Self-Realization Fellowship Blog

You Are Vital to Paramahansa Yogananda’s Mission: SRF’s Summer Appeal and Special Report

June 13, 2021


Dear Friend,

It’s a joy to welcome you to our Summer 2021 Appeal and Special Report. There is so much to share with you!

We’d like to start with a deeply touching note from two SRF members, which speaks to the vital role you played in helping to spread the light of Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings during a very difficult period:

We are a married couple in Toronto, Canada, and wanted to let you know how uplifted we have felt during these difficult times by the online meditations and special events offered by SRF. Like so many others, we have experienced a difficult year, losing loved ones, including a father to the coronavirus. But the love and support from the Great Ones and SRF has transformed our consciousness and enabled us to feel not just understanding but a deep joyous connection with God and the Masters....Our hearts overflow with gratitude to SRF....

Your generosity made it possible for the SRF spiritual family to stay connected through online meditations, the 2020 Online World Convocation, weekly inspirational videos, and other virtual touchpoints. As a result, this couple and countless others all over the world were uplifted, finding solace and encouragement.

Also, your support helped us to welcome a multitude of new Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons students to our Guru’s teachings during the past several months — sowing seeds of personal transformation that in turn bless our whole world.

The opportunities for advancing Paramahansaji’s mission this year are equally exciting! In the Special Report to Our Supporters and Friends” that appears below, you’ll read more about these plans—activities such as another free online Convocation, completing renovation work at the SRF Lake Shrine, and establishing a fund to help pay SRF Lessons subscription fees for those who are less able to afford them.

You Can Keep the Inspiration Flowing

Your support truly makes a difference. Please consider making a gift today. Together we can continue to bring Paramahansaji’s message of hope and divine unity to the world.

You can make a one-time or recurring donation by using the link below:

In addition to supporting the spread of Paramahansaji’s teachings, your donation will help meet the ongoing expenses of our Guru’s international spiritual organization. You can help to preserve the sacred shrines where Paramahansaji lived and communed with God, cover the living expenses of the SRF monastic communities, maintain SRF’s information technology infrastructure, and so much more.

If you are unable to make a donation at this time, please know that we gratefully welcome your continued support in all forms. Your prayers for Paramahansaji’s work and the world, your participation in SRF’s online events and meditations, your sharing of Paramahansaji’s message through your daily living — all of these are significant contributions.

United in Mutual Divine Friendship

We send our heartfelt gratitude to the many SRF members and friends who have so lovingly inquired about the well-being of the monastics. Please be assured that they are doing well and are deeply touched by your concern.

From all of us — the monastics and the many lay members who serve in the ashrams of Paramahansa Yogananda — please receive our loving pranams. We continue to pray daily for your health and happiness, and are deeply grateful for your divine friendship and the opportunity to be of spiritual service to you.

May we all feel the constant protecting presence of God and the blessed Masters who guide this work. May these powerful words of Paramahansaji inspire and help us to cultivate this consciousness of unshakable faith and security:

Do not be afraid of anything. Even when tossing on a wave in a storm, you are still on the bosom of the ocean. Always hold on to the consciousness of God's underlying presence. Be of even mind, and say: “I am fearless; I am made of the substance of God. I am a spark of the Fire of Spirit. I am an atom of the Cosmic Flame. I am a cell of the vast universal body of the Father. 'I and my Father are One.’”

Paramahansa Yogananda

In divine friendship,

SELF-REALIZATION FELLOWSHIP
Mother Center

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How You Are Making a Difference

A Special Report to Our Supporters and Friends — Summer 2021

SRF Lake Shrine: Welcoming the World to a Newly Renovated Sanctuary

“You will see, later on this will be a pilgrimage place. People will come from all over the world.”

These words of Paramahansa Yogananda about the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine have found ample fulfillment: annually thousands of visitors from around the globe, and from virtually every faith, come here and experience spiritual rejuvenation.

B Summer 2021 Appeal Yogananda at the Lake Shrine
Paramahansa Yogananda (second from left) at the SRF Lake Shrine, feeding the fish, March 6, 1952 — the day before his mahasamadhi.
Monks who live at the Lake Shrine help care for the sacred grounds. Here Brother Ritananda feeds the swans and koi that grace the lake.

Over the past two decades, many of the major landmarks at the SRF Lake Shrine have been beautifully restored with the help of supporters like you, who care so much about preserving this spiritual sanctuary. Most recently, a project to reinforce and protect the banks of the lake was completed after more than two years of meticulous and loving labor.

One finishing touch is still yet to be done: replacement of a small time-worn wood deck near Paramahansaji’s Houseboat. This is a popular spot where visitors often stop to meditate and take in the beauty of the lake. Your continued support will make it possible to complete this project in 2021.

Your contribution to Paramahansaji’s SRF Lake Shrine is truly a priceless gift to those who come to visit and feel uplifted by the spiritual vibrations — not only today but for generations yet to come.

Erosion posed a serious threat to the pathways around the lake. As a remedy, a team of SRF monks, lay members, and staff designed and installed a protective row of steel posts, wire mesh, and stones (literally tons of them!) that runs the length of the entire shoreline. Now the banks are protected for many years to come.
A section of reinforced shoreline. Once the last piece of the project has been completed, the lake will be raised to its normal level, and the stones will be hardly visible. Also shown is an elegant new stone and brick landing that was constructed to replace an older structure made of wood.

The SRF Lake Shrine is open to visitors free of charge on a reservation basis. Please go to lakeshrine.org for information.

Not able to visit in person? Take a virtual tour at Yogananda.org/Convocation. Scroll down to the “Pilgrimage Tours” in the “All-Day Events” section and follow the prompts to log in or register. Registration is free.

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The SRF Lessons: Timely and Timeless Wisdom for Life’s Journey

The past year has been filled with changes and challenges. Yet, in the face of them, we have heard so many stories of courage and resilience from our global SRF spiritual family. A common thread of hope, inspiration, and purpose ties them all together: the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons.

So many have come to appreciate that in creating the SRF Lessons Paramahansa Yogananda was giving us exactly the tools we would need for times such as these. His far-reaching vision for the spiritual evolution of those who would be drawn to this path extended way beyond his own brief years on earth, and he said: “When I am gone the SRF teachings will be the guru. Through the teachings you will be in tune with me and the great Gurus who sent me.”

Your support will help to introduce more people to Paramahansaji’s guidance and inspiration in the Lessons — including the new Supplement Lessons, which are being released biweekly throughout 2021 and beyond.

I am a spiritual warrior right now and I am living and breathing the SRF Lessons in nearly each moment of each day. The teachings have completely transformed my life in every way for the positive....It's not easy work but it is the only true work—it is IT! I was filled with bliss for weeks upon discovering the Lessons as now I know the roadmap to God I've sought my entire life is finally in my hands.

A. A., Peru

Expanding Availability of the Lessons Through Translations and Financial Assistance

We are excited to announce that, with your help, we are making tremendous progress in translating the Lessons into several languages. The Italian edition is scheduled for release this summer. Over the next couple of years, we hope also to release the German, Portuguese, and Spanish editions. Work on translations into 15 other languages is also underway.

Another way SRF seeks to expand the availability of the Lessons is by keeping the subscription fee as low as possible. Yet, for many around the world the fee (especially international mailing costs) may still present a barrier that is difficult to overcome. To help provide a solution, we recently established a fund that will help those requesting financial assistance. We look forward to sharing more information about the new Lessons Payment Assistance Fund in future communications.

*****

Thank you for helping others to find hope and purpose through these sacred teachings, and for contributing to the fulfillment of our Guru’s vision for uplifting all humanity with the timeless yoga science of God-realization.

Not an SRF Lessons student? We invite you to learn more at Yogananda.org/lessons.

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SRF’s Online Spiritual Resources: Divine Fellowship in a “Wall-less Temple”

Paramahansa Yogananda poetically spoke of worshipping the Divine in the “wall-less cosmic temple of our souls.”

His words capture the spirit behind Self-Realization Fellowship’s Online Meditation Center and other virtual offerings.

Thanks to your support, SRF’s online resources have become a vital source of guidance, comfort, and fellowship for countless people around the world.

Your generosity supported the SRF Online Meditation Center, brought SRF’s Convocation to the world online in 2020 with no admission fee, and kept a steady stream of weekly inspirational videos and livestreamed events flowing free of charge to the global SRF community and world at large. You also helped maintain the SRF website, which proved so important to many during the past year. In particular, online prayer requests increased by some 500%. Greater numbers of seekers also visited the guided meditations and SRF Lessons sections of our website.

The SRF Online Meditation Center also saw a tremendous surge in participation. Before the pandemic erupted in March 2020, weekly attendance was just under 6,000. By the end of the same month it had surpassed 26,000, and has remained close to this level ever since. With the help of around 250 volunteers, the Online Meditation Center now offers 50 weekly meditations and other events in six languages — as well as occasional retreats.

The 2020 SRF Online World Convocation was another virtual milestone. More than 35,000 participants from 150 countries attended, and video views topped one million.

SRF nun Sister Bhavani leads a review of the SRF techniques of meditation in Portuguese during the 2020 SRF Online World Convocation.

This year, SRF’s Convocation (August 8–14) will again be held online and, with your support, will still be free of charge. We look forward to offering this inspiring event to the world.

Keeping our SRF family virtually connected also requires that we stay up to date with the latest technology. Your financial assistance helps SRF to maintain and upgrade its website infrastructure. These behind-the-scenes enhancements, while invisible to you, are essential to hosting and serving thousands of online visitors.

Together we are expanding and enhancing SRF’s online “wall-less temple,” where so many are experiencing fellowship with God and our brother and sister devotees.

2020 has, as we are all aware, been a year like no other, and the way in which you have given me such a wealth of treasures for my spiritual ‘toolbox’ has been so positive and helped me to manage a difficult time....I have felt, more than ever this year, a closer connection with the SRF movement and ‘family.

M. M., Australia

We invite you to learn more about the SRF Online Meditation Center at srfonlinemeditation.org.

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India Hall at SRF Hollywood Temple: Providing Access to All

Seventy years ago, Paramahansa Yogananda dedicated India Hall, located on the grounds of the Self-Realization Fellowship Hollywood Temple.

At the dedication, Paramahansaji said: “I love India, because it was there I learned to love God and all beautiful things. But that love I do not keep for one nation alone, for this whole world is my India now....I believe a cultural exchange between the people of India and America will bring about a solution to the unsolved problems of the world; all mankind will become true citizens of the globe….”

Paramahansa Yogananda at the dedication of India Hall, April 8, 1951. Seated next to him is Mr. Goodwin J. Knight, Lt. Governor of California (center), who participated in the ceremonies.

Since its founding, India Hall has served as a venue for a wide range of special events for SRF members and friends, like the Convocation pilgrimage tours. Unfortunately, India Hall’s lower level and auditorium can be accessed only by stairs. An elevator and other safety upgrades are greatly needed to make it accessible to all.

You might recall that we last requested your help with this project in late 2019. And you generously responded, fulfilling the original fundraising goal just before Christmas that year. Unexpectedly, construction costs have grown significantly and some additional expenses have arisen. A portion of the proceeds from this Summer Appeal will be allocated to meeting these expenses.

For more information about this project — including the current fundraising need, and videos of the groundbreaking ceremony and work accomplished — please go to https://www.hollywoodtemple.org/elevator.html.

We extend our thanks in advance for your support in making India Hall fully accessible to all!

Presently the lower level of India Hall can be accessed only via stairs. An elevator is greatly needed to increase access so that all may participate in special events held in the building’s auditorium.
Architect’s rendering of the proposed entrance to new elevator (indicated by red arrow) adjacent to India Hall.
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Inspiration From Our President: “Whatever We Can Visualize, We Can Achieve”

The following words of Brother Chidananda speak to how each of us can effect transformation — in our own lives, in the lives of others, and in our world. Your support is helping many to transform themselves through application of the SRF teachings in their lives.

“A key teaching of yoga, a key teaching of the spiritual path that Paramahansa Yogananda brought to us, is this: Whatever we can visualize, we can achieve. So our Gurudeva gave us the vision and the sacred knowledge of what to visualize, what to dream, what to hope and strive for and ultimately achieve in terms of our own Self-realization, in terms of the elevation of our own consciousness—the spiritualizing of our way of being in the world that will gradually ripple outward, as he said, hastening the coming of that true harmonious heaven on earth. That is within the realm of possibility if all take this to heart. And to embrace that vision is the most joyous, exciting, meaningful, and fulfilling way to live life on this planet.”

Words cannot express my gratitude to God for this organization, teachings and line of gurus; following this path has started to transform my life in the most unexpected and wonderful ways and I know this is only a small taste of what lies ahead....

M. M., South Africa

You Make the Difference!

Your contribution to SRF’s 2021 Summer Appeal helps to:

To donate to Self-Realization Fellowship, please use the link below. Thank you!


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