The Life of Paramahansa Yogananda

Chronology of Events


January 5 - Paramahansa Yogananda is born Mukunda Lal Ghosh, son of Bhagabati and Gyana Prabha Ghosh, in Gorakhpur, India.


Meets his spiritual preceptor, Swami Sri Yukteswar, and begins 10-year period of training in the sage’s Serampore hermitage.


June - Graduates Calcutta University with A.B. degree.

July - Becomes monk of India’s ancient monastic Swami Order, and takes name Yogananda — bliss (ananda) through divine union (yoga).


March 22 - Founds Yogoda Satsanga Society of India and first YSS school, in Dihika, West Bengal. One year later transfers school to Ranchi, Bihar, where Maharaja of Kasimbazar offers his summer palace and its grounds as campus.


August 3 - Sails on The City of Sparta, first post-World War I steamer from India to America, to serve as India’s delegate to International Congress of Religious Liberals.

September 19 - Arrives in U.S., where he founds Self-Realization Fellowship, and remains for more than 30 years.

October 6 - Gives first lecture in America, to International Congress of Religious Liberals held in Boston, Massachusetts, under auspices of American Unitarian Association.  His talk on “The Science of Religion” is subsequently expanded and published in book form.


March 4 - Delivers first public lecture in America, Jordan Hall, Boston.


May 17 - Addresses World Peace Meeting, Steinert Hall, Boston.

June 13 - Establishes first Self-Realization Fellowship ashram in America at N.

Waltham, Mass.


February 23 - Addresses students at Harvard University.

November 24 - Conducts first public lecture in New York City, and begins four-

month series of classes there.


Begins decade-long series of lecture tours, speaking in major cities throughout U.S., including Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Rochester, St. Louis, St. Paul, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

May - Symphony conductor Leopold Stokowski attends series of lectures and classes in Philadelphia and becomes student of Yogananda.

November 22 - Meets Luther Burbank, famed horticulturist, who becomes his student in Santa Rosa, Calif.


January 13 - Lectures at Los Angeles Philharmonic Auditorium and begins two- month series of classes.  Los Angeles Times reports on “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.”

April 12 - Holds first Easter service at Mt. Washington Estates, Los Angeles, which will become home to his worldwide society.

September 17 - Mahatma Gandhi visits Yogoda Satsanga Society school in Ranchi.  Inscribes in guestbook:  “This institution has deeply impressed my mind.”

October 25 - Yogananda dedicates Self-Realization Fellowship International Headquarters atop Mt. Washington in Los Angeles.  Establishes there an ashram and later a publishing house for publication of SRF teachings.

November 9 - Meets with president of American Indian Association, and with Chief of Yakima Tribe, SRF International Headquarters.

December - Publishes first issue of East-West magazine (renamed Self- Realization in 1948).  Its aim and purpose:  “To inspire, to enlighten, and to encourage all to live the practical spiritual life.”

December 13 - While in Rochester, N.Y., to conduct first series of lectures and classes there, meets George Eastman, inventor of Kodak camera, who becomes a student.


April 18 - Opening of week-long series of public lectures at Carnegie Hall, New York City.  It is reported that “Carnegie Hall was filled to capacity, and more than a thousand people were turned away only after the police reserves were called to quell the besieging crowds.”

May - Mark Twain’s daughter, Clara Clemens Gabrilowitsch, meets Yogananda during lecture series in Detroit and becomes his student.

June - Addresses Universal Islamic Society, Detroit.


January 24 - Officially received by President of United States, Calvin Coolidge, at White House.

April 27 - Antonia Brico, later to become first world-renowned woman symphony orchestra conductor, becomes his student during lecture series in Buffalo, N.Y.

December 27 - Addresses annual convention of Hindustan Association of America, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


September 19 - Received by Massachusetts Governor Alvan Fuller at State House.

December 20 - Addresses members of an association of 250 medical doctors, in Philadelphia.


January 15 - Addresses Sisterhood of Temple Israel, Boston.

February 5 - Speaks at conference on interracial relations at Free Synagogue in New York City.

April 1 - Guest of honor at banquet in Cincinnati with Mme. Sarojini Naidu of India, first woman to become president of the Indian National Congress.

May 13 - Addresses Inter-religious Symposium in Washington, DC.

May 23 - Departs for 3-month visit to Mexico.

July 15 - Received by President of Mexico, Dr. E. Portes Gil, at presidential palace in Mexico City.

December - Receives at Mt. Washington headquarters Metropolitan opera singer Amelita Galli-Curci, and her husband Homer Samuels, both devoted students of Yogananda.

December - Publishes Whispers from Eternity, a volume of spiritual poetry.


June 7 - Addresses capacity audience at Carnegie Hall, New York.


October 3 - While on lecture tour in Salt Lake City, meets Faye Wright, later to become Sri Daya Mata, current president of Self-Realization Fellowship.

November 19 - Sri Daya Mata enters Yogananda’s ashram in Los Angeles; this marks beginning of Self-Realization Fellowship Monastic Order.

December 24 - Conducts first day-long Christmas meditation, at Self-Realization Fellowship International Headquarters.  Beginning of annual tradition at all SRF temples, centers, and ashrams.


January 10 - During first lecture tour in Kansas City, Missouri, meets James J. Lynn, later known as Rajarsi Janakananda, who becomes president of Self-Realization Fellowship after Yogananda’s passing.

August 14 - Holds banquet at Self-Realization Fellowship International Headquarters for athletes representing India during Olympic Games in Los Angeles.


February - Publishes Metaphysical Meditations, a book of meditations, prayers, and affirmations.

September 10 - Addresses World Fellowship of Faiths at Chicago World’s Fair.


March 11 - Begins series of inspirational talks on KECA radio, Los Angeles.

December 9 - Opening of second Self-Realization Fellowship Temple, Los Angeles.


Class instructions given by Yogananda during lecture tours are enlarged and arranged into three-year series of lessons for home-study.

January 6 - Begins series of inspirational talks on KNX radio, Los Angeles.

March 29 - Officially incorporates his society under name Self-Realization Fellowship Church, and assigns to society rights in all of his writings.

June 9 - Embarks on 18-month tour of Europe, Middle East, and India.  Sails from New York to Great Britain on S.S. Europa.

July 8 - Lectures in Caxton Hall, London, where he is introduced by author and explorer Sir Francis Younghusband.

July - Visits Scotland; meets with famed balladeer Sir Harry Lauder.  Travels by car through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy.

July 17 - Meets with Catholic stigmatist Therese Neumann in Germany.

July 24 - Lectures in Rome.

August - Visits historic sites in Greece; birthplace of Jesus Christ and other pilgrimage sites in Palestine; Cairo, Egypt.

August 22 - Arrives in Bombay, India.  During yearlong visit to his homeland, travels and lectures throughout subcontinent, and arranges for perpetual endowment of his educational institutions there.

August 26 - Meets with Mahatma Gandhi, Wardha, India.

August 27 - Instructs Mahatma Gandhi and several of his followers in Kriya Yoga, at Gandhi’s request.

September 30 - Reunion with his guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, in Serampore.

November 29 - Meets with Indian sage Ramana Maharshi at his ashram in south India.

December 22 - Meets with famed Bengali woman saint Ananda Moyi Ma, Calcutta.

December 25 - Swami Sri Yukteswar bestows India’s highest spiritual title, Paramahansa, on Yogananda in Serampore.  This supercedes his former title of Swami.


August 22 - Sails from Bombay for England.

September 22, 23 - Conducts public lectures at Caxton Hall, London; overflow crowds make it necessary for him to conduct additional lectures at Windsor House Hall.

September 29 - Speaks at meeting organized by British National Council of World Fellowship of Faiths, at Whitefields Institute.

September/October - Visits birthplaces and tombs of great poets and heroes of British history, including Shakespeare, Wordsworth, and Sir Walter Scott.

October 18 - Sails on Bremen for U.S.

October 23 - Arrives in New York.

December 27 - Receives as “welcome home” gift from Rajarsi Janakananda a large hermitage and estate in Encinitas, Calif., where he establishes a Self- Realization Fellowship temple, retreat, and ashram.


January 2 - Dedicates first Self-Realization Fellowship Temple in Encinitas, Calif.

December 15 - Publishes Cosmic Chants, book of devotional songs.


February 26 - Holds International Peace Program, Self-Realization Fellowship Temple, Los Angeles.

October - Establishes new Yogoda Satsanga Society of India headquarters on banks of Ganges River at Dakshineswar, near Calcutta.


August 30 - Dedicates Self-Realization Fellowship Temple in Hollywood.


September 5 - Dedicates Self-Realization Fellowship Temple in San Diego, Calif.


June 3 - Addresses Interracial Conference held in San Francisco during inaugural

meetings of United Nations, 1945.

December - Merna Brown (later to become Sri Mrinalini Mata, current vice-

president of Self-Realization Fellowship) meets Yogananda after attending one of

his services at SRF Temple in San Diego.


December - Autobiography of a Yogi published.


February 14 - Honored by the Manuscripters, largest active writers’ group in the

West, for most outstanding book of the month:  Autobiography of a Yogi.


February 2 - Conducts memorial service for Mahatma Gandhi, Self-Realization Fellowship Temple, Hollywood.

February 20 - Dedicates World Brotherhood Center, Encinitas, Calif.

February 22 - Establishes Self-Realization Fellowship Temple in Long Beach, Calif. (moved to Fullerton in 1968).

October 3 - Dedicates first Self-Realization Fellowship Temple in Phoenix, Arizona.


Publishes The Holy Science, a treatise on human spiritual evolution, which demonstrates the underlying unity between the great religions of East and West, written by his guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar.

November 1 - Greets India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, in San Francisco.


January 6 - Guest of honor at banquet of Moslem League, Los Angeles.

August 13 - Holds first Self-Realization Fellowship World Convocation, Los Angeles.

August 20 - Dedicates Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine and Gandhi World Peace Memorial, Pacific Palisades, Calif.


April 8 - Dedicates Self-Realization Fellowship India Hall, Hollywood.

August 25 - Rajarsi Janakananda takes monastic vows; Yogananda announces that he will serve as president of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society after his passing.


March 4 - Receives Ambassador of India to U.S., Binay Ranjan Sen, at Self-Realization Fellowship International Headquarters.

March 7 - Paramahansa Yogananda passes away in Los Angeles after delivering speech at banquet in honor of Indian Ambassador.

May 16 - Director of Forest Lawn Memorial-Park releases notarized letter testifying:  “No physical disintegration was visible in Paramahansa Yogananda’s body even twenty days after death…[His] body was apparently in a phenomenal state of immutability.”