The Government of India has paid tribute to Paramahansa Yogananda with the release of a special commemorative ₹125 coin to mark the 125th anniversary of his birth (which was honored in India beginning in 2018 and extending into this year). India’s Finance Minister, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, presided at the ceremony, which took place at the Central Secretariat in New Delhi on October 29, 2019. She was joined by Sri Anurag Thakur, Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, and Sri Arun Goel, Culture Secretary, and other government officials.
In her remarks, Finance Minister Sitharaman acknowledged Paramahansa Yogananda as a “great yogi” who brought a universal message of world harmony. “India feels very strongly about this great son of the universe who brought harmony to all our hearts and minds,” she said.
Receiving the new coin from Finance Minister Sitharaman were Brother Vishwananda, a member of the Board of Directors of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, and Swami Smaranananda, vice president of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India. They both expressed their deep appreciation for the Government of India’s recognition of Paramahansa Yogananda’s role as one of India’s great spiritual figures. Brother Vishwananda also read a written message from SRF/YSS President Brother Chidananda. (See full text of this message below.) Several YSS devotees and members of the general public were also present to take part in the historic event.
Watch a short news report by DD-News (on the national Indian network Doordarshan) on the commemorative coin release. The report includes a video clip of Brother Vishwananda reading a message from SRF/YSS President Brother Chidananda. (The text of this message appears below).
The commemorative coin marks the third time that the Government of India has formally paid tribute to Paramahansa Yogananda. The Government of India twice issued commemorative stamps recognizing his spiritual contributions to India and the world: in 1977, on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Sri Yogananda’s passing, and in 2017, on the occasion of the centenary of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India.
Full Text of Brother Chidananda’s Message, October 29, 2019
“Paramahansaji sought to spread a spirit of brotherhood among all peoples based on the eternal truth that we are the children of one God, and need to live in friendship, peace, and harmony for our mutual well-being.” — Brother Chidananda
Warm greetings to all of you on this auspicious occasion of the release of a commemorative coin to celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda. On behalf of the devotees of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India/Self-Realization Fellowship, and of all those who share the ideal of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (“the world is one family”) it is my privilege to thank the Honorable Finance Minister, Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman — and the Government of India — for this tribute to one of her great saints divinely ordained to bring to the world the spiritual treasures of ancient India. Known as the Father of Yoga in the West, Paramahansaji, the Founder and Gurudeva of YSS/SRF, belongs to that line of Jagadgurus — world teachers — whose message is universal, reaching across national and religious boundaries, embodying the all-inclusive spirit and heart of India.
Paramahansaji sought to spread a spirit of brotherhood among all peoples based on the eternal truth that we are the children of one God, and need to live in friendship, peace, and harmony for our mutual well-being. He also emphasized the importance of seeing the Divine in every soul and every living thing; and treating all of God’s creation with respect and reverence. In keeping with that ideal, he encouraged his disciples to serve mankind as one’s larger Self, thus enlarging our own consciousness by expanding our circle of caring. The various charitable activities conducted by YSS devotees, such as the hospitals, clinics and dispensaries, the schools and colleges, and the relief provided to victims of natural disasters, are manifestations of that ideal.
Our Guru’s greatest service to humanity is the mission he was given to disseminate throughout the world India’s ancient sacred science of Kriya Yoga, that by its faithful practice, spiritually hungry souls around the globe might attain the experience of direct communion with God. His teachings are available to earnest seekers regardless of religion, caste, creed, or nationality, for he firmly believed that, while we may belong to different religions, the purpose of all great religions is to lead us toward our common aim of God-realization. Paramahansaji foresaw that through the union with God’s consciousness which comes by inner communion with Him in meditation, His children would also better understand their bond with one another, and thus bring about an age of greater harmony throughout this world.
The release of this commemorative coin by the Honorable Finance Minister is a timely recognition of a milestone in the journey of humanity toward this goal of realizing the divine Self in the hearts of all beings.
May God bless all who spread His harmonizing influence in His worldwide family,
Swami Chidananda Giri
President, Yogoda Satsanga Society of India/Self-Realization Fellowship