Winter 2021 Appeal and Message of Gratitude

Uniting to Share the Light of Paramahansaji’s Teachings

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So many people need help in this world! And God does help them, through those who are willing instruments of His love.

Paramahansa Yogananda

Your Support Is Transformative

Your support of Self-Realization Fellowship is transformative in more ways than you might imagine. Together we are touching many lives.

We invite you to read our Winter 2021 Appeal to learn more about how your support of our Guru’s work is expanding access to his teachings and uplifting people in all parts of the world.

Uniting to Share the Light of Paramahansaji’s Teachings

A Milestone for the Guru’s Work:

The New Lessons Released in Italian

Winter 2021 Appeal Italian translation team
Some of the members of SRF’s Italian translation team, during a meeting in Milan in 2019

I have been waiting for years to receive these Lessons. Now I finally have them and I am overjoyed! My gratitude goes to all those who worked on this project.

This note comes from an SRF member in Italy. Many others have shared similar sentiments.

Their joy is understandable — this past August, the new definitive edition of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons was released in Italian.

Though Lessons on the SRF basic meditation techniques and the Energization Exercises have been available in Italian for many years, now the series of 18 comprehensive Lessons that are the foundation of the SRF path and the Lessons on Kriya Yoga have been translated — hundreds and hundreds of pages of inspiration and instruction that had not previously been available in Italian.

“Some of our members have been on the path for 30 or 40 years. They have never been able to read the Lessons because they don’t know English. When they received their copies in Italian, some cried, others jumped with joy,” said one devotee and senior translator on the project.

A Team Effort, Made Poignant by One Member’s Selfless Sacrifice

The release of the new Italian Lessons is an inspiring example of teamwork and collaboration between a group of Italian lay-member translators, SRF monastics, and dedicated staff in SRF’s translation and publication areas.

In 2020, the Italian team’s translation efforts took an especially poignant turn when one of its members was diagnosed with a terminal illness. A senior member of the team related the story to us:

“We all looked to [her]* for guidance and support. She was not only a gifted translator and writer but a kind, inspiring, and profoundly humble soul who quietly uplifted all with whom she came in contact. She had an extensive background in SRF’s Italian translations, and was a great source of knowledge for many others on the team. Thanks in large part to her contribution, the Italian Lessons truly impart the beauty and majesty of the original words of our Guru.

“Once she knew that she didn’t have much time left, she worked day and night. She finished her part on the basic Lessons and the first five Kriya Lessons, which was her goal. A short time later she passed away at home, surrounded by her loving family.

“We all felt that she had fulfilled this noble desire to serve Guruji to the very end, and when her part was complete, she left her body.

“After her passing, the rest of the translation team, with whom she had worked so closely, banded together to lovingly and capably finalize the translation. The SRF monastics provided constant loving support during this time.”

* The identity of the Italian translator has been kept anonymous in deference to her desire to always serve humbly in the background.

An Enthusiastic Response

The response in Italy has been very touching. One group of devotees sent this appreciative note:

We believe that this splendid gift in our language will surely contribute to the evolution of the entire Italian nation....Our sincere thankfulness reaches out to you all and to all the devotees who participated in the production and translation of the Italian Lessons.

Looking Ahead: More Translations, More Joy

Looking ahead, please know that your continued support will bring this same joyous experience to others.

A team of over 100 international lay member volunteers spread over several continents is working with our monastics to translate the Lessons into a dozen additional languages. They are joined by about 240 other volunteers who translate SRF’s books, website, correspondence, and other content.

Your gift to SRF’s Winter 2021 Appeal will further all of this vital translation work, helping to fund the staff positions, software, and computer systems that are critical to coordinating the efforts of this large and growing team of volunteers.

We look forward to sharing more soon on the progress being made with SRF’s translations. Together we can render tremendous service to our global family and make the light of Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings available to as many seekers as possible.

(Article updated on November 22, 2021.)

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A Touchstone for Our Worldwide Family:

SRF Convocation 2021

Through the ongoing generosity of our members and friends, we were able to offer this year’s online Convocation to everyone, free of charge. More than 28,000 attendees from 165 countries around the world came together to enjoy the spiritual bounty of classes, meditations, kirtans, and divine fellowship.

In one of his talks, SRF President Brother Chidananda highlighted the importance of this weeklong event as a way to deepen the connections we share as a worldwide spiritual family:

Brother Chidananda 2021 Year End Appeal

Stop just for a moment, and visualize the incredible chain of links, one soul to another, in so many countries around the world — the links of divine friendship and shared discipleship, which unite us on this divine path around our divine Guru and his teachings and techniques. What a life it is, what a life it is!

Brother Chidananda

Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all who participated in and supported this special event. We were especially touched by those of you who took time away from your busy lives to volunteer with the International Help Desk and Translation Services, or contribute in so many other important ways. It truly was a global outpouring of mutual divine service.

Many have shared their appreciation for what they received. One participant wrote:

I don’t know just what to say…as words cannot express what is in me; I am feeling rather blown away. This week could have been titled ‘Love.’ I so am overwhelmed with all the different expressions of just that in all the events and meditations that my heart is full of gratitude to [Brother Chidananda] and all the Brothers and Sisters who have been instrumental in connecting me with so much light.

B.R., California

If you haven’t yet experienced this year’s Convocation, or want to relive the experience, you can still do so at convocation.yogananda.org.

Planning is underway for the 2022 SRF Convocation, which we hope will be held both in person and virtually. Stay tuned for more information and know that your support of this appeal will help with the many ongoing operational expenses that enable us to put on such spiritually uplifting events.

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Here to Take Your Call:

International Help Desk

Winter 2021 Appeal International Help Desk

We want to update you on an exciting initiative: the SRF Membership Services International Help Desk.

A dedicated team of more than 50 volunteers has been trained to staff the International Help Desk, which was initially launched to help people attending our first Online World Convocation in 2020. Supervised by senior SRF monastics and longtime lay member employees, the growing volunteer team promptly responds to calls and online chat requests in seven languages. Volunteers field basic inquiries such as how to apply for the SRF Lessons, register for Convocation, access online information and services, and resolve technical issues.

With the ever-increasing interest in the Paramahansaji’s teachings and a growing international family of members and friends, help from the volunteers allows monastics and staff to focus on calls that involve requests for spiritual counsel or are otherwise confidential in nature. It also enables SRF to extend its hours of availability beyond the U.S. Pacific time zone business hours — something welcomed by callers from around the world.

Working with the volunteers at the International Help Desk helped make this Convocation very special. I talked to many of them several times for help as I am not good with my iPad. Their kindness inspired me just like a Convocation class does!

D.S., California

Your continued support will also help expand a new service that allows international callers to reach the International Help Desk by calling a local phone number. We recently established this option in Italy, where it is a valuable aid to existing SRF members and newcomers — especially with the release of the new Italian version of the SRF Lessons.

The new Help Desk can be easily expanded as more devotees volunteer to help. We ultimately envision hundreds of devotees providing round-the-clock assistance in many languages.

The volunteer-staffed International Help Desk is a highly economical solution for meeting the growing needs of SRF’s spiritual family. Yet there are still some significant infrastructure costs involved in expanding the number of volunteers, including software upgrades and licensing fees.

Winter 2021 Appeal Calling the International Help Desk

Your gift to the SRF Winter 2021 Appeal will further the expansion of the Membership Services International Help Desk, which will provide needed assistance to new and longtime members and friends. We look forward to keeping you updated on our progress.

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A “Wall-less Temple” Expands Its Offerings:

The SRF Online Meditation Center

Winter 2021 Appeal Online Meditation

This year has seen an amazing outpouring of mutual service from our spiritual family. Another wonderful example is the SRF Online Meditation Center. Borrowing a poetic phrase penned by Paramahansaji, it is often described as a “wall-less temple.”

Inaugurated by Brother Chidananda in October 2019, the SRF Online Meditation Center has been a blessing to all, both those who can’t attend in-person meditation services and those who do attend a temple or meditation group yet want the additional frequency and convenience of online fellowship.

One SRF member recently sent this note of appreciation:

I am blind and, although there is an SRF temple in my city, it is hard for me to visit it. Instead, through the OMC, I now meditate in my temple at home, feeling even more connected to my Guru and SRF family. I also feel so strongly supported by the love that flows from our dear SRF/YSS monastics who we now have so much more direct contact with than ever before. This is a great blessing.

D.E., Canada

Since its inception, the Online Meditation Center has grown quickly. Each week some 50 meditation and study sessions in six languages are led by monastics or lay-member volunteers. Volunteers also serve as online ushers, maintain the digital infrastructure, and perform other vital functions. There are also full-time staff who, under the guidance of SRF Center Department, coordinate the activities of the more than 300 volunteers and also manage program scheduling.

Your gift to SRF will help us to expand the offerings of this international “wall-less temple,” where all are welcome in a spirit of divine friendship.

We invite you to explore the many offerings of the SRF Online Meditation Center.

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Thank You for Making a Difference!

New elevator and safety upgrades at Hollywood Temple’s India Hall

Winter 2021 Appeal India Hall elevator
Now that’s progress! The structure that will house the new elevator at India Hall is now in place, as pointed out by Hollywood Temple’s minister in charge, Brother Anilananda (left), and a longtime SRF lay member who is helping to oversee the construction project. Thanks to your past generosity, this project is moving steadily towards an early 2022 completion date.

Because of the generous support of our members and friends, we reached the fundraising goal of an additional $215,000 for Hollywood Temple’s India Hall elevator project. We are excited to report that construction on this important project is entering its final phases and anticipate that it will be completed in early 2022. Thank you so much to all of you who helped make this possible!

To learn more about these important improvements to the Hollywood Temple, including photos and videos of the groundbreaking ceremony and different phases of construction, please go to Hollywood Temple India Hall Accessibility Project.

Beautiful new landing at the SRF Lake Shrine

Winter 2021 Appeal New Landng at the Lake Shrine

“Jaw-dropping!”

That’s how one visitor described the newly reconstructed landing that now graces the shore of the SRF Lake Shrine. Harmoniously proportioned, with intricately carved pillars and panels reminiscent of the Kashmir houseboats loved by Paramahansaji, it has already become a favorite spot for visitors.

Thank you for helping us complete this much-needed replacement of the previous landing, which had deteriorated after many decades. This was the latest piece of a larger project — repairing and reinforcing the entire shoreline of the lake — that, with your help, was accomplished during the past three years.

Because of your generosity, generations of visitors will enjoy the tranquil beauty of the lake from this charming new landing by the water’s edge.

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Looking Ahead:

How You Can Help

Yogananda The Last Smile

Your contribution to SRF’s Winter 2021 Appeal helps to share the light of Paramahansaji’s spirit and teachings in so many ways, including:

  • Reaching ever more truth-seeking souls through translation of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons, SRF books, and online content
  • Joining in fellowship through new and expanded offerings on the SRF Online Meditation Center
  • Providing new ways to support members and friends through the Membership Services International Help Desk
  • Meeting the immediate and ongoing expenses of Paramahansaji’s worldwide organization

Thank you for being a vital part of Paramahansaji’s divine mission. Your generosity of spirit deeply inspires us. May you ever feel the blessings and protection of God and Guru.

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Note: Self-Realization Fellowship is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service and the State of California as a tax-exempt organization. Accordingly, donations are tax-deductible as permitted by law.

For United States residents: please note that the CARES Act provides for special federal tax benefits for charitable giving. These benefits were extended through the end of 2021. You may be eligible to deduct gifts up to 100% of your adjusted gross income (if you itemize) and up to $300 if you do not itemize. Please consult your tax advisor or the IRS for more information. Thank you!

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