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|This article relies on references to primary sources or sources affiliated with the subject. (May 2012)|
|Born||Mukunda Lal Ghosh|
(1893-01-05)January 5, 1893
Gorakhpur, British India (present day Uttar Pradesh, India)
|Died||March 7, 1952(1952-03-07) (aged 59)|
Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Guru||Swami Yukteswara Giri|
|Quotation||You are walking on the earth as in a dream. Our world is a dream within a dream; you must realize that to find God is the only goal, the only purpose, for which you are here. For Him alone you exist. Him you must find.|
 YouthGorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India to a devout family. According to his younger brother, Sananda, from his earliest years young Mukunda's awareness and experience of the spiritual was far beyond the ordinary. In his youth he sought out many of India's Hindu sages and saints, hoping to find an illuminated teacher to guide him in his spiritual quest.
Yogananda's seeking after various saints mostly ended when he met his guru, Swami Yukteswar Giri, in 1910, at the age of 17. He describes his first meeting with Yukteswar as a rekindling of a relationship that had lasted for many lifetimes:
We entered a oneness of silence; words seemed the rankest superfluities. Eloquence flowed in soundless chant from heart of master to disciple. With an antenna of irrefragable insight I sensed that my guru knew God, and would lead me to Him. The obscuration of this life disappeared in a fragile dawn of prenatal memories. Dramatic time! Past, present, and future are its cycling scenes. This was not the first sun to find me at these holy feet!Later on Yukteswar informed Yogananda that he had been sent to him by Mahavatar Babaji for a special purpose.
After passing his Intermediate Examination in Arts from the Scottish Church College, Calcutta, in June 1915, he graduated with a degree similar to a current day "Bachelor of Arts" or B.A. (which at the time was referred to as an A.B.), from the Serampore College, a constituent college of the University of Calcutta. This allowed him to spend time at Yukteswar's ashram in Serampore. In 1915, he took formal vows into the monastic Swami Order and became 'Swami Yogananda Giri'. In 1917, Yogananda founded a school for boys in Dihika, West Bengal that combined modern educational techniques with yoga training and spiritual ideals. A year later, the school relocated to Ranchi. This school would later become Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, the Indian branch of Yogananda's American organization.
 Move to AmericaIn 1920, Yogananda went to the United States aboard the ship City of Sparta, as India's delegate to an International Congress of Religious Liberals convening in Boston. That same year he founded the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) to disseminate worldwide his teachings on India's ancient practices and philosophy of Yoga and its tradition of meditation. For the next several years, he lectured and taught on the East coast and in 1924 embarked on a cross-continental speaking tour. Thousands came to his lectures. During this time he attracted a number of celebrity followers, including soprano Amelita Galli-Curci, tenor Vladimir Rosing and Clara Clemens Gabrilowitsch, the daughter of Mark Twain. The following year, he established an international center for Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles, California, which became the spiritual and administrative heart of his growing work. Yogananda was the first Hindu teacher of yoga to spend a major portion of his life in America. He lived there from 1920—1952, interrupted by an extended trip abroad in 1935–1936 which was mainly to visit his guru in India though he undertook visits to other living western saints like Therese Neumann the stigmatist of Konnesreuth and places of spiritual significance enroute.
 Visit to India, 1935-1936In 1935, he returned to India to visit Yukteswar and to help establish his Yogoda Satsanga work in India. During this visit, as told in his autobiography, he met with Mahatma Gandhi, the Bengali saint Anandamoyi Ma, renowned physicist Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, and several disciples of Yukteswar's guru Lahiri Mahasaya. While in India, Yukteswar gave Yogananda the monastic title of Paramahansa. Paramahansa means "supreme swan" and is a title indicating the highest spiritual attainment. In 1936, while Yogananda was visiting Calcutta, Yukteswar died in the town of Puri.
 DeathAfter returning to America, he continued to lecture, write, and establish churches in southern California. In the days leading up to his death, he began hinting that it was time for him to leave the world On March 7, 1952, he attended a dinner for the visiting Indian Ambassador to the U.S., Binay Ranjan Sen, and his wife at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. At the conclusion of the banquet Yogananda spoke of India and America, their contributions to world peace and human progress, and their future cooperation, expressing his hope for a "United World" that would combine the best qualities of "efficient America" and "spiritual India." According to an eyewitness - Daya Mata, a direct disciple of Yogananda, who was head of Self-Realization Fellowship from 1955–2010, as Yogananda ended his speech, he read from his poem My India, concluding with the words "Where Ganges, woods, Himalayan caves, and men dream God—I am hallowed; my body touched that sod". "As he uttered these words, he lifted his eyes to the Kutasha center, and his body slumped to the floor" Followers say that he entered mahasamadhi. His funeral service, with hundreds attending, was held at the SRF headquarters atop Mt. Washington, Los Angeles, California. Rajarsi Janakanada, the new president of Self-Realization Fellowship, "performed a sacred ritual releasing the body to God." Yogananda's remains are interred at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Great Mausoleum (normally closed off to visitors but Yogananda's tomb is accessible) in Glendale, California.
Yogananda wrote down his Aims and Ideals for Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society:
Yogananda wrote the Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You and God Talks With Arjuna — The Bhagavad Gita as stated above to reveal the complete harmony and basic oneness of original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ and original Yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna; and to show that these principles of truth are the common scientific foundation of all true religions. In his published work, The Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons, Yogananda gives "his in-depth instruction in the practice of the highest yoga science of God-realization. That ancient science is embodied in the specific principles and meditation techniques of Kriya Yoga." Yogananda taught his students the need for direct experience of truth, as opposed to blind belief. He said that “The true basis of religion is not belief, but intuitive experience. Intuition is the soul’s power of knowing God. To know what religion is really all about, one must know God.” Echoing traditional Hindu teachings, he taught that the entire universe is God's cosmic motion picture, and that individuals are merely actors in the divine play who change roles through reincarnation. He taught that mankind's deep suffering is rooted in identifying too closely with one's current role, rather than with the movie's director, or God. He taught Kriya Yoga and other meditation practices to help people achieve that understanding, which he called Self-realization:
- To disseminate among the nations a knowledge of definite scientific techniques for attaining direct personal experience of God.
- To teach that the purpose of life is the evolution, through self-effort, of man’s limited mortal consciousness into God Consciousness; and to this end to establish Self-Realization Fellowship temples for God-communion throughout the world, and to encourage the establishment of individual temples of God in the homes and in the hearts of men.
- To reveal the complete harmony and basic oneness of original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ and original Yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna; and to show that these principles of truth are the common scientific foundation of all true religions.
- To point out the one divine highway to which all paths of true religious beliefs eventually lead: the highway of daily, scientific, devotional meditation on God.
- To liberate man from his threefold suffering: physical disease, mental inharmonies, and spiritual ignorance.
- To encourage “plain living and high thinking”; and to spread a spirit of brotherhood among all peoples by teaching the eternal basis of their unity: kinship with God.
- To demonstrate the superiority of mind over body, of soul over mind.
- To overcome evil by good, sorrow by joy, cruelty by kindness, ignorance by wisdom.
- To unite science and religion through realization of the unity of their underlying principles.
- To advocate cultural and spiritual understanding between East and West, and the exchange of their finest distinctive features.
- To serve mankind as one’s larger Self.
Self-realization is the knowing - in body, mind, and soul - that we are one with the omnipresence of God; that we do not have to pray that it come to us, that we are not merely near it at all times, but that God’s omnipresence is our omnipresence; and that we are just as much a part of Him now as we ever will be. All we have to do is improve our knowing.
 Kriya YogaThe science of Kriya Yoga is the foundation of Yogananda's teachings. Kriya Yoga is "union (yoga) with the Infinite through a certain action or rite (kriya). The Sanskrit root of kriya is kri, to do, to act and react." Kriya Yoga was passed down through Yogananda's guru lineage - Mahavatar Babaji taught Kriya Yoga to Lahiri Mahasaya, who taught it to his disciple, Yukteswar Giri, Yogananda's Guru.
Yogananda gave a general description of Kriya Yoga in his Autobiography:
The Kriya Yogi mentally directs his life energy to revolve, upward and downward, around the six spinal centers (medullary, cervical, dorsal, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal plexuses) which correspond to the twelve astral signs of the zodiac, the symbolic Cosmic Man. One-half minute 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.Sri Mrinalini Mata, current President of SRF/YSS, said, "Kriya Yoga is so effective, so complete, because it brings God's love - the universal power through which God draws all souls back to reunion with Him - into operation in the devotee's life." 
Yogananda wrote in Autobiography of a Yogi that the "The actual technique should be learned from an authorized Kriyaban (Kriya Yogi) of Self-Realization Fellowship (Yogoda Satsanga Society of India.)"
 Autobiography of a YogiIn 1946, Yogananda published his life story, Autobiography of a Yogi. It has since been translated into twenty-eight languages. In 1999, it was designated one of the "100 Most Important Spiritual Books of the 20th Century" by a panel of spiritual authors convened by Philip Zaleski and HarperCollins publishers. Autobiography of a Yogi is the most popular of Yogananda’s books. According to Philip Goldberg, who wrote American Veda, "...the Self-Realization Fellowship which represents Yogananda's Legacy, is justified in using the slogan, "The Book that Changed the Lives of Millions." It has sold more than four million copies and counting..." In 2006, the publisher, Self-Realization Fellowship, honored the 60th anniversary of Autobiography of a Yogi "with a series of projects designed to promote the legacy of the man thousands of disciples still refer to as 'master.'" 
Autobiography of a Yogi describes Yogananda's spiritual search for enlightenment, in addition to encounters with notable spiritual figures such as Therese Neumann, Anandamayi Ma, Mohandas Gandhi, Nobel laureate in literature Rabindranath Tagore, noted plant scientist Luther Burbank (the book is 'Dedicated to the Memory of Luther Burbank, An American Saint'), famous Indian scientist Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Sir C. V. Raman. One notable chapter of this book is "The Law of Miracles", where he gives scientific explanations for seemingly miraculous feats. He writes: "the word 'impossible' is becoming less prominent in man's vocabulary."
The Autobiography has been an inspiration for many people including Steve Jobs, Co-Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Apple Inc. In the book Steve Jobs: A Biography the authors writes that in preparation for a trip, Mr. Jobs downloaded onto his iPad2, the Autobiography of a Yogi, "the guide to meditation and spirituality that he had first read as a teenager, then re-read in India and had read once a year ever since."
 Claims of bodily incorruptibilityAs reported in Time Magazine on August 4, 1952, Harry T. Rowe, Los Angeles Mortuary Director of the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California, where Yogananda's body was embalmed, wrote in a notarized letter
The absence of any visual signs of decay in the dead body of Paramhansa Yogananda offers the most extraordinary case in our experience... No physical disintegration was visible in his body even twenty days after death... No indication of mold was visible on his skin, and no visible drying up took place in the bodily tissues. This state of perfect preservation of a body is, so far as we know from mortuary annals, an unparalleled one... No odor of decay emanated from his body at any time...Rowe also noted the appearance of a brown spot on Yogananda's nose after twenty days. Some have pointed out that this degree of preservation of an embalmed body is common. Rowe also said in the same sentence that there was no visible mold even on March 26. Rowe continues, "on March 27th there was no reason to say that his body had suffered any visible physical disintegration at all. For these reasons we state again that the case of Paramhansa Yogananda is unique in our experience."
 LegacyParamahansa Yogananda's work is continued through the two organizations he founded - Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) & Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS). Yogananda founded Self-Realization Fellowship in 1920 and incorporated it in 1935. In the magazine Inner Culture for Self-Realization that Yogananda published with his organization SRF, he added this statement in the 1939, Vol. 12 issue:
Paramhansa Swami Yogananda renounced all his ownership rights in the Self-Realization Fellowship when it was incorporated as a nonprofit religious organization under the laws of California, March 29, 1935. At that time he turned over to the Fellowship all of his rights to and income from sale of his books, writings, magazine, lectures, classes, property, automobiles and all other possessions. The corporation, whose affairs are managed by a Board of Directors, does not pay Yogananda any salary.SRF is headquartered in Los Angeles and has grown to include more than 500 temples and centers around the world and has members in over 175 countries including the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine. In India and surrounding countries, Paramahansa Yogananda's work is known as Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, which has more than 100 centers, retreats, and ashrams." Daya Mata, an important religious leader and a direct disciple of Yogananda who was personally chosen and trained by Yogananda, was head of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India from 1955–2010. Mrinalini Mata, a direct disciple of Yogananda, "is the current president and spiritual head of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India. She too was personally chosen and trained by Yogananda to help guide the work after his passing." She is assisted by a Board of Directors, which includes other direct disciples of Yogananda trained by him.
 Noted disciplesThe members of this list were drawn from Yogananda's book Journey to Self-Realization, unless otherwise noted, and the date and location of first discipleship to Yogananda are given.
 See also
- Bowden, p. 629
- Ghosh,(1980)Mejda p.3 Self-Realization Fellowship
- Autobiography of a Yogi, 1997 Anniversary Edition. Self-Realization Fellowship (Founded by Yogananda) http://www.yogananda-srf.org/
- "Swami yogananda giri speaks on "the inner life". ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Boston Globe p.9 (Boston, MA). March 5, 1921.
- Boston Meditation Group Historical Committee. "In The Footsteps of Paramahansa Yogananda: A guidebook to the places in and around Boston associated with Yoganandaji". http://bostonmeditationgroup.com/footsteps/Footsteps_3rd_ed.pdf. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
- Sister Gyanamata "God Alone: The Life and Letters of a Saint" p. 11
- Treasures Against Time, Foreword p. xiii
- "Paramahansa means "supreme swan" and is a title indicating the highest spiritual attainment." Miller, p. 188.
- Mata, Daya (1990). Finding the Joy Within, 1st ed. Los Angeles, CA: Self-Realization Fellowship, p 256
- Kriyananda (1977)
- Miller, p. 179.
- "About SRF: Leadership of the Society". http://www.yogananda-srf.org/lineageandleadership/Sri_Daya_Mata.aspx. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- Paramahansa Yogananda: In Memoriam: Personal Accounts of the Master's Final Days, Los Angeles, CA: Self-Realization Fellowship, (2001) ISBN 0-87612-170-9
- Mata, Daya (Spring 2002). "My Spirit Shall Live On: The Final Days of Paramahansa Yogananda". Self-Realization Magazine
- "Guru's Exit - TIME". Time. 1952-08-04. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,822420,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
- "Hundreds Pay Tribute at Rites for Yogananda". ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA). March 12, 1952.
- Yogananda, Paramahansa (2004). The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You p.1566. Los Angeles, CA: Self-Realization Fellowship. ISBN 0-87612-555-0.
- Kress, Michael (2001). Publishers Weekly: Meditation is the message. New York: Cahners Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier, Inc..
- "Aims & Ideals of Self-Realization Fellowship". http://www.yogananda-srf.org/Aims_and_Ideals.aspx. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- Teresa Watanabe (12-11-2004). "A Hindu's Perspective on Christ and Christianity". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA).
- Yogananda, Paramahansa (1995). God Talks With Arjuna - The Bhagavad Gita p.1130. Los Angeles, CA: Self-Realization Fellowship. ISBN 0-87612-030-3.
- Yogananda, Paramahansa (2004). The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You p. xxi. Los Angeles, CA: Self-Realization Fellowship. ISBN 0-87612-555-0.
- Mrinalini Mata (2011). Self-Realiztion Magazine: The Blessings of Kriya Yoga in Everyday Life. Los Angeles, CA: Self-Realization Fellowship. ISBN 0037-1564.
- "HarperCollins 100 Best Spiritual Books of the Century". http://www.librarything.com/bookaward/HarperCollins+100+Best+Spiritual+Books+of+the+Century.
- Goldberg, Philip (2012). The Autobiography of a Yogi: A Tribute to Yogananda. Huff Post Religion. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/philip-goldberg/autobiogrpahy-of-a-yogi-tribute-yogananda_b_1319059.html.
- Goldberg, Philip (2012). American Veda. Harmony; 1 edition (November 2, 2010): 109.
- Sahagun, Louis (August 6, 2006). "Guru's Followers Mark Legacy of a Star's Teachings". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2006/aug/06/local/me-swami6.
- Isaacson, Walter (2001). Steve Jobs: A Biography. Simon & Schuster ISBN: 978-1-4576-4853-9.
- "Guru's Exit". Time. 4 August 1952. Archived from the original on 2010-09-27. http://www.webcitation.org/5t3pauJ8q.
- Forest Lawn Memorial-Park, Harry T. Rowe, Mortuary Director (May 16, 1952). Paramahansa Yogananda's Complete Mortuary Report. Los Angeles, CA.
- Falk 2009, pg. 254
- Goldberg, Philip (2012). American Veda. Harmony; 1 edition (November 2, 2010): 109.
- "About Self-Realization Fellowship". http://www.yogananda-srf.org/About_Self-Realization_Fellowship.aspx. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- Works related to SRF Articles of Incorporation 1935 at Wikisource
- Self-Realization Fellowship (1939, Volume 12, page 30). Inner Culture for Self-Realization.
- "Locations of SRF/YSS centers & temples". http://www.yogananda-srf.org/locations/Locations.aspx. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- Book: Journey to Self Realization original list in footnotes
- "Yyoga: Awaken Within (About the life of Dr. Lewis, Yogananda's first disciple)". http://yyoga.org. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
- "Reminiscenses of Disciples and Friends of Paramahansa Yogananda". http://www.yogananda-srf.org/disciples/Disciples_Reminisce.aspx. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
- "How Disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda Found Autobiography of a Yogi". http://www.yogananda-srf.org/ay/First_Encounters.aspx. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
- Gyanamata, Sister (1984). God Alone: The Life and Letters of a Saint. Self-Realization Fellowship. ISBN 0-87612-200-4.
- Yogacharya Oliver Site
- http://www.self-revelationchurch.org/ Yogananda ordained Premananda as a swami in 1941
- Sri Durga Mata (1993 1st edition). A Paramhansa Yogananda Trilogy of Divine Love. Los Angeles, CA: Joan Wight Publications; ISBN 0-96358-380-8.
- Yogananda, Paramahansa (1997). Journey to Self-Realization, Discovering the Gifts of the Soul. Los Angeles, CA: Self-Realization Fellowship. ISBN 0-87612-255-1.
- Yogananda, Paramahansa (1997). Journey to Self-Realization, Discovering the Gifts of the Soul p.72. Los Angeles, CA: Self-Realization Fellowship. ISBN 0-87612-255-1.
- "About SRF: Sri Daya Mata webpage". http://www.yogananda-srf.org/lineageandleadership/Sri_Daya_Mata.aspx. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
- "About SRF: Rajarsi Janakananda webpage". http://www.yogananda-srf.org/lineageandleadership/Rajarsi_Janakananda.aspx. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
- Self-Realization Fellowship (1996). Rajarsi Janakananda: A Great Western Yogi. Self-Realization Fellowship Publishers. ISBN 0-87612-019-2.
- "About SRF: Organizational Leadership". http://www.yogananda-srf.org/lineageandleadership/Organizational_Leadership.aspx. Retrieved 2011-02-15.
- Mrinalini Mata's booklet: The Guru-Disciple Relationship
- "Daniel Boone presents Excerpts from an Interview". http://www.ufocongressstore.com/Daniel-Boone-Presents-Excerpts-From-An-Interview_p_363.html. Retrieved 2011-02-15.
- Paulsen book: The Christ Consciousness
- Davis Book: Paramahansa Yogananda as I knew him
- Date is when he became ordained
- http://www.crossandlotus.com Date is when she met PY in Seattle
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- Original Autobiography of a Yogi posted online
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