5-1-1893 – 7-3-1952
The first Hindu Teacher of Yoga to spread Yoga in America
A TRIBUTE ON HIS DEATH ANNIVERSARY
Mukunda Lal Ghosh was born in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.
In 1917 Mukunda Lal Ghosh (renamed in 1935-Paramahansa Yogananda) "began his life's work with the founding of a 'how-to-live' school for boys, where modern educational methods were combined with yoga training and instruction in spiritual ideals." In 1920 "he was invited to serve as India's delegate to an International Congress of Religious Liberals convening in Boston. His address to the Congress, on 'The Science of Religion,' was enthusiastically received." For the next several years he lectured and taught across the United States. His discourses taught of the "unity of 'the original teachings of Jesus Christ and the original Yoga taught by Bhagavan Krishna.'"
In 1920 he founded the Self-Realization Fellowship and in 1925 established in Los Angeles, California, USA, the international headquarters for SRF
He taught KriyaYoga and other meditation practices to help people achieve that understanding, which he called Self-realization.
The "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.
In 1935-36, he returned to India to visit Yukteswar and to help establish his Yogoda Satsanga work in India. He met with Mahatma Gandhi and initiated him into the liberating technique of Kriya Yoga. During this period, Yukteswar gave Yogananda the monastic title of Paramahansa.
Returning to America, Yogananda wrote his famous Autobiography of a Yogi and other writings. He penned Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You and God Talks With Arjuna — The Bhagavad Gita' 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
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.
In 1946, Yogananda published his life story, Autobiography of a Yogi. It has since been translated into 34 languages.
On 7 March 1952, he attended a dinner for the visiting Indian Ambassador to the US, 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. As he uttered these words, he lifted his eyes to the Kutastha center (the Ajna Chakra), and his body slumped to the floor and passed away.
As reported in Time Magazine on 4 August 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 Paramahansa 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 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 Paramahansa Yogananda is unique in our experience.
Paramahansa Yogananda's dissemination of his teachings is continued through the organization he founded – the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF)/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS).
Some of his noted Direct Disciples are Minot & Mildred Lewis, 1920, Boston.Mildred (Mother) Hamilton, Daniel Boone, 1945, Daniel Boone, 1945, Bob Raymer, 1950.
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 Catholic Stigmatist of Konnesreuth and places of spiritual significance en route.
Signature of Paramahansa Yogananda