Self-Realization Fellowship Blog

Brother Chidananda Dedicates the SRF Bay Area Temple (Video)

June 29, 2023

Illumining the Outer Temple With the Inner Temple

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Brother Chidananda reverently offers rose petals before the image of each of the SRF Gurus on the altar at the Bay Area Temple.

“Bless all who come here with a desire to commune with God in the interior stillness of deep meditation, and bless them with the tangible awareness of your presence. Revered Gurus and Gurudeva, to that purpose we dedicate this temple in your name on this holy day.” Brother Chidananda, president and spiritual head of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, spoke these words as part of a prayer he offered at the dedication ceremony on May 20, 2023, for the SRF Bay Area Temple, located in Walnut Creek, California.

The Bay Area Temple opened its doors on September 26, 2021, on the anniversary of Lahiri Mahasaya’s mahasamadhi, after a long quest for a permanent home for Paramahansa Yogananda’s work in the San Francisco Bay Area. However, due to the need for completing several renovations and the easing of pandemic health restrictions, it was not possible to hold this auspicious dedication until the present time. (You can find the video of the May 20 dedication ceremony below.)

A Triumphant and Joyous Moment for All

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Brother Chidananda’s arrival at the temple was met with a traditional Indian welcome of the blowing of conch shells, accompanied by glowing and appreciative smiles. He and other monastics then entered the temple to the lively chanting from the expectant congregation of “Aum Guru, Aum Guru” in honor of Paramahansaji, whose “how-to-live” teachings many of the devotees present had been steadfastly following for several decades.

After leading an opening invocation, Brother Chidananda continued the dedication ceremony by offering rose petals at each of the pictures of the SRF Gurus at the altar. Before beginning he said, “As I offer these rose petals at each of the Gurus, I want to feel that I am doing it on behalf of all of you, on behalf of all of Gurudeva’s wonderful chelas around the world. So please add your love, add your reverence, add your spiritual yearning to be able to be open to the blessings of those Gurus.”

Brother Ritananda, current minister in charge at the Bay Area Temple, delivered remarks about the history of the SRF work in the Bay Area, which began with Paramahansaji’s first visit in 1924 (see more below in the “Brief History” section).

Brother Chidananda in his dedication address, which immediately followed, drew connections to a greater and deeply embracing history, that which began with Mahavatar Babaji’s promise to Sri Yukteswar to send him a disciple, Paramahansaji, to train to spread the enlightening message of yoga worldwide. Brother Chidananda quoted Babaji from that meeting as saying: “I perceive potential saints in America and Europe, waiting to be awakened.” And then Brother Chidananda added: “Never doubt for a moment that each one of you, is one of those potential saints that this great movement of SRF was sent to the West to awaken, to uplift, to ultimately liberate. Never doubt it for a second.”

We invite you to watch the dedication ceremony here, to join with the SRF members at the Bay Area Temple in celebration; and to absorb Brother Chidananda’s inspiring and deeply encouraging address in full — which touches on many deep aspects of the joys of serving and seeking divine communion on the SRF path of Kriya Yoga meditation. (Our news coverage of the event continues below the video.)

Towards the close of Brother Chidananda’s address, he shared these words of Paramahansa Yogananda: “Buildings and centers and temples of stone are necessary, but they are only material. My greater wish is to create a temple in your souls, wherein God can be established forever. By your practice of meditation on Aum — the Great Amen or cosmic vibration of God's omnipresence — and the awakening of the higher centers of consciousness in the brain and spine so that you can contact God, you will find a temple within you that time shall never disintegrate. That spiritual temple in which you will worship God — your spiritualized consciousness in which you shall house God — that will never be broken. Practice the techniques I have given you; then I will establish within your souls an immortal temple of God-realization.”

Brother Chidananda reiterated this crucial point, asking the devotees to so strive to meditate and base their actions on the truths in the SRF teachings that Paramahansaji would be able to say: “There is one who has allowed me to build that temple within.” “Make that the goal,” Brother Chidananda said. “Make that the aspiration of striving that will cause this beautiful temple to glow and radiate with divine vibrations, with astral light, with that fragrance of truth that will spread increasingly out over the local area, out over the whole state, around the world.”

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SRF sannyasis attending the dedication included (from left to right): Sister Yogamayee, Sister Ranjana, Brother Kamalananda, Brother Ritananda, Brother Kalyanananda, Brother Arpananda, and Brother Jayananda.

A Brief History of the Bay Area Temple

Brother Ritananda, in recounting the history of the SRF congregation in the San Francisco area, began by remarking on Paramahansaji’s first visit to San Francisco in 1924. It was during that visit that a portrait photographer took the photo that appears on the cover of Autobiography of Yogi and has been seen by and brought great inspiration to millions around the world.

It was in 1949, that Paramahansaji asked a devoted member, Kamala Silva, to establish the first official Northern California Meditation Center of Self-Realization Fellowship. This dedicated group met in temporary facilities for over two decades, but were finally able to purchase the Richmond Temple, which was opened on June 30, 1974.

Major renovations of the original structure and grounds were required, culminating in 1988 when it was finally dedicated. For that occasion, then SRF President Sri Daya Mata sent a letter to the devotees:

“If Gurudeva were here in form, he would be beaming with joy and appreciation for the talented and selfless efforts you have put into making this a true temple of the Divine. It stands as a testament to your deep love and devotion for God and Guru….I hope to convey through this message the warm feelings of my heart for all of you who have given so generously of your time, your material support, and your prayers that Guruji's dream of a temple here in the Bay Area might become a reality. In your letter to me, you wrote, ‘We have worked with love and sacrifice and joy to produce a hive for souls on Master's path to God.’ It touched my heart to read those words, for that is the spirit which will bring the blissful nectar of God's presence into your lives and into this blessed temple. If you continue in this spirit, striving to do everything with love, sacrifice, and joy in your work, in your home life, and your meditations, and in your service here at the temple, you will know a joy, a love, and an inner fulfillment that most people scarcely dream of.”

The devotees truly took Daya Mata’s counsel to heart. And when “sacrifice” came in the form of needing to leave the Richmond Temple in 2012, due to seismic issues affecting the property, they brought their joyful striving and collective effort to their temporary home in nearby Berkeley, while at the same time undertaking a search for a permanent home for that spiritual hive for the honey of divine fulfillment.

Their exhaustive investigation led finally to the acquisition of the current location in Walnut Creek, a place ideally suited for SRF in the Bay Area, now and for many, many years to come.

We invite you to enjoy some additional images from this special event!

Leave a comment

Fellow believers in the power of Aum, please bless this temple for a period of forever... thanks to the service, of all involved.

Martin Madsen

Congratulations to all the devotees in the San Francisco area! Although my wife and I are physically far from you (being in Denmark), we are so happy for this beautiful, new SRF temple which looks solid as a rock and peaceful as a cave. Thank you for sharing the sweet and touching dedication ceremony! Jai Guru!


Simply purity of devotion and humility of devotees here have made permanent Guruji's presence here. May God and Guruji continue to lead all of us always. Jai Guru1


Hello Edna - you are most welcome to visit the Bay Area Temple located at:
2317 Buena Vista Avenue Walnut Creek, CA 94597 UNITED STATES
For details about services and events, please visit the Bay Area Temple website:

Suddha Mukhopadhyay

I am still reading the Autobiography of a Yogi book- praying to Babaji and Lahiri mahashaya for their blessings…. And just found out about the Bay Area temple that is just 10 minutes away from my home… truly “that what you are seeking is seeking you”

Feeling so blessed!!


tutti quanti noi, con la nostra collettiva partecipazione siamo le "membra vivide" del Maestro, ovvero di Dio stesso. Ecco allora che è così che il Supremo si fa uomo perennemente.
sempre insieme per l'Eternità e sempre grati per tutti coloro che "servono", trasmettendo così il Divino per l'armonia della Terra, per l'armonia dell'Umanità, per le creature tutte e per ogni devoto.
Om Jay Gurus Jay


Can you please embed this recording again? It has such strong and beautiful vibrations. I just wanted to join the meditation at the end again but the embedment is invalid. Anyhow, I am happy that I could experience it today. Very beautiful dedication service.


I want to congratulate the Bay Area devotees for this spiritual win! This video itself is 'a spiritual treasure'. Thank you for sharing such a joyous and love-filled event with us all. Very grateful! Pure Divine Love and Wisdom. Jai Guru, Jai Guru, Jai Guru!

Kavita Shah

The sacrifice done with utmost joy becomes so meaningful!!
Thank you for sharing the soulful ceremony video


Dear Brother Chidanandaji and monastics,
Thank you from Australia for recording and sharing this beautiful, inspiring devotional and sincere dedication service. Brother’s magnanimity uniting our Guruji’s worldwide family..


Hello, where is this temple located and where can I see the events? When to attend. I like in Bay Area. So excited to read this today.


Hello Edna - you are most welcome to visit the Bay Area Temple located at:
2317 Buena Vista Avenue Walnut Creek, CA 94597 UNITED STATES
For details about services and events, please visit the Bay Area Temple website:

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