Anyone who has been fortunate to find his or her true Satguru in this life will often refer to this person as “Master.” The Master’s word and will becomes as good as Scripture. Master, as in…I don’t know, “overlord.” But in “Autobiography of a Yogi”, Paramahansa Yogananda gave his own definition of a “master”:
One who has realized himself as the omnipresent soul, not the body or the ego.
There is nothing hierarchical in this definition other than the implied suggestion that others apart from him/her have not realized the same.
But there is more. Not that Yogananda-ji’s definition doesn’t suggest that such a one would tell the truth all of the time. But great gurus have been known to test their students in various ways. Surely they test the student’s ability to suss out untruth from time to time, no? Cross training in recognition of Maya?
The biggest problem with my theory is that it leads to the inevitable conclusion that if 500 devotees read one of Yogananda’s discourses in “Man’s Eternal Quest”, each could decide from him/herself which words are in fact such a test.
And far be it from me to argue with the great Masters: Vivekananda, Yogananda, Ramakrishna, etc. But I try to maintain a healthy level of inquisitiveness toward all words I receive from any of the above listed or other Holy men and women anyway. I first wrote “wariness” instead of “inquisitiveness.” But I changed it because it is not that I don’t believe the Master and the truth he unfolds, but because I know that words do not always come at face value. The meaning could come in the Master having said the words, not in the words themselves.
A great master often employs great subtlety.
Jai Gurudeva Aum