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Date Posted: 18:26
Author: ketch-30Apr02
Subject: Re: Addendum/Correction
In reply to: Eponymous-30Apr02 's message, "Re: Addendum/Correction" on 18:25

It is not relevant that some spiritual figures such as the Dalai Lama enjoy both spiritual and temporal authority. The question is whether all spiritual teachers must also adopt the role of politician/social reformer, and whether Yogananda was obliged to adopt such a role. There are certainly many spiritual figures who took no interest in these matters. Ramana Maharishi for example consistently refused to comment on the pressing issue of his day, that of Indian independence, or on other political matters.

With regard to infanticide, this certainly was, and probably still is a way of life among some primitive peoples. Babies are a luxury which some primitive tribes can only afford in a good year. Killing babies may well be an acceptable policy for these people. The fact that killing babies is not justifiable for most civilisations in the 21st century does not mean that it must always be regarded as wrong.

Primitive tribespeople who practice infanticide should only be judged by the circumstanced and standards of their time. Yogananda's actions in this matter should also be judged according to the standards of 1930's California, not the 21st century.

With regards to miscegenation, I do not wish to argue about the rights and wrongs of this matter as it seems to me that there are few issues about which such strong feelings are generated as the issue of race. It is not an issue which we are concerned with on this board.

My point is not whether the prevailing current viewpoint is correct, but simply that it is only an opinion widely held at this point in history. In the 1930's the prevailing viewpoint was different. The Nerode's wedding took place in New Mexico as it was impossible to get a licence in California. Their actions even if not actually illegal may well have been highly offensive to many in California. For a spiritual teacher to make a rule that members must abide by the laws and sensitivities of the society in which they live is neither unreasonable nor unenlightened. It does not necessarily imply approval for those laws or customs.

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