Early Years in America
Born in India, Yogananda was the first yoga master to spend most of his life in America, revealing the truths and unity of all religions. His teachings were fresh, entertaining, and filled with deep insight — a combination that made him extremely popular in a land ready for a new perspective on an ancient spiritual heritage, and for a practical approach to knowing God.
The Los Angeles Times wrote a glowing review of an early lecture:
The Philharmonic Auditorium presents the extraordinary spectacle of thousands being turned away an hour before the advertised opening of a lecture, with the 3000-seat hall filled to its utmost capacity. Swami Yogananda is the attraction. A Hindu invading the United States to bring God in the midst of a Christian community, preaching the essence of Christian doctrine.
Yogananda for the World
Yogananda came to the West to bring the science of Kriya Yoga and a new interpretation of the great scriptures of East and West. His mission was not only for those disciples who were fortunate enough to be with him, but for the world, to uplift humanity as a whole.
Today, Yogananda’s teachings, with their non-sectarian approach, have inspired seekers throughout the world and brought many forward on the path to God-realization. His Autobiography of a Yogi has sold millions of copies and is published in many languages worldwide — it is the best-selling autobiography ever.
Though millions have read his autobiography, Yogananda presents himself so humbly in it that few, even in his homeland of India, see his true spiritual stature. Thanks mainly to the efforts of Swami Kriyananda and a small group of Ananda members, the great yogi is once again becoming well-known in India. Yogananda once told one of Kriyananda’s fellow monks,
Through his disciple, now Yogananda is reaching millions.