Paramhansa Yogananda (1893-1952), was the first yoga master of India to take up permanent residence in the West. He arrived in America in 1920, and traveled throughout the United States on what he called his “spiritual campaigns.”
His enthusiastic audiences filled the largest halls in America. Hundreds of thousands came to see the yogi from India. He continued to lecture and write until his passing in 1952.
His initial impact was truly impressive. But his lasting impact has been even greater. His Autobiography of a Yogi, first published in 1946 , helped launch a spiritual revolution in the West. His message was nonsectarian and universal.
Yogananda’s teacher, Swami Sri Yukteswar, sent him to the West saying, “The West is high in material attainments, but lacking in spiritual understanding. It is God’s will that you play a role in teaching mankind the value of balancing the material with an inner, spiritual life.”
Yogananda brought to the West the path of Self-Realization. He said that “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.”
The path of Kriya Yoga, which he called the “jet-airplane” route to God, consists of ancient yoga techniques to hasten the spiritual evolution of the devotee. These techniques can be learned through the classes offered by Ananda Seattle. (See Articles for an excerpt, The Science of Kriya Yoga.)
Ananda: Fulfilling Yogananda’s Vision
Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, founded Ananda Village (in Northern California) in 1969 to fulfill Yogananda’s vision of “World Brotherhood Colonies,” or spiritual cooperative communities. Yogananda envisioned a place where all people, not just monastics, could devote themselves to living a divine life, dedicated to practicing the teachings of yoga in every aspect of their daily life.
Ananda Village has over 300 adult members and children. Ananda Worldwide now includes World Brotherhood Colonies in five American cities including Lynnwood,WA, and in Assisi, Italy, and Gurgaon + Pune in India. All residents practice Yogananda’s teachings of meditation and apply his principles to all facets of life in this world: business, schools, relationships, healing, and much more.