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Experiences

Q: I read a little of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna [Gupta 1942] and there is a bit that mentions one of Vivekananda's spiritual experiences regarding perceiving the ida and pingala currents. I presume you have had this too? - the experience I mean?

I would not presume or assume anything about me, if I were you - not a thing. I am quite against assuming in general.

Q: What I wanted you to focus on was the bit where Blavatsky is quoted. Did you find it? This fellow seems to think himself some sort of world saviour.

Helena Blavatsky (1831-1891), born to a noble Russian family, decreed, "No Religion Higher Than Truth". She met her master in Hyde Park in London when she was 20, and was trained by masters in Tibet from 1868 to 1870, it is told of her.

Q: I wish God would be more straightforward . . .

Ask or pray to that end too.

Q: The Master business really upsets me.

I see there is a moral issue involved here -

Q: I have spent the past five years doing nothing. Everything is nothing, except finding out about Yoga and things.

You survey while hoping in intellectuality. Yoga goes past such matters.

Q: I keep putting off the path to mastery to tomorrow cause I believe I want to "live" out my youth. That seems to happen to most people I think.

I see you have not found out that handy yoga leads to great pleasure, nay delight. It happens to some. Mantra training does not have to be so very severe.

Q: The pleasures of the senses, coupled with life problems, present a difficult challenge.

Of course . . .

Q: Another one I find hard to believe is levitation.

Flying is believing -

Q: I have told you this before. It is the whole nature/miracle debate again. By the way, have you read Aldous Huxley? He reverses Descartes' Cogito blah blah to 'I am, therefore I think'. In other words, I take that to mean that being precedes perception and not the other way round. Makes sense to me, at least.

Yes, I agree with the Huxley dictum.

"The future is not far away."

The Soul

The soul is understood as the immaterial aspect or essence of a human being. The soul is further defined as that part of the individual which partakes of divinity. There have been numerous ideas about when the soul comes into existence and if it dies. For example, the Jain world is eternal and uncreated, and the soul, jiva, is one of five basics of such a reality. In Zoroastrianism the soul, urvan, is one of five immortal parts of man. [EB, "soul", "jainism", "Zoroastrianism"]

In Hindu thinking, the atman ("breath," or "soul") is considered to have been created at the beginning. And when the body dies, the atman may pass into a new body after some time-out beyond, and be reborn till the soul has attained karmic perfection, merging with the Absolute.

Plato and Socrates also accepted the immortality of the soul. Plato believed the soul was simple, not composite, and that the intellect is the purest element in the soul. For the Platonists, the soul was an immaterial and incorporeal substance. In Christian theology, body and soul were separate, but it was not possible to conceive of a soul without its body. To Benedict de Spinoza, body and soul formed two aspects of a single reality.

The thinker Gottfried Leibniz holds that nothing truly exists except monads; they do not extend in space, and monads are souls, spiritual beings. [EB "soul" "metaphysics"]

Jesus teaches the soul can be destroyed, whereas Yogananda teaches it is indestructible. [Link]. The two views can not be reconciled. Accordingly, manage the problem.

God-God Quest

Q: I would be happy in this life if I had some experience of God or even the chakras.

Lahiri Mahasaya talks often about the uselessness of harbouring desires of that in meditation. However, APART FROM (outside of) meditations the longing may imply one or more of these:

  1. Guru(s) act on you to help you dive inside;
  2. You have to go deeper too;
  3. The company you have is not too good for you;
  4. Your spirit moves and tries to make you better;
  5. Etc.

Hence, our longing could contain something sound to help out somehow. One crucial thing is what you do if you have it.

Q: I imagine that I would someday be able to commune with God just like talking to a person. Am I naive or misguided here?

Yogananda says it is feasible, others too. In one talk/sermon he says his SOUL tells him things to say, as a matter of fact. (It is in the book Man's Eternal Quest [1982]. It also says:

If you contemplate and try to feel the entire perception of the subject . . . you will find the answers to . . . questions - answers that I received from the very depths of my soul and from God. - Yogananda (1982:359)

Incidentally, if the quest is eternal, it is without end. It refers to the "quest for God" here. So the choice of words in the title is very bad. How bad? Ponder to find out.


Slightly Unreal, or Wholly Unreal?

Amazon.com tells that "4 of 64 people found the following review helpful." It also shows up that sectarian-minded guys are quick to denigrate those who oppose their pet guru views or shows. It is one of the problem with cult material on Amazon, in my opinion. Cultists tend to rally their causes by much unfit and unfair deals, in my opinion, and that is not all of it.

Here is the review, slightly abridged and added to it for clarification and documentation, as si fit]:

Is this an Unreal Book because the author says so?, July 28, 2004

"Man's Eternal Quest is a cocktail compendium of talks where Yogananda speaks without preparations, and often deviated during his speeches on the spot. Followers took down notes that later were edited into the talks and lectures in the book. This is explained by the publishers first in the book.

Some find them interesting and inspiring at first. But only at a price of discarding one of his basic teachings, also found in the book: He teaches that the world is unreal. It makes no sense to get inspired by pretense-stuff.

Now, there are certainly many snags involved. The guru author speaks to the mind sets of people in sunny California mostly, from about 1925 to 1952. He also gave lectures in many other big cities in the USA. The accomodated lifestyle the well-known guru advocates, may leave little time for coping, and is hardly ideal in a harsh environment.

So some Yogananda sayings don't fit living on an iceberg and in northern Norway, to name a few places, as they are just parts of a dream, to him: "There is no material universe; its warp and woof is . . . illusion." [Autobiography of a Yogi, ch. 30] And in the present collection of discourses: "The world is nothing more than a cosmic dream." [1982:237]. "This life is a dream." [1982:240] His teachings, his followers, his books must be included in the guru's Dream too, by necessity.

In the book the author also interferes with Holy Church doctrine about God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and the soul - in part by improper definitions. Especially the chapter "Christ and Krishna: Avatars of the One Truth" in the book reveal his much deviant theology mishmash neatly.

Yogananda's teaching is: "Your true Self, being made in the image of God, is immortal. (2000:14) and "The indwelling soul is immortal. (1993:212)." The gospels teach that both soul and body can be destroyed. (Matthew 10:28, Luke 12:4-6; Matthew 5:29).

You should recognise there are two different views above, and that one of them can not be wrong.

His understanding of the Trinity is covered in particular in two articles around page 300.

The guru addresses American Christians by presenting "original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ". But this does not hold water, says a professor of the Catholic Church, Father Mateo, who disagrees with Yogananda "heresy", as he calls it.

As for personal fulfillments, Yogananda calls for having sex very seldom or not at all as part of "much can be forsaken" lifestyle, if we can call it that. But is there a real need to be purified by his kriya yoga and a need for his doctrine if the universe is the trick he writes of (in that trick)?

I find many of Yogananda's basic teachings - about the world and all in it - very inconsistent and alarming, for does he not imply fully that he himself (in the world, as part of the world) is unreal, his teachings, and you yourself? If so, no devil with a tail once attacked the guru in a hotel room and made his heart stop (Self-Realization Magazine, Summer 1976, p. 8-9). [Link] Further, if the world is unreal, which he sometimes says, there is no real road to God - and it cannot be directed by an unreal person in it either.

The guru might have profited from changing his teaching and not often undermined his better efforts by false teachings: one cannot debunk the universe with debunking himself and all else in it. It is far from heroic.

YOGANANDA Ninety-nine percent of all people fail under this test. Tell a person, for his own good, to do a particular thing, and he will do exactly the opposite. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982 321)

PROBLEM: If you know this and talk to Americans, do you want to get them going in a fit direction by telling them to do the opposite of it, for the sake of helping them? If you think as Yogananda did, and still give helpful counsel, isn't that something to stop doing? There may be better adaptations than that.

Contents


Meditation counsel, Literature  

EB: Encyclopaedia Britannica - Britannica Online.

Gupta, Mahendranath. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Tr. Swami Nikhilananda. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1942.

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

Yogananda, Paramahansa. Journey to Self-realization: Discovering the Gift of the Soul. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2000.

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

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