Someone asked me to put some thoughts online, so I do it. I have added pretty little to the private conversation that went before it, but some changes there are anyway.
Groan: This is worth posting on the SRF thread. Geoff Falk self published Stripping the Gurus.
People tend to forget how unstable a medium cyberspace is. Too many trust Wikipedia content, not knowing that it mutates depending on who has influence and enough supporters to skew results.
Preserving texts in cyberspace is fighting to outrace the forces of destruction, oblivion, deletions, and also Windows changes – both drastic hardware and software changes that will come, for example in eight years. And that is the way it has been.
With such perspectives in mind, those who left Self-Realization Fellowship or some key person who left should write a book about SRF.
For some of the best items online disappear. Cyberspace is not stable. One has to pay to maintain a message board or forum, even if it is inactive and kept as an archive.
Owners of important message boards need to consider what will happen if they become incapacitated by illness or die. Who takes over the ownership of a site, with all its information?
And how does someone protect one's site from being taken over by an owner or group who tried to make it disappear, or simply lacks the resources to preserve it?
I responded that I agreed a long way, and that I would put our SRF-related conversation on the board after rewriting my thoughts. Here goes.
The Net is not as stable as physical books, good items. Also, some very good ones, disappear, even from the Internet Archive Wayback Machine [http://archive.org/], as is the case with much SRF Walrus material, which in part gave the impression of being written with heart-blood by former SRF monastics. Such material may be deleted even ot the Internet Archive, upon request, and it has been the case with vast parts of the SRF Walrus material – nearly all of it. Other possibilities to maintain the free spirit of inquiry into gurus of SRF and the leaders of a dynasty there may find many forms. I just show the ones that have mattered in my own spheres:
MATERIAL PRESERVED. There are many sincere contributions on the Walrus strings I took the time to download many years ago. So some SRF Walrus material has been preserved. Maybe not all of the posts, but some at least. I hope others have downloaded other parts of it than I took the trouble to do. or all of it. Then, what happened to the SRF Walrus moderator? Did he or she download a copy of everything? That would have been a sensible, reasonable thing to do in the light of his published intention of being around for long.
GET A UNIVERSITY HOST? Money to keep up a site that contains material about gurus, kriya and Self-Realization Fellowship has not been a major problem in my case, luckily. It is much due to a university's policy, in that the university in the town I live in, has been hosting my site for well over a decade, cheaply too. Others could seek to get similar deals where they live. That's a possibility, depending on university policies for students, employees and former students. There might be good opportunities along this vein. Inquiring a bit might help.
SELF-PUBLISHED. For someone who think about preserving good stuff, also in the light of getting "incapacitated by illness or die", as you aptly puts it, many other steps MIGHT be taken. One is to preserve good stuff as SELF-PUBLISHED BOOKS or leaflets. Geoff Falk, a Canadian who got disappointed with SRF and had it out with some gurus, went online AND published Stripping the Gurus. A chapter is here. /www.strippingthegurus.com/stgsamplechapters/yogananda.asp
HEIRS, FUNDS, BINDING AGREEMENTS, ETC. Otherwise, HEIRS may go on, but they may not keep the torch aflame for long - there is hardly any such guarantee. Maybe the host and the writer could make an agreement (in writing) about keeping the site alive for a fixed amount of years too. That could be another possibility to consider in some cases.
MANY COOKS, MUCH BROTH, AND ALSO GOOD ANGLES. Also, I back up the idea that a book (or many) about SRF - using the revealing SRF Walrus material - should be written, and better. published by a major publishers if that is possible. I find from my own experience that I am limited by my own experiences, though not so much in the field of "SRF theology", which I find awkward, to say the least. But the juicy instances around the SRF guru Yogananda and his loving crew over the years, and what they may have inflicted on members - such sad tales lies outside my range, by and large. Besides, English is not my first language and I live in another country than most SRF members supposedly do. One might say I have my footing and you have yours, I have my angles and you have yours, and many such anglings appeared in the SRF Walrus - and now hard-won expositions have been deleted, almost all of them. I think it would be a good thing of the moderator of the SRF Walrus discussion board had mailed each participant and told "End of discussion. Save your files, good fellows." But he didn't. If he or she still keeps copies, maybe he/she finds in his or her heart to contact the participants by email and offer copies. If not, maybe I should try to do it. But first the Walrus moderator should be given the opportunity, methinks. And my Walrus files are not that big or easy to handle. Besides, I have only few email addresses of the participants lying around.
HOW TO KEEP GOOD STUFF INTACT may be a tough one. "How does someone protect ones site from being taken over by an owner or group who tried to make it disappear, or simply lacks the resources to preserve it?" Just intoning "Get rich quick" and "that may clear up eventually", may not suffice for those in a hurry. But for all I know, some way or other might be found if several people pool their best resources together. If not, the presentation of the guru of SRF and his organization could get next to entirely in the hands of unjust Yogananda promoters. If we don't want unjust, unfair dealings in the dark, maybe there is a little more we might do. "One more punch," as Yogananda advocated in his way.
Yogananda taught about how to succeed in the chapter "Acquiring Attunement With the Source of Success" in his book Journey to Self-Realization
. I just paraphrase a few inches from it:
We may set forces into motion and create good luck, for reason and will have been given to us. Also, we may practice self-control, and reduce our wants to purposeful necessities, and include the welfare of others (benefits work well, too) in our prosperity to remain ideally prosperous. As he says, "I move by Spirit; there has been no thought of money, but of service to mankind".
He also says, "Be fair with God. Perhaps He has something better for you than what you are praying for."
The grand way: By deepening meditation we can eventually go into and remain in elevated consciousness, even while performing activities - work from the state of superconsciousness and inner happiness". He rounds off by
"As I behold, may you behold."