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The more one knows, the less one believes (Turkisk proverb).

Apply: "The more one knows, the less one believes Yogananda." After all, the swami Yogananda (1893-1952) says much the same in words like these:

ICON Don't take my word for anything . . . and find out for yourselves. - Paramahansa Yogananda (in Dietz 1998)

And what about:

ICON We are all crazy. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:425)

Daya Mata, the previous leader of the fellowship that Yogananda set up: "All of us . . . are a little bit crazy, and we do not know it. (1976: "Qualities of a Devotee")

There must be ample reasons not to believe too much of it . . .

ICON No more blind believing. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982: 456)

It is good not to be stuck in words. And here is a way: Splendid scepticism and doubt could be good for many, including meditators. And it should be very, very wise not to think automatically that Yogananda told the truth always, for he also said,

ICON "We don't really know what is right or real ... we are often incorrect in our judgements." - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:414).

Thus, Yogananda wrote in his autobiography that he had no future.

ICONPresent, past, future, no more for me. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1998, "Samadhi")

- but he lived on after writing that - The guru also found it good to say his world was not real. Either you believe it or you don't. If you believe it, you seem trapped in words, not unlike a bird with its feet in the meshes of a bird-trap. But if you don't believe, don't-believe tactfully and rise above the meshes if you can. Consider:

The Self is not had by a show of flowery descriptions. - Shyama Charan Lahiri, aka Lahiri Mahasaya (in Satyeswarananda 1986:186-87)

So it makes only little sense to study Yogananda's flowery platitudes in talk after talk, book after book - up to his: "Don't take my word for anything (in Diaz)":

ICON We are just moving in a dream. We may be working and experiencing life's passing scenes, but it is not real. - Paramahansa Yogananda (Dr 427; cf. 1982:398; 1998, Chap. 26)

The world is real enough. Good progress in yoga-meditation stems from it. And what is termed Reality is not something sour, according to many descriptions of it.


Yogananda says the world of senses is unreal, but that Reality - also termed Truth - is in it somehow. That means the unreal is only quite unreal, and basically real, or what? He equals the Real it to an "I" in the poem. So that is the yogi's main teaching. How to get at That? The yogi praises the yogi, saying:

ICON My sole desire is to give you the truth – Lord Krishna praises the technological yogi. - Paramahansa Yogananda [1982:398; 1998, ch. 26]

Q: Someone says that kriya yoga is not dangerous.

If reasonably well done and not overdone, it may be as he says.

Fit for progress

Rather pinpointed meditation information follows. The focus is on technicalities and advancing skills. A certain breathing method and a meditation method are mentioned from time to time:

  1. The core of kriya yoga is the gentle, all-round ujjayi breath, which is a common and freely given pranayama method.
  2. Results or progress in meditation depend in part on the methods, how they are taught, and how well they are practiced. The effects of different meditation methods are different. Naturally one wants a method that works excellently, is safe and fairly taught. I recommend ◦Transcendental Meditation, TM. It is well researched.
  3. Some of the information on these pages, may apply to other methods too.

A substantial part of this series of questions and answers are rooted in email letters. It helps to have meditative experience, as "To understand some yoga teachings, you need to be a yogi," or to have read discerning literature.

Rotten Apples and Id: Domino Effects

"A rotten apple quickly infects its neighbour," or pomum compunctum cito corrumpit sibi junctum (Latin).

If just a few pillars in a tall building are at fault, the whole building can fall. Just a few marring decrees of a trusted guru or trusted friend may ruin a life. Just a few wrong or individually unsuitable notions may do, due to spreading effects in the worst cases, where, "If anything can go wrong, it will. (Murphy's Law)." And we should be prepared for worst case scenarios. Why, to take sound measures so that they won't happen, or won't happen so fast, with such devastating effects, so easily, or at all.

Disintegration may spread, do havoc, and create ruin. The more trust put in wrong teachings, and the more resources funnelled into them, the worse the results may be. So we should correct faulty guru statements and reduce guru drivel so as to hinder that fools are made and next made use of. It can be feasible to bulwark against, prevent, or counteract many sorts of follies and waste of time, if not all of it.

The family is a haven for regulated id (libido, zest) unfoldment. If all runs nicely and well through some of the stages of living, there is good hope that the budding grown-up will not suffer from severe trauma, lacks and deficiencies.

Congenital id-development. Sound, natural-id unfoldment based life is seldom or never had by conform stagnation; progressive disorientation or deterioration. By very faulty mind-development; or rotting (corruption), you go wrong. What could be irrepairable - such as grave corruption - has to be avoided. Underlying causes may have to be detected so as to go against faulty developments much more proficiently.

If your natural family did not furnish what was needed for your basic id drives, you may have longings that carry on, get fixed, and some can spill over into adult life. In other words, the love and care and other good things you did not get from Mom and Dad and friends, may easily be played on by a demagogue, to create havoc for you and use you too.

Grandiose-looking play on unfulfilled or feeble id (libido) seems to be at work in cults the world over. If it is a fault to seek fulfilment "in the skies" by wailing ever so often for God Mom - something that Yogananda and his fellowship has half-ritualised - maybe your mother-relations were strained. His were. Suppose deeper parent relations did not work out well for him and yourself when you were young and in gestation. Maybe some id-sides did not develop all right. Better seek to be straight in conform matters than seeking grossly vicarious outlets as an oddball in a cult and sect. Conform uprightness may help far more.

The id that is caught, fixated and next made use of in some way that blocks natural development, may engender hate, which may be suppressed too. If so, you have entered some vicious circle. Its effects on you may be perceived in a blatant lack of caring for things beneath you, and in your care.

One of the gurus behind Yogananda, Lahiri Mahasaya, said one should not expect anything from doing kriya yoga - not during a session. The best focus during meditation is to do one's handpicked, best method(s) technically all right. Crying for God is not a tall thing to do. It may eventyally rise to get hard on the nerves of yourself and your next of kin, perhaps.

Beware of misleading ideas, for

The Self is not had by a show of flowery descriptions. He is Intelligence. All the scriptures fail to describe Him. - Shyama Charan Lahiri, aka Lahiri Mahasaya) (in Satyeswarananda 1986:186-87)

Be smarter than those who get caught in a net of swelling, seemingly grandiose but low-levelled descriptions of the Undescribable, and you are freed to benefit also.

Who Killed Yogananda and the Cow?

"I was never born, I never died." - Paramahansa Yogananda affirmation, 1945. - Almost farcical.

Now, his follower Kriyananda said of Yogananda in a talk at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles on 10 March, 1996: "He often said, 'I killed Yogananda long ago.'" [1]

Summary so far: "Yogananda: Never born, killed long ago, and never died". Moreover, if Yogananda had not been born and yet had committed suicide "long ago", still he stood up an told about it. Lesson: Do not be taken in far and wide.

Complications thicken: When Yogananda was his forties he was one day told that God would kill him, according to his biographer Sailendra Dasgupta (Psy). Here is the story:

In Gorakhpur, on a visit to India, he bit into a sugar cane and cracked a tooth. The finest dentist in town pulled out the broken tooth and replaced it with a gold tooth. Shortly afterwards his biographer asked him about the tooth, and Yogananda said, "God told me, 'Just like this, I'll snatch your life from you.'" While saying it, Yogananda clenched his fist and looked intense. (Psy 8).

Summary again: "Yogananda teachings: He was never born, killed long ago by himself and also God, and never died. Stood up to tell of it".

In 1952 Yogananda suddently fell to the floor at a banquet at the Biltmore hotel in Los Angeles and was gone, apparently because of heart failure. That is what the doctor said, at any rate. The mystery of double backup -

Final summary here: "There was a guru who meant he was never born, killed long ago by himself and also God, and never died, stood up to tell of it until he really dropped dead." This outflanks the "biography" told by Linus to his sister in a Peanuts cartoon: "A man was born, lived and died."


A Yogananda devotee wrote a long series of questions, comments and opinions - "he never stopped".

Question: I am surprised . . .

Ramakrishna tells a story that illustrates many a God-approach. It is about Indra, the King of Devas:

Who killed the cow?

A Brahmana [Brahmin] was laying out a garden. He looked after it day and night. One day a cow strayed into the garden and browsed on a mango sapling of which the brahmana used to take special care. When he saw thie cow destroying his favourite plant, the brahmana became wild with rage, and gave such a severe beating to the animal that it died of the injuries received. The news soon spread like wild-fire that the brahmana had killed the sacred animal. When any one attributed the sin of that act to him, the brahmana, who professed himself to be a Vedantin, denied the charge, saying:

"No, I have not killed the cow; it is my hand that had done it; and as god Indra is the presiding deity of the hand, it is he who has incurred the sin of killing the cow, not I."

Indra, in his heaven, heard of this. He assumed the shape of an old brahmana, and coming to the owner of the garden, said, "Sir, whose garden is this?"

Brahmana: "Mine."

Indra: "It is a beautiful garden. You have got a skilful gardener; for see how neatly and artistically he has planted the trees."

Brahmana: "Well, sir, that's all my work. The trees were planted under my personal supervision and direction."

Indra: "Very nicely done, indeed! "Who has laid out this path? It is very well-planned and neatly executed."

Brahmana: "All that has been done by me."

Then Indra said with folded hands, "When all these things are yours, and when you take credit for all the work done in this garden, it is not proper that poor Indra should be made responsible for killing the cow."

(Ramakrishna. Tales and Parables, no. 46)

Q: . . . is the Guru?

Yogananda said with a shiver that had been a vicious, murderous desert marauder in a former life, by the way. So the biography informs. I found it fit to point out to the questioning Brit, "You state that you don't have realization, and go on to say how the realized perceive and so on - is that it? You can talk, but can you think? You have introduced the lila concept, which somehow implies that Yogananda killed himself for fun -- Whirling words will not abate." [Abridged]

Q: Where is the Advaita [non-dualism] celeb that says "I"?

Ramakrishna was told from deep within to keep a little trace of ego to function along, being alive. It came to pass that he became an Advaitin. If you come down from the Advaita state, you live on a while, and use many concepts also, which he did. And Ramana Maharshi took the trouble to clarify how the common "I" enters a deeper, more inward sense of "I".

"Go on repeating "I-I" and that will lead you to the same goal. There is no harm in using "I" as a mantra. It is the first name of God."

It can be done without strain. Maharishi spread TM, formerly called swift and deep meditation, so as to bring one's awareness inward through the simple method devised.

Q: Thank you.

Hope your sincerity will help you further.

You use Advaita as a referral. The problem is that Advaita is a state beyond dichotomies of the type "I" versus "Yogananda" versus "God" and so on. Nimbarka's form of Vedanta may offer help, and for a long time it may help better than the non-dualist Vedanta. You seem to think that Yogananda became God, but not his ego, that he did not reach up to see his ego flooded with the divine, but instead tried to "kill it". Alas. Also beware of the awfully busy person's unsound ego amputation. It may offer some relief for a while.

Yogananda often talks down on the ego, while otherwise preaching that God is all in all - such thought. Note the inconsistency. The ego or sense of identity, called ahankara in Sanskrit, is an integral part of the mental make-up of the human, and thus a part of the world. You cannot kill it.

There are differences of opinion in the matter of said ego killing, but the sense of I may rise, says such as Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy and the world-wide Waldorf School movement. When it goes well, you find that "I am" makes much sense, and compare Ramana's stand above. A good idea is to rise above the average flip-a-coin" veracity of many Yogananda statements. Besides, if you emphasise fluffy ideas, they might appear even more fluffy. To uphold teachings that mar and do no good is harsh. It relates to inner defects somehow. Wrong teachings may eventually mar and harm many innocents. Far less less oratory is needed.

Daya Could Be a Little Tough

Many disappointments derive from expectations. Daya is Sanskrit for compassion or mercy, and is related to grace. Is it a disappointment if solid mercy helps criminals get the upper hand on earth, or is it not? Daya can be hard to gain and keep and channel properly. It should be wise to consider whether:
  • It is fair, intelligent, objective.
  • It tends to become broad-bent, that is, inclined to get more and more involved.
  • It is friendly with people but sometimes finds it difficult to form close relationships.

Daya, mercy, compassion is tricky. If by mercy and grace we let scoundrels get away with bad things they do and are up to, we take part in deterioration of life and hinder justice or fairness. If life is well lived, id (libido, natural zest in living) is properly maintained. There are hints about losing id in the list above. It implies that being a satisfying or sentimental friend could be a slow-working danger unless all involved are upright and good people. That may not be the case, as folks wear masks to hide their inner, potent motives and seem acceptable at some distance, at least.

We should not be over-merciful, but optimal-merciful, whatever that is. Judge the uprightness involved soon, and adjust as you live on.

Existential Probing

Let uprightness come first, if you are up to it. To some, living is slowly dying. What we express from ourselves, may get lost by that slow dying-out, unless we are upright. If not, by following your interests with glee and laughter, you could lose things from within, unless other factors get into it. If so, living may turn into a sacrifice for the lack of that "gold", that is, of uprightness.

The one who lacks uprightness, may get socially accepted and not be counted as inferior by living out certain vices morally well. For example, those who are bent on killing others might become officers and defend their countries and may be honoured too.

According to the Vishnu Purana, there is a long period where greedy, corrupt and spineless ones take charge and almost all property belongs to them. Leaders will be

"addicted to corruption and will seize the property of their subjects. Then property and wealth alone will confer rank; falsehood will be the only means of success. Corruption will be the universal means of subsistence." [WP, "Vishnu Purana"]

Watch where you are headed and your adaptations in the large picture as well. "What puppet masters are pulling your strings? Who will you spend your working hours to support?" - for example. Personal uprightness may be worth more than many think nowadays.

Q: Kriya yoga

The core kriya method is shown in detail here: [Link].

Core kriya yoga is a form of pranayama, or "breath-linked mind-modification". In Patanjali yoga, pranayama is meant to be done before or slip into real meditation, dhyana. A mantra consist of one or more sets of syllables - words or a medley of sounds - to be think-intoned and repeated for long.

Each meditation period could help you some. Long-run effects of meditation could be good for you. It depends though. It works well to clarify the bits that give help, what help is got, and extract the most promising or salient features so that they could help even better, and then get them tested, for example by measuring brain wave synchronism and further, long-range effects on several dozens of people.

Q: I was thinking . . . if evolution has a goal, it could be said to be self-consciousness. . . . [And] nobody says that lightning has a soul.

In Veda times they thought that natural forces like the wind (Vayu) were the looks of gods, and hence were not soulless. And . . . thunder is supposed to contain the awesome presence of Thor [Norse thundergod, cognate with Zeus and Indra].

The New Testament says everybody lives and moves in God - the maker. There is talk of "principalities and powers" in the Bible as well.

The Wisdom of Edgar Cayce and Rudolf Steiner

You see, death is not the grave as many people think. [Edgar Cayce]

Q: When you use the word DAO, is that the same as TAO?

Tao is Dao. The two different spellings tie in with (a) the Wade-Giles transcription system; and (b) the now current Pinyin transcription system of the Republic of China. I use both. In literature, the 'Tao' spelling is preponderant. Basic Tao teachings form part of the Gold Scales' informal lessons on gaining GOLD EGGS . . . [Link].

Q: Life after death?

"Have you read Rudolf Steiner about such things?

Q: Do you have any ideas about life after death?

Yes. [Buddha on reincarnation]

Rudolf Steiner Among the thought beings to be found in spiritland is also the thought of our own physical corporeality. [Rudolf Steiner]

Yogananda, finally:

ICON In a moment the body may be taken away from the soul by death, and the separation is not painful at all. When that "operation" is over, you have no need of time, dress, food, or shelter, for you no longer have to carry this bodily bundle of flesh. You are free of it. And you are still you. - Yogananda (1982 217-18)


Meditation counsel, Literature  

Dietz, Margaret Bowen. Thank You, Master. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 1998, "Master's Teachings".

Satyeswarananda, swami, tr. The Commentaries' Series Vol. III: Hidden Wisdom. With Lahiri Mahasay's Commentaries. 2nd rev. ed. San Diego: The Sanskrit Classics, 1986.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 13th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1998.

⸻. The Divine Romance. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1993.

⸻. Man's Eternal Quest. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1982.

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