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Date Posted: 10:34
Author: ketch - 28 Aug 2001
Subject: Excerpts from SRF's 1995 response to Ananda's accusations - part 4
In reply to: ketch - 28 Aug 2001 's message, "Excerpts from SRF's 1995 response to Ananda's accusations - part 3" on 10:31

AID TO OTHERS:


In their most recent letter, Ananda charges SRF with a lack of charity, and with unresponsiveness to those in need. In attempting to support this claim, they disclose very personal circumstances regarding the lives of a number of people, including relatives of Paramahansaji. It has been our way to respect the privacy of anyone with whom we have contact, and we regret that Ananda has discussedóin a publicly distributed letterómatters that are so private to these individuals. For those who may have been concerned by Anandaís alarming description of these matters, we wish to state briefly the simple facts here:**{** In conformance with SRFís Articles of Incorporation as a nonprofit religious organization, any distribution of funds to individuals is governed by certain legal constraints under tax laws. SRF has always done whatever it can under the law to offer material support to those in special need.}

Ananda claims that SRF has been callously indifferent to the needs of Meera Ghosh and other relatives of Paramahansa Yogananda. In fact, for many years Meera Ghosh and her family have been living rent-free in a house owned by Yogoda Satsanga Society. YSS has made it possible for them to continue to do so for the remainder of her life, and has helped her with needed medical assistance.
Financial aid is also given to other members of our Guruís family

. Anandaís letter inaccurately states that when Sananda Lal Ghosh (who was one of Paramahansajiís younger brothers) became ill, SRF having freely benefited from his authorship of Mejda refused to provide any assistance unless Sananda deeded to YSS the family home on Garpar Road in Calcutta. The truth is that SRF has for over 40 years regularly sent funds to help support the family of Sananda Ghosh and assist them in maintaining the home on Garpar Road, in which our guru lived as a boy. SRF paid Sananda a sum of $20,000 for the publication rights to Mejda, the book he authored containing stories of Paramahansajiís early life.

On learning of Sanandaís illness, SRF immediately wrote to him of our desire to help and began looking for ways to provide for his treatment. We cabled Sananda about arrangements for medical care. Unfortunately, we received no reply to the cable or to several letters, and we learned later that Sananda passed away several weeks after this correspondence. Deeding the Garpar Road home to YSS was not a condition of our providing him help. Sananda had twice on his own initiative expressed his intention to give the home to YSS. To this day the home is with the family, and it is our hope that it remains so.

Another claim is that after the publication of the book by Kamala Silva, formerly a householder minister of Self-Realization Fellowship, SRF stopped communicating with her; and that when she became ill in her later years, SRF refused to help. In actuality, through the years we have had a warm relationship with Kamala. She continued to join us for our annual Christmas festivities, for example, until age would not permit her to travel. When SRF learned of Kamalaís medical condition, we sent funds each month to help with her needs, during her temporary stay at Ananda. SRF supported her in this way until Ananda advised us that this support was no longer necessary.
Ananda accuses SRF of "ruthlessly dismissing" Helen Erba-Tissot over a disagreement in policy, without acknowledgment for her years of service. In reality, Mrs. Erba-Tissotís resignation was her own decision. After first accepting it in a necessarily brief cable, Sri Daya Mata warmly acknowledged her service to SRF in a letter:
"I want to express our fondest hopes that you will be happy and successful in whatever work you undertake. We cannot adequately express our thanks for all you have done over the years to spread the SRF message in Europe, and we know that God and the Masters will ever bless you for it. "

SRF also expressed its deep gratitude to Mrs. Erba-Tissot for her loving service in public announcements made in all European centers where she had been active. Friendly communication with Mrs. Erba-Tissot continued. Following a stay as a guest in our ashram ten years after her resignation, she wrote, "I have been so happy with you all, and I want to thank you very, very heartily for the great kindness with which you have received and surrounded me...."

Ananda claims that SRF refuses spiritual help to prisoners. In fact, however, SRF corresponds regularly with a number of prisoners, offering prayer support and spiritual counseling. We send large numbers of complimentary SRF books, tapes, etc. to prisoners and prison libraries.
All those who came to Paramahansaji felt his loving concern for their all round spiritual, mental, and material welfare; among the aims and ideals of SRF is "to serve mankind as oneís larger Self." While our primary effort is toward spiritual service (including the work of our Prayer Council), SRF through its Voluntary League regularly contributes to various relief organizations specifically chartered to provide charitable aid to individuals.





Brother Bhaktananda, minister-in-charge of Self-Realization Fellowship Hollywood Ashram Center and Temple; disciple since 1939

One man came to me and said, "I used to have the presence of God and I used to feel Masterís presence, but I donít have it any more, and I donít know why. " And I asked him, "Do you meditate regularly?" and he said "Yes". Do you practice Kriya? "Yes". Do you read the Lessons every day?" "Oh, no, Iím all through with the Lessons. " And I asked him to go back to reading the Lessons and see if that wasnít his problem.

About a month later, he walked up to me with a big smile and said, "You know, there is something about reading the Lessons that gives you the attunement with the Guru. Now I have it again. Thank you so much."

In reading those Lessons, we are in tune with Spirit. Those words come from Spirit. Those words and ideas, do not come from a little human mind. Master was always in tune with Spirit when he wrote, when he talked. So this we have to realize we are in tune with Spirit at that time. When we read the Lessons we are sitting at the guruís feet, figuratively speaking. He is speaking to us through the Lessons. That is the reason he said the Lessons will be your guru, because itís the guruís teaching right thereócomplete.


SRF ALTAR Pictures


Ananda takes issue with SRFís having changed the order specified by our guru for pictures on our altars. The reasons for this change were discussed in an SRF Center Bulletin in 1970: "The honored Indian tradition of respect to the guru is expressed, in one way, by the central placement of the guruís image on oneís altar. This was observed by Paramahansa Yogananda when, in his devotion and humility, he gave the more central position, in the horizontal SRF altar arrangement, to the photo of his guru, Swami Sri Yukteswarji, and asked that his own photo, placed on the altar by his disciples, be positioned at the end of the altar. As Paramahansa Yogananda is our guru, and his guru is our paramguru, it is fitting that we, the disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda, show to him the same respect he gave to his guru. [Therefore] the photograph of Paramahansa Yogananda has been more centrally placed."

Anandaís letter also claims that the picture of Bhagavan Krishna was added to SRF altars in disregard of Paramahansajiís guidance. However, Anandaís presentation of these facts is not accurate. From Paramahansajiís very earliest years in Boston, he included Bhagavan Krishna in the invocation to our line of Gurus. An example is the initiation pledge that the Master asked all his students to sign. The pledge used during the Boston years (1920-23) begins:

"In the presence of God, Jesus Christ, Lord Krishna, your holy preceptors: Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Sriyukteswar Giriji, and you my spiritual guide, promise and take a solemn oath...."

When our Guru built his Golden Lotus Temple in Encinitas in 1939, he placed on the altar likenesses of Krishna, Jesus Christ, and his own Gurus. That expressed his intention in this regard, for one of the aims of SRF is, "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."

Paramahansaji knew that to most Westerners at that time, Lord Krishna was not understood as a God-illumined avatar. Paramahansajiís mission was to teach the universal essence of religion. He therefore concentrated on the teachings of Krishna, to educate the West in the highest principles of religion that he taught. It is true that for a period of time during Paramahansajiís life the image of Krishna was not included on SRF altars. However, it was the Guruís express wish that the Board reinstate Krishnaís picture when the time was right.

In the 1950ís, not knowing the private guidance given to the Board by Paramahansaji on this matter, certain SRF representatives erroneously assumed that the altar arrangement without Krishna was to be a permanent policy, and consequently communicated this on occasion to our centers and groups. This misunderstanding was later corrected.

When in later years there was a deeper appreciation of the ancient teachings of India (owing in no small part to the influence of our Guruís teachings in Western countries), our Board of Directors determined the time was right for us to do what Paramahansaji originally did when he built his first temple, and what he intended to resume doing: to place the likeness of Sri Krishna on all our altars, along with that of Christ and the other Gurus of this path.


TRANSLITERATION

OF THE TITLE "PARAMAHANSA"


In an effort to show a lack of forthrightness on SRFís part, Ananda has stated that the spelling of the word Paramahansa in our Guruís signature was deceptively altered. However, SRF has included an open and thorough discussion of this matter in the Publisherís Note of Whispers From Eternity (First Version/1981 printing).

The correct spelling of his Sanskrit title in English is Paramahansa, not Paramhansa. Although the common practice for Bengalis is to drop silent or near-silent aís in such spellings, the omission of the a in Paramahansa is misleading, giving an entirely different meaning from the title actually bestowed upon our Guru. To retain the Paramhansa spelling would be to permit sentiment to rule rather than a true reverence and regard for our Guru and his rightful place among the great ones. A correction was therefore made in the spelling of his title, so that there would be no doubt about its intended meaning.

"Those who have come to Self Realization Fellowship truly seeking inward spiritual help shall receive what they seek from God. Whether they come while I am in the body, or afterward, the power of God through the link of the SRF Gurus shall flow into the devotees just the same, and shall be the cause of their salvation....

"Implicit in the SRF techniques and teachings are the help and blessings of the SRF line of gurus. Devotees who conduct their lives according to SRF principles will be blessed with the bidden and open direction of the SRF line of gurus. The ever-living Babaji teas promised to guard and guide the progress of all sincere SRF devotees. Lahiri Mahasaya and Sri Yukteswarji, who have left their physical forms, and I myself, even after I have left the body all will ever protect and direct the sincere members of SRF- YSS. " Paramahansa Yogananda

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