Site Map
Reviews of Yogananda Books
Section › 17   Set    Search  Previous Next


Reservations   Contents    

Whispers from Eternity. 8th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1959.

The late SRF vice president and Yogananda editor, Kriyananda, says that after Yogananda's passing, SRF's main editor Tara Mata "changed Whispers from Eternity so drastically that it became almost unrecognizable". And Yogananda "himself had told me this book was the only one he'd edited personally, and in its entirety. [1]

It means the eighth edition of Whispers is one more book that has been heavily edited after Yogananda's death. The book consists of invocations based on the notion of Immanence, that is, behind anything is God. By now, SRF has found it good to publish a not-further edited first edition, they too. They sell two divergent versions, the first edition and the last, heavily worked on edition now, and both are "by Paramahansa Yogananda."

A great part of the book consists of adressing God in cumbersome ways, like "Thou art" and "Wilt Thou" and "O This, O That" - in rather stiff and antiquated jargon - and referring to something in nature. For example, "I am Thy truant dewdrow, returning at last to the Hallowed Home." (p. 9) Truant, but divine, immortal, love-enchanted, quivering, dancing, it also says. He finds a strained conclusion to the simile: "I want not to lose myself but to become infinitely enlarged . . . I shall be Thine omnipresent dewdrop, imbibed," and so on.

Infinity or endlessness smacks of human incapability or limitations. How can you say there is no end unless you know the end? The bet is you cannot. In good yoga the sensation of vastness is to be dropped for the sake of the elevated "Be here now" (heartfelt and all that), at any rate. That could be the top of the day . . . "Being-Space-Time" are included in "Be here now" (in the proper way), through elevating one's awareness in good enough yoga-meditation.

The whole book could have been avoided if Yogananda had had the courtesy to refrain from "waffling" along according to the much used scheme: "I compare, I see the Lord in or behind (nature phenomena, relationships, etc) - I express myself in Bible ways. I now and then round off by wishful "May I (+ something)" or "Let my" (+ something).

One more stray example: "O Utter Innocence! we are not worthy to invoke Thee." [p. 53]. If the guru had been sincere, he would have stopped it right there, but he goes on, and on. There was no cure against that.

"Come, O Perfect Joy! . . . be Thou the Polestar" is addressed to Divine Mother, Eternity [p. 154, ix]. You can make your own non-innovative invocations by applying this scheme:

"The Devil is in the details." (Proverb)
O Divine . . . (insert noun).
Thou (describe a bit) or Show me (something) or Save me from (something), I demand, etc.
Round off by "May we/I . . . (add something that could fit).

That's about it. However, "Fine words butter no parsnips (Proverb)."

An invocation to beer may be just as fit as to Consecrated Wine, Divine Intoxication, or Divine Coctails, and other things the book contains. Thus:

O Excellent! (Heavenly, Divine) Beer,
May I reel heavily under Thy influence,
Thou knowest my method:
It is a long road that has no turning.

A thorough study of SRF's extensive redaction of Yogananda's work has to deal with changed placements, changed titles, changed paragraphs, text alterations and so on. For example, a randomly chosen "Thou art every busy, O Cosmic Potter" with its associated Jeremiah take [18:1-7] from the Old Testament can only correspond to No. 166 in Yogananda's version from 1949:

166. We buy everything but Thee. Pray give me Thyself.

O God, let me not whine.
I blame no business man for being busy.
And Thou dost make us pay . . .
Thou canst not be bought.

A former SRF editor called Tara Mata was busy changing the guru's outpourings without even dropping a hint that she had done that.

Whispers from Eternity was first published in 1929. It was edited by Yogananda himself for the 1949 edition.

The first edition is published by Crystal Clarity too.

Why God Permits Evil and How to Rise Above It. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2002.

The guru seems to want to teach you "rise above that God permits evil." He uses the Indian concept of lila, play, sport, drama to dramatise it. The universe is God's play, he teaches. Apart from this concept Yogananda tells that evil may help in bringing you back to God. However, according to the gospels, evil may destroy you. "Be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." [Matthew 10:28, see also Luke 12:4-6; Matthew 5:29].

Wine of the Mystic: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: A Spiritual Interpretation. Paperback. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1996.

There are two versions of Yogananda's commentary on the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: Wine of the Mystics, edited by SRF's Mrinalini Mata (SRF's late main editor) and Ananda's The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam Explained, edited by Swami Kriyananda. The two books are strangely different, a result of different kinds of editing.

The SRF edition of Yogananda's commentary on Fitzgerald's take shows much effort spent on embellishment, which has won the book some rewards. However, as a commentary on Omar Khayyam's thinking, the Yogananda commentary seems to be quack. More: [Rubaiyat-Yogananda ]

The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita: An Introduction to India's Universal Science of God-realization. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2007.

Yogananda talks against negative tendencies of the human ego. The book consists of compiled selections from a translation of the Gita and a lengthy commentary to it - about 1100 pages. The Gita itself is terse. Yogananda's long work is called God Talks With Arjuna [Gt].

Yogananda's Gita translation is one of many. His wording is a bit old-fashioned, as in "O Descendant of Bharata (Arjuna), battle thou" [p. 67]. And that message is also the gist of the poem. There is a Gita translation onsite.

Before going into any commentaries it could be a good idea to read a good translation of the Gita first. By such an approach you could get nearer to making up your mind about many vital concerns. Self-Realization Fellowship also publishes the Yogananda translation without the long commentary.

The Yoga of Jesus: Understanding the Hidden Teachings of the Gospels. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2007.

The books consists mainly of selections from the two-volumed work, "The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You". A significant part of the book tells how Jesus went to India and Tibet, based on what is a hoax by a Russian, Nicholas Roerich.

The author yogi's angle is also to read yoga into the gospels by copious use of terms like 'Christ', 'Avatar,' 'Yogi', 'incarnation,' 'Christ Consciousness, and much else. It does not mean that yoga is without value. Actually, there is good in it! However, infiltrating a lot may be unhealthy.

The back matters in the book consists of "About the Author", a glossary and an index.

The book's style appears to be reverent towards Divine Incarnation Jesus. However, it disregards sayings of Jesus in Matthew 10:5-8 and 15:24 that his teachings, salvation, Kingdom and healing ministry were for Jews only. His disciples were expressly forbidden to go to gentiles, that is, non-Jews. (Vermes 2012).

Some who are not qualified to teach or get the teachings of Jesus on the word of Jesus for Jews alone, using his teachings at length, could rouse suspicions . . . Yogananda disregards parts of the Bible that do not suit his strivings for acceptance among Christians. Obfuscation of traditional Christian terms is part of his doings. As for his claims that Jesus is among the SRF gurus, read gospel warning against other christs, false teachers, and hungry wolves who are out to feed on sheep.

Beliefs are bad if they mislead innocents. Based on gospel sayings there should be no place for Jesus among SRF gurus.


Yogananda book reviews, books by Yogananda commented on, Yogananda literature with annotations, Literature  

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

Yogananda book reviews, books by Yogananda commented on, Yogananda literature with annotations, To top    Section     Set    Next

Yogananda book reviews, books by Yogananda commented on, Yogananda literature with annotations. User's Guide   ᴥ    Disclaimer 
© 2008–2019, Tormod Kinnes, MPhil [Email]