In the following letter Swami Kriyananda responds to a person experiencing spiritual doubts.
How do you manage to equate Yogananda’s accounts of Babaji with your parents’ stories of Santa Claus? I assume your parents never claimed to have seen Santa Claus, or to have known anyone else to have seen him. Moreover, stories of Santa Claus are not told to children in order to “fool” them. Myths are often beneficial and, in their influence on people, are often truer than mere facts.
In any case, back to Babaji: The difference between him and Santa Claus is that all of our masters do claim to have seen him. Disciples I know personally claim that they have seen him. I myself have had experiences of him, though I have never yet been blessed to behold him in vision. The evidence is strong enough, surely, to inspire you to conduct your own tests in the matter, rather than announcing so boldly to others your unseasoned judgment that Babaji is a myth.
And what does it matter whether or not Babaji does cut his toenails? If he does, he does, and if he doesn’t, he doesn’t. From some of the things one reads in Yogananda’s autobiography, Babaji’s body may be subtler than our normal physical bodies, though capable of grosser manifestation. Sri Yukteswar, for instance, failed to see him standing “behind the sunbeams.” But such details are, I think, not pertinent to the sincere devotee.
When I met Yogananda, I had many doubts that I determined to “put on a shelf” for the time being, since I was in no position to resolve them. In time, they were resolved indeed. The most important lesson I learned, however, was that doubt itself is a spiritual disease, and that the only cure for it is divine love.
I pray that you grow daily in devotion.
In divine friendship