Chapter 1

Timeline of Yogananda’s Life

Paramhansa Yogananda: History, Life, Mission

Yogananda’s Childhood

Mukunda Age 6

Mukunda, Age 6


He is born and lives in Gorakpur (to age 8). Here little Mukunda receives a mystical letter from God.


He visits Ichapur (“at the age of 8”). An important moment, as here he has a vision of God as Light, described in the Autobiography of a Yogi.


He lives in Lahore (age 8 to 11). Here Divine Mother lovingly answers Mukunda’s prayers, bringing him two desired kites (see Autobiography of a Yogi).


He lives in Bareilly (age 11 to 12). Here Yogananda loses his mother who died in Calcutta, during wedding preparations for her eldest son, Ananta (see Autobiography of a Yogi).

May 1906-July1906

He lives in Chittagong (age 12)

From 1906

He lives in Calcutta (from age 12)


As a Youth in India

Yogananda behind His Older Brother, Ananta

Mukunda behind His Older Brother, Ananta


At the age of 15, Mukunda establishes his first ashram: the Sadhana Mandir in Calcutta. His favorite activity is meeting saints: Swami Pranabananda (with 2 bodies), the blissful Master Mahasaya, the impressive Tiger Swami, the levitating Bhaduri Mahasaya, the scientist J. Chandra Bose, and others.


His ashram is moved next to Tulsi Bose’s home. It includes a “Saraswati Library”. (In 1910 moved elsewhere.)


Mukunda meets his guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar. College begins in Calcutta, at least nominally — he is hardly present.


“Studies” continue in Serampore.
He meets Rabrindranath Tagore for the first time, “shortly after he received the Nobel Prize”.


Mukunda receives his university degree.
In July his guru initiates him in the ancient Swami order, giving him the spiritual name, Swami Yogananda Giri.


Yogananda re-starts the ashram at Tulsi’s home. Here he accepts the first boys for school training.
Yogananda discovers the principles of the Yogoda-exercises, which later become his energization exercises.
From August to November he visits Japan.


Yogananda founds the Yogoda Satsanga Society.
He also starts a school in Dihika (Bengal).


The school is transferred to Ranchi (Bihar).


Still in India, Yogananda publishes his first book: “Dharmavijnana” (Wisdom of Dharma) — later called Science of Religion.
Two years after founding the Ranchi school, he once again meets the Nobel-prize poet, Rabrindranath Tagore, and discusses schools with him.
In Ranchi, he receives an invitation from America, to participate in a “Congress for Religious Liberals”.
In Calcutta, on July 25, the supreme Guru Mahavatar Babaji blesses him for his mission in the West.


In America

Paramhansa Yogananda in New York

Swami Yogananda in New York


In September 19, Yogananda arrives in Boston.
Dr. Lewis becomes Yogananda’s first American Kriya-disciple.
For three years, from 1920-1923, Swami Yogananda lives and teaches in Boston.


In June, he establishes his first American teaching center at N. Waltham, MA.


Yogananda publishes his book of poetry, Songs of the Soul.
He also publishes his first written lessons: YOGODA INTRODUCTION
Yogananda’s starts his transcontinental lecture tours. He lectures in the major cities, in the greatest halls, of America. Thousands hear him everywhere.
He lectured in Worcester, MA (November 5), New York (November 24, for 4 months)


Yogananda publishes his book Science of Religion, and also his Scientific Healing Affirmations.
May 1: He begins month-long classes in Philadelphia, PA. Here the well-known symphony conductor Leopold Stokowski becomes his student.
August 11: Yogananda begins a series of classes in Denver.
The famous horticulturist Luther Burbank becomes Yogananda’s student.
He meets Tara Mata, his editor-in-chief.
In September, Yogananda visits Alaska, traveling in a steamer.


Yogananda publishes his YOGODA COURSE.
In July, he meets his most highly advanced woman disciple, Sister Gyanamata.
October 25: Yogananda establishes his headquarters at Los Angeles, Mount Washington.
There at Mt. Washington, he tries to establish a “how-to-live” school.
Yogananda in this year begins to publish his magazine: He named it variously: East-West (1925 to 1936) and (1945 to 1947); Inner Culture (1937 to 1944); Self Realization Magazine (1948 to 1969); Self-Realization (1970 to present). The magazine features amongst other articles his commentaries on the Second Coming of Christ (from 1932), on the Bhagavad Gita (from 1932), and on the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (from 1937).
He meets Kamala Silva.


Yogananda continues to lecture to thousands, all over America. His fame spreads.
George Eastman, inventor of Kodak camera, becomes Yogananda’s friend and student.


Clara Clemens Gabrilowitsch, the daughter of Mark Twain, becomes Yogananda’s disciple.


On January 24, President Coolidge receives Yogananda at the White House.


Yogananda meets the famous opera singer Amelita Galli Curci, who becomes his disciple.
Durga Ma becomes his disciple.
He publishes Whispers from Eternity.
Dhirananda betrays him, even fighting against him in a lawsuit.
Yogananda decides to visit Mexico, giving lectures and meeting Mexico’s president, Portes Gil.


Yogananda publishes his SUPER ADVANCED COURSE


Daya Mata becomes Yogananda’s disciple. With her arrival Yogananda’s monastic order starts.
Yogananda also meets Yogacharya Oliver Black.


On January 10, Yogananda meets Rajarsi Janakananda, his most advanced disciple and successor.
Yogananda publishes his Metaphysical Meditations.
He organizes a “Summer School” at Mount Washington.
In May, East/West publishes names of famous students of Yogananda:
Amelita Galli-Curci; Luther Burbank; Luigi von Kunits, Conductor of the New Symphony Orchestra of Toronto, Canada; Huston Ray, brilliant pianist; Countess Ilya Tolstoy; Homer Samuels, distinguished pianist; Vladimir Rosing, eminent tenor and director of the American Opera Co.; Clara Clemens Gabrilowitsch; Maria Carreras, famous pianist; George Liebling, pianist-composer; R. J. Cromie, Owner-publisher “Vancouver Sun”; Louis van Norman, Commercial Attach, U. S. Dept. of Commerce; Douglas Grant Diff Ainslie, English poet and author; Alfred Himan, editor “Singing”; Rev. Dr. Arthur Porter, pastor, Salem Congregational Church, York, England.


In 1932 Ananda Mata joins the monastic life.
From 1934 Yogananda withdraws from “campaigning” in America, and stays mostly at Mount Washington. Hard times begin, eating mostly self-grown tomatoes.
In 1934 Yogananda publishes his ADVANCED SUPER COSMIC SCIENCE COURSE.
Until 1934, he had used the Indian name Yogoda Satsanga for his organization, also in America. From 1934 on he calls it Self-Realization Fellowship. In 1935 Yogananda registers Self-Realization Fellowship as an official church.


Europe, Middle East, North Africa

Yogananda in Egypt

Mr. Wright, Yogananda, and Miss Bletch in Egypt


On June 9, Yogananda sails from the USA back to India. On his way, he stops in Europe, visiting by car England (lecturing in London, visiting Stonehenge), Scotland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany (visiting the Bavarian stigmatist Therese Neumann), Switzerland, Italy (Venice, pilgrimage to St. Francis of Assisi, and lecturing in Rome), Greece (visiting Athenian temples), Israel (pilgrimage to Jesus’ places), and Egypt (visiting ancient pyramids).


In India


In August 22, 1935, Yogananda arrives by ship in Bombay. His first stop, still in August, is in Wardha, visiting the great political saint, Mahatma Gandhi.
Then Yogananda travels to Calcutta, seeing family and friends.
In Serampore, he meets his guru Sri Yukteswar again, after 15 years.
The next visit is to his school in Ranchi.
In October and November 1935, in South India, he visits in Mysore (meeting Sir C. V. Raman, the Indian Nobel Prize physicist), Bangalore, Hyderabad, Madras, Arunachala (meeting Ramana Maharishi). He gives many lectures.
In December, Yogananda meets the great woman saint, Anandamoyee Ma in Calcutta, and later again in his school at Ranchi.
In late December 1935, the day after Sri Yukteswar’s Winter Solstice Festival, Yogananda receives from his guru the highest spiritual title “Paramhansa.”


In January, Yogananda visits the Kumbha Mela in Allahabad. Afterwards he travels to Agra (Taj Mahal), Brindaban (Swami Keshabananda, and ancient temples), Delhi, Meerut (once his brother Ananta’s home), Bareilly (visiting a boyhood friend), Gorakhpur (his birthplace), and Benares (Vishvanath temple, Lahiri Mahasaya’s home).
In early March, back in Calcutta, a telegram calls him to Puri: there Sri Yukteswar entered Mahasamadhi on March 9.
In June, back in Bombay, Yogananda witnesses the resurrection of Sri Yukteswar.


Back in America


In September 1936 Yogananda returns to England for a few weeks, lecturing there again, and arrives in late October in New York.
In late 1936 he is back at Mt. Washington.


Returning from India, Yogananda is given the beautiful Encinitas hermitage as a gift from his most advanced disciple, Rajarsi Janakananda. A period of writing begins for Yogananda.


Yogananda publishes his Cosmic Chants.
He also publishes his PRAECEPTA LESSONS.
The Golden Lotus Temple of All Religions is constructed at Encinitas: the first temple to carry the name “of All Religions.” It slips into the ocean in 1942.
Yogananda dedicates the Self-Realization Church of All Religions in Washington, DC.


The YSS headquarter is established in Dakshineswar, India.
Brother Bhaktananda becomes Yogananda’s disciple.


Yogananda founds a Yoga University at Mount Washington, which is later discontinued because of lack of interest from the public.


He dedicates a Self-Realization Church of All Religions in Hollywood.
In the early 40ies Yogananda starts a “World-Brotherhood Colony” at Encinitas, inviting families to live there. It was discontinued due to lack of interest from the public.


Yogananda dedicates a Self-Realization Church of All Religions in San Diego.


He publishes his Attributes of Success, now called Laws of Success.


Mrinalini Mata becomes his disciple.


Yogananda publishes his main and most famous book, the Autobiography of a Yogi.
Uma Mata, Brother Bimalananda and Mukti Mata become his disciples.


He dedicates a Self-Realization Church of All Religions in Long Beach.


Yogananda dedicates a Self-Realization Church of All Religions in Phoenix.
Yogananda experiences his great samadhi. “I will always be in that state now, but nobody will know.”
Swami Kriyananda becomes his disciple.


The Lake Shrine property is donated to Yogananda, which he dedicates as a shrine in August 1950.
Yogananda publishes his guru’s book, The Holy Science.
On November 1, he greets India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in San Francisco.
Brother Anandamoy joins the SRF monastery (he met Yogananda in 1948)
Peggy Deitz, Yogananda’s later chauffeur, becomes a disciple.


Yogananda spends much time in seclusion, in his desert retreat Twenty-Nine Palms, to complete his writings, especially his Bhagavad Gita commentaries.


Roy Eugene Davis becomes Yogananda’s disciple.


He dedicates the India Center in Hollywood.


1952 — Mahasamadi

On March 7, 1952, in the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, during a function for Mr. Sen, the Indian ambassador to the USA, Yogananda consciously leaves his body. He had known the day, cause and circumstance of his passing beforehand.

His case is unique in America’s history: for three weeks, up to the point when the casket is closed, Yogananda’s body shows none of the normal signs of physical decay, odor, or disintegration. The Western world is amazed as it witnesses a “phenomenal state of Immutability, ” which was described in TIME magazine.