Posts Tagged ‘SRF’

My Interview with Philip Goldberg on His Book, “The Life of Yogananda”

March 30, 2018



Philip Goldberg

Welcome Phil, thank you for joining us today.
Hey, it’s good to be with you, Phil. Double Phil.

Allow me to introduce you. Philip Goldberg is the author of American Veda, which explores how the spirituality of India seeped into the cultural bloodstream of America. He co-hosts a spiritually themed podcast, leads American Veda Tours through India, and blogs regularly for popular media sites. His latest book, and the subject of our conversation today, is The Life of Yogananda, which is a biography of Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi.

(Click here to order your copy of The Life of Yogananda.)

Phil, why did you choose to write a biography of Yogananda, whose iconic autobiography has been read by millions of people?
I’m sure you will appreciate that that is the most commonly asked question I’ve had in the last few years as I worked on the book, and the answer is there’s an awful lot about Yogananda’s life that is not in his iconic memoir. Especially his life after he left India and came to America, where he would spend just about the rest of his life.

I did a page count of Autobiography of a Yogi, and it turns out that less than 10 percent of the book is about his years in America, and there are portions of those years that he summarizes in a sentence or two that in fact lasted four or five years. So there’s an awful lot that people don’t know about Yogananda if all they’ve ever read is Autobiography of a Yogi, and I wanted to fill the gaps.

What do you see as Yogananda’s place in the overall spiritual history of the western world?
It’s immense, actually. You know, when I first read Autobiography of a Yogi, at the risk of giving away my age, it was 1970, and it had a big impact on me and a big impact on my whole cohort of young spiritual seekers that were just then discovering Indian philosophy and the practices that come from the yogic repertoire, like meditation. The Beatles had just gone to India, and not long before that, the whole interest exploded.

Autobiography of a Yogi was probably the most borrowed and most often ripped-off book among that cohort of youngsters doing all that spiritual exploring. Falling in love with India, falling in love with practices like meditation, and with gurus like Yogananda. He was of course long gone by then, but the autobiography was a big deal, and launched millions of (more…)

A Heartwarming Message from Daya Ma on Her 100th Birthday

June 11, 2015


This photo was taken at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine Temple on January 31, 2014. Why is that date significant? It is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sri Daya Mata, who served as the beloved president of SRF from 1955 until her passing on November 30, 2010.

Sri Daya Mata

Sri Daya Mata

On the night before Daya Ma’s guru, Paramahansa Yogananda, left this world, he told her, “When I am gone, only (more…)

A Block Away

February 19, 2012

Paramahansa Yogananda's Hermitage

Hi, everybody! I made a quick three-minute video to show you where I live and what I’m a block away from: the Self-Realization Fellowship temple and Paramahansa Yogananda‘s Hermitage and (more…)

A Pumpkin Paradise in Encinitas!

November 1, 2011


Last night, I was privileged to be part of the Halloween festivities outside Self-Realization Fellowship Books & Gifts, the store in Encinitas where I volunteer on Thursday afternoons.

The front entrance to SRF Books & Gifts

Bramachari Luca, who is featured in the above two-minute Wall Street Journal video, and I swept the sidewalk clean of hay in the afternoon.

The left side of the SRF Books & Gifts building

At eight o’clock a bunch of us, including a number of SRF monastics, broke everything down and cleaned up. All the pumpkins were handed out to the public, first come first served. I just tried to do what I could and stay out of the way of the people who knew what they were doing. It was fun to be part of something so cool!

The right side of the SRF Books & Gifts building

Christopher Gray, my next-door neighbor and friend, did a lot of the hard work in setting up the display  yesterday afternoon and breaking it down at night. Thanks to Chris, you didn’t have to be there to enjoy the festivities!

The lights come on and the crowds come out!

Chris’ eight quick-hit videos (seven of which are eighteen seconds or less) cover all the pumpkins on display, and his photos capture (more…)

Meditating Oceanside

August 24, 2011

Walking up into the SRF Meditation Gardens

This morning, I walked out of the townhouse I moved into two days ago and walked one block to the SRF Meditation Gardens. There, seated on a stone bench in front of the ocean on a beautiful sunny day, I did my morning meditation.

Click here to watch a four- (more…)

An Eye-Opening Ritual in Encinitas

August 22, 2011

Yesterday, for the first time in over three months, I was once again able to tour Paramahansa Yogananda‘s Hermitage on the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram grounds in Encinitas.

This is me in my favorite spot in Encinitas, standing on the Hermitage lawn with nothing but the ocean in front of me

The Hermitage, where Yogananda lived for more than a decade in the late 1930s and 1940s, is where he wrote much of his spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi. The Hermitage (more…)

Meditation: Falling Awake

April 19, 2010

This insightful double-interview, Meditation: Falling Awake, was presented on The Spirit of Things on the ABC Radio Network. Host Rachael Kohn interviewed Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who says the purpose of meditation is mindfulness, not bliss; and Self-Realization Fellowship monk Brother Satyananda, who makes the case that meditation can produce mindfulness and spiritual bliss.

What is mindfulness? In the interview, Dr. Kabat-Zinn defines it as: The awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.

Click on the audio player below to listen to the (more…)

The History and Legacy of Paramahansa Yogananda

March 23, 2009

Paramahansa Yogananda

The Minneapolis Meditation Group of Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) hosted a special Open House on June 11, 2010 featuring a talk entitled Kriya Yoga: Spiritual Science for an Awakening Age. The talk was presented by Brother Nakulananda, a longtime monk of SRF, which was founded in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic , Autobiography of a Yogi.

Click here to visit the website of the Minneapolis Meditation Group.

For more information about SRF or the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, click here to visit the official website of Self-Realization Fellowship.


The SRF Minneapolis Meditation Group's center at 112 West 43rd Street

Here is the flyer for Brother Nakulananda’s talk. Click on the flyer to enlarge it.


In an earlier post, I wrote about how reading Autobiography of a Yogi changed my life.


The SRF Encinitas Temple

I also shared my profoundly memorable experiences while visiting Self-Realization Fellowship’s hermitage and temple in Encinitas, California.

Here is an insightful article about the history of the Minneapolis Meditation Group from attorney Jerry Blackwell, a longtime member.


It was September 1927, and Paramahansa Yogananda was electrifying Twin Cities audiences with a novel but soul-rousing message. With long hair and golden brown skin, and always clad in an orange robe, he lectured nightly to sold out auditoriums of thousands on the body and soul benefits of meditation and inner communion, almost a century before modern medicine and pop culture would make these practices synonymous with enlightened wellness.

Yogananda had first arrived in America in (more…)

“Autobiography of a Yogi” Changed My Life

August 19, 2008

Reading Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda at the age of forty-two was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. From the beginning chapter, I felt like I had finally come home. This was the life I had always wished was possible but never dreamed it could be! After finishing it, I sent away to Self-Realization Fellowship, the organization Yogananda founded in 1920, for the three-and-a-half years’ worth of bimonthly lessons on “right living” and follow Yogananda’s teachings today as part of my daily spiritual discipline.

autobiography-of-a-yogi-book-coverI just now finished listening to Chapter 23 in my car. I’ve listened to the audiobook version, read by Ben Kingsley, three times now and it never fails to thrill me. Everything in this book resonates in harmony with who I am and who I wish to become. I was already teaching spiritual classes by the time I encountered this book and was amazed at how much deeper it took me in my knowledge and practice.

Yogananda teaches that direct contact with God is (more…)

Bathed in Loving Energy in Encinitas

August 13, 2008

The SRF Encinitas Temple

I first visited Encinitas, California, in June 2000 as part of the annual Self-Realization Fellowship Convocation. When I walked into the SRF temple where dozens of devotees were silently meditating, I was immediately enveloped in thick, palpable loving energy. I stopped in my tracks, transfixed. I wanted to stay right where I was, rooted to the ground, and let this incredible energy wash over me for hours. I forced myself to sit in a pew but was too (more…)