What was Gurudev Paramahansa Yogananda’s view on Sri Aurobindo? What are the similarities between Gurudev and Aurobindo’s teachings?
—Sukhmandeep Singh, India
There is no recorded (audio or written) or reported comments by P. Yogananda in respect to his views on Sri Aurobindo. Swami Kriyananda, my teacher and a direct disciple of Yogananda’s (and who lived with and was trained by Yogananda), made a few passing remarks but from these, I would readily conclude that they had much in common even if their own lives focused in specific areas of their individual dharma. In a footnote in Yogananda’s (now famous) life story, AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI, he mentions as praiseworthy Sri Aurobindo’s commentary on the Bhagavad Gita (“Messages from the Gita”). He also mentions in another footnote that Miss Slade, daughter of a British admiral and follower of Mahatma Gandhi, eventually went to Sri Aurobindo for spiritual training. Another fascinating tidbit revealed by Swami Kriyananda is that Sri Aurobindo stated that he, along with other yogis including Yogananda, was working with Hitler’s karma to turn the tide of madness back to sanity.
Swami Kriyananda commented it was Sri Aurobindo who uncovered lost meanings for certain key words in the Vedas, for example. Swamiji taught for several years at an ashram in San Francisco founded by devotees of Sri Aurobindo. Swamiji once also advised a student seeking his spiritual path to go to the local Sri Aurobindo ashram in Delhi.
Worthy and wise spiritual teachers say many things, much of which has to be understood in the context where and for whom the words are spoken. But in general and from my limited knowledge of Sri Aurobindo, I have no doubt that Yogananda thought highly of Sri Aurobindo and the work he was doing for humanity.
Sincerely and with blessings,
Seattle WA USA