Do you need a “living” guru?


Dear Purified Souls!

I have a pertinent and disturbing question to ask. It is always said that "One must have a Living Guru to progress in the spiritual path'. I am a great admirer of Paramhansa Yoganandji and I have just started to follow his teachings with Level I course. My question is whom should I consider as my Guru. Does this 'Living Guru' concept/requirement come in my way and rob my desire to become his disciple? Please clear my doubt. Thank you in advance.

Ravichandran Iyer



Dear Ravichandran,

An avatar is not defined by the physical body. He is eternal and omnipresent. Those of us who follow Yogananda have felt him to be very much alive, responding to our needs, thoughts, and prayers.

There is a principle that one needs to have the “touch” of a living guru – that there must be some contact with the guru on the physical plane. Swami Kriyananda has given this matter much thought from his own experience of living with Yogananda.

He said that even when Yogananda was alive, he did not personally initiate every one of his disciples, but had other ministers whom he had appointed act in his stead. From this fact and other things he learned from Yogananda, Swami Kriyananda says that people do need to have contact with someone living who represents the Guru.

The more in tune that person is, the more clearly he will be able to transmit the vibration of the guru. Reading books is not enough. A disciple of Yogananda should try to seek out others who either knew Yogananda, or knew disciples of Yogananda. There is something that can be gained from that living contact that cannot be gained just by reading lessons and meditating on the guru.

Since you are in India, i recommend contacting our ministers in India. We have centers in Gurgaon and in Pune, and meditation groups in many cities. You can look on the site at Those in Gurgaon (New Delhi) can let you know how to contact people near to you.

Many blessings for your spiritual journey,