A true guru is not an ordinary spiritual teacher, but one who has attained union with God and is therefore qualified to lead others to that goal.
The Sanskrit scriptures describe the guru as “dispeller of darkness” (gu, “darkness,” and ru, “that which dispels.”) The role of the guru is to help his disciples find liberation in God through a very personal spiritual bond formed between guru and disciple, a union of loyal spiritual endeavour on the part of the disciple and divine blessings bestowed by the guru. In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna stands as the symbol of the ideal devotee, the perfect disciple.
When students of the Yogoda Satsanga Society of India/Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons are initiated into Kriya Yoga they become disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda and his line of gurus.
Before his passing, Paramahansa Yogananda stated that it was God’s wish that he be the last in the YSS line of Gurus. No succeeding disciple or leader in his society will ever assume the title of guru.
This divine ordinance is not unique in religious history. After the passing of Guru Nanak, the great saint who founded the Sikh religion, there was the usual succession of gurus. The tenth guru in the line announced he was to be the last of that line of gurus, and henceforth the teachings were to be considered the guru.
Paramahansaji gave the assurance that, after his passing, he would continue to work through the society he founded, Yogoda Satsanga Society of India/Self-Realization Fellowship. He stated, “When I am gone the teachings will be the guru....Through the teachings you will be in tune with me and the great Gurus who sent me.”
Read more about Paramahansa Yogananda and his guru in Autobiography of a Yogi.
Audio talks on the guru-disciple relationship: