Can I keep my religion while using Yogananda’s meditation techniques?


Hi, I am a disciple of Paramhansa Yoganandaji. I am a Sikh by faith. Is it okay for me to continue chanting Sikh prayers along with our Guru’s meditation techniques? Or will this affect my attunement with our Guru? I note that in Autobiography of a Yogi, Lahiri Mahasaya states that everyone should practice their faith. I have even read somewhere Guruji saying that we should all meditate on a passage from our scriptures daily. I note that Guruji focused on Hindu and Christian scriptures only.

—Karan Kaur , Australia


Dear Karan,

As Lahiri Mahasaya stated, one can continue in one’s own religion while practicing the Path of Kriya Yoga, which includes the techniques which he taught. If you feel that your faith is important to you, then certainly continue with it. If chanting Sikh prayers helps you in your spiritual growth, then again, continue to use them.

The point is not to be defined by any outward belief or religion. Our focus should be on returning to our true home, to the kingdom of God within. This is the emphasis that Paramhansa Yogananda brought to all of us.

Yogananda did encourage the daily reading of scriptures as a way to keep us in the flow of God’s presence. He also stated that his mission was to bring back into focus the original teachings of Jesus Christ and the original teachings of yoga as taught by Krishna and the great yoga masters.

It wasn’t so much an exclusion of other teachings such as Islam or Buddhism or the Sikh religion, but Yogananda felt that the essence of all religion, also known as “Sanaatan Dharma,” was clearly expressed in the teachings of Jesus Christ and Krishna. Yogananda’s emphasis with these teachings is one of universality; in other words, they could be applied by anyone, no matter what outward garb of religion one felt drawn toward.

Blessings on your spiritual journey,
Nayaswami Pranaba