Lessons for Home Study Programs

A comprehensive series of Lessons on meditation and spiritual living

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    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.

    Paramahansa Yogananda

    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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    Continue Your Studies

    Available to those who have completed the basic series of Lessons

    Kriya Yoga Initiation Series

    Supplement Series

    Lessons Series Sequence/Order

    Lessons Overview

    Purpose and 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.

    Paramahansa Yogananda

    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/YSS App

    A Digital Resource to Aid Your Spiritual Journey

    The SRF/YSS 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

    • Read the Lessons with our new eReader, which contains many improvements: text-to-speech functionality, landscape reading, multiple highlight colors, word lookups, flashcard creation, and more!
    • Browse the Supplement Lessons by topic to easily access guidance on your specific needs and interests.
    • Use our desktop browser reader at study.yogananda.org and study.yssofindia.org, which will automatically sync with your reading location, bookmarks, and highlights from the mobile app.
    • Stay up to date on the latest news and blog entries from SRF/YSS.
    • Join daily online meditations directly from the app.
    • Experience guided meditations on a variety of topics, now also offered in various durations to suit your schedule.

    Download the SRF/YSS App Now

    Download the SRF Lessons App from iTunes


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