Posts Tagged ‘yogananda’

A Wedding Blessing from Paramahansa Yogananda

August 1, 2012

On Wednesday, August 1, 2012, in the middle of the weeklong Self-Realization Fellowship World Convocation, two devotees from Brazil, J.P. and Jussara, were married at the SRF Hollywood Temple, about twenty minutes away from the Westin Bonaventure, the downtown Los Angeles hotel that was hosting the Convocation.

J.P. and Jussara Salles

J.P. and Jussara Salles

A couple of hours before the ceremony, two devotees and longtime friends at the Bonaventure (one of whom was a friend of mine who told me this story directly) were discussing how to reach the Hollywood Temple by train. A woman devotee from Iran standing nearby overheard the conversation and volunteered some helpful advice. In gratitude, the two devotees invited her to the ceremony. She happily accepted the invitation, suddenly understanding why she had felt compelled to (more…)

A Saintly Visit

June 8, 2012

My friend Judy, who has shared her stories of prayer and healing with me in earlier posts, has been blessed by a number of encounters that can only be described as divine intervention. Here is one such powerful story.


Paramahansa Yogananda (Courtesy of Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, California)

Having graduated from college Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude, I was feeling confident and excited to be accepted into a local nursing school program. I was used to long hours of study, and at the age of twenty-seven had an ample supply of midnight oil to burn.

My first day in Anatomy class, I was shocked and surprised to realize that science was very different from my undergraduate major of liberal arts. On the second day of class, we were given an anatomy test. I got an “F.” Now mind you, I had breezed through years of schooling with straight A’s. To instantly go from academic all-star to embarrassing flop threw me for a huge loop. What if I can’t do this? I thought. What if I can’t make it through?

I had just moved into a new apartment near the school. It seemed like ages ago that my parents and friends had proudly sent me off to conquer the world. In two short days, my confidence and excitement had vanished without a trace. The only thing I felt was terrified.

I sank down on my couch, completely overwhelmed, and inwardly asked God for guidance and reassurance. Hours passed. I continued meditating until a (more…)

One Prayer Away from a Miracle

April 30, 2012

In a recent Sunday service at the Self-Realization Fellowship temple in Encinitas, the minister read this letter from Judy, a member of the congregation. Her story was so moving it brought tears to my eyes. After the service, I asked Judy if I could share her story here. It is a powerful reminder of a truth we must always hold on to:

Never lose hope. You may be one prayer away from a miracle.


Rosa said of Paramahansa Yogananda: "That's him. He came to bring me back."

Rosa is a twenty-nine year-old Catholic, Hispanic teacher who had just finished her Master’s Degree in Education and had started teaching in the inner city of L.A. She was devoted to her five-month-old little girl, Maria, who was always laughing and giggling.

Her family and I were close, so late one night when I received a phone call saying that Rosa had just had a sudden heart attack I was stunned. She had been rushed to the hospital, and on the surgical table her heart had stopped four times. Though the doctors had revived her, she remained in a coma—on life-support systems and kidney dialysis as she awaited open heart surgery and a liver transplant. One hundred family and friends were crowded into the L.A. emergency room. Her parents slept nightly by her bedside, refusing to leave. As she wavered between life and death, her right hand turned gangrene, and her white blood cell count spiked to 48,000, indicating a major, life-threatening infection.

She had been unconscious for a week when I walked into her ICU room and stood at her bedside. Her sister, Ella, had begged me to “just come and pray,” so I made the two-and-a-half hour trip to Rosa’s side. Though I’d been a nurse for thirty years, I’d never (more…)

A Saint Helps My Mom Cross Over

February 13, 2012

This moving story by my friend Judy is both a reminder of the promise and power of prayer and the infinite love and compassion of those to whom we pray. Even when prayer doesn’t seem to be accomplishing anything, the loving energy you transmit may ease the recipient’s pain, comfort their soul, and bolster their strength and resolve.


“The hospice nurse was just here,” my sister told me over the phone. “She said Mom will probably last another month.” As a public health nurse, I knew that hospice nurses were skilled at recognizing the signs and symptoms of approaching death and predicting how much time a patient had left.

My mom was two thousand miles away in St. Louis and there was nothing I could do to help her. She lay suffering, short of breath and wheezing. She had always told us that she could not handle being “an invalid.” Even the thought of using (more…)

Wise Words

December 2, 2011

Paramahansa Yogananda

I love this quote by Paramahansa Yogananda. it says so much in just a few words.

When you realize that life is a joyous battle of duty and at the same time a passing dream, and when you become filled with the joy of making others happy by giving them kindness and peace, in God’s eyes your life is a success.

In the first line alone, Yogananda affirms that:
• Life is a struggle
• We are here for a purpose
• Joy can be found in every moment
• This reality is not (more…)

What’s the Chants of That?

August 25, 2011

The little "Cosmic Chant" booklets are based on this book of Yogananda's chants

Two nights ago, a service at the Self-Realization Fellowship temple included one of Paramahansa Yogananda’s chants. I was unfamiliar with that particular one so I picked up the little book of Cosmic Chants that rested in a pocket on the back of the chair in front of me. I opened it at random, and the first chant I looked at was the very chant being performed. I was impressed, considering that there are more than fifty chants in the book. What are the odds of that, I thought.

Apparently pretty (more…)

Finally Home

August 6, 2011

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, site of the annual Self-Realization Fellowship Convocation

It’s Convocation Eve, the Saturday night before the annual, weeklong Self-Realization Fellowship World Convocation commences at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. Arriving at the Westin always feels like a homecoming, like I’ve stumbled upon an oasis of peace, love and devotion hidden away among six-lane freeways and towering skyscrapers.

At a meeting for volunteers, an SRF monastic who has been in the order for more than fifty years, related the story of how he came to the organization. He had shown up a few minutes late for his first service in the small chapel inside the SRF International Headquarters atop Mount Washington in Los Angeles. The first thing he saw was devotees pranaming. His first thought was, “This is weird.” Yet at the same time, he felt a deep peace and (more…)

California, Here I Come!

October 20, 2010


When I close my eyes, I imagine I’m standing on the grounds of the Self-Realization Fellowship Hermitage in Encinitas, gazing out at the ocean. This is where Paramahansa Yogananda wrote much of his spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi.

I’m excited! On November 29, I’m flying out to Encinitas, California, and don’t plan on returning to Minnesota for five months. I’ve never missed a winter in Minnesota and it’s about time I did.

I’ve also never lived anywhere else in the world. Every place I’ve ever called home is within sixty-five miles of where I live right now. It’s time I busted out of my comfort zone and opened myself up to new experiences.

Where am I going to live? Don’t (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…)