One correction I'd make to Raja's essay--
No! Not, Pseudo-religious! SRF is an actual-religious ideology. What does it matter if devotees worship living or dead saints? I wouldn't call that "pseudo". SRF devotees often revere and idealize the Matas, senior disciples who had the dumb-luck to be born and join SRF while the guru-god-man Yogananda was living, breathing, and expanding in his mortal frame.
Corboy: Yeah: after years of enduring tyranny from god-man Yogananda, the Matas, after Y died, got to be tyrants themselves by making the next generation adulate them
This pattern is common in many Indian families. The new bride is lowest in status. She gets tyrannized by mother in law. She endures years of physical and emotional slavery. If she survives, she eventually becomes mother in law and when the time comes, tyrannizes the next generation of daughters in law. Shit rolls downhill.
So perhaps this gets re-enacted in ashrams.
Here is an example of this senior disciple tyranny from the ashram of another deceased guru, Meher Baba, who advertised himself as being God and Avatar of the Age.
After MB croaked, many young Americans visited his ashram and many came to stay. .
Yogananda's first disciples were called Matas; the disciples of MB were called
Seven year old Rachel Manjia Brown finds herself whisked from life in the USA only to find she's marooned at eherabad with her parents, both of them Baba lovers. Here is a scene from Rachel's memoir, All the Fishes Come Home to Roost:An American Misfit in India
. (pp. 36--38)
On arrival at the ashram, Rachel is confronted by a female disciple who had known MB personally. This woman is wearing a traditional Indian outfit, the salwar kameez, which, to an American child would be nothing more than a long shirt and matching set of trousers. Trousers. PANTS.
A pink cheeked female mandali, Zireen, beckoned to Mom.
"You must dress your child properly for India. She may not wear pants or shorts. Girls must wear skirts or dresses."
"You're wearing pants" I pointed out.
exclaimed Mom. "Don't ever contradict a mandali."
Zireen smiled. "When you're older, you may wear the salwar kameez"
It all went downhill from there. Along came another mandali named whom Rachel Brown names Coconut.
I took an immediate dislike to Coconut who asked bewildering questions and would not take "Huh?" for an answer. There was no need to explain his nickname. He was brown, hairy and spherical Just when I thought he was getting bored, he produced the most peculiar inquiry yet.
"Are you my little mummy?"
Mom intervened. Sort of. "Mani, Mummy is how they say Mommy here."
"Come with me", said Coconut. "I will tell you why you're my Mummy."
I shot a "Help!" look at Mom.
"Go with him, Mani" she said through clenched teeth."He's a one of the mandali."
(Rachel thinks)He's a sixty-year old man named Coconut who thinks a seven year old girl he's just met is his mother, I tried telepathically to convey to my mummy-mommy, Mom. He's a nut!
Rachel Brown had to follow this bloke to the ashram office. Luckily for her, all he did was ask weird questions about the kali yuga-the final age. But, her mother failed to pick up on her daughter's dismay -- all because Coconut was a senior disciple, a mandali.
Mata, Mandali, whatever.
If read objectively, the descriptions of MB's behavior toward his mandali
make him sound like a psychiatric case, a tyrant, perhaps both.
Now it was payback time and this kid was on the receiving end.
(Corboy note: Plenty of little girls in India wear salwar kameez, btw. Ashrams are petty fiefdoms that teem with idiosyncratic rules.)
Back to SRF and Yogananda
Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 01/26/2017 12:39AM by corboy.