Frequently Asked Questions
Why is SRF releasing a new edition of the Lessons now, so many years after Paramahansa Yogananda left his body?
The previous series of SRF Lessons originated in the 1930s. In the last years of his life, before his passing in 1952, Paramahansa Yogananda devoted himself to an intense period of writing new material and review of his previously published works. Among other projects, he worked 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 this new edition, completed shortly before her passing in 2017.
More on the history and evolution of the SRF Lessons can be found here in the “Overview” section.
How will the new edition of the Lessons differ from the previous edition?
The new edition of the Lessons is the most comprehensive ever offered, and includes much previously unpublished teaching that was not available when the previous Lessons were originally created in the 1930s — featuring clearer and more detailed instruction on the SRF meditation techniques, including Kriya Yoga, and many other subjects.
The new edition has been completely reorganized for clarity and ease of learning. The most essential principles of the SRF path have been distilled into a more systematic and focused presentation and sequence, so that students will find it much easier to learn, absorb, and practice the techniques and way of spiritual living taught by Paramahansa Yogananda.
The enhanced and expanded edition of the Lessons includes a basic series of 18 Lessons, each 24 to 40 pages in length, mailed every two weeks for nine months.
There is also an expanded series of Kriya Yoga Initiation Lessons. Furthermore, a wealth of additional instruction from Paramahansa Yogananda is offered to students who complete the basic series, described here in the section “Organization and Sequence of the Lessons.”
The Lessons will be available digitally on iOS and Android mobile devices through the new proprietary SRF Lessons app. Written, audio, and video auxiliary content will be available through the online member portal, as well as in the Lessons app.
Other improvements in the new edition include:
- The basic meditation techniques are now taught much sooner after the student enrolls in the series. And instead of taking one year to prepare for Kriya Yoga, the new series makes it possible to apply for Kriya initiation after about eight months.
- Lessons on the techniques and other key subjects now are now consolidated into one comprehensive Lesson each, instead of being spread out over many separate Lessons as was done in the earlier edition.
- Additional in-depth Supplement Lessons have been created, using material from the previous series as well as unpublished material by Paramahansaji, including on various advanced topics never before explained in print.
- Clarification and elaboration of many points in the Lessons, done by Paramahansaji when he worked on revising them in 1949–51, including much new helpful information about the practice of Kriya.
- Much previously unpublished material has been added from the original source material and classes from which the 1934 Lessons were compiled—as well as from classes, writings, and dictation given by Paramahansaji in the years after the 1934 series was compiled.
- A careful review has been made of all the early editions of the Lessons, from 1923–34, in order to be sure this new edition incorporates everything authored by Paramahansaji for the Lessons.
Why can’t I get the digital version of 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 mobile devices in the future.
However, we are planning to make the auxiliary content included with the new edition of the Lessons—written, audio, and video—available on the online member portal of the SRF website. It will be accessible in a browser window on all computers and mobile devices. (This section of the member portal is currently under construction.)
I am presently subscribing to the previous edition of the Lessons. Should I continue with them, or enroll in the new edition of the Lessons?
We highly recommend that you enroll in the new edition of the Lessons to avail yourself of all the additional material available in this greatly enhanced and expanded edition.
The previous Lessons series will no longer be available after April 1, so you must select one of three options to continue your Lessons studies.
- Transfer to the new edition of the Lessons only. By selecting this option, you will begin receiving the new Lessons edition immediately (one Lesson every two weeks), and will not receive any additional Lessons from the previous edition. OR
- Transfer to the new edition of the Lessons and also receive the remainder of your current Lessons subscription (in one bulk shipment), OR
- Receive the remainder of the current Lessons subscription only (mailed in one bulk shipment). Please note, that if you select this option, we suggest that you still study these Lessons at the recommended rate of one per week in order to fully absorb the material in each Lesson.
Please indicate your choice by April 1, 2019, since the previous Lessons series will no longer be available after that date.
Will my subscription automatically roll over to the new edition of the Lessons?
If you have enough Lessons credit:
If we do not hear from you by April 1 and you have enough Lessons credit, we will automatically enroll you for option 1 (transfer to the new edition of the Lessons only). Your remaining credit will be emailed as a credit coupon to be used toward other SRF purchases.
If you do not have enough Lessons credit:
If we do not hear from you by April 1 and you do not have enough Lessons credit to pay for the new edition of the Lessons, we will automatically enroll you in option 3 (receive the remainder of the current Lessons subscription only, in one bulk shipment).
Once the new edition of the Lessons becomes available, the sooner you make your decision, the more Lessons credit you will have to apply toward them.
What is the cost of the new edition of the Lessons?
For the first year we are offering the basic series of 18 Lessons at a special introductory price — $90 for domestic (and $100 international) — substantially lower than the regular $185 subscription fee—in order that as many people as possible can benefit from Paramahansa Yogananda’s liberating instructions in the new edition.
This introductory price will be available through January 31, 2020, and includes complimentary access to the digital version of the Lessons in the SRF Lessons app and all the auxiliary content for the Lessons through January 31, 2020. (If you order the new edition on or after November 1, 2019 you will receive three months access to digital content.)
We are only able to offer this low price because of the generous support that we anticipate from so many members of SRF. If you are able, we would be very grateful if when enrolling you could also consider making a donation. This will allow us to meet our general operating expenses and extend the availability of Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings to all sincere seekers.
I have a friend who is new to SRF. How can they enroll in the SRF Lessons?
Enrollment is simple, and can easily be done online. To begin, we ask that one create an online account and then they will be asked to complete the Lessons application. Or if your friend wants more information before enrolling, he or she can request a free information packet here.
Is the new edition of the Lessons available in other languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, etc.?
At present the new edition is available only in English. It is a high priority for SRF to translate the new edition of the Lessons into other languages. We will share more on the release schedule for each language as that information becomes available. (The earlier edition of the Lessons in other languages will remain available until translation of the new edition is accomplished.)
Can I sign up to receive the Lessons only in digital format? I don’t want to receive the paper Lessons.
We are offering the digital format as an additional resource but not as a replacement for the paper Lessons. Study of these sacred teachings is a powerful form of spiritual practice. An attitude of reverence and one-pointedly focused concentration is necessary to absorb fully the transforming vibration of divine truth that Paramahansa Yogananda’s words impart through the Lessons. For several reasons, digital devices are not as suited as printed material to helping you study in this focused, receptive state. Nevertheless, the digital version of the Lessons provides many benefits to the student when used judiciously in combination with the printed version (such as convenience while traveling, text searching within a Lesson, and bookmarking).
I was a companionate student of the previous edition of the Lessons with my husband/wife/friend. Can we share the new edition of the Lessons?
SRF discontinued the companionate program for the Lessons a few years ago. We therefore ask students to sign up individually for the new edition of the Lessons.
I studied the previous edition of the Lessons some years ago. I know that students of the new edition of the Lessons have access to helpful auxiliary digital content, including instructional videos of the Energization Exercises. Can I get access to this auxiliary content without signing up for the new edition of the Lessons?
Only those who choose to enroll in the new edition of the Lessons will have access to the digital auxiliary content as part of their subscription. Therefore, if you would like access to any of the instructional videos or other auxiliary content available online, you will need to enroll in the new edition of the Lessons.
I am a Lessons graduate/Kriyaban. Do I have to apply again to receive the new edition of the Lessons? Can I receive them all at the same time?
Those who are graduates of the SRF Lessons (as well as those who in the past may have completed some but not all of the Lessons) will not need to fill out another Lessons application, but will need to enroll for the new edition of the Lessons. You can enroll for the Lessons by signing in to your online member portal account and following the instructions given there.
Because this expanded and enhanced edition contains much new material, all students of the Lessons, regardless of whether they are graduates of the previous Lessons or new Lessons students, will receive them one Lesson at a time, to be mailed every two weeks, so that they have the proper amount of time to assimilate the content.
We are confident even if you studied the previous edition, you will find that going through the new edition, one Lesson at a time, will be profoundly inspiring and useful in re-energizing your spiritual life—and that you will also find a deeper inner connection with Paramahansa Yogananda and his lineage of Gurus.
Remember: Spiritual study—in the focused, intuitive way taught in the Lessons—is in itself a powerful technique of soul-progress and attunement with the Guru.
I am a Self-Realization Fellowship Kriyaban. Can I receive only the new Kriya Lessons, without going through the basic eighteen preliminary Lessons?
No. Because of the way the new edition is reorganized and systematically presented, there is invaluable information in the basic 18 Lessons that is necessary for practice of Kriya. A significant portion of this information was not included in earlier editions of the Lessons. Therefore, all Kriyabans will greatly benefit from study of the new edition, starting from the beginning.
I have created two online member portal accounts with different email addresses. How can I merge them into one account?
Please email us, informing us of the email addresses of the accounts you have created and which email address you want to use going forward. Or, call Membership Services at (818) 549-5151 M–F 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. or 1:30–4:40 p.m., Pacific time.
Once I subscribe to the new edition of the Lessons, what should I do with the previous edition?
You are welcome to return the previous edition of the Lessons to us, but we recommend that you hold on to them until the complete Lessons series are released. This will include not only the new basic series of Lessons (18 Lessons), but also the Kriya Yoga Initiation series, the Supplemental Lessons, the Kriya Yoga Higher Initiation series, and the Satsanga with Paramahansa Yogananda series. Once you receive all of the Lessons, you are welcome to send the previous edition back to Self-Realization Fellowship, or shred them.