When one person gets enlightened, does it benefit the entire humanity? How?
—Siddharth Kumar, India
Yogananda explained that there are stages of enlightenment or freedom for the soul. The first stage is jivan mukta, freed while living. The jivan mukta is free from incurring new karma but must still release past karma. The param mukta or siddha has reached the state of final liberation. To reach this state Yogananda said that you must free at least six others in order to be completely free yourself. Once free, rarely does a siddha return to this world. At times a siddha may be sent back to this world with a God-ordained mission to uplift humanity. This siddha is then an avatar such as Jesus, Buddha, Moses and also the line of gurus associated with this path of self-realization: Paramhansa Yogananda, Babaji Krishna, Lahiri Mahasaya, Sri Yukteswar and Jesus Christ is part of this line. The avatar has the power to bring a vast number of souls to freedom.
Yogananda also said that when a soul is liberated seven generations of his family backwards and forwards is liberated. In this case, he meant that for the souls who receive this blessing, their spiritual evolution is greatly accelerated so that they reach a high plane of consciousness after death. He also said that the first generation of a master’s family includes his disciples. In fact, the power of an avatar goes way beyond seven generations as people are still greatly aided in their soul’s evolution by avatars who lived centuries ago if they are deeply attuned to them.
Regarding the question of ‘how’: A master is able to guide the individual who is deeply attuned spiritually in how to live and practice in such a way that he releases his bondage to limitation and embraces his identity as a child of God. This guidance comes not only in the form of teachings but also immersion in the spiritual magnetism of the master who serves as the guru to the disciple. These enlightened beings are also able to take on the karma of their disciples thus greatly advancing their progress to freedom. A dramatic example of this can be seen in the crucifixion of Jesus who atoned for men’s (especially his disciples) sins through his death and resurrection. The key to receiving this divine assistance is attunement. Those who are indifferent to the vibrations of a master may be helped a little. Those who are deeply attuned to a master receive profound help in their journey toward self-realization.