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A voice in the supermarket
Registered User
(6/22/02 5:27 am)
Re: Looking reality in the face and your Re of that again
Hello, Gitano no divino,


I understand from the I Ching (hexagram 34) that the superior man doesn't tread on paths that don't accord with established order.

You say you hold Yogananda (PY) at least partly responsible for the set-up and whereabouts of SRF, not only crediting PY with what seems good. Ramakrishna has a story along a similar vein, I recall (below).


A goat butts at the hedge in great earnestness.
The hedge opens
One has noted the difficulties and I understand -


A goat butts at the hedge (imposed or oppressive restrictions etc.) in great earnestness.

The hedge opens (yes, there were shallow roots in SRF).

One (Divine oneness) has noted the difficulties. And the I-ness inside then understands -

These lines are my comments to you. And now a slightly humorous tale, quite as told by Ramakrishna:

A BRAHMANA was laying out a garden. He looked after it day and night. One day a cow strayed into the garden and browsed on a mango sapling that the brahmana used to take special care of. When he saw the cow destroying his favourite plant, the brahmana became wild with rage, and gave such a severe beating to the animal that it died of the injuries received. The news soon spread like wildfire that the brahmana had killed the sacred animal. But when anyone attributed the sin of that act to him, the brahmana, who professed himself to be a Vedantin, denied the charge, saying:
        "No, I have not killed the cow; it is my hand that had done it; and as god Indra is the presiding deity of the hand, it is he who has incurred the sin of killing the cow, not I."
        Indra, in his heaven, heard of this. He assumed the shape of an old brahmana, and coming to the owner of the garden, said, "Sir, whose garden is this?"
        The brahmana: "Mine."
        Indra: "It is a beautiful garden. You have got a skilful gardener; for see how neatly and artistically he has planted the trees."
        Brahmana: "Well, sir, that is all my work. The trees were planted under my personal supervision and direction."
        Indra: "Very nicely done, indeed! Who has laid out this path? It is very well-planned and neatly executed."
        Brahmana: "All that has been done by me."
        Then Indra said with folded hands, "When all these things are yours, and when you take credit for all the work done in this garden, it is not proper that poor Indra should be made responsible for killing the cow."

(Tales and Parables of Ramakrishna, no. 46, with a few minor changes)

A voice in the supermarket

Edited by: A voice in the supermarket at: 6/22/02 5:42:54 am
Gitano no divino
Registered User
(6/24/02 9:55 am)
Re: Looking reality in the face and your Re of that again
Thank you, Voice, for very apt comments and a delightful story. One of the central issues in all religions is that of agency, the relation between human and divine will. In one truly mind-bending, bhakti-saturated statement, Daya Mata says on one of her tapes that she gives all her successes to God but keeps the mistakes and bad stuff for herself. Now, it would be churlish not to see the niceness in that, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. How can we do anything that God doesn't allow to happen? If God is "almighty," then whatever happens has to be, somehow, a product of His agency. He is the creator of all the beautiful and ugly things in life. Long ago, the Hebrews borrowed from the Zoroastrians the idea that there was some evil force (Satan) in the world that was responsible for the bad things that happened. But who created Satan? (Obvious answer: the human imagination.) If God is all-powerful, couldn't he rein in Satan if he wanted to? If God allows Satan to get away with stuff, doesn't that make God virtually responsible for it? After all, if a cop stands on the sidewalk watching your house getting broken into and does nothing, isn't he also guilty of the crime? Wiser heads than mine have pondered such weighty issues and made little discernible headway. I think the solution is simple: get rid of the "God" thesis, and everything falls into place. We are the doers, and we must take responsibility for our actions. Lest this seem too egotistical, remember that we are supposedly the body temples in which the spirit of God resides. So there is no fundamental difference between what we do and what God does, because we are one with God. Well, that's one way to view it, at least. Of course, this makes God directly and inescapably responsible for the Holocaust. So, go figure.

After 9/11, many people were wondering, as people have wondered about Auschwitz, why God would allow something like this to happen. Falwell and Robertson had no doubts: God brought this about to punish us for the "sins" of liberalism, feminism, gay rights, etc. (And Turiyananda once outrageously claimed that Hitler acquired no bad karma because he was, after all, "the scourge of God"! Then again, Bro. T was a Swiss Calvinist, and the notion that the Jews needing a scourging wasn't so hard for him to embrace.) Of course, they are malicious crackpots, and we should pay them no heed. But many may reasonably wonder why PY allows the BOD to engage in their chicanery. Why doesn't he set things straight? Maybe it's all part of a divine plan we only dimly perceive. Then again, maybe we're responsible for our actions, and there is no supernatural agency involved. No being is "allowing" anything to happen or steering it in any particular direction. That's a discomfiting place to find yourself. No angel of divine mercy is perched on your shoulder, keeping you out of harm's way. Everything is up for grabs. So, I've descended into the abyss of nihilism and materialism, perhaps even atheism. I think I have a lot of company here, but not everyone is willing to face it yet.

The bottom line is this: do not send SRF any money. If you do, you are aiding and abetting the BOD. You (we), not Master or God or Santa Claus, are responsible for what happens next.

Registered User
(6/24/02 1:05 pm)
Re: Looking reality in the face and your Re of that again
The bottom line is this: do not send SRF any money. If you do, you are aiding and abetting the BOD. You (we), not Master or God or Santa Claus, are responsible for what happens next.
Well said. When you wade through the Walrus board, this is the single most important action item to take away with you.

Daya Yama
Registered User
(6/25/02 7:54 am)
Re: Looking reality in the face and - coming down again
Hi, Gitano. It's good you are honest. I want to put forward some points for your consideration here.

What is error and what is not may at times be hard to tell, awfully hard to tell.

Now, some background stuff than may be linked to topics in your latest post.


As a man, Ramakrishna felt the pangs of a child separated from its mother. Sometimes, in agony, he would rub his face against the ground and weep so bitterly that people, thinking he had lost his earthly mother, would sympathize with him in his grief. Sometimes, in moments of scepticism, he would cry:

"Are you real, Mother, or is it all fiction - mere poetry without any reality? If you exist, why don’t I see you? Is religion a mere fantasy and are you only a figment of man's imagination?"

Sometimes he would sit on the prayer carpet for two hours like an inert object. He began to behave in an abnormal manner, most of the time unconscious of the world. He almost gave up food; and sleep left him altogether

But he did not have to wait long. He has thus described his first vision of God. "I felt as if my heart were being squeezed like a wet towel. I was overpowered with a great restlessness and a fear that it might not be my lot to realize her in this life. I could not bear the separation from her any longer. Life seemed to be not worth living. Suddenly my glance fell on the sword that was kept in the Mother's temple and I determined to put an end to my life. I jumped up like a madman and seized it, when suddenly the blessed Mother revealed herself. The buildings with their different parts, the temple and anything else vanished from my sight, leaving no trace whatever, and in their stead I saw a limitless, infinite, effulgent Ocean of Bliss. As far as the eye could see, the shining billows were madly rushing at me from all sides with a terrific noise, to swallow me up. I was panting for breath. I was caught in the rush and collapsed, unconscious. What was happening in the outside world I did not know; but within me there was a steady flow of undiluted bliss, altogether new, and I felt the presence of the Divine Mother." [From Nikhilananda, translator: The Gospel of Ramakrishna (by M), Abridged edition. Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center. New York, 1974, p. 19-20.]

[The end here]

I hope you enjoyed the Master’s tale.


The tale above is in an introduction to The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, by Swami Nikhilananda (1895-1973). He became a monk of the Ramakrishna Order and was sent to America in 1931 - and in 1933 he founded the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York. He was its spiritual leader till he passed away in 1973. The swami was a fine author and translator. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna is among the many valuable works he edited and translated – one lengthy volume and an abbreviated one exist. There is more on the swami here:


Nikhil in Nikhilananda is ‘nihil’ (meaning nothing) in other languages. Nihilism is derived from it.

Merriam-Webster defines NIHILISM as

1a: viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless.

1b: a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths.

2a (1) : a doctrine or belief that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility (etc.)

There are other shades of meaning and nuances in addition to that. I allow myself to break up the nihilism entry of an online encyclopaedia:

“Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical scepticism that condemns existence.

“A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy.

“While few philosophers would claim to be nihilists, nihilism is most often associated with Friedrich Nietzsche who argued that its corrosive effects would eventually destroy all moral, religious, and metaphysical convictions and precipitate the greatest crisis in human history.

“In the 20th century, nihilistic themes--epistemological failure, value destruction, and cosmic purposelessness--have preoccupied artists, social critics, and philosophers. Mid-century, for example, the [European] existentialists [in particular] helped popularise tenets of nihilism in their attempts to blunt its destructive potential.

“By the end of the century, existential despair as a response to nihilism gave way to an attitude of indifference, often associated with antifoundationalism.”


There is more information on nihilism on that address too.

1. So THERE IS ROOM FOR MANY SORTS OF NIHILISM too. What kind are we talking about? It is often good to make that clear before we start to discuss anything.

2. According to brain research, ‘nihilism’ is one more set of associations in the brain. Just that. And there is room for billions of other association sets in it. In fact, the number of networking brain patterns is beyond firm calculations. The psychologist Tony Buzan has intimated how many brain patterns that are possible in *Make the Most of Your Mind* – it is a good book for self-help study.

The point I would like to draw attention to here is that there is room for more – more ideas and perceptions in our minds.

3. My paradox: If by nihilism we understand that everything is empty, that nothing is of value, we overlook things. (1) We hope nihilism is of value! and of greater value than the one(s) who hold it, even. That is a fallacy. (2) The brain pattern (network pattern) 'nihilism(s)' is kept in a brain. The brain is bigger and capable of more than it. (3) The “I” inside holds the notion of ‘nihilism’ too. Here we have reached Ramana Maharsi when he talks about the void (sunyata) that one may experience in deep meditation. He said.

“You must have been there during the void to be able to say that you experienced a void. To be fixed in that 'you' is the quest from start to finish. [...] It is the mind that sees objects and has experiences and that finds a void when it ceases to see and experience, but that is not 'you'. You are the constant illumination that lights up both the experience and the void. [... Illustration:] In complete darkness we do not see [...] and we say: "I see nothing." In the same way, you are there even in the void you mention.” - Ramana Maharsi [Osborne, Arthur ed: The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharsi in His Own Words. New ed. Rider. London, 1971. p. 132]

Also, according to the eminent Zen man Dr. Daizetz T. Suzuki (1870-1966), the total self-identity of "I am I" is the state of non-time and is equivalent to the emptiness of Buddhist philosophy.

That emptiness is not "nothingness, non-existence, or non-reality,” according to Eihei Dogen, founder of Soto Zen in Japan. He states, "Sunyata is not non-existence." Roshi Nishijima explains, “In Master Dogen's teaching sunyata is not the denial of real existence - it expresses the absence of anything other than real existence." [Nishijima, Gudo Wafo and Cross, Chodo, trs.: Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Book 2. Windbell Publications. London, 1996, chapter "Bussho"]


Once on a time there was nothing but a solitary sea. In that undisturbed desolation slept the God Narayana (Visnu), supreme person, lying on the bed that was the serpent Sesa. Visnu had 1,000 heads, 1,000 feet and 1,000 arms. Wearing a yellow robe, he was large-eyed, as he lay asleep.

Once during his sleep there arose in play from his navel a pure lotus, wondrous and core of the three worlds. Spreading out, bright as the morning sun, it had a heavenly fragrance.

The lord Hiranyagarbha (Brahma) approached that place where the Archer (Visnu) had been lying for a long time. Brahma said, “Tell me who you are, lying hidden here in darkness in this dreadful, desolate, solitary sea.”

Visnu spoke with a voice that was deep as the rumbling of a cloud. “I am origin and dissolution of the worlds, the supreme person. See inside me the whole world, the seven seas, and also yourself!”

Visnu went further, saying, “And who are you?” even though he knew it full well.

Brahma answered, “I am creator and ordainer, the self-existent great-grandfather. In me is everything established, I am Brahma who faces in all directions.”

Visnu, whose power is his truth, entered into the body of the four-faced Brahma by yoga. Seeing all three worlds with gods, demons, and men in the belly of the god, he was astonished. Then Visnu emerged from Brahma’s mouth and said, “Now do the same trick to me.”

Brahma did it, and roamed around inside Vishnu. He saw no end or limit. After some time Brahma found passage through the navel. Then Brahma, the one born from a golden egg, displayed himself on the lotus and shone there, resting.
[Dimmit, Cornelia and van Buitenen, J. A. B. trs: Classical Hindu Mythology. Temple University. Philadelphia, 1978, p 30-31, abbreviated]


Visnu spoke:

Long ago, when everything was lost in that one awful sea, Siva himself appeared in order to awaken Brahma and myself. Where was only this dreadful undifferentiated sea made up of darkness in the middle of which I myself, with one thousand heads, lay sleeping. Meanwhile I saw at a distance a god of boundless light, and shining like ten million suns, circled by lustre, the four-faced One whose yoga is great.

In the twinkling of an eye, glorious Brahma himself came to me and smiled as he spoke, “Who are you? Why are you here? Why are you staying here? Tell me, for I am the creator of the worlds, the self-existent great-grandfather.”

I answered, “It is I who am creator and destroyer of these worlds time and time again.”

While the argument was going on like this, a matchless linga by the illusion of the supreme god. The self of that linga was Siva displayed for awakening. It was wreathed with garlands, without beginning, middle or end.

Then the unborn Brahma said to me: “Go quickly downward; I will go upwards. Let us discover the limits of this.

Having made this agreement, the two of us went quickly upwards and downwards, but for a hundred years could find no end to it. Amazed and frightened, confused by the illusion of the lord who carries a trident, we called to mind the great sound OM (Aum) that is the transcendent syllable, and praised the matchless One.

And then the Supreme became manifest. He shone forth, brilliant as ten million suns. Sun, moon, and fire were his eyes (etc.). He stood there, making a sound like kettledrum of clouds and said:

“I am pleased. See that I am the greatest god. You two were produced from my limbs ages ago.”

Then the great one embraced Brahma and me and we felt very pleased of heart. [Dimmit, Cornelia and van Buitenen, J. A. B. trs: Classical Hindu Mythology. Temple University. Philadelphia, 1978, p. 205-6]

[The end of that abbreviated story]

Vivekananda holds that those ancient tales speak of yoga experiences, that is, experiences to be encountered in (some forms of) yoga.

Daya Yama

Edited by: Daya Yama at: 6/26/02 7:34:14 am
Gitano no divino
Registered User
(6/25/02 11:21 am)
Re: Looking reality in the face and - coming down again
Many thanks to Vulcan, Chela, and Daya for such thoughtful feedback. I am happy to see that I have not killed off this thread through my negativity, which I admit can be intense. There is a lot of beauty in Master's life and teaching, and even in SRF. I am aware of that, but focusing on those aspects right now doesn't seem to be the best path to remediation. Daya's references to Ramakrishna are especially welcome insofar as I am making my way, slowly, through Isherwood's classic biography of him and his disciples. The parallels with Yogananda's life and teaching are numerous. I must say, though, that I find in Vedanta the same elitist, monastic, world-denying mindset that one encounters in SRF. It is interesting, however, that Isherwood was not only a brilliant writer but also a raging homosexual who fluctuated between extremes of hedonism and piety. It says a great deal for Vedanta and the swamis at the Hollywood ashram that his behavior was tolerated with compassionate understanding, and that his talents and insights were welcomed. If you want to read more about Isherwood and Vedanta, Jeffrey Paine's Father India is a great book with a chapter devoted to that subject. It also has some surprising references to PY, whose autobiography was ridiculed by none other than the same Carl Jung SRF is fond of citing as a supporter of its mission. But there I go again . . .

I stayed off of the Walrus not only because of techno-inability to get back on but because I felt I had said everything I wanted to say and that my negativity wasn't really doing anybody any good (least of all myself, I suppose). But my continued reading of the posts persuaded me at one point that perhaps a little jolt would add some needed spice to the Walrus, and that there were kindred spirits who would like some support.

Of course, my references to nihilism, materialism, and atheism were meant somewhat tongue-in-cheek. I would like nothing better than to be a "devotee" again, of something other than cynicism. Maybe we're all on hold until we see where this whole SRF thing is going (though I'm inclined to think it's headed to hell in a hand basket).

Registered User
(6/26/02 9:20 am)
Re: Looking reality in the face and - coming down again
Maybe Yogananda knew the awful traits his disciples possessed and did not trust any of them enough to be the guru after he died.

A voice in the supermarket
Registered User
(6/27/02 6:50 am)
Conflicting views and plots
H'lo again, Gitano and others. So, there are conflicting outlooks about the teachings, the value of the present leaders and so on . . . Below is information I have found about the possible BAD STRESS of being a member. I have preferred to make the stuff seem general. After all, you see who or what it is directed to. Here we go:

We may lie down on a coach. Relax. Take a few deep breaths too, if we like, and don’t think of anything for a few seconds. Then we bear in mind that what is given here is just a general description of how to get to grips with some forms of stress, and with adaptation-caused stress mainly. Relaxing and trying to reach non-judging awareness is good in counseling therapy too. I have suggested a few things from it that are helpful far and wide [see Bai, Kurt: “Life and Money” Vol. 5. Oslo, 1981, p. 91.].

We may begin this stress study with an optimistic attitude - and any 'you' below is also me and anyone else it fits too, for it is meant to be general.


Think of how you yourself may gain from the knowledge that is found, and not exactly how YOU may eventually get hundreds of unpaid workers (with a devotee syndrome) to help you out by playing complementary parts to desires of grandeur – or whatever [Bai (op. cit.). p. 95, 97.]

The Russian researcher Dr. Ivan Semyonovich Khorol has defined stress in step with a definition by Dr. Hans Selye:

Biological stress is the organism’s general reaction to any demand to it - whether pleasant or unpleasant - which demands adaptation to a new situation. - Ivan Semyonovich Khorol [Bai (op. cit.). p. 99.]

Such stress can be brought about my many things and stress can be many things: “Good stress” is even called one of the spices of life as you try for good gains. But when the burdens exceed the ability to cope at any time, stress becomes detrimental to health. “Chronic stress can contribute to physical disorders, such as ulcers and heart disease, and can increase our vulnerability to infectious diseases by impairing the functioning of the body's immune system.” [Atkinson, Richard and others: Introduction to Psychology. 9th ed. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, San Diego. 1987, p. 486 (?)]

The biological stress mechanism has these four stages:

1. The alarm reaction (fright, fight, or flight).
2. Adaptation.
3. Depletion – through protracted, stressful adaptation.
4. The energy for adaptations may stop [see Bai (op. cit.). p.100.]

We often get exposed to intense stress that demands more adaptation energy than normally, and then the organism emits what Dr. Selye calls a “distress signal”, one or more “maydays” of some sorts [Bai (op. cit.). p. 102.]

(1) Even minor stress may wear on us and wear us out if it goes on for long. Protracted stress of such as mild and medium intensity may wear on the organism and also cause (or co-cause) functional disorders. (2) Intense stress may cause hypertension, stomach ulcers and diabetes and many other common ailments. Medical experts today seem to agree that over 50% (estimates may range between 50 and 70%) of the common bodily diseases are caused or co-caused by stress [Bai (op. cit.). p. 102-3, also see Atkinson, Richard and others: Introduction to Psychology. 9th ed. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, San Diego. 1987, p. 471.]


Dr. Khorol holds that there are norms of social behaviour, and some are deeply ingrained in the culture by traditions. When someone senses a discrepancy (gap, deviation) between what he is used to (habituated into) regard as normal or common or appropriate, his social adaptation mechanisms will drive or urge him to try and change the situation. That is ONE outlet. Another is introverted, guilt-ridden too, perhaps [Bai (op. cit.). p. 103.]

The difference between the ideal and what is really going on may be awfully hard on the urge to make a consistent world picture, or it may be hard on one’s sense of belonging. In Dr. Gordon Allport’s view, a truly religious attitude contains both elements: a sense of belong in a world that makes deep sense. “The religious sentiment . . . has attachments to the most elusive facets of becoming. . . To feel oneself meaningfully linked to the whole of Being”. [Allport, Gordon: Becoming: Basic Considerations for a Psychology of Personality. Yale UP, New Haven. 1955. Repr. 1966, p 93-94.

It may be dangerous to get involved in religious assertions or conflicts for many reasons. In any such conflict one may try to (1) change one’s society (in-group, or e.g. SRF), or, if that doesn’t work, (2) one abides by the present status quo and renounces on one’s ideals. It can make you feigning, which in the long run turns into neuroticism, and one may become cynical from giving up proper assertiveness, idealism, and other assets.


One has to have enough faith in and confidence in oneself. One should not renounce heartfelt norms and ideals (idealism) for the sake of conformist gains, after all [see Bai (op. cit.). p. 105.]

However, in religious settings such CONFLICT STRESS can become intense and aggravate one’s health if the gap between the ideal (teachings, etc.) and what is planted as “official”, may get too wide and bad and it is felt to be important. Then members may be in for frustrations, especially those members who are committed and also able to think thoughts of their own, observe first-hand, and are firm enough to deal with possible guilt for going against the underhand expected conformism. Different variants of stress may combine, and persons may break [Bai (op. cit.). p. 103-5]


Drs. Thomas H. Holmes and Richard H. Rahe at Washington Medical School devised a scheme of stressors. It is much used.

Death of spouse is stipulated to be the worst thing that could happen (stress-wise). It is given 100 points. Wedding is given 50 points as the middle of the scale, in comparison. It appears that about 10 of the 14 worst stressors (stress agents, stress causes) link up with having a family. There are different sorts of families. Not all are good.

To the degree that SRF is taken to be our family, and gurus are looked on as godly spouses, we can be in for trouble, even serious, stressing adaptation trouble: If you discover solid differences between what is taught (inconsistencies of teachings included), and between what is maintained in authentic teachings and what is steadily promoted through works, doings, PR and the like, you have to face a conflict better than the ostrich, which puts its head in a hole or a bush, if threatened. Some on this board have “been there” too, and not only myself.

Here is one more stressful danger, as seen in the TM movement: Most middle-class young persons who got involved in it in Western Germany not long before the two Germanys were united, got seriously mal-adapted to the mainstream society - presumably as a result of Maharishi-rooted teachings, in part at least. There is a report on it on Internet, called "German Report". It could be well worth a reading, as it may have transfer value to the society we talk about.

The more faith and intense belongingness you invested in SRF and its world, the more a discrepancy between what was accepted and incorporated in you in good faith and what is seen and felt in time, could maim and hurt. Some, who eventually break loose some way or other, MAY NOT WANT TO LIVE ON, even. I suggest their faith has been tampered with. Think of that.

And of those who choose conformity instead of standing up for themselves somewhat, are in reality ridiculed by leaders eager to have their way.


The stress scale is further used to predict the odds of getting ill or even die – in this way:

Add the stressors you have experienced during the last 12 months:
(a) With a total score of less than 150, there is “merely” 37% chance of getting ill (from that past stress) in the next 2 years.
(b) With a total score between 150 and 300 points, the chance of getting ill is 51% in the coming two years.
(c) With a total score above 300 you may have 80% change of getting ill in the next two years.
All these figures should be considered to be rough estimates only, for real life is not as clear-cut as that. [see Bai (op. cit.). p. 106-7, and Atkinson, Richard and others: Introduction to Psychology. 9th ed. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, San Diego. 1987, p. 468.]


(1) Some individuals are naturally more able to withstand stress (more stress-resistant) than average, and the points about are average stipulates only. (2) Further, learning about stress and how to cope with it, increases the odds of maintaining health and of survival as well.

These things should be done to combat the effects of insincere leaders in a family of a sort. In a fine and functional family, one of the goals is to shield member autonomy and help the children on and up to become functional on their own. That “family outlook” is often forgotten in cults, I regret to say.

To realize yourself in your work is nice. To try for that is often a boon. Now, are you jolly – from inside? It could be a hallmark of being well adapted - in the mainstream or not in the mainstream [see Bai (op. cit.). p. 93, 95.]

A voice in the supermarket

Edited by: A voice in the supermarket at: 6/28/02 7:08:22 am
Gitano no divino
Registered User
(6/27/02 12:43 pm)
Re: Conflicting views and plots
Well, Voice, I think what you have here is relevant. Certainly the testimony of ex-monastics makes it clear that the ashram is a very stressful environment, especially when one sees what is really going on and has to decide whether to speak up or go along (or get out, the path many have chosen in recent months).

Username floats the intriguing possibility that PY had insufficient faith in his devotees to allow his mantle of guruship to fall on any of their shoulders. Of course, Rajarsi would probably have been guru material, but he didn't stick around long enough and would have been reluctant to do that anyway. We'll never know what PY really thought about DM because her propaganda machine has worked hard to create the impression she was his heir apparent and that the Rajarsi episode was a mere interregnum.

Another possibility is hinted at in previous postings by srflongago to the effect that PY was touchy on the subject of who was the leader of SRF. He guarded his position as leader and didn't let anyone even give the impression they might be a competitor. After all, he got burned by some of the Indians he was associated with. It was also remarked that male disciples had a hard time in the ashram because he was very domineering. It is conspicuous that during his life, his leading male disciples were all independent professional men who had money to donate, conferred respectability on his enterprise, and lived at some remove from MC and would thus not be the source of any power struggle. It seems likely to me that not only did PY not see any of his disciples as potential successors, but he wanted to remain, in perpetuity, the final guru. He did not want any competition, even after he was gone. (It should be obvious by now that "teachings" cannot function effectively as a guru, because they cannot adjust and modify themselves in response to changing social and cultural conditions, as a guru could. Hence the stifling ossification and cloying quaintness one sees in the lessons, which give the appearance of having been run off a mimeograph machine ca. 1955.) Many years ago I dismissed with contempt a friend's suggestion that PY was an egomaniac. Now, I'm not so sure.

I am most interested in chela2020's remarks, because they suggest she/he was in the ashram a long time and knew Master. I also sense a certain hesitancy on her/his part, though, and won't press for more details. I do appreciate the support remarks, though, chela2020, whoever you may be. I think you have MUCH MORE to contribute than you're currently letting on. I hope at some point you will share your wealth with us.

Registered User
(6/28/02 8:31 am)
Dear Chela2020,
You raise an interesting point regarding the dead/alive guru question. Actually, it isn't unusual in Sufism for people to recieve initiation or higher awareness through the intermediation of a dead sheik. In fact, there are certain tombs of departed sufi leaders that are very active pilgrimage sites for exactly this reason.
I wrestled with this idea about whether PY can be my guru since he died 7 years before I was born. My thinking today (and it will probably be different tomorrow) is that the important thing that gets passed from guru to disciple is the technique AND the empowerment to use it. I was initiated by someone who was either initiated by PY, or was herself initiated by PY (my initiation was conducted by Sr.s Savitri and Parvati. I can never remember which put the tilak on me. It was the younger of the two). So I got the initiation by an unbroken channel. I have taken the argument that far and dropped it. I'm not sure how much more is relevant (that's the part I may have changed my mind about later today, or tomorrow, or next week, depending on my mood, barometric pressure, spleem, how many red lights I hit on my way to work...).
One thing I haven't changed my mind about though is the phenomenon of shaktipat, the ability of a guru to arouse the kundalini power in a disciple and grant him the vision of samahdi. I thnk this is possible, but is ultimately not useful. The point of this is to arrive at realization of the divine, and I strongly feel this is something we have to do ourselves. So a guru granting the vision is an encouragement, but if disciples then proceed to sit around the guru waiting for him to stir up the kundalini for them then they are no different from rats who endlessly push a lever to receive doses of cocaine! And the guru becomes nothing more than a pusher. I have come to be a little distrustful of the notion that the endgame of the path to enlightenmnet is bliss. In other words, I am not sure if enlightenment and bliss are identical (at least in the way we usually think of bliss, as feeling really, really good).

Matador Board
Registered User
(6/28/02 11:13 am)
A little Freud could do some good
According to Sigmund Freud, the id, the ego, and the superego interact.

The ID is often primitive. It has to do with eating, drinking, eliminating wastes, and gaining sexual pleasure – the gratification of such impulses.

The EGO learns to consider demands of reality. It finds fit environmental conditions, and it becomes an "executive" of the sexual urges in time, if one lives long enough. The ego often mediates among the demands of the id, the realities of the world, and the demands of the superego.

The SUPEREGO, is the internalized representation of morals of society as taught by strong others. The superego develops in response to parental rewards and punishments through incorporating rigid, or parental standards into itself somehow.


Violation of the superego's standards, or even the impulse to do so, may produce anxiety. If parental standards are overly rigid, the individual may be guilt-ridden and inhibit all aggressive or sexual impulses. But then, on the other hand, a self-indulgent person can be considered to have a weak superego.

At times the three components of personality are in opposition, at times the superego battles with both the id and the ego because behavior often falls short of the moral code it adheres to at bottom. In the normal person, the three instances often work together to produce integrated behavior.

In SRF, a church, a monastery, or community, there may be rigorous demands on the person due to what is allowed and not allowed and so on. If there are such demands, the superego becomes a battleground, and feigning takes place too easily.

The matador

Edited by: Matador Board at: 6/28/02 11:16:16 am
Gitano no divino
Registered User
(6/28/02 1:57 pm)
Bingo: SRF = Yogananda
This board has become the repository of some deep insights, valuable lessons, and eye-opening revelations. But with all due respect to all those who have contributed here, may I say that chela2020 has just given us the most moving, persuasive, and compelling post of all I have read. Chela is one of the very few contributors to come face to face with what I think is the central reality of our predicament: we got caught up in a cult, and that cult and its founder ARE ONE AND THE SAME. Thank you, thank you, thank you for stating it so perfectly. We have all now acquired a new mantra that should serve as a perfect shield. It would be good to rehearse this over and over in our minds when reflecting on the sorry state of affairs on the hill: SRF and Yogananda are one and the same, SRF and Yogananda are one and the same, SRF and Yogananda are one and the same, SRF and Yogananda are one and the same ...

Like Chela, I derive no real satisfaction from this. Our idol had clay feet (surprise, surprise), and he was no divinely perfected being or perfect role model for us. It's always sad when one's hero bites the dust. The anger/abuse issue bothered me for years. I didn't know what to do with my misgivings. Listening to that tape of PY every year at the Xmas meditation gave me the willies. I mean, he gets SO ANGRY. He lambastes those who are "too lazy" to seek God with such fury and rage in his voice. Of course, we all rationalized it as the righteous anger of a Jesus driving out the money changers. But we should now know better. He was also an avid practical joker, but anyone who has been the victim of a practical joke knows that the message conveyed is not very humorous. There is more than a little hostility and aggression in practical jokes, like enticing Faye to look out a window and then pouring water on her, or giving devotees spaghetti in a darkened room as part of a "new initiation" and telling them it's worms. Or wrapping a towel around Henry's head and saying, "Look at the pasha." Or all the other stories we've heard. Of course, wasn't his guru also abusive in a way, by withholding encouragement and affection? Maybe this is the oriental method and we just don't understand it in the West. But abuse is abuse, and it's no surprise that the psychological environment on the hill is abusive and depressive. That's how the oldtimers were trained by him, and by God if it was good enough then it's good enough now! "When will Divine Mother send the ones who can take it?" DM asked. Take what, sadomasochistic abuse? That's sick! And it started with PY, not with DM. She is both victimizer and victim. She has my pity as well as scorn.

But I submit that the denial is so deep, the defensive mechanisms so imbedded in SRF psyches that even chela's testimony will not open many eyes, not even on this board.

Or course, chela2020, I will be more than happy to post any passages from those books you like, and I'll look forward to communicating privately with you soon by email. Thanks again. Like you, I'll know I'm finally free of this when I stop visiting the board. But I haven't worked through it all yet, and this is still proving very helpful. Your post is, as I expected it would be, a breath of fresh air.

Registered User
(6/28/02 3:37 pm)
Re: Bingo: SRF = Yogananda
I remember a story where daya mata went to the world's fair in Chicago with Yogananda. Yogananda made her stand outside by herself while he and others enjoyed the fair. (This was all day). This is nothing less than really really mean. But daya mata tells the story thinking that Yogananda was teaching her something. Really - it sounds like she was unable to see the truth about Yogananda.

Registered User
(6/29/02 7:19 am)
Wow...I went away for a few days and come back to an incredible discussion. Thanks all of you for your insights! Through my own journey I'm coming gradually to the same conclusions, regarding Yoganada's humanness and that connection to how the organization is today...dont have much more to add.

But I submit that the denial is so deep, the defensive mechanisms so imbedded in SRF psyches that even chela's testimony will not open many eyes, not even on this board.

Gitano, you are so right!! People are very afraid to deviate from their "beliefs" and don't know how to trust their own intuition. Of course the teachings in SRF don't help much with this, making subtle remarks about all the negative things that will happen if you leave the path, kriya, the guru etc. I know that I personally am trying to learn how to trust only my own experience and leave my "beliefs" behind, but this is a very scary thing for a lot of people to do. This board and communications with others who have uncovered facts that I was unaware of, have helped me move on, that's for certain...and I'm very grateful...

X Insider
Registered User
(6/30/02 9:34 pm)
Re: To Gitano
Seems you had a special affinity for Chela2020. Maybe you can determine why he/she has deleted the posts that were created such an interesting exchange between the two of you.

Gitano no divino
Registered User
(7/1/02 9:32 am)
Yes, I must say I feel a keen sense of disappointment when I see that chela2020 has deleted previous contributions. No need for that. But I believe I understand the hesitancy. Years ago at Hollywood, cars were being broken into in the lot across the street. At a business meeting, the idea was put forward to warn the parishioners about the danger. But the kibosh was quickly put on that suggestion because it would spread "negativity." Denial and negativity go hand in hand in SRF, followed closely by guilt. The casualty is truth. Isn't it also negative when your car gets broken into because no one warned you? I protested to that effect at the meeting, but the person presiding over the meeting would have none of it, and my objections (and those of others who spoke up) were ignored. This is the SRF way, and it's hard for us to get past it. But get past it we must. We have nothing to fear. The truth is, the only people who visit this board are already a bit shaky. If we can push them over the edge, then that's fine. Those who are soundly asleep dreaming SRF dreams won't be disturbed by anything we write here--at least not until the cumulative effect of all this truth-venting begins to be felt. So, lay on, chela2020. Keep those posts coming, and please don't delete them later on.

X Insider
Registered User
(7/1/02 12:00 pm)
The Catholics call it scruples, do they not?
Yes, it is sad. I have seen it over and over again. A person begins to wake up, to question, to speak up. And then a little while later, the person calls you aside again to let you know that they didn't really mean the things they said the other day. A verbose explanation follows, the length of which is probably commensurate with the intensity of the ongoing inner conflict.

And what a perfect set up to keep everyone in line. Teach them to feel guilt about possibly driving someone away from the "sacred path." A family member used to point this insanity out to me but I could not hear it until I was ready. Until I was ready to let the dream go and begin to really live.


Registered User
(7/1/02 3:10 pm)
True, true, and true.

The sad irony is that SRF makes things worse in its pathetic attempt to "protect the teachings." The bizarre culture they have created drives away far more people than the tiny number that might be put off by hearing the truth.

Not only does the emperor have no clothes, there is in fact no emperor. There is no man behind the curtain.

Daya Yama
Registered User
(7/2/02 5:59 am)
IDEAL PUPILS and Sri Yukteswar
It is said that the mathematician Archimedes ran naked into the streets one day, joyfully crying "Eureka!" It means “I’ve found (it) out!” He had solved a problem.

There is a way to become better at finding out things than guessing and acting at random. It is called heuristics.

DEFINITION: Heuristic is a method for solving problems in which one employs principles (rules of thumb) that usually lead to a solution. [Schunk 1996, 240, 443]


If you are stuck with teachings that you and others are MUCH AFRAID TO STUDY in depth and understand, heuristics may not help, for example due to the dependency involved. Then your first need could be to reduce and hopefully overcome fear and anxiety and the like. If you have done that, you may come back and get proficient in heuristics. It is much used in scientific study. What is more, it may help some to get a better life by living up to its stepwise methods, if the outer conditions are not all too bad. Much depends on them.


Let us say you want to get to grips with a few Sri Yukteswar tenets. First, gauge your circumstances and try to assess, for example, "That SRF guru is rigorously hailed as “incarnated wisdom”, that means he is expected to be revered as an authority in “good guy” SRF circles." They are the outwardly devoted, loyal members of the fellowship.

In line with that you may realize that what you have to face, is not just a problem of assessing the VALIDITY OF TENETS by Sri Yukteswar. An even better problem is that of his totem figure status in the SRF family, and how it may be linked to your sense of belonging, your sense of security in a stabilized universe, and so on.

Sri Yukteswar has been presented as a big authority on god-given wisdom. Some evidently “buy” (accept) it wholesale without inspecting anything, perhaps without understanding all he is into and seems to cover either. That could be quite a problem for common lay members and monastics, since parts of what he expressed is far from true and apt. You will see.


What we have to do together is to judge (evaluate) the essence of his tenets one by one and come up with some pertinent conclusions without gloating in the least. Our findings should be very well-founded under the circumstances - for in heuristic work there are dangers of not understanding full well, of going amiss, and much else. One has to take such things into account, and this is helped by being careful.

"Roam the world as a lion of self-control; don't let the frogs of weakness kick you around."

COMMENT: Authoritative norms can be (1) normative or regulative on the one hand, and (2) assessing ones on the other.

Here we deal with a value norm, and the citation has been used to influence member conduct. He seems to be imposing SELF-CONTROL. But what sorts of self-control are asked for, and when, in what circumstances, and how far is his counsel supposed to go (be valid) for anyone of us? That could be a problem.

The animals involved are to “suggest you” into identifing with the lion and not the frog. What could be wrong with that? (1) You are neither of them, but a human, presumably. (2) Using animals to “pep up” the message brings nothing to the VALIDITY of any unspecified norm. (3) The LOGIC of the councel is not water-tight, as it could involve this understanding too: “Being kicked around by your boss and enemies into dumb servility, have self-control not to retaliate (go for non-violence, remember).” Then, if you get killed in this trek like very many Christian martyrs who learnt to turn the other cheek, you may not roam the world on your two feet any longer, but on angel wings. That could be a serious problem.

TENET 2       
"Look fear in the face and it will cease to trouble you."

COMMENT: You have to ask: Is it true (too?). How can you “make sure before you believe it?”, like Jesus allowed one day after the resurrection? There is a way, and it is not perfect, but it often helps: Use statistics. It may not be easy to carry out, but the road is somewhat mapped.

Also, I think psychologists and medical doctors would teach you differently than Sri Yukteswar on the point, and for obviously good reasons: Sometimes fearfulness is disease-rooted and a disease-symptom, for example. Thus, beware of dangerously free-wheeling counsel.

Besides, fear can be substantially FIT in some circumstances, and merely “facing it” – whatever that may be understood as – may in fact make conditions worse to some, even unbearable. It could have helped if Sri Yuktewar has been explicit, but we are not given that sort of nuanced counsel here.

Don’t think automatically that I am just guessing and Sri Yukteswar’s counsel is only beautiful before you have learnt to considered by yourself. It is a challenge in some settings, but it often helps to have learnt to inspect. It can be done, and there are levels of proficiency in it too.

"Remember that finding God will mean the funeral of all sorrows."

COMMENT: That is not the witness of gurus that fall ill, grieve much, or of martyrs in the steps of Jesus. They became persecuted because they had been given God, put right right with God through vicarious sacrifice, it is said – by Jesus.

At this point you find the words of TWO authorities that should be dear in SRF, seemingly set up against one another. They may not both be right in the matter if they are seen as contradicting each other a whole lot. You should see that and next live up to it - by debunking what is not first-class counsel, or not even second-class counsel. Infirm ones may not be able to do that, however.

I further suggest, “If you believe Sri Yukteswar over Jesus in this case, it is because you have deep urges, wishes, desires, to stick to him and his disciple, Yogananda, and his “family”." Isn’t that so?


Sri Yukteswar wanted men of science to learn kriya, and he was much for scientific methods as a way of coping in general. Yogananda too.

If you now want to learn basic steps of investigation, below is not a little. First you have an IDEAL, and next you have the PUPIL(S) to serve you. Combine both acronyms to get IDEAL PUPILS, and try to learn what the letters serve as memory pegs for. Acronyms can make the steps much easier to learn and remember. It is up to you; the steps may serve us on an allround basis.


Bransford and Stein (1984) formulated a heuristic know as IDEAL:

I – Identify the problem.
D – Define and represent the problem.
E - Explore possible strategies.
A – Act on the strategies [when you are up to it, when conditions follow suit, etc.]
L – Look back and evaluate the effects of those activities. [see Schunk 1996, 240.]


George Pólya’s list of mental operations involved in problem solving:

P – Polya’s list of operations in problem solving:
U – 1. Understand the problem.
P – 2-. Devise a Plan.
I – 3. Implement the plan, i.e., carry it out.
L – 4. Look back.
(S) – 5. Solve things markedly better after listening and getting feedback [This item is added by me, but is in line with general study]. [see Schunk 1996, 240.]

IF OTHERS have done similar things to what you need to do, and in fields that have transfer-value to yours, study their works and learn from them, for conducting research can be very time- and energy-consuming, and unless you’re paid it may be much costy too. So it is wise to learn to learn from others, including interesting mistakes of others.
Have “practical” aims too. [see Schunk 1996, 240.]
        The instructional advantage of heuristics lies in helping students become systematic problem solvers. [Schunk 1996, 240.]
        A heuristic may be more systematic than our present problem-solving approaches, and can lead to better solutions. [Schunk 1996, 240.]

HEURISTICS should help somewhat when facing unfamiliar content, but heuristics is in part built on getting experience in watching other people solving problems as well. And there is flexibility in how steps are carried out. [see Schunk 1996, 240.]

HEURISTICS has been shown to help if you aim at general features in your study, too. [see Schunk 1996, 240.]

Now you can go ahead and master more of it, as you like.


Dale Schunk: Learning Theories. 2nd edition. Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 1996.

Daya Yama

Edited by: Daya Yama at: 7/2/02 6:22:54 am
Gitano no divino
Registered User
(7/2/02 10:39 am)
Re: IDEAL PUPILS and Sri Yukteswar
Daya Yama observes, "It could have helped if Sri Yukteswar had been explicit, but we are not given that sort of nuanced counsel here."

This post is certainly a very nuanced analysis, but I am struck by how little of this sort of thinking goes on in SRF. I am not Jewish, but in Judaism there is an ancient tradition of scriptural analysis and discussion. Also in Hinduism. SRF (not unlike the Catholic church, through the Doctrine of Infallibility) has painted itself into a corner. The teachings cannot be critiqued, updated, revised, or corrected in any way, because that would undermine their credibility. But unless they are revisited, they will go the way of the horse and buggy.

The myth promulgated by the SRF elites (and of course PY himself) is that the teachings have a divine origin and constitute immutable Truth. Since PY was a god-man, everything he wrote has to be true, or apparently none of it would be true. SRF fundamentalism is just as inflexible as other varieties of fundamentalism. Even if the need for revision were acknowledged, who would undertake it? A committee of some sort? Well, there's that naked emperor again. Who would follow teachings that were the product of a committee? So much for divine inspiration. The SRF teachings would descend to the level of Papal Bulls and resolutions of the Missouri Synod. The oldsters could perhaps pull it off, since many devotees still labor under the delusion that the BOD is enlightened. But they are the least inclined of all to make any changes, so that's that for that idea.

This is a real pickle. Twenty years ago, when I was working in publications, there was talk of new lessons (the word "new" was not approved, because of course they wouldn't really be new. The euphemism was "reorganized," or something like that). But merely reorganizing the lessons won't help. There are substantial issues that have to be addressed and real changes made. Truly NEW lessons are what are needed, but SRF is absolutely not up to the job. As I said before, teachings can't be the guru, because teachings can't adapt, and hence they die. Someone recently wrote that only 3% of those who sign up for the lessons finish them. I'm surprised it's that high (I certainly finished mine, but I can scarcely read them anymore).

Registered User
(7/2/02 6:57 pm)
Yogananda as Avatar
Why was it so important for SRF to sanitize and deify Yogananda, turning him into an avatar, instead of letting us see him as he perhaps was, warts and all?

Was this something that he started while still alive, and they out of a twisted sense of loyalty (instead of loyalty and devotion to Truth?) have felt bound to adhere to all these years? Or in order to create a new religion, did they find they needed to have a God-man as the founder?

It seems the root cause of all the dishonesty found in the organization, and now they've dug themselves into such a deep hole that there is no way out.

SRFWalrus Editors Note: Yogananda was a divine being but then man (i.e. woman) took over the organization and killed it. Yogananda left behind what he wanted to leave behind, the teachings. His REAL message/words will be discovered and survive the organization, which will soon dry up and blow away.

Edited by: srfwalrus at: 7/4/02 6:08:41 am
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