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Date Posted: 17:05
Author: Mike Drake - 1 Jun 2001
Subject: Response to Waqidi
In reply to: Waqidi - 1 Jun 2001 's message, "Re: Yogananda, Error, and the "Absolute Truth"" on 16:59

Hi Waqidi,

I got involved in the Yogananda stuff pursuant to a debate with a friend of mine, who is a Yogananda adherent. You might say I’m a spiritual materialist. Or maybe I’m a materialist in a spiritual world. Or maybe I’m just a curmudgeon. Whatever I am, I am not an adherent of any religious belief or practice (unless you want to call “materialism” a religion – but that’s another argument).

Anyway, I don't have a hard copy of the Autobiography anymore (I had borrowed my friend’s version). I did a quick online search and found a version of the chapter (“Luther Burbank – a Saint Amongst the Roses”) here: http://www.crystalclarity.com/yogananda/chap38/chap38.html.)

I do not dispute that Burbank and Yogananda had a friendly relationship.

Burbank is quoted disavowing the theory of reincarnation in the San Francisco Bulletin* of January 22, 1926. While newspapers sometimes get things wrong as you note,** they much more often get things right. And even when they get things wrong, they retract the errors when brought to their attention (like I did in the first footnote, below). In any case, you're barking up the wrong tree here: Burbank was an avowed atheist and “scientism-ist”.***

As to the stellar companion: Yes, Yogananda’s/Yukteswar’s 24,000 year cycle roughly corresponds to the precessionary cycle (which is about 26,000 years). And indeed they did apparently posit the stellar companion to explain precession. But it has long been known that precession is caused by the slow wobble of the earth caused by the gravitational pulls of the Sun and Moon on the Earth’s equatorial bulge. This means that Yogananda’s and Yukteswar’s hypothesis theory is not only wrong – it’s otiose: they postulated the stellar companion to explain precession, but we already had an explanation for precession.

Otherwise, despite making some generalities about the “latest” findings of astronomy****, you never address the astronomers’ arguments that I provided. Indeed, I am inclined to believe that you either did not read or did not understand those arguments. For instance, you bring up dark matter*****, suggesting (I take it) that since we haven’t found all the dark matter, Yogananda’s star could still be among the heretofore undetected dark matter. This is incorrect. First, dark stars and dark matter are not generally related phenomena. Second, and more importantly, a few of the astronomers specifically said (and I quoted them) that even if the stellar companion was dark it would be readily detected.

In sum, there is simply no rational basis in modern cosmology to believe there is a steller companion. Fine talk about Euclidean geometry and general relativity aside, then, Yogananda’s postulation is flawed.


* Not the San Francisco Examiner, as I wrote. Sorry about that.

** Your comparison is a little inapposite. It is one thing for a newspaper reporter accidentally to switch the names of father and son; it is quite another for an newspaper reporter to completely misconstrue the gist of his interviewee's answers.

*** “Burbank once said that “there is no personal salvation, except through science.”

**** Your examples of "latest" findings are odd. For instance, the discovery of universal expansion is hardly cutting edge: Hubble made his observations in 1929.

***** Dark matter was first postulated in the 1930s, so it’s not something that scientists just “now” have had to postulate to explain “strange sightings.”

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