Self-Realization Fellowship Blog

SRF/YSS President Brother Chidananda Visits India — Updates

February 27, 2023

Brother Chidananda, president and spiritual head of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (SRF/YSS), is currently in Paramahansa Yogananda’s beloved homeland to visit the ashrams of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (the name by which Paramahansaji’s work is known there).

During his visit, Brother Chidananda presided over a special five-day spiritual program of livestreamed talks and meditations. The YSS Sangam 2023 was livestreamed from February 11 – 15 (February 12 – 16 in India), and the events are still available for viewing.

Please enjoy this photo essay of Brother Chidananda’s trip. New content will be posted here in regular installments, so please stop back to follow along over the next several weeks.

Sangam at Hyderabad

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(Above) Brother Chidananda addresses almost 3,000 participants at the opening satsanga of the YSS Sangam in Hyderabad on February 12.

Multiple media outlets covered the five-day Sangam. The Daily Pioneer, one of the largest English language daily newspapers in India with 13 state editions, ran a feature article on his closing class, which included this quote from his talk:

“Reiterating his opening remarks to take refuge in Kriya Yoga, Swami Chidanandji said it takes you to the temple of silence, peace, wisdom and bliss where the soul merges with Spirit; and you feel it. He said, ‘Each one of you is a beloved one of God. Never doubt it. Go deeper and you will know it.’”

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Thousands of devotees participated in this five day in-person Sangam, livestreamed to thousands more around the world, providing an immersion in Paramahansa Yogananda’s yoga meditation teachings.

Brother Chidananda conducted the opening and closing programs, and a three-hour meditation:

  • In the Sangam's inaugural program Brother Chidananda welcomes participants to the five-day program of spiritual renewal and upliftment and shared inspiration on how to navigate through life’s challenges and reach our highest potential.
  • In a three-hour meditation, Brother Chidanandaji guides YSS/SRF devotees and friends in an experience of the peace and joy of meditation that are at the heart of Paramahansa Yoganandaji’s teachings.
  • In his closing talk, Brother Chidanandaji shares inspiration on how to carry the Sangam home and how to follow the sadhana given by Paramahansaji to live a truly balanced life and experience an intimate relationship with the Divine.

In addition to events led by Brother Chidananda were classes, reviews of Paramahansa Yogananda's meditation techniques, satsangas, meditations, and kirtan chanting — conducted by YSS and SRF sannyasis.

Instruction in the practice of Paramahansaji's Energizaton Exercises — a technique to prepare the body for meditation
An army of volunteers helps to prepare for the event and manage its operation.
There is ample opportunity for individual meditation.
A commemorative keepsake is given to each participant at the closing function by YSS/SRF sannyasis. SRF Vice President Brother Vishwananda shown here.

Brother Chidananda visited the many functions of the Sangam. (Above) He greets devotees serving at the book table that makes available all of the publications of YSS/SRF, many in Indian languages.

During the event he released four new YSS titles: a deluxe edition of Autobiography of a Yogi in English (also available in various other editions in fifteen Indian languages and over fifty languages worldwide); a hardcover edition of Metaphysical Meditations (English); a newly translated edition in Telugu of Journey to Self-Realization, Volume 3 of Paramahansa Yogananda’s Collected Talks and Essays; and The Science of Religion, released for the first time in Kannada.

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At the conclusion of the closing event, four devotees — from USA, Japan, Chandigarh and Hyderabad — offered gratitude to Brother Chidananda for this YSS Sangam on behalf of the global YSS/SRF devotee community.
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Brother Chidananda departs after the final event at Hyderabad amidst farewells from the thousands of participants.

Satsanga at YSS Ranchi Ashram

Brother Chidananda gives a satsanga at the YSS Ranchi Ashram on February 5. More than 750 YSS devotees and friends are present for the talk, which included a period of guided meditation. In attendance as well are monks and nuns from other ashrams in Ranchi, and dignitaries from Ranchi.

Brother Chidananda Ranchi Satsanga Lighting Lamp
Brother Chidananda lights the ceremonial lamp before speaking.
Brother Chidananda delivering satsanga
Brother Chidananda delivering satsanga
Ranchi Satsanga attendees
The audience gathered under the pandal
Brother Chidanadna and visiting sannyasis
Brother Chidananda greets and gives prasad (blessed food offerings) to sannyasis from the Adwait Swarup Ashram in Ranchi, who had attended the satsanga.
Brother Chidananda offereing prasad to YSS devotee
Brother Chidananda and a devotee exchange warm smiles.
YSS devotees receive prasad from Brother Chidananda
Devotion and divine friendship at the close of the event

Dedication of YSS School in Jagannathpur

Brother Chidananda dedicates several new facilities at Yogoda Satsanga Educational Campus in Jagannathpur, Ranchi, on January 29, in the presence of dignitaries, monastics, devotees, and the teachers and students. The new school premises include well-ventilated classrooms, laboratories, and an administrative building. This modern school campus will be used by students from the economically underprivileged sections of society.

The design of the new school premises is based on the ancient principles espoused by Paramahansa Yogananda, such as the concept of teaching students in open environs in close proximity to nature.

To honor and commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Paramahansaji in 2018, a committee operating under India's Ministry of Culture assisted YSS in several programs for spreading Paramahansaji's teachings and ideals. One of these initiatives was to supplement the costs for upgrading the educational facilities of the YSS school and college at Jagannathpur, Ranchi, with the remaining costs borne by YSS through generous donations from devotees.

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Brother Chidananda arrives and is greeted by students of the school.
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Brother Chidananda leads the gathering in prayer and inaugurates the new multi-purpose hall.
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Brother Chidananda delivers an address inside the hall.
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Unveiling of the plaque of the YSS Vidyalaya complex of classrooms for younger students
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Brother Chidananda tours the campus with YSS monastics

Arrival in Ranchi

Brother Chidananda arrives at the YSS Ranchi Ashram on the evening of January 24, where he is greeted by YSS devotees with a showering of rose petals. During his stay in Ranchi, Brother Chidananda with participate in various activities, including the memorial service for Swami Shantananda, a revered SRF monk who played a significant role in the growth of Paramahansa Yogananda's work in India and served on the YSS Board of Directors until 2020.

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Brother Chidananda prays before the image of Paramahansaji inside the Paramahansa Yogananda Smriti Mandir (“Memorial Temple”) at the Ranchi Ashram.
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Brother Chidananda and other SRF and YSS monks stand in front of the Paramahansa Yogananda Smriti Mandir.
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Brother Chidananda and other SRF and YSS monks stand in front of the Paramahansa Yogananda Smriti Mandir: (left to right) Swamis Ishwarananda, Shraddhananda, Chidananda, Kamalananda, Vishwananda, Chaitanyananda, Suddhananda, and Pavitrananda.

Arrival in Noida

After arriving in New Delhi on January 22, Brother Chidananda, in the company of Brother Kamalananda (with whom he is traveling) and senior YSS monks, proceeds to the YSS Noida Ashram, where the party is warmly greeted by YSS devotees.

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Brother Chidananda meets with devotees. Standing beside Brother Chidananda is Swami Smaranananda, vice president of YSS.
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Departure From SRF International Headquarters

Brother Chidananda departs on his journey to visit YSS ashram centers in India on January 20 from the SRF International Headquarters in Los Angeles.

As he prepares to leave the Mother Center, SRF nuns and monks shower him with rose petals and chant “Jai Guru!” (“Victory to the Guru”) during a joyful farewell.

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Please return to this page over the next several weeks for further installments of this photo essay of SRF/YSS President Brother Chidananda’s visit to the sacred motherland of Paramahansa Yogananda and his lineage of gurus.

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