All of life is bound together by a common purpose. From the lowliest worm to the most exalted saint, all are seeking the same goal: bliss. This search may take many forms—from finding a juicy leaf to union with God—but this shared desire for true happiness motivates us all.

People do themselves a disservice when they put great saints on a high pedestal beyond their own attainment. The masters are not different from us in kind, but in degree of awareness. They’re our spiritual parents who have walked before us on the path to bliss, and they’ve come to show us how we, too, can get there.

babaji and christ east and west universal spiritual teachings of yogananda kriya yoga autobiography of a yogi masters painting by jyotish

“Babaji and Christ,” by Nayaswami Jyotish.

In Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda writes of the deathless Himalayan master, Babaji: “Only one reason, therefore, can motivate Babaji in maintaining his physical form from century to century: the desire to furnish humanity with a concrete example of its own possibilities.”

Our own possibilities: this is what we should bear in mind when we become discouraged about our spiritual progress. Swami Kriyananda once told us about a letter he’d received from someone who was downhearted that while Swamiji had done so much in his life, he himself had been able to accomplish so little. Swamiji was quiet for a while, then added strongly, “He shouldn’t feel that way about himself. He needs to understand that I’ve just been at it longer.”

By putting saints in a special category, we blind ourselves to the fact that they, too, have had tests and flaws that they’ve overcome by perseverance. Remember that the great ones have stood on the exact spot where we stand now. With determination and hard work, however, they’ve surmounted the obstacles that stood between them and bliss.

In Swami Kriyananda’s autobiography, The New Path, he tells this story from Yoganandaji’s life: “Bernard [one of the monks], upon whom Master had been urging some difficult undertaking, remonstrated one day, ‘Well, Sir, you can do it. You’re a master.’

“‘And what do you think made me a master?’ the Guru demanded. ‘It was by doing! Don’t cling to the thought of weakness, if your desire is to become strong.

If we face our tests with confidence and strength, these same challenges become our greatest tools for spiritual growth. Then we can see our limited human consciousness not as a barrier, but as a bridge to divine accomplishments.

This, then, is the gift of the great souls who have walked before us on the spiritual journey: They show us that we, too, can find the bliss we’re seeking. They have given us techniques, tools, right attitudes, as well as their examples of courage and strength to guide us on.

In Swami Kriyananda’s play, The Jewel in the Lotus, one of the characters is a saintly sadhu wandering in the Himalayas, who tells a small group of his followers: “A true guru comes to this earth, not to show people how different he is from them, but to inspire them with a sense of their own divinity.”

We are one with all life in our shared quest for bliss. We are one with the great masters in our shared innate divinity. It is up to us now to claim these inherent aspects of our being as our own, and finally to reach the end of our soul’s journey.

With joy,

Nayaswami Devi

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  1. Hello Devi and Jyotish, when I read your blog today, it reminded me of something Swami said to me out on the deck overlooking the river. He was talking about a spiritual teacher who had ‘transgressed’ in the eyes of his followers. Swami said, “It’s such a shame, when a teacher falls, that people point the finger, rather than extend the hand.” Perhaps he said it to others too. These, and many of his words, have resonated with me throughout the decades and I just thought I’d share them with you.

  2. Dear Devi:
    Your blog today struck a chord. As a Christian, my view of Saints is that they are normal, as are gurus in that they are mortal and pass away. Their perfection is visible after they pass, and thus they are decreed saints. In your blog you mention that a guru has lived for centuries. Such a man is to me then in a category of Naga or Vampire. Those are beings from “the other side” and have not truly aligned themselves with G-d, the ultimate good doer in the Universe. So, to me, he is not saintly to have stuck around for centuries and not yielded his body to save his soul.

  3. Una de cal y una de arena. Así se construye un hogar. Existe el bien y también su opuesto. Este último es necesario para comprender al primero. Se me permite elegir y esto implica una inmensa responsabilidad. Tus palabras son hermosas, están llenas de amor y traen paz. Más el consejo es fuerte. Cada uno va a su tiempo llegar. Me encantó leerte. Gracias…

  4. My wish to dissolve back into the one . No more manifestation for now , or at least to be born into a more loving , fair world for all beings . Not this maya of pain .

  5. Beautiful article. Well needed knowledge for now. Knowing we all started the same and used tools and gifts to become more.

  6. Dear Devi, Thank you for this inspiring blog. It touched me right where I needed a boost of encouragement and determination to meditate more deeply. Thank you for writing to us each week and walking with us. With love and deepest respect,

  7. “Nothing is Impossible. The very word itself says I’m Possible.” – A.H.

    Thank you Deviji for inspiring us to acknowledge and live our fullest potential!

  8. Dear Deviji,

    Beautiful article explained beautifully. Some questions were answered.

    Thank you so much.

    In Divine love

  9. Thank You Devi for this eye opening blog. I never thought of the Masters as coming from the same place as me. I had them as endowed from birth as Masters in the making.
    I love what is happening to me as I wander daily in quest of living in the world of a spiritual leader. Sometimes I don’t recognize myself in my communing with friends.
    I read daily as much as I can of yours and Jyotish books, which are great. I am now able to separate the worldly from the soul in myself and in people.
    Just blows my mind how so many of our leaders seem to ignore their soul in pursuit of power and material wealth. I had always thought and or hoped that they were of a higher pedigree than what they demonstrate.
    I will continue reading your books and meditating for the foreseeable future.
    Thanks to you and Jyotish for your leadership in Ananda.

  10. Dear Devi ji,
    As usual, your article struck right chord in my heart and perhaps you are the instrument through which God is guiding me as your article is exactly what is needed for me at that time. Once again i am grateful to you for sharing this blog and inspiring me. Aum Guru.

  11. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,

    Thank you for this inspiring blog. Very helpful and a great reminder.


  12. This brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes I feel that, if I can do nothing else on the path, the one thing I can at least do is not to give up.

    But that thought emphasizes weakness, doesn’t it? So I can instead concentrate on confidence and strength.

  13. Dear Nayaswami Devi
    While I inherently know and understand what you are saying, it is comforting to see it again in the words you have written and, if we work hard towards the eventual goal of all, then we can all be on the same pedestal as the masters and saints who have shown us the way. Thank you for your insights.

  14. Thank you for yet another tool to help in our understanding and growth in our divine plan.

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