Excerpts of an email sent around 2011 from YSS to members
Pertains to misunderstandings of YSS/SRF teachings, such as: 1) traditional Hindu forms of worship not being included in YSS; 2) Christ being included on YSS altars; 3) differences between earlier and later versions of the teachings…
From: Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS)
To: Yogoda Satsanga Dhyana Kendras and Mandalis
Subject: Disturbing Activities of a Few Devotees
Some devotees have been contacting us about the disturbing activities of a few individuals. There has also been motivated, false, and irrational criticism of ashramites and senior devotees of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS), mainly through e-mails. This letter seeks to clarify the position of YSS on these matters…
The Aims and Ideals of YSS, as set forth by our Gurudeva, are our constant guide and inspiration. The very first “Aim” of YSS is “To disseminate among the nations a knowledge of definite scientific techniques for attaining direct personal experience of God.” The Aims include, “…to…establish Yogoda Satsanga temples for God-communion,” as also “to point out the one divine highway to which all paths of true religious beliefs eventually lead: the highway of daily scientific, devotional meditation on God.”
As we know, this highway is not one of the traditional, ritualistic, or ceremonial paths followed by millions of people all over the world. Gurudeva’s focus was on the universal principles found in all religions, and, in particular, on showing the one true spiritual highway of scientific and devotional meditation that leads to direct experience of God. Our YSS Kendras and Mandalis were established on guidelines given by Gurudeva, and do not emphasize outer forms of ritualistic worship, traditional ceremonies, as explained in his teachings.
No one is authorized to change these guidelines or to insist that a particular form of worship be practiced on the premises of any YSS Ashram, Retreat, Kendra, or Mandali. We share this important point, and want to emphasize this guideline, because misguided individuals have recently made such demands.
Let us strive to keep Gurudeva’s teachings pure by following the framework of his teachings, represented by YSS under the guidance of his spiritual successor, Sri Sri Mrinalini Mataji, our Sanghamata and President.
Another Aim given by Gurudeva is “To reveal the complete harmony and basic oneness of original Yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna and original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ.” Devotees would recall that Mahavatar Babaji had himself asked Swami Sri Yukteswarji to write a book — The Holy Science — about the underlying harmony between the Christian and Hindu scriptures; he had also said that he would send to him a disciple (our beloved Gurudeva) to train for yoga dissemination in the West (Chapter 36 of Autobiography of a Yogi).
One of the main goals given to Gurudeva by Babaji was to reveal the underlying principles of all true religions — and especially those principles taught by Bhagavan Krishna and Jesus Christ. These are only some of the reasons why we include a picture of Jesus Christ on our altars in India, along with pictures of Bhagavan Krishna, and our line of Gurus: Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Sri Yukteswarji, and Paramahansa Yoganandaji. The same are displayed on the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) altars in USA, Europe, and all other parts of the world. We mention this in response to the allegations made in some of the above-mentioned e-mails that YSS is promoting Christianity.
There are also allegations that YSS/SRF is changing the teachings of our Gurudeva Paramahansa Yoganandaji. A few individuals who happen to see some older printings of his writings, and note some differences as compared to more recent editions, are making an issue about this without caring to enquire and know the complete background of the matter. The truth is that Paramahansaji himself revised, clarified, and improved those early editions of his books and Lessons. He gave much attention over the years–up until the very last days of his earthly incarnation–to the continual betterment and amplification of the publications which would present to posterity the teachings and sacred meditation techniques he was divinely ordained to spread worldwide.
To ensure the purity of these teachings for future generations, he personally trained and worked with qualified disciples in the editing and publication of his writings, especially Tara Mataji and Mrinalini Mataji (current Sanghamata and President of YSS/SRF). Our late beloved Sanghamata, Sri Sri Daya Mataji, had the responsibility — for more than 20 years — of recording Guruji’s talks and classes and also his dictation of book manuscripts. As a firsthand witness to these matters, and as the one entrusted by the Guru to eventually lead his worldwide work after his passing and to protect the purity of his teachings, Daya Mataji was qualified as none other on earth to ascertain that the Guru’s wishes and instructions for the publication of his teachings were carried out—a responsibility that now rests with Sri Sri Mrinalini Mata.
Daya Mataji, Mrinalini Mataji, and the devotees assisting them have faithfully followed as a sacred trust the guidelines given by Gurudeva, and to this day all details of YSS/SRF publications are guided thereby. We have full faith that those personally chosen and trained by our divine Gurudeva would know more about these matters than those who make an issue of any changes made in YSS/SRF publications during or after Gurudeva’s lifetime.
Yet another Aim and Ideal of YSS is “To overcome evil by good, sorrow by joy, cruelty by kindness, ignorance by wisdom.” Therefore, we do pray for all souls, including for those who are engaged in any disruptive activity or criticism of YSS. We pray that they practise with devotion our divine Gurudeva’s Yogoda teachings — the spiritual path which they had chosen and pledged to tread. We urge them to look within and ask if their actions are helping our Guru’s work in terms of the Aims and Ideals established by him.
Our blessed Gurudeva said: “The more you are in tune with me and refrain from fussing about little things, the better you will be. A steady stream of divine power will flow to you, for the Great Ones sent me here. When I am gone you will realize this truth with greater impact. I am here only to deliver their message. Little by little a spiritual change will come to the true followers of this path, and their influence will spread over the world. Yogoda Satsanga/Self-Realization is one of the greatest spiritual movements ever sent to help mankind. It has been blessed by the Great Ones — Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Sri Yukteswarji — in communion with Krishna and Christ. The grace of these masters is not gone from the earth. They are waiting to help you and to help the world.”
In conclusion, we hope that the foregoing information will clarify for you the issues erroneously presented in the e-mails sent by a few motivated individuals. Our suggestion is that, having understood the facts pertaining to these matters, please disregard any future communications from these misinformed sources (as many devotees are already doing), and keep your hearts and minds focused on what is really important — the sadhana that keeps one steadily advancing toward the sacred goal of life: God alone.
If you still have questions, you are always welcome to contact us.
May God and Gurudeva ever be in our hearts and thoughts.
In divine friendship,
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