Paramahansa Yogananda ~ “Loyalty is the greatest law of the spiritual path. I am very loyal to my line of Gurus. In this respect I am very orthodox. When a particular Guru comes on earth to help other souls, those who he helps should be loyal to the one God has sent to them. A Self-Realizationist should be completely loyal to Christ, Krishna and the Gurus of the Self-Realization Fellowship. It is not enough to just attend the meetings at the Temples, Groups and Centers; those who are serious about final liberation should establish a link with the Self-Realization Fellowship Headquarters, that is Mother Center, by taking the Lessons sent out. And these studies will enable you to find the secret door of your soul through which you can sense the Presence of the SRF Gurus waiting to introduce you to the Infinite. The Heavenly Father can be reached only through his chosen messengers. Christ, Krishna and the Gurus of Self-Realization Fellowship are such messengers.”
Master also said this: “Just like a school teacher when he finds a student in tune with him, he can teach that student better than one who resists him. And you must not only be in tune with Guru, but with all his ideals and activities and associates, and do not forget to be loyal to Self-Realization Fellowship. You must be proud of the work and loyal to it that the blessings of God may flow through you. He that is not loyal to his own organization, the work that God has sent, is not loyal to God.”
Master said, “There is an inner and an outer circle of disciples. The outer circle consists of those that come and go. And the inner circle are those who come and stay.” Do you understand that? Coming to the Master, coming to the Path that the Master is teaching, to the Teaching that he gave.
Now it is never so that a person or a soul comes for the first time to a God-realized Master and remains all the way. The power of Maya is still strong and the spiritual strength has not been fully developed. And so, it takes incarnations until finally the person comes and stays. And that is where loyalty comes in. And if you understand this principle, it can help you a great deal, because sometimes the path is tough. The tests are very severe sometimes. And temptation is there. We think, well, I don’t have to put up with this. I leave.
Eventually all the souls come and stay. But if you understand this principle, you make up you mind, “I came to Master. I came to the Path. And I will stay, no matter what.” And thus, you belong to the inner circle of disciples.
“Single-hearted dedication to one path”
I have a question from a satsang (it’s important that you know this one):
“I have always had great interest in different philosophies and spiritual paths. Is it necessary to encourage or discourage such pursuits, once one has been initiated into Kriya?”
Now I want you to understand this principle.
There are two different categories of devotees here. There are some of you who are still searching for a path, and that is quite all right. And then you have to investigate various teachings, different paths, until you decide which one is right for you, which one you can follow. But, this is a question from a Kriyaban! one that has been initiated. And true, when a person is ready for Kriya initiation, it means he is signing a pledge of loyalty, it means then officially he enters the Guru-disciple relationship. And this is a very serious commitment. From then on, that’s the path he follows. Nothing else.
This is what Master said, “After I met my Guru, (meaning this teaching, that path) I never sought or accepted counsel from anyone else, nor did I practice any other teaching. The spiritual force comes from single-hearted dedication to one path. Anything less is a travesty of love, and loyalty.” And we have to understand it.
“Keep the teachings pure. Keep the teachings pure.”
Each path–and we are not saying this is the only path to God–we say each path has its distinct, unique approach, and emphasis, and methods, and vibration. Now, if a person doesn’t understand that that he has to follow to be in tune with that vibration, he doesn’t understand the most basic principle for spiritual success. And that is why Master said, “Loyalty to the Guru and His path is the highest spiritual law.”
Master pleaded with us. He said, “Keep the teachings pure. Keep the teachings pure.” Because, if you are adding all kinds of things, the teachings will be diluted, and pretty soon, it will be gone.” Remember this. It is not just causes. There are all kinds of things in the market these days, isn’t it? Some of these seem very interesting, very fascinating. Under the guise of spirituality, it is phenomena. It is psychic powers and psychic phenomena, all sorts of things. Watch. Use your discrimination. Keep the teachings pure. In your own life, make it simple. Have it concentrated. Concentrate your mind, your consciousness on the purity, the simplicity of the teachings, if you want to reach the goal.”
Total surrender, and that surrender cannot come unless there is absolute trust, isn’t it? Absolute trust, that means you have come to the point when you really feel “I am your own, you are my own.”
Trust just like a little child has absolute trust on his mother or father. And that trust cannot come unless there is total loyalty. And that is the Divine Formula. And that loyalty, that hundred percent loyalty to God and Guru, cannot come unless there is already practice of loyalty on the lower planes, all working towards that. And so you have to understand that loyalty is not something to restrict us. It’s all preparation, all preparation.
It is indeed the highest law, highest spiritual law, because it leads to total trust, and that leads to total surrender, and that leads to complete receptivity to the grace of the Guru, and with that to the Divine experience.
The Story of Bro. Mokshananda
I want to tell you a story. This is another aspect of loyalty, or the reward of loyalty, perhaps.
It was four days before Master’s Mahasamadhi, when a new monk came into the Ashram, and he became later Br. Mokshananda, many of you knew, have known him. And I don’t remember whether it was that very first day when he was here, or it was the second. And Master was going out, and I said to Mokshananda, he was working with me, I said, “Master is going out. Let’s go.” That was the first time he saw him. Master was at the side door of the building. His car was ready. He was standing there, talking to some of the monks. And I introduced Mokshananda to Master, and Mokshananda humbly knelt down before Master. And Master had his overcoat on and his hat on and he took his hat off, and looked at Mokshananda with His sweet smile. And He said, “Loyalty is the highest law.” And usually when Master said something like that it was in the form of teaching, or a reminder, possibly a warning. Not this time. This time it was an expression of praise. And I knew–it was a very very moving moment–I knew Master was greeting a known disciple from the past, who had been loyal.
And about 30 years later, Mokshananda had a fatal illness. And he passed on. And after he has left his body, I went into his room to pay my last respects. And beside his bed was a large picture of Master. And I looked at that picture. And it seemed that there was a very sweet smile on Master’s face, as if He wanted to assure me, he is all right, he is with me. And you know, Master often said that “If a devotee is faithful to the end, when he passes on, I’ll be there.”
Remembrances of the Guru, Paramahansa Yogananda, by Brother Mokshananda was recorded at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles during Self-Realization Fellowship’s 1979 Convocation. This inspiring talk, filled with uplifting stories, offers a unique insight into life with the Master.
And life is short; life is very short. Most of you are young, you don’t know it yet, but the time comes when we have to leave this body, when we leave this earth, and go to the other side. And then a new picture emerges, when the Guru is there and receives you with open arms, then nothing else matters, nothing else matters. It is the reward, another reward of loyalty to the end.
You have to think about these things. That understanding doesn’t come just like, you know, listening. You have to work on it.