Altar of the Gurus: Why Are There Different Orders?


I have noticed that some Ananda altars have a differing order in the Guru lineage. Is there a reason for this? Is there a correct order?. I currently have (in this order) Lahiri, Babaji, Jesus, Krisha, Yoganada & Sri Yukteswar on my altar. Can your clarify? Blessings

—Janice, USA


Dear Janice,

The reason is that the altar which Yogananda had established was changed by SRF eight years after his passing, in 1960:

Yogananda’s and Sri Yukteswar’s positions were interchanged, Sri Yukteswar’s face was flipped to look toward the center, and Krishna was added. Swami Kriyananda has kept the altar arrangement as it was in Master’s time: Lahiri, Babaji, Jesus, Sri Yukteswar, Yogananda.

I have an SRF magazine, Nov./Dec 1959, when SRF still used that original altar setting, and they explained it in the magazine like this:

“Paramahansa Yogananda arranged himself the number and relative positions of the five pictures that show the line of SRF-YSS gurus.”

I also have a picture of the travel altar which SRF sold back then. I would attach it for you if I could. It shows Yogananda’s original altar arrangement, which Ananda still uses today.

There has been a lot of heated talk about these things, one side defending the changes (“Master wanted them”), the other defending what Master used. I think it’s better not to kindle that flame again in our hearts, but let everyone do as he thinks correct. Ananda chose to keep the altar as Yogananda had it, to use the title “Paramhansa” as Master himself wrote it, to publish his original Autobiography, etc.

Joy to you,