Paramhansa Yogananda, (born Mukunda Lal Ghosh), is a world-renowned spiritual Master who was the first Indian yogi to make his home in the West. A blazing spiritual light to millions of truth-seekers across the globe, Yogananda’s message of the unity of all religions and the path of Kriya yoga continues to be heard and appreciated by those who are keen to realise truth in their modern-day lives, regardless of age, religion or ethnicity.
Yogananda himself was helped in fulfilling his world mission by his spiritual predecessors, a story which he enchantingly tells in his spiritual classic, Autobiography of Yogi. Upon their request, he came to the Western world to help hundreds of thousands of people in their spiritual search. He gave these teachings impartially to people of all religions and philosophical persuasions, including atheists.
What Yogananda taught in the West was not religion, but practical spirituality. The techniques he taught are useful in all fields of human activity. They are based on methods of Self-awareness and Self-discovery which have been used by spiritual seekers for millennia. These practices include techniques for increasing the flow of vital energy into the body; for harmonising body and mind with soul and spirit, and for entering higher states of spiritual awareness, which he called ‘superconsciousness’.
Yogananda left his beloved India to come to Boston in 1920 as India’s representative to the Congress of Religious Liberals, where he presented a talk entitled, ‘The Science of Religion’. He established his first centre in Boston and began to give conferences and classes in Self-realisation throughout the United States. His lectures were very well received, often attended by thousands of people in some of the largest halls in America.
In 1925 he established his headquarters in Los Angeles and continued to lecture in many other cities. He wrote many books, most notably his autobiography and his commentaries on the original teachings of Jesus Christ (The Second Coming of Christ) and of Lord Krishna (The Bhagavad Gita). By the time of his passing in 1952, he had hundreds of thousands of students and had established temples, centres and meditation groups throughout the country.
His legacy to the upliftment of human consciousness is unique and continues to grow through the ever-expanding family of disciples around the world who are dedicated to living the path of Kriya yoga as taught by their beloved Guru.