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Date Posted: 10:45
Author: ketch - 28 Aug 2001
Subject: Re: Excerpts from SRF's 1995 response to Ananda's accusations - part 8
In reply to: ketch - 28 Aug 2001 's message, "Excerpts from SRF's 1995 response to Ananda's accusations - part 7" on 10:41

The Teaching of Kriya Yoga

Ananda claims that Paramahansa Yogananda’s original guidelines regarding the teaching of Kriya Yoga were altered by Self-Realization Fellowship in order to insure that the Guru’s society would control the giving of Kriya. To support their allegation, reference is made to a certain phrase in Autobiography of a Yogi regarding who is authorized to give Kriya Yoga initiation, which was purportedly changed without Paramahansaji’s authorization. The fact is that the wording in the first edition of the book was subject to misinterpretation, and Paramahansaji authorized the change in later editions to more clearly express his meaning

Who Is Authorized to Give Kriya Yoga Initiation?

The Kriya technique is the spiritual baptism of the SRF path, and with the Kriya Pledge the devotee enters into the eternal guru-disciple relationship with Paramahansaji and the SRF line of Gurus. Because Kriya is so central to Paramahansaji’s mission, his instructions on this subject were well-known to Sri Daya Mata and the other devotees he was training to guide his work.

Owing to the shortage of monastics in the early years, Paramahansaji gave permission to a few householder disciples to give Kriya under the auspices of Self-Realization Fellowship. As his life on earth drew to a close, and he saw the need to clarify the guidelines that would set the course for the future, he stipulated that Kriya was to be given only by monastics of the SRF Order from then on. The policy originated by him, which has been in effect since 1952, states:

"Only the president, as the channel of Paramahansa Yogananda, has the authority to initiate in the Kriya Yoga. By virtue of the spiritual authority vested in the president, /he or she] may designate an ordained minister of the Church to conduct a Kriya Yoga ceremony, such designation to be reviewed annually. " *

From a letter written by Mr. Walters on behalf of our Center Department in 1957, it is evident that he was well aware at that time of Paramahansaji’s wishes on this matter:

‘. ..It is our policy to permit only ordained ministers to give the Kriya Yoga initiation. Master said that after his passing he wanted only SRF renunciates to be ordained as ministers, and at that only after a minimum of seven years in one of our colonies... "

Ananda also writes about SRF’s policy ‘formulated after Yogananda’s passing, of requiring applicants for Kriya Yoga initiation to sign a pledge renouncing all other church affiliation and accepting exclusive membership in Self-Realization Fellowship Church." To clarify this, following is the actual wording of the pledge:

"I will practice Kriya Yoga faithfully and regularly to the best of my ability. I will not reveal its techniques to anyone without written permission from the Mother Center of Self-Realization Fellowship at Los Angeles, California. "In my path toward God, l accept you as my Gurus, O Jesus Christ, Bhagavan Krishna, Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Sri Yukteswar, and Paramahansa Yogananda. To God, and to you my Gurus, I offer my unconditional devotion and loyalty. With this spiritual baptism of Kriya Yoga Initiation I now become a member of Self-Realization Fellowship and pledge that I will do my best to exemplify the ideals and promote the aims of this path. "

A number of teachers are including in their work some of the techniques that Paramahansaji taught, including Kriya Yoga. We leave it to each individual to follow the spiritual path in his or her own way. Those who come to Self-Realization Fellowship receive from us the teachings of our Guru, including Kriya Yoga, according to the instructions he left with us. Our sole aim is to walk in his footsteps, following his guidelines. We are not able to vouch for the activities of others who are also teaching in his name. But we hold goodwill toward all who are striving to help others.

It was Paramahansaji himself who established this from the earliest years of his mission, when he would ask those who attended his Kriya initiations to repeat a pledge of loyalty and devotion upon entering the guru-disciple relationship. On numerous occasions he referred specifically to the importance of a Kriyaban’s link with the SRF Mother Center. Writing to Tara Mata about some material he was sending her for inclusion in one of his books, he said:

"I am sending to you immediately the wonderful things that came to me about Kriya Yoga and pranayama. Please strictly refrain from describing the technique of Kriya Yoga, which is indelibly a part of our work for disciples only....Krlya Yoga indeed teas a very popular appeal . Everybody is anxious to receive it after reading the book [Autobiography of a Yogi/, and I am giving it to them only after they have received their foundation in the Praecepta [SRF/ Lessons.... The science of Kriya Yoga is mentioned in the book but the art of Kriya Yoga will be learned from SRF Headquarters. "

In a handwritten note titled Kriya Yoga, Paramahansaji expressed the thoughts to be conveyed to new initiates about the close association between Kriya, SRF, and the line of Gurus:

"This is not the end of your relationship with SRF or Kriya Yoga but the beginning. Keep contact with headquarters and you will be linked with the Masters, by which salvation is reached quickly...Some take Kriya Yoga and become fully satisfied and forget all about the link of masters they never will reach God.

"Kriya Yoga is the fastest airplane route to God, but it has to be piloted by the gurus SRF teachings regularly received. " *{* Reflecting an understanding of Paramahansaji’s guidance in this regard, Mr. Walters (in 1954, when he was serving in the Center Department at our International Headquarters) wrote the following to a leader of an SRF center:

"You know, perhaps, that a teacher of SRF is not expected to send out lessons on his own....That any member should be permitted to consider the lessons of one of the teachers to be more important than the lessons of the Guru seems to us unbelievable....lf we permit such laxity, this work would never grow as the Masters intended it shall."

In recent years Mr. Walters has apparently abandoned this view. We understand that though he refers to the members of his Ananda Community as disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda, Mr. Walters now requires them to study his own course of lessons, "Fourteen Steps to Higher Awareness," and discourages them from studying Paramahansa Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons.}

A God-realized guru can help his disciples whether or not he is in physical form. Out of his love for the countless generations of truth-seekers to come, Paramahansaji left in his Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons a spiritual legacy infused with his divine power and blessings. He promised that disciples who came after his passing would have the same opportunity to find God-union as did those who knew him personally through practice of his teachings as given in the Lessons. "These SRF Lessons," he said, "are impregnated with the spirit of great masters. If you study them with reverence and deep attention, along with the practice of deep meditation, you will be in touch with the divine link of our masters, and will be lifted into the kingdom of Cosmic Consciousness."

Thousands of loyal members of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India revere Paramahansa Yogananda and his line of Gurus as their eternal link with God. We know from countless letters received at the Mother Center that the guidance, intercession, and ceaseless blessings of these divine ones is an ever-present benediction in the lives of SRF Kriya Yogis all over the world.

Brother Anandamoy, SRF/YSS Board member; disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda since 1949

Paramahansa Yogananda came with a world mission; he came to bring again to humanity the sacred science of Kriya Yoga. Kriya had been forgotten during the Dark Ages, and was known only to a few. Lahiri Mahasaya was the first to openly teach Kriya in modern times, but he forbade his disciples to start an organization to spread the teachings of Kriya Yoga, because he knew that God and the Great Ones had assigned that task to Paramahansa Yogananda not only to spread the teachings of Kriya Yoga throughout the world, but to keep those teachings pure.

We are too close to the beginning of the Self-Realization Fellowship work to appreciate its greatness and the influence it will eventually have in the world. "Millions will find God through these teachings, " the Master once said to us. And when one of the monks looked at him questioningly, as if to say that he must have been exaggerating, the Guru’s answer was very emphatic: "And I do not mean thousands. I mean millions!


Ananda’s letter, however, reflects a very different view of Paramahansa Yogananda and the link of SRF Gurus. The letter states:

"It should be pointed out that Kriya Yoga is widely taught by other lineal disciples of the SRF gurus, of which Yogananda was only the fourth guru even in the SRF line...

"It is, moreover, an outrageous presumption...to claim a monopoly on teachings [Lahiri Mabasaya] brought into the world, as though only Yogananda’s presentation of those teachings, out of those of all of Lahiri’s spirit grandchildren, had validity. "

The content and tenor of these statements is in marked contrast with the principles we uphold and practice. Most importantly, they reflect a significant dissimilarity between the beliefs of members of SRF and Ananda concerning the role of Paramahansa Yogananda in spreading the science of Kriya Yoga In Self-Realization Fellowship, we have the utmost respect for the fact that, as a special divine dispensation, it was Paramahansa Yogananda who was chosen by Mahavatar Babaji as the one ordained to spread the teachings of Kriya Yoga worldwide. Paramahansaji was spiritually baptized as a child by Lahiri Mahasaya and trained at Babaji’s direction by Lahiri Mahasaya’s disciple Swami Sri Yukteswar in preparation for the Self-Realization Fellowship work he undertook at the behest of these gurus.

In accordance with the wishes of our Guru, we are dedicated to upholding the teachings of the distinctive path that is the unique contribution of Paramahansaji and his line of Gurus to the spiritual welfare of the world. Our Guru’s guidance to this effect is lovingly expressed in the following words, written to a disciple in 1947:

Your letter’s assuring words of devotion and loyalty to this Cause and the Masters deeply touched me. While we must pay homage and give our due respect to all religions and all religious followers, still, we must remember our supreme loyalty and devotion must be one-pointed ..... given to one path only, You have given that already to Self-Realization Fellowship and to guru. One should become firmly grounded in the teachings of his choice before studying the merits of other teachings, else he will become confused and lose sight of his goal, which is not theological knowledge, but actual God -union.

I always enjoy your letters - so sincere and sweet.

With deepest blessings to you and your good wife, I am,

Very sincerely yours,

Paramhansa Yogananda

Self-Realization Fellowship members honor, as did our Guru, all true teachers who are striving to do good in this world. We are aware that Kriya Yoga is also taught by other disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya and Sri Yukteswarji, and we respect each individual’s right to choose and follow whichever teacher he or she finds most spiritually fulfilling.

Although Paramahansaji indicated that he would be the last in the line of SRF/YSS Gurus, with the founding of his society he insured the perpetuation of his mission as well as the preservation of his teachings. The Guru said that after his passing the president of SRF would serve as his spiritual and administrative representative; and, he promised, "there will always be at the head of this organization men and women of realization." Rajarsi Janakananda, whom our Guru had publicly proclaimed as a siddha, one who had attained final liberation, was the first to fulfill that prophecy.

Brother Anandamoy recalls how clearly the words Rajarsi spoke at the first Self-Realization Fellowship Convocation after Paramahansaji’s passing confirmed the Master’s wishes for his work, and his power to guide and bless all faithful disciples:

"Many members (not knowing that Master had declared that it was God’s will that be be the last in the line of SRF Gurus) expected that Rajarsi would assume the role of Guru, because they thought they had to have a guru in the body, one whom they could see and bear. It would have been very easy for Rajarsi to have proclaimed himself Guru because of his great spiritual power and magnetism. But what be said at that gathering firmly established the course of Self-Realization Fellowship for all future generations. Very simply, in a quiet voice, be told the members, ‘There will be no other guru. Master will always be our guru ‘

"Then be said, ‘He is here.’ He wasn’t referring to the Master’s physical presence, but to his omnipresent spiritual presence. ‘Just feel and receive.’ As be said these words a wave of divine power flowed over the whole audience a tremendous surge of spiritual upliftment—and no one could doubt that be was right: The Master is alive. "

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