On December 7, 1926, Swami was the guest at a Cleveland Yogoda banquet. The Cleveland Plaindealer for December 8th wrote up the event as follows:
"Five hundred members of the Cleveland Yogoda family dined last night at the Chamber of Commerce on a Hindu menu prepared in honor of their leader, Swami Yogananda.
" ‘Yogoda’ means ‘balanced living,’ and is the only term Swami will use to designate his philosophy. Like another religious leader 2,000 years ago, he defies cults and creeds and believes that the real religion is universal.
" ‘Truth is neither Hindu nor American,’ he said last night. ‘Truth is the invisible force that is in us all. Who can explain the mystery of a flower, a candle flame, a human being?’
"Like that other religious leader, Swami preaches this ‘truth’ and wants his name omitted.
" ‘You are unduly praising me,’ he said. ‘You place too much responsibility on me, I
plead not to be your master, I plead to be your servant.’
" ‘God is not a terrible big thing with a javelin, ready to handle you as though He were a detective. He is a friend, a close personal force in all our lives.’ "
On December 12th, Swami spoke over the radio in Cleveland.
During his visits to Cleveland and Pittsburgh in December, Swami conducted special Initiation classes for the first time in America in the Higher Art of Realization, which were attended by large and enthusiastic groups of Yogoda students. At this class in Cleveland at the Hotel Hollenden, the room had a gala appearance. One table was loaded with fruits, flowers and a delightful fruit drink brought by the students, and another table bore incense burners and other gift offerings.
Rev. Lohman’s Report
The outstanding event of the year was the eight day visit of Swami, from December 4 to December 11, during which time he gave his Twelve Practical Lessons in Yogoda to a large class of students at the Hollenden Hotel. The class in the Special Initiation was most inspiring, and the large enrollment of students for this special work was evidence of the sincerity and determination on the part of the Cleveland Yogoda student body.
"The first regular student assembly was held January 3rd with a splendid attendance and an abundance of interest in Yogoda for 1927. A most unexpected visit by our dear Swami at this first meeting of the New Year was, to say the least, thrilling. The entire student body rose to its feet and greeted our most welcome guest with unceasing applause and waving of hands as tears of joy filled our half-believing eyes.
"Come again, Swami, come as often as you can and stay as long as you please; but come, for Cleveland loves you.
"It is our aim and desire to carry out Swami’s altruistic ideas in connection with our class work in that we hope to serve our fellow beings and bring to them much of the joy which comes to the soul, once it has learned to live right.
"We need a ‘How-to-live’ school in Cleveland, and we shall have it.
"Greetings to Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Boston and Yogodans everywhere."
Rev. Edward A. Lohman, Leader.
Cleveland Yogoda Center
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