Paramhansa Yogananda came to the West from India in 1920, bringing a new vision of how to live. He lectured across the United States drawing thousands, and filling the largest auditoriums in the country. During the three decades he lived in America, he met many of the well-known figures of the time: President Calvin Coolidge, industrialist Henry Ford, and agricultural inventor Luther Burbank, to name just a few.
Even after Yogananda’s passing in 1952, his Autobiography of a Yogi continues to inspire influential people such as George Harrison, Gene Roddenberry (creator of the Star Trek series), and Steve Jobs. He is widely known as the “Father of Yoga” in the West.
What are some of the revolutionary teachings that Yogananda brought to the American mindscape?
The Practice of Meditation Is Vitally Important
He taught that meditation is not an archaic ritual relegated to remote monasteries or caves, but that its practice can greatly improve our daily life. When he came to the United States virtually no one there meditated. Now millions do so regularly.
The Transformative Ability of Our Brain
Decades before scientists began to prove it as a fact, Yogananda stated that meditation actually changes and rejuvenates the cells of our brain for greater mental clarity and power.
The Use of Will Power to Draw Success
He taught practical techniques to control and strengthen will power and to draw energy from universal sources. This heightened energy magnetically attracts success, improved health, and solutions to problems in our daily life.
God Can Be Brought into All Aspects of Our Life
Perhaps most important of all, Yogananda taught that making God central to daily life can enhance and uplift everything we do. Paramhansa Yogananda’s message might be summed up as “A Practical Guide to Finding True Happiness in Life.”
But it’s only in the living of these teachings that their real power is revealed. Swami Kriyananda, a close, direct disciple of Yogananda, furthered his guru’s mission by creating eight “world brotherhood colonies” throughout the world. In these communities, Yogananda’s “How to Live” principles have been practiced on a daily basis for the past nearly fifty years, and their value has been proven.
We (Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi) are fortunate to have had the personal friendship, training, and guidance of Swami Kriyananda from the late 1960s until his passing in 2013. We have also been founding members of many of these communities, including the first one, Ananda World Brotherhood Village, in California. We know from experience that these teachings can improve all aspects of life—health, business, success, creativity, marriage, family, education, and spiritual development.
In 2013, after years of teaching these principles throughout the world, we started writing a short weekly blog called A Touch of Light. Our goal was to help people understand the practicality of Yogananda’s insights and to apply his wisdom to the challenges of daily life. The response from readers has been overwhelming. We receive emails and meet people all around the world telling us how much they enjoy and are helped by these bite-sized essays.
Increasingly, people have asked us, “Can you publish your letters in a book so that we can reread them and refer to them later?” So, here is our response: Touch of Light: Living the Teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda.
Like the facets of a beautiful diamond, each weekly topic is a small reflection of the brilliance of one of the great spiritual figures of our time, Paramhansa Yogananda. His teachings, which reflect the light of all religions, can guide our life towards true inner happiness.
Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi
Ananda World Brotherhood Village