January 5, 2021, marks the 128th birth anniversary of Paramahansa Yogananda, one of the pioneering fathers of Yoga in the West. He is the author of the modern spiritual classic ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’, and the subject of a well-known documentary Awake: The Life of Yogananda (2014).
He is regarded as the father of yoga in the west as he introduced ‘Kriya Yoga’. In addition to it, his teachings were exceptionally acclaimed. He was also a founder of Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), the international society that was formed to share Paramahansa Yogananda’s yoga and meditation teachings with the world. This foundation aimed to build cultural bonds and spiritual understanding between East and West.
In the words of SRF President, Brother Chidananda, “What Paramahansa Yogananda brought to the West is perhaps one of the greatest gifts to humankind – India’s ancient science of Yoga, the science of knowing the Self, of realizing and experiencing who we truly are, divine souls with unlimited potential.”
On 19, September 1920, Paramahansa Yogananda arrived in America from his native land, India to serve as an Indian delegate to an International Congress of Religious Liberals convening in Boston. His first speech on the topic–the science of religion was described by the Congress organizers as “forcible” and “impressive.”
Sri Yogananda was widely reckoned as one of the foremost spiritual figures of the time. He made an indelible impression on the spiritual landscape of the United States and the world. Through his public lectures, he contributed to far greater awareness and appreciation of India’s Vedic philosophy, Today, his Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) foundation includes 800 meditation centers, temples, and retreats all around the globe.
The main focus of his teachings was on the sacred science of Kriya Yoga, a form of Raja Yoga. His teachings’ main objective is to quiet both body and mind. So that it is possible to withdraw oneself and one’s energy and all the attention from the usual turbulence of day-to-day thoughts, emotions, and sensory perceptions. The goal is to achieve inner stillness, only with one’s true self, with regular practice one comes to experience a deepening interior peace and attunement.