Self-Realization Fellowship

A bridge between Eastern spirituality and Western culture, blending Kriya Yoga teachings with modern life principles.

The Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) represents a synthesis of Eastern spiritual teachings with Western practical living. Founded in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda, a pioneering yogi from India, SRF has played a significant role in introducing the spiritual science of Kriya Yoga and the underlying unity of the world’s major religions to a global audience. Yogananda’s vision was to reveal the harmony between the original teachings of Jesus Christ and the original Yoga teachings of Bhagavan Krishna, thereby showing that the essence of truth and divine inspiration is universal and not confined to any single tradition or culture.

SRF’s teachings emphasize the personal, direct experience of God through meditation and the application of spiritual principles in daily life. A key practice taught by SRF is Kriya Yoga, a method of meditation that accelerates spiritual growth. It involves techniques aimed at calming the body and mind to facilitate deeper spiritual awareness and realization of one’s true self, or soul. This path is structured around Yogananda’s lessons, which are designed as a home-study course covering various aspects of spiritual and practical living.

The Fellowship operates over 600 temples, retreats, and meditation centers worldwide, offering a wide range of services including classes, public lectures, and meditations, as well as publishing Yogananda’s writings and talks. The headquarters, located in Los Angeles, California, serves as a center for spiritual learning and community, welcoming individuals from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds. The SRF also maintains the Encinitas Hermitage and Meditation Gardens, where Yogananda wrote his famous work, “Autobiography of a Yogi”, and the Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades, a spiritual sanctuary honoring the five major world religions.

The SRF’s monastic order includes monks and nuns who play a pivotal role in the organization, including publishing Yogananda’s teachings, providing spiritual counsel, and conducting services. Membership is diverse, crossing ethnic, and age groups, reflecting the universal appeal of Yogananda’s message. SRF’s influence extends beyond its membership through its publications, which have introduced millions to the teachings of yoga and the potential for a spiritual life in the modern world.

The SRF’s work also encompasses charitable activities, both in the United States and India, aimed at promoting world unity and peace. Through the Worldwide Prayer Circle, members and friends are encouraged to engage in collective prayer and meditation for those in need around the globe, embodying Yogananda’s teaching of seeing humanity as one’s larger Self.

Despite its widespread influence and the respect it has garnered for its contributions to spiritual education and interfaith understanding, the SRF has also faced challenges. These include maintaining the confidentiality of its teachings in an age of digital information sharing. Nonetheless, the SRF continues to inspire individuals through its message of unity, peace, and the pursuit of spiritual realization​​​​​​.

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