January 5, 2020
View a special livestreamed event inaugurating the centennial of Paramahansa Yogananda’s coming to America and founding Self-Realization Fellowship to disseminate the teachings of Kriya Yoga worldwide. Taking place on the birth anniversary of Sri Yogananda, this celebration was led by SRF/YSS President Brother Chidananda with monastics at the SRF International Headquarters in Los Angeles.
100 Years of Kriya Yoga Worldwide
The Beginnings of Kriya Yoga Meditation Worldwide
For 100 years, Self-Realization Fellowship has been dedicated to disseminating the Kriya Yoga teachings of its founder, Paramahansa Yogananda — helping people worldwide to realize their highest potential and deepest joy. Just before Paramahansa Yogananda came to America in 1920, Mahavatar Babaji visited his home and told him:
You are the one I have chosen to spread the message of Kriya Yoga in the West….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 year 2020 marks a profoundly significant milestone in the history of Self-Realization Fellowship — the 100th anniversary of Paramahansa Yogananda’s arrival in America from his native India and his founding of Self-Realization Fellowship, the worldwide spiritual organization he established to spread the universal Kriya Yoga teachings.
To commemorate this auspicious occasion, Self-Realization Fellowship is planning a number of special events throughout 2020. Please view the “Centennial Events” tab for a calendar of special activities, which will be regularly updated.
The First 100 Years of Kriya Yoga Worldwide
On September 19, 1920, The City of Sparta, the first steamer sailing from India to America after the close of the First World War, arrived in Boston’s Chelsea Harbor. Among its disembarking passengers was a “picturesque figure,” as described by The Boston Globe, who “has come to attend a religious conference in Boston and later plans to make a lecturing tour through the country.” Virtually unknown in America upon his arrival on that autumn day, Swami Yogananda — later given the honorific title of Paramahansa from his illumined guru — would become known as “the father of Yoga in the West” and one of the most preeminent spiritual figures of modern times.
Yogananda had come to America as the Indian delegate to an International Congress of Religious Liberals. His maiden speech, on “The Science of Religion,” would establish for his new audience that the purpose of life is to find true happiness as Bliss — the presence of God discovered within oneself. His subsequent talks on the efficacy of Kriya Yoga meditation to achieve this universal goal would draw thousands, filling the nation’s largest auditoriums to capacity with those wishing to learn the “science of the soul” from this divinely magnetic speaker.
In the year of his arrival, Yogananda began the organization he later named Self-Realization Fellowship to spread the teachings of Kriya Yoga worldwide. He created the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons as a modern-day means by which the techniques of the Kriya Yoga science would be transmitted in their full power from guru to students, regardless of distance. Today, SRF (together with Yogoda Satsanga Society, the name by which Yogananda's work is known in India) has more than 800 locations encircling the globe, with members in almost 200 countries.
Coming from all walks of life, faith traditions, and cultures, a remarkably diverse fellowship of souls has been drawn to the yoga wisdom of this world teacher. These seekers of enlightenment have found in Yogananda’s teachings the scientific meditation techniques and essential spiritual guidance to live truly balanced and successful lives.
2020 Centennial Events
We invite you to join us for a year of commemorative meditations, livestreamed events, and special programs to celebrate this auspicious occasion. Please visit these pages regularly for updates and specific details on events and forthcoming programs, including:
- A livestreamed inaugural event on January 5 at 9:30 a.m. (PST). Taking place on the birth anniversary of Paramahansa Yogananda, this event will be led by SRF President Brother Chidananda with SRF monastics at the SRF International Headquarters.
- Special all-day meditations on Saturday, January 11, at SRF temples and centers worldwide. Contact your local SRF temple or center.
- Open House events at SRF temples and centers worldwide beginning on Sunday, January 19. Contact your local SRF temple or center.
- Special International Day of Yoga events in June.
- A centennial-themed World Convocation to be held August 9 - 15 (online)
Because the state of Massachusetts is still not allowing hotels to host large events or organized gatherings of any kind due to COVID-19, it has been necessary to cancel our planned September 18–20 weekend program in Boston.
However, in its place we will present a special online program sometime during the same weekend to commemorate Paramahansa Yogananda’s historic arrival in Boston, Massachusetts, on September 19, 1920. Details will be announced in the near future, and we encourage you to return to this page in the coming months for more information.
For those of you who have already arranged for hotel accommodations at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in Boston, the hotel will automatically cancel your reservation and refund any payment you may have submitted, so there will be no need for you to be in contact with them.