Category: Guru-Disciple Relationship
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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.
I, of course, believe Yoganandaji to be an avatar. However, it brings up several questions in my mind.
When Yogananda met Sri Yukteswar, he made him promise that he would reach God realization within this lifetime. But if he was an avatar, did he not already reach this state?
Also, after his guru died, he said that a blackness had polluted the river of bliss that had been flowing in him. How could this be so? I do not understand, though of course I still believe it to be so.
Those are good questions, ones that thoughtful devotees tend to stumble upon. We see similar instances in the lives of many great souls, avatars. So how can we reconcile their perfection in God with their humanity?
Well, I suspect in ways not unlike our own, just a difference of degree. As you can be noble and high minded in one instance, but perhaps irritable or frustrated by circumstances in another, and yet still be the same soul, so, too, an avatar who willingly assumes the garb and limitations of human form, must deal resopnsibily with the humanity in which he participates. Yogananda could be sweet or he could be strict, neither would necessarily affects his inward state of consciousness.
For Nayaswami Gyandev - read with interest your comments on listening to the sound of AUM from the right ear. Have you ever heard of a Guru kissing an initiate on the right ear? If so, it's meaning. Thanks.
I've never heard of a guru kissing an initiate on the right ear, although I suppose it may have happened. Perhaps it's even common in some lineages. It's not, however, a part of Paramhansa Yogananda's lineage.
So I can't speculate on the ear-specific meaning, other than the obvious thought that it would be an additional offering of the guru's spiritual vibrations to the disciple. One would hope that the disciple would receive such a gesture in a spiritually healthy way.
Did Jesus forgive Judas for Betraying him?
A disciple who was reprimanded by Paramhansa Yogananda once asked, "Will you forgive me, Sir?" The Master replied, "What else can I do?" In that loving spirit, certainly Jesus forgave Judas and included him in his statement on the cross, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."
I would like to know how to invoke Babaji's blessing and presence with me to reach the level of samadhi in meditation. Can I repeat his name as a mantra to invite him?
Paramhansa Yogananda answers this very question in his Autobiography of a Yogi in the chapter, Babaji, Yogi-Christ of Modern India. He quotes Lahiri Mahasaya as saying, "Whenever anyone utters with reverence the name of Babaji, that devotee attracts an instant spritual blessing."