Paramahansa Yogananda Biography and Kriya Yoga Teachings

Paramahansa Yogananda early life

Paramahansa Yogananda was a spiritual figure of modern times who introduced the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga to the world. Born in a Bengali family in Gorakhpur as Mukund Lal Ghosh in January 1883, he left home after completing high school and joined a Mahamandal Hermitage in Varanasi. During his youth, his devotion to God led him to seek out many different saints, including the Soham “Tiger” Swami, Gandha Baba, and Mahendranath Gupta.

Paramahansa Yogananda Biography and Kriya Yoga Teachings
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Paramahansa Yogananda guru

While searching for an illuminated teacher, Yogananda, at 17, came across Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, whom he met at a market in Varanasi and later became his Guru. He took formal vows into the monastic Swami order in July 1915, just a few weeks after graduating from college; Sri Yukteswar allowed him to choose his name: Swami Yogananda Giri.     During his association with his Guru, Yogananda, for the next year, from 1910 to 1920, he received training at Sri Yukteswar’s ashrams in Serampore and Puri. Before leaving the world, Yogananda’s Guru honoured him with the title of Paramhansa and had an enlightening conversation with him.

Humanitarian works

Yogananda founded a boys-only school in Dihika, West Bengal, in 1917, fusing modern academic methods with Yoga instruction and spiritual goals. The school relocated to Ranchi a year later. Bishnu Charan Ghosh, his younger brother, was among the school’s first students. He learned Yogasanas there and later taught them to Bikram Choudhury. The Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, the Indian affiliate of Yogananda’s American organisation, the Self-Realization Fellowship, was founded at this institution in the future.

Father of Yoga in the West

Yogananda left for the West at the direction of his Guru to spread the teachings of yoga and preach a balance between Western material growth and Indian spirituality. He had millions of followers worldwide, and his influence on the American Yoga movement earned him the title “Father of Yoga in the West.”

Yogananda Kriya yoga teachings

While teaching in the United States, he expanded his global influence and local fame and initiated thousands of students into Kriya Yoga. In 1925, he founded a spiritual organisation called Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles, California and through this, he introduced meditation and Kriya Yoga in America. It grew into the intellectual and organisational heart of his expanding activities. In 1935, he returned to India on an ocean liner. He established the Yogoda Satsanga Society of India when he returned to India.

Autobiography of a Yogi

In 1946, he published his book — Autobiography of a Yogi — which is considered one of the “100 best spiritual books of the 20th Century”.

On March 7, 1952, Yogananda passed away in Los Angeles.

Yogananda postage stamp

As a tribute to Paramhansa Yogananda, the Department of Post, Government of India, released a commemorative postage stamp on his 25th death anniversary in 1977. On March 7, 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released another commemorative postage stamp honouring the 100th anniversary of the Yogoda Satsanga Society of India.

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