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Date Posted: 11:42
Author: ketch - 11 Jun 2001
Subject: Re: Taking the Discussion Further
In reply to: Mike Drake - 10 Jun 2001 's message, "Re: Taking the Discussion Further" on 11:39

The question isn't whether Yogis ever die during public ceremonies after giving speeches.* The question is whether they would OPT to do so.** Simpliciter, this just strikes me as highly unlikely. It is doubly unlikely here where Yogananda was apparently introducing another speaker.***

** And if they did so opt, why not say something? E.g., "Dear friends, in a few moments I will be leaving my body and passing into the infinite."

The reports of many suggest that Yogananda had indeed predicted his approaching passing. Sri Daya Mata for example tells us that just before the banquet he spoke to her in private and told her that he would be gone within a few hours. There are many others who have said similar things, however if you wish to ignore these accounts on the basis that they are disciples and therefore unreliable then you are free to do so.

Why did Yogananda not say anything in his speech, just before leaving his body? This is an unanswerable question. The only person who could answer it is clearly not available to do so. My speculation would be that he had said many times that he wished to die on his feet speaking of God and India. He succeeded in this and would not have wished to spoil things by changing the subject to speak of himself and his plans. On the other hand he may have considered it to be immodest to show his powers so openly. Who knows? But it is not logical to suggest that as Yogananda had not specifically announced his death at the meeting a few seconds in advance he therefore did not know what was to come.

On the suggestion that Yogananda was about to introduce another speaker I invite you to provide some evidence to support your claim. I must point out that the banquet was not an SRF event, rather it was sponsored by the India Association of America and was in honour of the Indian ambassador. Yogananda was simply one of the speakers present. As such it would not have been Yogananda's job to introduce the next speaker.

Here is the account given in TIME, August 4, 1952.

After eating modestly (vegetables and strawberry parfait), the guru rose to make a speech about "spiritual India." He ended it with a quotation from one of his own poems:

Where Ganges, woods, Himalayan caves, and men drink God -
I am hallowed; my body touched that sod.

As he finished, Paramhansa lifted his eyes, turned slightly to the right and slid to the floor, dead.

There is nothing in this account or any other that I have seen to suggest that Yogananda had not finished his speech, or that he was about to introduce another speaker.

The tale of "all" vital signs being "gone" by the time people went to attend to Yogananda is suspiciously incomplete. Which people? What vital signs? How long before someone competent to locate and monitor such vital signs was on the scene?****

**** BTW, what specific facts here are inconsistent with an episode of some sort of heart failure?

Yogananda's body was examined by two doctors who were at the Biltimore hotel, and who pronounced him dead. I do not know how long they took to arrive on the scene. The reports I have seen suggest that all vital signs were gone, if you want to know the exact details you would have to check with eyewitnesses. Of the 240 people at the banquest only 35 were SRF members so it seems likely that he was several non-disciples would have tried to assist him.

The question of how this death is not consistent with a heat attack is something that should be put to a specialist. From my very limited knowledge of the subject I would suggest the following. Heart attacks do not cause instant death. They are usually surprisingly slow. They are also usually accompanied by symptoms, such as severe pain in the chest and left arm, shortness of breath, nausia etc. We would also expect some panic from the victim. There is no evidence of these symptoms in Yogananda's case, all the reports suggest that he was calm and in control right up to the moment of death.

In any case, if Yogananda foresaw or selected the moment of his death, why did he "fall to the floor"?

What would you expect a dead body to do ?

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