What are the SRF Lessons?
Discover your soul’s infinite potential: the science of Kriya Yoga
We invite you to journey with us on a life-transforming discovery of the peace, joy, and wisdom of the soul through the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda.
At the core of Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings is a powerful system of meditation techniques: the Kriya Yoga science of meditation. This ancient science of the soul provides powerful methods for awakening higher spiritual consciousness and the inner bliss of divine realization.
The actual techniques of the Kriya Yoga science are taught by Paramahansa Yogananda in the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons. The Lessons are unique among his published writings, in that they provide his step-by-step instructions in meditation, concentration, and energization, and in how to live a spiritually balanced and successful life.
Study at your own pace with options to last a lifetime.
My only purpose is to awaken God within you. As far as you want to go along the spiritual path, I can show you; and if you practice the techniques in these Lessons you will never feel stagnation in your progress.
SRF Lessons (Basic Series)
All students start here: Learn SRF techniques of meditation, concentration, and energization, and the foundational principles of balanced spiritual living.
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Lessons Series Sequence/Order
Purpose & History
Purpose of the Lessons: Teaching the Science of Kriya Yoga
In his Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda introduced the lineage of illumined gurus behind the Self-Realization Fellowship work: Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, and Swami Sri Yukteswar. He describes how these fully God-realized masters chose and prepared him to bring the lost, ancient Kriya Yoga science of God-realization to the West and spread it worldwide.
The Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons are intended for those who wish to undertake an actual practice of the Kriya Yoga path of meditation described by Paramahansa Yogananda in Autobiography of a Yogi. He explained:
“In a book available to the general public I cannot give the techniques themselves; for they are sacred, and certain ancient spiritual injunctions must first be followed to insure that they are received with reverence and confidentiality, and thereafter practiced correctly.”
Enrollment in the Lessons offered by Self-Realization Fellowship, the organization Paramahansa Yogananda founded to disseminate his teachings and for the continuing fulfillment of his mission, will insure proper guidance and optimum benefit for all who wish to follow the path and practice the sacred meditation techniques he brought for the world.
The Lessons are the Core of Paramahansa Yogananda's Teachings
Paramahansa Yogananda viewed the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons as the very core of the teachings he was ordained to bring to the world as a special spiritual dispensation for the coming global civilization.
In his talks and writings printed in his many acclaimed books for the public, Paramahansaji offers a wealth of practical guidance for spiritual living — how to live joyfully and successfully amidst the unceasing challenges and opportunities in this world of change. The Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons are for those who want to learn to convert that inspiration into a daily spiritual practice.
The Lessons are unique among Paramahansa Yogananda’s published works, in that they give his step-by-step instructions in the yoga techniques of meditation, concentration, and energization that he taught, including Kriya Yoga.
These simple yet highly effective yoga techniques work directly with life energy and consciousness, enabling you to recharge the body with vitality, awaken the mind's unlimited power, and experience an ever-deepening awareness of the Divine in your life—culminating in the highest states of spiritual consciousness and union with God.
Since Yoga is based on practice and experience rather than on adherence to a particular set of beliefs, followers of all religions—as well as those who do not affiliate with a religious path—can benefit from the spiritual teachings in the basic series of Lessons and the techniques taught therein. When practiced regularly, these methods lead unfailingly to deeper levels of spiritual awareness and perception.
The Self-Realization Fellowship teachings impart harmonious development of body, mind, and soul. I have not come to bring a new denomination of sectarian religion, but a super-technique by which you can tune your body, mind, and soul with the highest contact of God.
Origin and Evolution of the Lessons
During the three decades of his mission in the West, starting in 1920, Paramahansaji presented his teachings through a variety of means. In the 1920s and ’30s, he traveled all over the United States, giving public lectures in major cities from coast to coast, attended by tens of thousands. Many of these talks were printed in Self-Realization Fellowship’s magazine, and (much later) in the anthologies of his Collected Talks and Essays, available in book form for the general public.
Following his public lecture series, which lasted one to two weeks in each city, he invited those who wished to commit to a deeper study to enroll for the additional series of lessons classes on the Self-Realization teachings and meditation techniques that he conducted each night over the next several weeks. In the early years, students were provided with brief printed outline notes about the subject matter in each class.
It was in 1934 that he announced the first edition of a comprehensive set of printed lessons for home study. Here are his words on that occasion:
“Day and night for fourteen years I have been thinking how to give to the students a continuous flood of that spiritual awakening which will assure that they will never fall asleep again. So I have planned to send weekly lessons to them. They will start next week and come every week thereafter. We have been working day and night to get them started. Students in all parts of the country have asked, ‘Why don’t you give weekly lessons?’ I have at last found the plan that I know is going to free thousands of souls.”
Thus the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons were born. The series was assembled over the course of several years, from 1934 through about 1938. The early disciples with whom Paramahansaji worked on this project often had difficulty getting each new Lesson prepared and printed in time to meet the weekly mailing deadlines—particularly since the Guru was absent for a year-and-a-half long journey through Europe and India during 1935–36. Nevertheless, the series was eventually completed and remained in circulation, with some improvements and modifications, until 2019.
Major Enhancement of the Lessons
In the last years of his life, the Guru devoted himself to an intense period of writing new material and review of his previously published works. Among other projects, he worked on the Lessons personally with Sri Mrinalini Mata (who was then a young disciple, and later served as the fourth president of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India). Paramahansaji reviewed the Lessons presentation with her and instructed her in his wishes for a thorough revision, noting a number of problems and defects that he wished to address. He told her to draw from the many writings and talks he had given in the intervening years since the Lessons were first compiled. “The Lessons will be your life’s work,” he said to her.
The result of that “life’s work” is the current series, completed shortly before her passing in 2017—featuring vastly improved organization and a wealth of new material from Paramahansaji that was not available for the original 1934 compilation. This new edition of the SRF Lessons is the most comprehensive ever offered, and includes much inspiration and teaching that was never previously published.
Launch Event for the New Edition of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons
Excerpts from the inauguration of the new edition of the SRF/YSS Lessons, conducted by Brother Chidananda, president and spiritual head of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, at SRF International Headquarters on January 31, 2019. The event was livestreamed to SRF/YSS members and friends around the world. A video of the complete event is also available.
SRF Lessons App
A Digital Resource to Aid Your Spiritual Journey
The SRF Lessons app enables students to access the multimedia content provided with the Lessons and to benefit from studying their Lessons while away from home.
Some of the Features of the App
- Digital access to the complete text of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons, in easy-to-navigate, searchable format
- Study and Introspection Guide for each Lesson
- Guided meditations and devotional chanting led by SRF monastics
- Audio recordings of Paramahansa Yogananda
- Step-by-step video instruction in the SRF Energization Exercises
- Audio and video material to support the content featured in the Lessons, including inspirational talks and instructions on the meditation techniques
- Interactive search
- Bookmark and highlighting function to mark key passages
- Adjustable font sizes and themes
Download the SRF Lessons App Now
Frequently Asked Questions About the SRF Lessons App
What are the key features of the SRF Lessons app?
The proprietary SRF Lessons app complements the printed version of the new edition of the SRF Lessons. We are offering the digital format as an additional resource but not as a replacement for the paper Lessons. The digital version of the Lessons provides many benefits to the student when used judiciously in combination with the printed version. We encourage you to use discrimination in finding the approach that best enables you to study, assimilate, and be spiritually transformed by the truths and divine consciousness inherent in the SRF Lessons. Some of the key features of the app are:
- Read the SRF Lessons anytime, anywhere on your mobile device(s)
- Interactive search
- Adjustable font sizes and themes
- Bookmark and highlighting function to mark key passages
- Sync page position, highlights, and bookmarks across devices
- Study reminders and new Lesson availability notifications
- Access auxiliary material, including multimedia content, associated with each Lesson
- Guided meditations
What type of devices are supported?
The app is currently offered for Android and iOS platforms.
The Android app requires:
- Android version 4.4 and above
- Google Play Store and Google Play Services installed on the device
The iOS app requires:
- iOS version 10.0 and above
- iPhone — iPhone 5 and newer
- iPad — all sizes
I am unable to log in to the app. Why?
- The SRF Lessons app, at this time, is only for SRF Lessons students — whether of the previous edition of the Lessons or the new edition of the Lessons. Only subscribers to the new edition of the Lessons will receive Lessons in the app. Previous students can access the two introductory pieces (“An Overview of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons” and the Introduction, “Highest Achievements Through Self-Realization” by Paramahansa Yogananda), as well as the Guided Meditations section.
- Make sure that you have a verified user account on the SRF member portal. To create an online account and/or verify your account, please go to the SRF member portal.
- Make sure that you are online in order to log in and to access content. In order to protect your security, we do not store your password. Therefore, you will need to be online to log in to your account.
- If you still have trouble logging in, please send an email to email@example.com describing the problem in detail. Please remember to include your name and the email address you use when logging into the member portal.
How often am I required to enter my credentials to log in to the app?
You are required to log in weekly—online—to get new content. If you are currently offline, but had logged in previously, there is no need to log in again to be able to view the content you already have in the app. It is only when you wish to access any new Lessons content that you will be required to log in again, if a week’s time has transpired since your last log in.
When will I be able to access the Lessons in the app?
We are offering the digital format as an additional resource but not as a replacement for the paper Lessons. We therefore want students to receive the paper Lesson before that Lesson is unlocked in the app. While the app will list all the Lessons, a Lesson in the app will be available to read only after the corresponding paper Lesson reaches you (i.e., one week after the paper Lesson is dispatched domestically, two weeks internationally).
Why can’t I get the Lessons on my computer or Windows devices?
At this time, the proprietary software for delivering these confidential studies is only available through our SRF Lessons app. We are exploring the possibility of making the Lessons available on computers and Windows tablet devices in the future. However, the auxiliary content—written, audio, and video—included with the new edition of the Lessons is available on the online member portal of the SRF website. That content is accessible in a browser window on all computers and mobile devices.
On how many devices can I install and use the app?
You can install and use the SRF Lessons app on up to 10 Apple (iOS) and/or Android devices simultaneously.
How do I access the auxiliary materials for a Lesson?
Click on the multimedia button that appears under each Lesson title. Please note that there are no auxiliary materials in the “Overview,” “Highest Achievements Through Self-Realization,” and “Preface.” The auxiliary materials are available starting with Lesson 1.
Why can’t I see the auxiliary material for the Lessons when I am offline?
The auxiliary material that accompanies each Lesson is only available streamed, not as a download. Streaming this content ensures the security of copyrighted material meant solely for students of the Lessons.
How do I get support if something is not functioning correctly in the app or if I want to report a bug?
From the home screen of the app, click on the Settings icon in the top right corner, and then select “Support.” This will create a draft email in which you can type in details of the problem and send the email. The more information you can provide about the problem, the easier it will be for us to respond quickly and effectively.
If you are unable to open the app to access the support menu, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org describing the problem in detail, giving your device make, model, operating system, etc. The more information you can provide about the problem, the easier it will be for us to respond quickly and effectively.
What “Permissions” need to be given during installation of the app and why?
The app needs the “Media, Photos and Storage” permission to store Lessons data and allow offline functionality.
The app also requires notification permission if you would like to receive study reminders and notifications of new Lessons that become available.