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pilgrim
Registered User
(12/17/02 3:59 am)
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Kriya Pledge
I have had the option of taking Kriya for about 3 years now. When I first was invited, I decided not to take that step up at that time because I wasn’t very impressed with the wording on the pledge which to me read that I was basically promising total allegance to SRF and the gurus as my one and only sole spiritual direction. :eek :eek I was not prepared to do that at that time. My alarm bells were ringing even though I had come to love Yogananda and the other gurus. I was not prepared to commit myself to this path only at that time as I felt I was still exploring my faith, and I was also having problems accepting some of the teachings. Some things just did not ring true with my life experience.
Now having become aware of what is going on within SRF, I know why my alarms were going off. And I am pleased I made that decision which I know now to be the correct one for me. I still love Yogananda and the teachings but have reservations about the organization. Actually more than reservations. .... Red flags!!

I have a couple of questions for anyone who knows the answers or anyone who cares to comment.

First, I had always been under the impression right up to that time that SRF had no expectations of it being one’s sole spiritual path although I say this knowing that obviously they would hope that would be the outcome. Not sure how I came to those conclusions, but I think I had read somewhere that this was a religion that in no way expected the followers to change paths if they were already committed to a path of a different nature. It could supplement other religions. When I think about this though, it also comes to mind that they say a devotee is best off not branching out into other spiritual reading. If I have understood correctly, these things are a bit contradictory.

Anyway next question.

Was the pledge of allegance around in Yogananda’s time in this form, or is this a new addition? Anyone know the answer to this. I am curious if back then it was a requirement of followers.

Thanks
Pilgrim

parabastha
Registered User
(12/17/02 4:44 am)
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Re: Kriya Pledge
In the book "Treasures Against Time", by Brenda Lewis Rosser, there is a reproduction of the kriya pledge which Mildred Lewis (Dr. Lewis' wife) wrote in longhand as dictated to her by PY on January 10, 1921. (page 380)

-------------

Sat Sanga House 10th Jan 1921

In the presence of Lord God your preceptor and my spiritual guide I promise and swear to act according to the following rules.

1. To practice both morning and evening to best of my capabilities the devotional exercises which you teach me.

2. I will never reveal it to anyone without your permission.

3. I will try my utmost to follow your general advice for you will be responsible for me.

4. I give that for charity and bodily holiness.

5. If I divulge without your permission extreme misery will overtake me according to natural laws.

6. I will in every way help to spread this cause for I owe to all human beings for, in some way or other as everybody else does, I receive the help of theirs [others]. I will help others to get this divine knowledge if I myself think I enjoy it after having this.

Mildred Margaret Lewis


--------------

I think there were other versions of that pledge during his time.

username
Registered User
(12/17/02 6:19 am)
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Re: Kriya Pledge
That number 5 sounds threatening

redpurusha
Registered User
(12/17/02 7:35 am)
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Re: Kriya Pledge
pilgrim, I had the option of taking kriya from SRF for about a 3 years period as well, its a good thing not to leap into something too soon, especially a spiritual path you just discovered. Naturally, do what you feel inside is best for you at the right time.

Maybe SRF is not right for you. But consider this, is there a perfect worldwide religious organization without any "flags"? Is there a Christlike Master around the corner of your block ready to introduce you to God and help guide you? Hey maybe you know of one. What I found out, is that although there are other kriya teachers and societies out there, I liked PY the most and not only that, most of these other teachers and their societies had as much if not more reason to be suspicious of.

I don't have the experience of being "inside", only made one visit to California, but practicallly speaking from a laymember's perspective, God and Yogananda (if you so choose) are yours, and they are your allegiance. You can interpret the pledge in different ways, but in the ultimate and strictest sense, your pledge is to the SRF gurus -Christ, Babaji, Master, etc. and God, really its a satsanga or fellowship with Truth, at least that is the theory and intention on paper. Of course, in real life its not that easy or perfect, because even when God in a perfect form comes down to humanity, into the world of duality to express Himself through one of the gurus, you know what happened to Christ -got crucified, Krishna is made out to be a fiction character, and the humble teachings of the gospel become a ruthless king's passport to kill off masses of people by deceit and hypocracy. Would you still suppose that Yogananda's teachings wouldn't be affected in a negative way to some degree? Sure they would, as we have seen.

Regardless, its the best teachings I have encountered here so far, even when tainted and filtered by SRF -that is, Yogananda's teachings. Fortunately, however, thanks to the internet and other resources, you CAN get a wider cleaner grasp of PY's teachings from different outlets. As a lay disciple, or student of Yogananda, you can check out different perspectives such as www.yogananda-dif.org, www.yoganandarediscovered.com, and the many other various societies led by close disciples of PY, unattached to SRF, yet still teaching Yogananda's message in their own unique way. Remember, Yogananda came to help make masters, not just to create a following of students who can never master or put into practice his principles. And many of these have progressed and moved on away from SRF, yet still the organization had an important role in their search for God.

Its true that in the SRF lessons you are to try not to mix with other paths but thats I think an individual decision, for some it may be in fact best not to mix or read other teachings, for others, myself at least, its best and healthiest to study Yogananada's teachings outside of SRF as well as inside. At any rate, Yogananda is my guru and my allegiance is to God, Christ, and Master. SRF is but one, though important, part of my quest towards direct knowledge of Truth. My path may be a shaky slow plane with multiple connections, but I believe it's heading in the right direction with the right destination in plan.

note: these are just my views of SRF and Yogananda, I'm sure many (in SRF and out) would disagree with my interpretation of the pledge. In summary, the core of my religious beliefs is found in PY and his teachings, SRF is one of a number of sources, as every other religious organization SRF has its problems. Like many of us, their leaders are devotees of Yogananda with their own interpretation of Yogananda's message. I believe its possible to take advantage of what SRF has to offer, regarding PY's message, and leave whatever else one considers detrimental to one's progress, behind. "Be like the wise ant, seize the sugar..." -SY Or, take their approach to God as far as you can to your benefit, and then move on to whatever suits you best. (and feel no guilt about it)

I am grateful to Yogananda for resurrecting my interest in God and religion.

Edited by: redpurusha at: 12/20/02 10:16:59 am
pilgrim
Registered User
(12/18/02 6:49 am)
Reply
Re: Kriya Pledge
Thanks for the replies.

Well it's good to see from the Treasures Against Time version that it was not a necessity to sign one's spiritual thinking up for life. Although I have to agree with username ... No 5 is a bit much ...heck ...'extreme misery" ...now that I can do without. :eek As if I don't have enough problems! :lol :lol Would definately make one think twice about telling any of the secrets though.

I don't want to sound wishy washy about this. I am actually very serious in my thinking when it comes to spiritual matters. I am just not prepared to commit all my thinking in one direction, even if that direction seems like it holds a lot of truth. I enjoy reading other spiritual literature, especially Buddhist in nature. This to me contains many pearls of wisdom also. I am not sure any one path has an inside track to the truth.

I believe teachers like Yogananda, Jesus or Buddha are sent to help humanity, each in their individual manner, but never as the sole embodiment of truth exclusively. And I personally don't believe God plays favourites with any one religion so I do not believe SRF is the aeoplane route to God. It just doesn't ring true to me, I think it has far more to do with devotion. True devotion will bring rewards whatever the religion. This I believe is what set Yogananda apart from ordinary folk. His devotion was absolute.

I know when I first came to Yogananda, as much as I loved his teachings, it took me quite awhile to get used to his style of devotion. It was so flowery and descriptive, it really was difficult for me to relate. I am more a straight talker and over the top was not my style, but something kept me reading and eventually I came to enjoy it. And I came to realise that probably this style had more to do with the Indian influence.

But anyway I don't see myself taking Kriya any time soon, and probably never if I have to sign the pledge as is. I will not sign something like that lightly, knowing I may not live up to my promise.

I might petition SRF to revert to version 1921 and drop clause 5 !! :rollin












username
Registered User
(12/18/02 7:27 am)
Reply
To pilgrim
send me an private message with an email address to contact you

Notice the Noticer
Registered User
(6/14/03 8:31 pm)
Reply
Re: Kriya Pledge
Though I expect I have a karmic relationship of SOME sort with PY, I never had the feeling he was "MY guru." So when I wanted to get kriya, I told that to one of the brothers. What with the tendency toward punitive action in that organization, I won't say which one. But he immediately said, "It doesn't matter. Maybe Christ is your guru. Maybe Buddha is..."

So I applied and was accepted.

ranger20
Registered User
(6/16/03 12:37 pm)
Reply
Re: Kriya Pledge
For a long time after taking the lessons, I had a fairly fluid relationship with the gurus, focusing on them in turn, according to my perception of their "areas of expertise." For instance, issues in balancing work and spirituality, I'd take to Lahiri. I might approach Krishna for impending conflicts, and so on.

I didn't think much about it, it just seemed natural. But somewhere along the line, that naturalness escaped me. I think it was about 5 years ago, when I felt an inner impulse to develop a "friendship with Christ," that has grown ever since.

I remember the late, great Bro. Turiyananda answering a satsanga question at Convocation, ca. 1988 or 89 on that topic, and saying, in effect, "follow your heart. The masters are way beyond petty rivalry!"

And I've got quotes from Master's writings, and others of the monastics too, saying pretty much the same thing, and yet somewhere I've picked up an unsettled feeling about this I can't completely shake.

The exchanges here on the Walrus have been very helpful to me so far, in thinking things through, in trying to ask the right questions. Like, where did this sense of guilt come from? Where did that and other aspirations that seem fine from an intellectual point of view, acquire an emotional tinge of guilt??

I must say that sometimes events can neatly break through the artificiality. Last year when my dog was undergoing a serious operation, I prayed to, Master, and Shiva (as Lord of the Animals), and St. Francis, and Isis, and had a Virgin Mary votive candle burning for good measure. I guess I agreee with James Hillman, that the psyche tends to be polytheistic.

Or in plain terms, when my dog's wellbeing is at stake, I hedge my bets!

soulcircle
Registered User
(6/17/03 2:01 am)
Reply
wonderfully written ranger20
Guests, ranger 20 and All,

How wonderful this last post is. Also, the sharing is helpful.

soulcircle

prssmd
Registered User
(8/16/03 6:03 am)
Reply
Re: Kriya Pledges in SRF and outside SRF
Those of you interested in the SRF pledge might like to compare it to some other similar pledges required by some non-SRF kriya yoga teachers. It helps to examine SRF's rules in the CONTEXT of "rules of kriya yoga" generally. Most professional kriya yoga teachers, including YOGI RAMAIAH, who was Marshall Govindan's teacher for 18 years ("Babaji's Kriya Yoga"), require their students to sign a pledge promising, as a condition for receiving kriya yoga initiation, to keep the techniques secret. This raises the interesting question of why kriya yoga techniques should not be posted online or published in a book.

Here is part of YOGI RAMAIAH's (or Babaji's?) pledge, from his webpage kriyayoga.org/pledge.html, required as a condition for receiving kriya yoga initiation:

"(1) I WILL BE A BALM TO THE SICK, THEIR HEALER AND SERVITOR. I WILL QUENCH WITH RAINS OF FOOD AND DRINK THE ANGUISH OF HUNGER AND THIRST. IN THE FAMINE OF AGES END I WILL BE THEIR DRINK AND FOOD! I WILL BE AN UNFAILING STORE FOR THE POOR AND SERVE THEM WITH MANIFOLD THINGS FOR THEIR NEED.
(2) MY OWN BEING AND PLEASURES I SURRENDER ABSOLUTELY AND ENTIRELY TO KRIYA BABAJI INDEFINITELY SUCH THAT ALL CREATURES (ON EARTH) MAY GAIN THEIR END. (EXPLANATION - THE STILLNESS LIES IN SURRENDER OF ALL THINGS AND THE SPIRIT IS FAIN FOR THE STILLNESS. IF I MUST SURRENDER ALL, IT IS BEST TO GIVE IT FOR FELLOW CREATURES.)
(3) I WILL BE THE PROTECTOR OF THE UNPROTECTED, A GUIDE TO WAYFARERS, A SHIP, A DYKE AND A BRIDGE FOR THOSE WHO SEEK THE FARTHER SHORE AND A LAMP FOR THOSE WHO NEED A LAMP AND A BED FOR THOSE WHO NEED A BED.

AUM TATH SATH AUM
AS WRITTEN BY
-KRIYA BABAJI"

So in addition to promising to keep the techniques secret, YOGI RAMAIAH requires his students to make a lot of other promises. Let's look at some of these other promises: "I WILL QUENCH WITH RAINS OF FOOD AND DRINK THE ANGUISH OF HUNGER AND THIRST." Here the student is asked to promise to do something impossible. It's as if she had to promise to grow two meters taller. No one (or hardly anyone!) CAN make it rain food a drink, the way Moses (or God) did with the manna in the book of Exodus in the Old Testament.

"IN THE FAMINE OF AGES END I WILL BE THEIR DRINK AND FOOD!" Is YOGI RAMAIAH assuming that the world will end?When? In our current lifetimes? If not in our lifetimes, why are we making promises about how we'll conduct ourselves shortly before the world ends? Are we making promises about what we'll do in our future lives after we die and are reborn? Can we even make such promises? In future lives, assuming there are such, will we even be aware of what we promised in a past life? Is YOGI RAMAIAH assuming that cannibalism will ensue shortly before the world ends? And, if so, is he making us promise to offer our own bodies as food to starving people? But why should we be required to sacrifice our lives in this hypothetical situation? Are our lives worth less than those of others?

"I WILL BE AN UNFAILING STORE FOR THE POOR AND SERVE THEM WITH MANIFOLD THINGS FOR THEIR NEED" If there is a charity requirement, it should be spelled out, and not left as a vague reference. Otherwise, it sounds as if YOGI RAMAIAH
requires students to completely abandon all their possessions, if necessary, in order to be an "UNFAILING" (!) source of support for the poor. How else could our charitable assistance be unfailing? But then we'll become "the poor" and so won't be able to help the poor. (Think about this: If everyone is poor, how can we help the poor? Wouldn't it be better to require the poor to learn some job skills than to unfailingly hand them their food and drink? Is YOGI RAMAIAH a Socialist who advocates the policy of feeding people under any conditions--even if they refuse to work? Or should we instead help those who help themselves?) So I hope it's not REALLY necessary for us to become an "UNFAILING" (!) source of support for the poor. But in that case, some reasonable guide to the limits of charity should be part of the pledge.

"I WILL BE ... A BED FOR THOSE WHO NEED A BED." What does this mean? That we must go to where the homeless people sleep on the pavement after they have collapsed there after having taken large quantities of alcohol or some illegal drug, lie down on that pavement, and invite these homeless people to sleep on top of us? If that's not what it means, what does it mean? And if these homeless people refuse to get off drugs (not that they are ALL drug addicts) or enroll in a drug rehabilitation program and follow instructions from their counselors, and learn an employable skill, and expect to be housed by kriya yogis nonetheless, why should we help them?

The upshot of this discussion is that YOGI RAMAIAH requires students, as a condition for initiation, to promise quite a lot! And some of what is promised is impossible, ridiculous, or unreasonable--unless I'm misinterpreting it. But if I am misinterpreting it, that is YOGI RAMAIAH's fault, because he didn't say what he meant, or he didn't spell it out in a clear enough manner so that these misinterpretations would not arise.

How does this bear on YOGI RAMAIAH's requirement that his students sign a pledge promising, as a condition for receiving kriya yoga initiation, to keep the techniques secret? Just this: Given that YOGI RAMAIAH's requirements are, on the whole, impossible, ridiculous, or unreasonable, and hence not to be taken seriously, why should we assume that the secrecy requirement is to be taken seriously? Why should that part of the pledge be taken differently from any other part of the pledge? What VALID REASONS can be given for forcing students to adhere to the secrecy requirement?

A similar question can be raised in regard to those kriya yoga teachers who require students to be celibate as a requirement for initiation. Is that a reasonable requirement? Should it be taken seriously? If so, why? What VALID REASONS can be given for forcing students to adhere to a celibacy requirement? If agreeing to this requirement is the only way to obtain a certain teaching, would a student be justified in making a false promise in such a case?

I don't think enough attention has been paid to these issues.

ugizralrite
(3/7/04 11:03 am)
Reply
Re: Kriya Pledges in SRF and outside SRF
Quote bsjones:
But don't they make you swear to devote your life to the SRF path, or something like that before they will give you kriya?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Below is what I could find in the archives. I must say that I had it drilled into me pretty well not to divulge kriya to others, and so I don't. Maybe I should ask permission, but seriously I do not feel that I am qualified to teach kriya. I don't think the pledge is too onerous otherwise. There was a time when I had about twenty "exemplars" who I prayed to before meditating, and it helped me feel uplifted when I did that. So the part about accepting the six gurus (Christ, Krishna, Babaji,LM, SY, PY) can be looked at as having studied what they said and applying what is spiritually useful to you. I will try here to remember some of the others: Ramana Maharshi, Carl Jung, Suzuki (a Zen scholar), Karl Barth (a Christian theologian), Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Tuesday Lobsang Rampa (a screwball fiction writer with great imagination, author of The Third Eye),Daya Mata, Anandamoy, Achalananda, Turiyananda, Mokshananda, Sadhananda (all SRF monastics or former monastics), Dattatreya (author of the Avadhuta Gita), Lao Tsu, Master Chuang (Taoist Teachers), Emmanuel Swedenborg, William Blake, Anandamoyama (Joy filled mother). I may have forgotten a couple more. (edit: Buddha, Sankaracharya, Goethe, Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl, and Schopenhauer, and J.S.Bach whose music is heard in heaven I fancy). The point is that all of these inspired or guided me significantly at one time or another and bringing them to mind seemed to strengthen me and give me confidence.

What I am trying to get at is that these outward forms of loyalty to those who we expect to help us is an understandable relationship signifying a willingness to try to follow their advice in accordance with your own responsibility to be true to yourself as well. Maybe its a little like going to college where you don't necessarily have to like the requirements or the professors, but you have a personal goal and they can help you attain it. You make a contract to pass the courses in return for a diploma and the skills.

Really as I think about it here, SRF is pretty light duty compared to college, cost wise and entrance requirements. Still, organized religion is a "hornet's nest". I guess Yogananda was right in that regard. Maybe this will help. I always felt that SRF was oddly churchy and too focused on ceremony and altars, but figured that was my bias. Also there were a lot of things which I simply didn't understand in the lessons, things that didn't work for me. But I got sucked in anyway because they addressed death and God directly and pointed to Vedanta and threads of Christianity that I felt helped me understand. I felt I was making progress, so I have continued on, now on walrus ezboard but still in the same pursuit.

Does one kriya equal one year of ordinary evolution? Do you have to be Christ Conscious before you can be Cosmic Consciousness? Do you have to stop your heart and breath to experience the first stages of samadhi? Is vegetarian diet all that healthy? Is concentrating on the third eye and neglecting all the other chakras (especially the lower ones) physiologically and psychologically healthy? I have come to have doubts about all these issues. In short, I am in a quandary regarding the kriya as I experience and practice it, and the kriya I was taught. Maybe SRF can give you the brushes and the canvas, but what you do with them depends on your own personality. I wish others would weigh in on this, because of this ambivalence I seem to have about the benefits and disadvantages of SRF. Maybe if we started looking at it as a human institution it would be easier to treat it like college. Wouldn't that be great?

------------------------------------------------------------------
FROM THE ARCHIVES

from I need advice friends page 2

Well there is a loop-hole. On the ca. 1980 Kriya pledge card I have, is (1) "In my search for God, I accept as my Gurus...[plural, all six are named] and (2) a pledge to "exemplify the ideals of SRF church."

from srf teachings and ideals kriya pledge

In the book "Treasures Against Time", by Brenda Lewis Rosser, there is a reproduction of the kriya pledge which Mildred Lewis (Dr. Lewis' wife) wrote in longhand as dictated to her by PY on January 10, 1921. (page 380)

-------------

Sat Sanga House 10th Jan 1921

In the presence of Lord God your preceptor and my spiritual guide I promise and swear to act according to the following rules.

1. To practice both morning and evening to best of my capabilities the devotional exercises which you teach me.

2. I will never reveal it to anyone without your permission.

3. I will try my utmost to follow your general advice for you will be responsible for me.

4. I give that for charity and bodily holiness.

5. If I divulge without your permission extreme misery will overtake me according to natural laws.

6. I will in every way help to spread this cause for I owe to all human beings for, in some way or other as everybody else does, I receive the help of theirs [others]. I will help others to get this divine knowledge if I myself think I enjoy it after having this.

Mildred Margaret Lewis


--------------

I think there were other versions of that pledge during his time.

from layoffs and downsizing of srf has begun: what went wrong

to astral 7

srf kriya pledge requires that you give up affiliation with other churches. if you say in your kriya report that you are a member of another church, they will refuse to give you kriya.


from Catch All
> Why do people consider Yogananda their guru?

filling out the kriya pledge card, and viola!, we are his disciples. For which, again classically, he is spiritually bound to shepard unto Liberation, thereby creating a link that he might not have consciously made while alive and in person to person setting.

The AY tells us that he personally initiated over 100,000 individuals into kriya yoga sadhana. Does this mean that he accepted each and every one of these persons as his own disciple? What about those who came because they heard he had fantastic powers which he would freely demonstrate for the price of admission?

Yet when we step back and look at those who he acknowledged as his disciples their number (to my knowledge) couldn't be more than 100. I understand that they received a discipleship initiation from him, as probably best described by Kriyananda in his book, The Path. I've heard Anandamoy tell the same story as to how PY accepted disciples through this initiation process.

Edited by: ugizralrite at: 3/7/04 11:04 am
bsjones
Registered User
(3/9/04 12:49 pm)
Reply
ezSupporter
Re: Kriya Pledges in SRF and outside SRF
ugiz quotes the archives: "srf kriya pledge requires that you give up affiliation with other churches. if you say in your kriya report that you are a member of another church, they will refuse to give you kriya."

See. That's the part that makes me say "well, forget kriya".

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