Current Page: 8 of 18
Self-Realization Fellowship
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: March 31, 2007 09:37PM


This was covered on another thread you posted at.

See []

Here is a good working definition for a destructive cult as defined by a doctor that once taught at Harvard Medical School.

See []

"Certain psychological themes which recur in these various historical contexts also arise in the study of cults. Cults can be identified by three characteristics:

1. a charismatic leader who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose their power;

2. a process I call coercive persuasion or thought reform;

3. economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling coterie.

Also see []

Here are some "warning signs" regarding a potentially unsafe group or leader:

See []

Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.

Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.

There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.

Followers feel they can never be "good enough".

The group/leader is always right.

The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

Here are some additional "warning signs" concerning those who become involved with potentially unsafe groups and leaders:

Extreme obsessiveness regarding the group/leader resulting in the exclusion of almost every practical consideration.

Individual identity, the group, the leader and/or God as distinct and separate categories of existence become increasingly blurred. Instead, in the follower's mind these identities become substantially and increasingly fused--as that person's involvement with the group/leader continues and deepens.

Whenever the group/leader is criticized or questioned it is characterized as "persecution".

Uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly programmed conversation and mannerisms, cloning of the group/leader in personal behavior.

Dependency upon the group/leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought. A seeming inability to think independently or analyze situations without group/leader involvement.

Hyperactivity centered on the group/leader agenda, which seems to supercede any personal goals or individual interests.

A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humor.

Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader.

Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.

Former followers are at best-considered negative or worse evil and under bad influences. They can not be trusted and personal contact is avoided.

Options: ReplyQuote
Self-Realization Fellowship
Posted by: brainout ()
Date: March 31, 2007 10:26PM

I got confused which forum I was in, didn't realize the posts here were so old. But your reminder of the parameters is apt. Who knows when someone else might enter?

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Self-Realization Fellowship
Posted by: josey1234 ()
Date: February 10, 2010 09:15PM

I really don't see that Self Realization Fellowship is a cult. They do not limit who you are friends with, and certainly it isn't easy being friends with anyone in SRF since they really don't believe in socializing, but perhaps you can call that cultist because you really can't bring up anything to others about your doubts. Doubts are negative. They also don't wish you to read anything negative about SRF, but they don't stop people from reading about other gurus or going to other gurus, although they may not like it. There are no punishments from doing so.

They put fear into your leaving by showing that Yogananda said that anyone who leaves him will not come back to God for many lifetimes, but how is that any different than any Christian group that tells you to believe in Christ or burn in hell forever?

It is true when you leave you have lost your friends, but they were not close in the first place, so you have not lost any thing that resembles a family, and they will still talk to you if you call them or run into them.

I have been in a real cult, the Jehovah's Witnesses, and I can tell you that SRF is nothing compared. It is true that gurus are authoritarian leaders, but so was Christ. The same can be said of both since both are no longer alive. Which makes it easier because there is no one to tell you what to do. I have been in the Vedanta Society where you have live gurus, and they do try to control their disciples, and they do this by shunning if you are not obeying them. I had this happen to me because I rebelled when I learned how many disciples were mentally abused. But the members still talked with me. I left as a result of this type of treatment. Getting out of SRF and going to Vedanta was like getting out of the frying pan into the fire, but leaving the Jehovah's Witnesses was a living hell.

The website that Yellowbeards posted in earlier posts is no longer in existence and SRF Walrus won't allow new posters. Yellowbeard took it down when he decided that SRF was not a cult but a fluffy bunny and then went back to meditating.

Here are some blogs on SRF and on the Dangers of Meditation, which is something that most of these organization deny can even be dangerous:

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Self-Realization Fellowship
Posted by: josey1234 ()
Date: February 10, 2010 09:32PM

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Self-Realization Fellowship
Posted by: josey1234 ()
Date: February 13, 2010 08:39PM

Since my last post, someone has created a board So now exsrf members will have a place to talk about their issues.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Self-Realization Fellowship
Posted by: MumboJumbo ()
Date: February 14, 2010 09:40PM

I was very disappointed when I visited the cultbuster's board to find it closed. I can't fathom why Yellowbeard would have deleted all that wealth of information - information which helped expose Yogananda and the SRF (which I do believe is a cult). Why didn't he just leave that information up? I think it is a very selfish act on his part.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Self-Realization Fellowship
Posted by: josey1234 ()
Date: February 15, 2010 05:00AM


I new board has been created:

The story with him is that he grew tired of it in a way. It always kept him angry with others. When he took it down I began some blogs of my own from the information that had been stored on CB. I took one down since the information is now on this new board, but I left up Down the Crooked Path. The SRFCult was done by another person, and it remains up.

Then Yellowbeard wrote to me saying that he had gone back to meditation, etc. and that I was staying on the darkside by having these blogs. Next thing I know a person I knew that I really admire due to his/her lack of being abusive towards others, started this new board, SRFBlacklist, and I have been trying to gather up the best of cb and posting it. I always had all of the early threads, and gathered more when I was leaving. Also trying to find new posters.

It is very hard knowing what to do about SRF Forums in that in these types of cults you are made to feel guilty if you even think anything negative about the organization or guru, so I can see why after 8 years Yellowbeard fell back into believing that to do so was being on the dark side. Even now I am concerned about my posts on Yogananda hurting others, and at the same time not really knowing what the real truth is about him, although in my experience of gurus, they are all bad.
\In my years of posting about SRF on Cult Busters, it was hard seeing it as a cult, but I had read a book recently that helped open my eyes to the fact that it is, even if it isn't as bad as the Moonies or the Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. The book: Combatting Cult Mind Control by Steven Hassan.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Self-Realization Fellowship
Posted by: Katie ()
Date: February 22, 2010 02:14PM

Hi Josey and Mumbo-Jumbo,

SRF is absolutely a cult. The closer you are to the epicenter the more broken you become. They do not send you out like the Jehovah witnesses do but they definitely mess with your mind. They keep secrets and push an agenda. They have a doctrine that is very damaging to families and hard on children. The marriages are some of the worse I have ever seen and the divorce rate is quite high.

It is no worse than some of the other main stream cults such as Mormons and JW but that is not saying much.

The thing that made me leave is that the whole philosophy and attitude of the organization is cold and heartless. It is totally without true warmth. If you ever reach a time in your life that you need any kind of emotional support, forget it. If you or your loved ones are on the deathbed all they have for you is "its their karma" and "they will be back sometime" and the clergy doesn't want to be bothered with anyone who is going to die and stop sending tithing or support the "work", when you are holding the hand of a dying loved one who has been in SRF for decades and no one from the church gives a hoot, well I can tell you, you definitely start thinking about how you spent that time.

I was horrified to hear (after a long wait on the phone) that my husbands wonderful life was not a "gift" but a stepping stone toward merging into the infinite and since he wasn't "perfect" he would be compelled to come back and do it again and again. Not real comforting stuff. He survived but no thanks to SRF because they wouldn't even pray for him. My moms church sent out a prayer line for him and HER clergy came to the hospital. SRF couldn't be bothered.
I remember once at convocation the monk saying "We are your family". To that I say, not much of one.

I am the person with the SRF cult blog that Josey so nicely posted (thanks Josey).

Peace and Best Wishes,



On the subject of Yellowbeard, From what I understand, He did not go back to SRF and Kriya but some other meditation technique. I hope he is doing ok. it was a long road for him.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Self-Realization Fellowship
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 22, 2010 11:32PM

IMO, a basic element of most bad relationship and, especially CULTS is this:

Unreciprocated loyalty.

Two, many people who did not even go into SRF did read 'Autobiography of a Yogi' and went off to look for a guru, with their expectations pre-formatted by that book, and others.

So even if readers of 'Autobiography of a Yogi' did not choose SRF, they might have been more recruitable by others out there.

In fact, a really enterprising guru (whether wearing robes or western clothes) could have done Psychological Operations/Market Research by reading 'Autobiography' and other items popular among seekers, and by reading such items know pretty precisely exactly kinds of expectations seekers would have upon arriving in Mumbai
or elsewhere in India.

And then play to those expectations.

Many of our efforts focus on how a target crossed paths with a recruiter or was urged to get involved by a trusted friend or relative.

But if you are wondering how someone or yourself was easily beguiled, look back on the kinds of books you read by and about gurus before you met the person who had an entrancing effect.

That person may have read those same books that you did and by doing so, would have known what kinds of unconscious expectations and even images you had in your mind.

That kind of knowledge is very, very potent information and can be exploited when creating seemingly ancient rituals.

Note: regarding the LDS, I can report that the managers do NOT take good care of their young and trustful missionaries.

I was outside of a metro stop in the rain, and saw two LDS missionaries in the customary pair, with the tell tale badges, come up the escalator and onto the street.

It was a dark, grey day, raining, low visibility.

Those two kids were dressed in BLACK rain slickers.

Guys, if upper management in LDS missionary outreach had been taking proper care of their own, the missionaries would have been issued high visiblity yellow rain coats.

There are reasons why crossing guards at schools are issued high visiblity clothes in dark wet weather.

Anyone on foot, in grey wet weather, wearing black, cannot easily be seen by a motorist, bicylist, or motorcycle.

This is an example of what I would term unreciprocated loyality--failure to care for your trustful low-on-the-food-chain members who are doing the hard work to keep an organization going that is quite enough money to purchase high vis rain gear for its missionaries.

Unreciprocated loyality.

It takes different forms and garb depending on the organization, but its the same thing, only the belief system being different.

All one has to do is look past the belief system and look to see whether loyalty is reciprocated, throughout ones time in the relationship or group, and regardless of what
rank you hold within the organization.

If you are given lots of care and support at the very start of the relationship or group membership, and then, later on, things change and your loyalty goes unreciprocated that initial care and support could be called love bombing.

It doenst characterize the entire climate of the group---just the way recruits are treated, only for the support to be withdrawn and neglect to set in, once your membership is secured and your loyalty has been proven.

You end up living on past memories of the good times while rationalizing current neglect as some sort of purification.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Self-Realization Fellowship
Posted by: josey1234 ()
Date: February 23, 2010 05:52AM

Hi Katie :)

The thing with SRF is that they do no love bombing. That has caused many people to not return. I am trying to do an article at this moment and came here to see if I could find information, but it is getting too late in the day for me. I loaned out my mind control book.

I had been on the website 4 years ago. They had a hot potato section, and someone came and asked, Are we a cult? I finally arrived late in the game, and I don't recall what I said and only saved a few posts from the administrator and some of the devotees. Some devotees said that exSRF members should not have freedom of speech here. Some desired this section to remain. Then questions arose as to whether keep the hot potatoes section or remove it and whether to allow or not allow exmembers on the board. Then those that were exSRF members were bashed. It came down to taking down the board because they didn't want to hear anything negative about SRF or Yogananda. In some way I know that this controlling information is cult-like but I can't find it yet. I know that this is how the Jehovah's Witnesses controlled information. You were not allowed to doubt or even talk about doubting, much less read exJW books. I saw this when I was in SRF and cringed, but it took awhile before I could see this. See, it doesn't matter if you had been in one of the biggest mind controlling groups there isl, because mind control is very subtle, and you may not see it at first. And with SRF it is even more subtle. So when I left the JWs I thought I would never find myself in another cult. I was wrong. And when I think about Yellowbeard and how he was so much against cults, but in the end he said that SRF and Yogananda were put here by God, and that we should not put down God's family. He then began bashing me, and it felt like he had become one of those bliss bunnies again that once bashed him and everyone else on the board. After eight years, he went back. I just don't get it. I just wish him well.

And back to what I was saying, while ex members on this yogananda board should not have freedom of speech, those same members have come to the exSRF boards and blasted away at the members in such a way that they had to be banned. I really didn't mind their coming on the board to talk, but not to be abusive towards its members. More often than not, they don't even read the posts, but just start blasting.

I think I will wait to do my article. :)

Options: ReplyQuote
Current Page: 8 of 18

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.