Why there are so many lineages of Kriya yoga in India, everyone starting from Lahiri Mahasaya? Can one attain liberation through any of these lineages or is it specifically have to be Paramhansa Yogananda’s lineage? Shouldn’t I get initiated by a lineage having a living guru? Will all these lineages become like Christian denominations in future?
—Sukhmandeep Singh, India
Thank you, friend: some very important questions you’ve asked.
1. It is natural that the lineages branch out as true and sincere disciples carry forth the message of their common guru out in service and devotion. This simple fact may seem “messy” or confusing but it is simply the way these things work. The fact that not all disciples are of the same spiritual level or attunement is also simply a fact that is no different than you and I except that those direct disciples (and their followers) feel they have been given the authority and inspiration to share the teachings they have received.
2. One can attain liberation through self-effort and the grace of God through a true guru. If it is a person’s dharma to be blessed by a particular lineage then he or she must follow that line (until, if ever, is guided in another direction). Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, and Swami Sri Yukteswar, and their various and sundry direct disciples all have separate branches of the family tree of Self-realization and there’s no reason not to assume those branches are true (provided those who represent them remain or deepen their attunement to the sat guru).
3. Yogananda taught that one needs at least one living touch in a given lifetime. This living touch, however, can come through the disciple(s). Yogananda had others give initiation on his behalf even during his lifetime. It is reasonable, however, to assume that if the disciple who is initiated in this way has many more lifetimes to work out karma then presumably that soul will eventually find himself or herself in the company of the sat guru. (This is my thought, only, not a statement of Yogananda’s. A personal hope, perhaps, too!) Never forget that the sat guru is omnipresent and omniscient. Some gurus never even speak. One can acquire attunement through inner receptivity and receive guidance inwardly esp when no outward sources of attuned disciples are available to guide you. The guru doesn’t need a physical body to be contacted. Look at all the great disciples east and west down through the ages whose gurus had lived centuries before! (Disciples of Christ, Krishna, Rama, Buddha….)
4. Yes, it’s likely that these lineages will become like Christian (and Hindu) sects or denominations. I hope that in our ascendent age of Dwapara there will be, however, more understanding and respect than in the past.
Seattle WA USA