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Paramahansa Yogananda (5 January 1893 – 7 March 1952), was born Mukunda Lal Ghosh who was an Indian yogi and guru who introduced millions of Indians and westerners to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga. He taught through the organization Yogoda Satsanga Society of India and Self-Realization Fellowship. In 1946, he published his autobiography. It was titled an Autobiography of a Yogi. It is on the list of the “100 best spiritual books of the 20th Century”. created by HarperSan Francisco, a division of HarperCollins Publishers. The book has been regularly reprinted ever since and is known as “the book that changed the lives of millions.”
Yogananda wrote down his Aims and Ideals for Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society:
- Disseminate among the nations a knowledge of definite scientific techniques for attaining direct personal experience of God.
- Teach that the purpose of life is the evolution, through self-effort, of man’s limited mortal consciousness into God Consciousness; and to this end to establish Self-Realization Fellowship temples for God-communion throughout the world, and to encourage the establishment of individual temples of God in the homes and in the hearts of men.
- Reveal the complete harmony and basic oneness of original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ and original Yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna; and to show that these principles of truth are the common scientific foundation of all true religions.
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- Point out the one divine highway to which all paths of true religious beliefs eventually lead: the highway of daily, scientific, devotional meditation on God.
- Liberate man from his threefold suffering: physical disease, mental inharmonies, and spiritual ignorance.
- Encourage “plain living and high thinking”; and to spread a spirit of brotherhood among all peoples by teaching the eternal basis of their unity: kinship with God.
- Demonstrate the superiority of mind over body, of soul over mind. To overcome evil by good, sorrow by joy, cruelty by kindness, ignorance by wisdom.
- Unite science and religion through realization of the unity of their underlying principles. To advocate cultural and spiritual understanding between East and West, and the exchange of their finest distinctive features. To serve mankind as one’s larger Self.