Swami Kriyananda responds to a letter asking whether certain saints in India were greater than Paramhansa Yogananda.

Dear _______,

I am not in the game of comparing saints. I believe Yogananda was as great a master as any, but the important thing to me is that he is my Master. This is quite sufficient for me.

Please ask yourself, “What is this spiritual search I’m on all about?” Certainly, it isn’t some spiritual world series to determine which team is the best! No true master is, or can ever be, greater than any other. Their relative greatness can be judged only in a worldly sense, according to the outer roles they play.

I once met a great master in India who, so Yogananda had told me, was fully liberated; yet his sainthood was unknown even in his own village. He had almost no disciples. I said to him, “You have so much to give. Why don’t you have more following you?” His reply was, “God has done what He wants to with this body.”

The modern mind—especially the modern American mind—thinks that bigger is better. Why should this be so? There is no rivalry in God. Everything, in Him, is one. The differences are superficial.

If you are really seeking God, then don’t worry about who is a “poorna avatar,” or who is even an avatar. Many saints who are far less than avatars are perfectly competent to take you to God, and that is what the spiritual path is all about.

I myself consider Yogananda to be the avatar of this age, because I see that his life, mission, and teachings address so many of humanity’s actual needs at this time. But my devotion to him has nothing to do with this belief. I am perfectly willing that someone else fill that role, if this be God’s will.

I am content, also, if my understanding of his role should happen to be exaggerated.  What does it really matter? It would mean that I haven’t fully understood his mission, but it would not mean I have overestimated his divine greatness. Nor would it mean that he couldn’t give me what I came to him to receive: Self-realization.

Outward missions are of secondary importance in the spiritual search. Whatever plan God has for this world is His business. The important thing, for all of us, is to come closer to Him.

In divine friendship,

Swami Kriyananda

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