Need for a living guru?


When we talk about having a Guru, does the Guru need to be a living person you interact with and can talk with you, or can it be someone who has passed (ie. Paramhansa Yogananda)? I'm confused on this matter.

—Christina, USA


Dear Christina,

This is a very important question and the answer includes different perspectives.

First of all, any true guru (sat-guru) such as Paramhansa Yogananda, continues to help his disciples even though he is no longer in his body; indeed there is no diminishing of the blessings in the guru-disciple relationship.

When Swami Kriyananda once asked Yogananda, ‘ Will you be as close to us after you are gone as you are now?’ His answer came unhesitatingly, ‘ To those who think me near, I will be near.’

The second perspective is that there does need to be physical contact between the guru and the disciple; however this contact can be made through those disciples who are in attunement with a sat-guru such as Paramhansa Yogananda. To put it simply, a true guru will continue to be the guru, through his living disciples and continue to work through all those who dedicate themselves to deepening their attunement with him.

In divine friendship,
Nayaswami Pranaba