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Date Posted: 11:14
Author: Mike Drake - 2 Jun 2001
Subject: Reply To Ketch
In reply to: ketch_24 - 2 Jun 2001 's message, "Re: Yogananda, Error, and the "Absolute Truth"" on 11:12

As always Ketch, your responses are always thoughtful and fair. I'll just make a couple of points.

It is immaterial whether Yukteswar was at an immature stage of develepment. The point is that Yogananda adopted it as an ostensibly important doctrine (else why mention it?), and retained it in the autobiography over his lifetime.

Second, Yogananda's misquotation is but a concrete example of a larger pattern. Yogananda's entire chapter on Burbank seems very misleading. Readers of that chapter doubtless would be shocked to read Burbank’s own characterizations of his own views.* At the very least, Yogananda’s and Burbank’s respective characterizations are at facial variance. (The fact that many readers in this forum seem upset about the contradiction, or are motivated to argue against it, just shores up the point.)

Perhaps more important is the persuasive purpose of the Burbank chapter. Scientists have an air of epistemic authority, even outside the domains of their relevant competence. So it is common for religious writers (and certainly of Yogananda) to latch on to the words of friendly scientists for a testimonial tidbit, in the hope (I take it) that lay folks will be further persuaded that “this must be the real thing.” (After all, a SCIENTIST said so!) Even if Burbank had believed in reincarnation (which he decidedly did not), then, the chapter would still serve an illicit rhetorical purpose, in my view. But maybe that's for another discussion.



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