Chapter Four: The Timid Approach

While I lived in SRF, it became gradually clear to me why it was that our Guru had told me so frequently, “You have a great work to do.” There had to have been some definite purpose for his telling me that. What I have come to realize is that he depended on me, more deeply than he ever let on, to save his work from later misinterpretation, dilution, and even worse: eventual dissolution.

I was deeply shocked when Daya once told me something Master had said to her. Evidently she had not realized the degree to which his statement was directed at her, personally; had she done so, she probably would have kept it locked in her heart. I repeat Master’s words here exactly as she reported them to me:

“How you all will change the work after I am gone. I just wonder, were I to return in another hundred years, if I would even recognize it.”

I have described Ananda’s relative credentials for claiming to represent our Guru. Surely the seniority claimed by some of them is not the only worthwhile credential! Doesn’t what we’ve done with what Master left us count also? Indeed, it must count for much more than the passive fact of having lived with him for “x” number of years? Any turtle could have done that.

How much has SRF accomplished in these sixty years since Yogananda’s passing? They closed down works that Master had begun: the restaurants in Hollywood and Encinitas; the hotel in Encinitas. They froze the creativity of their branch centers, concerned lest the center leaders, just possibly, dilute the teachings. They haven’t trusted their own ministers to respond spontaneously to questions. Instead, they offer prepared answers to artificially concocted questions. The ministers read the title out loud: “Answers to Frequently Asked Questions,” then give the carefully constructed solutions, painstakingly worked out no doubt by committee.

They timidly opposed every creative idea I ever proposed to them, offering the counter suggestion that we check first to see what had already been done “in the field.”

Two persons, Kamala Silva and Durga Mata, wrote books about our Guru. In consequence, they were ostracized. Yet SRF itself produced nothing in place of such works. They were like the dog in the manger in Aesop’s fable, in which story the dog wouldn’t let cows near the straw even though the dog did not personally eat the straw. And SRF won’t eat the manna of riches in Yogananda’s teachings, but they bark loudly to keep others from sampling it.

I myself have written nearly 140 books, all of them intended to make Master’s teachings better known. To SRF’s view, which Tara herself expressed to me, “People already have all the books they need for their salvation.”

I am told that there have been, so far, over 500,000 viewers of my Youtube videos. In the last month there have been over 20,000. Most of the shows are on Yogananda’s interpretations of the Bhagavad Gita. If SRF even knows of the existence of Youtube, I shall be pleasantly surprised. Indeed, according to very recent information, they don’t even offer their members an address by which SRF can be contacted by email.

I don’t mention my accomplishments in order to boast of them, but rather to say only, “Look what can be done—what all of us can do—to make our Guru’s work better known!” But to SRF this is megalomania. I sometimes wonder what they think his reason was for even coming to America! Could it have been merely to proclaim that the sacred truths he taught were secret?

I once discovered an ancient treatise in India, written supposedly 5,000 years ago, that accurately describes, and makes predictions for, the lives of countless people who are alive today. This remarkable testimony to the greatness of ancient India had no further meaning for Tara or SRF than that it said complimentary things about me—an unthinkable defect, inasmuch as they know of no record that says anything about them. (How could they know? None of them has taken the trouble even to investigate the phenomenon.) Tara’s comment to me was, “The only reason you mention that book at all is that it says such good things about YOU!”

Timidity about even quoting their own Guru in ways that might be misunderstood by a few is one of their basic defects. Yogananda more than once proclaimed that he had been Arjuna in a former life. Tara insisted, “We can’t say that! We have no proof!” And I couldn’t help asking myself when she said that, Isn’t it proof enough that he himself told us he’d been Arjuna?

I’ll be mentioning later Tara’s timidity in editing out some of his bolder statements for fear of “what people might think.” This fear of making the wrong impression on others is fundamental to everything SRF does. It has led to the gradual shrinking of his mission, legacy, and teachings to the point where I’m afraid that his work may some day become like the most watered-down Protestant sect, declaring essentially, “Go on just as you are, earning money and breeding like flies. Only take the name of our Savior occasionally, and you’ll be saved.”

Yogananda brought to the world a work of world-changing importance. They have treated it like an old ladies’ sewing circle.

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