Self-Realization Fellowship’s Hollywood Temple celebrated its 75th anniversary on August 30, 2017. To commemorate this milestone, special events were held September 15–17, including long meditations, spiritual fellowship, kirtan devotional chanting, and talks by monastics who lived and served at this beloved temple over the years.
A Message From SRF President, Brother Chidananda
SRF President Brother Chidananda sent a special message to the members of the Hollywood Temple in which he described the temple as a “spiritual dynamo whose influence radiates far beyond its physical location, for it was created and sanctified by a jagadguru, a world teacher, of highest God-realization.” (The full text of his message is given below.)
And indeed, over the weekend a captivated audience heard many stories of the influence which the temple has had since its creation by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1942—examples of its continued presence as a true “spiritual dynamo.”
Resolution From the City of Los Angeles
A resolution adopted by the City of Los Angeles was announced, commemorating the SRF Hollywood Temple on the occasion of its 75th anniversary. Among other things, the resolution acknowledges the temple for the 75 years it “has played a pioneering role in Paramahansa Yogananda’s historic mission of introducing Yoga in the West.” The resolution was signed by all fifteen city council members as well as by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. (See the full resolution below.)
To begin the celebration on Friday evening, a three-hour meditation was led by Brother Anilananda, minister-in-charge of the temple, making meditation the touchstone of the weekend events. The events on Saturday began with a three-hour meditation with chanting led by the SRF monks’ kirtan group. Two films were then shown: one of Paramahansaji’s dedication of India Hall (a center for cultural exchange between East and West built by the Guru and his monks), and another film of remembrances by Brother Bhaktananda, a direct disciple of the Guru’s since 1939, who served as minister-in-charge of the Hollywood Temple from 1971 until his passing in 2005.
During a special Sunday Service, Brother Anilananda shared stories about the temple, and spoke of the dedication of the many lay disciples who have served so generously over the years. Following the service, the Hollywood Temple monks along with monks and nuns from the Mother Center hosted SRF members and friends during a special Indian banquet in the gardens.
On Sunday afternoon in India Hall, Brothers Achalananda, Santoshananda, Ishtananda, and Viryananda (joined by Brothers Jayananda and Balananda via video connection from the Phoenix Temple, where they now serve), shared their experiences in serving at Hollywood Temple, and stories about Paramahansaji’s founding of the temple. They also spoke about the role played by Meera Mata (mother of SRF’s beloved fourth president, Sri Mrinalini Mata), a much-loved and revered minister who was in charge of the Hollywood Ashram Center from 1951 until her passing in 1982. Meera Mata was also a spiritual mother to countless temple members.
The weekend concluded with a three-hour meditation Sunday evening, conducted by Brother Pranavananda, at the end of which he asked the congregation to send the peace they had gained from their meditation to all those around the world. As the weekend came to a close and the devotees ardently prayed for others in need, the sense that the temple’s influence indeed “radiates far beyond its physical location” took on an added tangibility.
Additional Photos of the Event
SRF monks’ kirtan group leads a three-hour meditation.
SRF monks’ kirtan group leads devotional singing.
The Sunday program began and ended with an uplifting performance by the Hollywood Temple Singers.
Brother Anilananda leads the congregation in Paramahansa Yogananda’s healing technique.
View of the Temple courtyard, from above.
SRF Vice President, Brother Achalananda, lived and served at Hollywood Temple for many years.
Brother Anilananda, minister-in-charge of Hollywood Temple, welcomes members to Sunday’s commemorative events.
Brother Pranavananda greets guests at the Hollywood Temple.
Sister Chinmayi, from the Mother Center, greets members during the Indian banquet.
Sister Dhira, from the Mother Center, smiles with participants in the Sunday events.
Memories of Hollywood Temple A special photo display featured historic images of Hollywood Temple.
A message board allowed members to share their thoughts and memories of Hollywood Temple.
Full Text of Message Sent by Brother Chidananda
SRF President Brother Chidananda sent an inspiring message to be read at the anniversary event, reflecting on the cherished place that the Hollywood Temple has occupied in Paramahansa Yogananda’s work, and in the hearts of countless spiritual seekers:
Official Resolution From the City of Los Angeles
The City of Los Angeles honored the anniversary of the Hollywood Temple by issuing an official resolution, acknowledging the temple’s many spiritual and humanitarian offerings. The resolution was signed by all fifteen city councilmembers and by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti: