wanted others to die - but die as he told. However, in the light of kriya yoga research the "kriya death" is not full and complete and irrevocable, but rather suspended animation, which is "healthy," according to Yogananda (who died when he was fifty-nine). As long there is no brain damage, that might very well be.

Recently the former vice president of SRF, called Kriyananda, made an extracted version of the book, with added comments, and this take is online as God Is for Everyone [below].

Sy: Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You. 2 Vols. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2004.

Sections of the four canonical gospels are commented on, interpreted and expanded to appear as "75 discourses over some 1500 pages". Another version that SRF did not edit bulky, is about one quarter as thick, and without words put in the guru's mouth as well.

In SRF's much worked-on edition a section of extra information is also supplied, containing ca. 40 pages of more Yogananda outpourings, an appropriate glossary, and a well worked index.

The book is carefully printed on paper of good quality and furnished with some paintings and many drawings, most of them by the German painter (Johann Michael Ferdinand) Heinrich Hofmann (1824-1911). Born in Darmstadt, he is best known for his many depictions of the life of Jesus Christ. One of the reasons that his artwork has become more popular lately, is just that paintings and pencil drawings of his illustrate the Second Coming by Yogananda. Basing his own style on his work on the traditional art of old German, Dutch and Italian masters, Hofmann was impressed by artwork of Antiquity, Christianity and the Renaissance, and became a most influential German painter in his day.

Hofmann illustrations and some other illustrations accompany chunks of Bible passages from King James Version, which was completed in 1611, and is still possible to read. NIV (New International Version) is a new translation for today's Bible users, and as good as it goes.

Yogananda adherents consider the Second Coming among his main works along with his autobiography, Bhagavad Gita commentary and a trilogy (so far) of sermons and other discourses. But how he wrote his own title - Paramhansa - was expand-edited by SRF, that too, after his death. Signature forgery went into it.

What the Americanised guru does thoughout his Second Coming, is to infuse yoga meanings into words in the gospels and end up with a hybrid church. He formalised his new religion in 1935. The view that physical pleasure is not ideal for man, goes into the church deed (par. 2.13). It was during the same period the guru advocated dictatorship and spent time on getting articles of the Second Coming printed in his fellowship magazine.

As suggested above, this SRF-published version is about four times larger than a version that claims to be from "the Original unchanged writings" of Yogananda and is published by Amrita in Dallas [Tsc]. The basis is the same for both versions: Yogananda commentaries first appeared as serialised instalments over the years in his magazine. The SRF publishers talk of preserving the "purity" of Yogananda's output and of unspecified guidelines he gave for preparing and publishing, and say that SRF "faithfully conveys his teachings as he himself intended they be given." The former SRF president, Daya Mata, tells how she and her sister wrote down on a typewriter what Yogananda dictated [xvii, iv, xvi]. What SRF does not inform about, is just how Yogananda's dictated output was handled. About changes made in Yogananda books after his death in 1952, and how the guru himself hardly or never had requested all those changes, Kriyananda says "That he requested more than a handful of them [the changes] is a myth. SRF has effective control over his material, and can make changes in it with impunity, with the claim that he authorized them. I was there at the time myself, however, and was actively involved in editorial activities. I know that the greater part of those changes were not authorized by Master [Yogananda]." [1]

Kriyananda further divulges that Yogananda's "preferred way of expressing himself was to touch lightly on a point . . . It was to us, his disciples, usually, that he left the task of expanding on, or explaining, the truths he presented in condensed form in his writings." [2] This vital point was confirmed by SRF when the Himalayan Academy contacted them about the wide differences between different versions of Yogananda's Rubaiyat Commentary. The following quote is from Hinduism Today (1994, No. 10: "Wine of the Mystic"): "It was startling . . . to learn that in neither edition is one even offered the original writing of Paramahansa Yogananda. Self-Realization Fellowship explained that all of Paramahansa Yogananda's writings had been so edited". [More]

So there are quotations and "quotations": In the case of Yogananda, we have few clues to discern between the verbatim ones and the SRF edited ones. As for Yogananda articles in his old magazine, they could have been edited too, since Yogananda was not very good at English, says Satyaswarananda: "His handwritten letters in English and Bengali (his mother language) . . . revealed he was weak in both these languages." [3] What we do have, is evidence that all of Yogananda's works have been worked on by SRF."

Yogananda reinterprets one New Testament passage after another. Where he finds it fit, he says that this and that saying really means something else than what is written there, and his fellowship supports such an unfit, dogmatic approach. In this way the guru preaches a sorry, inconsistent faith - in part by saying that Jesus meant something else than much he appears to have said according to the gospels.

And when it comes to tough nuts to crack, Yogananda-SRF uses the method of saying that Jesus spoke metaphorically, figuratively, as if they know. Example: "It is plain that Jesus spoke figuratively in his reference to hellfire" [p. 466]. Is it so simple and plain against common Christian canon? Maybe so, but some say no. [p. 466n]

The particular strength of SRF-Yogananda's book is not that of nourishing the traditional Christian faith. One question is whether or how far it is genuine nourishment he offers, and how a reader may safeguard herself or himself against being taken in.

The weakness of Yogananda's interpretation is in part due to his approach of faith - faith in knowing better or differently than traditional Christianity, for example. Textual Bible criticism and information about the differences between John and the three other gospels is wholly lacking. It amounts to a great weakness of the work. Bible scholars tell we cannot be wholly sure that Jesus is quoted correctly (verabatim) in any of the four canonical gospels and any other old writing. The gospel of Mark may be the neares we get, concludes Geza Vermes in The Authentic Gospel (2005). Vermes also finds that Jesus the Jew barred his teachings from non-Jews. (Matthew 10:1-8; 15:24; Vermes 2010:37,41; 2012).

Dr Vermes sums up:

Fl. During his days of preaching, Jesus of Nazareth addressed only Jews, "the lost sheep of Israel" (Matthew 10:5; 15:24). His disciples were expressly instructed not to approach gentiles or Samaritans (Matthew 10:5). On the few occasions that Jesus ventured beyond the boundaries of his homeland, he never proclaimed his gospel to pagans, nor did his disciples do so during his lifetime. The mission of the 11 apostles to "all the nations" (Matthew 28:19) is a "post-Resurrection" idea. It appears to be of Pauline inspiration and is nowhere else found in the Gospels (apart from the spurious longer ending of Mark [Mark 16:15], which is missing from all the older manuscripts). Jesus' own perspective was exclusively Jewish; he was concerned only with Jews. (Vermes 2012)

So do not think you need to know anything that Jesus taught for Jews only - if you are no Jew. Acts 15: shows that all the apostles and the Spirit agreed that his sayings and teachings and commands were unnecessary - since they did not include any of them for Gentile followers. That is the Christian deal: no sayings of Jesus and no swollen Christ concept either. Such things were developed later. Acts 15 says:

We should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. . . .

[Letter from the apostles:] "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things." (Acts 15:28-29)

This is the Apostolic Decree from the Council in Jerusalem in 49 CE. It is the foundation of Christianity. What is required and well according to it, is to abstain from such as wrangled chicken and black pudding, and adultery too. Note well that gospel sayings of Jesus were not included. Gospels were added later - tens of gospels at first. Four were singled out later and edited to agree better with one another, but not perfectly anyhow.

The point is: feel free to drop gospel sayings of Jesus. All the apostles and the Spirit did it; they decided on how non-Jewish followers should live. So falter not, and leave all the teachings of Jesus to Jews unless you come across them elsewhere. After all, almost all of them are in the Old Testament.

Stop being slogan-bullied by a non-Jew's commentary on Jesus sayings too. Gospel-commentaries by and for non-Jews must be unwelcome by Jesus who insisted this teachings were for Jews only, remember. It seems like dragging his explicit statements about such matters into the mud. Fair ones do not wish to take part in such a thing, and say: "If we do not qualify for his teachings, we must show Jesus of the gospels that much respect, unlike Yogananda, who was not a Jew and did not exercise good judgement about such basics, who did not respect all the Law's "613 commandments" either, and ignored such things as textual criticism - which has laid bare that the missionary command at the end of the gospel of Matthew is a later-added forgery." With such basic givens, why comment on sayings Jesus?

It is sad, but wrong outlooks in these matters have struck root, and Yogananda should have tried to do better than to fawn on them, in my opinion.

The publisher has added many footnotes to this work amiss and to such an extent that the book may be over-furnished, according to Kriyananda. Be that as it may; many appreciate this nearly four-times larger book than the other version that is around.

An overall evaluation lies in this: "I have not found it worthwhile to read all of it, not yet, at any rate. There are so many normal things to do."

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