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Wer: Yogananda, Paramahansa. 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" - well-well. 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 the guru seeks to comfort others by telling that evil may help in bringing you back to God. I would not trust in that, for according to Jesus in a passage, 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].

Further, as an Amazon book reviewer tells, "Some people seem to be evil by nature, and evil does not seek happiness; it seeks destruction". Further, "When the Yogi says God is sorry we have lost sight of Him, how can he not mean that God has lost sight of Himself?" That reader thinks it is wrong to dismiss mankind's pain as God's purposeless entertainment too.

Why there is so much dirt in the name of religion, is another puzzle.

Wf: Yogananda, Paramahansa. 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. [Emphasis added]" [1]

So the eighth edition is one more book that has been heavily edited after Yogananda's death. The content was different when Yogananda was around. The book consists of invocations based on the notion of Immanence, that is, behind anything is God. Since this was first written by me, 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, also while 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 his 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.

I have one comment: "This jargon looks like crock to me."

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, at that is the tip 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-meditaton. If not, go as far as you are up to.

To someone who is meditating well, Yoganandic outpourings can be annoying distractions. The whole book could have been avoided if he 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, it seems.

"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:

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. Thus, for example:

O Divine Guts,
Thou canst not withhold Thyself well,
Show me Thy Spouse,
If yet I have not all Thy love,
Her secret crowns the patient play,
All the way to heaven.

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.

Instead of Yogananda-suited dualism-based oratory ("you, O God" crowding out "Self"), here is one more thing to learn: I threw the whole book away and found I could do better without it. That was after I had translated it into a Scandinavian language as part of a medium translation project I ran at one time. Wise decisions are often needed in a life.

A thorough study of SRF's extensive redaction of Yogananda's work has to tackle changed placements, changed titles, changed paragraphs, text alterations and that sort of stuff. For example, the randomly chosen "Thou art every busy, O Cosmic Potter" with its associated Jeremiah take [18:1-7] in the Old Testament, runs like this in SRF's 8th edition from 1959:

Thou art ever busy, O Cosmic Potter!

Heavenly Father, we thank Thee for sharing with all creatures and natural forces Thy responsibilities in carrying on the work of creation. May we, Thy human children, never complain of our tasks.

Dost Thou not keep the bee busy? and the animals, providing for their young? and the dark waterwagons of the sky, sprinkling rain on thirsty greens?

The amoeba, the whippoorwill, and gigantic fieryeyed planets, growling in the forest of space-all are performing some of Thy work.

O Alert Lord, busiest of all! noting the fall of a sparrow, attending the slightest scratch of flesh, and coursing the path of meteors.

With vibratory fingers didst Thou mold earth's clay ball; daily Thou art whirling it, ray-strung to the sun and rhythmically revolving around it.

O Cosmic Potter, on Thy wheel of life Thou dost form trillions of never-duplicated vessels of fleshvulnerable vehicles of man's immortal Spirit. [21}

Thine unseen creation factory produces everything -all furnishings and equipment needed by Thy sons for their physical, mental, and spiritual mansions.

Thou art the Originator, Manufacturer, and ever timely Exhibitor of "Nature Products." Thou art the Celestial Salesman who extols the value of new inner possessions for the fine art of gracious living.

Thy cooperative plan requires that for Thy bounties man offer payment. He must give money or labor in the soil to obtain nourishing food; he must observe carefulness and moderation to maintain health; he must proffer coins of study and self-improvement to receive sufficient currents of light and power for his cozy mental cottage. And he must dig diligently within to discover the spring of devotional waters that will purify him for Thy coming.

All material things may be bought and sold; but Thou, O Priceless One, art not for sale!

Each of Thy children will someday "come to Himself," realizing his divine status. Then inexhaustible bliss descends as Thy grace, forever freely given. [Wf 20-21]

It can only correspond to No. 166 in Yogananda's version from 1949 [Wfe]:

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

O God, let me not whine with complaint and say: "Thou hast kept me yoked to the heavy demands of flesh-needs, hunger and earthly comforts." I blame no business man for being busy. Hast Thou not kept the bee busy? the rain, watering the life-yielding crops? and the dark water-wagons of the skies sprinkling life-liquid to thirsty greens?

The Master Potter of life molded earth's clay-ball, and is ever busy whirling it round its orbit , keeping it ray-strung to the sun and revolving in rhythm around it.

The Cosmic Potter forms the fragile vessels of flesh by the trillions, from His wheel of life. The amoeba, the whippoorwill, and the gigantic, fiery-eyed planets, growling in the forest of space – all are leashed to do some of His work.

Even the fickle fire of the sky has to help in the spraying of showers.

O Lord of all Life, Thou art the busiest of all Thy workers. Thou art ever alert, noting the fall of a sparrow, attending the slightest scratch of flesh and coursing the path of meteors.

Thou art producing everything out of Thine unseen creation-factory. Thou art the Maker and Displayer of Thy nature-products, and Thou art the Divine Salesman, selling health, mental electricity, and nuggets of wisdom to us.

And Thou dost make us pay for everything! We pay in effort for hygienic living and for acquiring right food with which to buy health. We pay coins of culture to Thee to receive the current of power which lights our cozy mental cottage. And we pay nuggets of devotion, perchance, to hold Thee.

We can buy all other things by paying something for them; but I am sure Thou art not for sale, though Thou art well aware that some people try to buy Thee.

O Priceless One, Thou canst not be bought; there is no par value on Thee.

Yet Thou dost freely give Thyself when we know that we are Thy children: heirs of Thy all-containing kingdom and of Thyself.

The SRF editor has been terribly busy changing the guru's outpourings without even dropping a hint of all that.

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

The first edition is published by Crystal Clarity too.
[www.ananda.org/inspiration/books/whispers/]

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