Let’s not confuse this issue with other matters. As far as the “secrecy” shown by SRF in this matter is concerned in my view they are quite correct to have acted in the way they have. Even today there are several “guru’s” who seem to be surrounded by adoring women. In Yogananda’s day the young exotic swami with his good looks and flowing black hair must have proved extremely attractive to many women. It would be surprising if over the years SRF has not come across dozens of women who claimed to be Yogananda’s lovers. The suggestions being made in this article are probably only the tip of the iceberg.
SRF (and Yogananda’s other followers) are quite correct to keep silent. Even if all the claims were disproved commenting on them would only attract publicity for the allegations. All publicity is certainly not good publicity. There are probably thousands of people who read this article (including it seems some of Yogananda’s devotees) who will have taken away the impression that Yogananda was the father of this man even though no evidence of any substance has been produced. Keeping silent may simply be a way of trying to avoid this bad publicity and protect the Masters reputation from this type of sleaze.
Now that this article has appeared however, I would like to see SRF break it’s silence and produce the results of the blood tests, with further independent tests if necessary.
My comments about this woman being “crazy” (actually I said she appeared to have suffered from mental illness) were not based on a misreading of the article. The lady was committed to an institution for the mentally ill in the 1950’s. The article seems to suggest that her husband arranged this out of spite, but I doubt if it was possible for a husband to have his wife committed without some strong evidence of mental illness. I do not know what safeguards applied in California at that time, but there would almost certainly have been some. At the very least some doctors/psychiatrists must have believed her to be ill. After leaving the institution she apparently rarely spoke to anyone for the rest of her life, and was soon placed in a nursing home. Erskine seems to suggest that this was due to electric shock treatment given to her, but no legal action seems to have been taken against the institution, and it has to be questionable that the doctors at the institution would have decided to use such drastic and dangerous treatment on someone who was not ill in the first place.
The only evidence in this article seems to be this family tradition that Erskine was Yogananda’s son. Given that illegitimacy carried a much greater stigma in those days than it does now it may be that the mother tried to make her son feel better by telling him that great blood flowed in his veins (she never actually said he was Yogananda’s son).
I am very surprised at how much concern this article seems to have produced among Yogananda’s followers. There is nothing there of any real substance, and his followers should not allow their faith to be damaged so easily. There is nothing wrong with trying to consider these things with an open mind, but I would put the chances of Erskine being Yogananda’s son at about a billion to one.