Paramahansa Yogananda, also known as Swami Yogananda, was an Indian yogi and guru. He was born Mukunda Lal Ghosh on 5 January 1893 in Gorakhpur, India and was the disciple of yoga guru Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri.
Yogananda is considered one of the renowned spiritual figures of modern times who transformed the lives of millions with his comprehensive teachings on the science of Kriya Yoga meditation and the essential unity of all religions.
He founded Self-Realization Fellowship and Yogoda Satsanga Society of India to teach Kriya Yoga and Meditation to millions and is recognized as the "father of yoga" in the West.
To make a balance between Western material growth and Indian spirituality, this yoga guru came to America in 1920 and was the first yoga master to live and teach in the West for more than 30 years.
Yogananda is the author of the book "Autobiography of a Yogi" which was published in 1946, it launched a spiritual revolution in the West. The book sold over 4 million copies. 500 copies of “Autobiography of a Yogi" was ordered and given to guests on the memorial of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
A documentary called "Awake: The Life of Yogananda" released in 2014 lists interviews with disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda, as well as with Krishna Das, George Harrison and Ravi Shankar.
Foundation of Yogoda Satsanga Society in India
Yogananda met his guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri at the age of 17. He trained under Sri Yukteswar as his disciple for the next ten years (1910-1920).
In 1917, Yogananda founded a school for boys in Dihika, West Bengal with the purpose of combining spiritual and yogic education with modern educational system. This school was later recognized as "Yogoda Satsanga Society of India".
Arriving in America and Foundation of Self-Realization Fellowship
After arriving in Boston in 1920, Yogananda gave his very first lecture to the American audience at the International Congress of Religious Liberals. His lecture was so impressive that he soon had many followers including steve jobs, Vladimir Rosing, soprano Amelita Galli-Curci, Gabrilowitsch, and the daughter of Mark Twain
At the very same year, he founded "Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) " to introduce the west with India's ancient tradition of meditation and practices of Karma Yoga.
Kriya Yoga: Royal Technique of God-Realization
Kriya Yoga is the science of pranayama and the foundation of Yogananda's teachings. It includes asanas, breathing, mantras and meditation to help you raise your consciousness and energy levels.
"Autobiography of a Yogi" mentions that a practitioner who performs kriya yoga can mentally direct his life energy to all the six spinal centres (medullary, cervical, dorsal, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal plexuses). Thirty seconds of revolution of energy around the sensitive spinal cord of man effects subtle progress in his evolution; that half-minute of Kriya equals one year of natural spiritual unfoldment.
Yogananda teaching is a modern age technique because it does not demand anyone to be dogmatic, but rather focus on the proven techniques of Kriya Yoga.
Benefits of Kriya Yoga
Kriya yoga helps in attaining inner peace, clarity and understanding. Through this style of yoga, one can solve the problems that arise in daily life more calmly and easily. It harmonizes the life forces in the body by removing stress and anxiety and improves concentration and efficiency. Most importantly, it connects your consciousness to the Divine.
Books Written By Paramahansa Yogananda
Some of the books written by Yogananda:-
- Autobiography of a Yogi
- Metaphysical Meditations
- The Science of Religion
- Inner Peace: How to Be Calmly Active and Actively Calm
- The Law of Success.