Events for Centennial Weekend, September 19-20
September 19, 2020 Centennial Commemoration of Paramahansa Yogananda’s Arrival in the West
Watch the special livestreamed Centennial Commemoration marking the actual date when Paramahansa Yogananda first arrived in the West from his native India, setting foot on American soil in Boston, Massachusetts, on September 19, 1920. In that same year he would found his society, Self-Realization Fellowship, to disseminate his Kriya Yoga teachings. He would later come to be known as the ‘father of Yoga in the West,’ introducing millions of truth seekers to the timeless science of Kriya Yoga.
The livestream took place Saturday, September 19 and included:
- A ceremony conducted by Self-Realization Fellowship monks and nuns at Piers Park — where the steamship The City of Sparta carrying the young swami sailed into Boston’s Harbor exactly 100 years ago;
- Followed by a special talk from the Self-Realization Fellowship International Headquarters in Los Angeles by Brother Chidananda, president and spiritual head of Self-Realization Fellowship.
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 special Centennial Event on September 19 from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. (PDT) to commemorate the arrival of Paramahansa Yogananda to America, consisting of:
- A livestreamed ceremony at 7 a.m. (PDT), conducted by SRF monks and nuns at Piers Park—where the steamship The City of Sparta sailed into Boston’s Harbor on September 19, 1920 and Paramahansa Yogananda first set foot on American soil.
- A livestreamed talk at 7:30 am (PDT) at Self-Realization Fellowship International Headquarters in Los Angeles, presented by Brother Chidananda, president and spiritual head of SRF.
Please note: Because both the states of Massachusetts and California continue to enforce strict social distancing policies, this commemorative event will be presented online only. We very much appreciate your cooperation by participating online only rather than physically visiting either of the event sites during the program.
- 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)