Uniting EAST & WEST spiritually..!!

Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda is one of the earliest Gurus from India to teach in the United States of America. He is the first to settle there and spread the teachings of the oriental. He is famously known for his book 'Autobiography Of a Yogi', which is among the best sellers even today and increasingly gaining the popularity.

He taught Kriya Yoga for the first time in the west. He highlighted the similarity in the Christian  teachings and the Hindu teachings, thus uniting both religion under one Church of God

Born Mukunda Lal Ghosh (January 5, 1893) (Mukunda: Giver of freedom)
Place of Birth Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh (Lived most of his childhood days in Kolkata)
Guru Sri Yukteswar Giri
Philosophy Kriya Yoga
Father Bhagabati Charan Ghosh
Mother Gyana Prabha Bhose
Siblings
  1. Ananta Lal/ Nantu (brother)
  2. Roma Shashi/ Tuni (sister)
  3. Uma Shashi/ Muni (sister)
  4. (Mukunda)
  5. Nalini Sundari/ Nali (sister)
  6. Sananda Lal/ Gora (brother)
  7. Purnamoyee/ Thamu (sister)
  8. Bishnu Charan/ Bistu (brother)
Died March 7, 1952 (aged 59), Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, California, U.S
Lineage Mahavatar Babaji > Lahiri Mahasaya > Sri Yukteswar Giri
Education Arts Bachelor (A.B)
Saints who influenced Saint Francis of Assisi, RamaKrishna

Early Life

Gyan Prabha Ghosh
Gyana Prabha Ghosh (Mother)

Bhagabati Charan Ghosh
Bhagabati Charan Ghosh (Father)

Birth

Mukunda was born on January 5th of 1893 as the 4th child of Bhagabati Charan Ghosh and Gyana Prabha Ghosh. His parents were of Bengali descent. Both of his parents were disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya.

When they visited their Guru with the new born baby, the great Guru held the baby in his hand and spiritually baptized him, the Guru said to the mother of Mukunda "Little mother, thy son will be a yogi. As a spiritual engine, he will carry many souls to God's kingdom."

Ever youthful saint 'Mahavatar Babaji' of the Himalayas decides to send a Guru to the west to revive the ancient teachings of Yoga and Kriya Yoga, thus Lahiri Mahasaya the disciple of Babaji blessed Bhagabati Charan Ghosh and his wife with a baby who was to be sent to the west to spread the teachings of India.

Childhood

Mukunda was born in Gorakhpur city of present day Uttar Pradesh. He spent most of his childhood in Kolkata, the family had to move around because of Bagabati's railway job.

Mukunda was athletic and was also a champion in sports. He had interest in football and running, in both of which he excelled. In fact he won many competitions in running.

Mukunda was not very much enthusiatic about his school education, he would busy himself in meditation for hours even as a child. Mukunda's brother Sananda in his book 'Mejda' reveals that Mukunda would meditate sometimes for 5-6 hears without a break.

Mukunda was a devotee of Kali mother, He would make a statue of Kali mother himself on occasions to worship. Mukunda would gather interested friends and practice yoga and meditation. He devoted most of his time even as a child for his spiritual quest.

As a child Mukunda was very close to his mother. His mother's untimely death made him turn to god for love.

Mukunda's Childhood was filled with many spiritual encounters, in his autobiography he has shared with us his encounters with Swami Pranabhananda a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Kebalananda, Master Mahasaya a disciple of saint Ramakrishna, Nagendra Nath Bhaduri, Ram Gopal Muzumdar, Tiger Swami and many others.

Meeting his Guru

Sri Yukteswar Giri Maharaj
SriYukteswar Giri (Guru)

Mukunda met his Guru in 1910 when he was 17 years old. His meeting his divine Guru Yukteswar Giri was an extraordinary event. Below is an account of the story as written by Paramahansa Yogananda in his book 'Autobiography of a Yogi'

(The divine face was none other than he of my thousand visions. These halcyon eyes, in leonine head with pointed beard and flowing locks, had oft peered through gloom of my nocturnal reveries, holding a promise I had not fully understood.
"O my own, you have come to me!" My guru uttered the words again and again in Bengali, his voice tremulous with joy. "How many years I have waited for you!"

We entered a oneness of silence; words seemed the rankest superfluities. Eloquence flowed in soundless chant from heart of master to disciple. With an antenna of irrefragable insight I sensed that my guru knew God, and would lead me to Him. The obscuration of this life disappeared in a fragile dawn of prenatal memories. Dramatic time! Past, present, and future are its cycling scenes. This was not the first sun to find me at these holy feet!

My hand in his, my guru led me to his temporary residence in the Rana Mahal section of the city. His athletic figure moved with firm tread. Tall, erect, about fifty-five at this time, he was active and vigorous as a young man. His dark eyes were large, beautiful with plumbless wisdom. Slightly curly hair softened a face of striking power. Strength mingled subtly with gentleness.

As we made our way to the stone balcony of a house overlooking the Ganges, he said affectionately:

"I will give you my hermitages and all I possess."

"Sir, I come for wisdom and God-contact. Those are your treasure-troves I am after!"

The swift Indian twilight had dropped its half-curtain before my master spoke again. His eyes held unfathomable tenderness.

"I give you my unconditional love."

Precious words! A quarter-century elapsed before I had another auricular proof of his love. His lips were strange to ardor; silence became his oceanic heart.

"Will you give me the same unconditional love?" He gazed at me with childlike trust.

"I will love you eternally, Gurudeva!"

"Ordinary love is selfish, darkly rooted in desires and satisfactions. Divine love is without condition, without boundary, without change. The flux of the human heart is gone forever at the transfixing touch of pure love." He added humbly, "If ever you find me falling from a state of God-realization, please promise to put my head on your lap and help to bring me back to the Cosmic Beloved we both worship.")

Mukunda learned spirituality under his Guru, Mukunda's zeal was so high, he soared in spiritual skies very quickly. When Mukunda was not keen on continuing his education, his Guru told him that Mukunda was sent to him by his grand Guru Babaji for the purpose of serving in the west. SriYukteswar told him that people in the west would listen to him if he has a degree. 

Mukunda graduated from the college in 1915, in the same year he took monastic vows and became a swami in the Giri order. His Guru gave him the option to chose a name for himself. He chose the name Yogananda, which means 'to be blissful from the union with God', thus he became 'Swami Yogananda Giri'

Mukunda was happy in his master's hermitage. In 1917, his master sent him to Ranchi to start a school, the school was started on the principles of yoga and spiritual ideas combined with the modern ways of education. The school became the part of 'Yogoda satsang society' which is still a part of Yogananda's mission.

Yogananda In America

While meditating in the storeroom of his school in Ranchi, Yogananda had a vision, he saw many faces in a distant land, recognizing the call, he set out to seek his Guru's guidance. Next day he got invited to attend 'International Congress of Religious Liberals' as a delegate from India. SriYukteswar Giri told him 'It is now or never'. Yogananda embarked on the ship 'City of Sparta' to attend the Congress at Boston.

Yogananda spoke on 'The Science of Religion', Establishing 'Self-Realization Fellowship' (SRF) a spiritual organization in 1920 Yogananda taught Yoga on the east coast of America for the next four years. In 1924 he took cross-continental trip spreading Yoga throughout America. 

He gathered many followers and students as he toured the country. Until 1930s Yogananda toured the country lecturing on spiritual topics. He also started a monastery for the disciples who took monastic vows of following spiritual ideas until the end.

Trip to India

Soon after he received his Guru's calling, Yogananda left America to tour India with couple of his students. On his way to India he visited Therese Neumann a Christian saint. He landed in India in 1935, he toured India visiting the sacred places and lecturing. 

His Guru SriYukteswar Giri gave him the title of 'Paramahansa' which means 'supreme swan', a title given to persons of higher spiritual attainment. Yogananda spent an year in India touring the country. After his Guru passed away Yogananda left India and returned America.

Return to America

Yogananda continued to spread the teachings of the east on his return to America. Now he spent most of his time guiding the students and disciples he had gathered. 

Continuously he drew spiritual souls towards him, his lectures and articles printed in magazines helped him spread the teachings of India. 

Yogananda often told his disciples that his main purpose of this life was to explain the scriptures, through his books 'The second coming of Christ' and 'God talks with Arjuna' he has explained the profundity of the teachings of both Lord Jesus and Lord Krishna. He also has shown that the original teachings of Lord Jesus and Lord Krishna are the same'

During his last years he concentrated more on his writings. After finishing his explanation of Bhagavad Gita, Yogananda left his body in 1952 while reading his poem 'My India'. 

Works of Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda spreaded the teachings of Kriya Yoga throughout America. He wrote many books and adopted Indian classical chants to English, he composed music for them as well.

Popular Books of Paramahansa Yogananda

  • Autobiography of a Yogi: Life of Yogananda, has stories of Gurus of his lineage and saints that Yogananda met.
  • God talks with Arjuna: A new explanation of the Bhagavad Gita, he explains the whole battle of Kurukshetra as a spiritual battle within every spiritual seeker between the good ideals and desire led bad qualities.
  • The Second Coming of Christ: Commentary on the teachings of Jesus.
  • Man's Eternal Quest: Collection of his lectures, Volume 1
  • The Divine Romance: Collection of his lectures, Volume 2
  • Journey to Self-Realization: Collection of his lectures, Volume 3
  • Whispers from Eternity: A collection of universal prayers and poems, descriptions of higher spiritual states
  • Wine of The Mystic: Interpretation of Omar Khayyam's The Rubaiyat
  • Scientific Healing Affirmations
  • Sayings of Paramahansa Yogananda
  • Cosmic Chants: poems, chants and prayers

Chants popularized by Paramahansa Yogananda

Chants from his book 'Cosmic Chants' and other chants

  • At Thy Feet
  • Cloud-Colored Christ
  • Dawn Chant
  • Desire, My Great Enemy
  • Divine Mother’s Song to the Devotee
  • Door of My Heart
  • From This Sleep, Lord
  • Hymn to Brahma
  • I Am Om
  • I Give You My Soul Call
  • In the Land Beyond My Dreams
  • In the Valley of Sorrow
  • I Will Be Thine Always
  • Jai Guru
  • Light the Lamp of Thy Love
  • My Krishna Is Blue
  • O God Beautiful/ Hay Hari Sundara 
  • Om Kali
  • Opal Flame
  • O Thou King of the Infinite
  • Receive Me on Thy Lap
  • Search Him Out in Secret
  • Swami Ram Tirtha’s Song
  • Thou Art My Life
  • Today My Mind Has Dived
  • What Lightning Flash
  • When Thy Song Flows Through Me
  • Who Is in My Temple?
  • Why, O Mind, Wanderest Thou?
  • Wink Has Not Touched My Eyes
  • Blue Lotus Feet
  • Come, Listen to My Soul Song
  • Deliver Us From Delusion
  • Divine Gypsy
  • Do Not Dry the Ocean of My Love
  • Ever New Joy
  • He Who Knows
  • I Am the Bubble
  • I Am the Sky
  • In Samadhi
  • In the Temple of Silence / Shaanti Mondire
  • Invocation to the Gurus
  • I Will Sing Thy Name
  • Learn Thou Self-Control
  • Listen, Listen, Listen
  • No Birth, No Death
  • Om Chant
  • Om Song
  • O Thou Blue Sky
  • Polestar of My Life
  • Rose Chant
  • Spirit and Nature
  • They Have Heard Thy Name
  • Thousands of Suns
  • Wake, Yet Wake, O My Saint
  • When My Dream’s Dream Is Done
  • Where Is There Love?
  • Who tells me Thou art dark/ Kaun kehta Tu hai Kali
  • Will That Day Come to Me, Mother?

Followers/ Students/ Disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda

  • Amelita Galli-Curci
  • Anandamoy
  • Bimilananda
  • Bob Raymer
  • Daniel Boone
  • Durga Mata
  • Jordan Scherer
  • Kriyananda
  • Minot & Mildred Lewis
  • Mokshananda
  • Norman Paulsen
  • Premananda
  • Richard Wright
  • Sahaja Mata
  • Sananda Lal Ghosh
  • Sraddha Mata
  • Uma Mata
  • Yogamata
  • Ananda Mata
  • Bhaktananda
  • Binay Ranjan Sen
  • Clara Clemens
  • Daya Mata
  • Gyanamata
  • Kamala Silva
  • Mildred Hamilton
  • Mrinalini Mata
  • Mukti Mata
  • Oliver Black
  • Rajarsi Janakananda
  • Roy Eugene Davis
  • Sailasuta Mata
  • Sr. Sheila
  • Tara Mata
  • Vladimir Rosing

External Resources

More of Paramahansa Yogananda

1. Autobiography of a Yogi- Paramahansa Yogananda: Download Pdf [topic]

2. 'My India', A Poem by Paramahansa Yogananda [topic]

3. Rationality of a prejudiced mind: Story of a Ghost [story]

4. A story about Brahma Vishnu and Shiva [story]

A story about Brahma Vishnu and Shiva

5. Paramahansa Yogananda Quotes [topic]

6. Life should be chiefly service. Without that ideal, the intelligence that [quote]

7. As the vital rays of the sun nurture all, so should you spread rays of [quote]

8. Our soul intuition is a faculty of God. He has no mouth, yet [quote]

9. Intuition comes from within; thought from without. Intuition gives a face [quote]

10. Make originality your philosophy of life—not in the sense [quote]

Much More of Paramahansa Yogananda

  • Paramahansa Yogananda Stories
  • Paramahansa Yogananda Quotes


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