Me in Headstand Position
The Self-Realization Fellowship was founded in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda.
He was requested by Mahavatar Babaji to spread the technique of Kriya Yoga,
the scientific technique for the attainment of Self-Realization, in the West. Having been
trained by his guru Swami Sri Yukteshwar as a young boy for this divine mission he was
well suited to be a successful teacher and guide for the western culture. He was invited by
the International Congress of Religious Liberals to serve as the delegate from India when
they convened in Boston in 1920 delivering an address on ” The Science of Religion”.
Unlike most other religious approaches Self-Realization Fellowship emphasizes
the practice of a particular scientific technique which, when practiced, automatically
draws the practitioner toward the inner experience of a personal relationship with God.
By 1925 the Self -Realization Fellowship had established a headquarters in Los Angeles
on Mount Washington Estates. Yogananda traveled and lectured through out the
United States and initiated thousands of followers in the practice of Kriya Yoga.
Legally affiliated with Self-Realization Fellowship is the Yogoda Satsanga Society
of India, headquartered in Dakshineswar, which was founded by Yogananda in 1917.
One of the unique features of the Fellowship are the lessons which give detailed
instruction in the Self-Realization Fellowship energization, concentration and
meditation techniques which lay the preliminary practice for the more advanced
instruction in Kriya Yoga.
After Yogananda’s passing (mahasamadhi) in 1952 Rajarsi Janakananda,
born James Jesse Lynn, served as president of the organization. He was an american
businessman and self-made millionaire who became a close disciple of Yogananda.
He served as President of SRF until his passing in 1955.
Sri Daya Mata, born Faye Wright, has been president of the Self-Realization Fellowship
and Yogoda Satsanga Society since 1955 until her passing on November 30th, 2010.
The Kriya Yoga technique is based on the science of the breath. All living creatures must
perform pran-kriya or the action of breathing. So the flow of the breath is intimately
connected to the life force itself without which no other bodily functions are possible.
By focusing our attention on the flow of the breath and ultimately it’s control we
can consciously connect to the life force itself. Since this is something that anyone and
everyone can do, it has a universal appeal.
Paramahansa Yogananda, along with other prominent figures from India, have had a
profound influence on western culture as well as on religious and educational activities.
Even the Beatles were drawn to the eastern philosophy and religion. According to
a Harris Poll study in 2004, 7.5 percent of adults in the United States, or approximately
16.5 million people, practice yoga. Since Yogananda personally lived in the United States
and taught his students and followers for over 30 years and his work
has been carried on by his very qualified monastic disciples it is no wonder that the
influence of the Self-Realization Fellowship has been profound in the west as well as
around the world.
We must refrain from certain actions. The ego wants to put it’s own priorities over other
peoples’ interests. This tendency must be overcome for progress to be possible. If all are one then each must live as one, with no one being superior and no one being inferior. Hence the wisdom uttered by the Prince of Peace, “Love thy neighbor as thyself “.
In order to progress on the spiritual path we must learn to listen to instuctions from those
with greater wisdom and practice their instructions.
We all must maintain proper alignment of the cerebrospinal axis. So we practice sitting in the “steady and pleasant posture” with an erect spine. This allows for the free flow of energy through the spine.
Breathing is the chief function of all other functions in the body. Without the breath there are no other functions possible, therefore, all functions center around the breath. Our pattern of breath has a psycho-physiological effect on our state of mind.
As we follow the breath inward it frees the mind from outer distractions and centers the
focus of our attention inward. This leads to control of the thoughts in the mind.
Then we learn to become aware of the thoughts in the mind and how to keep away unwanted thoughts
by concentrating on a single thought to the exclusion of all other thoughts.
Only after completing the above steps can we advance to a state of meditation in which we can experience the state of pure consciousness in the thought-free state of awareness.
In the thought-free state of pure consciousness one becomes aware of the natural peace and joy of Satchitananda, the ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Bliss of the Spirit. OM, Shanti… Shanti… Shanti….