Paramahansa Yogananda

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To gaze with looks of wonderment, and to serve all that lives, still or moving. This is to know what love is. He knows who lives it.

Paramahansa Yogananda परमहंस योगानन्‍द (born Mukunda Lal Ghosh on 1893-01-05, died 1952-03-07) was an Indian yogi and guru who was instrumental in bringing Kriya Yoga to the West.


  • The true basis of religion is not belief, but intuitive experience. Intuition is the soul’s power of knowing God. To know what religion is really all about, one must know God.
    • The Essence of Self-Realization
  • Self-Realization is the knowing in all parts of body, mind, and soul that you are now in possession of the kingdom of God; that you do not have to pray that it come to you; that God’s omnipresence is your omnipresence; and that all that you need to do is improve your knowing.
    • The Essence of Self-Realization
  • In waking, eating, working, dreaming, sleeping,
    Serving, meditating, chanting, divinely loving,
    My soul constantly hums, unheard by any;
    God, God, God!

Autobiography of a Yogi (1946)

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  • The life of Lord Krishna has been misunderstood by many Western commentators. Scriptural allegory is baffling to literal minds. A hilarious blunder by a translator will illustrate this point. The story concerns an inspired medieval saint, the cobbler Ravidas, who sang in the simple terms of his own trade of the spiritual glory hidden in all mankind:
Under the vast vault of blue
Lives the divinity clothed in hide.
One turns aside to hide a smile on hearing the pedestrian interpretation given to Ravidas' poem by a Western writer:
"He afterwards built a hut, set up in it an idol which he made from a hide, and applied himself to its worship."
  • Ch. 42 - Last Days With My Guru
  • His interpretations of the Bhagavad Gita and other scriptures testify to the depth of Sri Yukteswarji's command of the philosophy, both Eastern and Western, and remain as an eye-opener for the unity between Orient and Occident. As he believed in the unity of all religious faiths, Sri Yukteswar Maharaj established Sadhu Sabha (Society of Saints) with the cooperation of leaders of various sects and faiths, for the inculcation of a scientific spirit in religion.
    • Ch. 42 - Last Days With My Guru
  • If by this superhuman concentration one succeeded in converting or resolving the two cosmoses with all their complexities into sheer ideas, he would then reach the causal world and stand on the borderline of fusion between mind and matter. There one perceives all created things — solids, liquids, gases, electricity, energy, all beings, gods, men, animals, plants, bacteria — as forms of consciousness, just as a man can close his eyes and realize that he exists, even though his body is invisible to his physical eyes and is present only as an idea.
    • Ch. 43 - The Resurrection Of Sri Yukteswar
  • Gandhi has sound economic and cultural reasons for encouraging the revival of cottage industries, but he does not counsel a fanatical repudiation of all modern progress. Machinery, trains, automobiles, the telegraph have played important parts in his own colossal life! Fifty years of public service, in prison and out, wrestling daily with practical details and harsh realities in the political world, have only increased his balance, open-mindedness, sanity, and humorous appreciation of the quaint human spectacle.
    • Ch. 44 - With Mahatma Gandhi At Wardha
  • Sri Yukteswar used to poke gentle fun at the commonly inadequate conceptions of renunciation.
    "A beggar cannot renounce wealth," Master would say. "If a man laments: 'My business has failed; my wife has left me; I will renounce all and enter a monastery,' to what worldly sacrifice is he referring? He did not renounce wealth and love; they renounced him!"
    Saints like Gandhi, on the other hand, have made not only tangible material sacrifices, but also the more difficult renunciation of selfish motive and private goal, merging their inmost being in the stream of humanity as a whole.
    • Ch. 44 - With Mahatma Gandhi At Wardha
  • Brotherhood is an ideal better understood by example than precept!
    • Ch. 48 - At Encinitas In California
  • 'World' is a large term, but man must enlarge his allegiance, considering himself in the light of a world citizen... A person who truly feels: 'The world is my homeland; it is my America, my India, my Philippines, my England, my Africa,' will never lack scope for a useful and happy life. His natural local pride will know limitless expansion; he will be in touch with creative universal currents.
    • Ch. 48 - At Encinitas In California

Songs of the Soul


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  • I exist without the cosmic shadow,
    But it could not live bereft of me;
    As the sea exists without the waves,
    But they breathe not without the sea.

    Dreams, wakings, states of deep turiya sleep,
    Present, past, future, no more for me,
    But the ever-present, all-flowing, I, I everywhere.
    Consciously enjoyable,
    Beyond the imagination of all expectancy,
    Is this, my samadhi state.
  • Thou art I, I am Thou,
    Knowing, Knower, Known, as One!
  • Not an unconscious state
    Or mental chloroform without wilful return,
    Samadhi but extends my realm of consciousness
    Beyond the limits of my mortal frame
    To the boundaries of eternity,
    Where I, the Cosmic Sea,
    Watch the little ego floating in Me.
  • Grosser light vanishes into eternal rays
    Of all-pervading Cosmic Joy.
    From Joy we come,
    For Joy we live,
    In the sacred Joy we melt.
  • I, the ocean of mind, drink all creation’s waves.
    The four veils of solid, liquid, vapor, light,
    Lift aright.
    Myself, in everything,
    Enters the Great Myself.
    Gone forever,
    The fitful, flickering shadows of a mortal memory.
    Spotless is my mental sky,
    Below, ahead, and high above.
    Eternity and I, one united ray.
    I, a tiny bubble of laughter,
    Have become the Sea of Mirth Itself.

What is Love?

Online text

  • Love is the song of the soul, singing to God.
  • To gaze with looks of wonderment,
    And to serve all that lives, still or moving.
    This is to know what love is.
    He knows who lives it.
  • It is the call of the beauty — robed ones
    To worship the great Beauty.
    It is the call of God
    Through silent intelligences
    And starburst of feelings.
  • Love is the Heaven
    Toward which the flowers, rivers, nations, atoms, creatures — you and I
    Are rushing by the straight path of action right,
    Or winding laboriously on error’s path,
    All to reach haven there at last.

Nature’s Nature

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  • Away, the partial love
    That ‘boldens Nature to sit above
    Her Maker!
  • Nor doomsday’s thunderous roar,
    Dismantling earth and stars —
    The cosmic beauties all to mar —
    Not Nature’s murderous mutiny,
    Nor man’s exploding destiny
    Can touch me here.
  • In wrath I strike, and set the dark ablaze
    With the immortal spark of thought,
    By friction-process brought
    Of concentration
    And distraction.
    The darkness burns
    With a million tongues;
    And now I spy
    All past, all distant things, as nigh.

The Second Coming of Christ (2004)

  • In titling this work The Second Coming of Christ, I am not referring to a literal return of Jesus to earth. He came two thousand years ago and, after imparting a universal path to God's kingdom, was crucified and resurrected; his reappearance to the masses now is not necessary for the fulfillment of his teachings. What is necessary is for the cosmic wisdom and divine perception of Jesus to speak again through each one's own experience and understanding of the infinite Christ Consciousness that was incarnate in Jesus. That will be his true Second Coming.
  • There is a distinguishing difference of meaning between Jesus and Christ. His given name was Jesus; his honorific title was "Christ." In his little human body called Jesus was born the vast Christ Consciousness, the omniscient Intelligence of God omnipresent in every part and particle of creation. This Consciousness is the "only begotten Son of God," so designated because it is the sole perfect reflection in creation of the Transcendental Absolute, Spirit or God the Father.
    It was of that Infinite Consciousness, replete with the love and bliss of God, that Saint John spoke when he said: "As many as received him [the Christ Consciousness], to them gave he power to become the sons of God." Thus according to Jesus' own teaching as recorded by his most highly advanced apostle, John, all souls who become united with Christ Consciousness by intuitive Self-realization are rightly called sons of God....
  • The saviors of the world do not come to foster inimical doctrinal divisions; their teachings should not be used toward that end. It is something of a misnomer even to refer to the New Testament as the "Christian" Bible, for it does not belong exclusively to any one sect. Truth is meant for the blessing and upliftment of the entire human race. As the Christ Consciousness is universal, so does Jesus Christ belong to all....
  • It is an erroneous assumption of limited minds that great ones such as Jesus, Krishna, and other divine incarnations are gone from the earth when they are no longer visible to human sight. This is not so... Jesus Christ is very much alive and active today. In Spirit and occasionally taking on a flesh-and-blood form, he is working unseen by the masses for the regeneration of the world. With his all-embracing love, Jesus is not content merely to enjoy his blissful consciousness in Heaven. He is deeply concerned for mankind and wishes to give his followers the means to attain the divine freedom of entry into God's Infinite Kingdom....
  • These teachings have been sent to explain the truth as Jesus intended it to be known in the world — not to give a new Christianity, but to give the real Christ-teaching: how to become like Christ, how to resurrect the Eternal Christ within one's Self...
  • Many sects, many denominations, many beliefs, many persecutions, many conflicts and upheavals have been created by misinterpretations. Now, Christ reveals the consummate message in the simple words he spoke to an ancient people in a less-advanced age of civilization. Read, understand, and feel Christ speaking to you through this "Second Coming" bible, urging you to be redeemed by realization of the true "Second Coming," the resurrection within you of the Infinite Christ Consciousness.
  • How do the receptive perceive truth, whereas the unreceptive "seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand"? The ultimate truths of heaven and the kingdom of God, the reality that lies behind sensory perception and beyond the cogitations of the rationalizing mind, can only be grasped by intuition — awakening the intuitive knowing, the pure comprehension, of the soul.
  • Christ has been much misinterpreted by the world. Even the most elementary principles of his teachings have been desecrated, and their esoteric depths have been forgotten. They have been crucified at the hands of dogma, prejudice, and cramped understanding. Genocidal wars have been fought, people have been burned as witches and heretics, on the presumed authority of man-made doctrines of Christianity. How to salvage the immortal teachings from the hands of ignorance? We must know Jesus as an Oriental Christ, a supreme yogi who manifested full mastery of the universal science of God-union, and thus could speak and act as a savior with the voice and authority of God.
  • Divine incarnations do not come to bring a new or exclusive religion, but to restore the One Religion of God-realization.
    Many are the churches and temples founded in his name, often prosperous and powerful, but where is the communion that he stressed — actual contact with God? Jesus wants temples to be established in human souls, first and foremost; then established outwardly in physical places of worship.
    Instead, there are countless huge edifices with vast congregations being indoctrinated in churchianity, but few souls who are really in touch with Christ through deep prayer and meditation.
  • The lack of individual prayer and communion with God has divorced modern Christians and Christian sects from Jesus' teaching of the real perception of God, as is true also of all religious paths inaugurated by God-sent prophets whose followers drift into byways of dogma and ritual rather than actual God-communion. Those paths that have no esoteric soul-lifting training busy themselves with dogma and building walls to exclude people with different ideas. Divine persons who really perceive God include everybody within the path of their love, not in the concept of an eclectic congregation but in respectful divine friendship toward all true lovers of God and the saints of all religions.
  • The heart of the great dispensation of Jesus has survived not necessarily in any temporal power of an outer institution, but in those great devotees and saints whose protracted devotions and meditations established within them temples of Christ Consciousness and God-communion...
    It is such saints and masters who have actually communed with God — those known to history as well as countless anonymous true souls devoted to Christ, hidden in monasteries and convents in wholehearted consecration — who have verily been the "rock" on which Jesus' inner church of Christ communion has endured these two thousand years.


  • Evil spreads with the wind; truth is capable of spreading even against it.
  • Giving love to all, feeling the love of God, seeing His presence in everyone... that is the way to live in this world.
  • Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.
  • Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.
  • The happiness of one's own heart alone cannot satisfy the soul; one must try to include, as necessary to one's own happiness, the happiness of others.
  • The hard core of human egotism is hardly to be dislodged except rudely. With its departure, The Divine finds at last an unobstructed channel.
  • The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.
  • There is a magnet in your heart that will attract true friends. That magnet is unselfishness, thinking of others first... When you learn to live for others, they will live for you.
  • True friends want nothing from you except the joy of your presence. No matter what you do, they will always be your friend.
  • Truth is exact correspondence with reality.
  • You must not let your life run in the ordinary way; do something that nobody else has done, something that will dazzle the world. Show that God's creative principle works in you.
  • Everything else can wait but your search for God cannot wait.
  • Reform yourself and you will have reformed thousands around you.

Quotes of others about Yogananda

  • Yogananda draws parallels between the Christian trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and the yoga concept of Sat, Tat and Aum. Both traditions use the trinity to distinguish among the transcendent, divine reality; its immanence in creation; and a sacred, cosmic vibration that sustains the universe, he says.
    And he asserts that Bible passages used to exclude non-Christians from salvation have been misconstrued. Some Christians believe, for instance, that Jesus' saying that "no one comes to the Father except through me" requires a belief in Jesus the man as God and personal savior. Yogananda, however, asserts that Jesus was referring to the need to achieve the same "Christ consciousness" he personified as a way to achieve oneness with God.
    "Christ has been much misinterpreted by the world," Yogananda wrote. "Even the most elementary principles of his teachings have been desecrated, and their esoteric depths have been forgotten."
    ~ Teresa Watanabe Los Angeles Times (11 December 2004)

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