Wednesday, 1 June 2011

A Brief History of Paramahansa Yoganandas work in America

The youthful Yogi came to the West in September of 1920
 at the invitation of the Unitarian Fellowship to speak at the "World Congress of Religious Liberals."
Upon completion of this initial engagement He remained 
in Boston for about four years to teach and learn 
about the ways of American life, culture and language .
A few years later He was inspired to settle in California where
 He established His 
one and only unique society -

 YSS/Self Realization Fellowship on Mt Washington near LA.
To this organization He gave total possession and copyright and editing rights over all of his writings, publications & the succession of teaching and ministerial authority for the continuation of this great cause which was eventually spread world wide by wise and competent successor presidents.

No! - SRF has not lost its way. Under continuing great
SRF is a thriving and trustworthy path to self-realization....

Let me share with you my experiences with Yogananda and the Self-Realization Fellowship while it was under Daya Matas leadership.  
I was raised in a loving family in the RC church. In my teens I was encouraged by a friend to study the new Testament. I began this study shortly after a neighbor/friend had gone of to another city to a seminary to become a priest. 
After several months of dedicated study and research it became evident to me that my interpretation of the scriptures was very different than what I had been taught. How I broke free of all the old programming is another story. But it was when I later found the holy Bhagavad Gita of Hinduism that I saw it was the exact same teaching as JC gave in TNT [according to my personal interpretations. 
This reminds me of a similar experience relating to Ralph Waldo Emerson and Thoreau with the Boston Brahmans a couple of hundred years ago. That was the birth of the "New Thought movements and churches Unity and Religious Science."
This discovery led me to do a greater study of comparative religion for several years after which I took  a good rest of one year.
It was then that Paramahansa Yogananda [long ago deceased] introduced  Himself to me via one of His books. After which I soon read His autobiography of a Yogi - what inspiration and wisdom He poured into my soul and heart! [The orange covered edition is best, and the most accurate. This may be a good time to tell you that Self-Realization Fellowship has never lost its way. It is definitely on track and Yogananda is proud of the work of Daya Mata and others. He left instructions with His monastics to produce it as it is now. The original is quaint but not as accurate, and clearly out of date when one becomes knowledgeable of Yogananda's greater vision for His divine work.]
At this time I was not in any way seeking a teacher or a Guru. But when touching that book I felt the immediate connection between us after just a few pages. I sent away for SRF Lessons course and knew from that time till now that this was my true path, with a  master/teacher/savior I never imagined existed. 
Although a lot of amazing details are left out, the passing years have proved it more and more evident that Yogananda is truly one who has made a gigantic contribution to restoring the original teachings of Jesus, and the SRF lessons and publications still help me learn and grow towards greater self-transformation, freedom, and intuitive faith. Yogananda also wrote a very enlightening commentary on the Bhagavad Gita [the spoken words of Lord Krishna.] And the New Testament gospels.
As time goes by I see the Kriya Yoga works just as He claimed, and there has been good and loving personal guidance from the SRF/YSS to all devotees who need it.
I met the late president Daya Mata on a few occasions, one of which was a long meeting and during which my consciousness beautifully  changed while in her presence, she was a truly great saint of the higher awareness and divine love. It took me decades of meditation and learning and living wisely to reach that same consciousness that I experienced in Her pure spiritual presence.
I highly recommend the thought inspiring and self-transformative teachings of Yogananda to anyone who wants to enrich their life.


Paramahansa Yogananda dropped his body form on March 7 1952.
Before His unique departure however, He was able to complete 
much of the great work he was sent here to do.
With great insight and attunement the the Master managed to leave all the manuscripts necessary for the publication of His various teachings via commentaries on three major spiritual traditions.
He left the care of his work in the hands of loyal and competent
staff who have continued in the way He taught and maintained the 
fidelity and intent of His ideals, vision, and teachings. This was done by following the instructions and guidelines He gave to his editors in chief and other assistants to His work at SRF.

It is unfortunate that some persons who left the organization 
did not have that same loyalty, attunement, and understanding
of His full teachings and vision for this great work, and have gone in directions that tend to distort the teachings and wishes of the Master. They have made vain claims of lineage succession and have created very different ideas about the spiritual life and teachings that the Master would never have condoned. And in order to grow their own organizations they are attacking the masters SRF/YSS org on the internet.

Who is qualified to teach/initiate others into the great technique of Kriya Yoga?
   In some ways Yogis are an easy going group, not restricting others with too many rules and limits. Their main emphasis is in the direction of freeing the earthbound spirits of devotees. 
  In the early days the great Guru/Prophet/world teacher Paramahansa Yogananda on a few occasions gave promising devotees in rare instances permission to teach/initiate new
devotees into the liberating method of Kriya Yoga.
"That was then - this is now." Things change for good!
After some time, seeing how great the demand for this method is and the great numbers of devotees involved, the Master made this statement in the SRF student lessons[K-7 1938];

"Do not discuss, or divulge, any technique without first consulting with SRF headquarters, which reserves the sole right to give Kriya instruction, or to appoint a qualified SRF member to give such instruction. If you know of someone who you should have the benefit of certain SRF techniques, encourage him to become an SRF student, that he may receive the full benefits of study. If some difficulty stands in the way of his becoming a member, advise him to write directly to Self-Realization Fellowship [ or call], explaining his situation and affirming his sincere desire to receive instruction in specific SRF techniques."

SRF Praeceptum Lessons, 1938 copyright, K-7, pg. 3.

Or perhaps we should follow the counsel Kriyananda gave while he was working in the SRF center department:

"It is our policy to permit only ordained ministers to give the Kriya Yoga initiation. Master said that after his passing he wanted only ---SRF renunciates to be ordained as ministers, and at that only after a minimum of seven years in one of our colonies[ashrams]..."

                              signed -Donald Walters, 1957

This more effective and complete policy was reflected in 
changes to the Autobiography of a Yogi in the chapter on
Kriya Yoga, following the wishes of Yogananda[re editor in chief].

Why would such a policy be necessary?
There is the problem of keeping the teachings and methods pure
so that devotees will gain the maximum benefit from their practices. 
In society there is the constant problem that false or unqualified teachers will make changes/errors in the teaching of Kriya Yoga and other techniques that will lead to eventual deterioration of these methods and cause them to be less effective.
Also, there are ethical factors that cause one to be a more 
qualified teachers. If ones life is not up to such standards it 
will give a false and discouraging impression about the 
teachers and standards of Kriya Yoga and the work of the 
great ones. It would also play into the hands of some groups
who can't stand the wisdom of the east as they are under the 
false impression that they alone have all truth.

However - Self-Realization Fellowship does offer FREE 
basic meditation instructions on its main web site;

   And for those wishing to take the SRF Lessons course
there is personal counseling available over the phone,
and in person as monastics frequently visit major cities
around the world.

Self-realization Fellowship - Yogananda's gift to humanity's spiritual evolution.
  There was a time when the young yogi only wanted to live a secluded life meditating in the Himalayas. He changed his mind and began schools for children. Near the very spot where He meditated at his school there was a young Litchi tree, for some  reason that tree [now about 90 years old and very healthy] was genetically transformed to produce (a) fruit in the off season,(b) double the fruit of your normal litchi tree, (c) with larger leaf clusters than normal. That tree is now scientifically known as the Yogananda ....................tree.
Also at this same school near Ranchi India, Yogannda's younger brother, who was in an almost dying state of health was allowed by his father to remain at the school - where He not only recovered by also became one of the world' s top Hatha yoga teachers and physical culturist in the early 20th century.
His name was Bishnu Ghosh and through Yoga he restored the health of Bikram Chowdury - they left a legacy of 500 (hot yoga) unique Hatha Yoga Studios around the world.
The examples of Paramahansa Yogananda's blessings in the lives of millions of persons are so many.
This is only partially why He was chosen out of many great Yogi saints of India to help the life and soul saving wisdom of the East to enrich the world outside of India when a new divine inspiration was most needed in this troubled world of Maya.


 You are welcome to read a lot more about these matters at 
the following sites;
Yoganandas Legacy page on Facebook

My experiences with Self-Realization Fellowship;Part 1.

My great experiences with Self-Realization Fellowship/YSS.
No one can make a serious comparison with all other systems and SRF Kriya Yoga.
That is why Paramahansa Yogananda says; "when you find your path stick with it and give it a good try."
But I can say that after more than 50 years working with this Kriya Yoga system via SRF/YSS, the promised results did come, and they are no less than awesome. I really like for the most, part what the SRF Matas have done for this cause. There are not many organizations of this balanced loving quality in this world.

As for those of you who didn't get the results you were seeking, who knows why? I've found a lot of persons don't read carefully enough, and are actually shocked when I share with them "did you read this part?"
This is one of those complex parts of our human/spiritual existence. Trying to know what is ones true path. Perhaps system A was more suitable to your particular needs/makeup at some time in your life than system B. Things are so designed that it is almost impossible to compare different paths A & B in living practice. It only seems a little easier when we attempt this intellectually.
In order to actually do so one would, say, after trying path A for 10 years, actually go back to the person he/she was and start all over again testing path B for 10 years while keeping meticulous records of research and any other effects of ones lifestyle changes during those 10 years[ which would never duplicate themselves.] So it is almost impossible to do a true comparison.  
And if you add to this the great and common possibility that so many do not even follow instructions very accurately,  and so of course did not get the best of results, even the attempt to test and compare different paths is extremely difficult and misaligned. We just aren't that smart –
It is like trying to hit a moving, disappearing, and reappearing target while using a mirror while you are riding a motorcycle on a bumpy dirt road. Try it sometime!

Then there is the experience of the Buddha, who they say tried so many things and decided to chuck it all and sit under the tree. But the fact is, it was all that other stuff he did for so many years that brought him to the point where he was capable of making that supreme final effort in whatever way he did. Buddha is still a yogi. There is no perfect system for all. But this world is so full of many rich and valuable paths that will take us to Self-Realization.
The biggest problem I have had with Self-Realization Fellowship was when it was time to apply for the Kriya Yoga lessons, [which are not charged for at all]. Those lessons are free!
Because I had a serious aversion to organizations, there was a hesitation for a short while. So I asked myself – what has been my experience with this divine SRF/YSS path so far? And what have been the results? And just who is the Master?
After some thought on these matters, I decided that Yogananda was still the Guru {he was after 1952 my “living Guru” who was teaching me and guiding me for about 6 years before I knew His name] a long story! And I was still a beginner devotee, so let’s keep learning and growing. So I wrote back and took that wonderful pledge to join SRF/YSS, and gained so so much good from that decision. It does take some time to understand the great benefits of working in the Guru –Disciple tradition. From the very first it creates the greatest freedom and self-transformative creative personal growth that is unmatched.
Well, it took me many more years to understand why it was so important for Him to create this organization. And He set it up to last for many future millenniums. It seems a strange paradox that obedience to a guru is the path to total freedom. Yet in a very important way that idea is connected to "before you can lead you should learn to follow."

SRF will keep growing even after all the original direct disciples have passed on. SRF is a lot more than Kriya Yoga, & devotion [as wonderful as they are]. Yogananda taught us every method to attain that highest samadhi, japa yoga, mantra Yoga, karma yoga, kundalini in Kriya Yoga, gnani yoga, & how the true guru is God and is within, etc .
Many great souls are the product of this great path. Don’t get caught up in the false advertising about all those other systems which may or may not be better for your growth.
It will be a couple of thousand years before someone comes along with a system that is more complete of advanced than what Yogananda has left us. “It may not be for everyone, but it sure worked for me,” said Sri Daya Mata, past president of SRF/YSS. I echo her sentiments! We’re all here learning and growing and what a great adventure!

And meeting Daya Mata was a great consciousness changing darshan, and I said to myself –this is truly worth striving for no matter how long it takes. Great results do come from the SRF/YSS teachings and I found that there was nowhere else I had to go to grow!
The greatest bonus is that Paramahansa Yogananda still lives and works with his devotees, as thousands of persons have testified. As I myself have constantly experienced.
One important thing is that when one progresses in ones chosen path – the mind becomes less and less susceptible to false rationalizations. And one definitely becomes more able to see the difference between what is and is not. May begins to lose it hold on the mind.
The best we can hope for in this life is to be guided to find that path that will help us change the most during any time and place on this great journey from lifetime to lifetime until we are off the treadmill of the relative world.
Peace and wisdom to all in the name of all the Great Ones.

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