People often say, “God is the Guru.” What need have I for a human guide? I can learn everything from a book. The teachings and the techniques are all there. There isn’t anything new that the different masters say. Basically it’s all the same: love God and love your fellow man; do unto others as you would have others do unto you; be calm and non-attached.”

Ultimately, no human effort will take us to God. God uses those who have found Him, not to impose His will on anyone, but to bring seeking souls back to oneness with Him.

The simple truth is: no human being can make the leap from ego-consciousness to cosmic consciousness by merely believing in that infinite consciousness. Only by mental attunement with the consciousness of an already-liberated guru can we make that leap across the yawning abyss which separates the ego from infinity.

Paramhansa Yogananda would often quote the passage near the beginning of the Gospel of St. John: “To all those who received Him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God.”  The whole secret of the spiritual path is to get the ego, and the attachments and desires that cling to it like barnacles, out of the way, and to receive into our souls the blessings of God.

What the guru does for us is primarily on the level of consciousness. He works from within, on our thoughts and feelings. Our job, above all, is to offer our hearts and minds up to him, in an attitude of loving receptivity, that he might transform us. Gradually, the guru’s ego-less consciousness seeps into our ego-centered consciousness, and transforms us with new understanding of our own reality.

Attunement with Yogananda meant attunement not with his human personality, but with his universal state of awareness. Indeed, in the deeper sense there was no personality there for us to attune ourselves to. As he often put it, “I killed Yogananda long ago. No one dwells in this temple now but God.”

The most important aspect of our life with Yogananda was not what he said or did, but what we felt in his presence, and what we feel even today. Attunement means being able to feel the guru’s vibration and to draw that vibration into ourselves. In Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda writes that, as his attunement deepened, inwardly he would feel the stamp of his Guru’s approval — “his silent signature on my thoughts.”

Attunement is the essence of discipleship. The deeper the disciple’s attunement, the more perfect an instrument he becomes for the guru’s grace. Something I have come to understand over time is that it is the duty of every disciple to be a channel for his guru’s grace. I have realized, too, that the flow of that grace depends on an inner sense of the guru’s presence. The extent to which a person can keep and share this sense of his guru’s living presence determines his own trueness to the role of discipleship.

From: Swami Kriyananda – A Life in God. Available Fall 2013 from Crystal Clarity Publishers


  1. When aspirants focus too much on books, it’s often because they fear they wont be able to control their responses to real life experiences.

    But the unpredictably turbulent waters of “real life” are necessary to test, scrape and wash free of barnacles the hull of every person’s spiritual ship.

    We must remember that trust in the Teacher is trust in the process, and trust in the process is trust in oneself as a Living Lesson That Is Learning Itself.

    As Yogananda showed, the more we learn to trust, the more we are freed to attune to the teacher’s presence that is a wave washing from the living presence of the Divine.

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