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Date Posted: 14:36
Author: ketch - 29 Jul 2001
Subject: Re: high living on others' heartfelt donations
In reply to:
Anon - 29 Jul 2001
's message, "Re: high living on others' heartfelt donations" on 14:32
It seems to me that what has happened to some extent is this. A few years ago most SRF members had no knowledge of some of the dubious things SRF has done (rewriting history, altering photographs etc.), then thanks to the internet the few people who had been campaigning against these things were able to make these matters widely known. Many people are understandably shocked to discover these things, and having discovered that SRF seems less than perfect, now assume that everything bad written about SRF must be true. However SRF is not all bad, it still remains a good place to learn Yogananda's teachings, and kriya yoga.
The passage which you quote continues:-
"The Mother Center at Mt. Washington has always been "home" to her, from the time that she first entered the ashram as a young girl (except for a period she spent in Encinitas during 1937 to 1948 when Paramahansaji was there working on his Autobiography and The Second Coming of Christ), and Mt. Washington remains her primary residence to this day."
This suggests to me that she does not live at this house as her main residence.
'It’s nice for you, Ketch, that you “see nothing wrong with that”. However, ethical people in leading roles are usually expected to avoid doing what gives the “appearance of” impropriety. The question turns on “appearance of”. A renunciant found living cushy gives the appearance of a questionable situation.'
Who exactly does this give the appearance of a questionable situation to? Certainly not to the world which happily accepts that most religious leaders live in far better conditions than most of their followers. A value of 1 million US$ has been suggested for this property. I am not familiar with property values in LA, but this does not strike me as excessive film star style luxury. It may well be much more modest than the leaders of most spiritual organisations of similar size. SRF also owns some residential properties around Mount Washington in which monastics live, I do not know their values or how many monastics share accomodation.
Would Yogananda have seen anything wrong with SRF using this property? Here is an extract from SRF's 1935 Articles Of Incorporation which Yogananda presumably approved of.
(b) To buy, sell or otherwise acquire, hold, own, use, manage, improve, maintain, develop, rent, mortgage, or otherwise encumber, and to transfer and to exchange real estate of every kind or any interest therein, to trade real estate of every kind and of any interest therein and to trade in real property improved and unimproved in the state of California, and elsewhere.
The full text can be found here.
It seems then that SRF is quite entitled to own residential property as an investment for the future. To what better use could SRF put this property?
What harm is being done by Sri Daya Mata using this property? SRF still owns the property, and will benefit from any appreciation in it's value. If she did not use this accomodation SRF would have to find somewhere else to use as a quiet retreat. The place would have to be within reasonable travelling distance of Mount Washington. It would have to offer a reasonable degree of privacy and quiet. It would have to be in a reasonably safe (and therefore probably expensive) neighbourhood of crime infested LA. The suggestion has been made that this property was bequeathed to SRF. If SRF comes into possesion of a property which satisfies the above requirements why should they not use it?
It seems to me that these objections come from a Christian perspective which equates suffering and poverty with spirituality.
p.s. Thanks for your kind comments about this board. It has come in for it's fair share of criticism in the past.
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