Including Anandamayi Ma with the Self-Realization Line of Gurus
Hello i am wondering would it be wrong of me to include Sri Anandamayi Ma with the Gurus ( Yogananda, Sri Yukteswar, Babaij, Jesus Krishna and Lahiri Mahasaya ) even if she is not one of the SRF or Ananda gurus? As I feel a connection with Anandamayi Ma as I do with the Gurus.
First I’ll answer what I think you may have meant, and then what you literally asked. There are a few saints and masters that Yogananda considered in tune with our line of Gurus. Swami Kriyananda told of Yogananda addressing this once:
Several of the monks were reading the lives of saints. At this time, the Master gave us the following recommendation as to what we should read of those lives:
“Read the lives only of those in our own line: Saint Francis of Assisi, for example, and Saint Teresa of Avila.”
His expression, “those who are in our own line,” was one I pondered for a long time. The Master could not have meant, “those who are directly connected with our line of gurus,” for we’d have had no way of knowing who such persons were. He could only have been referring, then, to saints who had attained deep states of inner communion with God. Not all saints, certainly, even among those canonized by the Church, belong in this higher category.
—Conversations with Yogananda
Swami Kriyananda also gave some very good advice that is important and relevant for anyone who follows a Guru of any tradition. Many people don’t fully understand the importance of following one’s Guru 100% in everything. They also add to their practice and understanding what other teachers and Gurus give, and end up diluting what their own Guru gives to them. I know of one very popular modern saint/teacher who has said things that directly contradict Yogananda, for example, yet Yogananda disciples sometimes accept what this person says as truth.
In response to the more general question (not the one asked by you!) of going to other saints and teachers (much as the young Yogananda did), Swami Kriyananda advised that it’s fine to go for inspiration, but not for teachings, since the spiritual advice that even a true teacher gives might be for their disciples needs, and may in fact contradict one’s own Guru or at least be unhelpful.
That said, I’ve found Anandamayi Ma to be perhaps the most in tune and in agreement with our own line of Gurus, and I myself often read her words for the devotional inspiration they give me. I’ve also never found anything in her teachings that contradicts Yogananda’s.
But in general, it’s good to be cautious and ask the question that you ask.
As far as “including” her in our line of Gurus, well, she isn’t directly in our Guru lineage. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pray to her or have her photo on your altar. These things are very personal and individual, in the end. Swami Kriyananda also had a very, very deep and close connection with Anandamayi Ma, as did Yogananda.