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Date Posted: 08:17
Author: Hendrik - 12 Aug 2001
Subject: Re: Eponyms and motivations
In reply to:
Frank - 12 Aug 2001
's message, "Re: Eponyms and motivations" on 08:13
I also think that we should listen to eponymous reason babble. Maybe he is right and most of us are victims of our religious upbringing and merely evade to face the fact. His gentle admonitions, though not coming from a position of utter selflessness, may help us to find our way out of the Kriya world.
I really like this board but yet feel that a critical viewpoint is usually adopted here by most visitors only when it comes to defend Yogananda or Kriya Yoga as such against differing points of view. Demoralizing of the Kriya Yoga mindset itself is not encouraged and analytical self-decomposition never undertaken.
I am always amazed about this. Although the intensity of critique has been on a moderate degree mostly, and the debates led in a decent manner, even Kriyabans of a certain intellectual attainment and insight like Waqidi Falicoff seem to feel not a home here and chose to leave.
I have studied some of Yogananda's works, am a member of SRF for half a decade now (a meek and devoted one for the first years), and have tried myself in Kriya for some years, nevertheless I do not understand at all why he is constantly acclaimed avatar and anything more than an advanced yogi, perhaps a master in his field. When he hinted himself to be an avatar that speaks for a sense of self-importance rather than the humility one would expect of a great yogi.
His statements on the physical mechanisms on Kriya Yoga most likely were borrowed from scattered scientific articles he read and made use of to explain the working of Kriya in a most uncritical way. He knew that in the USA teaching something without proper explanation was not enough and was not likely to be accepted by the enlightened crowds, so he had to arm himself with both Biblical and scientific knowledge, both he randomly made use of in an often superficial and dubious way. His aim was to convince and inspire the people of his time to engange in sadhana, not to corroborate mystical facts he already knew from own experience. He was a mystic, not a scientist or an academic.
I also think that now, in the year 2001, it is justified when some people come up who don't believe in the autonomous value of mysticism and dare to examine yoga and meditation from a medical and scientific standpoint, like our friend Mike Drake or his eponymous counterpart. It is perhaps the most convenient way for someone raised in Western culture.
As for Kriya Yoga, from my own experience as well as from my observance of other Kriyavans I am more and more convinced that to a great extent Kriya Yoga makes use of the placebo effect. Just a few days ago I read an article covering the newest research on Parkinson's disease. Scientists are now perplexed that placebo medication against Parkinson's is same as efficient as the real medication itself. Of special interest is the fact that the placebo creates not only a favourable psychological breeding ground for healing, but strangely and for hitherto unknown reasons it brings forth also the same specific improvements in brain structure as the latest medication drug does, although many patients don't know by themselves the way the drug works.
I have often wondered why Kriya works for some so marvelously while for others it has not the least result even after many years of practice. When you ask people about this disproportion, you will most likely be told the bearded old story that those who succeed in their endeavours have most likely meditated and accumulated spiritual karma in their earlier incarnations.
This is not only a most 'mystical' explanation, I also cannot share this conviction in general. Apart from the fact that those who speak of great results turn out to be often gullible people, it is also well-known that spiritual techniques are almost subordinate in spiritual life. Most yogis practiced them, surely, but they appear to have been rather indifferent in their choice and left this to their guru. They just do what is given. This however, is common to the Indian mentality.
I don't see why Kriya Yoga ought to be a fundamentally better way of sadhana than any other. It is the man not the method that counts. Force your parents who care a damn about yoga to practice Kriya regularly - I wonder if there will ever be any results. If they are susceptible to imagination or suggestion, there may be some, no doubt.
But if you made them practice TM or a purely invented technique, there will most likely be similar results - a certain peace resulting from a lowered heartbeat, some subtle perceptions, loss of bodily sensations, etc. The difference between Kriya Yoga and a bogus technique like TM is probably that TM is based largely on random suggestion whereas Kriya additionally works with chakras - energy centers which going after the statements of many experienced yogis are likely to exist, whatever they are. Therefore Kriya may be more effective as it is not based on hot air alone.
But there one has to be careful, too. Some Kriya lines equate the sixth chakra with the medulla oblongata, others see it further up the skull. Some make use of the seventh chakra right at the beginning, others don't, some locate this chakra at the top of the head, others a few inches above it, etc. - This can hardly be called scientific. Arguments such as coming from Yogananda are at best pseudo-scientific and I bet will never stand close scrutiny. Therefore I think it justified, not merely arrogant, when Mike D. asks the questions he does. His questions as presented above are the most profound ones I have heard for months, at least some of them. They are completely justified. If Kriya claims to be a science, it must be object to falsification.
The funny thing is that if Kriya is largely a tool for auto-suggestion and else the exact location of subtle energy centers remains unclear, it doesn't matter much if there are slight or even greater variances in the several lineages. I do not know who has the deepest understanding, but the shallowest approach seems to me the "my Kriya is better than yours"-stand.
Today Kriya Yoga is promoted by the more freer minds as a tool of experimentation. So simply let's keep it at that. Those who feel comfortable with it may continue, those who don't are free to leave and follow another 'path', where's the problem? It is not a 'backdrop', just the exchange for a certain experience for a more suitable one. If you lead an unhappy marriage, divorce and look for a better one, even if your friends insist that the first girl is best for you - just because she is the first one and the one most get along with.
I feel that in the Kriya movement there is a prevalent sense of morality pressure, a good/bad scheme promoted in some way or other by many teachers including Yogananda, Shibendu Lahiri, and Kashiji Maharaj - "you don't practice your Kriya so you have left the path of righteousness and will suffer in misery".
I have frankly to admit that I don't understand the least what these guys are talking about, after all it isn't their business what we do - except we are their admitted disciples and give them authority to discipline us. The Patravali letters for instance were all written to close disciples of LM, I doubt that the great master would have spoken in the same dogmatic way to people who were outsiders. Let all men follow their own individual paths, be it leading a normal life, doing sadhana, and for heaven's sake the sadhana they would like to pursue. Kriya Yoga is promoted as the 'highest path', but maybe we are led astray and leaving it may turn out to be the greatest step forward, a leap out of the pit of obscurantistic brainwash of hermetic circumscription. For others, like ex-Satsangis (RSers) or TMers, it may be a great stop forward.
Who am I to know? I am just a normal man who was asking for a good meditation technique, that was all, but the big claims and PR-activities of Kriya are sickening to me to the core. Isn't it possible to treat this d*** Kriya low-key, without making ANY fuss about it, without feeling affiliated to a certain mindset? Perhaps we should shut down all the boards so that the phrase 'Kriya' is not perpetuated unduly.
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