Yogoda Satsanga Society of India
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Paramahansa Yogananda, Founder
|Purpose||To disseminate the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda|
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Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS) is a non-profit religious organization founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1917, 100 years ago. In countries outside the Indian subcontinent it is known as the Self-Realization Fellowship. The current president of the YSS/SRF is Mrinalini Mata. Paramahansa Yogananda is most noted for his book Autobiography of a Yogi which became an international bestseller and featured in the 100 Most Important Spiritual Books of the 20th Century by HarperCollins.
For more than ninety years, YSS/SRF has been dedicated to carrying on the spiritual and humanitarian work of its founder who is widely revered as the father of Yoga in the West. He founded YSS/SRF to impart and expound the universal teachings of Kriya Yoga, a spiritual science of pranayama life-force control and meditation techniques originating in India. These scientific teachings and techniques embody a complete philosophy and a way of life for achieving all-round success and well-being, as well as methods of meditation for achieving life's ultimate goal — union of the soul with Spirit.
As expressed in the Aims and Ideals formulated by Yogananda, the society seeks to foster a spirit of greater understanding and goodwill among the diverse peoples and religions of our global family, and to help those of all cultures and nationalities to realize and express more fully in their lives the beauty, nobility, and divinity of the human spirit.
YSS's headquarters, Yogoda Satsanga Math, is situated in Dakshineswar, Kolkata, West Bengal with beautiful ashrams in Dwarahat, in the state of Uttarakhand, Noida, part of the National Capital Region and Ranchi, in the state of Jharkhand. It has grown to include more than 200 centers around the country. In addition to this, there are twenty-three educational institutions, from primary grades through college level. YSS also has retreat centers in Shimla, Chennai, Pune, Igatpuri, Dihika, Puri, Serampore and Telary in India. YSS’s How-to-Live Retreat programs are open to anyone seeking spiritual renewal and who desires to leave behind the pressures of everyday life - even if only for a few days — to deepen their awareness of the Divine. Self-Realization Fellowship, is based at its international headquarters in Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California. Self-Realization Fellowship has over 500 temples, retreats, ashrams, centers, and meditation circles around the world. In the U.S., there are seven temples in California: Berkeley, Glendale, Hollywood, Fullerton, Encinitas, Pacific Palisades, and San Diego. In Arizona there is a temple in Phoenix. Retreat centers are located in Pacific Palisades, California (Lake Shrine), Encinitas, California, Valley Center, Greenfield, VA (Front Royal). In Europe, there is a retreat center in Bermersbach, Germany. There is also a retreat in Armação, Brazil. There are meditation centers and YSS circles located in 54 countries.
Yogoda, a word coined by Yogananda, is derived from Yoga, union, harmony, equilibrium; and da, "that which imparts". "Satsanga" is composed of Sat, truth and Sanga, fellowship.
The teachings of Yogananda are made available, today as during his lifetime, through the printed Yogoda Satsanga Society Lessons.
This comprehensive home-study series—studied by many thousands of people all over the world—gives instruction in all the meditation techniques of the Kriya Yoga science, as well as in the many other aspects of balanced spiritual living taught by Yogananda.
Paramahansa Yogananda actually started a small ashram in Dihika, West Bengal (near Asansol), in 1917 prior to moving to Ranchi, where he established and developed his first major ashram in India. The original site where Paramahansa Yogananda started his fledgling Dihika ashram, has been purchased in 1992 by Yogoda Satsanga Society of India and is being maintained by them as a heritage site of the organization. "In 1997 YSS started a Kendra here. Soon thereafter, a charitable homeopathic dispensary was added. From mid 2010, this Kendra was slowly remodeled into a retreat center with a boundary wall and a guesthouse. Subsequently, the work of constructing a Dhyana Mandir — with an accommodation for about 75 devotees — has been completed at this site."
India's Commemorative Stamp 1977
India released a commemorative stamp in honor of Paramahansa Yogannada in 1977. "Department of Post issued a commemorative postage stamp on the occasion of the twenty‑fifth anniversary of Yogananda's passing in honor of his far‑reaching contributions to the spiritual upliftment of humanity. “The ideal of love for God and service to humanity found full expression in the life of Paramahansa Yogananda. Though the major part of his life was spent outside India, still he takes his place among our great saints. His work continues to grow and shine ever more brightly, drawing people everywhere on the path of the pilgrimage of the Spirit.”
India's Commemorative Stamp - 100th Anniversary of YSS
On March 7, 2017, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi released the commemorative postage stamp honoring the 100th anniversary of the Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, founded by Yogananda. Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi appreciated Paramahansa Yogananda for spreading the message of India's spirituality in foreign shores. He said that though Paramahansa Yogananda left the shores of India to spread his message, he always remained connected with India.
Aims and ideals
Yogananda wrote down his aims and ideals for Yogoda Satsanga Society of India/Self-Realization Fellowship:
- To disseminate among the nations a knowledge of definite scientific techniques for attaining direct personal experience of God.
- To teach that the purpose of life is the evolution, through self-effort of man's limited mortal consciousness into God Consciousness; and to this end to establish Yogoda Satsanga temples for God-communion throughout the world, and to encourage the establishment of individual temples of God in the homes and in the hearts of men.
- To reveal the complete harmony and basic oneness of original Yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna and original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ; and to show that these principles of truth are the common scientific foundation of all true religions.
- To point out the one divine highway to which all paths of true religious beliefs eventually lead: the highway of daily, scientific, devotional meditation on God.
- To liberate man from his threefold suffering: physical disease, mental inharmonies, and spiritual ignorance.
- To encourage "plain living and high thinking"; and to spread a spirit of brotherhood among all peoples by teaching the eternal basis of their unity: kinship with God.
- To demonstrate the superiority of mind over body, of soul over mind.
- To overcome evil by good, sorrow by joy, cruelty by kindness, ignorance by wisdom.
- To unite science and religion through realization of the unity of their underlying principles.
- To advocate cultural and spiritual understanding between East and West, and the exchange of their finest distinctive features.
- To serve mankind as one's larger Self.
Any person can become a member of the society. Members are both monastics (monks) and house-holders. After applying for membership, members receive the Yogoda Satsanga/Self-Realization Lessons for three years for home study. In these lessons are the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, Gurudeva and Founder of this society. Also in these lessons are step-by-step instructions in the Yoga techniques of meditation, concentration, and energization that he taught, including Kriya Yoga. The Lessons were compiled under Paramahansa Yogananda’s direction from his writings and the many classes and lectures he gave. In addition to his comprehensive instructions in meditation, the Lessons offer practical guidance for every aspect of spiritual living — how to live joyfully and successfully amidst the unceasing challenges and opportunities in this world of change.
To become a monastic member one should be single, in sound physical and mental health, free of family and other obligations, have studied the Yogoda Satsanga/Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons for at least one year, and aged between 18 and 35.
Ashrams, retreats and other facilities
Yogoda Satsanga Society of India oversees more than 180 Kendras, Mandalis, Retreats, Ashrams throughout India and Nepal where weekly services, group meditations, and other inspirational programmes are held. Sunday School classes for children are also offered at many locations.
Dakshineshwar Ashram: Paramahansa Yogananda wrote to Rajarsi Janakananda from Calcutta during his visit to India in 1935-36, "You would be pleased to know that I have been working incessantly for creating a permanent centre in Calcutta, the crown city of Bengal, and I think I am almost successful."
Later, he wrote in his Autobiography of a Yogi, "A stately Yogoda Math in Dakshineswar, fronting the Ganges, was dedicated in 1939. Only a few miles north of Calcutta, the hermitage affords a haven of peace for city dwellers. The Dakshineswar Math is the headquarters in India of the Yogoda Satsanga Society and its schools, centres, and ashrams in various parts of India."
Ranchi Ashram: It was here, in Ranchi, in 1917, that Paramahansa Yogananda began his life's work with the founding of an ashram and a "How-to-Live" school for boys, and to make available the universal teachings of Kriya Yoga. The living quarters of great Guru during the early years is preserved as a shrine. The room is open to all for private meditation throughout the day.
Dwarahat Ashram: The YSS Ashram is located about 1.5 km from the Dwarahat town, in Almora district of Uttarakhand State and is surrounded by pine forest on all sides. On the way from town to the Ashram, to the right is the Government Rest House where Sri Daya Mataji had stayed during her visit to Mahavatar Babaji’s cave in 1963-64 as the YSS ashram had not been built then.
Noida Ashram: Yogoda Satsanga Sakha Ashram - Noida was inaugurated in January 2010 after the completion of its first phase of construction. Built on a 5-acre plot barely 4 km from the Delhi-U.P border, this phase consists of an Administration Block and two Retreat Blocks.
Yogoda Satsanga Society of India’s How-to-Live Retreat programmes are open to anyone seeking spiritual renewal and who desires to leave behind the pressures of everyday life — if only for a few days — to deepen their awareness of the Divine. The daily Retreat programmes provide, in the words of Paramahansa Yogananda, "a dynamo of silence where [you] may go for the exclusive purpose of being recharged by the Infinite."
- Yogoda Satsanga Ananda Shikhar Sadhanalaya, Shimla
- Yogoda Satsanga Dhyana Kendra – Chennai
- Yogoda Satsanga Sarovar Sadhanalaya, Pune
- Paramahansa Yogananda Sadhanalaya, Igatpuri
Mahavatar Babaji's Cave: To understand the historical significance of the cave, it is suggested to read Chapter 34 Materializing a Palace in the Himalayas from the Autobiography of a Yogi, and A Blessing from Mahavatar Babaji from Only Love by Daya Mata. The Babaji's Cave area is the place where Babaji initiated Lahiri Mahasaya in 1861 and is the birth of Kriya Yoga in this Dwapara Yuga. All the Kriyabans in the world can trace their lineage to this event.
Yukteswarji Giri’s Ashram: Serampore is about 20 km. from Dakshineswar. Most places associated with Guruji’s college years are located close to Yukteswarji’s Ashram which was at Rai Ghat lane (Buro Bibi Lane). On the site of the old Ashram, stands a Smriti Mandir. Nearby is the house of Guruji’s uncle, Sarada Prasad Ghosh, where he stayed for some time. Guruji’s cousin, Prabhas Chandra Gosh, has converted Guruji’s room into a shrine and named it Anandaloka.
- Yukteswar Giri, The Holy Science
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- Paramahansa Yogananda, How You Can Talk With God
- Paramahansa Yogananda, Journey to Self-realization
- Paramahansa Yogananda, Law of Success
- Paramahansa Yogananda, Man’s Eternal Quest
- Paramahansa Yogananda, Metaphysical Meditations
- Paramahansa Yogananda, Scientific Healing Affirmation
- Paramahansa Yogananda, The Second Coming of Christ, The Resurrection of the Christ Within You, A revelatory commentary on the teachings of Jesus
- Paramahansa Yogananda, The Divine Romance
- Paramahansa Yogananda, Whispers from Eternity
- Daya Mata, Only Love
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