The Master’s 5 Key Gifts to Yoga

– Paramahansa Yogananda was the first Indian yoga master to take up residence in the West establishing himself in the USA in 1920.
– He introduced to the world Kriya Yoga “the jet-airplane route to God.”
– He developed the Self Realization Fellowship & Temples.
– The Master also taught the yoga techniques of Energization Exercises, Ham Sau and the Aum.
– His life story Autobiography of a Yogi (1946) created a spiritual revolution, and continues to be a modern classic.


One of the most influential yogi masters of the last century, Paramahansa Yogananda made his mark on the West by introducing the technique of Kriya Yoga – the so-called “jet-airplane route to God” – and the Self-Realization Fellowship. Among his devotees were George Harrison, Henry Ford and Steve Jobs.

A Brief Biography

Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) was the first yoga master of India to take up permanent residence in the West. His inspiring life and contribution to the practice of yoga are a continual source of light and guidance to thousands of devotees around the globe.

Paramahansa Yogananda

Born Mukunda Lal Ghosh on 5th January 1893, in Gorakhpur, India in childhood, it was evident that the depth of Paramahansa Yogananda’s awareness and experience of the spiritual was beyond the extraordinary. The name Yogananda signifies bliss, ananda, through divine union, yoga.

Both his parents were disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya, the renowned master who reintroduced Kriya Yoga in modern India. He foretold Yogananda’s greatness stating: “Thy son will be a yogi. As a spiritual engine, he will carry many souls to God’s kingdom.”

As a young man, he sought out India’s sages and saints, hoping to find a guide for his spiritual quest. In 1910, at seventeen, he met and became a disciple of the revered Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri. He spent the next ten years, receiving Sri Yukteswar’s strict but loving spiritual discipline. Sri Yukteswar told the young disciple that he had been selected to spread the ancient science of Kriya Yoga worldwide.

Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda

In 1920, while meditating at the Ranchi school, Yogananda had a divine vision encouraging him to commence his work in the West. Sri Yukteswar confirmed that the time was right, saying: “All doors are open for you. It is now or never.”

Before Yogananda’s departure, Mahavatar Babaji, the master who had revived the ancient science of Kriya Yoga in India said. “You are the one I have chosen to spread the message of Kriya Yoga in the West”.

From 1924–1935, Yogananda traveled and lectured widely in the USA on his “spiritual campaigns” speaking to hundreds of thousands of devotees from New York’s Carnegie Hall to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Auditorium.

In 1946 he wrote his life story, Autobiography of a Yogi that created something of a spiritual revolution in the West. Detailing his quest for enlightenment, the book has sold more than 4 million copies. The master continued to lecture and write up to his passing in 1952.

His Teachings

Yogananda emphasized the underlying unity of the world’s great religions. The Master
dreamed of places where people of all walks of life, not only monastics, could devote
themselves to “simple living and high thinking” by applying the teachings of yoga to
every aspect of their lives.

Kriya Yoga

His greatest contributions included teaching the soul-awakening techniques of Kriya Yoga
a technique to accelerate one’s spiritual growth. The easiest and most effective
avenue to approach the infinite.

The path of Kriya Yoga, which combines the practice of advanced yogic techniques with
spirituality in daily life, can be learned through the Ananda Kriya Sangha.

Kriya is a technique of energy control, or pranayama. It is also a comprehensive spiritual path that includes additional meditation practices. Described as a combination of Hatha, Raja and Laya yoga, Kriya requires a daily commitment to meditation. It can take up to a year to establish the practice.

Initiating more than 100,000 men and women during his thirty years in the West, Kriya Yoga revitalizes subtle currents of life energy (prana) in the spine and brain.

Paramahansa Yogananda also taught the following yoga techniques:

– Energization Exercises: based on the principle of drawing the Cosmic Energy into the body.
– Hong Sau: when the mind and the breath become synchronized to still the mind.
– The Aum Technique: voicing the cosmic vibration that makes it all possible.

Self-Realization Fellowship

The lasting contribution brought by Yogananda to the West is the universal spiritual path
of Self-Realization. His pledge was, “Those who have come to the Self‑Realization Fellowship truly seeking inward spiritual help shall receive what they seek from God”.

In The Essence of Self-Realization, the Master states; “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.”

Yogananda’s definition of the term self-realization is “the knowing in all parts of body, mind and soul, that you are now in possession of the kingdom of God; that God’s omnipresence is your omnipresence and that all that you need to do is improve your knowing.

As the means of attaining this exalted spiritual state Yogananda initiated his followers into
the ancient technique of Kriya Yoga, which he called the “jet-airplane route to God.”

By the mid-1930s, he had met the disciples who would help him build the Self-Realization
Fellowship work and carry the Kriya Yoga mission forward after his death were Rajarsi
Janakananda president of Self-Realization Fellowship and Sri Daya Mata.

Building Temples

In the days leading up to his death, Paramahansa Yogananda began hinting that it was time for him to leave the world and devoted himself to the writings that would carry his message.

Based at the beautiful hermitage overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Encinitas, California, which had been built for the Guru by his beloved disciple Rajarsi Janakananda, he spent many years working on his autobiography and other writings, and began the SRF Retreat programme that continues to this day.

The Master also founded several Self-Realization Fellowship temples (Encinitas, Hollywood, and San Diego), speaking regularly there on a vast array of spiritual subjects. Many of these talks, were recorded and published by SRF in the three volumes of Yogananda’s Collected Talks and Essays and in Self-Realization magazine.

After The Master died his most advanced disciple Rajarji Janakananda named Yogananda the prematava – meaning the “incarnation of divine love.”

Paramahansa Yogananda Quotes:

Paramahansa Yogananda

“Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.”

“The happiness of one’s own heart alone cannot satisfy the soul; one must try to include, as necessary to one’s own happiness, the happiness of others.”

Radiant Yoga Marbella offers a variety of yoga classes in our Marbella studio including Hot Yoga (similar to Bikram, but with more varied sequencing), Vinyasa Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga Flow, Anasura Yoga, Traditional Hatha Yoga and Kids’ Yoga.

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