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Posted by: anonforthisexmorm ( )
Date: August 24, 2015 08:47PM

One of my dear friends is deep into SRF...I've been to a few events and an ashram of theirs now.

I'm not thinking of 'joining,' but I would like to go every once in a while. Just curious what their dark history is...every organized (and disorganized) religion has one!

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: August 24, 2015 08:54PM

It very likely depends on which one you're talking about.
There's one here in northern San Diego county...I photographed the wedding of the guy who runs it, there at the site, and I got very little "cult" vibe. It seemed a very open place. I personally didn't go for any of the stuff they "preach," but if it works for you, great.

I have, though, heard very cult-like stories about some others (particularly one in Santa Barbara, which has had legal troubles being sued by the families of some participants, after the "initiates" turned over large sums of money). So keep your eyes open, don't get sucked in, and if you feel at all uncomfortable, leave.

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Posted by: lanfanmu ( )
Date: August 25, 2015 11:13AM

Everyone should read Autobiography of a Yogi. Good stuff.

I spent a couple of weeks at one point at their compound up in Norcal. It was great, up at 4:00 am or something every morning, real meditation (cannot be overvalued, no matter the tradition), great vegetarian meals, no distractions, wonderful huge grounds where one could wander, reflect quietly, and find a bit of peace.

I had one mind-blowing meditation-borne spiritual experience there that was 1,000x the one, yes one, time I think maybe I got some warm fuzzies when praying about the book of Mormon. Story for a different post.

Of course the multiple assorted follow-on gurus after the original founder couldn't help but do their duty to assist assorted young attractive female followers in seeking true "self realization" somewhere down south of the guru's navel and beneath his holy monastic robes. (Angel with a flaming sword?) So not much different there.

As always, it's worth exactly what you can get out of it--and woe betide you if you get sucked in too far and decide that this is your only path to enlightenment (one true church!), that the guru is the one true guru on the face of the earth (Praise to the Man!), or that the fellowship needs all your money and property, which they likewise will be happy to take off of you. (Law of Consecration! Kirtland Bank! Tithing for salvation!)

After the founder croaked there was endless bickering over who the proper successor guru was (Strangite! Bickertonite! Rigdonite!) and legal wrangling over who owned assorted profitable copyrights (good thing the Lard made sure those evil Canadians weren't smart enough to buy the BoM copyright).

Sigh. There's not really too much new under the sun.

At least there was no hard sell, to me anyway, while I was staying at their cult compound. Pretty mellow bunch that I was fairly fond of.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/25/2015 01:38PM by lanfanmu.

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Posted by: hello nli ( )
Date: December 16, 2015 04:39PM

Technically, the group in Norcal is not SRF, it is Ananda. A schism, not part of the SRF corp.. An SRF group in India is called Yogoda Satsang. There are other groups that claim to follow SRF and Yogoda, with authorized gurus of the Yogananda lineage. And there are others which are independent startups, as well as kriya yoga groups and gurus who follow Yogananda's gurus and lineage, such as Master Lahiri Mahasaya, etc..

The core practice of kriya yoga is much more important than any differences in teaching or gurus. If the satguru is authorized to initiate a person into the core Kriya practices as found in the general lineage teachings of Master Lahiri, and has the spiritual power to guide the individual practitioners in doing kriyas, then the practices will be the thing that evolves and advances the soul practices and progress. Kriya yoga is a guru-disciple lineage and practice, and if the satguru has the spiritual gifts to empower and guide the practitioner in real time, always, then the practice will bear fruit.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: August 25, 2015 01:22PM

I grew up "with" ("parallel to") the SRF, because they and "we" (Vedanta) were close to each other (maybe two or three miles away from each other)...and together the two of us, back then, were the only Hindu "presence" in Southern California I was aware of (which is most definitely NOT true now!!!; Southern California has MANY different Hindu temples and temple communities now, all over the place)...SRF had a GREAT (!!!!!!) vegetarian restaurant that I still miss enormously(!!!)...and their vowed religious were not celibate and ours were (which meant, in practical terms, that our vowed religious could not officiate at weddings, so people in our group frequently used their group to officiate at marriages).

We were "cousins"---similar beliefs about religious matters, but our lifestyles were, in some ways, significantly different from each other, but we could all get together for an easy and happy family reunion if those circumstances arose.

My feelings, from knowing both groups over most of my life, is that Vedanta people were just not "cult" people by personality, and SOME of the SRF people were.

"Cult" people would have been VERY uncomfortable in Vedanta, because we were totally independent in every way UNLESS a person [in Vedanta] decided to go into a vowed religious track. (As John Yale and some other people I have known discovered, the religious track can be significantly different. I also knew, for a number of years, a woman who had been a preliminary vowed religious person ("nun") at the Montecito Vedanta temple for several years, and she told me many things I had not previously known about vowed religious Vedanta as a dedicated profession).

I think that, to some people, SRF does become a cult TO THOSE INDIVIDUALS, and I also think (from observation, and knowing some of the people) that SRF has the potential for creating mini-cults within the larger organization, with mini-cult leaders who are not, necessarily, vowed religious or people training in that direction (or are officially SRF in ANY way other than their base-level, general membership). I am talking about total laypersons who have an inclination to be cult leaders, and within the larger SRF community, create mini-cults around themselves (maybe three to five or six people max).

If this ever began to happen at Vedanta, it would be shut down immediately...but I don't think the people who would be attracted to cult-like living restrictions would be attracted to Vedanta in the first place.

SRF has incredible and beautiful shrines and other physical facilities...they have superbly wonderful vegetarian food (and may they PLEASE start a chain of SRF veg restaurants to follow the now-closed Hollywood restaurant which I still miss!!!)...they are, for many people, a real spiritual "home"...AND they officiate at marriages, which has been a great service to their Vedanta "cousins."

In other words: good group overall...good vibes much of the time...beautiful locations...great food...be cautious of the "micro cults" which sometimes form within, of two-to-six (maybe) people under a ("micro-cult") "leader"....and also watch out for here-and-there gurus who have been known to do the cult guru thing re: sex with followers.



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 11/13/2015 09:49AM by tevai.

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Posted by: praydude ( )
Date: August 25, 2015 01:58PM

I grew up in Encinitas next to the SRF and Swami's Beach. It seemed to have this weird glow about the place.

My 2 cents - It's a cult that sells bullshit to people who think they need it. Like all religions, there is no substance to the fairy tales they spin. Their true purpose is to separate you from your money.

I heard a quote from someone on this board that I will repeat -

Q: What is the difference between a cult and a religion?

A: In a cult there is one person at the top who knows its all bullshit - in a religion that person is dead.

So...if there is a "guru" at the top who claims to know everything...then it's a cult.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: August 25, 2015 02:24PM

SRF was founded in 1920, and Paramahansa Yogananda (the founder) died in Los Angeles in 1952. (He was born in 1893 in India.)

I have no idea of the internal governing structure of SRF as it exists today (or ever, actually).

But they do truly have GREAT vegetarian food!!!

:) :) :)

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Posted by: Scott ( )
Date: November 13, 2015 04:37AM

Yes, there's been numerous physical, sexual, and psychological abuses inside Self-Realization Fellowship, Monastics, devotees and lay followers.

I was an ordained monk for 14 years in the Self-Realization Fellowship Monastic Order. I left the Order and am no longer a follower/believer. For a critical examination of SRF and meditation read SkepticMeditations.com, that explores the hidden side of SRF, yoga and meditation.

The SRF indoctrinates followers through trance (meditation), suggestibility (chanting and affirmations), and depersonalization (dangerous adverse effects) around a guru (Yogananda and SRF Line of Gurus) and doctrine (SRF Teachings) of Kriya Yoga meditation, their way of moral/spiritual perfection.

Here's three resources that critically examine SRF and yoga meditation it teaches:
Five Warning Signs of Dangerous Meditation Groups
http://skepticmeditations.com/2015/11/08/five-warning-signs-of-dangerous-meditation-groups/

Cult Education Institute: Self-Realization Fellowship
http://culteducation.com/group/1143-self-realization-fellowship.html

A Brewing Cult?
http://oaks.nvg.org/guru-cult.html

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Posted by: catnip ( )
Date: January 26, 2016 01:58AM

I learned it from Jon Kabat-Zinn's books and DVDs. No groups.

I had tried many, many techniques to reach a meditative state over a period of years. Finally, lying totally relaxed in the comfort of my own bed, listening to Jon's soft, reassuring voice, I found it.

How do you know that you're there? Well, the best answer I've run into for that is like, "How do you know when you've reached an orgasm?" You just KNOW. There's nothing else like it.

If I can discipline myself to 20 - 40 minutes at a time, maybe three times a week, I can significantly lower my blood pressure and thus need less medication. It lowers my heart rate also, and I can take less medication for that.

Like regular exercise, meditation isn't easy. It demands regular practice and very precise focus and concentration. But in my experience, it has been SO worth it.

I would rather read the thriller-du-jour and just drift off to sleep. It's so much easier. But doing meditation - especially if you have been upset by something - stills everything but your mind - and your mind gets an incredibly sharp focus. I've had some marvelous problem-solutions drift into my consciousness while meditating, things I couldn't come up with any other way.

I can't sit (thanks to arthritis) in some of the positions they recommend. But just lying still on my comfortable bed, regulating and focusing on my breathing - I can get there.

It's SO worth the journey!

BTW, both of my father's parents went to several lectures by the original Yogananda in Los Angeles. I remember seeing his book on my Grandma's bookshelf. But at the same time, she was raised in Germany as a devout Lutheran, and worshipped with us as Presbyterians. She always maintained that the very greatest truths did not contradict each other.

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Posted by: antilehinephi ( )
Date: November 13, 2015 09:39AM

I agree with pray dude My supervisor at work just spent major money on Impact training. She told me that she wasn't allowed to share certain elements of the training (like LDS temple). There was also part of the training that you had to reveal very personal parts of your life. ( poor boundary issues like LDS Inc). Impact training is a LGAT - large group awareness training.
Like SRF I would suggest buyer beware. Some JW's came to my door the other day. At the top of all of these religious/ self awareness groups including LDS, there are people making money off of the scams.

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Posted by: kathleen ( )
Date: November 13, 2015 10:42AM

I have Yogananda's book, Whispers from Eternity, which I consider a treasure. However, In recent editions, his "poems(?)" have all been tweaked by someone and aren't worth reading. If you buy that book, buy the 1940-something edition.

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Posted by: Hedning ( )
Date: November 13, 2015 01:34PM

A very good friend of mine also worked for them in India. He considered them more of a business than a religious cult. I don't see any major cult issues in my friends that participate with them. I do know they have some questionable members and history as do many institutions. They are monastic order and could be considered as much a cult as Catholic monastic order.

Interestingly the founders girl friend, later became the leader of the group. She was actually a mormon girl, a Wright, from Salt lake City
who found a different path and was called Daya Mata.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daya_Mata

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Posted by: Scott ( )
Date: December 16, 2015 02:03AM

Quoting: "I do know they [SRF] have some questionable members and history as do many institutions. They are monastic order and could be considered as much a cult as Catholic monastic order."

1) Cult is a loaded term and labeling groups as cults tendsto shut down important conversation about the actual abuses and what we can do to warn others to avoid dangerous ideologies.

2) Your comparison of SRF as no worse than the Catholic church or monastery is telling. Have not Catholic clergy raped numerous church members and sexually abused children? Comparing SRF to Catholic Orders hardly makes SRF less suspect as fringe or dangerous.

What's important is not the term we label the group, eg. cult, but to recognize the psychological controls and abuses that the authority that these groups have over their followers (and the public).

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Posted by: g0rgone ( )
Date: December 16, 2015 10:40AM

There is a documentary about this very kind of thing available now on Netflix that I found absolutely fascinating.

Kumare: The true story of a false prophet

Its about an Indian college student from NJ who turns himself into a "guru" and conducts a very scary cult experiment in AZ.

Every single one of us should watch it.

http://www.kumaremovie.com/

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Posted by: hello nli ( )
Date: December 16, 2015 10:01PM

there's also a positive spin bio docu about Yogananda and SRF called "Awake: The Life of Yogananda". Showing in random places and theaters, and available on dvd. Pretty well done, tho positive, as I say.

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Posted by: reptile91602 ( )
Date: January 25, 2016 07:38AM

After nearly 30 years of being active with SRF, working for them on and off their payroll and staying at one of their men's monk training camps, Hidden Valley for over a year, I can tell you that SRF is definitely a cult. It is not as dangerous as some for they don't require all of your money, though they would like it. They don't require you to kill yourself, though some of things they do make you feel like you might die. They believe that having sex is unhealthy and this can really screw up your mind if you enjoy sex.

They are, however just as dangerous as any cult as they want you to believe that you have just one and only one guru for eternity to give you salvation, Yogananda. He and only he can introduce you to god. On your own you just can't do it.

Even if you leave the organization one day you will have to come back with your tail between your legs asking forgiveness to get back into the fold and then swear everlasting obedience to the guru. He is the "only "one that can get you into heaven. After writing this I will have to grow a long tail to get back in. Yes if you do something real bad you may reincarnate as an animal in the next life or end up as a baby in some gutter somewhere. Karma.

And like a king, you had better never say anything bad about the guru. If you leave the organization or just act like you have any doubts or want to investigate anything further outside the organization you will be shunned by 99% of the "good" devotees or members.

Truthfully meditation is quite a helpful method for calming oneself. I could never really do kriya, the god introducing technique, as it was just way to uncomfortable but I always tried to help the organization through my work there and financially. I worked for them on their payroll for over 20 years. They paid $8/hour in those days with no medical or benefits no matter what skill level or degree of danger. Kind of like a cult!

I do feel like it was all for nothing now. There is not one member that I was friends with for some 20 years that wants to even talk with me.

Why, because they are afraid of the guru and what might happen should they think that just maybe they are following something that isn't quite what it says it is. And to talk with an outsider could unravel all of their beliefs so fast they would be sent to kind of a living hell until Yogananda lets them out.

One little story, though I have 100's. My wife, now of some 25 years, and I went to see a monk who had lived with Yogananda shortly after we met. I was very excited to introduce her to him. He was revered by the members as one of the holiest monks.

As we ended our conversation he leaned over to me and told me make sure I only marry an SRF woman. This was after we had already talked to him about her deep beliefs in Buddha and how lucky I was to find her. I guess that wasn't good enough for him. After 25 years I can say that I have never met a more spiritual or giving woman and I know because I married one SRF member and dated several others. Terrible experiences!

One more story. I was in distress after seperating from my first wife. I had already left her but was still emotional and needed someone kind to hear me out so I talked with the highest rankng of all the monks back in the 70's. After talking he told me I should really go back to her and make it work though I had already decided I would not do that. He said that she was an SRF member and Yogananda was speaking through him.

Well I chose after that not to go back and even today her 2 children want little to do with her phoney way of life. Yes she is still a member but she smiles as she cursed you out.

Which leads to one last thought. The behavior of the monks and the members is primarily false smiles. I know after living and talking closely with several of the monks and observing this for over 25 years.So many of their leaders are constantly trying to play guru. They tell others to do things that make no sense. If you try and correct them you are a trouble maker. The members even get into the act and stick their noses into everything they have no business with. The poisons of an organization. But this one is supposed to be a "Spiritual One" and it is all but that if you get behind the scenes. You can get even more information on line from an author who experienced more of this first hand in a book by Geoffrey D. Falk--Stripping the Gurus.

This is something you can obsever for yourselves if you join up. I am sure it is in every phoney organization that is about false information and control. This again is the foundation of any cult.

Even their past leader Daya Mata has said, keep close to the middle of the wheel of the organization as you don't want to be thrown off (like the ones in the parks that go round and round.)

This organization is no better than any other cult that has come along including, what I believe is the Christian church or any other church that believes in a heaven and hell after you die or that they are the "ONLY" way.

So choose wisely or you may waste your whole life or the better part of it like I did. Start believing in yourself and quit thinking someone else is going to get you out of your mess. Well , if your lucky your parents might help you out.

It's a hard thing to do to believe in yourself when life sucks. But latching on to these crazy cults and religions is just fooling yourself and isolating yourself from intelligent people that might be able to really help you. I have no good answer. I am luckier than most and survived life up till now. Many scars but many successes. I think that is all you really have to look back at at the end. Maybe a bleak answer to all your problems but the truth hurts or you can go and hang out with a group of phoneys. It's really up to you.

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Posted by: hello nli ( )
Date: January 25, 2016 06:20PM

I respect your journey, reptile, and understand and agree with much of what you say about SRF.

But I do find it odd that you would be so involved in SRF for so long, and not practice kriya yoga. Kriya yoga, as in SRF, is all about the practices. If you don't practice, then you will be involved in the organization merely as a religion, which is no different than any other religion, and will fall short of transforming the seeker on the soul planes.

I practice kriya yoga twice daily, and do a number of kriya yoga teks. I have gained real benefits from ShivShakti kriya. I have been empowered to enter the breathless samadhi, and to travel in spirit to commune with divinity. Like the surfers say, ya gotta go to know.

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Posted by: Greylin ( )
Date: September 13, 2017 03:07PM

hello nli Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I respect your journey, reptile, and understand
> and agree with much of what you say about SRF.
>
> But I do find it odd that you would be so involved
> in SRF for so long, and not practice kriya yoga.
> Kriya yoga, as in SRF, is all about the practices.
> If you don't practice, then you will be involved
> in the organization merely as a religion, which is
> no different than any other religion, and will
> fall short of transforming the seeker on the soul
> planes.
>
> I practice kriya yoga twice daily, and do a number
> of kriya yoga teks. I have gained real benefits
> from ShivShakti kriya. I have been empowered to
> enter the breathless samadhi, and to travel in
> spirit to commune with divinity. Like the surfers
> say, ya gotta go to know.


You don't know how many people in SRF have practiced kriya and then came over to the Vedanta Society asking for help. As the Vedanta gurus say, it can fry your nervous system and also cause lung problems. Lucky you that you are okay. And by the way, they asked members of one of the temples for a show of hands by those who practiced kriya. Few raised their hands. I raised mine but I quit kriya after a year and left SRF. I feel lucky that I didn't have any major problems with it.

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Posted by: Adesh Prasad ( )
Date: September 28, 2016 04:47AM

So… I was googling ‘Self Realization Fellowship’ to find out the time of an evening service at the Phoenix Temple and I was surprised to see ‘Self Realization Fellowship cult’ was one of Google’s search options – so here I am seeing what the fuss is… as usual, though wealth of the information on the internet is amazing, the extravagant amount of muck of "opinions" needed to wade through to get to the genuine stuff is disappointing.

So hello reptile…

First, let me apologize for my straight-forwardness/rudeness.
I have little tolerance for people who lie.

Second, I am going to have to agree with ‘hello nli’ – you spent “nearly 30 years ‘actively’” in SRF and you didn’t do any Kriya? And based on the complete rubbish you wrote, you obviously did not understand anything the organization teaches, not even the basic points of life. Did you read any of the lessons, did you bother to ever to listen to any of the services, or everything went in one ear and out the other? There's no need to respond. Thanks.

Let's clarify some of your exaggerations/lies (did you not even figure out in your "30 years" that it is bad karma to lie?)

“I can tell you that SRF is definitely a cult” >> umm. Thank you for your opinion, but… No. Steve Hassan, cult expert, wrote an excellent book “Combating Cult Mind Control” and he has a website “freedom of mind” - it gives a very clear definition of cult. Read the definition for yourself, and clearly SRF does not fall under it. A cult, such as The Moonies cult or the Dahn Yoga cult, are two clean-cut examples, in which, the leader attempts to control the member’s mind and life (using methods of sleep deprivation, inadequate nutrition, emotional abuse) in order to extrapolate something from the victim (money, sex, service, ect.). Steve Hassan, a former member of the Moonies Cult, describes cult life as an “emotional roller coaster.” The cult leader also trains his members to “worship” him.

In SRF, our gurus’ teachings are the exact opposite. Our gurus do not ask or want our worship, rather they want us to practice what they teach so that we can attain our own perfection. There is no “emotional roller coaster” in SRF, quite the contrary, the teachings guide us to attain full control of our emotions and one of the goals is pure peace and calmness.

“…for they don't require all of your money, though they would like it” >> umm. No. SRF has never asked me for money, nor have I seen them ever pressure anyone else (they do have fund raising events/promotions occasionally – like to give “scholarships” to allow kids to go to camp). I have never felt obligated/pressured to donate. In SRF, the Yoganada and the other gurus repeat many times that to attain a truly happy life, one must live simple/non-materialistic, as well as, giving highest priority to spiritual development, and not to spending all our time making money, as money does not lead to happiness. They do not promote materialism or money generation at all.

I do donate happily… guess what? The little that I give always seems to come back into my pocket in multiples (via large raises from my employers, or business success, scholarships, ect.) I am 34 years old, and in another 1-2 years, I will be financially independent, able to “retire” if I wanted to – and I owe nearly all of how I got to this point based on the SRF teachings. Did you know Elvis Presley was a member of SRF? He wanted to give up his singing career and become a monk. But never mind about that interesting tidbit, the point I want to make is when Elvis passed, his secretary made a comment about SRF – he said, the thing that impressed him the most about SRF was they never asked [Elvis] for money.

"They believe that having sex is unhealthy and this can really screw up your mind if you enjoy sex." >> Well, the “screw up your mind” part, if true at all, would actually be self-inflicted, i.e. you and you alone are responsible for your own thoughts/habits/weaknesses/addictions. The minds of everyone else in the organization definitely do not appear to be “screwed up”.

Actually, what SRF recommends for married couples is moderation and mutual agreement between couples if they wish to go sexless. The yogis also teach that as true love increases, there is less and less desire for sex, and unlike most the religions, SRF actually has very specific advice on how to increase love in marriage (in contrast to most Western marriages, which usually start out with a lot of “love”, which quickly dwindles over a few months/years, and then sinks into at-best contentment, and often times, misery and/or divorce).

In other religions, sex is considered sinful/impure/unclean/indecent. And yet they do not explain why or how they arrived at this foolish conclusion.

According to Yogananda’s guru, sex is Nature’s way for propagation of species, and therefore, cannot be unclean as Nature is completely pure and clean. “Thus blinded, mankind presumes to clothe Nature in a veil because she seems to them impure, forgetting that she is always clean and that everything impure and improper lies in man’s ideas, and not in Nature herself.”

This, of course, does not mean one should have sex indiscriminately. The yogis warn that sex is indeed weakening, speeds aging, and invites disease. I won’t go in to the scientific details of how, but the fact that sex is weakening is actually obvious and can easily be proven to oneself (although many people do not wish to believe it, just like you, reptile91602, are loathe to believe it) - why do you think one feels so tired after sex/masturbation? The amount of physical expenditure is very minimal compared an activity such as running a mile, yet, somehow man/woman feels very tired after orgasm… isn’t that strange for so little physical expenditure? By all means, experiment for yourself if you do not believe and prove it to yourself, keeping in mind not to overdo it now that you have a warning that sex is indeed not healthy/speeds aging.

Further, according to the yogis, it is nearly impossible to advance spiritually if you are constantly wasting the sex energy. The yogis give us a very clear and scientific explanation on why, and how breath, life energy, mind, sex energy are interrelated (I won’t go into details). And because the explanation is scientific and concrete, we can determine for ourselves if it’s true or false. That is the beauty of yoga and SRF – there is no blind believing or mindless dogma like many other religions – with SRF, they teach us if “you do X and combine it with Y and abstain from doing Z then you will expect to experience such-and-such event/phenomena” and then it is up to you to try and prove it to yourself. Beautiful.

Not only this, they teach us how to control the sex force so we are not slaves. Sex is the 2nd strongest instinct. Various religions will shun sex, but they have no idea how to teach their followers how to control the sex force. Yet, here in SRF, the yogis teach us very simple techniques to conquer such an instinct! And yes, they work.

You mentioned “you like sex.” Well, I guess that kind of hints why you never really got anywhere in your “30 years.” Very sad.

“though some of things they do make you feel like you might die” >> really. And what would that be? I have yet to experience these “things.” I sure hope you don’t mean abstaining from sex or eating meat, because if you did abstain from these two things, you actually will live a lot longer. The drug addict thinks he is going to die when he is going through withdrawal, but the clear minded man knows that withdrawal is the first step to improvement and a chance for increased longevity.

“you to believe that you have just one and only one guru for eternity to give you salvation, Yogananda” >> umm. No. There are 6 self-realized gurus on the SRF altar, including Christ. And there are more self-realized saints in the world other than Yogandada (albeit, a self-realized person is extremely rare). No one ever said Yogananda is the one and only guru. Unlike other religions, SRF (which is not a “religion”) does not say “So-and-so is the one and only true savior of humanity.”

Further, SRF teaches us to become self-realized, which means it is quite possible when we reach that point, we also might become gurus to others looking for truth. So, you clearly missed some pretty significant points if you somehow reached the conclusion that Yoganada is the sole savior to lead you to “heaven.” Each person will eventually find his or her own guru when they are ready. In no shape or form does SRF state any of the rubbish you mentioned, nor is there any pressure to choose to live as SRF/Yoganada recommends.

“Even if you leave the organization one day you will have to come back with your tail between your legs asking forgiveness to get back into the fold and then swear everlasting obedience to the guru” >> umm. What???? Maybe you imagine you are someone very important? SRF does not keep tabs on your attendance or anyone else’s attendance. They do not check whether you’ve been mediating or following their techniques or attending Sunday service. That’s your personal business. SRF cannot give you self-realization, you have to make up your mind if you want to attain it for yourself. Your dedication and promise to the guru is between you and him alone. Come on man…

I’m too disgusted to read and dissect the rest of your post. Apologies for my rudeness, but you are a liar along with others on this forum.

Best of luck with your life Reptile, sounds like you really need it.

For everyone else, believe it or not, there are some truly genuine spiritual saints and organizations out there. Yes, they are rare, but they do exist. SRF is not the only one. Everyone has his own guru when they are ready. Maybe some are ready now and maybe it happens to be Yogananda, maybe for others it’s another saint currently living, and for others maybe its Jesus and they are somehow able to understand what Jesus’ message was (most religions have failed completely to understand and adequately translate majority of his message, hence much of the questionable interpretations, literal translations, and many branches currently seen today), and for others, maybe they are not ready yet. Not a big deal.

Why are super heroes so attractive to people? Why are so many people attracted to Star Wars? Why did everyone like The Matrix so much? The stories are good, Matrix was great, but there are many great stories out there, so there has to be another reason for the extreme popularity...? I can tell you why I was/am – because Neo/Jedi knights hint at some intuitive truth that man truly can be so much greater than the current weakling human beings that we are now. And that thought is inspiring! There is very little difference between a fictional Jedi knight and a genuine advanced yogi. And I count myself fortunate that I have found a Jedi/yogi master who I can train under. Make no mistake, the training is not easy. But the rewards are priceless.

Two final points to consider:
If all this is a hoax, and there is no soul and there is no God and maybe after death, there is nothing, then have I wasted my time? The answer is no, because what I am doing makes me the most happy and peaceful. I have tried to lived “normally” like most other people – life like that is terrible – its stressful, problems are never ending, what and exactly am I working so hard for? A luxury car? A bigger house? Maybe my excuse will be I’m doing it for my kids (who don't exist yet)? Something was missing… Then I go back to the yogi lifestyle and everything begins to jive again, life is harmonious, maybe problems occasionally crop up, but they’re dealt with calmly and unattached, I wake up, exercise, meditate, and I feel good, people are attracted and happy to be around me, I live to help others and others feel good. Life is good...

…but, point two… if indeed the final goal is truly what the yogis say, (and I have yet to discover a single falsehood they have said), then friends, there is no loftier goal to pursue than the pursuit of supreme bliss. Not only is life good, but there’s a chance it’s going to turn completely and utterly ecstatic…

Good luck too all who read this message.

Adesh Prasad, BS Nursing, BS Civil Engineering, MS Structural Engineering, registered nurse, licensed professional engineer, vegetarian/mostly vegan, drives old civic-hybrid, traveled/lived all over the world, yogi, samurai, runner, currently designing/building my own off-the-grid green home, planning to adopt; once I “retire” in a few years, planning to dedicate much of my efforts/income to improving society and charitable endeavors (because I’m greedy for happiness and giving and helping others is what makes me happy, you see…)

P.S. – Those “credentials” are so you have an idea how I think/live/act. I actually do not like talking about myself. And I am far from perfect and am sure I have many, many years/lifetimes until I “self-realize”. Good luck :)

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Greylin ( )
Date: September 13, 2017 03:21PM

Adesh Prasad Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So… I was googling ‘Self Realization
> Fellowship’ to find out the time of an evening
> service at the Phoenix Temple and I was surprised
> to see ‘Self Realization Fellowship cult’ was
> one of Google’s search options – so here I am
> seeing what the fuss is… as usual, though wealth
> of the information on the internet is amazing, the
> extravagant amount of muck of "opinions" needed to
> wade through to get to the genuine stuff is
> disappointing.
>
> So hello reptile…
>
> First, let me apologize for my
> straight-forwardness/rudeness.
> I have little tolerance for people who lie.
>
> Second, I am going to have to agree with ‘hello
> nli’ – you spent “nearly 30 years
> ‘actively’” in SRF and you didn’t do any
> Kriya? And based on the complete rubbish you
> wrote, you obviously did not understand anything
> the organization teaches, not even the basic
> points of life. Did you read any of the lessons,
> did you bother to ever to listen to any of the
> services, or everything went in one ear and out
> the other? There's no need to respond. Thanks.
>
> Let's clarify some of your exaggerations/lies (did
> you not even figure out in your "30 years" that it
> is bad karma to lie?)
>
> “I can tell you that SRF is definitely a cult”
> >> umm. Thank you for your opinion, but… No.
> Steve Hassan, cult expert, wrote an excellent book
> “Combating Cult Mind Control” and he has a
> website “freedom of mind” - it gives a very
> clear definition of cult. Read the definition for
> yourself, and clearly SRF does not fall under it.
> A cult, such as The Moonies cult or the Dahn Yoga
> cult, are two clean-cut examples, in which, the
> leader attempts to control the member’s mind and
> life (using methods of sleep deprivation,
> inadequate nutrition, emotional abuse) in order to
> extrapolate something from the victim (money, sex,
> service, ect.). Steve Hassan, a former member of
> the Moonies Cult, describes cult life as an
> “emotional roller coaster.” The cult leader
> also trains his members to “worship” him.
>
> In SRF, our gurus’ teachings are the exact
> opposite. Our gurus do not ask or want our
> worship, rather they want us to practice what they
> teach so that we can attain our own perfection.
> There is no “emotional roller coaster” in SRF,
> quite the contrary, the teachings guide us to
> attain full control of our emotions and one of the
> goals is pure peace and calmness.
>
> “…for they don't require all of your money,
> though they would like it” >> umm. No. SRF has
> never asked me for money, nor have I seen them
> ever pressure anyone else (they do have fund
> raising events/promotions occasionally – like to
> give “scholarships” to allow kids to go to
> camp). I have never felt obligated/pressured to
> donate. In SRF, the Yoganada and the other gurus
> repeat many times that to attain a truly happy
> life, one must live simple/non-materialistic, as
> well as, giving highest priority to spiritual
> development, and not to spending all our time
> making money, as money does not lead to happiness.
> They do not promote materialism or money
> generation at all.
>
> I do donate happily… guess what? The little that
> I give always seems to come back into my pocket in
> multiples (via large raises from my employers, or
> business success, scholarships, ect.) I am 34
> years old, and in another 1-2 years, I will be
> financially independent, able to “retire” if I
> wanted to – and I owe nearly all of how I got to
> this point based on the SRF teachings. Did you
> know Elvis Presley was a member of SRF? He wanted
> to give up his singing career and become a monk.
> But never mind about that interesting tidbit, the
> point I want to make is when Elvis passed, his
> secretary made a comment about SRF – he said,
> the thing that impressed him the most about SRF
> was they never asked for money.
>
> "They believe that having sex is unhealthy and
> this can really screw up your mind if you enjoy
> sex." >> Well, the “screw up your mind” part,
> if true at all, would actually be self-inflicted,
> i.e. you and you alone are responsible for your
> own thoughts/habits/weaknesses/addictions. The
> minds of everyone else in the organization
> definitely do not appear to be “screwed up”.
>
> Actually, what SRF recommends for married couples
> is moderation and mutual agreement between couples
> if they wish to go sexless. The yogis also teach
> that as true love increases, there is less and
> less desire for sex, and unlike most the
> religions, SRF actually has very specific advice
> on how to increase love in marriage (in contrast
> to most Western marriages, which usually start out
> with a lot of “love”, which quickly dwindles
> over a few months/years, and then sinks into
> at-best contentment, and often times, misery
> and/or divorce).
>
> In other religions, sex is considered
> sinful/impure/unclean/indecent. And yet they do
> not explain why or how they arrived at this
> foolish conclusion.
>
> According to Yogananda’s guru, sex is Nature’s
> way for propagation of species, and therefore,
> cannot be unclean as Nature is completely pure and
> clean. “Thus blinded, mankind presumes to clothe
> Nature in a veil because she seems to them impure,
> forgetting that she is always clean and that
> everything impure and improper lies in man’s
> ideas, and not in Nature herself.”
>
> This, of course, does not mean one should have sex
> indiscriminately. The yogis warn that sex is
> indeed weakening, speeds aging, and invites
> disease. I won’t go in to the scientific details
> of how, but the fact that sex is weakening is
> actually obvious and can easily be proven to
> oneself (although many people do not wish to
> believe it, just like you, reptile91602, are
> loathe to believe it) - why do you think one
> feels so tired after sex/masturbation? The amount
> of physical expenditure is very minimal compared
> an activity such as running a mile, yet, somehow
> man/woman feels very tired after orgasm… isn’t
> that strange for so little physical expenditure?
> By all means, experiment for yourself if you do
> not believe and prove it to yourself, keeping in
> mind not to overdo it now that you have a warning
> that sex is indeed not healthy/speeds aging.
>
> Further, according to the yogis, it is nearly
> impossible to advance spiritually if you are
> constantly wasting the sex energy. The yogis give
> us a very clear and scientific explanation on why,
> and how breath, life energy, mind, sex energy are
> interrelated (I won’t go into details). And
> because the explanation is scientific and
> concrete, we can determine for ourselves if it’s
> true or false. That is the beauty of yoga and SRF
> – there is no blind believing or mindless dogma
> like many other religions – with SRF, they teach
> us if “you do X and combine it with Y and
> abstain from doing Z then you will expect to
> experience such-and-such event/phenomena” and
> then it is up to you to try and prove it to
> yourself. Beautiful.
>
> Not only this, they teach us how to control the
> sex force so we are not slaves. Sex is the 2nd
> strongest instinct. Various religions will shun
> sex, but they have no idea how to teach their
> followers how to control the sex force. Yet, here
> in SRF, the yogis teach us very simple techniques
> to conquer such an instinct! And yes, they work.
>
> You mentioned “you like sex.” Well, I guess
> that kind of hints why you never really got
> anywhere in your “30 years.” Very sad.
>
> “though some of things they do make you feel
> like you might die” >> really. And what would
> that be? I have yet to experience these
> “things.” I sure hope you don’t mean
> abstaining from sex or eating meat, because if you
> did abstain from these two things, you actually
> will live a lot longer. The drug addict thinks he
> is going to die when he is going through
> withdrawal, but the clear minded man knows that
> withdrawal is the first step to improvement and a
> chance for increased longevity.
>
> “you to believe that you have just one and only
> one guru for eternity to give you salvation,
> Yogananda” >> umm. No. There are 6 self-realized
> gurus on the SRF altar, including Christ. And
> there are more self-realized saints in the world
> other than Yogandada (albeit, a self-realized
> person is extremely rare). No one ever said
> Yogananda is the one and only guru. Unlike other
> religions, SRF (which is not a “religion”)
> does not say “So-and-so is the one and only true
> savior of humanity.”
>
> Further, SRF teaches us to become self-realized,
> which means it is quite possible when we reach
> that point, we also might become gurus to others
> looking for truth. So, you clearly missed some
> pretty significant points if you somehow reached
> the conclusion that Yoganada is the sole savior to
> lead you to “heaven.” Each person will
> eventually find his or her own guru when they are
> ready. In no shape or form does SRF state any of
> the rubbish you mentioned, nor is there any
> pressure to choose to live as SRF/Yoganada
> recommends.
>
> “Even if you leave the organization one day you
> will have to come back with your tail between your
> legs asking forgiveness to get back into the fold
> and then swear everlasting obedience to the
> guru” >> umm. What???? Maybe you imagine you are
> someone very important? SRF does not keep tabs on
> your attendance or anyone else’s attendance.
> They do not check whether you’ve been mediating
> or following their techniques or attending Sunday
> service. That’s your personal business. SRF
> cannot give you self-realization, you have to make
> up your mind if you want to attain it for
> yourself. Your dedication and promise to the guru
> is between you and him alone. Come on man…
>
> I’m too disgusted to read and dissect the rest
> of your post. Apologies for my rudeness, but you
> are a liar along with others on this forum.
>
> Best of luck with your life Reptile, sounds like
> you really need it.
>
> For everyone else, believe it or not, there are
> some truly genuine spiritual saints and
> organizations out there. Yes, they are rare, but
> they do exist. SRF is not the only one. Everyone
> has his own guru when they are ready. Maybe some
> are ready now and maybe it happens to be
> Yogananda, maybe for others it’s another saint
> currently living, and for others maybe its Jesus
> and they are somehow able to understand what
> Jesus’ message was (most religions have failed
> completely to understand and adequately translate
> majority of his message, hence much of the
> questionable interpretations, literal
> translations, and many branches currently seen
> today), and for others, maybe they are not ready
> yet. Not a big deal.
>
> Why are super heroes so attractive to people? Why
> are so many people attracted to Star Wars? Why did
> everyone like The Matrix so much? The stories are
> good, Matrix was great, but there are many great
> stories out there, so there has to be another
> reason for the extreme popularity...? I can tell
> you why I was/am – because Neo/Jedi knights hint
> at some intuitive truth that man truly can be so
> much greater than the current weakling human
> beings that we are now. And that thought is
> inspiring! There is very little difference between
> a fictional Jedi knight and a genuine advanced
> yogi. And I count myself fortunate that I have
> found a Jedi/yogi master who I can train under.
> Make no mistake, the training is not easy. But the
> rewards are priceless.
>
> Two final points to consider:
> If all this is a hoax, and there is no soul and
> there is no God and maybe after death, there is
> nothing, then have I wasted my time? The answer is
> no, because what I am doing makes me the most
> happy and peaceful. I have tried to lived
> “normally” like most other people – life
> like that is terrible – its stressful, problems
> are never ending, what and exactly am I working so
> hard for? A luxury car? A bigger house? Maybe my
> excuse will be I’m doing it for my kids (who
> don't exist yet)? Something was missing… Then I
> go back to the yogi lifestyle and everything
> begins to jive again, life is harmonious, maybe
> problems occasionally crop up, but they’re dealt
> with calmly and unattached, I wake up, exercise,
> meditate, and I feel good, people are attracted
> and happy to be around me, I live to help others
> and others feel good. Life is good...
>
> …but, point two… if indeed the final goal is
> truly what the yogis say, (and I have yet to
> discover a single falsehood they have said), then
> friends, there is no loftier goal to pursue than
> the pursuit of supreme bliss. Not only is life
> good, but there’s a chance it’s going to turn
> completely and utterly ecstatic…
>
> Good luck too all who read this message.
>
> Adesh Prasad, BS Nursing, BS Civil Engineering, MS
> Structural Engineering, registered nurse, licensed
> professional engineer, vegetarian/mostly vegan,
> drives old civic-hybrid, traveled/lived all over
> the world, yogi, samurai, runner, currently
> designing/building my own off-the-grid green home,
> planning to adopt; once I “retire” in a few
> years, planning to dedicate much of my
> efforts/income to improving society and charitable
> endeavors (because I’m greedy for happiness and
> giving and helping others is what makes me happy,
> you see…)
>
> P.S. – Those “credentials” are so you have
> an idea how I think/live/act. I actually do not
> like talking about myself. And I am far from
> perfect and am sure I have many, many
> years/lifetimes until I “self-realize”. Good
> luck :)


Wow! SRF propaganda. You say that it is okay to have sex, but then you bash sex all the way.

Yogananda has said that if you leave him or SRF you will be lost for many lifetimes before returning to God (guru). Reptile is correct in things he says.

I wonder if you are really an SRF member or someone at Mt. Washington, its headquarters. Most Hindus in America do not join SRF. They basically go to Vedanta or other Hindu groups that have no guru.

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Posted by: Agnes Broomhead ( )
Date: January 25, 2016 07:48AM

The name sounds oxymoronic if for a cult, when you think about it.

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Posted by: brefots ( )
Date: January 25, 2016 11:31PM

Sounds exactly like a cult to my ears. If I were to go on the name "Self-Realization-Fellowship" practically screams out "Run - it's a cult!" to me in big red letters.

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Posted by: laperla not logged in ( )
Date: January 25, 2016 10:59PM

Have been to both Vedanta and SRF services. SRF (Encinitas) put on a hard sell, Vedanta (Montecito) very mellow and happy.

I too loved Autobiography of a Yogi.

sort of off topic:

Isn't this a great obituary? (Vedanta):

http://www.independent.com/news/2016/jan/14/hilda-shanta-ma-densmore-1915-2015/

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Posted by: siobhan ( )
Date: January 25, 2016 11:52PM

Does this outfit also have an ashram in upstate new york? I knew a violinist who ended up in new orleans after being (she claimed) some important assistant or other to some head guru at this ashram. She was one of the worst users of people I've ever ever known even to the point of whiting out the copyright notice on my own (and hers briefly) teachers handouts and teaching materials and claiming them as her own. She insisted she had done no wrong and was entitled to do so. God that sounds mormon. I had forgotten about her until this thread.

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Posted by: Urug annod ( )
Date: February 17, 2016 08:56PM

Hi Everyone (Seekers): I can tell you from experience that SRF is not a cult. You must go thru the teachings to learn, like every other religion. I was very involved at one point of my journey. I grew up in a strict Roman Catholic environment. We must learn different things in life, for no life should be lived unexamined.
Meditation is very excellent for your well-being. Today medical conventions are seeing the benefits of meditation. The people involved in SRF are no different than anyone other seeker. It helped me tremendously, back when.

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Posted by: hellohellohello34 ( )
Date: May 24, 2016 01:05AM

From personal experience as well, it isn't a cult. They teach you how to live a balanced life. I've heard during many services, that Yogananda has said that there is no one correct path to God. The power is very much in people's hands. Up to them if they want to leave, up to them if they want to stay. No brainwashing, no gimmicks, just lessons on how to live a healthy, God-centered life. The meditation techniques too have really helped changed me for the better.

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Posted by: BabyBoomer ( )
Date: December 23, 2016 11:43PM

After well over 30 years in SRF outside of California, I can say that in my experience, SRF is not a cult. Like other religions, it has problems with very egotistical members and monastics. Like some others posting here, I'm a previous devout Catholic. I was looking for a more personal relationship with God that did not depend on the intermediary of a priest. I learned TM and I found that it did work, but that organization was a money-making fraud. I tried out versus protestant religions, but I was seeking something more. I was wanting a "how to" manual to find God.

After TM and other paths, my radar was definitely working when I got involved in SRF. I was beware of demands of beliefs without reason, for control over my decisions and activities, and regular access to my bank accounts!! In my many years of involvement in SRF, no-one has ever tried to coerce me into anything. In fact, I tested them out for a year by never putting a dime into the collection basket. I found the techniques worked very well for me. My love for God and my understanding grew much deeper. I unknowingly took little booklets on various topics from the chapel for over a year before finding out that I was supposed to be paying for the booklets. No one said a word, and they were just as nice when I confessed about my error as they were before I told them! In my little group there was little to no gossip about others that I was aware of. We talked about problems and solutions in quarterly meetings, and people were and are just supposed to focus on God. Of course the bills have to be paid too, but the SRF organization always told us to rent a small place or meet in someone's home rather than being stressed about a mortgage.

As the group has grown over the years from a small meditation group to busy Center (with a mortgage), the problems that we were warned about have materialized. But these personal and financial problems are quite small in comparison to any other organization of which I have been a part.

Not one person ever told me to cough up cash! In fact, once when I received a small windfall I sent the organization in Los Angels a few thousand dollars. Instead of just cashing the check and sending me a thank you note, they called and asked if my donation had been a mistake, and to make sure that nothing was amiss with me or my bookkeeping! They were worried about me!! When I gave the local group some much needed funds, they also called to make sure that I meant to do that, and then asked me how I wanted the money to be applied.

I found out for myself that the meditation techniques work very well for me, though I doubt that they are for everyone. They require more self-discipline than I often practice. I go through phases where I practice the lifestyle more than at other times.

For monastics, I hear the road is much more intense, as one would expect. Like priests and nuns, they are required to leave the confines of the family home and devote their lives to God and service. They are not paid hardly anything. They must be physically fit. If they screw up in a major way, they are booted out of the monastery. I know one person who left voluntarily after becoming a minister and falling in love with a lay-member. They ended the relationship and he went back as a non-minister. Since he left from the relatively high position of a minister, it created bad blood in the monastery when he came back. Soon he was asked to leave the monastic life. It seemed harsh, but years later, that person confessed to me that his attitude stunk after he returned and he was demoted. He was not following orders without griping, and he just didn't belong in the monastery anymore.

The two things that I'm not ok about is that those who are asked to leave the monastery leave with nothing, and the editing of the "Autobiography of a Yogi." Regarding being booted out with no money, that has to be terrifying. When I complained about this to the Headquarters, I was told that it is because the organization is in the growth phase and they operate on a shoestring budget. They treat their retired monastics well and support them medically and personally. But I'd like to see them give their monastics who decide to leave or who are asked to leave a small amount of money based on their years of service. Another concern of mine is the editing of Yoganandya's signature work, the "Autobiography of a Yogi." The organization should have quit editing the work after the last edition prior to Yoganandya's death. They should have put any supplementary information in subsequent printings as editor's notes at the end. The previous editions are available online and they contain the same spirit, but I find that they do not have his charismatic sense of humor.

Some naive people think that the monastics are somehow more spiritually advanced than other "devotees." That is not true. I have run into saintly monastics and saintly devotees, egotistical monastics and egotistical devotees. Unfortunately, if a new person encounters a negative or controlling person early on, it will taint their perception of the whole organization. It is a worldwide organization that is still in it's infancy.

When I compare it to the Catholic religion, I have to remember that SRF is less than a century old. SRF is very much in the building and developmental stage. It is rare that a religious leader comes and writes down all of their teachings. They usually just tell close-by disciples that then preach the teachings and perhaps others write the teachings down after the prophet has died. SRF is focused on getting out as much of Paramahansa Yogananda's speeches and dictations that were transcribed as possible while his close devotees are still alive. Only they can properly edit the talks to maintain the proper meaning and context. They have also released old wire-recordings of his that were made while he was alive. Of course they need no editing, but they needed a lot of cleaning up. Yogananda was a very much in demand public speaker in his day, but he was also a prolific writer who dictated hours into the night. He had a dedicated editor who I think has also died. So SRF is very much in it's infancy as world religions go. I think every religion in its youth gets confused as a cult. But most things considered, I think SRF is on the right track.

The bottom line is that the techniques work very well with increasing devotion and practice, and it is no more a cult than the Catholic church. It is made of imperfect people trying to become more aware of (or "realize") the perfect God dwelling within themselves. Like other religions, many people have astounding "realizations" early on that "hook" them into the religion. Then comes the hard work of changing your life and struggling to deepen your self-awareness, self-discipline and devotion to God. But if in doubt, do what Paramahansa Yogananda said to do... try the techniques for yourself and see if they work. If they work, stick with it and find out more, if they don't, move on.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: December 23, 2016 11:46PM

there is something wrong with you.
you do not self-realize enough.

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Posted by: BabyBoomer ( )
Date: December 24, 2016 02:33AM

@Athiest, Just because you have not had the experiences or insight of others does not mean those insights do not exist. If people in one part of a city can see a helicopter, and others in a different area do not, that does not mean that those who saw the helicopter are wrong or crazy. It just means that some people saw it and others did not. In my experience, atheists reject the idea of God for a few reasons:

1) They have been mistreated by supposedly religious people that
used their positions of authority to abuse others, like
Catholic kids being abused by pedophile priests, or abusive
parents.

2) They lead immoral lives that they enjoy and they do not wish
to believe in a moral code because they would have to change.

3) They are too lazy to examine their own spirituality, or they
found nothing when they put in a little effort.

It is easy to sit back and throw barbs at others with whom you disagree. But you may have a better life than you can now know if you look for the truths beyond your doubts and suspicions. That is the promise of the science of meditation combined with devotion. I experimented with my own life and consciousness through devotion and several meditation methods over the years. I found without a doubt in my mind that God is real and that no-one is spiritually any better than another (at least initially). Everyone is a soul but we have a body. This idea of the soul has been scientifically supported by the numerous accounts of unconscious people and others with stopped hearts on operating tables and auto accident sites that have accurately described occurrences in their environment (OBE-out of body experiences) while they were supposedly dead. Some experiences could be the result of oxygen deprivation, but other verified experiences outside the operating rooms and away from the accident sites don't have easy explanations. Perhaps if you look into it, you will learn something amazing and find something that will make you happier.

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Posted by: Ohdeargoodness nli ( )
Date: December 24, 2016 02:59AM

This has to be one of the weirdest threads I've ever read on here.

Nice to know people can fight, disagree and be miserable about other random bs too!

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Posted by: scottskepticmed ( )
Date: December 29, 2016 12:18AM

@BabyBoomer: Your proselytizing and preaching for SRF, Yogananda-Gurus, and god-belief is a huge turn off at this forum. There's plenty of other forums for SRF devotees/disciples, those people who accept willingly and obediently on the authority of so-called spiritual masters. There's so many preachers/teachers to choose from and all claiming to have the highest pathway to truth, god, morality and immortality. How's one to decide whom to be a disciple-follower of? Smarter to be an adisciple, non-follower of gurus, and to chart one's own path in this life.

Readers on this forum are interested in adult discussions, questioning the extraordinary claims of religious authorities, so as not to be abused or suckered.

Name calling (as you do in your three points to "Dave the Atheist" seem to be) is not helpful nor constructive, unless putting down others makes the name caller feel superior to others.

BTW: I'm happy for you if you get something from your years of yoga meditation and SRF. I myself practiced the SRF techniques, for decades, and they didn't work as promised in the SRF Lessons or through guru vows and initiations. I dedicated decades of my life to Lessons and meditations practices and lived in SRF monastic order for 14 years and ultimately realized I'd wasted my life. The time I spent wishing they were true, and not cutting my loses earlier meant I'd missed opportunities to build a healthier intellectual and moral life, grow a family and professional career. I had to start my life over after leaving SRF and don't think I can ever back fill the hole of lost opportunities I allowed it to drain from my precious limited time on this earth. Any closed system or "cult-like" ideology, whether religious, political, or moral is potentially harmful, if not outright dangerous to oneself and our planet.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/29/2016 02:42PM by scottskepticmed.

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Posted by: shapeshifter ( )
Date: September 13, 2017 07:59PM

YES!

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: December 29, 2016 07:35AM

Calling atheists "immoral" and "lazy" is nothing short of name-calling, and detracts from your larger message above. Religions teach morality, but they do not have a corner on morality. Likewise, religions sometimes teach and promulgate immoral things.

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Posted by: cinda ( )
Date: September 13, 2017 03:12PM

summer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Calling atheists "immoral" and "lazy" is nothing
> short of name-calling, and detracts from your
> larger message above. Religions teach morality,
> but they do not have a corner on morality.
> Likewise, religions sometimes teach and promulgate
> immoral things.

My sentiments, precisely :)

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Posted by: cinda ( )
Date: September 13, 2017 03:19PM

@spiritist:

Yes, our bodies do sometimes 'heal' themselves, depending upon the particular ailment. There are, however, many conditions that no amount of meditation, healthy living, etc. can alleviate, much less 'cure'.

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: December 24, 2016 02:47AM

there's a guy who lives in/near SL who does a Great job of this in short segments (week-ends).


no cult involved, but great re-consideration of your life's priorities AND regarding how U come across to others. those thoughts can be helpful IMO.

Anyone interested can contact me for his name; initials are G.A. for anyone who knows.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/24/2016 02:49AM by GNPE.

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Posted by: Doug ( )
Date: September 11, 2017 02:53PM

Thank you, Adesh! I am so happy you took the time to write everything that you did. I think you summarized things nicely in your last few paragraphs where you state both possibilities as a realist, regardless of your personal beliefs. If we are wrong have we wasted life? Absolutely not. If our beliefs have helped us try to gain peace of mind and spirit and helped us to help others do the same, there has been no waste. If we are able to enjoy life peacefully and help others do the same based on our beliefs what's wrong with that? Alternatively if we are indeed in touch with God and feeling His true presence I can't imagine anything greater. Love to everyone, Doug.
P.S. I think everyone should read Autobiography of a Yogi with an open mind. You're not being told to believe anything in that book/guide. On the contrary, I seem to remember specifically being told in the book to challenge anything the book says that we don't believe but to take a minute and at least think about what is being said. The book helped me and so I've heard millions of others, thanks and praise be to God.

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Posted by: scottskepticmed ( )
Date: September 12, 2017 11:28PM

@Doug: I beg to differ. I spent two decades as an ardent SRF monk and student. My experience with the group and teachings, in hindsight, have been for the most part a "waste". My life was put on hold while I practiced a load of BS.

I met many splendid people (not saints), sincere seekers in SRF. But that doesn't make a teaching valid or true. We humans can be deceived quite easily. Especially when we look to "spiritual" authorities for validation and are only too eager to believe in wishful fantasies and promises of eternal happiness in some spinal centers or in this or a future life. It makes me embarrassed to talk about and realize I truly fell for that stuff.

Doug Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thank you, Adesh! I am so happy you took the time
> to write everything that you did. I think you
> summarized things nicely in your last few
> paragraphs where you state both possibilities as a
> realist, regardless of your personal beliefs. If
> we are wrong have we wasted life? Absolutely not.
> If our beliefs have helped us try to gain peace of
> mind and spirit and helped us to help others do
> the same, there has been no waste. If we are able
> to enjoy life peacefully and help others do the
> same based on our beliefs what's wrong with that?
> Alternatively if we are indeed in touch with God
> and feeling His true presence I can't imagine
> anything greater. Love to everyone, Doug.
> P.S. I think everyone should read Autobiography of
> a Yogi with an open mind. You're not being told to
> believe anything in that book/guide. On the
> contrary, I seem to remember specifically being
> told in the book to challenge anything the book
> says that we don't believe but to take a minute
> and at least think about what is being said. The
> book helped me and so I've heard millions of
> others, thanks and praise be to God.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/2017 01:25AM by scottskepticmed.

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Posted by: Elyse ( )
Date: September 11, 2017 03:10PM

Does anyone know what kind of trees they have in front of the SRF in Encinitas?
Dark green foliage and huge bright orange-colored blossoms. Absolutely beautiful.

We drove by there last Saturday and I fell in love with those trees.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: September 11, 2017 05:56PM

Elyse Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Does anyone know what kind of trees they have in
> front of the SRF in Encinitas?
> Dark green foliage and huge bright orange-colored
> blossoms. Absolutely beautiful.
>
> We drove by there last Saturday and I fell in love
> with those trees.

I just spent the last fifteen minutes Googling, and although the beautiful "flowering trees" are frequently mentioned, the actual tree species, apparently, is not.

I suggest you email the SRF in Encinitas. They will know, and probably off the tops of their heads, and if not, they can find out virtually instantly from any number of people who live and work there.

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Posted by: Hedning ( )
Date: September 12, 2017 09:24PM

They are very popular in Encinitas. I'll take a look later tonight and see for sure. Next time you visit you can plan a trip to visit their gardens overlooking the beach. It's a nice break.

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Posted by: scottskepticmed ( )
Date: September 12, 2017 11:34PM

I was a monk who worked in the Encinitas Garden. Those flowers you are describing sound to me like Hibiscus. There are many colors and varieties of Hibiscus. Many of the SRF Ashrams had these large shrubs and they were often flowering.

Perhaps a topic about flowers for your garden is not appropriate for this forum? Anyway. I thought I'd answer your question and encourage the discussions here to stay focused on the topic thread: SRF: Cult?

Elyse Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Does anyone know what kind of trees they have in
> front of the SRF in Encinitas?
> Dark green foliage and huge bright orange-colored
> blossoms. Absolutely beautiful.
>
> We drove by there last Saturday and I fell in love
> with those trees.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/2017 01:21AM by scottskepticmed.

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Posted by: Greylin ( )
Date: September 13, 2017 02:52PM

I was in SRF and the Vedanta Society. The first group was more of what I would call "emotionalism" while the second group was more intellectual.

Most of my feelings about SRF and Vedanta are on SRFBlacklist.

Short version. People are not friendly at SRF, and their guru had a lot of shortcomings. The saying "Dead gurus can't kill ass," is true, because well, when I left this group and went to the Vedanta society where they have Live gurus, people were getting their asses kicked and leaving. I left.

And I don't care what guru group you join, the gurus are having affairs with their disciples. Same with Tibetan Buddhism. Try the blog, Downthecrookedpath.

I started off my young life as a Baptist and then became a Jehovah's Witness. After getting out I joined Hinduism and then Buddhism. Problem with Buddhism is I still believe in God and they didn't. Still, the Zen Buddhist group that I was in was peaceful, unlike Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism. Stay away from any group with a leader that asks you for loyalty.

I know the desire to leave a group and find another. Maybe it is the desire to know what life is about.

Now, I think that the Vedanta Society is really great if you don't get around the gurus. The people are friendly, the lectures are interesting, if not bordering on boredom. Still, they don't believe in developing friendships.

I personally liked the Vietnamese people in the Zen Buddhist groups like Thich Nat Hanh's. But I grew tired of the belief in karma in these eastern groups, and as for Buddhism, I grew tired of hearing that life is suffering.

I now go to the Unitarian Universalist church that is mostly filled with atheists now-a-days, but even they can have problems. The ones that have allowed a pagan group to join and take part in the services, have met with a lot of problems. Ours did, and we had conflict resolutionists come. They couldn't help us, but in time the pagans left, so I returned.


I gave up religion actually. I just believe what I want to believe.

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Posted by: anonculus ( )
Date: September 11, 2017 11:51PM

My inner George Carlin wonders why "self" realization require so much outside help?

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: September 12, 2017 12:37AM

anonculus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> My inner George Carlin wonders why "self"
> realization require so much outside help?

One of the oldest (literally!) conundrums on the planet!!

Humans have been asking this question since at least 1500 BCE (the historically accepted time when the Rig Veda was first written down, though the content of the Rig Veda undoubtedly came from yet older oral traditions).

Over 3,500 active years (that we are certain of), of humans seeking the answer to one of life's central, and most enduring, enigmas!!

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Posted by: hello ( )
Date: September 12, 2017 08:17PM

A spiritually advanced satguru has power to initiate the aspirant into the practical teks, and to open subtle spinal centers for success in the teks. Once the aspirant knows and practices the teks, he discovers his inner guru, and no longer needs much "outside" help to continue his path to Self- and God-realization. But the ancient Master/disciple tradition requires a satguru to start the aspirant on his personal journey.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: September 12, 2017 08:53PM

hello Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ...has power to
> initiate the aspirant into the practical teks, and
> to open subtle spinal centers for success in the
> teks. Once the aspirant knows and practices the
> teks, he discovers his inner guru, and no longer
> needs much "outside" help to continue his path to
> Self- and God-realization.

What are the "teks"? I don't think I have ever heard, or seen, this word before, and I can't find it in any of my reference books.

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Posted by: hello ( )
Date: September 12, 2017 11:55PM

"teks" is a modern term applied to any technology. Kriya yog is scientific, and is comprised of performance of kriyas, loosely translated as "works" or activities, and so for myself, they fall under this term tek, for technology. If you do the teks, you get the result. Mudras, pranayams, postures, mantras, devotion, and other yogic cultural enrichments, are the teks of kriya yoga. They operate on the physical and subtle bodies to produce the known result.Jnana yog has tek too, but it reduces to a simple self examination. Kundalini kriya yog is part of raja yog, and encompasses karma, bhakti, jnana, kriya, hatha yogas etc. Thru performing kriyas, or tek, the practitioner opens and purifies the chakras, nadis and subtle bodies, and arrives at the simplified state of samadhi.

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Posted by: scottskepticmed ( )
Date: September 12, 2017 11:53PM

What are "teks"? Techniques given by the guru? You have really drank the cool-aid "hello". I hope you enjoy practicing your guru's "teks" and find everything you fantasize about or that your guru promises you.

Secret techniques. Secret guru initiations. Disciples who are afraid to leave because they are told they will be lost for lifetimes...sounds rather cult-like to me. SRF is like that.

hello Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A spiritually advanced satguru has power to
> initiate the aspirant into the practical teks, and
> to open subtle spinal centers for success in the
> teks. Once the aspirant knows and practices the
> teks, he discovers his inner guru, and no longer
> needs much "outside" help to continue his path to
> Self- and God-realization. But the ancient
> Master/disciple tradition requires a satguru to
> start the aspirant on his personal journey.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/2017 01:28AM by scottskepticmed.

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Posted by: hello ( )
Date: September 13, 2017 02:07AM

Thanks! Kriya yog definitely works for me. I don't follow SRF or Yogananda. I like advaita vedanta as taught by Shiv Goraksha Babaji (Gorakhnath) and Ramana Maharshi. It's about simply being.

Congratulations on your freedom, enjoy! :)

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Posted by: scottskepticmed ( )
Date: September 13, 2017 01:14PM

@hello: RE: Evaluating Credibility of Meditation Experiments

Glad your yoga "teks" (techniques) work for you. It's important to understand just because you or anyone claims that something "works" doesn't necessarily mean those interventions ("teks") actually work as you believe. Much of the effects of treatments or methods are based on practitioner expectations. For example:

In Snake Oil Science: The Truth About Complementary and Alternative Medicine, R. Barker Bausell, a former Research Director of the National Institute for Health-funded Complementary Medicine Program, points out that,

If a completely inactive pill, ointment, or procedure (in other words, a placebo), accompanied by the expectation of effectiveness, can result in pain relief, then surely any therapy–no matter how bizarre–that we consider credible enough to seek out (and pay for) can also result in pain relief [or give us feelings of control and well-being], compliments of the placebo effect.[3]

The benefits some people feel from meditation practice could largely depend on practitioner’s belief and may be temporary. What beliefs make it possible to feel psychological an physical benefits?

If the above intrigues you I encourage you to read my blog post:

Evaluating Credibility of Meditation Experiments
http://skepticmeditations.com/2017/09/03/evaluating-credibility-meditation-experiments/

hello Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks! Kriya yog definitely works for me. I don't
> follow SRF or Yogananda. I like advaita vedanta as
> taught by Shiv Goraksha Babaji (Gorakhnath) and
> Ramana Maharshi. It's about simply being.
>
> Congratulations on your freedom, enjoy! :)

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Posted by: spiritist ( )
Date: September 13, 2017 02:34PM

scottskepticmed stated: If a completely inactive pill, ointment, or procedure (in other words, a placebo), accompanied by the expectation of effectiveness, can result in pain relief, then surely any therapy–no matter how bizarre–that we consider credible enough to seek out (and pay for) can also result in pain relief [or give us feelings of control and well-being], compliments of the placebo effect.[3]
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Wikipedia states: Patients frequently show improvement even when given a sham or "fake" treatment. Such intentionally inert placebo treatments can take many forms, such as a pill containing only sugar, a surgery where nothing efficacious is actually done (just an incision and sometimes some minor touching or handling of the underlying structures), or a medical device (such as an ultrasound machine) that is not actually turned on. Also, due to the body's natural healing ability and statistical effects such as regression to the mean, many patients will get better even when given no treatment at all. Thus, the relevant question when assessing a treatment is not "does the treatment work?" but "does the treatment work better than a placebo treatment, or no treatment at all?"
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

So why are so many against trying something that works or may work? Science admits there can be a 'placebo effect and agrees the body does have a 'natural' healing ability.

I believe the body can heal itself, effective medicine can stimulate the body to do it, meditation can and energy healing can also. The placebo effect, noted by science, also supports this conclusion.

Based on my experience with self healing and in getting 'blessings or good things in your life', faith and belief 'stimulated' by prayer, meditation, energy work, etc. 'can be effective' especially when the person has a 'high quantity of faith'. Unfortunately, we cannot measure a person's faith yet or we could study the impact of 'faith' on healing or any other goal.

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Posted by: Greylin ( )
Date: September 13, 2017 03:35PM

hello Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A spiritually advanced satguru has power to
> initiate the aspirant into the practical teks, and
> to open subtle spinal centers for success in the
> teks. Once the aspirant knows and practices the
> teks, he discovers his inner guru, and no longer
> needs much "outside" help to continue his path to
> Self- and God-realization. But the ancient
> Master/disciple tradition requires a satguru to
> start the aspirant on his personal journey.

So true, but so dangerous. I had a friend in Siddhi Yoga and they use the techniques you mentioned. She said that her body felt like it was literally on fire, and she didn't know what to do about it. Krishna Gopi in his biography wrote about the same thing. He had all kinds of problems due to meditation, and no doctor could cure him. He had become depressed, lost interest in people, his wife, etc. Best to look up the dangers of kundalini before joining any meditation group.

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Posted by: scottskepticmed ( )
Date: September 12, 2017 11:36PM

Haha. Yeah. It's odd all that meditation and guru-guidance doesn't seem to amount to much "self" help.


anonculus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> My inner George Carlin wonders why "self"
> realization require so much outside help?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/2017 01:31AM by scottskepticmed.

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Posted by: spiritist ( )
Date: September 12, 2017 08:50PM

As a 'meditator' and very much into 'God-type' things please answer the following questions.

From net 2 purposes of SRF are to:

1. To disseminate among the nations a knowledge of definite scientific techniques for attaining direct personal experience of God.

2. To reveal the complete harmony and basic oneness of original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ and original Yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna; and to show that these principles of truth are the common scientific foundation of all true religions.

My questions: 1. So where are these 'scientific techniques for attaining direct personal experience of God' posted for all 'nations' to take advantage of???

2. Does #2 above say you believe JC was a God? Does this mean SRF members 'believe' the Bible is true???

3. How and how long does it take your 'meditators' to have a 'direct personal experience of God? What does that even mean?

4. Please list your 'direct personal experience of God?

Thanks!

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Posted by: scottskepticmed ( )
Date: September 12, 2017 11:46PM

@spiritist: It's not clear to me what you are really asking, your underlying questions. We were under the impression your particular god, guru, or "self-realization" had all the answers you needed. Why ask on a forum thread where the topic is "SRF: Cult?"

Many of your questions may be addressed at--

SRF Blacklist - https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/srfblacklist/
OR

Freedom of Mind: SRF http://old.freedomofmind.com/Info/infoDet.php?id=552
OR

SkepticMeditations
http://www.skepticmeditations.com



spiritist Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> As a 'meditator' and very much into 'God-type'
> things please answer the following questions.
>
> From net 2 purposes of SRF are to:
>
> 1. To disseminate among the nations a knowledge
> of definite scientific techniques for attaining
> direct personal experience of God.
>
> 2. To reveal the complete harmony and basic
> oneness of original Christianity as taught by
> Jesus Christ and original Yoga as taught by
> Bhagavan Krishna; and to show that these
> principles of truth are the common scientific
> foundation of all true religions.
>
> My questions: 1. So where are these 'scientific
> techniques for attaining direct personal
> experience of God' posted for all 'nations' to
> take advantage of???
>
> 2. Does #2 above say you believe JC was a God?
> Does this mean SRF members 'believe' the Bible is
> true???
>
> 3. How and how long does it take your
> 'meditators' to have a 'direct personal experience
> of God? What does that even mean?
>
> 4. Please list your 'direct personal experience
> of God?
>
> Thanks!



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/2017 01:34AM by scottskepticmed.

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Posted by: spiritist ( )
Date: September 13, 2017 12:24AM

Normally, people who meditate get some 'enlightenment' if not preprogramed on what they should get. In fact, I think it is hard not to get unless a person is 'keeping his mind closed' and only meditating to find something like relaxation.

I want to get an idea of how 'enlightened' they really are from a 'believer'.

Based on the answers to those questions I 'believe' I would have a good idea.

Thanks for the references.

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Posted by: scottskepticmed ( )
Date: September 13, 2017 01:42AM

@spiritist: "Enlightenment" only exists because the believer is preprogrammed to believe. "Enlightenment" is what some authority tells you it is. The term is useless, meaningless as it can mean anything. That's why gurus can manipulate fairly easily the followers who seek "enlightenment".



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/2017 01:43AM by scottskepticmed.

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Posted by: shapeshifter ( )
Date: September 13, 2017 07:35PM

Great thread. I was actually wondering about this myself as I read Yoganda's book this past year (well nearly all of it). And I got curious. My partner already had all of the lessons downloaded so I never had to buy any to try them out. But I got turned off pretty quickly to it all because I couldn't do the 'prayers' at the beginning of the lessons that included 'heavenly father, jesus, and a list of gurus' and I just didn't like the idea of needing a guru or needing to be initiated by a guru to actually achieve 'enlightenment' or what have you.

And his book, well I wasn't really sure about it all.. I mean the whole abstinence from sex and all of this men and boys living together for so long and Yoganda being so excited when his master finally invited him to share his bed for the night? What was THAT all about?! I know you can say it was all 'spiritual love'.. but I choose to remain skeptical on that point and others.

I think there is something to be said for mediation practice, but the ones that get too involved in very specific techniques (dogma) with the need for a spiritual master to lead you, well that is just all too cult like for me and reminds me too much of my Mormon upbringing. I think actually finding this forum when I did helped save me from getting hooked into SRF, that and a lot of the books I've been reading about cults.

thanks everyone for the comments here!

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