SELF-REALIZATION & SPIRITUALITY
"Self-realization is, in fact, the only religion. For it is the true purpose of religion, no matter how people define their beliefs."
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO THE SELF-REALIZATION FELLOWSHIP
Founded by the Beloved Master Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda
Below Image: Self Realization Center & Ashram @ Lake Shrine, CA
Since 1920, Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) has been dedicated to carrying on the spiritual and humanitarian work of its founder, Paramahansa Yogananda, widely revered as the father of Yoga in the West.
SRF is a worldwide religious organization with international headquarters in Los Angeles. As expressed in the Aims and Ideals formulated by Paramahansa 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.
Paramahansa Yogananda founded Self-Realization Fellowship in 1920 to make available the universal teachings of Kriya Yoga, a sacred spiritual science originating millenniums ago in India. These nonsectarian teachings embody a complete philosophy and 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 (God).
The teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda are made available, today as during his lifetime, through the printed Self-Realization Fellowship 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.
Today, Self-Realization Fellowship has grown to include more than 500 temples and centers around the world and has members in over 175 countries. In India and surrounding countries, Paramahansa Yogananda's work is known as Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS), which has more than 100 centers, retreats, and ashrams.
SRF AIMS & IDEALS
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 Self-Realization Fellowship 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 Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ and original Yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna; 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. (source)
"After the passing of a prophet, his inspiration usually is changed into a dogmatic creed by his blind adherents, but the followers of Lahiri Mahasaya's (Paramahansa Yogananda's guru's guru) are given step-by-step wonderful methods of meditation, which work, and which yield results of ever increasing divine joy from the beginning if practiced intensely. Therefore, Self-Realization of Divine Bliss-contact of God and not beliefs holds the followers of Self Realization Fellowship together."
Paramahansa Yogananda, Founder of The Self Realization Fellowship,
The Teachings of My Master
VIDEO: AWAKE The Life of Yogananda (award winning documentary)
BROTHER CHIDANANDA'S MESSAGE ON OVERCOMING NEGATIVITY IN TODAY'S WORLD:
I know that many devotees around the world are very concerned about the divisiveness and ugliness currently being propagated in society among increasingly polarized factions of the global family that God intended to live in peace, harmony, and mutual cooperation with His moral laws of lasting happiness. This world of duality has always been and will always be a battleground between light and darkness; but the assault on God’s eternal truths of goodness and moral values can seem perceptibly heightened in our era of near-constant exposure to the barrage of adharma and negativity that infiltrates our inner and outer environments through the internet and other mass communications media.
But we need not give in to discouragement about the future. Remember that even as social media can magnify the inharmonious voice of a single person, thereby affecting countless others far beyond that individual’s immediate locale, so there is equal or greater potential to amplify the influence of truth, beauty, goodness, wisdom, compassion—all the heavenly qualities of the soul-image of God in every human being. How is this so? Because more far-reaching than any digital communications technology is the vibrational power radiated into the very atoms of the world environment—and into the consciousness or subconsciousness of all sentient beings—by each heart- and mind-broadcasting station that is power-fully focused through Kriya Yoga meditation and attuned with the infinite source of goodness: God. Never forget how much good you can do by a commitment to daily meditation and participation in our Worldwide Prayer Circle.
The divine warrior of light and truth who is drawn to a path such as that of Self-Realization
Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society and Kriya Yoga may use outer as well as inner means to promote spiritual harmony (dharma) on earth. While giving first priority to changing yourself and any unlovely ego-traits that have found harbor in your own consciousness, never be afraid to bear witness outwardly in the cause of non-cooperation with ungodliness when circumstances place that duty before you. Just remember, however, that animosity and lack of humility may quickly subvert you to the side of that which you are purportedly resisting; and that spirituality and truth are not defined by political affiliation.
The mass karma that influences the unfolding drama of world events—in our present era as in all
others—is not always understood by limited human intellect. Ultimately, a nation’s leaders are a symptom, not a cause, of the prevailing mix of good and evil in that society, and its mass karma.
While the actions of individual politicians may be of temporary concern, more important in the long term is the need for the masses of individuals to remove the evils of godlessness, immorality, and adharmic living from their hearts. The most potent way you can “bear witness” is to practice each day some principle of the divine truths common to all religions, which are distilled in the SRF/YSS teachings. This is an active initiative you can take to uplift your consciousness and invigorate your thoughts and actions with the invincible power of God’s goodness. Every morning, read a little from the Lessons, for example, or from the Spiritual Diary—or take a favorite quotation from the Bhagavad Gita or Bible—and make that your theme for the day. When something you hear on the news upsets your inner peace and equilibrium, hold tight to that truth, and know that by the will that you put into affirming and manifesting it you are helping to neutralize that negativity. As you follow the example of Guruji’s indomitable, positive spirit and practice the sacred Kriya Yoga science of God-communion, the special dispensation he was ordained to bring to the world specifically for the times we are going through, you will prove to yourself that with the help of God and the Great Ones who watch over this world we can aid humanity to emerge from the fetters of ignorance-based fears and hatreds into a world more in tune with God’s harmonizing and balance-producing love and bliss consciousness.
Look for and concentrate on the expressions of goodness and spiritual consciousness in all persons you encounter—even those whose opinions may not match your own—and you will find that the very act of paying attention in this way increases the manifestation of God’s presence in this world. The Lord proclaims in the Bhagavad Gita: “I am seated in the heart of all beings.” See others as souls, and by that attitude of respect and appreciation you will subtly draw from them—and from yourself—a greater expression of soul qualities.
If you find yourself too frequently thinking, reading, and talking about what is wrong in the world or in your own life, try to change your focus. Use that time and energy to think good thoughts, to pray, to perform good actions of service and generosity, and to work on becoming a person who exudes kindness, understanding, and cheerfulness. By doing so, you will uplift your own consciousness and that of others.
And as you meditate faithfully and enter the sacred sanctuary deep within your being, where all thoughts are still, you will increasingly feel the love in which God cherishes each soul, and be able to give that love to others. Never underestimate the positive effect of your spiritual efforts on your well-being, on those around you, and on humanity at large. Guruji said, “One who in every way tries to uplift himself, harmonizing body, mind, and soul with the Divine, creates positive karma not only in his own life, but in his family, neighborhood, country, and world.”
May God ever bless you as you strive to radiate His light and love in your life,
President of the Self-Realization Fellowship
BROTHER CHIDANANDA'S 2019 NEW YEARS MESSAGE:
As we enter a new year, we in Gurudeva Paramahansa Yogananda’s ashrams send loving thoughts to you and all of our spiritual family and friends, in heartfelt appreciation for your expressions of divine friendship at Christmas and throughout the year. In our New Year’s meditations, we are sending out special prayers that in the coming year God help you to fulfill the worthy goals closest to your heart.
Take deep within you Paramahansa Yogananda’s wonderful affirmation given below (see meme), and let your concentrated absorption of the divine power flowing through his words help you to start afresh. Let it energize your will and bring forth your soul’s confidence that with God’s help you can overcome all obstacles. I hope that during the Christmas meditations just past, you felt anew the limitless potential within yourself to become the kind of person you want to be. Now is an auspicious time to act upon that inspiration — infusing with new vigor your determination to convert your cherished dreams and spiritual potentials into manifested realities.
There is definite power in New Year’s resolutions made in meditation or deep prayer, for they are enlivened by divine help from the superconscious mind. Paramahansaji advised focusing on one or a few worthy goals or soul qualities you especially wish to cultivate — such as calmness and even-mindedness, or kindness and understanding toward others. During your meditations in the months ahead, hold the vision of that achievement before your inner gaze and feeling in the calm receptivity produced by practice of the SRF techniques; and repeat a simple, straightforward affirmation that what you wish to achieve has become part of your being. Whenever you manifest, even in little ways, what you want to be, that visualized potential will take on increasing tangibility. And the more you cast off obstructive thoughts, replacing self-doubt with calm faith that you can succeed, the more quickly you will progress. Practice living consciously, being aware of what is deciding the course of your life: your habits, your associates and external environment, or the real you — your soul. Remember that you have the power every day, every moment, to decide what you will think and do. Choose your thoughts and actions by your soul’s discrimination and power of free will; then nothing can hinder your journey to freedom.
The best resolution to make in this new year is to achieve a more constant immersion of your heart and mind in the Divine. With God’s supporting omnipotence you can do anything. In the light of that inner communion, unwanted habit patterns can be dissolved; and by the transforming touch of God’s love, maya’s influence over you will ultimately be broken. You will become ruler of your thoughts and actions, and therefore of your destiny. Guruji has told us, “To be a conqueror of self is to be truly victorious — to conquer your circumscribed consciousness and expand your spiritual powers without limit. You can go as far as you want to go, past all limitations, and live a supremely victorious existence.” May your efforts in this new year bring you ever closer to that supreme victory.
A blessed New Year to you and your loved ones,
President of the Self-Realization Fellowship
SELF REALIZATION FELLOWSHIP VIDEOS