Paramahansa Yogananda (1893–1952) is considered one of the preeminent spiritual figures of modern times. Author of the best-selling spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi, this beloved world teacher came to America in 1920 from his native India, and was the first great master of yoga to live and teach in the West for an extended period (more than 30 years). Widely recognized as the Father of Yoga in the West, he founded Self-Realization Fellowship (1920) and Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (1917), which continues to carry on his spiritual legacy worldwide today under the leadership of Sri Mrinalini Mata, one of his closest disciples.
Yogananda’s voice is heard in the film in audio excerpts from Self-Realization Fellowship’s archival recordings.
For more than ninety years, Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (SRF/YSS) has been dedicated to carrying on the spiritual and humanitarian work of its founder. As set forth by him, the society seeks to foster a spirit of greater understanding and goodwill among the diverse peoples and religions of our global family, and to help those of all cultures and nationalities to realize and express more fully in their lives the beauty, nobility, and divinity of the human spirit.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, Self-Realization Fellowship’s primary mission is to make available the universal teachings of Kriya Yoga, a sacred spiritual science originating millenniums ago in India. These nonsectarian teachings embody a complete philosophy and way of life for achieving all-round success and well-being, as well as methods of meditation for achieving life's ultimate goal — union of the soul with Spirit (God).
The teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda are made available, today as during his lifetime, through the printed Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons. This comprehensive home-study series — studied by many thousands of people all over the world — gives instruction in all the meditation techniques of the Kriya Yoga science, as well as in the many other aspects of balanced spiritual living taught by Yogananda.
Today, Self-Realization Fellowship has grown to include more than 500 temples and centers around the world and has members in over 175 countries. Ordained monks and nuns in thriving monastic communities in America, Europe, and India serve the worldwide membership. In India and surrounding countries, Paramahansa Yogananda's work is known as Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS), which has more than 100 centers, retreats, and ashrams.