Self-Realization Fellowship Blog

“Paramahansa Yogananda and the Spiritual Light of India” by Sri Mrinalini Mata

February 01, 2023

This is a short excerpt from the talk “The Yoga Sadhana That Brings God’s Love and Bliss” by Sri Mrinalini Mata, who served as fourth president of SRF/YSS from 2011 until her passing in 2017. Audio of the full talk can be found on the SRF YouTube channel and at the bottom of this page. The full printed version of the talk can be read as one of the sample articles on our Self-Realization magazine page.

You can learn more about the life and epic journey of Paramahansa Yogananda to bring India’s ancient teachings of yoga to the modern world on our website.


When Paramahansa Yogananda left his homeland to fulfill his mission in the West, his heart and soul never left his India.

Once someone in India wrote to Paramahansaji: “Surely you have forgotten your India. Because you are so long away from it, you must have forgotten your native land.” But our Gurudeva wrote back: “That can never be. It is because I love India that I am working day and night in this land to spread the message and the God-love of India around the world. Not one moment of any day is she out of my heart and mind.”

Our Gurudeva only came back to India in 1935, for one year. After that time he was always planning to come back again; but he was so busy, his work was growing so much, that Divine Mother didn’t let him. Yet he had made the prediction, “I have carried India’s message to that side of the world, and India will know me.”

His guru, Sri Yukteswarji, had also said, “My message will not spread in India from India; it will spread from outside back into India.”

Both Paramahansaji and Sri Yukteswarji said that; and that was also what Babaji expressed to Sri Yukteswarji about Paramahansa Yogananda: “I am sending you this chela (disciple) to train to take the message [of yoga] all over the world, because God wants His world now to be united. Divisions must no longer exist.”

So from East and West this unity must come; but it was here in India that this teaching, this light, was first kindled and spread to all of the world. And it is for that reason that we honor this hallowed land.

[Mrinalini Mata then read to the audience Paramahansa Yogananda’s poem “My Native Land”:]

The friendly sky,
Inviting shade of banyan tree,
The holy Ganges flowing by —
How can I forget thee!

I love the waving corn
Of India’s fields so bright,
Oh, better than those heav’nly grown
By deathless gods of might!

My soul’s broad love, by God’s command,
Was first born here below,
In my own native land —
On India’s sunny soil aglow.

I love thy breeze,
I love thy moon,
I love thy hills and seas;
In thee I wish my life to cease.

Thou taught’st me first to love
The sky, the stars, the God above;
So my first homage — as ’tis meet —
I lay, O India, at thy feet!

From thee I now have learned to see,
To love all lands alike as thee.
I bow to thee, my native land,
Thou mother of my love so grand.

Revere this land for its spiritual heritage, for it is the spiritual light of this world.

Listen to the Full Talk

Read the Full Talk

On our Self-Realization magazine page you can learn more about the history of the magazine founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1925; enjoy reading sample articles, including “The Yoga Sadhana That Brings God’s Love and Bliss”; and listen to several audio talks from past issues of the magazine.

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