Paramahamsa Yogananda, born Mukunda Lal Ghosh on January 5, 1893 in Gorakhpur, India, is considered to be one of the great spiritual personalities of India.
He is the one who made known Kriya Yoga inwestern countries, especially in theUnited States, through his famous book “The Autobiography of a Yogi“. Published For the first time in 1946, and later translated intoover 18 languages, it became a best seller, which fascinated and incited many spiritual seekers.
From his early youth, Mukunda sought answers, going to various Indian sages, or gurus, hoping to find an enlightened master to guide him in his spiritual quests. Yogananda’s search ended when, in 1910, at the age of 17, he met his master – guru Swami Yukteswar Giri. He described this first encounter with his Master as a revelation on the nature of the karmic bonds between him and Yukteshwar, which spanned several previous lives.
In 1915 he graduated from the College of Serampore at the University of Calcutta with a bachelor’s degree in arts. This allows him to spend more time in Yukteshwar’s ashramram in Serampore.
Also during this time he takes some vows to enter the monastic order swami, and thus becomes “Swami Yogananda Giri”.
In 1917, Yogananda founded a spiritual school in West Bengal, in Dihika, the school that would later become the Yogoda Satsanga Society in India, the Indian branch of the American Yogananda Organization.
In 1920 Yogananda arrived for the first time in the United States, where she participated as a delegate of India at the International Congress of Religious Liberals, in boston city.
In the same year he founded the Brotherhood for “Self-realization“, and through this he spread throughout the world his spiritual teachings about the Indian millenary practices and philosophies of yoga-i and meditation.
For several years, he lectures and teaches on the East Coast, and in 1924, he toured the American continent. Thousands of people come to listen to him, attracted by his spiritual teachings and charisma. Among them are celebrities such as soprano Amelita Galli –Turkeys, tenor Vladimir Rosing, and Clara Clemens Gabrilowitsch, daughter of Mark Twain.
The following year he moved to Los Angeles, where he founded the International Center for Self-Realization in Los Angeles, California. It will become, the spiritual and administrative heart of its entire activity in this country. He lived here between 1920 and 1952 with a one-year interruption (1935-1936), when he returned to India to visit his guru, and to meet other living sphinxes, such as Therese Neumann -the stigmatized woman of Konnesreuth, as well as other places of particular spiritual significance.
In 1935, when he returns to India to visit his master, Sri Yukteswar, he gives him the title of Paramahamsa – in translation “the supreme swan”, and which indicates the supreme spiritual touch of the wearer. Unfortunately, his master dies a year later, when Yogananda was visiting Calcutta.
After returning to America, he continued to lecture, write, and spread the precious spiritual teachings to those who felt drawn to this kind of knowledge.
Among his basic teachings is Kriya Yoga, which means union (yoga) with the supreme consciousness, through a certain action or ritual (kriya). Rădacina, the word Kriya in Sanskrit is kri, which means to do, to act, or to react. Kriya Yoga was transmitted to Yogananda through a direct line of masters, starting with Mahavatar Babaji. About Kriya Yoga, Yogananda also speaks in her book “The Autobiography of a Yogi”, where she gives a general description of it, mentioning the fact that this Yoga cannot be learned without having an authentic master.
On March 7, 1952, during an official dinner in Los Angeles, California, Yogananda dies, at the end of the speech he gave in honor of India’s ambassador to the United States – Binay Ranjan Sen. Those who were present say that he entered directly into Mahasamadhi, reaching the state of nirvikalpa samadhi, or total enlightenment.