Self-Realization Fellowship, SRF, is a California-based international church. The former editor of Yogananda's autobiography, Tara Mata (Laurie Pratt), reportedly told a former vice-president of SRF: "We are a sect." [Kriyananda. ◦A Place Called Ananda, ch. 14.].
The fellowship and its founder, Paramahansa Yogananda, are also referred to in a governmental Belgian report on movements, although the inclusion is no proof at all that SRF is a sect. [◦Belgian list of movements, including cults and sects]
There is much bias and untrue partiality in sectarian outlooks - it can be quite scaring. It can pay to inspect what SRF has tucked away, for example Yogananda writing for dictatorship in his own magazine in 1934, when the worst was yet to come.
Yogananda Quotations with Comments
You can skip reading Yogananda for your own good
Don't take my word for anything . . . please remember. - Yogananda (Dietz 1998, "Master's Teachings")
COMMENT: It can waste less precious time not to read Yogananda than reading him and be captured in a cult. Before Germany was united, a young German in Berlin found it fit to step on a leaflet offered by SRF, who had sent some monastics to propagate SRF on a European tour. It seemed crass just to step on an introductory leaflet, aber . . . it may have solved a lot for him and saved him from ruining his future lives. He might have had lots of intuitive perception!
How to read Yogananda literature, according to himself
Criticize books with intuitive perception. Keep your mind busy . . . 
COMMENT: During his last years the guru said he assimilated the content of books by sensing a their vibrations by reading just a few pages (Yogananda 1993:19). He also said he detected the vibrations of lots of future civilisations, but that is not reflected in his Bible commentary. Yogananda wrote in Whispers from Eternity (1949) that he could feel the glistening future thoughts of mankind, and yet did not take into account the advancing textual criticism of the Bible. He could indeed have profited from it, just as some who say they see the future, could bet on horses and win steadily, or tell that Mussolini was not much of a guy to hail - if the foresight was all right. All the same, 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." (1949, No. 212).
That is what he writes. If you are good at critisising books by laying hands on them or get the future civilizations into your awareness without overload and great depressions, go ahead. But it might do good to test your developed skills carefully before you publish anything, so as not to embarrass yourself or your followers. For example, Yogananda foretold a third and fourth World War, Europe devastated, Russia annihilated, and England finished - all before the year 2000 CE. (Kriyananda 2011:125-26; 1973, ch 6). [Yogananda's failed foretellings]
Reality-checking ought not to be overrun. [More]
The art of good criticism is a quite demanding art.
As for laying your hands on books and absorb them in an alternative way, I suggest you test what is best for you, to read a book, lay your hands on it a while, or sleep on it at a desk or under your pillow. Tests may show the assimilation got, if the assimilation is discernible to you or testers. It is very easily done and can rout out misconceptions before illusions or false, ensnaring ideas take hold.
Sound study often may be handled by such means as the British psychologist Tony Buzan advocates. [Acronyms for learning]
Be that as it may, here is Yogananda's way:
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. [Dr 18-19]
He might have thought he did not need to read a book to comment it, but he did not deal with the Rubaiyat in a commentary on Omar Khayyam by use of Edward Fitzgerald's work. You fail flunking at exams, for example, if you go ahead like Yogananda.
The vibrations "in the ether are the concepts for every invention man has created," Yogananda goes on to tell. The discoverers of these ideas may say that they have invented this or that, but they haven't really done so, but uncovered past, future or present vibration-ideas, he goes on to tell. [Dr 19]
The aether (ether) is not much in vogue as a construct today. In early physics it was considered a "medium", and in other circles a "fifth element" too. In early modern physics, the concept was used to explain that electromagnetic or gravitational influences were propagated. These aether theories are considered to be scientifically obsolete. But, interestingly, there are caveats to those ideas too. For example, Einstein noted that his own model, which replaced the ether theories of his time, could itself be though of as an aether, as it implied that the empty space between objects had its own physical properties. [Wikipedia, s.v. "Aether (classical element)"]
There are many things between heaven and earth, said Shakespeare. Perhaps the aether is one of them - depending on what we understand by it, and its defined variables.
To offer understanding criticism is risky because of bigots
Unkind and unjust criticism causes inharmony and factions of partiality, bias, and rebellion . . . But though gossip, lies, and slander hurt the criticized, they ultimately hurt the criticizer even more. . . [T]he wicked accusers are condemned by the unfailing karmic law of cause and effect.
Yogananda on flattery and criticism
"Flattery may be good when it encourages a person to right action . . . Besides the sweet words of flattery from others, our own inner thoughts often excuse our harmful faults and hide big psychological tumors . . . Many people willingly lose money, time, health, and even character for the sweet deceptive words of parasitic so-called friends.
A dead teacher
"Once there was a Master who had a disciple who criticised everything the Master did. He died, and his disciples came running joyously to their Master and said: "Master, that man who is all the time troubling you, he is dead." Then the Master began to weep. The disciples said: "Why do you weep; you should be glad you are rid of this terrible man?" The Master replied: "No, I am sorry, my teacher is dead." His criticism acted like a warning."
Compare a "best critic":
"A saint used to have a friend who constantly criticized him to the great displeasure of his disciples. One day a disciple came exultingly crying: "Master, your enemy, the constant fault finder, is dead." The master began to weep and said: "Oh, I feel helpless. My best spiritual critic is dead. My heart is broken.""
Ingested cocaine, flattery and untruth harm the soul, says Yogananda
"If people want to eat cocaine, opium, cobra poison, or to indulge in a flattering religion which is afraid to even constructively criticize, or to hear only those lectures which gloss over and explain away their faults, should the business men, religious leaders and lecturers reason, let us give the people what they want, let us sell them poison, flattery and untruth, let us thus kill their souls and choke their mentalities of progress, it doesn't matter since we are getting rich? . . . The law of honesty should be the policy."
In TM, Transcendental Meditation, one repeats a mantra (sound) mentally, but not aligned to the breath, and the mantra is given from among several more or less congenital ones. There is much research on TM. [◦Link]
There are more than 650 scientific studies of the various benefits of Transcendental Meditation, independently conducted at 200 universities and institutions in over 30 countries. These studies, published in over 100 scientific magazines, report of improvements, such as increases in memory and concentration, stabilization of the autonomic nervous system, reduction of drug abuse, and a decrease in prison violence and health problems.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi spread TM throughout the world and thereby:
Learn to make use of the best methods. They take the mind inwards with minimal effort.
Ehrman, Bart D. Forgery and Counterforgery in Early Christianity: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. ⍽▢⍽ Dr Ehrman examines over fifty examples of early Christian forgery that some folks base bits of faith on. "Arguably the most distinctive feature of the Christian literature is the degree to which it was forged."
Ehrman, Bart D. How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. New York: HarperOne, 2014.
Kriyananda, Swami. Paramhansa Yogananda: A Biography with Personal Reflections and Reminiscences. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2011.
Kriyananda, Swami, ed. The Road Ahead: World Prophecies by the Great Master, Paramahansa Yogananda. Nevada City, CA: Ananda Publications, 1973.
Ay: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 1st ed. New York: Theosophical Library, 1946.
Cy: Satyananda Saraswati, Swami. A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya. Munger: Yoga Publications Trust, 1981.
Dr: Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Divine Romance. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1993.
Ha: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 12th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1981.
Kta: Satyananda Saraswati, Swami. Kundalini Tantra. 8th ed. Munger: Yoga Publications Trust, 2001.
Psy: Dasgupta, Sailendra. Paramhansa Swami Yogananda: Life-portrait and Reminiscences. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2006. Pdf: yoganiketan.net and at Google Books, partial view.
Sob: Self-Realization Fellowship. Paramahansa Yogananda in Memoriam. Los Angeles: SRF, 1958.
Tm: Evans-Wentz, Walter Y, ed. Tibet's Great Yogi Milarepa. 2nd ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1969.
Wfe: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Whispers from Eternity. Ed. Kriyananda. 1st ed. Paperback. Nevada City: Crystal Clarity, 2008. Online.
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