Category: Guru-Disciple Relationship
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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 ?
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.
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.
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.
How should we relate to spiritual authority?
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.
Apart from teaching of our beloved guruji Paramhansa Yogananda I found the meditation technique "transcendental meditation(TM)" of Maharshi Mahesh Yogi and "sudarshan kriya" breathing technique of Sri Sri Ravishankar very useful. Can I practice these techniques? Is it useful??
There are many different spiritual paths. A true spiritual path will lead you to oneness with God.
Once you have found your guru and taken a vow of discipleship, you should follow his spiritual path with all your heart, mind and soul.
Paramhansa Yogananda gave a complete set of spiritual practices to lead you to God. If he is your guru, you need to go deeper and deeper into the different practices that he gave, read his teachings, practice them in daily life, and give all your devotion to Him. The more you will immerse yourself with the spiritual practices that he gave, the more you will feel their power and you will be transformed.
Hello and a very Happy New Year to all the 1,000 or more saints at Ananda! My question is what is the best way to offer everything I do at the feet of God and Master this year (and all years)? How can I be more devotional in thought as well as action? What should I do to stay focused on this resolution without falling into moods and tamasic character despite “the crash of the breaking worlds” and pour out the energy I need to stay closer to my Beloved Lord? A Great year to all there!
Thank you for writing — your enthusiasm and energy are evident in your question itself! The practices and attitudes you list are crucial to spiritual growth: self-offering, devotion in thought, devotion in action, focus, and energy. In a way you’ve answered the question: developing these qualities in yourself more. As Sister Gyanamata (Yogananda’s most advanced woman disciple) said, when asked what she would have done differently in her life: “More and better.”
Do you need to surrender yourself to your guru, physically also, to the living guru?
Joy to you! Swami Kriyananda was asked a similar question and his answer was quite surprising to me. He said, “NO!!!” you don’t have surrender your self to a guru, unless…you want to find God. If your goal is to merge into the Infinite then you would want to surrender your tiny ego to the Infinite Bliss of a Self-Realized Guru. Otherwise, you could spend lifetimes enjoying chasing your tail — until one day you realize that all fun and effort you would put into chasing your tail got you very little in return.
As chelas, I know we are to be in constant attunement with & obedience to the Guru, so he can mold us God-ward. Yet I also read from Yogananda, “There is no law of God preventing you from being what you want to be and accomplishing what you want to accomplish.” It seems confusing; when I am in obedience-mode, then I feel paralyzed to take initiative in my life — when I take initiative, I feel like I don’t need Guru’s (or anyone’s) go-ahead. Personally I prefer the latter. Any thoughts?
Our habits and ingrained tendencies, which we have created through many lives, prevent us from becoming the best that we can be. This is why we need a guru.
Yogananda gave us a great affirmation: "I will reason, I will will, I will act, but guide Thou my reason, will and activity, to the right path in everything".
I need a guru but alas I am a 19 year old with no money. I want to know God. That is slowly becoming my only desire. I want to just find a self-realized guru and learn under him/her for years at an ashram. Can anyone give me advice on how to find a true guru? And do gurus take students free of charge?
Dear Friend and Fellow Chess club member,
Perhaps you have heard the old "saw," "When the disciple is ready, the guru appears!" At age 25 I sold everything and went to India for the same purpose, but, like Dorothy and Toto in the Wizard of Oz, I, too, came up empty handed, only to find my guru upon my return.