Examiner: I've often heard lineage mentioned as an important characteristic for a teacher — that a teacher has to have had a teacher.

Sri Chinmoy: He who was the first to realise God, whom did he get as his teacher? It is good to have a teacher, but it is not absolutely indispensable. I always advocate having a teacher. A spiritual Master is like a private tutor. He teaches the student privately so that he will pass the ignorance-test, not fail it. So it is good to have a spiritual Master, but it is not obligatory. There are many who have realised God without having spiritual Masters. But if you get a good one, it is very good; you are lucky.