Ancient Beginnings

Jesus Christ and Bhagavan Krishna are generally recognized in the West and East, respectively, as supreme avatars (divine incarnations).  Krishna, enlightened king of ancient India, is estimated to have lived about 3000 B.C.

In 1861 Mahavatar Babaji, a secluded Himalayan master of high spiritual attainment, initiated Lahiri Mahasaya into kriya yoga (advanced meditation techniques taught by the SRF masters) at a remote location in northeastern India. Those who visited Lahiri Mahasaya (1828-1895) at his Banaras, India home had their lives profoundly transformed.  “All knew they had received the silent blessing of a true man of God” (Autobiography of a Yogi). Lahiri Mahasaya’s disciple, Swami Sri Yukteswar (1855-1936), recognized as a preeminent sage and yogi, continued the spread of kriya yoga from his chief ashram in Serampore, India.

For more information about Kriya yoga, go to 

Yogananda original.jpg

Paramahansa Yogananda (b. 1893) began his training with his guru, Sri Yukteswar, in 1910 and became a monk of the swami order in 1915.  Yogananda came to the West upon accepting an invitation to speak in the United States at the Congress of Religious Liberals in Boston in 1920.  He subsequently taught and lectured throughout the country and founded Self-realization Fellowship (SRF).  His writings are voluminous and display a rare quality of presenting the deep wisdom of the East, including the art & science of yoga, to English readers in a way that is undiluted yet easy to understand. Paramahansa Yogananda taught, healed, and initiated thousands into kriya yoga before his passing (mahasamadhi) in Los Angeles in 1952. His prayers, poems, affirmations and chants are included during meditation sessions at Song of the Morning. 

Autobiography of a Yogi

An essential read for every spiritual aspirant, Autobiography of a Yogi was written by Yogananda and recounts his remarkable story of heartfelt seeking and devotion to the Divine. One of our long-time Song of the Morning community members, George Johnston, describes the power of this text: 

"In Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda helps us understand many truths in the ancient Hindu scriptures and how they parallel those taught by Jesus. Yogananda knew what Jesus meant by the “kingdom of God,” for his love of God and ability to enter the inner stillness and silence of deep meditation enabled him to experience God’s blissful realms of peace, beauty, oneness, love, and light—the kingdom that Jesus said is not of this world, but within, and counseled us to seek.

"Through unceasing pursuit of God, Yogananda attained liberation. His life shows that if we seek the guidance and help of God and a true guru, practice self-discipline and meditation, and cultivate love for God, we too will find happiness, wisdom and inner peace. We will discover and eventually unite with our higher Self and God, and thus find liberation, as he did. His autobiography vividly portrays the spiritual treasures that await those who live in love and meditate on God. It has inspired countless devotees around the world to seek God in stillness and silence within.”