In this auspicious year -2018, we gratefully celebrate the 125th anniversary of Paramahansa Yogananda’s divine birth. The yoga master known as “the Father of Yoga in the West” is a great educator and founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Sat Sangha , a world wide New Religious Movement.
Yogananda was without doubt the world’s most significant spiritual prophet/luminary of the 20th and 21st centuries to date. Leaving behind an impeccable spiritual life and literary legacy that is revolutionizing the spiritual life, outlook, and consciousness of millions of seekers in today’s world .
Although this reinventing of the truly scientific spiritual approach is most widespread in Hindustan and the Caucasian worlds, many other cultures and faiths are slowly discovering the uplifting transformational message and living presence of this world teacher/prophet. Acclaimed by both those who intimately follow Him as their Guru/Avatar/Savior/mentor, and those who have just become aware of His amazing life and Legacy.
He was a modern outstanding real life example of the truth of much of the worlds greater spiritual literature as were originally intended. As for the popular beliefs of the masses, he approached those many misunderstandings with compassion and profoundly clear and simple clarifications that appeal to common sense. As a living demonstration of the love, light, peace, wisdom, and joy that we read about in sacred writings (eg the Holy Bible and the Holy Bhagavad Gita.) His strongest witness as a modern living prophet is in that divine life record he left us. Yogananda’s real life drama has transformed the myth of ancient scripture into the clarity of scientific modernity. There’s no more denying then! Inharmonies just fade away for those who know how to read.
It takes considerable research, time, and faithful practice to
to fully appreciate and understand the extensive practical blessings that this humble Master bequeathed to the world during His short life of 59 yrs. I suggest starting with His “Autobiography of a Yogi” and other works that are still in publication by Self-Realization Publishers LA USA. There are also various videos and doc films available on the net (see image sidebar) and search on YouTube under Self-Realization Fellowship -or Paramahansa Yogananda, or Self-Realization Fellowship/ Yogoda Sat Sangha in India.
Only Yogananda’s books from this publisher (SRF) are most reliable, accurate, and up to date. The work of SRF Publishers do accurately reflect the Masters true legacy. As a simple test of the importance of Yogananda’s work I would suggest that one could compare it to the life and revelation of the gospels of Jesus. Excepting the fact that because this Guru’s life and work all took place within the last century or so, with many witnesses of both devotees and non devotees this remarkable example of the advanced yogic spiritual life for all religions is very reliable and noteworthy. His unity with the infinite was clear.
During His sojourn and ministry in the last century He was able to answer and put to rest most of the problems of modern popular religionists who have long since given up on institutional religion. The now commonly used term of “Spirituality” was given much strength and credibility with the advent of Yogananda’s work and life! He is a true leader and peaceful revolutionary in religion, spirituality, mind awareness, meditation, psychology, social engineering, education, healing, health and balanced living etc.
He also published all of his writings in English [now the worlds most commonly spoken language.] A language that He had mastered as if it were His mother tongue.
This unique situation will, in future years remove much of the problem that followed so many revelations of all faiths that suffer from political, language, and ancient messed up historical confusions. Political misdirections and linguistic translations during the evolution of languages in all
cultures being some of the most problematic sources of misunderstanding. All this aside, one needs to experience the living presence of His intimate omnipresence to truly know what He is doing for humanity in education, spirituality, charity, and the well-being of society. What was so unique or outstanding about the life, Legacy, and SRF/YSS society established by Paramahansa Yogananda?
Instead of deliberately starting a new “religion,” He clarified for humanity the scientific essence Kriya Yoga that will harmonize all true historical paths together at a lofty effective spiritual level. This is the only true “unity in diversity” as it does not require others to deny or leave their family’s faiths. It does not falsely tell others they must change. Other prophets followers have used that lofty slogan of “Unity in Diversity,” but upon closer scrutiny their claims do not hold true.
Those others really want you to deny the validity all other faiths and unite under their own new banner. Persons joining those new movements are not usually initially told about their way of eradication/demeaning previous faiths. They often don’t even fully understand the flaws of their own dark history. Those who do this don’t properly understand such terms as “unity in diversity” and “Progressive Revelation.”
Where then does the new society known as “Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Sat Sangha” truly stand in all of this? My take on it below!
Yogananda set this org up not with the intent of creating a new religion, but as a reliable and leading spiritual center for the preservation and dissemination of the Kriya Yoga revelation which He was introducing to the modern and post modern world. To be a promoter of religious harmony and peace among all faiths, not by conversion but by emphasizing the principle unifying goals of all faiths. Some special qualities made Him the ideal interface with humanity for this great mandate. His ability as a articulate natural teacher and His ultra high mastery of His consciousness at all significant levels.
Being fully unified with the Infinite Consciousness (Reality), and awakened from the mayic dream of Relativity, He was fully qualified to lead others on life’s most challenging and rewarding quest – that of Self-Realization.
Those who have become a serious part of this new teaching and lifestyle could be said in modern terminology to be members of a new church. Yogananda has now many millions of devotees and helpers. God bless them all!
Continue to live/grow in “Mind-Awareness.”
This Master says very clearly that if you add the science of Kriya Yoga and a few principles of love and peace to your present religious/spiritual practice, you do not have to reject/ deny the religions of your families and cultures. But you will have to learn what is true and false about what you have been taught by those blind leaders of so many varied sects, and you have to practice the raising of your consciousness with higher yoga science of life transforming meditation that the prophet Yogananda gives us.
Yogananda came to the West at a time when modern technology was distracting most men from two things. The higher teaching of Yoga- the mystical enhance- ment of consciousness, and the reality within. The more attention we give only to the outward physical sciences at the neglect of the inner spiritual sciences will simply further enslave our consciousness to the world of relativity and the senses! Are the machines taking over yet – it is getting closer all the time!
He left us a vast comprehensive life example and library of clear instruction and inspiration plus his ever living omnipresence. He is not dead, He lives and works through and with His true devotees. History proclaims it! I also recommend seeing the documentary “Awake;The Life of Yogananda” a remarkable biopic film released in 2014. Read about Him in the enlightening book “Autobiography of a Yogi, and test His SRF Lessons course and the results will tell the rest. from the address below.
The Following talk by Paramahansa Yogananda is from a 1993 Self-Realization
Magazine , shared from SRF – YSS Yogananda Answers ·
“SRF CHURCHES OF ALL RELIGIONS~~
World Unity and Brotherhood
It was in the dark years preceding and during World War II that the Guru turned his mind to the creation of Self-Realization Fellowship “Churches of All Religions”*–speaking with greater urgency than before about the need to “establish unity and brotherhood among religionists of all races.”
“The true basis of religion,” Paramahansaji said, “should be a science. The practice of a ‘science of religion’ is imperative. Different dogmatic ‘isms’ have kept mankind divided…
“We should begin to build world unity with the idea that has been initiated by Self-Realization Fellowship: a ‘Church of All Religions’; not eclecticism, but respect for all religions as constituting various paths to God…Attaining Self-realization through Yoga, men will come to know that they are all children of the one Father.”
…In dedicating the new [San Diego] temple [Paramahansaji] expressed his wish that within its walls many seekers would attain the true realization of the fundamental truths inherent in all great religions.
“I welcome you today to this new Self-Realization Fellowship Church of All Religions,” he said. May you realize the spirit of unity and oneness which we represent, in the realization of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
I dedicate this church in the name of our one Father God, our common parents Adam and Eve, and the great ones of God—Jesus Christ, Bhagavan Krishna, Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Sri Yukteswarji, Guru-Preceptor, and saints of all religions. May we all realize the unity of man in the foundation of our existence in God. May this church, which represents this unity, help to dispel the clouds of war and suffering and bring happiness unto all…
…“We should go to church for one purpose only: God-communion. This is why you come here. If you will grow used to quiet, deep meditation at home and in church, you will someday realize what it has done for your life. You need quiet places for communion with God. This is the real purpose of churches and temples.”
A FARSIGHTED CONCEPT OF TRUE UNITY IN DIVERSITY
Paramahansa Yogananda envisioned Self-Realization Fellowship temples as sanctuaries for the perpetuation of the ideals of actual God-communion and a common spiritual brotherhood. These ideals were reflected in the very name he gave to the work he had been sent to the West to establish. “Self-Realization Fellowship,” the Guru explained, “signifies fellowship with God through Self-realization, and friendship with all Truth-seeking souls.” Expressing spiritual goodwill to all, Paramahansaji included in his prayer invocations not only God and the Gurus of the SRF path, but also “saints of all religions.” In this same spirit, when he founded his Self-Realization temples in Hollywood and San Diego in the early 1940’s, he referred to each of them as a “Church of All Religions.”
…[Parmahansaji] was not advocating…the merging of various beliefs and practices from different religions…He explained that in view of the vast cultural and psychological diversity of the human race this would be a highly illogical goal and an unnecessary one. Indeed, each expression has its place, even as he defined his work of Self-Realization Fellowship as a ‘special dispensation.’ He declared that what humanity needs is an understanding of the ‘science’ of religion; and in his book by that name he explained what he meant in referring to “the unity of all religions”:
“If by religion we understand only practices, particular tenets, dogmas, customs and conventions, then there may be grounds for the existence of so many religions. But if religion means primarily God-consciousness, or the realization of God both within and without, and secondarily a body of beliefs, tenets and dogmas, then, strictly speaking, there is but one religion in the world, for there is but one God. The different customs, forms of worship, tenets, and conventions may be held to form the grounds for the origins of different denominations and sects included under that one religion. If religion is understood in this way, then and then only may its universality be maintained; because we cannot possibly universalize different customs and conventions. Only the element common to all religions may be universalized; we may ask everyone to follow and obey it.”
Paramahansa Yogananda, “The Science of Religion”
excerpts from “TOWARD WORLD UNITY THROUGH COMMUNION WITH GOD”
Self-Realization magazine, Fall 1993
***[Gurudeva] chose for the name of his organization in the West (his international society) a distinctive translation of the name he had given to the society in India—Yogoda Satsanga. “Yogoda” (a word he himself had coined) means “that which the science of yoga imparts,” and “Satsanga” means “association with God, with Truth, with good people.” He translated this name as “Self-Realization Fellowship,” and explained: “Through Self-realization we have fellowship with God, and in that fellowship, we give divine friendship to truth-seekers in all religions.” From~ SRF Mother Center
Essentially Paramahansa Yogananda’s Mandate was threefold.
1. To show the unifying elements in mankind’s great faiths and show them how to achieve unity not by everyone converting to another religion, but to know that unity through oneness with the infinite by communing with God.
2. To bring to the world the detailed scientific Yoga meditation that makes that communion a reality. He brought us the great how to live teachings.
3. To clarify and correct the many misconceptions about our understanding of what the great ones were really teaching. Break through the barriers of your dark programming!
He succeeded in fully and effectively doing all this and it is available for those who
willing to listen, learn, and work at it.
The great barriers to the evolution of consciousness.
Humans are so gregarious, community health and participation is as much as part of our nature as is the protection of our individuality and freedom. A serious problem arises however, when we allow emotion and insecurity to trump intelligence/wisdom.
The majority of followers of most religious paths are very concerned about their standing in the community and not so much about the all important quest for truth and justice. Thus we have have the old trap of “blind leading the blind.” This goes on in all cultures, and is clearly described in the Gospels of Jesus and the Bhagavad Gita of Lord Krishna.
If you want your life to mean something – especially to your Self, it is imperative that you make some effort by inner searching and prayer, and study, to understand what these all important matters are all about. You must apply these new truths by practices with which you can change yourself. Only then will you find real purpose, peace, and understanding that goes beyond the masses of sheep in your own group. Only then will you be in a position to share your mind awareness and love with suffering humanity.
No matter what path/culture you were born into – it is not and never was some “god’s only way,” and your race and culture is not some god’s greatest expression of humanity.
it is ok to be proud of your origins, if you can do this without the egotism of vain superiority. If, like many of us you were told such things, you have been lied to by your teachers most of your life. Exclusivism is not needed to support ones self-esteem.
The courageous relinquishing of these and many other false ideas [exclusivism] are the only gateway to enhance your evolution. Shouting slogans and blindly clinging to the ways you really know little about is not the road to peace and progress. It is to serve the locked in programming of darkness. Look around and you will see that the message is clear! That simple message is “Change Yourself.”
As long as you still also believe that this relative world of the senses is reality, you will not know real joy , peace, or purpose in your life.
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