Self-Realization Fellowship Blog

SRF Dedicates New Press and Bindery Equipment

July 27, 2018

On July 3, 2018, SRF took another step towards the release of the new expanded and enhanced edition of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons with the dedication of major new equipment at its main printing facility.

The president and spiritual head of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, Brother Chidananda, presided at the special event at the SRF Publications Center (located in Los Angeles, just a five minute drive from SRF’s International Headquarters).

New Equipment Critical to Release of New Edition of SRF Lessons

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Brother Chidananda greets participants at a special event at the SRF Publications Center in Los Angeles on July 3, 2018. He is flanked by members of the Self-Realization Fellowship and Yogoda Satsanga Society Boards of Directors, and other senior monastics.

Though SRF had begun planning for the new equipment in early 2016, the project received added impetus in August 2017 when Brother Chidananda announced plans for release of a new enhanced and expanded edition of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons at the SRF World Convocation in Los Angeles. For several years late SRF president Sri Mrinalini Mata (1931–2017) had been working to complete the editing of this new edition, an assignment that originally had been entrusted to her by Paramahansa Yogananda in the final years of his life. She finished her work on this task only a few weeks before her passing on August 3, 2017.

However, more steps remained to be taken before SRF could publish the new edition of the Lessons. One of these was the replacement of outdated press and bindery equipment at the SRF Publications Center. About two weeks after the announcement at the 2017 World Convocation, the Mother Center sent out a fundraising appeal to SRF’s worldwide membership requesting assistance with this large and expensive endeavor.

The response from SRF members and friends was swift and generous, and by early this year all the needed funds had been raised and the new equipment ordered. In March SRF temporarily halted its printing and binding operations so that, over the course of about three months, the old equipment could be removed, several upgrades to the facility accomplished, and the new equipment installed.

A Switch From Offset to Digital Production Process

For decades SRF used an offset production process that was powered by a large two-color press that was donated in 1991. In selecting the new equipment, SRF opted to switch to a digital production process that utilizes the latest technology. The main pieces include a black-and-white printer for printing text for books; a digital color press for color printing; an automated assembly line that will cut, fold, collate, and assemble the printed sheets into various publications; a book binder for creating paperback books; and an automated envelope inserter for the Lessons and other mailings.

These are the first major improvements to SRF’s press and bindery equipment in nearly three decades, and they promise to enable SRF to meet the growing worldwide demand for the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda for many years to come.

Words of Brother Chidananda

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Joining Brother Chidananda at the July 3 dedicatory event were members of the Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India Board of Directors, other senior SRF monastics, and dozens of the monks, lay members, and employees who serve at the SRF Publications Center and International Headquarters.

Standing near where former SRF president Sri Daya Mata (1914–2010) stood when she dedicated the SRF Publications Center at a similar event in 1991 (see photo below right), Brother Chidananda welcomed the assemblage. Following are excerpts from his remarks:

"I can’t tell you with what joy and gratitude I am here today at our SRF Publications Center. Think for a moment about the significance of this building where the printing is done for our Self-Realization Fellowship publications: the books, Self-Realization magazine, the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons, the video and audio recordings, and the beautiful photographs of our Gurus. They all come from this holy location, flowing out to the different countries where people revere and look to our Guru for spiritual light, for upliftment, for courage, for strength—reaching not only SRF’s members but also the countless thousands of other souls around the world who increasingly are turning to Gurudeva as their guiding light in their path through life.

It is wonderful to be taking the steps leading up to the release of the new edition of our Guru’s Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons in this very significant 125th anniversary of his birth in 1893. The inauguration of this new press and bindery equipment marks a major milestone in that process.

It is wonderful to be taking the steps leading up to the release of the new edition of our Guru’s Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons in this very significant 125th anniversary of his birth in 1893. The inauguration of this new press and bindery equipment marks a major milestone in that process.

It was just a year ago when we made the first appeal for help for the purchase of this equipment. It is especially poignant to me that this appeal was prepared in the very last weeks of the life of our revered and beloved president and editor-in-chief, Sri Mrinalini Mata. When our Guru gave her the assignment of finalizing the SRF Lessons—many, many years earlier when she was just a young disciple—he said to her, “The Lessons will be your life’s work.” So when we told her about the appeal that was going out to our worldwide membership that would make the purchase of this equipment possible, she felt satisfied that not only had she completed her life’s work on the Lessons, but also that the means to produce and distribute them throughout the world would also be secured. This is what we are here to celebrate today.

Please join me now in expressing our profound and boundless gratitude to all those thousands of dear members around the world who have contributed in whatever way they could to make possible the acquisition of this equipment. No doubt all of them are just as excited as we are with the anticipation of soon holding in their hands the new edition of the SRF Lessons."

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Inaugurating the New Press and Tour of New Equipment

Then followed a ceremonial ribbon-cutting and inauguration of the centerpiece of the new equipment, the five-color digital press (see photos below).

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Brother Chidananda cuts ceremonial ribbon in front of the new digital color press
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Then, he inaugurates the press by using a computer workstation to initiate the printing of the first printing job, which seconds later is collected by Brother Kalyanananda from the press

Next, Brother Chidananda and the other Board members were given a tour and demonstration of the rest of the new equipment, following the workflow sequence for Lessons mailings: from printing to folding and binding, trimming, and lastly inserting in envelopes to be mailed. The Board members were also shown the process for printing a book (Autobiography of a Yogi); and were each given newly created copies, demonstrating the ability of the new equipment to produce new finished copies of a book within a matter of minutes. (See photos below)

In closing, Brother Chidananda expressed special gratitude to the large team who helped plan and carry out the installation of the new equipment, offering a prayer that it would serve as an instrument to bring many people around the world “a greater harmony, a greater peace, a greater fulfillment of the divine purpose of life.

Inspecting a bound sample from the new stitching machine
New automated envelope inserter
Barcode reader verifying that all parts of a mailing have been inserted
Fresh copies of Autobiography of a Yogi emerge after being trimmed by the new cutter, the final step after printing and binding
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