"Big words and false promises don't fatten the cabbage."
There are many fakes around.
A hybridised American church, Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), calls itself Christian on its own terms. The big question is if all those terms hold water, insofar as SRF is hybridised Hinduism garbed as a kind of Christian Jesuanism. There is plenty to be forewarned against in the SRF teachings so as not to be taken in all the time.
The yogi Yogananda (1893-1952) put a wider and deviating understanding into tradition-formed, Christian concepts, and claimed to be all aligned with Jesus, who vouched for such as slavery; execution of certain women who became with child out of wedlock, like his mother; vicarious sacrifice; self-mutilations and other such things (Matthew 5, passim).
The problems are twofold, of the kind, "That Yogananda probably lied about being aligned to Jesus is not as should be. Hard evidence is lacking, for example. And that Jesus who taught self-mutilation for this and that, and talked for a Law that would have had him executed as a false prophet about the end of the world - if he had lived long enough for it, that is not as it should be either. Besides, Jesus said his teachings, salvation and kingdom are for Jews only (Matthew 14:25; 10:4-10)." Neither Yogananda - a Hindu swami - nor non-Jews qualify for the teachings of Jesus for Jews alone. To claim Jesus and not qualify in any way, is it for good or bad, or both, you may reflect.
There could be a great difference between claiming a thing and really living out the thing. Consider how Jesus warned against false teachers, and did not accept non-Jews for his teachings, salvation and Kingdom; it is in the gospels (for Jews only). (Geza Vermes, 2010:37,41).
❋ It seems too wrong for non-Jews to use teachings of Jesus as the basis of their religion. Acts 15:27-29 and 21:25 tell there are only four requirements and the Right Spirit into "the good, old religion" that was good enough for all the apostles and their glossolalia-noted, Overriding Spirit.
In Christianity as founded by all the apostles and the Old Spirit of Christianity, all teachings of Jesus are left out
There are good reasons to be thankful that no self-maimer commands of Jesus are into Christianity (for non-Jews), no "impoverish yourself" is there either, and no "let bullies take over by turning the other cheek" and rob you as they will. See Matthew 5 for this and more, including the Jesuan yes to the Law of Slavery - (Matthew 5:17-19). So the Jesuan follower is bound to keep the Canaanite slave forever, for that is stated too (Leviticus 25:46). Jesuans thus share primitive and self-defeating outlooks, and are non-considerate to those they enslave. Fanatical talk may be expected from that sort of persons. Better be warned.
Dr Vermes (1924–2013), a noted authority on the life and religion of Jesus, and described as the greatest Jesus scholar of his time, sums up:
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. (Geza Vermes 2012)
In the light of the findings of ancient scrolls and contemporary Jesus research you may find many Yogananda comments on the teachings of Jesus unbecoming. One reason: Jesus taught only for Jews. Is it all right to disrespect it? If you respect the gospel's sayings put in the mouth of Jesus, you stay away from the gospel sayings attributed to Jesus. It's quite simple - or what?
Yogananda speaks for Jesuanism in the ◦Aims and Ideals, No. 3 he set up for his church. But SRF is led by Hindu swamis, monks and nuns, even though there was no monasticism of Jesus. Monasticism in Christianity arose in Egypt over 200 years later.
As for "Original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ", that is a point that was later revised away in the SRF Amendment of 5 December 1954. To teach and preach it is preserved in the SRF Aims and Ideals. However, there was no such thing, for there were no Christianity of Jesus, only followers. What is more, he addressed only Jews, and did not want his teachings spread to non-Jewis. It is the the gospel of Matthew (14:25; 10:5-10).
Edmund Hoyle, aiming at bridge players: "When in doubt, win the trick." How? Two French proverbs suggest a lot:
❋ Dans le doute, abstiens-toi. (In doubt, abstain). C'est en approuvant que l'on peut se tromper et non pas en doutant. (By approving one can be wrong - not by doubting.)
The difference between seeming so and being so
Many claim to be Christians or Jesuans, but there can be quite a difference between claiming to be one and really being so. For one thing, gospels promises tall, supernatural powers to true, Jewish followers. Those who do not manifest those powers, are they fraudulent Jewish followers or bad Jewish followers? Put differently: Where is a good, Jewish follower?
How many fall short of throwing mountains into the sea by their mere word, for example. Besides, if you hear of one, run far away from that one aiming for higher ground, for the huge tidal waves from a mountain thrown recklessly into the ocean may kill millions and millions, and not only all those who lived on the thrown-away mountain.
And the millions of martyrs would not have had to become martyrs in the light of the powers the gospel seemingly let them have, and the powers of prayer also. However, in the gospels Jesus says his teachings are for Jews only, and the vast majority of Christian martyrs were not Jews. They lost and became martyrs, no matter what they thought they had been promised by words put into writing decades and centuries after Jesus had been executed, promises meant for Jewish followers only, say Matthew 15:24 and 10:1-9.
What the guru Yogananda had to deal with was a later-developed Christian faith among non-Jew Americans. The swami might have found out from the Bible, as bible scholars have done, that Jesus said things that mar so-called good Christians:
Seek not to call me Lord, Lord, if you don't qualify: My words, teachings, and commands are for Jews only, canonical gospels tell. Christianity is a lot different. I also 'gospel-warned' against false teachers and ravenous wolves ahead of time too. [Pinpointing]
Marshall Govindam sums up how Yogananda began his exegetic fawning on Jesus after about five years or so in the USA, after being sent there by a line of gurus to teach the kriya yoga system that was handed over to him. It was a system that has the publicly known soft way of breathing called method of ujjayi as its core. He changed his guru's kriya yoga system to accommodate.
After five years of effort in America, beginning in 1925 . . . Yogananda began to modify and adapt his teachings to the West . . . to overcome the . . . resistance of Christians who were suspicious of the foreign teachings of a Hindu swami. As a result, Yogananda began to enjoy remarkable popularity. . . . However, . . . most readers of his "Autobiography" . . . are left with many unrealistic expectations. - Marshall Govindam. [◦Link]
Grandiose or unfit claims and soap opera commentaries on Jesus sayings may not impress much in the light of staunch Bible research about what Jesus possibly said (one cannot be wholly sure). (Vermes 2005) and what Jesus of some gospels actually warned against, such as hungry wolves and false Christs - or false messiahs, false shepherds.
The renowned biblical scholar Geza Vermes has examined every saying attributed to Jesus. What was the original message of the healer and moralist who lived and taught in Palestine. In The Authentic Gospel of Jesus, Vermes scrutinises all the gospel sayings of Jesus to come as close as well can be to what Jesus might have really said - by informed guesses, that is. For there is not one certified verbatim quotation of Jesus handed over. He wrote nothing, and his disciples were not known for being writers either. So the "authentic gospel of Jesus" contains no phrases we may be sure he said. Gospels came into writing after their lifetimes as well, and contain forgeries, as Dr Bart D. Ehrman (1955-) also shows in some of his books. [Ehrman books with annotations]
In the case of Yogananda, he came to American states known for a plenitude of sects and cults. Estimates and criteria vary, but there seem to be somewhere between 1,000 and 2,500 cults. (◦More). So Yogananda came and in time got one more, SRF in short, for Self-Realization Fellowship.
A cult or sect may not be so bad. The things that matter most are what is in it. Are we faced with sect-forming bluffs that are aligned to sottish lore and bring harm in its wake? The early Yogananda did not want a cult. And we find sayings of him that show another side to him as well.
Don't take my word for anything. . . . find out for yourselves. Don't get hung up on words . . . please remember. - Yogananda, in Dietz 1998
Had he stuck with that, much as many first US disciples wanted, and not spread additions to it, time could have been spent on some precious things. The Yogananda biography by Sailendra Dasgupta tells of the misgivings when Yogananda resorted to many words to the preference of spreading the yoga-meditation methods he had been sent to the West to teach along with a slim book to base his teachings on, Kaivalia Darshanam by his own guru (Yukteswar.
Yogananda made changes to the methods he was sent to teach. He removed formerly vital elements, like "tongue-holding" (tabalya), and introduced the Hong Sau technique, among others. The medley of methods he ended up with. After he died in 1952, SRF enlarged on the correspondence course, and "changes were made to the original lessons. Yogananda's American disciples of early years were not happe with these changes." (Dasgupta 2006:54). And the fellowship publishes many books, lessons and words, words, and words in conflict with one another still.
❋ Fawning on Jesus without being qualified to get his teachings, may backfire a lot too - regardless of acclaim, miracles and "O Lord", tells Jesus grimly, "Away from me, evildoers!" He spoke to Jews, he said his teachings were for Jews only. How many there are who disrespect that - (e.g. Matthew 7:22-23; 15:24; 10:4-10, and Geza Vermes quotation above)
If you smell a rat here and refuse to read further, see to it that it works for your good. Salvation is the big issue underneath guru rambles and gospel talks, and also "Who's your daddy now?" Is it Jesus for Jews only, you think?
Salvation in Hinduism is the main thing - freedom, moksha. Salvation of Jesus was for Jews only. For Christians of the first church it was a Ghost taking over, falling on them. Presented as a Spirit of Truth, Comforter and Reminder for Jewish followers - and yet - there are many dozens of different gospels accounts, and no miracle powers that made early followers escape martyrdom in the brutal circuses of Rome. They may have thought the miracle powers and powers of prayers that Jesus promises Jewis followers, where for them also, but Jesus says in the canonical gospels that his teachings were for Jews only. So how could they apply to the millions of martyrs who thought they were good followers, but did not throw mountains into the sea and outdo Jesus in all sorts of ways (John 14:12)? They must have been fooled a lot on other issues than that the end of the world was about to come soon. They were wrong, and bible scholars tell Jesus was wrong about that one as well.
Gullibility is a problem. Deep gullibility and big words or an orator here and there, and the non-following up on them by those in charge, those are alarming things to deal with.
Don't take my word for anything. . . . find out for yourselves. Don't get hung up on words . . . please remember. - Yogananda, in Dietz 1998
And it you don't take his word for anything and do it well, take care so as not to get suspect. A way out is to go for self-help yoga and work up your freedom. It is cognate with working in as much freedom as you can handle as well. I recommend Vedanta teachings - they abound - and higher yoga practices - there are some. A wise selection could be good.
The Honeyed Orator Tongue
Yogananda's God-constructs and where to find some of them
The Americanised swami Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) lived and taught in the USA for about thirty years. He tried to bring some pieces of wider understanding to American, who were stiff and traditional non-Hindus for most part. The guru's teachings are found in lectures and sermons and books that have been published by Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) mainly, but there is a caveat: They may not be verbatim, but SRF-edited, lots of them. A few other publishers are around too, such as Ananda, Amrita, and Gutenberg. Vital Yogananda teachings are also scattered over the SRF Lessons and Service Readings. The lessons are a lengthy medley of Yogananda utterances, and titbits from talks and sermons of his, interspersed occasionally with expositions of methods in his yoga-meditation approach, which he simplified or modified for Westerners so that fewer were scared off as time went by. Was it necessary? A bit of it, perhaps, as his "Don't take my word for anything."
Large parts of the SRF-edited, layman-adapted talks are publicly available today in books containing lectures and sermons [Ak; Yogananda 1993, Jce]. How hard the editing has been in any text is impossible to say for outsiders. A hint is here: The SRF-edited work The Second Coming of Christ is at least twice as voluminous as the same text from another publisher, Amrita in Texas. "Buyers beware," then. For more: [Yogananda books with comments]
"How fit was that swami for teaching and preaching "original Christianity of Jesus Christ"? The Yogananda founded SRF Church has this as one of its official aims and ideals (No. 3, currently).
Sadly, he was little fit, but that did not deter him: he lectured and dictated a whole lot on Bible matters, obviously ignoring or being blank about textual Bible criticism. Dogmatic insistence does not compensate for little and solid groundwork.
You may say, "That is odd, for Yogananda maintained he could put his hand on a book and know the thoughts it contained." He said, "I read very little, because it is not necessary. By the time I get through a few pages of a book, I know from its vibrations whatever truth it contains." (Yogananda 1993:19). He said so, but offers a lot of uncritical Bible talk, and is reading into the Bible a whole lot. He hardly makes much of a hundred self-contradictions in the Bible either.
Then you may say, "Yogananda wrote in Whispers from Eternity that he was able to see the glistening future thoughts of mankind, and did not take into account the growing textual criticism of the Bible in his unfit commentaries on "Bible matters that non-Jews were excluded from by Jesus (Matthew 10:1-10; 15:24)." Yes, Yogananda wrote that he "stood in the land unveiled, and found streams of rushing, glistening thoughts, felt rippling thoughts of millenniums – of born and unborn civilizations . . . All futurity danced in me." (Yogananda 1949, No. 212, emphasis added). "All futurity" . . . without taking advantage of sound textual criticism. That could have helped. It had already started to sprout in his lifetime. But perhaps he did not see all the details of the rippling thoughts? On a practical level, hearing or reading someone claim something is one thing; and the truth of the matter can be quite another. As it is, Yogananda does not get into textual criticism of the Bible. What is otherwise noticed is that he brings much Hindu lore into and onto Christianity. I think he should have studied textual criticism first, before talking a lot, and going for less than optimal dealings. Is fit understanding unfit?
As for Hindu lore, he had better refrained from misusing it as he does. Granted that, one should also find how Yogananda ignored reasonable measures also when he "commented" notoriously on Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat like a dilettante.
His statements are not just his problem, but a problem of too many who enroll under him in SRF, where he is "the Authority". They get an extra weight of guru sayings added to very often inconsistent, faulty Bible teachings or mentalities.
Yogananda the Bible interpreter did not treat his material like a textual critic, saying, "Get rid of the dross!", but saying and doing that is a facet of being set free from much inferior. Is is good to get rid of swollen promises, foul pledges in the name of Jesus, and goof belief. Contrary to such commendable endeavours, much Yogananda talk is baloney, such as when he says, "Hard work has never hurt anyone." (1982:204). Find the facts. Estimates show how hard work harms and kills millions. Hence, it is no joke to be fed with outright baloney. Seeing is believing].
After that warming-up, see through the tricks. Simply put, there is no original Christianity of Jesus, only teachings of Jesus for Jews only. The teachings of Jesus are not for all who are not Jews, Jesus is recorded to have said in a gospel (cf. Matthew 14:25). The renowned Bible scholar Geza Vermes affirms that the teachings of Jesus, his Kingdom and salvation were for Jews only, and that Gentiles were strictly excluded. (Vermes 2010;39, 41) Acts 15:17-21; 21:25 confirm it, by showing that the religion that arose around 50 AD, at the council in Jerusalem, did not contain one single saying of Jesus. His teachings for Jews were not included in the Apostolic Decree either. You are required to abstain from black pudding (blood food), wrangled chicken (choked animals), adultery and one more thing. A Ghost and keeping four requirements - that is what being saved is in the New Testament. Gospel sayings were written and forged much later - and were at any rate not essential.
In some places, like Matthew 5, Jesus vouches for slavery and vicarious sacrifice - scapegoating. In other places for self-maiming and giving way to bad ones. Beware! If you are a Jewish follower, know Jesus did not get much of a footing among Jews in his day, and that some of his hard words made most of his seventy-two appointed disciples leave him (Luke 10:1-20; John 6:60-66). If you are a non-Jew, see that his self-maiming, greatly molesting teachings were for Jews alone, and be greatly relieved, if not happy. As Acts 15 tells us, Gentiles got a milder deal, and did not have to cut off their foreskins either.
There was much forgery in the early church; dogmatic Christianity took a long time to get to. There are ramifications too, and conflicting view. There still are. They come with different denominations nowadays.
Gullible SRF members seem to have put their trust in guru sayings about a Christianity that did not exist - and guru-elaborations on gospel sayings not meant for other than Jews, and later-added forgeries and the like. Is that quack or not?
Going forth by masked guesses
It is worth noting is that SRF members do not make much of sayings of Yogananda for dictatorship. However, if adapting to the guru's teachings makes one no longer enjoy life as before, at least then the understanding of having been fooled around may break through, although too late for oneself, perhaps.
For some reasons or other, between 2000 and 2002 fifty SRF monastics left the SRF premises, and some dropped the gurus as well. The remaining SRF monastics work to serve their monastic fare and spread such parts of their guru's work as they find fit after interpreting and adding to them (editing work) and ignoring what seems less suitable to them, such as his desire for a university and, for brotherhood communities. "SRF-scrapped' may be a harsh work in a context where the SRF-suitable guru output seems to be fit. But is it? What do you think? The SRF monastics were reduced by one third when disgruntled ones among them left.
Below is ample evidence that Yogananda replaces the understanding of old Christian constructs like Father, Christ, Holy Spirit, soul and reincarnation. What Bible scholars think about the constructs, is for them to explain - and interpretations or explanations depend on what is found. One should be aware that there are literal, traditional grasps, and more recent textual criticism, which helps to determine many conundrums and find lots of other ones. For example, the dogmas on Father, Christ and Holy Ghost were not part of the very first Christianity. There is later, added material in the gospels too. The firm ground that some seek in the New Testament, is not convincing in all places. [Ehrman writings]
I think it is better to stick to your individuality and rational integrity than to seek to destroy them, and vastly better to remain unharmed than seduced by plots, for example. To emphasise: It should not pay to give up an individuality that is sane and good and not deranged. Don't let a demagogue sway you from developing that. Carl G. Jung among others also makes the call for individuation.
He teaches Christian heresy, says a Catholic professor
"Father Mateo", a professor of Scripture and classical languages, denounces some parts of the doctrines of Paramahansa Yogananda on the grounds that (1) he teaches indifferentism; (2) seems to teach "the Pelagian heresy" of salvation by human effort; and (2) misunderstands and even implicitly denies the Christian doctrine of Incarnation, says the late Father. [Explication]
One had better be alert to that "Not every guru who says he teaches Christianity, does it in ways that the Church embraces." Yogananda is definitely one of them. Do we say "Each to his tastes" in these waters? Or "He came up with something adequate despite what the old Church Fathers thought?"
Also, I think that some of Yogananda sayings are not conductive to getting able and successful either; for the once renowned orator had a knack for using great-looking terms and contradicting himself.
"The soul and its joy last forever," teaches Paramahansa Yogananda in The Divine Romance (1993:296). Further details at bottom of the page)]. Jesus teaches the soul can be destroyed [Matthew 10:28, Luke 12:4-6; Matthew 5:29], however. Their teachings are in "complete harmony", says Yogananda's yoga-teaching Self-Realization Fellowship in its aims and ideals, and echoes Yogananda thoughts, such as: "Babaji ... asked me to interpret the Christian Bible and the Hindu Bible [Bhagavad Gita], to point out the basic unity of the Christian and the Vedic scriptures." [Yogananda 1980:21]
There is a deviant attitude or bias to look out for among Yogananda devotees - It is this: Whatever the guru of SRF teaches, right or wrong, it is far from wrong and harmful, for his guidelines are proclaimed to be infallible in the fellowship's eyes. Better be warned: the guru hailed dictatorship too, even in his own magazine (its ◦February issue, 1934, p. 3, 25). - This does not mean that all meet with immediate harm and ruin from entering his surviving fellowship and get utterly fallen.
❋ Strangers may be decent people, but we may do well by not setting the stage for future unhappiness by putting trust in people and situations we have little knowledge of.
❋ "There is nothing so royal as truth." (Proverb).
Yogananda gradually allied himself with the American idea that Christianity is great, claimed he was in special rapport with Jesus himself, and was widely accepted as an orator as years went by. A fine correction to naive assumptions that an orator automatically is a good person: "A man never becomes an orator if he has something to say (Proverb)."
As for the orator guru Yogananda, he very gradually lessened the frequency of some of his first key concepts and attitudes, altered his kriya methods and claims to suit them to his public, and got success in the world by such strides, by "slackening of his given mission or mandate" from gurus beyond. He resorted to "his own kind of Christianity" for he also taught that the world is merely an artful show, a dream, illusory - things like that. [Yogananda 1980:10, 56] [More]
By the way, Ramakrishna discredits gurus that go for fame and wealth as prostitutes. [Ramakrishna tale]. This does not automatically mean that Yogananda was a harlot or all harlot. It is seldom fit to treat alike all gurus that get fame and success in the world. I think some are noble or all right. The question is whether SRF gurus like cheating and loving Yogananda were. Yogananda was found to "sell out" parts of his original kriya and message in order to enlarge his net and get hauls of fish, so to speak. His biographer reveals many sides to it. "Yogananda would say that lack of success in life had no place in America, and the only accepted and approved mark of success was financial prosperity - being a multimillionaire [Dasgupta 2006:52]." And on one occasion Yogananda looked at his biographer from the corners of his eyes and said, "Look, I want to throw the net far and wide, so that at least a couple of big fishes can be caught." Another time he said: "No matter what the means." [Dasgupta 2006:79, 101] [See also Dasgupta 2006:53; 54, 57; 109-12]
Now a tale about the highly esteemed guru who told he had been a vicious and murderous desert marauder in a past life [Dasgupta 2006:112]:
The late Brother Mokshananda, who was born Leland Standing (1927-82), entered the SRF monastery four days before Yogananda passed away. One sunny day in Encinitas he told me that one of those four days he was set to do some gardening. Then he saw Yogananda at a little distance; the guru was going for a car ride.
To get a gift and to keep it are two different things. The guru obviously did not sell his Cadillac, and a later successor to SRF was seen riding a pink Cadillac too, after shying away from the guru's headquarters for about three decades to live in "a million dollar villa" with a view - all unknown to monks at the headquarters (!). [◦More]
I don't mind gurus having many and fine cars. But I do mind that gurus who claim they stand for "original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ" - which they do in SRF - do not support interesting sayings of Jesus better than giving them Schmuck service (Schmuck in his sentence is the German: Schmuck, decoration). What happened to "Sell your possessions and give to the poor [Luke 12:33; cf. 18:22; Matthew 19:21; cf. Mark 10:21]"? It is one of the hallmarks of a follower of "the original Christianity of Jesus. * Jesus is also known for saying, "Why do you call me, "Lord, Lord," and do not do what I say [Luke 6:46]?" Jesus condemned hypocrites [Matthew 15:7-9, etc]. Oh yes -
* For non-Jewish followers, all the commands of Jesus were luckily discarded by the apostles and the Holy Ghost in Acts 15 (and 21:25), where "no to blood food (including black pudding, blood sausages, etc)" was left along with "no to (some forms of) adultery" and two more things (found in the Apostolic Decree). However, SRF says in their Aims and Ideals that they stand for "the original Christianity of Jesus".
Are some gurus served by setting up a sham following of "original Christianity"? That is a question. Another is to what degree there are "nasty Christians" around where you live - people who claim to follow Jesus, but without doing what he tells, such as doing greater works than he did. Such people are at least mistaken, and should profit from studying the Gentile Deal of Acts 15. Its core is repeated in Acts 21:25. These passages tell that good Christians are free to ignore demands of Jesus, so they may keep their belongings and may do better than turning the other cheek and willingly letting robbers take their Rolex watches, and so on. Yes, they may stop favouring bullies and evil by turning the other cheek. And that is good news. There are indeed good sides to not being told by Jesus what do do and not to do. Christianity for non-Jews is for that, the Bible informs. The heading's 'innocent' can mean such as " free from guilt or fault, lacking something" (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Is it so that having an ample amount of submissive followers seemingly makes up for being devoid of guilt feelings? [Compare]
❋ Innocent means such as "free from guilt" and "lacking something," according to Merriam Webster Dictionary.
Yogananda's "original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ" resulted in a certain getting and taming of guru followers, including many in his monastic order. Further, after his demise his fronted followers came to take his fellowship away from many ideas and values that Yogananda went for.
I have come to think that Yogananda did not seem to have enough clarity and wit to steer his fellowship away from budding, future misfortunes and confused teachings, for he wanted monastics to head his organization, and without pointing out that "a castrated dog may feel all right if in command, but his progress is not biologically superior if so." A fellowship that is headed by nuns and monks, may feel all right by virtue of position making, but the Americanised Hindu orator Yogananda was not much experienced in such fields. And it has to be considered to what degree a guru has better things to do than going for a large haul and money. There are higher values, mature conscience and sane integrity, you know, and to disregard them is faulty, to give a broad hint.
❋ Later, the guru's monastics started to change much Yoganandic, and forged his signature from Paramhansa to Paramahansa. Some little signs should not be ignored, for they may add up.
"Yogananda's chameleon Hinduism" is a variant of Hinduism with Christianity "surface colours" of adaptation. But the overall build and shape of his main teachings conform to Hinduism. You may say his sort of Christianity is skin deep, like chameleon colours. He misrepresents significant parts of Christianity repeatedly for it. The Hindu monk presents a rather pitiful hybrid, full of Hinduism. Now lots of sides to Hinduism are wise in their own right, but sailing under false colours as Yogananda and his society does, is wily. I pity some who fell for his charade.
❋ Sailing under false colours is rarely a good self-presentation.
What about having your own Christianity?
The contour and general shape of the guru's chameleon reveals what "animal" it is. The adaptive colour changes on the skin - pink, blue, red, orange, green, black, brown and yellow - reflect this sort of lizard's conditions. They are coloured for their surroundings as a camouflage, but more likely their colour changes serve communication, including making themselves more attractive to potential partners. On the picture the animal is in the hand of God and Babaji - too.
❋ A Schmuck Christianity" suited to Vedanta, is that better or worse than commonly aired Christianity, which ignores central sayings like "Eat no blood food," and thus ridicules its foundations [Acts 15; 21:25]? Schmuck here is German for decoration.
Less confusing Hinduism exists
Just as there are many forms of Hinduism, there are many sorts of chameleons. The chameleon is a symbol of the sort of "Christianity" Yogananda teaches. A seemingly split brain is fit for this animal - its eyes move independently of one another. A human should refuse to be confused by that, by identifying the contour and shape of Hinduism, and knowing some basics of chameleon adaptations.
❋ Hinduism has a vast content, and is very, very varied. Hinduism contains very much to go for and thank for.
Look deeper than flimsy surface spectacles to avoid being taken in
Gullible ones are made fools of by believing in surface colours (guru teachings of "original Christianity", and that sort of tall tales in his illusory universe. Never mind his colour changes, but watch out for his tongue - it captures victims as the chameleon's tongue is supposed to.
Once the basics of the guru's chameleon are grasped, his inconsistent and blunderbuss teachings aimed at American Christians are found to serve the chameleon play. As Yogananda says in "The Dream Nature of the World": "The thought that you are merely a player ... is very comforting [Yogananda 1982:240]." Various patches and patterns on the skin are only surface deep, and do not tell how the chameleon is like: "Your real being ... the immortal soul [Yogananda 1982:240]." Such patches include topics like "God the Father" and the soul, where Hindu views conquer - all right: "We have to behold ... dream comedies ... take this life as cosmic picture-show. [Yogananda 1982:240]." The outlook that the world is illusory, is debunked on this site. There are forms of Hinduism that stand for such realism too, such as Krishna's in the Bhagavad Gita: "Those who are demoniac do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper behavior nor truth is found in them. They say that this world is unreal ... [Bhagavad Gita 16:7-8]
❋ A chameleon's surface adaptations suits its sneaking close to preys, followed by astounding snatch-use of the tongue.
Hold on to things of value
where you come across them. A decent way to get something of value out of Yogananda's teachings is not to believe him blindly, and to go for his finest fillets only if you feel inclined to read into his verbiage.
❋ Yogananda speaks against blind belief, stating that a belief is to be treated as provisional, temporary - and he calls for belief investigations, basically (The full quote is further down) (1997:305-06). 2500 years before him, Buddha told similarly, and also told how to deal with important issues of faith. [Kalama Sutta]
This section consists in a large measure of extracts from an article by the apologist Elliot Miller on Yogananda and SRF. Miller was of the apologetics ministry Christian Research Institute. For about half a century that institute has brought information on cults, other religions, and Christian apologetics. The following is rooted in the apologist's article:
"SRF is in outward appearance a unique Hindu-Christian hybrid," writes Miller. SRF was founded by the guru Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952). Miller sums up from the SRF history: "Through public lectures, yoga classes, and published writings, Yogananda attracted a sizable following." Yogananda made repeated claims that his form for yoga was an advanced, inner science of breath control. It has also turned out that the American soil has been a ripe field for many who hold they may give bliss to followers, by various means.
After Yogananda died in 1952, the particular church he founded, Self-Realization Fellowship, has continued to spread his words and methods, with huge stress on devotion. Miller mentions that "Yogananda is devotedly referred to as "Master," his spiritual presence is believed in and sought in a manner comparable to that of Jesus for the Christian, and virtually everything on which he left his mark at SRF's Mount Washington Mother Center has been turned into a shrine."
SRF has lovely ashram centres and temples in Southern California in particular, with swami-robed ministers to lecture and conduct satsangs (gatherings). How many SRF members there are in the world in our time, is not disclosed by SRF, but it has centres and meditation groups in 54 countries. That does not necessarily mean they are all much alive and well. [More]
Yogananda's religion is not traditional Christianity (for non-Jews), although the fellowship claims Jesus and Christianity in their public aims and ideals. Now in SRF, Jesus is called divine, like so many others, including a whole bunch of yogis in Yogananda's tradition. Many of them are called Christs by Yogananda too. According to him, Jesus gained "Christ Consciousness" by lifting himself, not by coming from above, which is what Jesus himself says in a gospel. [Yoga Christs]
SRF maintains it promotes unity of Hinduism and Christianity, but it is by "glossing over critical, irreconcilable differences," Miller pinpoints. "In the end, we find Hinduism unscathed by the transaction, while Christianity becomes stripped of its defining and distinguishing characteristics".
Miller remarks that "SRF claims affinity with Jesus, but this does not of itself prove that Jesus has affinity with them. It is crucial to note that ... Clearly, not all who speak reverently of Jesus are to be trusted," for, "Understood in their historical context, the teachings of Jesus bear no resemblance to Eastern mysticism." Miller also quotes Paul who warns, "See to it that no-one takes you captive."
Yogananda's claims on esoteric Christianity stem from his interpretations. Miller finds many of his claims untruthful and manipulative. And the guru shows no respect whatever for historical context or intended meanings of the bible authors, Miller assesses. (See the Ehrman section below for some details).
With Yogananda, salvation equals Self-realization. The goal that the guru has set up for his followers, is Self-realization. Yogananda also teaches God is both personal and impersonal, and the world is called an illusion, a "false play", so to speak. A ridiculous side to such teachings is that if the world is illusory, so is that teaching - as it is part of the world.
It is fair to say that Yogananda is frequently biblically false, much due to his profound lack of biblical proficiency. But his fellowship has found it fit to say his guidance is virtually infallible, and SRF gurus are almighty and all-knowing Christs.
[Main source of the above: Miller 2009]
❋ Against wrong claims, sound study helps.
Bart D. Ehrman Could Help a Lot
The fruit of bible knowledge gleaned by scholars may be had through good books. Such knowledge offers help against being naively taken in by bullies who dogmatise and dictate what their victims are to think.
Yogananda's marring Bible exegesis stems in part from his being a Hindu without adequate schooling in gospel reading. His ruffian-like approach was that of interpreting passages in a Hindu light and making lots of greatly unverified claims.
The divine intuition he often spoke of, must have failed him, for since the guru's death, much research has been done into the Bible by thousands of scholars. Many ancient texts have been discovered and are being assessed. As a result, bible scholars maintain several things about the bible that are too little known among the public, such as the numerous contradictions in it. Yogananda did not seem to have a clue about major ones among them.
Devotional study of the Bible and critical-historical study of it differs, and what is more, devotionalists face that some words that seemingly are from the mouth of Jesus, are not so anyway [Ehrman 2005]. Gurus who say they interpret Jesus without ever informing that such and such passages were later addition and most likely forged in aniquity, may do you an ill turn. You have the right to be informed truthfully. For example, the Gospels are at odds on numerous points, and evidence shows there are lots of falsehoods in the Bible, Ehrman summarises. He also concludes that what the New Testament actually teaches, is not what most people think it does - for example:
These are standard and widespread views of critical scholars now. [Ehrman 2009] [More]
Instead of taking old forgeries and questionable sayings for granted as "divine" and things like that, and spin guru yarns on top of many of them, take in what is fair instead, first and foremost, and what is schooled too. Such beginner's strategies help rational coping, and that is what we are into. [Ehrman 2005; Ehrman 2009]
Dealing with Yogananda's Thin Drinks
Don't think so much about reforming others; reform yourself first. The greatest field of victory is your own home. - Yogananda [Yogananda 1997:112]
Much of the offhand-looking theology mishmash of SRF and Yogananda stems from the orator guru's discourses, or prattle. The courteous gentleman, French gentilhomme, tries not to deceive others. A Confucian gentleman tries to cultivate himself and develop humaneness also, and is often expected to be a sufficiently respectful moral guide who hardly ever takes advantage of misleading innocents. [Wikipedia, sv. "Gentleman"]
By contrast, many are fooled and then disappointed by rogues. Mind that gurus who teach the world is unreal, illusory, are not excluded from the illusory, but "one with it," one may say. What such nobodies seemingly teach, does it help or undermine? Is the bondage they demand from their initiated in their hybrid-religious serfdom really fair, fit, and helpful as they claim to set the followers free? Their talks must be facets of misbehaving, and they themselves clowns of a sort.
If you lend your ear and heart to empty guru prattle anyway, you may head for future trouble. Where does that lead us? It definitely takes some into the welcoming arms of psychotherapists over there. But it may not turn out that bad. Also, as it is said, "He is not the most confused who knows he is confused (Chuang Tzu)."
From a Letter
An erroneous belief, if held to without scrutiny, develops into tenacious dogmatism. A belief that is disproved changes from dogmatism to unbelief. On the other hand, if one believes in a true doctrine and follows it persistently, that belief gradually crystallizes into conviction and faith. So we see that a belief, whether false or true, is provisional. It can only be temporary, for it is subsequently metamorphosed either into dogmatism or unbelief, or into faith ...
Yogananda does not ask for belief at all at this place, but teaches that belief is provisional, and he accords with Buddhas great teachings in the Kalama Sutta by it. [Link]. Buddha teaches against credulity and blind belief too, and calls for testing things very carefully and skilfully. Also, Buddha says you can have both wealth and spiritual development. It is no either-or, in essence. Buddha teaches a well rounded system for developing skills, tenets to go for, successful fare, and spiritual development - avoiding extremes. His useful Middle Way incorporates these and other sides to the good life - the life that is designed to make life increasingly better. Ancient Hinduism too holds up wealth (artha) as one of the four life goals too, along with "righteous living" and so on.
Now you can have it both ways - both material and spiritual progress - by your own efforts according to a Grand Design. That is how life should be for lay followers of Buddhism and others who accommodate to Buddha's gift.
Buddha also says that one is allowed to doubt his teachings fairly. Faith in Buddha's teaching is not forbidden, though, but it is not to be regarded as an end in itself, but as a starting point of an evolving process, a waking-up process. As it is pointed out by Narada: "A Buddhist [does not] sacrifice his freedom of thought by becoming a follower of the Buddha. He is at full liberty to exercise his own free-will and develop his knowledge even to the extent of attaining Buddhahood himself." [Narada 1988:283]
Implied in Yogananda's words above, the same applies to them - all of them. But Yogananda talked with many mouths, and some of his teachings are self-contradictory. Being a "devotee of unresolved self-contradictions and swindle" is not good for the fare. One should be greatly aware of that.
The Higher Guru Teachings
The most profitable handling of SRF teachings might be to ignore the guru and his teachings wholesale, because they say this world is unreal, and that would necessarily include all the guru sayings and guru appearances too, if true.
We do well not to think the guru says how it is if it is unreal.
Anyway, Yogananda taught both valuable yoga teachings and inferior teachings. At times they conflict and contradict one another. The solution to this problem is not to claim that his guidelines are flawless, which the guru's fellowship narrowly does, regrettably. On the other hand, getting overly disillusioned leads perhaps nowhere either. Thus, prefer better and higher teachings right from the start, for you can grow on them. Focus on the valuable content, and realise that the disillusioned ones had it coming through gullibility, naivity, and lack of experience as to faking and claimed godmen in the field of faking - that is, of illusions, dreams, a show - the world according to Yogananda. And perhaps it should be told that it could get hard to get anywhere from there -
Then, what is the valuable Yogananda content? It should lie in the higher teachings. Who are they, then? After all, the highest part of a mere show lies in reality behind it. So don't lose your realism and realistic output. Faith seems overrated! The basic teaching of SRF and Yogananda is that the world is unreal, an illusion, a dream. In that light, the highest teaching is to ignore the guru and SRF completely - just get off the hook. But the poor guys who have been bound to the guru and SRF through an alarming cult pledge, they have apparently lost much freedom, and may not know what to do. Here are a few tips that could benefit some in such sorry circumstances:
First, select and focus on the adequate methods to stay sane, to do them skilfully and not overreach, and not so much on his divergent words and self-contradictions. Second, whenever there are self-contradictions in the guru's teachings, focus on the higher ones to you: those that you find to be most valuable in your set of circumstances. And do not overreach - it happens to be a danger in the cult of an exhorting Yogananda.
Yogananda himself allows for putting almost all his teachings aside as less valuable - at least ninety percent of them - to focus on the best methods and teachings from him. They may tell you about it in SRF too.
As further help: Goading is always inferior. When Yogananda says that love is not the highest, happiness is, and later goes on exhorting, "Love God" for many years, it is "love God", "love all nations", and so on - that misleading to a yogi that means business in deep meditation. Yogananda should have taught first-class methods or ways to "love God", but his love-teachings do not reach up to that level, at least for most part. More significant, he could have focused on "know yourself" by going deep in meditation towards the source of happiness instead. That would have been a first-class teaching, in accord with the methods he was sent to the West to teach.
Since Yogananda has taught all these things, make the wisest choices: Avoid a cult master. If you don't heed this and later want to lessen accruing sectarian troubles, prefer the highest teachings of the dictatorship-fond at any point. That could give some help. Maybe not the best help, which is to resist and stay away from them from the start, but at any way, some help. By many tiny steps and strides some troubles might dissolve as if by themselves, thanks to expert dealings. Reason may be developed. Go for it, says Yogananda.
Through the rest of this slim book we will look into things Yogananda teaches, and apply his invaluable* dream-world counsel above to them. The material I comment on is from a book of discourses, Man's Eternal Quest [Ak]. It is the first in a series of sermons and talks by Yogananda.
*Pun. Do I mean "worthless counsel," "extremely useful counsel," or perhaps both - or something else? Incalculable may mean (1) inestimable; impossible to calculate; (2) priceless; extremely useful, etc.; (3) cheap, worthless, valueless, rubbishy.
In many talks and essays he vouches for that he teaches unity of Christianity and Hinduism, and introduces his own deviant understanding of Christian terms in so doing. You may say, "Since Hinduism can be next to anything, so multiform as it is, what is new about this approach?" It is the contortions of Christian terms, basically, ripping them out of their original contexts, and going against words by Jesus too, as it suits the guru.
The Hindu emissary Yogananda went into a life-long labour to make Christianity conform to his Hinduism, and showed at best only rudimentary knowledge of critical Bible exegesis. Further, the guru accepted the wording of the old King James version of Bible verbatim when he delivered his unprofessional sermonising of non-substantiated claims to the end of aligning gospel sayings with a form of yoga.
This study of Yogananda's hogwash Christianity makes do with taking some looks at claims by Yogananda as they are presented in two of his discourses, and does not go into major findings of critical Bible research and more modern translations of bible sayings either. You may study books by Ehrman for to get updated on Bible research, and try the New International Version (NIV) for better, modern wording of the bible paragraps.
"Garbage in, garbage out," is a danger of sect-hailed gurus. To get your mind filled with sleek and misleading garbage is bad, not good. Below I pinpoint some issues that should be vital to a Christian. It stands out over and over that the guru's hybrid theology is a mishmash of Hindu stuff and Christian teachings that are robbed of their connections: To a Christian, Yogananda's hybrid theology must be alarming and dangerous. And you may well ask whether fair treatment is missing in guru lectures where not even the slightest preparations were done [see Ak vii-viii].
Maybe I should stress at this point that you don't have to be a Christian to note the obvious and miss fair treatment by the hailed guru.
I am happy to tell that ◦Transcendental Meditation, TM works.
Yoga as Taught by a Christ?
Some get caught between God-Teeth, their heads crushed to powder, says the Bhagavad Gita [11:26-27]. It also says that demoniacs teach the world is illusory [Bhagavad Gita 16:7-9].
The church society Yogananda set up, Self-Realization Fellowship, maintains he was a man of God and an authority of yoga. Thus, he could enter high states of mind and talk and digress at length in some of them, inspired by attending ones too. This is what his fellowship teaches, signifying that he was an enlightened master with a warm, appealing sense of humour [see Ak viii, ix, xi].
Yogananda was ordained and trained in India to spread knowledge of a certain form of yoga, and "reveal the complete harmony and basic oneness of original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ and original Yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna" to Westerners. These formed part of his ordained Hindu mission. As if there ever was any "original Christianity of Jesus" at all! [Link].
The guru also pointed out that man "can tap the Source of all power and fulfillment" [Yogananda 1982:xv]. Yogananda's teachings also include the view that being an avatar is as good as being a Christ: "Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Babaji all are Christs." [Yogananda 1982:334]. That is his professed understanding of things, oddly against gospel warnings by Jesus against false Christs and having other masters than himself.
From SRF's Aims and Ideals
Paramahansa Yogananda decreed that there is an essential unity between Hinduism and Christianity as taught by Jesus. The guru's view is expressed in these aims and ideals of his Fellowship too:
Now is the time to note that Yogananda strikes against a major SRF aim too - well, Yogananda often talks against himself. In the book Sayings of Yogananda [Say; index] he says there is no evolution. In his Autobiography [LINK] he says the incarnating ego requires (such as) a million years for its evolution onwards. We cannot have it both ways; cannot go categorically for evolution, and also say there is no evolution anywhere in the universe. You should see that those who become subject to largely contradictory teachings - these are - may fall short in getting an essential grip, which is not good.
And now comes still more solid help for more handy thinking:
These two views cannot be reconciled. It could help some to reflect on this phrase: "Expect the worst; and be nicely forewarned-forearmed to minimise the alarming dangers and risks of exposure."
Now we find that (1) Jesus teaches that the soul can be killed, and (2) Yogananda's teaches that the soul is immortal and cannot be killed: "Each soul is a part of God and is therefore imperishable." - Paramahansa Yogananda in the book Sayings of Yogananda [1980:25]
So what is the highest teaching about the soul, and how may we verify which tale is true? Those seem to be proper questions. Yet Buddha does not teach much about the afterlife in the Theravada Canon [Link]. In the Mahayana Canon it is different.
We will look into facets of the guru's teachings here. Most quotations below are from the compilation "Christ and Krishna: Avatars of the One Truth" in Man's Eternal Quest, p. 294-307. Sayings from two talks or lectures (not specified) that were held at the SRF headquarters on January 15, 1933, and April 14, 1935 went into the compilation and could have been edited, if it matters. too, before being published.
According to the publishers, an avatar signifies the descent of Divinity into flesh [Yogananda 1982:294n]. There are many other uses of that term, however. [Yoga Glossary]
Here we bring examples to study in the light of the theoretical possibility of how idolatry can be brought about by (1) taking some Christian concepts (flour), (2) adding preconceived notions (water etc) and finally (3) baking the swollen dough in the oven of fervent worship - that sort of material.
"It is impossible to make comparisons between the masters and foolish to try: they are all the same, they are all equal.
He says it is foolish, but still does it. Beware.
One can and should compare gurus to eliminate the incompatible ones and try and find one or more suitable ones; that is in the hoary teachings of India. It finds expression in such general statements as "One out of ten gurus are genuine." Maybe it should be "One out of eight, or fourteen" - I have not checkted that, but a point is made clear anyway. It is "Don't trust strongly; but try to find of things first, before committing yourself and giving values away, and so on - for you may be fooled a lot if not, and even if you try to check above your head and out of your waters, so to speak." At any rate you could do better than gradually becoming a morbid alcoholic on beer first, and then liquour.
In fact, you can and should compare master deeds, then. It's often interesting. It is a boon to be able to discern and abstract collected wisdom and remain fair too.
At this point you may wonder what 'master' means in this context. It suggests a Christ:
These two avatars, Jadava [Krishna] and Jesus, fully manifested the Christ Consciousness, the Kutastha Chaitanya or divine guiding Intelligence that is in every atom of creation [Yogananda 1982:297].
What the Bible says about Messiah, which was translated into "Christ" in Greek, is different. Basically, the Jews waited for a king that could free them from Romans - that sort of Messiah. The word meant "oil-anointed [cf 1 Sam 10]. In the New Testament letters expanded meanings were added, though, especially in Hebrews. Since then, some sects have made their own definitions of the term, and the Catholic Church too.
In a free country there is no monopoly as to how the term "christ" is to be used. However, since Yogananda and his cult claim to be perfectly aligned with the teachings of "original Christianity" - but are not - it should be well to expose false play in this too.
To accept Jesus you are called to confess you are a sinner - that given way is through shame and remorse
KRISHNA says: "Forsaking all other dharmas (duties), remember me alone, I will free thee from all sins (accruing from nonperformance of those lesser duties)." [Bhavavad Gita 8:66] The shame and trouble and misery that will arise from forsaking worldly duties God will forgive you." - Paramahansa Yogananda [1982:302]
Yogananda "intervenes" and adds a significant interpretation as you can see. The question is if he instructs full well in this matter as in other matters [compare Romans 15:14, for example].]
MASTERS ... had to work and fight for liberationThe Bhagavad Gita [and] the New Testament are sublime manifestations of truth ... these two bibles give essentially the same teaching. - Paramahansa Yogananda [1982:294, 297] ]
To the contrary, Jesus informs, "I came from God and now am here ... he sent me. [John 8:42] I came from the Father and entered the world; now I'm leaving the world and going back to the Father [John 16:28]."
The bible for Christians also says no-no to alien gods, idol worship, false Christs and having more than one Master - and gives no spectacular permission to worship such as foreign matters, idols or gods, and a "beery" faith headed by one or more Hindu swamis.
Let there be room for well-founded, careful debates geared to firm evidence, for becoming a fanatic could turn out to be hazardous to your health. An important question remains: Is biblical faith alone what will bring salvation? If so, is Hindu salvation identical with gospel salvation? Jesus once said that "salvation is from the Jews". [John 4:22]. Hence, opinions differ -
"So many minds, so many opinions (Proverb)." Those inexperienced with the wide variety of Hindu teachings, its schools and cults and sects, may do well to get a briefing - getting such as Dr. Klaus Klostermaier's book on Hinduism first may help against being fooled and misled . For what comes from the mouths and words of many a notorious guru may be biased and worse than that. Ignoring a good survey first, it is far easier to get confounded and also trapped and steeped in unrewarding teachings. It happens to some.
A good survey in advance can save a hundred thousand embarrassments - maybe or maybe not. Klostermaier's book - there are many others - is basically a Hinduism-sympathetic book. And he asserts there are not so many perfect agreements among Hindu thinkers when it comes to Hindu theology, both old and new. Some think the soul (atman, pure consciousness itself) is a bit different from God who is considered as impersonal by some, personal by others, and both personal and impersonal by still others. Some Hindu thinkers like to believe that there is soul-Godhead-identity deep down, and still others think differently than that again, and so on. The Britannica Online contains many articles that illustrate how divergent Hindu thinking really is.
What stands out is that Hinduism is a medley canon and that its frames of reference many times do not fit Christian thinking and many basic teachings of Jesus. That is not different from what some modern Christians think and live out together either, even though Jesus said he would refuse to acknowledge those who called him "Lord, Lord," without doing what he said, and also condemned hypocrites. Indeed -
Hinduism very often deals with partial teachings where different philosophers have disagreed among themselves. To obscure these matters is not fair, nor a sign of particularly worthwhile thinking. [Cf. Suh 372-6]
A good question is what "essential unity" is supposed to mean. Get it spelled out in detail first, and check it as best you can, long before entering any cult that promotes things like that. Once enrolled, one may bend to conform to dull verbiage in circulation there.
The bible doesn't state explicitly that anyone can come to heaven by surrender to Hare Krishna and Krishna avatars today. Krishna is not mentioned anywhere in the bible [see John 5:22]. Nor is the Manu Samhita, an ancient Hindu law book. The guru of Yogananda makes use of its teachings of cyclic golden ages, "silver ages, brass ages and iron ages", in his work for the toward uniting religious teachings of East and West by severe misunderstanding, in part]. [A Yukteswar Collection].
We cannot find that God of the Acts has anything to do with its teachings.
Even though liberated, the divine ones play ... their human roles in the seeming reality of the earth-life drama. They have their weaknesses ... and gain victory. - Paramahansa Yogananda [1982:295]
Avatar or godman play (lila) may or may not reflect fairness, is an old Indian teaching. There is a harsh story about it too, in one of the old books of Hinduism, a purana. To look to the results (fruits) before judging (evaluating), is in tune with a standard counsel by Jesus.
The concept of Trinity is also exactly the same in the Hindu and Christian scriptures. - Paramahansa Yogananda [1982:299]
If so, the guru does not bring good evidence of it.
The trinity of Christianity is Father-Son-Holy Spirit, and a sort hodgepodge: "The Father is in me, I am in the Father" and so on [see John].
Yogananda states in one place that the Father is "beyond phenomena":
We may say that God the Father, existing in the vibrationless void beyond phenomena, is the Capital that 'backs' creation. The Son, or intelligent Christ Consciousness that permeates the universe, is Management. And the Holy Ghost, or bodiless invisible vibratory power that produces all forms in the cosmos, is Labor." [Say 10] ]
do not tell this. Below are a few samples about the Father to look into and compare with:
Your Father in heaven ... causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. [Matthew 5:45]
According to the Bible, on one occasion the Father talked from a cloud or as a cloud. So there is hardly a good match between the understanding of Jesus and Yogananda's "in the vibrationless void beyond phenomena" concerning the Father. But Yogananda often contradicts himself, or fills a concept with a variety of meanings, as he does about your or our "greatest enemy", for example. Moreover, in the Autobiography of a Yogi Yogananda thinks that his resurrected guru Sri Yukteswar telepathed to him in an Indian hotel when Yogananda "was incoherent with joy" while embracing his guru "with an octopus grip" and Sri Yukteswar "was conveying his word-pictures ... partly by speech and partly by thought-transference":
Joyous astral festivities on the higher astral planets like Hiranyaloka take place when a being is liberated from the astral world through spiritual advancement, and is therefore ready to enter the heaven of the causal world. On such occasions the Invisible Heavenly Father, and the saints who are merged in Him, materialise Themselves into bodies of Their own choice and join the astral celebration. In order to please His beloved devotee, the Lord takes any desired form. If the devotee worshipped through devotion, he sees God as the divine Mother. [All from Autobiography of a Yogi, ch. 43]
Yogananda teaches on behalf of his guru that the Father tackles being a Mother, if someone so pleases - and that the Father is not always "only" in the beyond. We go on:
There are trinities of Hinduism that don't fit very well into the Father-Son-Holy Spirit concept, which is a one and only trinity of Christianity. There are many trinities of Indian scriptures, and Yogananda mentions several of them. Sat-Tat-Aum (Being, Atman, the Word) is one. Sat is Being, Truth and Reality associated with Brahman (Godhead). Tat stands for Brahman (Godhead) too. Aum (Om) is a syllable that represents Brahman too. Sat-Chit-Ananda (Being, Consciousness, Joy) is another well-known one. Main Hindu gods come in trinities: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, who are the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer, respectively.
But Christianity has it differently. The frame of references, the inherent content of the concepts - parts may not be full well equalled to main Hindu teachings. There is no perfect match.
Easy-looking attempts at hybridisation may capture a lot of innocent youths by what may be likened to plumage swelling. The beauty of colours and patterns on a peacock's tail lies mostly on the surface.
"To me Krishna and Christ stand supreme." - Paramahansa Yogananda [1982:296] ]
Yogananda adjusted much to Americans between 1920 and 1952. In one of his particular visions from that period he "saw" Jesus and Krishna hand in hand on a sea of gold, as described in Man's Eternal Quest (1982). If you interpret it much like a dream, the sea of gold to walk on could represent the desire for money and gold.
The ability to see for himself anything he likes, can be developed by yoga training, says the ancient authority Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. It's a short text on how to develop supernatural powers in meditation. Yogananda calls Patanjali an avatar too [Leggett 1990: Johnston 1968; Nikhilananda 1953]. The Yoga Sutras and a primer to it are online here: [LINKS 1 - 2]
There are many freaking tenets all over the world. Our glance happens to go to a guru and Hindu emissary here - and there is nothing more to it
All in all we live to learn. Some lessons are to be understood, some need to be understood even better, and so on. Solid, practical handling ensures it. It tends to help to keep a dwelling and stick to one's favoured assets. There are dangers in that, too. Too many die in their homes, such as in the kitchen. Forethought and "Safety first" could have avoided many unwanted deaths, crippling accidents and wrong living. Rush and stress may breed "city madness", it seems fair to say.
It could be mal-adaptations that lie at the bottom of Krishna-fervour and lots of similar "freaking"
"Divine incarnations such as Jesus Christ and Jadava Krishna had somewhere, sometime, developed that spiritual stature which foredestined their birth as avatars. - Paramahansa Yogananda [Cf. Ak 294] (3)]
There are defects in India. But there are atomic bombs too. And bombastic cults that may bring on mal-adaptations. Good yoga should not be used for that end. One's own culture and reasonable heritage had better get into things. And fraud in the name of Jesus Christ is hardly salvation-giving. Better try to remain oneself and stout at that. [Cf. Ak 296, 304]
In the gospel of John Jesus says somewhere that only he who came down from heaven can get up there again. "None has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven, the Son of Man. The Son of Man must be lifted up". - [Cf. John 3:13-4]
Thus, Yogananda brings much of a training concept to becoming an avatar, and it does not seem that Jesus is into such topics at all. Yogananda's decrees concerning Jesus look like faulty teachings.
Pardon a little joke: "He who knows the Atlantic Ocean becomes one with the Ocean." It's derived from and stands on top of "He who knows God becomes one with God".]
That the ocean is employed as a metaphor of subtle consciousness and so on, is an age-old Indian teaching. You can find it in the teachings of Ramakrishna too. "Plunge into the ocean of Divinity," he says [Ramakrishna 1974:60].
And the first time Ramakrishna gained superconsciousness, he experienced "a limitless, infinite Ocean of Bliss" with "shining billows" that engulfed him. [Nikhilananda 1974:19- 20]
Another ancient Indian teaching is that the soul (jiva) can become atman (individualised godhead-unit) and atman can become Brahman (the godhead). In the Mundaka Upanishad (3.2.9) - an ancient philosophical treatise on the nature of God, Soul, and the universe - it is expressed in this way: "He who knows that highest Brahman, becomes even Brahman." Likewise, "He who knows Brahman attains the highest (Brahman) [Taittiriyaka Upanishad 9.2.1]." There are other ancient passages that state similar messages.
God-views in Christianity have differed in the course of time, just as Hindu outlooks have. Some traditional Christian views are inspired by Neo-Platonism, in part through Augustine. One view is that man isn't God, but made in the image of God.
Another is that of lifting up the son of man (called barnasha in Aramaic). Barnasha can have many meanings. One is "habit-living man" [see Lamsa 1968:xxiv]. The son of God that Jesus talks of, looks like a god in his "You are gods? [see John 10;34]"
It must be good to be informed that if you were not pre-selected or God-singled for anything in particular, Jesus says that you are a god, and as a god you are a god in The Image. Is anything bigger or better than that? A very successful god, maybe.
Contemplation is a traditional way of the West too. 'Contemplation' means meditation, but meditation has many meanings, whereas 'contemplation' is more or less the meditative stage (phase) of interiorizing the mind and awareness. This stage is called 'dhyana' in Sanskrit, and is often translated into meditation, and into 'Zen' too (in Japan). Contemplation can assist lax and decent living. Sound variation often helps man and woman: to work and rest at alternate periods is fit. In our days at least half of all Westerners get stress-induced or stress-aligned diseases. [Cf. Ams 477] Take a look at still worse figures: [Link]
So the need to calm down on top of stress-living seems formidable. But there are limits to what the body, mind and nerves can recuperate from too. Some try to explore that. It can be done in neat ways, neat-looking ways and so on downwards.
Maybe good results (fruits) of contemplation cannot be had by all. Contemplative living is quite an art, and if we don't master it and its inherited basics, maybe we reap sufferings. What is made up of blunderbuss concepts, incoherently structured basic system views, and so on, doesn't serve the person very well in the long run, one may figure.
Mishmash and hybrid teachings may contain things that are good and profitable, many things that are not so profitable, and some detrimental ideas too. To preserve a sane mind it helps to be careful. Better stay clear from garbage and learn to look for yourself - observe firsthand. Some can afford it.
It pays to be forewarned instead of duped by one of the Mother Gods - or what? Not all are eager for Mother Goose instead, but the Mother Goose we talk about here, has been very helpful to very many. There is no goading like an alarming "Cry for Mother God and she will surely appear" in it. That's part of Yogananda's non-Christian heritage in the SRF (Self-Realization Fellowship). It's much more dangerous than it appears to be. For the initiate in contemplation, to function like that takes the attention more outward than methodical diving inside (boring inside, gliding inside, that is, contemplation). Much ballyhoo and crying in vain for God Mom to appear, could take the attention off the interiorization and unificative process. Frantic crying is quite contrary to that process.
Opinions could differ, in part due to meagre evidence, in part due to obscure texts and long lapses of time. Since Jesus (called God) calls us to accomplish greater deeds than he did (see John 14:12 etc), things don't have to be all bad.
Paramahansa Yogananda addressed Americans for most part and tried to make the best out of two different cultures. In a pucker the foremost politicians may become evasive, woolly, reserved, and too abstract, because the price of being specific and blunt seems too great. Is that a hint or not? However, some of the time Yogananda hailed "Lord Krishna" as God, and Divine Mother. [See Ak 297, 298, 296]
If avatars are your problem, there's a chance that somebody let you drop too far down beforehand. We are talking of self-esteem. Coping well could helps.
If careful, unbalanced verbiage really pays, it may not pay to go against it - freaking religiousness is a sign of that
The Christ Intelligence holds the universe in balanceThe transcendental way to (omnipresent Christ Consciousness) is by direct communion with the Christ Consciousness through yoga meditation. - Paramahansa Yogananda sayings [cf. Ak 300, 298]
Poking fun cleverly is far better than forming offensive lore. Yogananda reinterprets Christian concepts rather freely. One more question is what could be called original Christianity before the Qumran scrolls were made public.
SPEAKING for oneself is done much better inwardly than by faking, to say the least.
These two great avatars, Jadava [Krishna] and Jesus, fully manifested the Christ Consciousness, the Kutastha Chaitanya or divine guiding Intelligence that is in every atom of creation . - Paramahansa Yogananda [1982:297]
Until you have "been there", maybe all you can do is to apply some words by Jesus and judge the tree by its fruits.
KRISHNA: The epic poem Mahabharata tells about Krishna, and so does the Srimat Bhagavatam, which is a long Purana, full of stories, and many other books describe Krishna and his exploits too.
JESUS: To be able to assess what Jesus manifested, he who came from "above", it seems "it takes one to know one". However, the apostle Paul says that Christians with the Holy Spirit may assess such as the depths of God, and Jesus says in John 14:12 that we should surpass him - do greater works.
YOGANANDA: He communicates he is able to assess, but he has been found to bungle with concepts from the old Church.
You may sound Christian without being recognised by Jesus who says he wants aligned doings too - it is to be reckoned with along with much less
The Holy Ghost is the Cosmic Intelligent Vibration, whose sound is the Aum or Amen heard in deep yoga meditation ... In its vibration is our comfort ...
This Yogananda teaching differs a whole lot from the New Testament's Holy Ghost. Here is what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit - compare and contrast:
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses ... to the ends of the earth. - Jesus [Acts 1:8]
Keys: "Be my witnesses", "Spirit of truth", "send in my name" "bring glory to me", and "teach all things". To teach all things is to teach much. It appears that Yogananda was not reminded that Jesus taught the soul can be killed. It looks like a mistake.
Here is what main apostles wrote about the Holy Spirit too:
Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. [Acts 2:2-4]
Further keys from the first church: "Speak in tongues", "possessions shared", speaking to apostles, deciding along with the apostles (Acts 15, etc), "Interpreting tongues and dreams", "being together in peace and righteousness", and "offer Gentiles to God", etc. The apostle Paul:
I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship [Rom 12:1; see Hebrew 5:1-5; 10:5-10; 13:16;].]
Maybe Peter shows it better:
[In Joppa] Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him,
This is a difficult subject. In the Old Deal God's people sacrificed animals for atonement. Jesus too took part in such deeds, in eating the Passover lamb, it is written. However, he said that God wanted mercy and kindness, not animal sacrifices. Then, somewhat later, he himself was sacrificed by God.
Peter was told that he was to kill and eat unclean animals - that is, teach about Jesus outside of the Jewish faith and so on. The unclean animals to "kill and eat" in his vision represented non-Jews he visited straight away after the vision. Accordingly, when Peter went up to Jerusalem after that, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, "You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them." [Acts 11:2-4]
Peter explained, "Who was I to think that I could oppose God?" [Acts 11:17]
Apparently the other apostles had met with a new idea, for at first they acted contrary to what Jesus says in the last few lines of Matthew (which is a late addition, we are told) [cf Matthew 28:18-20].
Soon afterwards Peter addressed the other apostles:
"God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He ... purified their hearts by faith. [Acts 15:-79]
In a letter, Peter also states, "You ... are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ [1 Peter 2:5]."
The apostles and the Holy Spirit together decided to drop circumcision and other Laws contrary to words by Jesus in Matthew 5:17-20.
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. Truly, till heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law till everything is accomplished.
The apostles and the Holy Spirit evidently did. No one should get fooled into maiming himself or herself because of what Jesus said to Jews and for Jews only [in such as Matthew 5]. He came for Jews and his main instructions were for "sick Jews" who needed a heavenly doctor:
I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel [Matthew 15:24]. It's not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I haven't come to call the righteous, but sinners [Mark 2:17].]
Interestingly, ill legs may have to be amputated, but leave that to the medical expertise. More interesting still, Jesus failed in his heaven-allotted task, it stands out. Note how it failed even though it was given from God the Father.
All things have been committed to me by my Father [Matthew 11:27].]
This is what he thought was his commission:
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I've longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you weren't willing. [Matthew 23:37; also Luke 13:34]
Then Jesus-and-Father gave it up, and Jesus was sacrificed.
He fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." [Matthew 26:39, cf Luke 22:41]." And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. [Luke 22:44]
Hanging on the cross shortly after that, he felt he had done the task.
When he had received the drink [which was wine vinegar], Jesus said, "It's finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. [John 19:30] ]
But as you may know, he decided a bit afterwards that his fishing nets were to be cast over Gentiles instead of those who refused him. Then Jesus said,
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age [Matthew 28:18-20].]
Admittedly, that passage is a late addition to the gospel, and a stupendous forgery. Be that as it may, being "saved" and being executed came very close in the lives of many from then on. Millions of martyrs went down, filled with a dear conviction from a forgery.
A REMINDER: Don't forget to have fun and smile, as Yogananda says, "It is good to laugh ... Your smile must spread ..."
AS SOON as this storm of material desires is over we can melt again into the ocean of GodWe worship only Brahman, Spirit. - Paramahansa Yogananda [Yogananda 1982:305, 299]
What did Yogananda mean by "we"? That could be interesting to get clarified. Yogananda does not go against worshipping idols. In his autobiography he ritually worships a stone and says how exemplary it is.
I sauntered into the jungle, making my way through its tropical tangle till I reached Tarakeswar.
Some old bible commands in the matter are seen in Exodus 20:
You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God ... [Exodus 20:4-6]
Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments [the Law of Moses] and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven [Matthew 5:19]
Odd as it may seem to ardent followers, he broke Law rules himself, two of the Ten Commandments. They were very central in the Old Pact.
"Mhm - next!" - Bugs Bunny.
Someday you will have to leave the body. - Paramahansa Yogananda [1982:306]
For a while, Yogananda himself didn't appear to leave his body completely - or maybe he did. The body he died in, lay as a very much unchanged, non-breathing body for 21 days in sunny California - meticulously described in a notarised report by Harry Rowe, a mortuary director. At the rear of many books by Yogananda interesting gist from it is added. The complete report is in Paramahansa Yogananda in Memoriam (Self-Realization Fellowship 1958). It includes a detail of a little brown spot developed on the tip of his nose. SRF has usually not included that item afterwards.
That religious society (SRF) teaches that by advanced and progressive "clever gasping" called KRIYA YOGA, a teacher can stay alive and conquer death. The teaching includes a story of undying, rarely seen Indian avatars that are presented as more than twice as old as Methuselah. The spiritual head of Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) is one of them. A facet of his teaching is that the Lord is the Sole Doer. [Cf. Pa]
The Holy Ghost is the Cosmic Intelligent Vibration, whose sound is the Aum - Paramahansa Yogananda [cf. Ak 300]
We have seen what the gospels decree about the Holy Spirit already, and in that light we witness a largely unfit Hinduisation of a main Christian concept. To marshal dear-looking slogans was very, very Yogananda.
A material life without Thee, my Lord, is a source of physical misery, disease, crime, ignorance, and unhappiness. - Paramahansa Yogananda [1982:303]
He means that "to be constantly worried even in pleasant surroundings is to live in Hades, to live in the inner, boundless soul-peace, even though housed in a rickety shack, is real paradise." Adding deep meditation to the daily routines, and reaching a balanced life of meditation and activity must be favourable, the guru asserts [see Ak 303]
Going against his all-round counsel of dropping worries and freeing oneself from endless mental ills, Yogananda institutionalized "crying for God Mom" as one favoured practice. The inculcated practice may be hazardous to health. The rigmarole of SRF includes fervent prayers to God Mom that she shall come, manifest herself - not wholly unlike brownies in the barns too.
The publishers inform that "The Hindu scriptures teach that God ... may be sought as ... love, ... in the form of ... Mother". [Yogananda 1982:472] Yogananda was aware of many a "jealous, hateful, angry woman" in the world, and yet kept on preaching that "If you continue to cry, "I want Your love!" the Divine Mother finally melts." Then "She gives you ... Her divine love" [Yogananda 1982:375-76]. That was his opinion. Something else has happened to many people. They are disappointed.
Parts of Yogananda's teachings are cry-for-Mother-blemished, and bring troubles to some. There are three main aspects to this:
As soon as you become focused on the limited physical body you will fall into the pit of misery. - Paramahansa Yogananda [1982:301]
Yogananda maintains this teaching, and also that the universe is unreal. The body is in the universe, and misery.
We say, by contrast: "As soon as you get confused you may fall into misery: As soon as you get confused ..." You may happen to meet happy materialists who live well for no further (ulterior) reason:
There's no specific help in old and modern godhood teachings unless you manage to wade in or swims in or take up fishing - or master tides and waves - It's hardly the ocean but what is made out of it that matters. That's the often-ignored point, but it comes very much to the fore in the Yoga Sutras. First glide inside (contemplate) and next use focused attention (sanyama) to develop some more - that's it. [LINK]
The Ocean of God to experience through contemplation for a long time (or very short time, if you're one of the lucky ones) is experienced while being inside a universe. All the same Yogananda also teaches that the universe is unreal - a dream. That teaching has its problems:
The world is nothing more than a cosmic dreamthis life is a dream." - Paramahansa Yogananda [1982:237, 240]
It could be interesting to know what the psychologists think of such statements from Yogananda's talk "The Dream Nature of the World", given in his headquarters in Los Angeles on December 23, 1937. However, we regularly steer out of that arena, and try instead to give you philosophical gist where the guru delivers existential tenets, and we try them out tentatively as premises for assorted deductions. Thus:
If the universe is a swindle, we who live in it are too, and the guru teachings that the universe is unreal, and so on and on. Yogananda's teachings from "The Dream Nature of the World" appear to be a dead end street.
If the world's a dream, at least it is spacious. If the life is a dream, it's a trifle. Does Jesus teach that? Jesus teaches, "What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? [Matthew 16:26]"
Sound precaution cannot be done away with.
By contrast, thoughts of giving up the world most often spell "enter a lesser setting", perhaps to bring about a reduced or reductionist fare inside "the great illusion" too - and so on. It behoves a man to find a better way, if Jesus meant what he said: "Do greater works than me - in the right spirit" [John 14:12, paraphrased]. Thus you can feel free to do greater works than Jesus.
You can aim a bit higher than Jesus [see John 14:12]. Few things are harder to grapple with than intrinsic nonsense! That's a Norse lesson from a time the gods bound the really big, bad wolf by nonsense stuff. [Cf. Ng: Fenrir]
The lesson: You can batter minds of others by silly nonsense that is outside the realm of verification and sound documentation. Belief often serves it - the greater such beliefs are called, the more disappointments are wont to come, statistically talking. Things tend to function like that.
It's better to strive to make sure and not really invest belief in stories one is told. Make a good and sound working-hypothesis of the "believe it" tale, and check whether anything may be verified conveniently. It should not be risky, expensive and create wars - not even in the family - where a man's enemies are found, according to Jesus. Such enemies are to be loved a lot - accordingly things look normal.
It's very good if things come down to something that looks normal in every way. For that could last, like the "normal-looking nature" we are inside in the universe - A miracle is on top of that, but may require lots of adjustments after all. A great healing consists in getting better and perhaps normal-looking. There are some neat rules of the thumb here. "Get things normal to look at and they can last long." "Business as usual" is a British sentence on top of that again. It reflects a sound lesson.
Other Yogananda passages too state that the universe is an illusion. Some are found in his autobiography, centred on Babaji that builds a mystic palace and then drops it all of a sudden.
If the universe is non-real, there's no Ocean of God inside it, and no shoreline (our perceptions of godhead) around either. This is what we must call necessary deductions from basic Yogananda premises -
Another angle: If Yogananda gives infallible guidelines- they cannot be illusions - then the universe is real! His warm-hearted disciples are not allowed to think he could mar or cheat like that. Great obedience to Yogananda's "The world is an illusion" and very similar tenets may yield not a few startling points, however:
All this is in strict accord with Yogananda's teaching in the matter. As with some deconstructivist teachings that claim "It is true that there is no difference between true and untrue" [Ericson], it may be much more rewarding to listen to a lamb's rustic "Bah-bah". That's good to know. [Ded 93]
Why all the verbosity in "a dream"? You find that out.
The destinies of both Jesus and Krishna were prophesied in the scriptures. These two avatars both stand up. [Cf. Ak 297] ]
JESUS: There is one thing to be sure of: Even though Jesus drew on Old Testament passages that suited him, there were many others passages that did not. For example:
"I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel." [Hosea 1:4]
According to these prophets, then, Jesus did not come to the ten lost tribes of Israel, those lost sheep of Israel, for if God had destroyed THEM hundreds of years earlier, as the Old Testament says, they would be unable to rise again - if they were destroyed, fair and square. [Matthew 10:6; 15:24]
There is one more thing to know about prophesies: If they look much woolly, they may later be interpreted - and serviceable to hip demagogues and others of the same ilk.
From Christ we learn that the purpose of religion is to expand human consciousness and unite it with the omnipresent Christ Consciousness. - Paramahansa Yogananda [1982:298]
To the contrary, it often shows up that the purpose of religion is to get gifts and means from conform, obedient under-dogs, more often. This working is visible in the USA, and here we have a useful, if not complete outlook.
It can be useful to consider religion and spirituality together: Some hold that religion functions along the horizontal "axis", whereas spirituality functions along the vertical "axis". Kriya yoga is for spirituality, and churchism may or may not serve it very well.
Yogananda's religion was one of self-effort-salvation free from Jesus influence. At times Yogananda purports that the diving methods accelerate and stretch the subtle, human mind to encompass the ocean of God. He says his special panting exercises do the trick - they work like mathematics, he implies. Even so, devotion has to be added, he also tells. Yogananda has confounded many on these points.
In the West we have had contemplation for many centuries - in one way it's self-help: You have to do your part. And then again - it may not be that easy.
Yogananda instituted a hybrid religion. Why or how could he, if he felt it was all empty show-off - an illusory performance by nobody? You may never find the answer to that nifty koan.
The apostle Paul teaches that gaining Christ stems from the sacrifice of Jesus, by such as being baptised full well. Christianity is very much an heir-of-Jesus thing, as opposed to self-help-evangelising. The Catholic Father Matheo has more to add at this point: [Link]
Above all, heed what aids the soul. All our understanding is from maya (figure-making processes deep inside). The guru often seems to forget that
[Jesus] meant that the soul of Elisha had reincarnated in the body of John the BaptistJesus understood that "The Father has become myself." This truth is also brought out in the Hindu scriptures: "Tat twam asi," That thou art." - Paramahansa Yogananda [1982:306, 299]
FROM HINDU SCRIPTURES: First, it is more fit to say '(some) Hindu scriptures' than 'the Hindu scriptures', because that body of literature is much variegated, and Hindu books do not necessarily agree with one another on all points - or big points, and minor ones, and so on.
Vedanta is said to rest on certain great statements, and "Tat twam asi" is one of them. The deeper meaning of "You are That" is that Atman [soul] and Brahman [Spirit] are the same. Atman is thought of as the indwelling spirit, and Brahman pervades and sustains the world. The noble (Aryan) teaching is that there is something (someone) in each entity, and that transcends and covers the whole world. Ancient sages pondered whether Atman and Brahman are one. "Tat Tvam Asi" was one answer: and a Sandilya discovered it. Therefore it is known as "Sandilya Vidya [knowledge]" [see Chandogya Upanishad 3.14].
REINCARNATION: Yogananda interprets some bible passages so that they appear to confirm his reincarnation teachings. The most important question is whether Yogananda is seeing the reality here - he who maintains the universe is unreal. If so, reincarnation is not real either, and so on.
Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured ... Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. [Matthew 17:1-3; see also Mark 9:4]
Yogananda uses these quotations to legitimate his view that the gospels teach reincarnation. Here we are faced with two problems, not one: (1) Does reincarnation exist? If so where is the good evidence of it? (2) Was it the recently beheaded John the Baptist that showed up on the mount in the shape of Elijah? It is a fine point that Jesus resurrected in the same body that went into the tomb. His body even retained the scars and wounds in His hands, feet, and side from the crucifixion [John 20:28]. Not so with Elijah on the mount, he did not appear with his head off or a scar around his neck as a sign of how John the Baptist had been killed; at least it is not mentioned ... And besides, Elijah did not die, but went to heaven alive, the Old Testament tells, so he should not be able to reincarnate for that reason alone, unless he died in heaven - which is not mentioned ...
Still, in Matthew 11:14 Jesus says, "And if you are willing to accept it, [John the Baptist] is the Elijah who was to come."
But what is it supposed to mean? Opinions differ. We should be informed, though, that some hold that Matthew 11:14 does not really teach that John the Baptist was a reincarnation of Elijah:
In the light of such biblical evidence, the passages Yogananda use to show reincarnation in the bible, may not serve him full well - but we should leave room for miracles - [Yogananda 1982:295; John 14.12]
Has reincarnation been proved full well nowadays? To explore this very difficult topic with some sort of knowledge and skill, there may be thoughtful considerations to learn from Dr. Ian Stevenson; he has tried to make out of this topic for decades. His findings may not be convincing to all - or very many - (and so on), but they are indicative. [Link].
Forget not that maya goes for handy ways out in general, even brilliant solutions. Dreams reflect that inherent capacity. All our concepts of God are due to maya (in the aspect of figuring prowess).
We cannot forsake all for the Atlantic Ocean, our duties to our family and other lives, without power borrowed from the (frantic) Atlantic, this is very much implied in Paramahansa Yogananda's fine-sounding slogans. [See Ak 302] ]
Yogananda's string of thought is, in main lines: The Hindu concepts of God and the Trinity agree completely with those of Christianity [Yogananda 1982:299]; becoming concentrated on the physical body brings one into misery [Yogananda 1982:301]; so renounce [Yogananda 1982:302]. Yogananda likewise goes too far when he says "Christ teaches physical renunciation as the highest way of attaining God." A memorable Hindu passage that goes against this mistake, is "also renounce renunciation, and even give up the absence of renunciation. By nature all-pervasive as space, knowledge absolute are you [Avadhut Gita 4:21].
"The Avadhut is not concerned with the things of the world, because the natural state of Self-realization renders all else insignificant. Death and birth have no meaning; he meditates not, neither does he worship [Avadhut Gita 6:31]. Be that as it may for now. In other works Yogananda wants you to have Self-realisation with a capital S., defined as "the knowingin body, mind, and soulthat we are one with the omnipresence of God (etc.)". The term derives apparently from 'atma-jnana' in Hindu texts.
In the United States, Yogananda made use of the term "Self-realisation" first, as can be seen in the current name of his fellowship, which is Self-Realization Fellowship. But as the years went by in the United States he used the word 'God' much more than 'Self' or Atman. To sell out somewhat in order to gain influence, is a little secret. What's more, you may have to do the same, for such is the power of arrogant or very biased company. This was to say that by "God" he often meant "your inner self defined as I say."
Some holy-looking ones should learn to sweep in front of their own doors, and need to be told
Parts of Sanatana Dharma (also called Hinduism) are not unwelcome here. And there is much good elsewhere too. What we don't like, is proselytising agents that do not play fair and deal in blemishes or black trading that could demand faulty submissions all one's life.
Thus, even though we seldom care a bit, we have not refrained from refuting a lot here.
Avatar signifies the descent of Divinity into fleshCosmic energy is the Holy Ghost ... and intelligentThe Father is the intelligence beyond creation. [Editorial note, Ak 294n, 299, 300] (5)]
Maybe he isn't - "The Holy Ghost is energy" - maybe the Holy Ghost dislikes marring, Hinduism-adapted reductionism. We should be aware of the possibility. Further, maybe the Father of creation is inside the world, and not merely beyond the world, too. The Father of Jesus seemed inside. The good point: these things are hard to ascertain; maybe let it be and go for money enough for house, home and a garden.
There are also parallels in the personal stories ... Jesus and Krishna were bornthe Trinity was described in the Hindu scriptures: "Aum, Tat, Sat" - Cosmic Vibration, Christ Intelligence, and God the Father. - Paramahansa Yogananda [Yogananda 1982:296, 300]
The bible hardly ever gives sanction to worship Bhagavan Krishna for a Christian. If you are in doubt you can ask the Vatican or someone closer - All the same, there is much you can do to let alternative, choice thinking remain much welcome in your home and family to gain benefits and not stiffen.
In deeper communion with the Christ Consciousness you realize you are one with GodKrishna is the Christ of the Hindus. - Paramahansa Yogananda [Yogananda 1982:300-01, 297]
About nine tenths of Hindus worship Krishna-Vishnu. One tenth (mainly in the south) are Shiva followers. We are not so sure whether they actually consider Krishna a Christ either.
The key question seems to be: How can you be one with Krishna in any original Christian spirit or gospel Christ.
Both Jesus and Jadava [Krishna] were one with the omnipresence of Christ Consciousness. - Paramahansa Yogananda [1982:298]
"It takes one to know one" is a saying. Unless Yogananda is dogmatic here, he knows what he is talking of. And the way he advocates is by going deep inside without breaking. The art of contemplation is for that.
What we are looking into on this page - Yogananda lectures and talks - is also a fruit of team effort by the editors and publishers, Self-Realization Fellowship. There is a risk that if you first give your trust to them, you may lose independence of mind and spirit, caught up in defences.
Gurus swindle and set up religious enclaves on top if it. Poking fun with men like that is at times important, rudely important
The great ones ... became masters through their own efforts. - Paramahansa Yogananda [1982:294]
To the contrary, Jesus said he was sent by the Father, came and taught and paved the way, and that on one occasion disciples had got much for nothing and were to bring it out for nothing. He called himself living water and living bread of a special kind:
[Jesus:] Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." [John 4:14, emphasis added]
In the bible there is no particular evidence that Jesus worked much as Yogananda said. At least in some respects this was once valid, "Freely you have received, freely give [Matthew 10:8]."
KNOCKS: We find in Yogananda's autobiography that he himself got much help in India, and a knock on his chest crowned these doings. This is part of what happened.
Master spoke caressively, comfortingly. His calm gaze was unfathomable. "Your heart's desire shall be fulfilled."
Besides, a Master behind him, Lahiri Baba, got a quite similar help one day in the Himalayas. He got help by being softly patted into it.
The saint approached and struck me gently on the forehead. At his magnetic touch, a wondrous current swept through my brain, releasing the sweet seed-memories of my previous life.
These miraculous stories are found in the Autobiography [cf. 1971:148, 316].
Note that we are not saying you should not exert yourself in the right way and right directions at all. We just point out some main differences in the teachings of Original Christianity - of Jesus in the gospels, that is - and of Yogananda.
What we are faced with includes an element of "Do as I say, not as I did". We think it should be admitted.
Health or no health, power or no power, seek God first. When you seek with that determination, "all things shall be added unto you" not before. - Paramahansa Yogananda [1982:301]
The truth is: without health and some measure of power there is little to do. It may evoke a picture of a death-bed scene. The half-dead man (or woman) can do little more than gasp and turn his eyes upward. That could be the clue of practice for seeking God too - Seeing is believing.
But don't forget to live too. Bland Zen may help, it hardly lames higher faculties.
Christianity taught reincarnation. - Paramahansa Yogananda [1982: 306] (6)]
We have studied that topic above. And today Christianity is linked to Santa Claus, particularly during some marketing months before Christmas. What is not spoken neatly of, is the value of that linkage. It's much the same with coupling reincarnation and Christian teachings from antiquity. Some Gnostic did so, others didn't, as revealed in books by the Church Fathers, and Qumran findings.
It often pays to stay away from minority teachings. Bluntly said, "Feel inspired to invest rude belief differently, and it can pay!" It's a good thing not to fall victim to lots of believing - that's our point - at least one of them.
In conclusion: Many great belief can aligned to fluffy dreams "up in the air" or in the heads and minds of men and women - and may prove too shallow. There is good enough reason to fear:
"The greater the belief required, the less evidence is at hand, and the more likely one is to get immobilised from one's believing as years go by."
It may work better to live up to "Better safe than sorry" and the Russian "Believe, but make sure."
The vibration of Amen produces a great voice, as of the trumpet in John's Revelation 1:10. [see Ak 300].]
Interpreting mystical sayings can go this way, and it can go that way. Yogananda's assertion is that the sound of the Holy Ghost is Aum, and that in the behind-me-trumpet's vibration is our comfort. And this is not really a thing of flatulence.
And after all, the Om sound that one hears by plugging the ears in a yogic contemplation method, is not really like a trumpet!
Not everyone is great inside that is called great without, said Jesus: The greatest is like a child - perhaps least to look at among others
It is true that Christ lived in India during most of the eighteen unaccounted for years of his life; studying with India's great masters. - Paramahansa Yogananda [1982:306] (7)]
"It is true", but to whom? And who were the great masters? Who did Yogananda appear to sanction as India's great masters of that time?
"Don't believe everything you hear" is much sound. Rather much depends on how mature and tidy and bright you are. And terribly much on inherited tradition to remain staunch inside. We should not be made victims of hearsay and fine-sounding words that lack a fit foundation.
"Nice words are far from always true [Tao Te Ching, Chapter 81]." It appears that Lao Tzu warns against swollen or high-flown phrases.
Yogananda stood up in his time and called his guru fathers almighty and all-knowing - one of them "a master in every way" [Yogananda 1982:99]. In the gospels, Christ is given all authority on earth - but first he had to go through his crucifixion. (#2 6)
Exegesis can work fine, but it remains just a servant for all who are filled with the Right Spirit, the one Jesus promised ALL his followers, but whihc they did not get enough of, all of them, it stands out. Speak from your heart, accordingly, when appropriate, and you don't HAVE TO believe every tale of reincarnation you're told either. Go for evidence to eliminate swindles too. Having one's own home should be fit and work well.
Gurus have gained much respect in "God's own country" by infiltrating talk and other forms of demagoguery, and so on. If their footing doesn't stand sound inspection, what then?
Learn to take heed in time - Yogananda was sent on a mission to propagate "unified Christianity-Hinduism. Babaji asked a Priya Nath Karar (later named Sri Yukteswar) to write that there was no real discrepancy between the scriptures of East and West. However, there are significant differences between handed-over Christianity and Hinduism. Babaji set him to work on a wrong footing. Inspect the evidence that is found in this site if you care.
Note further that the Mahabharata, the very extensive epos that the Bhagavad Gita is a part (kanda) of, shows that the most cherished avatar in India caused ruin and manslaughter, and in the end let his own children with about 18,000 wives and concubines drown.
Also, in the long epic Krishna admits that a dreadful war was manipulated into being by him - at least he could have stopped it in the coming, if he had wished. Five husbands who shared one wife became Krishna's buddies - and yet they left the world feeling empty and useless.
Scriptural evidence and stories are not always agreeable, or perfectly consistent all the way. What some gurus mean by "Krishna" can be found to be different, and within the heart portal somewhere, and heart-warming.
Tony Buzan and many educators hold that learning is helped by strategically focusing on keys - on gist, and next manage to implement it - or parts of the gist. It may take time, up to a lifetime. Heed gist you may steer better along by than those who get duped and misled by "infallible guru" statements rife with distorted views and the like. [Buzan and Buzan 2010; Uy; Wikipedia, s.v. "Tony Buzan"]
Also, David Ausubel's "advance organisers" help some by highlighting what is thought to be significant in the coming material, relationships. Advance organizers offer help in knowing about difficult and complex material that is introduced. Some advance organisers expose the material, other such organisers draw in related material. [Wikipedia, s.v. "David Ausubel"]
As for learning texts, John R. Anderson (1995) recommends a variant of the PQ4R study technique to help best remembering - such a study strategy leads to better memory for a text. [Anderson 1995:5, 6]
Much of the material here may be found to serve as advance organisers, and some parts help the forming of cognitive grasps by many keys also. Much is exposed, and many so-called keys and key phrases are given. What to do with them is more or less up to you as you go on in life.
Narcissism Playing Religious
Narcissism in a prominent public figure may get more plain as decades go by. Look to the fruits and the wake and get a suspicion first. Check. The more blanks you get on a checklist (below), the better it could be. And do biographers have anything interesting to add, for example?
An interactive group process can contribute to improve emotional and vocational functioning. (Ronningstam 2005:157-58)
In narcissism there is an interchange between stability and changeability and an oscillation and interaction between healthy and pathological narcissism. A life event "can either augment self-esteem and promote personal growth or lead to an increased sense of inferiority, with accompanying defensive grandiosity, interpersonal aggressiveness, and detachment. Our research has shown that pathological narcissism can decrease over time through corrective life events, even independently of treatment." (Ronningstam 2005:195)
To be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) a person must meet five or more of these symptoms: he or she:
Dr James Morrison tells that people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) have a lifelong pattern of grandiosity (in behavior and in fantasy), a thirst for admiration, and an absence of empathy. These attitudes permeate most aspects of their lives. They regard themselves as unusually special; they are self-important individuals who commonly exaggerate their accomplishments.
Despite their grandiose attitudes, people with NPD have fragile self-esteem and often feel unworthy, and remain overly sensitive to what others think about them, may feign empathy, just as they may lie to cover their own faults.
Lack of empathy engages their feelings of privilege in justifying the exploitation of others to achieve their own goals.
The disorder begins in teens or early 20s and endures. Contexts are diffuse.
NPD has seldom been studied.
(Main source: Morrison 2014:550-51)
Most professionals subscribe to this: causes may be complex and intertwined.
A theraphist must avoid reinforcing pathologic grandiosity (which may contribute to denial of illness) and weakness (which frightens the patient).
The therapist must be aware that the patient may not be able to acknowledge the real humanness of the therapist but may have to see him/her as either superhuman or devalued.
The goals of group therapy are to help the patient develop a healthy individuality (rather than a resilient narcissism) so that he or she can acknowledge others as separate persons, and to decrease the need for self-defeating coping mechanisms.
Empathy brings surprise and hurt experiences. In groups, the therapist is less authoritative (and less threatening to the patient's grandiosity); intensity of emotional experience is lessened; and regression is more controlled, creating a better setting for confrontation and clarification.
Anderson, John R. Cognitive Psychology and its Implications. 4th ed. New York: Freeman, 1995.
Buzan, Tony, and Barry Buzan. The Mind Map Book: Unlock your creativity, boost your memory, change your life. Harlow: BBC Active / Pearson, 2010.
Dasgupta, Sailendra. Paramhansa Swami Yogananda: Life-portrait and Reminiscences. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2006 - and at Google Books, partial view.
Dietz, Margaret Bowen. Thank You, Master. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 1998.
EB: Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica 2008 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD. London: Encyclopaedia Britannica (Online or yearly DVD suite).
Ehrman, Bart D. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. New York: HarperCollins, 2005.
⸻. Jesus, Interrrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them). New York: HarperCollins, 2009.
Isherwood, Christopher and Pranabhananda, Swami. How To Know God. Mentor. New York, 1969.
Johnston, Clive tr. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Stuart and Watkins. London, 1968.
Klostermaier, Klaus K. A Survey of Hinduism. 3rd ed. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2007.
Lamsa, George tr. The New Testament. Philadelphia, PA: Holman Bible Publishers.
Leggett, Trevor. The Complete Commentary by Sankara on the Yoga-Sutras. Kegan Paul. New York, 1990.
Mieder, Wolfgang (main ed.), Stewart A. Kingsbury, and Kelsie E. Harder. A Dictionary of American Proverbs. (Paperback) New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Miller, Elliot. Swami Yogananda and the Self-Realization Fellowship: A Successful Hindu Countermission to the West.. Charlotte, NC: Christian Research Institute, 2009.
Morrison, James. DSM Made Easy: The Clinician's Guide to Diagnosis. London: The Guilford Press, 2014. ⍽▢⍽ From the book: Narcissistic."These people are self-important and often preoccupied with envy, fantasies of success, or ruminations about the uniqueness of their own problems. Their sense of entitlement and lack of compassion may cause them to take advantage of others. They vigorously reject criticism and need constant attention and admiration." (p. 529)
Narada. The Buddha and His Teachings. 4th ed. Kuala Lumpur: Buddhist Missionary Society, 1988. I recommend it.
Nikhilananda, Swami. Vivekananda. The Yogas and Other Works. Rev. ed. Ramakrishna-Vivekananda. New York, 1953.
⸻. The Gospel of Ramakrishna. Abr. ed. Ramakrishna- Vivekananda. New York, 1974.
Ramakrishna. Tales and Parables of Sri Ramakrishna. 5th ed. Ramakrishna Math, Madras, 1974.
Ronningstam, Elsa. Identifying and Understanding the Narcissistic Personality. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. ⍽▢⍽ It is no bad thing to understand their disorder somewhat, even though some clinicians hold there are productive narcissists who succeed well in life. Ronningstam's guide is for most part written for clinicians. It tells of a tug of war between brashness on the one hand and painful shame and insecurity on the other.
Self-Realization Fellowship: Paramahansa Yogananda in Memoriam. SRF. Los Angeles, 1958.
Vermes, Geza. The Authentic Gospel of Jesus. London: Penguin, 2005.
⸻. The Real Jesus: Then and Now. Minneapolis, MI: Fortress Press, 2010.
⸻. From Jewish to Gentile: How the Jesus Movement Became Christianity. Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) 38:06, Nov/Dec 2012.
⸻. The Story of the Scrolls: The Miraculous Discovery and True Significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls. London: Penguin, 2010b.
Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 1st ed. New York: Philosophical Library, 1946. Online. [oaks.nvg.org/pv6bk12.html]
⸻. Autobiography of a Yogi. 11th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1971.
⸻. Sayings of Paramahansa Yogananda. 4th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1980.
⸻. Autobiography of a Yogi. 12th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1981.
⸻. Man's Eternal Quest. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1982.
⸻. The Divine Romance. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1993.
⸻. Journey to Self-realization: Discovering the Gift of the Soul. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1997.
⸻. Whispers from Eternity. Ed. Kriyananda. 1st ed. Paperback. Nevada City: Crystal Clarity, 2008. Online.
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