Yogananda and Saint Tiruvalluvar


Jai Gurudev!

Do you know if Paramhansaji mentioned about or had any connection with the Tamil saint Tiruvalluvar (widely acclaimed for his universal scripture, Holy Kural)? I find Paramhansaji's teachings, including simile's, are very strikingly close to The Kural. Some examples (From Understanding Death): "you remain non-attached to this world, and attached only to God." & "we are like the unhatched chick in the shell". See Kural verses 350 & 338.

—D. L. Sivakumar, USA


Dear D. L. Sivakumar,

Jai Gurudev!

As far as I know he didn’t mention saint Tiruvalluvar. Yogananda did however visit Tamil Nadu in 1936, when he met with Ramana Maharishi at his Arunachala ashram. Probably he knew about Tiruvalluvar.

I read that the Holy Kural is considered a work of “common creed”. Here already Yogananda and Thiruvalluvar would shake hands.

Yogananda was a mystic, and so was saint Thiruvalluvar. Mystics meet and speak the same language, walking the same inner land. They experience the same bliss of God and teach the same spiritual truth, often even using similar similes. That’s, I think, why the two feel so close to you. It’s religionists without true experience who are on islands far away from each other.

Let me expand a little here: Yogananda’s teachings are universal. You feel their harmony with Thiruvalluvar’s words, while others feel it with Jesus words, Krishna’s words, or words of their own religion. Yogananda was a world teacher and came to bring universal spirituality to religions, trying to both deepen and unite them. The common “glue” is Self-realization, a principle he said will unite all religions.

Teachings like “you remain non-attached to this world, and attached only to God” are part of that universal and eternal teaching. You find it in all true religions and saints, also from Thiruvalluvar.

Many teachings emphasize their own special truth, religion, scripture, or revelation. That builds up contrast. Yogananda’s teaching vibrate with the essence of truth, and with the word “union.”

I was in Russia giving Yogananda’s teachings and someone said, “That’s in our Orthodox Church too!” You read the Holy Kural and have the same experience. Isn’t that marvelous?

Yogananda was a spiritual poet, and so was Tiruvalluvar. Maybe that too is why you feel a special connection between the two. Here is one of Yogananda’s poems which wonderfully expresses his spirit of spiritual world union.

Prayers on the Beads of Love

I am saying my prayers
on the beads of my love,
strung with devotion.

I hold to no names-
God, Spirit, Brahma,

Christ, Shankara, Krishna,
Buddha, or Mohammed,
for they are all Thine.

Sometimes I use all of these names,
for I know Thou lovest
to take many names.

In Thy cosmic plays
on the stage of centuries,
and in Thy myriad appearances,
Thou hast taken unto Thyself many names,
but I know Thou hast
one changeless name-
Perennial Joy.

I played with Thee many times.
I sang Thy songs.
On Thine ocean-bosom of all life,
Thou didst nurture me
as a tiny drop of life.

I remember Thy warm
touches of centuries,
whenever I returned home to Thee
after the chill of separation.

Again, in this day of time,
I play with Thee
and I sing Thy songs.

Jai Guru! In his friendship,