In the late 1960s and early 70s, the world of young people was open for new input, new insights, and new ideas. Paramahansa Yogananda burst on to this Woodstock generation scene with a new formula for religion. The “hippies” or “flower children” of the area were seeking a new way to have faith and an escape from their former Judeo-Christian upbringings that taught that God the Father was up there somewhere keeping a list of who did good and who did bad, and you better watch out if you act or think impurely.
Along came Yogananda who said that God is Love, that spirituality is more important than religion. He taught that meditation and the various forms of yoga – breathing, exercise, chanting, meditating, even eating – would bring you closer to the Universal peace that other religions seem to have forgotten was important.
Autobiography of a Yogi was written and published in the 1940s and 50s, but went on to become a spiritual classic and a cult classic twenty years later. It opened our eyes to the saints and symbols of Hindu culture. It gave us a new way of thinking in a world that was exploding into a wild new paradigm. It showed us that not everything good and God happened in a church or a synagogue. It opened our minds as much as, or more than, all the LSD in the world could ever do!
Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship is one of the most beautiful places in Los Angeles, sitting high above the Pacific Ocean and granting silence and retreat in an otherwise chaotic location. The SRF 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.”
Yogananda wrote about the power of love — “‘The best possible definition of God is Ever-Existing, Ever-Conscious, Ever-New Bliss.’ While there are additional ways to define God, such as Love, Peace, Power, and Light, Bliss is stressed in this work because “Bliss fulfills humanity’s need not only for complete freedom from suffering, but for freedom in divine completion. All men want to be aware that they are blissful. Conscious bliss will give them that awareness.”
Would that the world listened to Yogananda now, and to his devotees who have been trying to tell us for years that “All You Need Is Love.” The world would be a better place if we all just stopped, listened, and loved.
The complete book Autobiography of a Yogi can be read online – for FREE! here – http://www.crystalclarity.com/yogananda/.