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History

Discover the history of an ancient science perfectly suited for our contemporary world.

"By the definite science of meditation known for millenniums to the yogis and sages of India, and to Jesus, any seeker of God can enlarge the caliber of his consciousness to omniscience to receive within himself the Universal Intelligence of God."

Paramahansa Yogananda

The science of Kriya Yoga has been given to humankind to assist our evolution as we struggle to ascend into an age of greater harmony and understanding. A modern revival of the timeless science of Raja Yoga, the Kriya Yoga path of Paramahansa Yogananda and his spiritual lineage has been sent through the Self-Realization Fellowship teachings to all nations of the world.

The illumined sages of ancient India were the first to discover the spiritual science of Kriya Yoga in the long-forgotten past. Bhagavan Krishna extols it in the Bhagavad Gita. The sage Patanjali speaks of it in his Yoga Sutras. Paramahansa Yogananda has stated that this ancient meditation method was also known to Jesus Christ, as well as to disciples such as St. John, St. Paul, and others.

Kriya Yoga was lost for centuries in the dark ages, and reintroduced in modern times by Mahavatar Babaji, whose disciple Lahiri Mahasaya (1828 – 1895) was the first to teach it openly in our era. Later, Babaji asked Lahiri Mahasaya's disciple, Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri (1855 – 1936), to train Paramahansa Yogananda and send him to the West to give this soul-revealing technique to the world. It was for this purpose that Paramahansaji established Self-Realization Fellowship in 1920.

Formerly available only to a faithful few who renounced the world and lived solitary lives as ascetics, these great ones of India have now made the ancient Kriya science available to all sincere seekers worldwide through the instrumentality of Paramahansa Yogananda and the spiritual organization he established (SRF/YSS).

Yogananda wrote: “In bestowing his blessings on me before I came to America in 1920, Mahavatar Babaji told me that I had been chosen for this sacred mission: ‘You are the one I have chosen to spread the message of Kriya Yoga in the West. Long ago I met your guru Yukteswar at a Kumbha Mela; I told him then I would send you to him for training.’ Babaji then predicted: ‘Kriya Yoga, the scientific technique of God-realization, will ultimately spread in all lands, and aid in harmonizing the nations through man's personal, transcendental perception of the Infinite Father.’”

The meditation techniques of the Kriya Yoga science, which form the foundation of the Kriya Yoga path, are ancient. And yet they are perfectly suited for today’s world, which is so much in need of the support, encouragement, guidance, and unequaled love and joy of the Divine that comes from daily meditation.

The science of Kriya Yoga is universal. Through the sadhana (spiritual discipline) of meditation practices and the how-to-live teachings that Paramahansaji has given in the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons, any sincere seeker after ultimate fulfillment can have direct experience of God, in whatever form most appeals to his or her heart. 

[This] teaching is especially suited to the modern age because it does not ask anyone to believe dogmatically, but rather by practice of the proven techniques of Kriya Yoga to discover by personal realization the answer to the eternal question, ‘What is truth?’—about oneself and God.

Paramahansa Yogananda
Read Next: Benefits of Kriya Yoga meditation
Read more about this sacred path in “Kriya Yoga—Royal Technique of God-Realization” by Paramahansa Yogananda

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