Paramhansa Yogananda is the greatest Yoga Master of India, Avatar, who brought the Teachings of the great Masters of India on spiritual realization to the West introduced millions to meditation and Kriya Yoga.
He convincingly proved the unity between Eastern and Western religions and to preach a balance between Western material growth and Indian spirituality.
Impact of Paramhansa Yogananda on western culture was truly impressive during his lifetime, and lasting spiritual legacy has been even greater. His internationally-renowned book "Autobiography of a Yogi" is listed as one of the "100 best spiritual books of the 20th Century". First published in 1946, helped launch a spiritual revolution in the West. Translated into more than fifty languages, it remains a best-selling spiritual classic to this day.
Yogananda was the first yoga Master of India to take up permanent residence in the West. He intensely longed for God from his earliest childhood and spent much of his youth in fellowship and learning from the Saints of India primarily from the great Holy Master Swami Sri Yukteswar, who prepared Yogananda for the mission of spreading the Teachings of the East in the West. Having received the blessing of the Great Immortal Yogi — Mahavatar Babaji, Yogananda arrived in America in 1920 and proceeded to travel throughout the United States giving lectures on the Spiritual Teachings of the East and the Holy Masters of India. Hundreds of thousands of filled the largest halls in major American cities to see the Yoga Master from India.
The universal spiritual Teachings which he shared magnetised seekers who were drawn to their scientific yet practical approach and the way in which they appeal to both heart and mind.
The lasting contribution brought by Yogananda to the West is universal spiritual path of Self-realization.
Yogananda gave this definition to the term Self-realization:
”Self-realization is the knowing in all parts of body, mind, and soul that you are now in possession of the kingdom of God; that you do not have to pray that it come to you; that God’s omnipresence is your omnipresence; and that all that you need to do is improve your knowing”.
As the means of attaining this exalted spiritual state Yogananda initiated his followers into the ancient technique of Kriya Yoga, which he called the “jet-airplane route to God.”
What Yogananda taught in the West was 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 harmonizing body and mind with soul and spirit, and for entering higher states of spiritual awareness, which he called “Superconsciousness.”
He gathered disciples and trained many of them as teachers and ministers, including Ananda’s founder, Swami Kriyananda.
To this day, Yogananda’s teachings continue to be just as magnetic to truth seekers and remain as practically applicable to our experiences of modern-day life as they were to his contemporary followers.
His Teachings carries a message of joy and hope that is greatly needed in the world today.