Hindu Deities and the Path of Self-Realization


What did Master and Swami say about devotion to the Hindu deities? Shiva, Ganesha, Hanuman, etc.

—Prashad, USA


Dear Prashad,

I am not aware of Paramhansa Yogananda having commented on your question, although I’m sure he would have considered devotion to God in any form to be a desirable thing. Still, he did not put images of Hindu deities on the altar, nor did he encourage their worship. That’s easy to understand, as what he brought to the West was already quite a challenge for Westerners. Multi-armed, weapons-toting goddesses and elephant-headed gods would have blown their minds completely!

Swami Kriyananda said that worship of Hindu deities would surely cause no harm, and would help to awaken devotion. However, he also pointed out that those deities are not “officially” part of the path of Self-realization. So it’s more a matter of personal preference. The important thing is devotion to God, however you conceive of Him or Her.