Paramhansa Yogananda was trained for his mission in the West by his Guru Swami Sri Yukteswar of Serampore, India.
Like Yogananda, Yukteswar belonged to India’s ancient Swami Order of monastics. Yogananda lovingly bestowed a title of Gyanavatar to his Guru, which means “Divine Incarnation of Wisdom,” for that was Sri Yukteswar’s hallmark:
His every utterance was measured and chiseled by wisdom. A sublime self-assurance marked his mode of expression: it was unique. He spoke as none other in my experience ever spoke. His thoughts were weighed in a delicate balance of discrimination before he permitted them an outward garb. The essence of truth, all-pervasive with even a physiological aspect, came from him like a fragrant exudation of the soul. I was conscious always that I was in the presence of a living manifestation of God.
—Paramhansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi
Sri Yukteswar, in turn, was a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya.