Paramahansa Yogananda (January 5, 1893–March 7, 1952) was a yogi and teacher from India. He was crucial in spreading meditation and Kriya Yoga teachings to the West. The book was written by him, Autobiography of a Yogi is a yearly best-seller that introduces new generations to India's eternal knowledge.
He presented to Western Christianity a more spiritual, rather than dogmatic, view of Jesus' instructions. His view of the Bible was unusual for someone reared in the Hindu belief, and he was a crucial mover in the 1920s shift toward Eastern mysticism among young Christians.
He visited the United States in 1920 as India's representative to the International Congress of Religious Liberals, which was held in Boston. His speech to Congress on The Science of Religion was well accepted. Consequently, he spent the following many years teaching and instructing on the East Coast before embarking on a cross-country speaking tour in 1924. Thousands of people attended his presentations. Before he traveled in the United States, he formed the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) to promote his teachings on India's ancient practices and concept of Yoga, as well as its meditation traditions.
He returned to India in 1935 to meet Sri Yukteswar and to assist in the establishment of his Yogoda Satsanga program in India. Throughout this tour, he met Mahatma Gandhi, the Bengali saint Sri Anandamoyi Ma, Nobel laureate physicist Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, and other pupils of Sri Yukteswar's Guru Lahiri Mahasaya, according to his autobiography. While in India, Sri Yukteswar bestowed the term Paramhansa on him, which means "highest swan" (a sign of spiritual discernment) and denotes the achievement of an ultimate level of uninterrupted contact with God.
He traveled to London, England, in September 1936, to attend the British National Council of the World Fellowship of Faiths, which was held at Whitefield's Congregational Church. He spoke to the audience on How Belief in Fellowship Can Save Civilization. His lectures drew standing-room-only crowds.
He moved to America in October, where he proceeded to teach, write, and develop his Church for All Religions around the country.
Yogananda's autobiography, Autobiography of a Yogi, was released in 1946 and was significant in bringing yoga and meditation to the West. It has subsequently been adapted into 18 languages and has been a consistent best-seller. Yogananda recounts in the book about his mentor Sri Yukteswar's wish to impart Kriya Yoga to the west.
He died on March 7, 1952, while having a dinner for the visiting the Ambassador of India at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.
Skeptics refer to the fact that Yogananda's body was embalmed, as evidenced by his death certificate. They argue that the complete language of Rowe's letter, which was included in a commemorative pamphlet published by the SRF, shows his amazement that the observed result was due only to the absence of special creams in addition to the embalming fluid.
A few of Yogananda's disciples and organizations are carrying on his efforts. He formed the Self-Realization Fellowship, which is currently based in Los Angeles and has meditating centers and temples all around the world. Sri Daya Mata, a student of Yogananda, is the current leader.
Who is Amma? Mata Amritanandamayi. Read here.