SRF Walrus
Mt. Washington, Ca
Open discussions about SRF
Gold Community SRF Walrus
    > SRF Teachings and Ideals
        > An SRF research department
New Topic    Add Reply

Page 1 2

<< Prev Topic | Next Topic >>
Author Comment
Unregistered User
(11/18/01 1:30 am)
An SRF research department
Many of us know already-- through painful personal experiences -- that the SRF lessons are not safe at all. The military language in which the teachings are communicated in the lessons and books is damaging. But, one more step, and we could also challenge basic, basic assumptions that 'till now are based on zero scientific grounds.

For example: are the devotees understanding through the Lessons how to practice the techniques? Are the instructions providing room enough for experimentation, and appropriate personalization of the teachings? Have these many years of boxing everyone into a rigid paradigm, on threats of being disloyal, damaged people? How many have been damaged? How much pain and suffering, rigidity and disconnection from our deepest feelings, has this situation created?

During this past 50 years, has Brother Anadamoy's "concrete mixer"created happiness in the world or increased suffering? Has Brother Anandamoy's "SRF recipe" worked these years to nourish people with love and joy or with guilt and low self-esteem? Is the church being useful to humanity or is increasing its pains? Furthermore: are the techniques working? Is Kriya Yoga working for people? For how many? Out of 100 how many feel real benefits. Is Hong-Sau working? For how many? Is the Aum technique helping people? How many out of 100? Are people confused with so many techniques? Are devottes overwhelmed with so many techniques to practice? How are they dealing with these feeling? Are those feelings interfearing with their efforts in meditation? Is anyway that SRFcould help here? See how many interesting questions could be researched with so many devotees today representing a statistically significant sample?

As you read the above paragraph were you feeling contempt for the scientific method and science? Where that feeling comes from? Because Master believed in science not to mention Sri Yukteswar.

I hope the final balance is positive, but today -- honestly -- I have my doubts. So, how could could find out?

The most interested in finding out should be SRF itself. But, of course, cults are dogmatic by definition, so they believe in their doctrine and they are sure without any basis that they are saving humanity from dreadful pains! Would Master agree with this? Master said that he didn't believe in sects, cults or even churches -- so why he would believe that SRF is doing good to the world? Not to mention why should I believe in such things, if my Guru doesn't!

But still I have high hopes about SRF. My hope is that one day the new generation of monks will take over and SRF will become a modern, rational spiritual path. And if that happens, I hope they will have the courage and the honesty to create a research department, to do serious research about how the teachings are really impacting devotee's lives. To continue ASSUMING that everything is rosy color is dogmatism.

A research department will provide valuable information to the SRF board so that it can implement appropriate policies and adjustments to the teachings to make SRF service to humanity more effective, year after year. This is the type of church that I'm sure Master would like to have. He believed in science and religion working together for the benefit of humanity. He didn't believe in baseless assumptions, he didn't believe in dogma.

If Kriya yoga works, why not proving it scientifically -- any fear here? If Hong-Sau is the scientific technique that SRF claims; why not validating it with scientific research? The Transcendental Meditation group did it with their technique. Today that technique is quite respected in the scientific community. Why SRF, with 10 times more financial resources than the MT group, doesn't do scientific research? Because to do that you need to abandon the dogmatic thinking and to open up to the truth -- to love truth! And, to love and respect science. SRF talks about science but underlying that there is contempt for science -- "we know better."

I hope and pray that one day, the new generation of monastics, when they take over (and that day will come) will create an SRF research department -- it is urgently needed!

In Recovery
Unregistered User
(11/18/01 2:04 pm)
SRF Research Department
What a great idea!

The ashram is supposed to be the great laboratory, where people get to put the teachings to the ultimate test. They study the teachings every day (at least some do); they meditate up to seven times a day; they have classes on the techniques; they do the healing technique at least twice a day; etc. And what has this grand experiment produced? What are the fruits of years of living this experiment? Do we see people who are radiant with the love of God? with realization? Or do we see stressed out, overworked, exhausted, devotees who are hoping that "more of same" will somehow produce a different effect from what it has so far produced? I have heard and read comments from many members who think if the monastics can't "do it" then what hope do the members have?

There are many monastics who know things need to change and that more of same just will not get them what they came for. But, unfortunately, they are in no position to implement these changes. There was a new breath of hope when the Spiritual Life Committees were established, but we all know what happened to them (and subsequently to the new breath of hope). They are trying desperately to make whatever changes are in their power to make. But this is only on a personal level (in their personal interactions with each other). On an organizational level, they've given up hope of any real change.

Their efforts on a personal level are producing healthier friendships and healthier emotional lives. They are doing tremendous work on thier inner lives. I have no doubt they are laying healthy foundations for dynamic spiritual growth. But what about the techniques. How to we make the techniques work for us AT THE SAME TIME as working on our relationships and emotional lives?

A truly scientific attitude would be to ask the unaskable questions, such as: "Is this really working?" Anandamoy, of course, would reply: "Yes, it's working. But it's too subtle to perceive. Just keep doing more of same, and you'll get there. It takes many, many years of deep kriya practice to be able to perceive the benefits." And so we keep following along until our consciences again start niggling at us to get scientific about our sadhana.

How long are we going to endure walking out of a techniques class with the same shortlasting inspiration that blankets our boredom and discouragement? Same old information. Same quotes from the Lessons. Same old advice to "just do your best." Has this formula changed how we practice the techniques? And what are we quietly and almost unconsciously telling ourselves? My internal monologue went something like this: "I guess I'm not ready to receive the results. I need to somehow be more evolved to get the results. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but I don't know what. Maybe somehow I'll experience that 'breakthrough,' that seems to be up to the discretion of some benevolent Power outside of me. I guess I'll just 'keep on keeping on' as they say. Maybe one day I'll be able to practice the techniques scientifically."

We've seen flies butting their heads against a window pane, trying to get outside, until they drop dead from exhaustion. Meanwhile, an open door is only a few feet away. Let's see how Anandamoy's (and the pat SRF advice) sounds when applied to this scenario. "Yes, it's working. But it's too subtle to perceive. Just keep butting your head against the window, and you'll get there. It takes many, many years of devoted butting to be able to perceive the benefits." Ludicrous, eh? Does the advice to "do your best" help in this situation? Does the advice to "keep on keeping on" help in this situation? No. We've done it. We've followed that advice, and what do we have to show for it?

Anandamoy is not faultless. He is in delusion along with the rest of us. Yes, he has a very incisive mind, and so we tend to give him the benefit of the doubt. And he speaks so confidently that we tend to think he is speaking from direct realization. But having lived with him, I know he is not infallible (shocking but true), and he can misinterpret situations and can be very shortsighted.

It is imperative that we pull back from our "butting against the window" and consider a different approach to the practice.

I would suggest that we look at just how scientifically we're practicing the techniques. I know of one monk who was bragging to another about how deep he was going with hong-sau. In actual fact, he had convinced himself that the occasional pauses in breath and the deep feeling of peace he was experiencing was an advanced state in hong-sau practice. What he didn't know was that the monk he was bragging to had some direct personal experience to draw from, and he knew the physiological and energetic reactions to proper hong-sau practice.

When challenged to describe what happens when the pauses came, the bragging monk revealed that he was controlling the breath and that he had very little understanding of the technique.

The pauses come only after a long time of practicing the technique properly. The breath slows down only after a long time of practicing the technique properly. If we find we are having to take an occasional deep breath, we can be assured that we are somehow controlling the breath. But before the pauses and slowing comes, there is plenty of dramatic stuff that happens with the life force. And if we hear anyone talking about pauses in breath but can't describe what happens with the life force before that, we can be pretty sure that they're not experiencing real pauses. It IS a science.

Now, how all this fits in with having a healthy emotional life -- I'm still trying to get a handle on all that. I DO believe we must have a healthy psychology to get full and lasting benefits from yoga. But we must be scientific about both. We must work on our emotional stuff to lay a healthy foundation for proper practice of yoga. If we have a boiling pot of emotions cooking beneath the surface, they're definitely going to make themselves obvious when we become still. At some point, we must address those issues before moving on to deeper states of interiorization. But to hell with the thought that we can't experience any profound results from the techniques until our psychology is perfectly squared away. I unconsciously believed that bullsh** until that same monk who had the personal direct experience helped me stop controlling the breath. The difference was like between night and day when I next practiced hong-sau. And the only difference was that I followed this man's advice. I hadn't had any emotional breakthroughs that day. I didn't reach some profound state of surrender to God and Guru. I simply changed my breathing rate to 18 breaths per minute and not my habitually (but what I thought was naturally) slower breathing rate.

Anandamoy told us he saw both Dr. Lewis and Rajarsi practicing hong-sau, and he timed their breathing rate by the rising and falling of their abdomens. And, yep, the rate was 18 breaths per minute.

This is just my personal contribution to an effort to do some candid research on the science of yoga. If it's helpful to anyone, I'm happy. I'm trying to avoid being so zealous as to declare that "my way is THE way," but it has worked for me and I'm happy to share it if it helps.

Unregistered User
(11/18/01 2:33 pm)
laboratory research
Are you sure Bro. A said 18 breaths a minute? I just timed myself for one minute and I did 5 hong-sau breaths. And I'm sure kriya breaths would be even longer. Anyone here want to experiment? What did you find?

Unregistered User
(11/18/01 2:38 pm)
Re: Research Department
This board may turn out to be the most important event in my spiritual life. I've been on this path--well, trying to be--for about 30 years. I still meditate--well, try to meditate--every day. For most of those years I was very regular, the "devotee's devotee." Attending every meditation, serving night and day at a temple, blah, blah, blah.

I have never experienced my breath slowing down. I have never heard any sound other than my own breathing. I have never felt any current in the spine. I don't feel any more energetic after practicing the "energization" exercises. I don't talk to ministers anymore, because in all those years, in talking to just about every minister, the only counsel I got was to be more regular, to be more sincere, to try harder, and to keep at it.

Sounds to me like In Recovery was lucky enough to find someone who could give real advice. Wish I could.

I'll tell you what lurks in my mind: there is a certain personality type that takes to this particular set of practices, and combined with various physiological attributes, those people have some kind of psycho-physiological response that is defined as "results" in meditation. There are enough of those people to keep this organization going. Others respond to some other set of practices, so there are other "teachings" with devoted adherents.

I have read in many places that Master used to say to people to try the techniques sincerely for a year, and if they didn't feel benefited, to move on with his blessing. Sure sounds to me like he knew that not every person on the planet was his disciple, nor is this particular set of practices the best for every person. But they make so much sense to me, I would sure hate to give up just because no one who KNOWS ever took the time to explain it to me. Or I could never find such a person.

Where the organizational insanity comes in is this: Once one is a participant and well-known, one can no longer ask such questions. difficulty practicing is interpreted as disloyalty. That is so evil that it boggles my mind. All the other problems fade into insignificance in comparison.

Unregistered User
(11/18/01 3:43 pm)
Research and Science
This thread is surely the beginning of the SRF Research Department. Let's hope one day we can meet face to face and share this important information. It is time for us to make these teachings our own.

Interesting what you had to say about Hong Sau. I should try having someone count. Somehow breathing once every three seconds seems to rapid for deep relaxation. Although maybe it works in harmony with the brain and body cycles. Any thoughts on this?

Dear Jaded. Sometimes what the nervous system needs is extra vitamin B or neuro optimizers for the brain. This can change a person's concentration. If you have ADD or are nutritionally deficient try them and see if they make a difference in your focus and concentration. I had some good results with it.

Unregistered User
(11/18/01 9:11 pm)

May I further suggest the nutrient MSM (methylsulfonylmethane).

Here's the skinny:

MSM is the transport molecule for elemental sulfur which is required
for proper assimilation of the amino acids methiorine and cysteine. In
addition, the peptide hormone, insulin, requires sulfur in its molecular
structure, and numerous other proteins, catalysts, and enzymes incorporate
sulfur into their molecular framework. MSM, like the B-vitamins is water soluable.

Try about 3000 millagrams per day on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.
MSM has shown to be very promising for ADD. This in addition to the suggested B-
vitamins can work wonders. A little extra choline and inositol also works well. Do not take
B-vitamins on an empty stomach.

Unregistered User
(11/18/01 11:29 pm)
Hong Sau Breathing Rate
I have a friend in Virginia - long time devotee -- who once told me he collapsed a lung doing Hong Sau. THis was 20 years ago, and shocked me when I heard it. Much later he went to Hidden Valley for a year. But did not go on to be a monk. He told me he was embarrased to tell SRF what had happened since it would have hurt his chances.

Long time I puzzled about how that could happen. The past 15 years, I have been doing a form of therapy involving breathng, movement, etc and have worked with many devotees. And, I now have a totally different perspective on Hong Sau. One that I did not get from SRF but fills in the gaps, at least for me.

I'd like to share a little of my perspective.

First -- some basics. To inhale, the rib cage and/or the diaghpram area=belly/abdomen must be more or less free to expand. Otherwise, there is nowhere to expand. Sounds too simple to even write it down. Yet here is the deal. In my work, I know that if there are long pauses after the exhale, that is a SURE sign of WAY WAY WAY too much tension in the torso. Both the ribs and abdomen. The body is telling you -- "look, you are holding SO MUCH TENSION holding the belly in, ribs and chest too tight, it is WAY too much work to inhale." TO inhale, the torso, somewhere, must expand, tight muscles (muscles shorten as they tense as you know) must soften and lengthen. To inhalation the body says, I don't like it, I don't want to do it, so I am going to do a long pause here after the exhalation to sort of rest. "

That is right. If you think your long pauses after the exhale are GOOD, think again. Only -- as has already been said -- after long years of proper steady practice with good relaxation could you expect maybe FUNCTIONAL long pauses after the inhale.

How do I know I have a very relaxed functionally breathing person on my table? Besides the obvious immediate impression? Easy. There is a rather longer-than-usual pause after the INHALE. That is something you will never hear from SRF. In order to naturally pause after the inhale, (this is not long by the way, but most too-tense people have ZERO pause after the inhale because of all that tension trying to pull the torso back into the contraction state) you need to have very good relaxation in the entire torso. So the body does not have to work very hard to hold the lungs full for a moment.

Anybody still with me?

Very few of us, to say nothing of newcomers, bring in to SRF the ability or understanding of really how to relax.A clue: it involves more than just this simple thing people think it is, "learning to relax"'. Emotional control or balance is a large part of it. It involves learning to use minimal effort in daily activities. It involves learning to move with grace and poise, resting the body weight on the skeleton more consciously. Brining deep chronic tensions to light of day. All of this usually requires -- in todays overstressed world -- professional intervention. At least a strong interest and committment -- taking classes, etc. A common prescription in China today, I am told, for almost any disease you can name, is "practice relaxation" for say five to fifteen minutes a day. Most SRF devotees, in my opinion, would greatly benefit doing this as a regular practice. Even as a pre-requisite to meditation.

Back to the collapsed lung. If you don't know how to relax,and you sit there thinking it is good to have long pauses and soft shallow breathing, you get oxygen deprivation and the body -- to greatly oversimplify a complicated situation -- is eventually going to resort to desperate measures to bring in some air. People who are too tense will NOT get enough air unless breathing is labored and full, comparatively. A lung that cannot expand, a diaghpram that can't drop down to suck in air, is combined with mental "directions" probably not conscious, to slow the breathing and prolong the pauses after the exhale -- the lungs will likely freak out.This is a VERY unnatural and dangerous state of affairs. SRF in my opinion is remiss not to warn people clearly about this.l A collapsed lung would be no surprise.

Hong Sau is not, repeat not, a safe practice in spite of what you have read or been told, unless you really have a handle on all this stuff. To be able to relax, for starters. To be able to sit without holding the belly or abdomen in, with a relaxed back and good alignement for another thing. Instructions to sit rigidly in erect posture without learning to attaing erect posture through intelligent exploration and relaxation and skeletal support etc, is a SURE RECEIPE FOR FAILURE DOING HONG SAU.

The insights I would like to share about Hong Sau:

1) Breathing involves the whole body. Any tension anywhere in the body means you are controlling the breath.To not control the breath is not a simple thing. No more simple than unwinding all the many conscious and unconscious knots of muscle tension in the body at will.l Imagine a large water balloon. You poke one end the othe end jiggles too. The human body is a collection bllions of water balloons called cells.

2) One little test to see how you are doing.This will tell you whether you are really progressing in Hong Sau. With a normal easy breath you should be able to feel a little sensation of expansion or energy ANYWHERE IN THE BODY YOU PUT YOUR ATTENTION. For instance I am thinking about my left hand now. I quiet down. I feel a little tingle, almost like imagination, there as I inhale. What blocks your ability to feel this is tension.

3) Time spent in learning to relax or sit is probably time better spent for most people than doing Hong Sau. In the early stages, for sure. Most devotees have spent too long sitting in "correct" posture with NO understanding of functional sitting, and with WAY too much tension. I know this from experience. Too too many times I work with a long time devotee and find his back, his ribs, his belly, all are way WAY too tight. One such person I asked how long she meditated. Answer: Two hours every morning and two hours every evening. Can you imagine? Once you know how to relax, and how to sit (this is something you have to learn, by the way), then you may be ready for Hong Sau.

4) Even if you know how to relax and sit, emotions can create body tensions. Chronically held anger, anxiety, fear, etc must be dealt with simultaneously with the learning to relax.

Unregistered User
(11/19/01 12:08 am)
Now we're getting somewhere. A topic that matters: how to meditate.

(An important aside, especially for those lurking who are scandalized by this board, ESPECIALLY for any "official" observers: why has SRF *never* addressed these questions? Where is the SRF detailed booklet on the techniques? Where is the SRF "frequently asked questions?" Real question, not the bland and stupid ones that show up early in the lessons. What in God's name have you people been doing for the last 50 years? How can you look forward to death? because what will you say when you are asked, like the servants with their master's talents, what you have done?)

Pardon the rant.

Thanks for the nutritional suggestions. I am pretty good about diet and so on, although not taking every supplement at present. It appears my questions led some to think I have trouble concentrating. That's not completely true. Outside of meditation, I do pretty well. In fact, outside of "the path," I would say everything is fine. The source of stress and frustration in my life is in trying to follow the "SRF way of life." For that reason I have recently scaled way back and do what comes to me and what I feel truly inspired to do.

Back to the techniques. I appreciated the discussion of breathing and relaxation. I can't tell you how many SRF people I know who have been told by some professional--medical, psychological, healing--that they need to learn to relax, that maybe they should take up meditation!

For me, I never have experienced any slow down or pause of breath. I haven't timed it but I probably fit close to the 18 time a minute rate. I have sat many, many times for extended periods and my breath and pulse are the same at the end as at the beginning. I have a high pulse normally--in the 80s--and after a 6 or 8 hour "meditation" it's still there. I don't get sore or have any body conditions. I never get sick (knock on wood) and so on and so forth.

Here is my current bottom line: I would like to learn to meditate. After 30 years or so, I don't think the SRF publications or lessons or ministers can teach me that. Does that mean I'm selfish or stupid? or lazy? or what? How did it get to such a state that I'm afraid to ask any insider these questions? Is that my fault?

Unregistered User
(11/19/01 12:51 am)
Vitamin B
Sky, thanks for all that useful info on breathing and relaxation. We need more experts on this in SRF. Please contribute more.

To Concrete: you mentioned not taking vitamin B on an empty stomach. Why is that? I almost always take it on an empty stomach because I like the rush I feel when the B kicks in, especially the niacin. I never burp up a foul taste or have stomach problems from taking it that way.

Also, if I've had a stressful day or must be deprived of sleep, I can take a mega dose before going to bed (on an empty stomach). I often experience a joyful feeling as I doze, colorful relaxing dreams. And when I wake up I am not groggy.

Unregistered User
(11/19/01 12:54 am)
I am remembering --- when I flrst got on the path, for a couple of years, I had so much painful tension in my body from trying to do everything right in SRF that even my teeth ached. Where were you when I needed you?

Unregistered User
(11/19/01 1:22 am)
The Secret of Religion
Listen guys; from "The Secret of Religion":

"Science is progressive, constantly winning new inventions through the application of the laws of reason. Religion too should apply scientific methods of reasoning and experimentation, AND NOT RELY ONLY UPON BELIEFS.

CHURCHES SHOULD LIVE ABREAST OF TIMES. Their members should apply the psychology of experiment in the laboratory of the church and test the efficacy of faith and of spiritual laws on human beings.

Do you know where this come from?
Question to SRF BOD: If you preach this, in writing! how is it that after 50 years you haven't even began a research department in SRF? Why our religion is fully based on beliefs only??????
Rigiditananda -- "I acquired Ananda through rigidity (just a reminder)"

Registered User
(11/20/01 9:23 pm)
Re: 20-20-20 before Hong Sau


I once read a newsletter by Andrew Weil on breathing. He mentioned the Chinese symbol for "breath" is two characters joined, which mean exhale followed by an inhale. He guessed that for the ancient Chinese probably the word breath meant to exhale then inhale. We Americans do it the reverse. Tell an American to take a breath, he will inhale then exhale.,

It is easier the Chinese way. By emphasing the exhale first, the inhale just sort of flows easier. A little effort spent in forcing the exhale just a tad, has huge dividends. The inhale becomes bigger and easier. The Chinese or Eastern way of thinking of a breath cycle is also -- I contend -- what Master taught at times.

Think of the EE exercises you learned in SRF that require breathing as a part of the exercise. Like the very first one. If you were paying attention to the directions, you will have noticed they tell you to begin the exercise with an exhale and a relaxed body, hold for a count of three etc. Again notice, you START with an exhale.

So what do we do before Hang Sau? 20-20-20-. Now this is a breath cycle that can be conceived in the Western fashion -- inhale, hold, exhale then repeat 12 times OR the Eastern fashion, exhale, inhale, hold. Repeat 12 times. You are doing the same identical thing mechanically, but because you are conceptualizing it as "exhale first" the whole thing becomes easier. The Eastern way is to not confront difficulty immediately, try getting softer and more clever first.

If you do 20-20-20 before Hong Sau, I recommend you try this Chinese style. It is just a twist of thought, but it helps. '

SRF monastics teach Hong Sau all the time by reading from the lesson and staying tightly in that box. We need more creative exploration like this to make the teachings work for us.

In Recovery
Unregistered User
(11/23/01 11:57 am)
18 Breaths per minute
Anandamoy was only mentioning what Master noted in the AY--that man's natural breathing rate is 18 per minute. In the same chapter, Master also mentioned the breathing rates of other animals and how the rate corresponds with longevity and states of mind.

By the way, someone earlier referred to doing a "hong-sau breath"? What is that? We are merely observing our natural breathing rate and not "doing" a particular breathing exercise. It's difficult to observe our natural breathing rate because as soon as we put our minds on it, we tend to control it. We need to catch ourselves somehow or have someone else notice our resting breathing rate when we're not aware of it.

I know people who say this rate is too fast for them, but still they don't get the results they're looking for with hong-sau. A suggestion would be just to experiment with 18 per minute and see for yourself. Do it for a few days that way. It turned my practice around immediately.

Registered User
(5/27/02 3:02 am)
in my experience

In my experience, recent experience, only one patch in my meditaion garden is growing anything.
Not so much is pushing up through the surface in the aum, hong sau and kriya patches, although the tiny, the cacti, and the imaginary phyla are sweet nonetheless.
In a conscious choice to embrace and be the goal, to meditate in me, in all manner of tiny little prayers with great love
...in being in and in love with friends, in non-local

...in embracing failure, in lying down in meditation to relax, in falling in and out of sleep

...and choosin a glory of one note, one daisy, one wild
chipmunk of healthy self-love

the circle is unbroken

....no yearning to be like some unattainable guru
....no rejection of any part of my funky self

the circle is unbroken
within friendship, with hearts, not legs crossed
eyes raised or better yet, not
with voices raised in accapello breath,
not a solo yogini

but hand in hand

togetherness in meditation

as my neighbor says...

"i find that as i put others before me with feelings of love, forgiveness, compassion and caring...good things come to me, this is the best meditation or "religion."

********** in rapture or tears ***********

soul circle

Edited by: soulcircle at: 5/27/02 3:06:50 am
Should Free
Registered User
(5/28/02 10:54 pm)
Re: in my experience
Dear Soul Circle

Thanks for your beautiful tribute to "freedom of practice." For this I understand, "practice whatever you want and whatever please your heart and makes you feel closer to God -- and dump the SS" You are really a poet. After the passing of my dear friend Riditananda, who died of rigidity (according to him acquired through the SRF teachings,) I kept on writing here in the Walrus to continue with his mission to create awareness about the dangerous "shoulds, musts, have tos, outght tos" in the SRF lessons and books. He also liked to call it "SS." Which as you may immagine it means "Should Shi-t." The Nazies also loved their "SS."

Registered User
(10/1/02 5:22 pm)
Re: in my experience - whoa!!! slow down here!!!
what i find extraordinary in all these postings is a conception, prevalent among much i have read on the subject, that somehow one's "report" really **matters**, that there is an SRF mafia with little better to do than report on the practitioners of its techniques, and that their bad opinion will have a devastating effect on your life!! Do you have no life outside the time you find for study and exercise and meditation? As for the lessons containing "militaristic language", surely it's self-evident that conceptions of the intended effect of a particular piece of written language depend on the desires of the reader to read a certain set of assumptions 'into' the text. I speak as an Oxford University graduate and as a practised EFL teacher. A language expert in short. I guess it may not be self-evident, but it's not any less true for that!! Read W.H. Auden Anandamoy, whom I've never met, comes in for some really puzzling stick here; as if people's own experience of their expectations not being met necessarily means SRF and its monastics were at fault for not waving a magic wand or instructing its followers in techniques for running their life that you can get out of, for example, M Scott Peck. Yogananda's writings are on a much higher plane, and to presume that he would be dismayed at SRF - well, what does that say about your conceptions of Yogananda? Let's have a teeny bit more humility about us, please. Now I am a new student, halfway through the first year, and God knows that to adhere to even half the programme of EE and meditation is really very difficult, and I am a very imperfect practitioner. I was very glad to find other people don't breeze through it with some kind of ease denied to me. Truly, that discovery is like a breath of fresh air, and is why this group is important. If it were not important for this group to exist, it wouldn't.

BUT, I know that what has been given here is given as a gift for my benefit, not as some military routine to scare the living sh*t out of me. If I don't progress onward, if they deny me kriya, it won't mean the end of my spiritual journey! Remember Guruji's words about setting a goal and working towards it, even though it might take you many lifetimes? We've all got to face death anyway, but we have faced it before, and what's the point in stressing out about completing the journey in this life anyway? Relax, have a laugh, remember that nobody's prefect, and indulge in a little harmless pleasure, like eating an ice-cream without feeling guilty, or for that matter a 12oz slab of beef. The great thing about Yogananda, apart from the infinitude of other things, is the way He emancipated that word "evil." Just go back to the chapter in 'Autobiography' about the WWI battlefield for instance, and read what Yogananda was told about the war there!! Read it, read it, and ask yourself why it makes you feel the way it does, and remember; the lessons are a gift. A much closer reading of the Saint who chose a King for a Guide, in the lesson that landed on the mat last Monday morning, will have roughly the same relaxing effect. Peace, love, tranquillity and RESPECT FOR ALL LIFE, to you all. Aum. Fernsy

Edited by: legspinnr at: 10/2/02 5:22:39 am
Registered User
(10/1/02 5:32 pm)
Re: in my experience - addendum
by the way, er, that last post should not in any way be taken to suggest you should do something actually immoral, but that you should remember that "evil" is attachment to desires, and inability to renounce them. No person, place or thing is inherently evil. Actions might be inherently evil, depending on what is committed and the circumstances in which it is committed, but remember to separate the done from the doer and the done-to in that case.

Registered User
(10/1/02 7:36 pm)
Re: in my experience - addendum

While I can't say that my personal experience with the SRF lessons "harmed" me in any way, I must say that they did me little good. Then again, that statement in itself is a little too "judgmental" for me now, so my taking the lessons just was what it was...but I found no peace through them, no joy...

If you are finding the lessons to be of benefit to you, then great. But others on this forum have had different experiences...all opinions are valid, in my mind.

However, I do find that the lessons contain an awful lot of shoulds and should nots. Perhaps you can take the offerings more lightly, but some people take the lessons as PY's words and therefore "God's" words and tend to follow them quite strictly. Particularly if you've been raised Catholic or in some other religion where guilt has been programmed into you since birth.

I have found a far more real spiritual philosphy in Zen. I won't go into detail here, because it's been discussed in other threads, but I will say that it deals with the present, here and how...enlightenment is only a by-product of being totally in the moment (which is way, way harder than it sounds), there is no chasing after God-realization, because it's in you at this very second if you have learned to be with it. With the SRF lessons, everything was always in the future (that is, "the goal"), life could be "better" if you did x, y and z (instead of knowing that life is perfect as it is, in all it's suffering and imperfection). There has been a great weight lifted off my shoulders since letting go of SRF. The lessons offered a few things here and there that I find valid, but nothing that I haven't read in other places. As for kriya, well, for some people that might be the ticket for them, but for me it was meaningless...I find far more meaning in bringing myself back to the moment by developing my awareness (which, btw, can actually utilize the senses instead of turning them off and, in my mind, anesthetizing oneself).

Well, I'm tired and probably not making much sense, but just trying to get the point across that for many people, the SRF lessons aren't the best road to realization or self-awareness. Best of luck to you in your pursuit...if they suit you well, then go for it!

Edited by: gardendiva at: 10/1/02 7:41:47 pm
Registered User
(10/2/02 5:13 am)
Re: in my experience - addendum
gardendiva - I take your points. I was raised as a Catholic, and have had more than my share of guilt programmed into my system. However, my point remains, that words like 'should' and 'should not' have a force that is totally dependent upon the reader's conception of what the author's attitude to them is.

With regards to the force of SRF teaching being future-dependent, I can't help but wonder what you make of Guruji's absolute commitment to meditation and present-moment realization. We are taught that the most important thing in the Universe is readying the consciousness, freeing the consciousness of desire. In what way is this different from Zen? Also, however much Guruji promised that "if you are making a spiritual effort now, everything will improve in the future", he also cautioned against getting attached to any vision of the future; what matters is present-moment effort to release the soul from its bondage. As such, and as the unifying link between world religions, there really isn't any difference between Zen and SRF. I accept that people may not feel they are suited to SRF teachings, but in turn, you have to accept that such a thought may have to crumble before the realisation that SRF unifies different paths in a distillation of truth-principle that, like the training of Yukteswar, makes no room for cheap ego-balm at the expense of encouragement to strength and goodness.

I repeat again, I was raised a Catholic, and have been told on occasion that I would make a good Moslem, a good Buddhist, though curiously I don't have "good Judaeist" under my belt yet... None of this is anything other than completely explicable, as I have been lucky enough to get experience of a lot of these faiths and see the interconnections between them, something for which I thank God hourly. I have, also, had a brief intellectual curiosity about the scientologists, long long ago. Now there *is* a cult....

Not that it's my place to be, but I'm glad you've found Zen, but I think you may be overestimating the pressures of SRF and underestimating the import of its message.

In God,


Registered User
(10/2/02 6:47 am)
Re: in my experience - addendum
We are taught that the most important thing in the Universe is readying the consciousness, freeing the consciousness of desire. In what way is this different from Zen? Also, however much Guruji promised that "if you are making a spiritual effort now, everything will improve in the future", he also cautioned against getting attached to any vision of the future; what matters is present-moment effort to release the soul from its bondage. As such, and as the unifying link between world religions, there really isn't any difference between Zen and SRF. I accept that people may not feel they are suited to SRF teachings, but in turn, you have to accept that such a thought may have to crumble before the realisation that SRF unifies different paths in a distillation of truth-principle that, like the training of Yukteswar, makes no room for cheap ego-balm at the expense of encouragement to strength and goodness.

Phrases such as "readying the consciousness" imply something not in the moment. If a person is having a hard time in their life and they are told that if they are making a spiritual effort now everything in the future will improve, it seems that a natural response would be to make the effort so that the "future" will improve. Perhaps you have not been to a temple and are taking everything from the lessons and books directly (which is probably the best way to follow this path), but when one hears these kinds of things in lectures and the devotees among themselves talk in this way, it becomes a part of one's subconscious and, depending on the individual, not the best way to live one's life.

I don't say the things that I do about SRF lightly. I was a "member," a "devotee" for over 20 years. A couple years ago, while examing my life, my psychological and physical health, I understood that the SRF lessons had not been a path well suited to *me*. Actually, I made a last ditch effort to throw myself more wholeheartedly into reading the lessons, meditating more deeply, and it was no use (btw, I've always lived by temples and served etc. as well...even worked up at Mt. Washington for a couple years).

From what I see in SRF, there is no real and true effort for the idea of "unification" of religion or path. You are asked to swear that SRF will be your "religion" when you apply for kriya (I had not remembered this until it was pointed out in a thread on this board). You hear in lectures, overtly and covertly, that SRF is the "best," the "fastest" way to God (as if God wasn't in you and with you at this very moment??). There is an air of superiority among devotees (again, if you've not been to a temple, you may have been spared this experience) and if anyone leaves because they find a path that suits them better, they are talked about like they are in for some real trouble...now I don't see anything remotely unifying about these attitudes.

I think in theory there are a lot of good ideas in the lessons. Have you spent much time studying Zen philosophy? I have been doing reading now for about six months, and find numerous differences in the Zen approach to meditation and to life. In Zen there is no goal, no hope, no experience or state that one is trying to achieve. Everything is just the way it is, and everything comes back to the moment...you don't have to think about "God" even, you just have to be in this moment right now.

But in any case, I think we agree, that every individual must choose for themselves the best path to follow. For a long time I put the effort into SRF, but things change and I came, through life experience, to understand it was time for me to move on. No regrets, that's just the way it is. Ultimately, whether we realize it or not, life itself is unifying...we are all connected and when we are finally able to see (and by this I mean *know* in that deep sense within) that separation doesn't exist, THEN we'll have something!

Edited by: gardendiva at: 10/2/02 7:18:34 am
Registered User
(10/2/02 7:10 am)
Re: in my experience - addendum
To legspinnr:

Gardendiva makes a very good point that the lectures in the temples and at the convocations have a much different emphasis that what you might find in the lessons. There is a very real element of "future reward" for loyalty to the path and to the gurus (and sometimes punishment for abandoning the path!). Also, the superiority of SRF as a religion is constantly stressed. Often little of practical value is offered. The only suggestion offered to attempt anything remotely resembling "mindfulness" is to "practice the presence of God"
in the form of mentally repeating a mantra and to hold on to the peace acquired in meditation. Certain ministers repeat the same lectures year after year and decade after decade.

Edited by: wholetruth at: 10/2/02 7:19:48 am
Page 1 2 << Prev Topic | Next Topic >>

Add Reply

Email This To a Friend Email This To a Friend
Topic Control Image Topic Commands
Click to receive email notification of replies Click to receive email notification of replies
Click to stop receiving email notification of replies Click to stop receiving email notification of replies
jump to:

- SRF Walrus - SRF Teachings and Ideals -

Powered By ezboardŽ Ver. 7.32
Copyright Š1999-2005 ezboard, Inc.