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Date Posted: 18:30
Author: Hendrik - 14 Jun 2001
Subject: Re: SRF machinations
In reply to:
Mac - 14 Jun 2001
's message, "Re: SRF machinations" on 18:25
In the book "Christ Consciousness" by Norman Paulsen there are a lot of references to the period prior to Yogananda's passing.
There are several pieces of precise information on Yogananda's belief regarding his own impending passing. I have to apologize if I don't make the effort to quote at length here. Anyone can check for himself, or I may do so upon request. It is just too much work.
Very interesting is the fact that up to September 1950 Yogananda had continuously told people that he will make another trip to India, he invited Norman Paulsen and others to accompany him. But then in that very same month he changed his opinion and told Norman - who was struck by this - that it probably won't happen. This was one and a half years before his death.
During the period of Yogananda's last months you can find an increasing number of reports - not only in Paulsen's book - of Yogananda announcing that his days are counted and he won't stay long.
One week before the Ambassador's banquet he said that March 7 will be a big day for him in a way which leaves it open whether he was just speaking about the great event that it was, or if he knew already that this would be his own final exit. I admit that it is not possible to answer this question satisfactorily. However on the morning of March 7 he mentioned that the "very important engagement" was not the banquet itself - although there were no other engagements at the time.
Daya Mata reports that Yogananda told her clearly that he would pass away soon, this was a couple of days before his death; and on the eve of his passing he mentioned to her that it was "just a matter of hours" until he would be gone.
The many reports show clearly that Yogananda was aware of his impending passing during his last few days. But there was a sort of cut - he received word of being invited to the banquet only in the last week of February, when he was still staying in the desert, writing his books - his routine work for several years then. He may have felt that this banquet would be the appropriate occasion to pass away and began to actively prepare himself for leaving his body.
Another cut in his later life was when he entered a new level of realization in June 1948 (the nature of this realization I have nowhere found explained satisfactorily). He then remarked something like it doesn't matter to him anymore if he lives on or is taken away by Divine Mother at any given time, because he would remain in this condition for good, though not outwardly visible. Generally it sounds as if he had finished his personal sadhana then and became indifferent to his own welfare, as is reported in the case of other great yogis, too. -- It is a fact that as a result he decided to withdraw from organizational work and spend his days mostly in writing, as this would serve posterity better than working on his church.
The books by both Norman Paulsen and Durga Mata are full of references to Yogananda's bad physical condition during his last years. It seems his health has begun to deteriorate by the early 1930's already, and a bit later, in a letter to Rajarsi written in 1935 or 36 he announced that there would soon be "changes" in his body due to his taking over other people's karma on it.
In the early 1950's he suffered considerably at any rate; he had tremendous leg problems, the legs being swollen to double size at times; once Norman Paulsen had to carry him up the stairs to the third floor as Yogananda couldn't make it, on other occasions he could walk only with difficulty on flat ground. He had also other ailments like headaches but never complained. By the way, the weight of his body was 175 pounds then, although he was only 5'7'' tall - considerably overweight.
The way he frequently hinted at his own passing leaves the impression of a certain inevitability.
So, my own conclusions are as follows:
(1) Around September 1950 Yogananda got the inner conviction that his life would soon be ended. In that month it apparently became a probability to him that death will occur not far in the future; obviously he was aware of this danger even before, but in September 1950 he saw that it had become a probability rather than a possibility.
(2) He may not have known the exact date of his passing in advance, but in his last months increasingly sensed that the day was approaching. It is probable that during his last one or two weeks he knew that he would leave his body on the Ambassador's banquet.
(3) If we leave any possible mystical explanations aside, we can safely assert that either the direct or indirect physical cause of Yogananda's passing before attaining old age was his deteriorating health. The physical cause of his falling down on stage may or may not have been heart attack, stroke, or any other natural cause of death. In my opinion in all likelihood he was able to determine the exact timing of his passing, but embedded in a general trend which he may not have been able to steer arbitrarily.
(4) He was fully aware of his declining physical condition all the time. (He could see the same in others too, and this with remarkable excellence). He could not or he did not want to stop this process. But apparently he had enough control of it to pass away on a fitting occasion like the Ambassador's banquet. An average spiritually inclined person would have had little influence on the exact circumstances of his demise and would rather have tended to fall from the toilet (like Elvis Presley) or die in bed, for instance. Yogananda often said he did not want to die in bed, but "with my boots on, talking of India". Which is what he did.
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