Self-Realization Fellowship Fact Sheet
Self-Realization Fellowship is the international nonprofit spiritual organization founded in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda to introduce to people of all races, cultures, and creeds the ancient science and philosophy of Yoga and its time-honored tradition of meditation. Through its worldwide service, the society seeks to foster a spirit of greater harmony and goodwill among the diverse people and nations of the world, and a deeper understanding of the underlying unity of all religions.
Paramahansa Yogananda left his native land of India in 1920 for the United States, to serve as a delegate to the International Congress of Religious Liberals convening in Boston, and in the same year founded Self-Realization Fellowship. During his more than 30 years in the U.S., Yogananda brought a knowledge of Yoga and its scientific methods of meditation to millions of men and women through his lectures, writings, and the numerous Self-Realization Fellowship centers he established.
On the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of his passing, the Government of India, paying tribute to his far-reaching contributions to humanity, stated: “Though the major part of his life was spent outside India, still Paramahansa Yogananda takes his place among our great saints. His work continues to grow and shine ever more brightly, drawing people everywhere on the path of the pilgrimage of Spirit.
Central to Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings — which embody a complete philosophy and way of life — are scientific methods of concentration and meditation, including an advanced technique called Kriya Yoga. These methods automatically quiet both body and mind, and make it possible to withdraw one’s energy and attention from the usual turbulence of thoughts, emotions, and sensory perceptions. In the clarity of that inner stillness, one comes to experience a deepening interior peace and attunement with oneself and with God. (The term Self-realization, as used by Yogananda, signifies realization of one’s true Self, or soul — the individualized expression of the one universal Spirit that animates and informs all life.)
Under the direction of the society’s president, Brother Chidananda, Self-Realization Fellowship publishes the writings, lectures, and informal talks of Paramahansa Yogananda, and of his close disciples; produces audio and video recordings on Yogananda’s teachings; oversees its temples, meditation centers, retreats, and youth programs; conducts annual lecture and class series in cities throughout the U.S. and abroad; and coordinates the Worldwide Prayer Circle, a network of groups and individuals dedicated to praying for those in need of physical, mental, or spiritual aid, and for global peace and harmony.
In addition to its spiritual service, Self-Realization Fellowship is dedicated to offering humanitarian aid to help alleviate the suffering of the disadvantaged in local communities throughout the world. The society supports many local and national organizations that provide food, shelter, medical care, and educational opportunities to, among others, the poor, the homeless, the disabled, the elderly, and victims of natural disasters.
One of the oldest and most respected publishers of metaphysical and inspirational books in the United States, Self-Realization Fellowship publishes the complete line of books by Paramahansa Yogananda, as well as a collector’s series of his rare recorded talks, a CD featuring his voice in chant and prayer, books and recorded talks by his foremost disciples, and a wide selection of music CDs.
Notable publications from Self-Realization Fellowship include: Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda’s classic spiritual bestseller, which has been recognized as one of the most influential spiritual books of the 20th century in lists released by Harper San Francisco, Common Boundary, and Shambhala Sun; Yogananda’s landmark work The Second Coming of Christ, a masterful interpretation of the teachings of Jesus Christ, through in-depth commentary on the four Gospels; 2000 Benjamin Franklin Award winner Inner Peace; 2000 Latino Literary Hall of Fame Award winner In the Sanctuary of the Soul (Spanish-language edition); 1996 Benjamin Franklin Award finalist God Talks With Arjuna, Yogananda’s monumental and highly acclaimed translation and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita; 1995 Benjamin Franklin Award winner Wine of the Mystic – The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: A Spiritual Interpretation; and the annual award-winning Inner Reflections Engagement Calendar.
The activities of Self-Realization Fellowship are coordinated by members of its monastic order. These monks and nuns serve Paramahansa Yogananda’s worldwide spiritual and humanitarian work in many capacities: conducting temple services and other spiritual functions; leading retreats, classes, and youth programs; publishing, translating, and distributing Yogananda’s writings; and providing spiritual counsel and guidance to students of the Self-Realization teachings. The monastics, of many different backgrounds and ages, come from all parts of the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as from many countries in South America, Europe, and the Far East.
Self-Realization Fellowship has more than 600 temples, meditation centers, and/or retreats in more than 60 countries. (Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, SRF’s affiliate organization in India, has additional centers in India and neighboring countries. See below.) They are located in the following areas:
United States: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin.
Other countries/territories: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Latvia Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Venezuela and Zambia.
Yogoda Satsanga Society of India
Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS), founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1917 and headquartered in Dakshineswar (near Kolkata), is the Indian affiliate of Self-Realization Fellowship. Today, in addition to over 200 meditation centers throughout India and surrounding countries, YSS has more than 50 educational and medical facilities, including a liberal arts and business college, medical college, boys’ school, girls’ school, music school, crafts and fine arts school, preschool, allopathic and homeopathic hospitals, pathology laboratory, eye clinic, and a medical dispensary.
The international headquarters of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India was established by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1925 atop Mount Washington overlooking Los Angeles. The 12-acre center is located at 3880 San Rafael Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90065-3219. Tel: (323) 225-2471; Fax: (323) 225-5088.