Appendix – Four Spiritual Masters

Sri Krishna

Sri Krishna was the second Avatar or Incarnation of God after Rama, to walk the earth. Born an estimated, 5000-10 000 years ago in India, Sri Krishna even as a child delighted all with his grace, beauty and innocence. Through his life Sri Krishna helped establish dharma or righteousness in the life of India. At the age of 12 Krishna defeated his tyrannical Uncle Karna who was the ruling King at the time. Sri Krishnas life and teachings are best recorded in the epic and historic Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita records the divine conversation between Sri Krishna and his devoted disciple Arjuna during the great battle of the Mahabharata. The Universal truths revealed in the Bhagavad Gita are as relevant and spiritually enriching today, as they were when they were first uttered.

Sri Ramakrishna

Sri Ramakrishna was in born in Bengal in 1836 and passed away in 1886. From a very young age he had a passionate longing for the vision of God. Through his God-intoxicated life Sri Ramakrishna proved that the revelation of God takes place at all times and that God-realisation is not the monopoly of any particular age, country, or people. In him, deepest spirituality and broadest catholicity stood side by side. This God-man of nineteenth-century India did not found any cult, nor did he show a new path to salvation. His message was his God-consciousness. Sri Ramakrishna faithfully practiced the spiritual disciplines of different religions and came to the realisation that all of them lead to the same goal. Thus he declared, “As many faiths, so many paths.” The paths vary, but the goal remains the same. Vivekananda was one of Ramakrishna’s closest disciples and eventually became a spiritual master in his own right. Vivekananda was the first to come to the West with the teachings of the East in 1898.

Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda was born in 1893 and passed away in 1952. At the age of 17 he became a disciple of Sri Yuketswar and trained at his hermitage for the next ten years. In 1920, Yogananda was invited to serve as India’s delegate to an international congress of religious leaders convening in Boston. His address to the congress, on “The Science of Religion,” was enthusiastically received. That same year he founded the Self-realisation fellowship to disseminate worldwide his teachings on India’s ancient science and philosophy of Yoga and its time-honored tradition of meditation. Yogananda emphasises the underlying unity of the world’s great religions, and taught universally applicable methods for attaining direct personal experience of God. Yogananda’s life story, Autobiography of a Yogi, was published in 1946 and expanded by him in subsequent editions.

Sri Chinmoy

Sri Chinmoy is a fully realised spiritual Master dedicated to inspiring and serving those seeking a deeper meaning in life. Through his teaching of meditation, lectures and writings, and through his own life of dedicated service to humanity, he tries to show others how to find inner peace and fulfilment. Born in Bengal in 1931, Sri Chinmoy entered the Sri Aurobindo ashram (spiritual community) at the age of 12. His life of intense spiritual practice included meditating for up to 14 hours a day, together with writing poetry, essays and devotional songs, doing selfless service and practising athletics. While still in his early teens, he had many profound inner experiences and attained spiritual realisation. He remained in the ashram for 20 years, deepening and expanding his realisation, and in 1964 came to New York City to share his inner wealth with sincere seekers. Today, Sri Chinmoy serves as a spiritual guide to disciples in some 80 centres around the world. He teaches the “Path of the Heart,” which he feels is the simplest way to make rapid spiritual progress. By meditating on the spiritual heart, he teaches, the seeker can discover his own inner treasures of peace, joy, light and love. Sri Chinmoy teaches that love is the most direct way for a seeker to approach the Supreme.

Spiritual Teachers