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Questions and Answers About Meditation, Yoga, the Spiritual Life, and More

Category: Guru-Disciple Relationship

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Kristy
Australia

Question

Hello. I understand that disciplic lineage is important in finding a guru, a teacher. How do I go about doing this, or is this one of those when the student is ready, the teacher will appear situations? Thank you for your time.

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Kristy,

I think the right response is one of those BOTH-AND responses. Yes, when the disciple is ready, the "guru" (which includes the teachings, other disciples, the lineage, and the techniques) "appears," but that won’t happen unless we put out some energy in that direction. Running around helter-skelter to chase after gurus is, of course, silly. But sincere searching for one’s path is serious and committed, if calm and sometimes even humorous!

Paramhansa Yogananda put it this way: at first, one is guided and inspired by books; then lesser teachers, and, in time, by the true (or sat) guru. The implication, and the reality that I have observed, is that most of us find our spiritual path in the context of other disciples, perhaps long before we meet the true guru in human form. I put it this way: "The question isn’t who is a true guru, but who is a true disciple!"

We must prove (mostly to ourselves!) that our search is pure and sincere before we can attract that soul who actually has the power to free us. The good news is that God, in the form of one’s true guru, need not be physically present. The guru can guide us through other disciples, through the teachings and techniques and in other ways by our inner attunement. There has to be, as our teacher explained it, one "touch" of the guru at some point in one or more of these ways. But it makes sense because so fulfilling that in some lifetime we will have the living presence and friendship of our guru to guide us to freedom.

One who rejects contact with other disciples in favor of the claim of having a direct connection is warned of pride. So, continue your search and be open to the help offered by those who represent the divine ray to which you are drawn. Step by step we are guided as we grow, spiritually.

Blessings to you,

Nayaswami Hriman

How Can I Meet Babaji?
June 23, 2015

niti
india

Question

I had put up a pic of babaji and started talking to him. One day in dhyaan I experienced tremendous energy and khechari mudra spontaneously. Since then whenever I think of or talk to babjis pic I have varying experiences(daily, maybe sometimes even 4-5 times a day) including khechari and its exercises.

However whenever I ask him that I want to see him or talk to him, nothing happens. I want to see/meet him or talk to/hear him. Please help!!

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Niti,

Many devotees would be deeply grateful to have had the responses you have already had as you have described them. Your faith and positive expectation that Babaji will visit you is admirable and touching. However, Babaji visits very few people. (Read stories in the book, Autobiography of a Yogi.)

May I suggest that your prayers continue but after praying meditate deeply and be very still. Let Babaji, God or the Master’s bless you in ways they deem are best for your spiritual growth. It is better not to frame your prayers with too many conditions. Pray that God help to love Him more deeply; to serve Him more willingly and without thought of self, and to be guided by wisdom in all things.

Blessings,

Nayaswami Hriman

The Touch of the Guru
March 9, 2015

Amor
Inda

Question

Greeting to Yogis of Ananda,

I met Swami Kriyananda on his birthday in 2008. I had long wished to meet him as he wrote that a physical contact with your Guru is important. I touched his feet and Swamiji touched me on my forehead saying Aum. The next moment, I feel a sensation in the the pineal gland and between my chest. The sensation on my chest remained for few days but the sensation in the pineal gland still remains. All those who received Him... Is this the power to become the son of God?

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Amor,

What a great blessing you describe from your meeting of Swami Kriyananda! The spiritual power of the awakened spiritual eye (Kutastha Chaitanya) is indeed the Christ (or "Kristna") consciousness, otherwise latent in our soul’s consciousness. To feel God’s touch there is but the beginning however. To quote Paramhansa Yogananda’s famous poem, “Samadhi,” “by deeper, longer, thirsty, guru-given meditation comes this celestial Samadhi.”

Therefore, deepen this blessing, this touch of the guru (Paramhansa Yogananda through a direct disciple, Swami Kriyananda) by daily meditation, devotion, prayer, and nishkam karma (selfless action spoken of by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita). Also, by association with other gurbhais, especially from Ananda, you can daily “receive Him” as you evolve ever more certainly toward moksha, liberation in God.

Blessings to you,

Nayaswami Hriman

Yuvraj
India

Question

Sir

I am Yuvraj Arude 27 years old and want a guru. How do I find one?

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Yuvraj,

It is well said that “When the disciple is ready, the guru appears!”

Seek inspiration and truth from those sources available to you by sincere study, meditation, service and prayer. As your soul is purified by your efforts, you will attract, step-by-step, the inspiration and guidance that you need.

The real question is NOT “Where is my guru?”, but “How can I grow spiritually?” This means “I am open and receptive to the lessons and teachings that I attract.” Always, however, use your common sense and trust your own inner guidance, lest you attract a false teacher. True gurus are very, very, very rare. But never give up, for God answers all prayers and deep and sincere prayers are answered more quickly.

Do you know of Ananda Sangha in India? I recommend that you visit the website, www.anandaindia.org. Paramhansa Yogananda, though no longer in the body, is a true guru. His teachings and his living presence through his disciples can help and guide you. Also, have you read his (now famous) life story, Autobiography of a Yogi? It is a must-read!

Blessings!

Nayaswami Hriman

Luv Agrawal
India

Question

Where to find a yogi guru?

Has anyone in Ananda Sangha or any swami that you know, has attained nirvkalpa samadhi? can you show me the way?

Why did Swami Kriyananda did not achieve mahasamadhi like paramhans yogananda, inspite of being his direct disciple?

why did swami kriyananda had to leave the spiritual path and live a married life?

can you please answer my above stated questions..

please.. i am a sincere seeker and need answers.

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Luv Agrawal:

One doesn’t "find" a guru in the manner you describe: one’s karma draws to you a true guru by the depth, the sincerity and the purity of your efforts towards divine attunement. It is not ours to judge the spiritual realization of other souls. Our duty is to our own spiritual growth. Divine Mother will send to you what your soul needs at the right time.

How would you know the difference between someone who has had nirvikalpa samadhi and one who has not? Simply their saying so? "He who says he knows, doesn't; he who says he doesn’t, doesn't; he who knows: KNOWS!"

Be not concerned about Swami Kriyananda: his spiritual realization is between him and God. He has left this earth. Many great saints, even avatars such as Lahiri Mahasaya, Lord Krishna, etc. were married. And, who says Swami Kriyananda did not achieve mahasamadhi? Who is qualified to know that?

You are looking in the wrong places. Purify your body; calm your thoughts; open your heart in devotion. See and serve God in all and pray for guidance; pray for God to send to you whatever and whoever you need at this time to help you. The issue today is NOT who is a true guru, but WHO IS A TRUE DISCIPLE!

I wish you well on your journey to Self-realization!

Nayaswami Hriman

Shrey
India

Question

I have understood that God is our ultimate goal and our job on this earth is to decrease the gap that we have created by our ego. So I am determined to transform this lower nature and become one with the Divine Mother. But this battle requires a Guru. Do you think Yoganandaji or Kriyanandaji will guide me? I have not been initiated, but I have mentally always regarded them as my gurus from the books and Internet. Also, can any Ananda ashram in India help me receive initiation the path of kriy ?

Nayaswami Dharmarajan

Nayaswami Dharmarajan

Ananda India

Answer

Dear Shrey,

Thank you for your question — it is an important one. When the student first takes up the spiritual search, God sends him or her books and lesser teachers. As the student begins to seek intensely, God sends the guru. I say “the” guru because each of us has only one true guru (or satguru). That guru is assigned to each of us — Yogananda said, shockingly — at the time of our soul’s first manifestation.

Is your guru Yoganandaji, or Yoganandaji through Kriyanandaji? It’s quite possible, if only for the reason that you feel to regard them as your guru. Our feelings come from the heart, which — when calm — can give intuitive guidance. Your heart may recognize Yoganandaji, or Yoganandaji through Kriyanandaji, as your guru.

Can the guru guide you without initiation? Certainly! Your guru has been watching you your entire life. And even if Yoganandaji is not your guru, he will guide you to your guru. You can pray to any saint to be guided to your guru. There is no competition in God.

Having said this, is initiation necessary? Yoganandaji said that it is. “Between guru and disciple,” he told Kriyanandaji, “there must at least one physical touch.” You can receive that physical touch from Yoganandaji through one of his disciples — the touch is passed on. Yoganandaji sometimes had others initiate on his behalf even when he was still living.

So he can guide you now, before initiation. And he can guide you to receive initiation.

As for your question about Ananda’s centres in India, yes, they offer initiation into the path of kriya yoga. At present, our main centres are in Pune, the Delhi area, Bangalore, Kolkata, and Chennai. They also offer ongoing classes on-line. You can read more on AnandaIndia.org and AnandaIndiaOnline.org.

Many blessings to you, Shrey!

Trajan
Europe

Question

Hello i am wondering would it be wrong of me to include Sri Anandamayi Ma with the Gurus ( Yogananda, Sri Yukteswar, Babaij, Jesus Krishna and Lahiri Mahasaya ) even if she is not one of the SRF or Ananda gurus? As I feel a connection with Anandamayi Ma as I do with the Gurus.

Nayaswami Devarshi

Nayaswami Devarshi

Ananda Village

Answer

First I'll answer what I think you may have meant, and then what you literally asked. There are a few saints and masters that Yogananda considered in tune with our line of Gurus. Swami Kriyananda told of Yogananda addressing this once:

Several of the monks were reading the lives of saints. At this time, the Master gave us the following recommendation as to what we should read of those lives:

“Read the lives only of those in our own line: Saint Francis of Assisi, for example, and Saint Teresa of Avila.”

His expression, “those who are in our own line,” was one I pondered for a long time. The Master could not have meant, “those who are directly connected with our line of gurus,” for we’d have had no way of knowing who such persons were. He could only have been referring, then, to saints who had attained deep states of inner communion with God. Not all saints, certainly, even among those canonized by the Church, belong in this higher category.

Conversations with Yogananda

Swami Kriyananda also gave some very good advice that is important and relevant for anyone who follows a Guru of any tradition. Many people don’t fully understand the importance of following one’s Guru 100% in everything. They also add to their practice and understanding what other teachers and Gurus give, and end up diluting what their own Guru gives to them. I know of one very popular modern saint/teacher who has said things that directly contradict Yogananda, for example, yet Yogananda disciples sometimes accept what this person says as truth.

In response to the more general question (not the one asked by you!) of going to other saints and teachers (much as the young Yogananda did), Swami Kriyananda advised that it’s fine to go for inspiration, but not for teachings, since the spiritual advice that even a true teacher gives might be for their disciples needs, and may in fact contradict one’s own Guru or at least be unhelpful.

That said, I’ve found Anandamayi Ma to be perhaps the most in tune and in agreement with our own line of Gurus, and I myself often read her words for the devotional inspiration they give me. I’ve also never found anything in her teachings that contradicts Yogananda’s.

But in general, it’s good to be cautious and ask the question that you ask.

As far as “including” her in our line of Gurus, well, she isn’t directly in our Guru lineage. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pray to her or have her photo on your altar. These things are very personal and individual, in the end. Swami Kriyananda also had a very, very deep and close connection with Anandamayi Ma, as did Yogananda.

joy,

devarshi

Jenny
USA

Question

How should we relate to spiritual authority?

Answer

I’ve always considered Swami Kriyananda to be Paramhansa Yogananda’s chosen messenger.

Master told Swamiji that he would not be merely a teacher, but that he would have spiritual responsibility for people. And an essential part of our relationship with him involves understanding how to relate to his spiritual authority.

I like to think of the spiritual realm as a kingdom, where the king appoints a prince to be in charge of a certain province. The fact that the prince isn’t the king doesn’t give him any less authority to rule in the king’s name. Nor are his subjects more in tune with the king when they ignore the prince.

In the subset of Yogananda’s spiritual family that is Ananda, Swami is the one whom Yogananda gave the responsibility of speaking for him. If we relate to Swami with that kind of respect, it facilitates the flow of dynamic spiritual energy between us. But if we refuse to hear Swami as Yogananda’s representative, thinking “I don’t know who you are, I only know I love Yogananda,” the system breaks down, and our spiritual progress is weakened.

In a Catholic monastery, each monk’s superior becomes the voice of Christ for him. Of course, the Church pushed the concept too far, when it insisted that the superior can demand blind obedience.

Many people don’t understand how to relate to spiritual authority. Often, they think they have to relate to the teacher mindlessly, like the monks in a Catholic monastery, and that they can’t think and evaluate for themselves.

It’s very important to remember that God can reach you more effectively if you’re sincere about wanting to be reached. If you act from faith and devotion, from common sense and discrimination, then the people whom God has given spiritual authority in your life will be empowered to help you, through your faith and humility.

Any relationship works better if you’re respectful, and if you’re attentive and trying to tune in. This is especially true in the relationship of the teacher and student, where we’re trying to let ourselves be guided.

Sister Gyanamata, who gave us the most extraordinary example of a disciple, shared many wonderful instructions from her life with Paramhansa Yogananda. She said, “You can say anything you want to the guru, as long as you speak with detachment and respect.”

I’ve given Gyanamata’s words a lot of thought. And of course they’re true about our relationship with the guru, but they’re also true in our relationships with the other people in our lives.

You can say pretty much anything you want to anyone, as long as you speak with detachment and respect. It’s when you’re not detached and respectful that things start to go awry. As long as you’re impersonal, bringing forth your ideas with sincerity, and being respectful of the person you’re talking to, not sneering and putting him down, that communication can flow.

Many years ago, Swamiji told me, “You don’t express what you really feel, but you’re not fooling me.”

I had been working hard on holding the right attitude – too hard, in fact, so hard that I wasn’t allowing myself to have my own feelings and think my own thoughts.

Swami has always said that he much prefers an honest argument over a mindless “yes.” A mindless yes is not a yes; it’s a firecracker waiting to go off. An honest argument is the process of coming to the truth you’re looking for.

Years ago, just after Swami published one of his books, a woman kept calling me with incredibly convoluted, niggling objections to what he’d said in the book, paragraph by paragraph.

She was a bright woman, and I couldn’t understand her objections. Finally, I got so tired of talking to her that I said, “What are you doing?”

She said, “If Swami isn’t wrong, then I have to listen to him.”

I said, “Oh, I get it. Okay, we’re talking about fear. We can have a real conversation about fear.”

She had been exhausting us with her attempts to discredit him, so that she wouldn’t have to face the real issue, which was that he might be right and she’d have to accept his spiritual authority.

I’ve always treated Swami as if he were Master, because I consider him to be Master’s representative, and he’s always spoken to me in that way. I’ve always felt that what he said to me carried that level of authority. He’s been, and continues to be, an extraordinary channel of Master’s for us all. But God can only inspire us to the extent that we’re receptive. If you’re praying, and you sincerely want to hear the answer to your prayer, then the truth can come into your mind.

I’ve had the experience of people asking me for advice, and I found I couldn’t think of anything to say. And I realized the person didn’t actually want me to say anything, because they were afraid of what I might say, and as a result I drew a blank.

Several times, I asked Swami for advice in such a way that we both knew I wasn’t going to be able to follow whatever advice he gave me. At those times his answer was always, “I have nothing to say.”

People say to me, “I like coming to church, and I like what you say, but I don’t connect with Kriyananda.” And I tell them, “You’re connected with nothing but Kriyananda. You just don’t know it yet. You have called it as you see it, but you don’t yet understand the source of the power.

“Everything that you experience through Ananda is created by Swami Kriyananda. Everything that I’m saying comes from Swami. Rarely do I give you an idea of my own. So if you like any word that I say, you really like Kriyananda without realizing it. I encourage you to go beyond me to the source, to Swami and through him to Yogananda, because you might as well climb the highest mountain.”

Swami Kriyananda wasn’t fully liberated until the end of his life, but he was highly attuned with Yogananda. He was, and continues to be, a pure channel for Yogananda’s energy.

In Master’s Joy,

asha

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