Opening Doors to the Divine Shelter of Paramahansa Yogananda’s Help and Teachings
We are so grateful for the many ways you participate in and share your support for Paramahansa Yogananda’s mission of uplifting individuals and bringing positive change to the world through the science of yoga and art of balanced living.
Over the past year in talks livestreamed to Self-Realization Fellowship members and friends worldwide, SRF President Brother Chidananda has highlighted that Paramahansa Yogananda’s universal wisdom and help for humanity truly provides divine sharanam — a Sanskrit term meaning “shelter or refuge.” And Brother Chidananda has shared what security and understanding come to those who are able to experience that “Kriya Yoga Sharanam” — the spiritual shelter provided by Paramahansaji through his Kriya Yoga teachings and guidance for the betterment of body, mind, and soul.
“And how blessed we are, over these last few years especially,” Brother Chidananda expressed during the 2023 Convocation closing program, “to see how that divine shelter has extended, how it has grown, how it has reached out to embrace more and more souls around the world through all sorts of different projects and initiatives….Believe me when I say, none of it would have happened without the loving support of many, many devotees around the world. So, thank you for that.”
In this Appeal and Special Report you will see how that loving support is helping to fulfill the need of so many, of all ages, to gain the true insights and practical methods Paramahansaji established Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) to offer — that divine shelter in this world of change and challenges. SRF’s ability to enhance the spiritual well-being of seekers on the scale Paramahansaji envisioned is only possible due to your continued generosity — in the form of prayer, service, spiritual living, and financial assistance.
We are excited to share with you these projects, and to think of all we will be able to accomplish together in the future.
Release of the SRF Lessons in Portuguese — With Many More Languages to Follow!
We are very pleased to announce that the new edition of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons was released in Portuguese this summer. First available in English in 2019, the comprehensive edition of the SRF Lessons contains a wealth of previously unpublished material from Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings and his complete presentation of the Kriya Yoga science of meditation. (The Lessons were also released in Italian in 2021.)
The result of countless hours of tireless effort by many SRF monastics, volunteers, and employees — the release of the Portuguese edition of the Lessons — was aided every step of the way by the gifts from caring members and friends! And it was supported by the ingenuity and creativity that come from serving wholeheartedly as a team.
Distributing the Lessons in Brazil posed complicated challenges related to international mailing and payment transactions. But SRF monastics and staff working in conjunction with a Brazilian publishing and distribution company were able to devise a solution that allowed the Lessons to be mailed from within Brazil, while also enabling Brazilian students to pay in their local currency. A moving example of what we can achieve together when looking to ensure an increasing number of people can find shelter in Paramahansaji’s teachings.
We may need to develop new solutions for distribution in other countries as well. And as seekers around the world eagerly await the Lessons — and SRF employees and volunteers busily work on translations in many languages to make that dream a reality — we are also planning much-needed improvements to the online SRF Member Portal, and implementing other vital technology required for this effort to succeed.
These are costly undertakings, so we are grateful for your financial support, which helps make all this possible — and also allows us to keep the Lessons subscription affordable, so that doors are open for seekers to receive this unbelievable wealth of Paramahansaji’s guidance.
India’s Ambassador to Brazil, His Excellency Sri Suresh K. Reddy, attended the special event held in Brasilia to celebrate the release of the Portuguese edition of the SRF Lessons.
A Brazilian devotee with a Lesson in Portuguese
Sharing Paramahansaji’s Wisdom With Children and Teens Worldwide
Paramahansa Yogananda felt deeply for the welfare of young people and took a lifelong interest in their all-around education. With your financial support, you are making it possible for SRF to build on the rich, in-person programs developed for youth over many decades and to use modern technology to offer online programs to engage young people and their parents around the globe.
So far, these expanded programs for children and teens have included regularly scheduled sessions of online How-to-Live classes; and the online How-to-Live
Summer Program — which this year received nearly twice as many registrations as last year! Both programs successfully launched in 2022 and are designed to introduce young people to Paramahansaji’s inspiring “how-to-live” principles and help them lay a spiritual foundation for their lives.
One student commented about the online How-to-Live Summer Program, “I liked how we learned about how to see ourselves with the eyes of love and how you have to learn to love yourself to be able to get along with other people.” And a parent remarked that the online classes were helping children by “introducing a spiritual anchor in their lives that will help them lead more rewarding lives.”
Your support will allow us to continue these transformative programs for children and teens worldwide in the coming year — and develop new ways of serving young people and families in the future!
Bringing the SRF Convocation to the World as Never Before
“I want to let you know that your concept and design for this year’s Convocation is brilliant. My husband and I have attended every Convocation since 1975 and, in my opinion, this is unquestionably the best.” — S. A., Nevada
Because of the generous gifts of SRF members and friends, we have been able over the past several years to make the life-changing inspiration of the SRF World Convocation available to all — completely free of charge. Your ongoing support has also allowed us each year to expand the ways this unique weeklong immersion in Paramahansaji’s teachings can manifest as a truly global event.
While the classes, meditations, kirtans, fellowships, and other events streamed online to spiritual seekers worldwide, in 2023 participants also gathered at SRF locations in southern California, and a new element was added to the week — SRF monastics traveling around the globe to participate in Convocation events alongside SRF members and friends. In fourteen locations — from Assisi, Italy, to Armação, Brazil — Convocation came directly to participants, many of whom had never had the chance to visit Los Angeles for this event in the past, creating an enriching opportunity for spiritual assistance and a unified community. And throughout the year, thanks to your support, SRF monastics are able to visit many locations around the world to deliver public lectures on yoga meditation and hold special retreats at SRF centers and meditation groups. On behalf of all who benefit from these many visits, we extend a grateful thank you!
A special Convocation thank you goes as well to the hundreds of volunteers who gave of their time and expertise and abundant hearts:
- Assisting with livestream events at SRF temples;
- Translating the Convocation website, app, and class video subtitles into six languages;
- Coordinating the taking of photos for monastic visits around the world;
- Serving with the International Help Desk, answering approximately 2,600 questions and requests for technical support; and
- Supporting the new online fellowship rooms, where Convocation participants and SRF monastics met informally throughout the week.
All the loving effort and generous financial support behind the scenes in 2023 enabled tens of thousands of spiritual seekers from 135 countries to benefit from the power of combined spiritual effort and joyful communion with the Divine that are at the heart of the Convocation experience.
We hope to make the Convocation experience just as rich and rewarding in 2024. And as you may imagine, numerous teams within SRF — from event planning, to IT infrastructure, to those working on classes (informed by Convocation surveys), to marketing and website development — are hard at work on the next program, to be held July 14 – 20, 2024.
And as we move back to holding our in-person event at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles in 2024, we want to assure you that we will be keeping everything we have gained since first streaming Convocation in 2020 — the full online program, offered free of charge, in the awareness that we are able to do so through the generosity of those who can assist us financially.
“My deepest gratitude and sincere thanks for providing such a sweet divine feeling of connection all throughout the Convocation and assurance that wherever we may be, we are not alone.” — R. L. J., India
SRF eBooks in More and More Languages
Your ongoing support is providing the foundation for the publication of an increasing number of ebooks in many new languages. For example, your gifts enable us to acquire the tools to support our dedicated teams to do the translating, proofreading, design, and publication work needed to bring Paramahansa Yogananda’s universal wisdom into every household.
All of this work is lovingly performed by a team of monastics, staff, and hundreds of volunteers around the world — whose efforts help your support go even further.
We are excited to share that we recently published the first two SRF ebooks in Arabic — joining the ranks of the Guru’s books currently available in more than 55 languages.
The Law of Success in Arabic
Metaphysical Meditations in Arabic
Sayings of Paramahansa Yogananda in Bulgarian
Improvements to Infrastructure to Advance Paramahansaji’s Mission
Just as Paramahansaji used mail order, a “cutting edge technology” at the time, to distribute the earliest edition of the SRF Lessons in the 1930s, SRF is committed to harnessing the emerging and rapidly evolving digital tools of today’s world.
Paramahansaji was given by his line of gurus the role of spreading the perennial wisdom of India and the profoundly elevating “spiritual technology” of yoga — the comprehensive science of the soul — worldwide; and he founded Self-Realization Fellowship to be the means to accomplish this momentous task. By maintaining and expanding SRF’s information technology infrastructure and array of digital tools, we can advance that mission as efficiently and effectively as possible, finding more and better ways to serve all those who have increasingly come to draw solace and strength from the abundance of Paramahansaji’s divine help. This requires continuous funding of the technology and systems underlying SRF’s global outreach, and we very much rely on your help to make it all possible.
Continuing the Adventure With You
Together, we are expanding the “shelter” of Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings and helping to make it more readily available to spiritual seekers around the world — and will continue to do so in new ways for those who come in the future.
In his Convocation closing talk, Brother Chidananda expressed his appreciation to all of you who contribute to this work — whether through your volunteering, your financial contributions, your meditations and prayers, or serving in other ways. “I think of all of you as my brothers and sisters,” Brother Chidananda said, “my dear divine friends...in this most fulfilling, most amazing adventure of the soul on the path to liberation, the path to freedom, the path of God-love, the path of God-realization.”
We are so grateful for all that you are doing to support this work, and we look forward to continuing this journey with you — this “most fulfilling, most amazing adventure of the soul.”
If you feel inspired to help share Paramahansaji’s teachings with more truth seekers — of all ages! — we invite you to make a gift now. Your gift will also assist SRF to meet the many other significant expenses associated with carrying on Paramahansaji’s spiritual legacy and humanitarian work.
To all of you who support this work with your love, prayers, and continuing material assistance, we send our deepest thanks, and hope you feel a deep joy in helping to bring Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings of universal spirituality to the world.
In divine friendship,
P.S. We deeply appreciate your recurring and one-time donations. To make a gift now, please use the link below. Thank you!
Note: Contributions in response to Self-Realization Fellowship’s 2023 Winter Appeal are for the general support of SRF, which includes the purposes stated in this letter. As such, gifts shall be designated as, and remain, unrestricted and can be utilized for purposes SRF determines. Donations received later than approximately twelve months after the mailing date will be credited to SRF’s most recent general appeal. Self-Realization Fellowship is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt organization. Accordingly, donations are tax-deductible as permitted by law.