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Date Posted: 11:30
Author: ketch - 27 Jun 2001
Subject: Re: Reports of Yoganandas body
In reply to: Mike C - 6 Jun 2001 's message, "Re: Reports of Yoganandas body" on 11:29

I checked in three editions of the Autobiography and the same extracts appear in each. These are the extracts quoted from the letter.

”The absence of any visual signs of decay in the dead body of Paramhansa Yogananda offers the most extraordinary case in our experience. . . .No physical disintegration was visible in his body even twenty days after death. . . .No indication of mould was visible on his skin, and no visible desiccation (drying up) took place in the bodily tissues. This state of perfect preservation of a body is, so far as we know from mortuary annals, an unparalleled one. . . . At the time of receiving Yogananda’s body, the Mortuary personnel expected to observe, through the glass lid of the casket, the usual progressive signs of bodily decay. Our astonishment increased as day followed day without bringing any visible change in the body under observation. Yogananda’s body was apparently in a phenomenal state of immutability. . . . No odour of decay eminated from his body at any time. . . . The physical appearance of Yogananda on March 27th, just before the bronze cover of the casket was put into position, was the same as it had been on March 7th. He looked on March 27th as fresh and unravished by decay as he had looked on the night of his death. On March 27th there was no reason to say that his body had suffered any visible physical disintegration at all. For these reasons we state again the case of Paramhansa Yogananda is unique in our experience.”

This has been an interesting discussion, but I’m not sure that we can take it much further. To reach any firm conclusion we need expert opinion, and expert opinion would have to mean from experts in the embalming techniques used in 1952, and with knowledge of the specific techniques used in the case of Yogananda’s body. The letter from Mr Rowe is the only expert opinion we have from someone in possession of all the relevant facts, and he clearly believes that something unusual was happening, but one opinion is not all that convincing.

As a very general rule I believe that we should not look for miraculous explanations when pedestrian explanations will suffice, but there is enough evidence in Mr Rowe’s letter for those who believe in Yogananda’s bodily immutability to feel justified in holding those beliefs.

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