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Date Posted: 10:36
Author: ketch - 28 Aug 2001
Subject: Excerpts from SRF's 1995 response to Ananda's accusations - part 5
In reply to: ketch - 28 Aug 2001 's message, "Excerpts from SRF's 1995 response to Ananda's accusations - part 4" on 10:34

Tara Mata (1900-1971)

Self-Realization Fellowship

Vice-President and Editor-in-Chief

Describing her work with Paramahansa Yogananda on his writings Tara Mata wrote the following to an acquaintance in 193 7 (at the time, Paramahansaji was composing commentaries on the scriptures)

"He gets it entirely from inspiration. In fact, it is only through him that I know what ‘inspired books’ really means. He will come to a passage which is so obscure that it defies all possibility of plain interpretation. He will look blankly at me or one of his other secretaries for a while, close his eyes, and presently out will come the whole plain meaning. I tell you it has been an education and a privilege to help with this wonderful book. My end is pure grammar, arrangement, etc. None of the interpretation is anyone’s but Swamiji’s."


THE EDITING OF PARAMAHANSA YOGANANDA’S WORKS


Tara Mata (Laurie Pratt) was among those disciples who were drawn to Paramahansaji from his very first years in this country, and she was a pillar of strength in helping him to carry out his mission.* {* Paramahansaji said of her "Laurie is like a child without guile, innocent, trusting, loving. But once she begins to see deviousness in anyone toward Self-Realization Fellowship, watch out! she is like a lion, roaring. An account of Tara Mata’s life as one of Paramahansaji’s principal disciples can be found in the summer 1971 issue of Self-Realization magazine. In addition, a remarkable description of the exalted state of expanded spiritual consciousness she enjoyed is recorded in the booklet, "Forerunner of a New Race."}

We are saddened by Mr. Walters’ repeated attempts through the years to tarnish the memory of this disciple whom Paramahansa Yogananda held in such esteem that he entrusted to her the responsibility of compiling and editing his talks and writings for publication. The Guru often expressed publicly his recognition and appreciation of Tara Ma’s attunement with the spirit of his message and her unique ability to edit his works. "Nobody but Laurie could do the editing to my highest satisfaction," wrote Paramahansaji to Rajarsi Janakananda about Tara Mata’s work on his Autobiography. "The Lord will bless her with redemption for the immortal service she has given."

Tara Mata’s editing of the Guru’s writing is now being impugned by Mr. Walters, and he has at the same time claimed that it was Paramahansaji’s wish that he serve as an editor of the Guru’s writings. None of the close disciples who were in daily contact with Paramahansaji and who served as his assistants for years, recording his directions for every aspect of the work of his society, recall the Guru ever expressing the intention that Mr. Walters should edit his works. By contrast, several disciples vividly remember the Guru’s lavish praise of Tara Mata’s editing, and his express wish to have Mrinalini Mata succeed her as editor of his teachings.**{** Mrinalini Mata, now vice president of SRF, is also editor-in-chief of Self-Realization Fellowship publications.

To Rajarsi Janakananda in March 1950, Paramahansaji wrote of Mrinalini Mata (who was still a teenager at the time) and of the editorial work he had assigned to her ‘[She] was destined for this work God showed this to me when I first saw her spirit. Many wondered at me for putting her in the job. But now they don’t, seeing her wonderful work, as I wanted."

Of Mrinalini Mata’s responsibility as editor, Sri Daya Mata has written: "Gurudeva made clear to all of us the role for which he was preparing her, giving her personal instruction in every aspect of his teachings and in his wishes for the preparation and presentation of his writings and talks.

"One day toward the end of his life on earth, he confided: ‘I am very worried about Laurie. Her health will not permit her to finish the work on my writings.’

"Knowing the Guru’s great reliance on Tara Mata, Mrinalini Mata expressed concern: ‘But Master, who then can do that work?’

"The Guru replied with quiet finality: ‘You will do it."’}

In his autobiography, Mr. Walters himself refers to Tara Mata as "the older disciple to whom Master had given the real responsibility for editing," and describes the miscellaneous tasks, such as cutting and pasting copy, proofreading, etc., that Paramahansaji had assigned to him for a brief period. He also recalls the Guru’s stern admonition to him, "Edit, but don’t change a word!"

After Paramahansaji’s passing in 1952, Mr. Walters wrote: "In the time Master was here, since I first arrived I spent more than half of my time on momentarily profitless work. While there were Important projects pending the building of India House, for one he would put me off in a corner studying the Praecepta [SRF Lessons], or working on the Gita, or rewriting the Highest Achievements [free pamphlet], when he had no intention of using my labors. He showed not even the slightest interest when I told him I was through."

Under the supervision of Tara Mata and Mrinalini Mata, a wide variety of new books by or about Paramahansa Yogananda and his teachings has been brought out by SRF and this work goes on continuously. 1994, for example, saw the publication of Paramahansaji’s acclaimed Wine of the Mystic; and in 1995 his massive translation and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita was completed.

Ananda also claims that a letter by the Guru praising Tara Mata’s efforts in helping him revise Whispers from Eternity was forged by her. This is untrue. The "letter" in question was actually an Author’s Note written in 1951 by Paramahansaji:

"It has given me great satisfaction to revise Whispers from Eternity. When first published the book contained unedited writings and a number of verbatim transcripts of prayers composed by me in my yoga classes in various cities.

"For many years I have wished to edit these invocations but was prevented by the pressure of other duties. During the last three years I have taken time now and then to revise the book.

I am immensely grateful to a Self-Realization Fellowship student who gave me invaluable aid in the work of editing, revision, and rearrangement.

Paramahansa Yogananda

November 30, 1951

Twenty-Nine Palms, California

Those who knew and worked with Tara Mata, remember her as utterly disinterested in receiving public praise or recognition. In fact, she tried very hard to dissuade Paramahansaji from even mentioning her name in his acknowledgments at the front of Autobiography of a Yogi; but he insisted that her invaluable assistance should not go unrecognized.





Mukti Mata, minister serving at the Mother Center; disciple since 1946

"You can never describe the Guru’s presence the omniscience of it all is beyond our human comprehension....But at the same time, he was human beyond compare. He understood everything that human beings have to go through. And as a result you never were fearful of anything he might know because you knew he knew everything anyway. He had such incredible understanding human understanding. But saturating all that, above and beyond and in between, was the Divine Presence, that incredible presence of the Divine in him, which uplifted us so much that nothing else in this world really mattered that much, nothing."

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