If I Dedicate Myself to Yogananda, Do I Have to Abandon Shivananda?


I found my way into Hinduism by way of Paramahansa Yogananda a few years ago. It coincided with my discovery of Swami Sivinanda, another great Hindu master. I found great solace in both of their teachings but was marginally (say 60:40) more disposed to Yogananda for whatever reason. I plan on taking up the spiritual path yet am in two minds about which master to dedicate myself to. If I dedicate myself to Yogananda and receive initiation, must I cast aside the books of Sivinanda and others.

—Daniel Lee, Ireland


Dear Daniel,

Both Yogananda and Shivananda (you mean him, right?) are great and authentic masters.

However, your heart and soul must find complete clarity: who is my master? Once you find the answer, that master you should follow, wholeheartedly. It doesn’t work to mix two paths, however valid both may be in themselves.

In short, it is advisable to take initiation into discipleship and later Kriya Yoga only if your heart is fully convinced: Yogananda is my master. Being “marginally more disposed” to him isn’t enough.

In your case, it would be better to keep exploring, keep deepening, keep asking guidance for some time. When your heart has truly arrived, that is the moment for initiation.

In the first year of discipleship, it is advisable to read only books of your line of Masters and their disciples. Later, when you are firmly rooted in your on path, you can also read other books, but always with the eyes of a disciple of your Master.

Here are Yogananda’s own words on this topic:

“It is extremely necessary to remember that in the beginning it is wise to compare many spiritual paths and teachers, but when the real Guru (Preceptor) and the real teaching is found, then the restless searching must cease. The thirsty one should not keep seeking wells, but should go to the best well and daily drink its nectar. That is why in India, in the beginning we seek many until we find the right path, and the right Master, and then remain loyal to him through death and eternity, until final emancipation.”

May you find your path to the Infinite,