Framed poster - Paramahansa Yogananda - Indian yogi and guru - Kriya Yoga - Hinduism
Paramahansa Yogananda - Indian yogi and guru - Kriya Yoga - Hinduism
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IParamahansa Yogananda Indian yogi and guru
Indian yogi and guru who introduced millions of Indians and westerners to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his organization: Yogoda Satsanga Society of India and Self-Realization Fellowship.
Guru: Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, a disciple of Mahavatar Babaji Name: Mukunda Lal Ghosh
According to his younger brother, Sananda, from his earliest years young Mukunda's awareness and experience of the spiritual was far beyond the ordinary.
In 1910 Yogananda's seeking after various saints mostly ended when, at the age of 17, he met his guru, Swami Yukteswar Giri. He describes his first meeting with Yukteswar as a rekindling of a relationship that had lasted for many lifetimes:
"We entered a oneness of silence; words seemed the rankest superfluities. Eloquence flowed in soundless chant from heart of master to disciple ..."
Yukteswar saw that Yogananda was destined to bring their teachings (Kriya yoga etc) into the west - specifically USA. So he prepared him for that.
In 1920, Yogananda went to the United States as India's delegate to an International Congress of Religious Liberals convening in Boston. That same year he founded the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) to disseminate worldwide his teachings on India's ancient practices and philosophy of Yoga and its tradition of meditation.
He is well known for his book: Autobiography of a Yogi.
In 1946, Yogananda published his life story, Autobiography of a Yogi. It has since been translated into 45 languages. In 1999, it was designated one of the "100 Most Important Spiritual Books of the 20th Century" by a panel of spiritual authors.
Autobiography of a Yogi: It can be found on Amazon from $2 (Kindle), $4 used, $15 (new paperback print) at: https://www.amazon.com/Autobiography-Reprint-Philosophical-library-First/dp/1565892127/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=yogananda&qid=1558280655&s=gateway&sr=8-6
He took up residence at the SRF hermitage in Encinitas (close to La Jolla and San Diego), California which was a surprise gift from his disciple Rajarsi Janakananda. It was while at this hermitage that Yogananda wrote his famous 'Autobiography of a Yogi'.
Yogananda found some resistance in the east coast, and then he discovered California, that was his place! Very many were influenced by him. The author found still many traces from his teachings and disciples in the 80's. But in general, Yogananda was way ahead of his times - in my humble opinion - and the materialistic nature of the American culture did not make it easy for him. Too often people turn to spirituality or religion just because of aging and the fear of death, not because of the love for life.
Spirituality is easier when one starts early on this path, a young person will find it easy, and it will lay a foundation for when his body ages, he will then become more mature easily. But when older, the habits are formed and its much harder to get established in a new vision of life.
Steve Jobs and Yogananda: It is well known that Jobs had early spiritual inclinations, he even travelled to India in about 1974. One of Steve Jobs' last gifts was left in a brown box and handed out at his memorial service. Inside the brown box was a copy of "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Hindu guru Paramahansa Yogananda.
India both traumatized Steve Jobs and changed his life. He returned to Atari a Buddhist, and a more focused and hardened individual.
We can say had jobs had some true spiritual qualities - determination, vision, focus and a revolutionary attitude. In all his ventures he did something new and extraordinary.
Yoganandas influence was immense - and it keeps growing since his books are readable and popular. We will not try here to cover all his achievements, there are too many.
A video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxVVYCEvOB8
Connections: Yogananda met with Ghandi, Sri Ananda Mayi Ma, and Sri Ramana Maharishi in India. His Guru: Swami Sri Yukteswar Gir was a disciple of Mahavatar Babaji (Name: Nagarajan, born about 1850?). Yogananda gave a first-hand report of Yogananda's own meeting with the yogi in his 'Autobiography of a Yogi'. Babaji in turn was a disciple of Siddha Bhogarnathar in Sri Lanka. Bhogarnathar inspired Nagaraj to seek his initiation into Kriya Kundalini Pranayam from Siddha Maharshi Agastya. The aim of Kriya Yoga is the control of the life force and direct one’s energies towards God or Self-Realization.
About Kriya Yoga: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kriya_Yoga According to Yogananda the ancient Yogic text the 'Yoga Sutras of Patanjali', contains a description of Kriya Yoga in the second chapter:
"Liberation can be attained by that pranayama which is accomplished by disjoining the course of inspiration and expiration."
The Kriya yoga system consists of a number of levels of pranayama, mantra, and mudra based on techniques intended to rapidly accelerate spiritual development and engender a profound state of tranquility and God-communion. Yogananda attributes his description of Kriya Yoga to his lineage of gurus, Sri Yukteswar Giri, Lahiri Mahasaya, and Mahavatar Babaji. The latter is reported to have introduced the concept as essentially identical to the Raja Yoga of Patanjali and the concept of Yoga as described in the Bhagavad Gita.
Ref: Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - a truly awesome book with an almost scientific approach to spiritual development. It is the basis of many later developments in India, as it is encyclopedic and in the form of terse aphorisms.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: A Study Guide for Book III Vibhuti Pada - by Baba Hari Dass https://www.amazon.com/Yoga-Sutras-Patanjali-Study-Vibhuti/dp/0918100240/ref=sr_1_14?keywords=Yoga+Sutras+of+Patanjali&qid=1558283109&s=gateway&sr=8-14
Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Iyengar https://www.amazon.com/Light-Yoga-Sutras-Patanjali-Iyengar/dp/0007145160/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=Yoga+Sutras+of+Patanjali&qid=1558283213&s=gateway&sr=8-5
Authors Note: There is a clear parallel between Buddhism central practice of 'Anapana' and Kriya here. Basically in Buddhism we use awareness of the breathing sensation in the nostrils to develop concentration, leading to insight of annica - or impermanence ...
Ref: The Way to Ultimate Calm - Selected Discourses of Webu Sayadaw Kindle Edition https://www.amazon.com/Way-Ultimate-Calm-Selected-Discourses-ebook/dp/B00BOELL72/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=anapana&qid=1558283447&s=gateway&sr=8-4