Skip to main content Accessibility help

“Development of Body, Mind, and Soul:” Paramahansa Yogananda's Marketing of Yoga-Based Religion

  • Dave J. Neumann


As founder of a religious movement emphasizing soteriological goals, Paramahansa Yogananda is at odds with the prevailing scholarly portrayal of yoga as a modern, syncretic bodily practice focused on mindfulness and physical well-being that, even when employing language of transcendence, magic, or the supernatural, typically has this-worldly perfection in mind. Yogananda, thus, offers an important counterpoint to the dominant historiography of yoga. Whereas more recent “global gurus” often remained in India and recruited among diaspora Indians, Yogananda was the first Indian to establish a thriving yoga-based Hinduism among white converts in the United States. He worked to make his message compelling in the often-hostile milieu of a dominant Christian culture. In this article, I consider Southern California's identity as a “spiritual frontier” that offered a uniquely conducive space to launch a Hindu religious movement in a virulently xenophobic era. I explore Yogananda's vision of the “science of religion,” language that reflected not a materialist reduction of yoga to somatic goals, but a precise, systematic meditation method designed to achieve God-contact. Yogananda offered various products in an effort to build brand loyalty for his yoga-based religion. Although he strategically promoted the very real health and energy benefits of his instruction, the heart of his commercial and spiritual enterprise was a yoga correspondence course that promised to train disciples in a devotional relationship with a God he often depicted as a personal Being. I conclude by examining Yogananda's role as the authoritative divine guru who mediated his religious products to devotees and remained present after his death to guide them toward ultimate bliss.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      “Development of Body, Mind, and Soul:” Paramahansa Yogananda's Marketing of Yoga-Based Religion
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      “Development of Body, Mind, and Soul:” Paramahansa Yogananda's Marketing of Yoga-Based Religion
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      “Development of Body, Mind, and Soul:” Paramahansa Yogananda's Marketing of Yoga-Based Religion
      Available formats



Hide All

The title is drawn from Yogananda's description of the purpose of his East-West magazine: “An Illustrated Bi-Monthly Magazine Devoted to Spiritual Realization; Development of Body, Mind and Soul; Practical Metaphysics, Hindu Psychology.” See cover, East-West, Nov–Dec 1925.



Hide All


2 Brother Nakulananda, “What is Meditation? The Teaching of Paramahansa Yogananda,” World Religion News (July 28, 2017), accessed August 1, 2017,

3 Foxen, Anya P., “Yogi Calisthenics: What the ‘Non-Yoga’ Yogic Practice of Paramahansa Yogananda Can Tell Us about Religion,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 85, no. 2 (June 2017): 494526; and, more recently, , Foxen, Biography of a Yogi: Paramahansa Yogananda and the Origins of Modern Yoga (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).

4 Singleton, Mark, Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice (New York: Oxford, 2010), 131–32, acknowledges that Yogananda “inspire[d] several generations of Western spiritual seekers.” White, David Gordon, Sinister Yogis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 246, argues that, along with a handful of other gurus, it is “the life and teachings of Yogananda that have had the greatest impact on modern-day conceptions of yoga as a marriage between the physical and the spiritual, the human and the superhuman.” In her influential A History of Modern Yoga: Patanjali and Western Esotericism (New York: Continuum, 2004), Elizabeth De Michelis reduces Yogananda to part of one sentence (196). Stefanie Syman, who claims to tell “the story of yoga in America” in her Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America (New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 2010), devotes only two terse, somewhat flippant pages to Yogananda and his movement (170–71). In his Hinduism and Modernity (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003), 173, David Smith discusses “the most important modern gurus,” and ignores Yogananda altogether.

5 “Paramhansa Yogananda: India's First Yoga Guru in the U.S.,” Times of India (March 6, 2015), accessed April 23, 2016,

6 Hitendra Wadhwa, “Yoga Modern Civilisation's Great Movement,” Daily Pioneer (June 21, 2015), accessed April 23, 2016,

7 “India's Prime Minister Releases Stamp Commemorating YSS Centennial,” Self-Realization Fellowship (March 9, 2017), accessed October 19, 2017,

8 Foxen, “Yogi Calisthenics,” 502, 519.

9 In the footnote, Yogananda actually explains that hatha yoga is “a specialized branch of bodily postures and techniques for health and longevity” and is “useful and provides spectacular physical results.” He seems to be referring specifically to the use of āsanas, because his Kriya Yoga, as discussed later in this article, employed techniques from haṭha yoga. See Paramahansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi (New York: Philosophical Library, 1946), 235. Note: Given SRF's widespread practice of rewriting Yogananda's texts, my references are always to the first edition of each text.

10 Foxen, Biography of a Yogi, 153.

11 White, Sinister Yogis, 44–45.

12 On mahasamādhi, see Orianne Aymard, When a Goddess Dies: Worshipping Ma Anandamayi after Her Death (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 115.

13 De Michelis, History of Modern Yoga, 188–189. For a similar typology of “Hindu-inspired meditation movements,” see also Lola Williamson, Transcendent in America: Hindu-Inspired Meditation Movements as New Religion (New York: New York University Press, 2010), 5.

14 Thus, I do not wish to essentialize either religion in general or Yogananda's religion in particular as depending on belief in God. Yogananda's theological convictions, however, are essential to a proper understanding of his teaching and they set him apart from much of what has been defined as yoga in the twentieth-century United States.

15 See, for example, Ellen Goldberg, “Swami Krpalvananda: The Man behind Kripalu Yoga” and Andrea R. Jain, “Muktananda: Entrepreneurial Godman, Tantric Hero,” in Gurus of Modern Yoga, ed. Ellen Goldberg and Mark Singleton (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014).

16 Mark Singleton and Ellen Goldberg, “Introduction,” in Goldberg and Singleton, Gurus of Modern Yoga, 2.

17 Sarah Strauss, Positioning Yoga: Balancing Acts across Cultures (Oxford: Berg, 2005), xix, emphasis added. For significant articulations of this view see Alter, Yoga in Modern India: The Body Between Philosophy and Science (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003); De Michelis, History of Modern Yoga; and Singleton, Yoga Body. Jain, Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015) treats modern postural yoga as a form of religion in its own right, providing a more capacious definition of religion than I find helpful.

18 White, Sinister Yogis, 47.

19 Joanne Punzo Waghorne, “Beyond Pluralism: Global Gurus and the Third Stream of American Religiosity,” in Gods in America: Religious Pluralism in the United States, eds. Charles L. Cohen and Ronald L. Numbers (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 233.

20 Thomas A. Forstoefel and Cynthia Anne Humes, eds., Gurus in America (New York: State University of New York Press, 2005); Singleton and Goldberg, eds., Gurus of Modern Yoga; and Ann Gleig and Lola Williamson, eds., Homegrown Gurus: From Hinduism in America to American Hinduism (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2014).

21 Amanda Lucia, “Innovative Gurus: Tradition and Change in Contemporary Hinduism,” International Journal of Hindu Studies 18, no. 2 (2014): 221.

22 On Vivekananda's lack of yoga training, see Dermot Killingley, “Manufacturing Yogis,” in Gurus of Modern Yoga, 17. On his lack of success, see later in this article.

23 “Paramahansa Yogananda,” Self-Realization Fellowship, accessed August 4, 2017,

24 On global competition, see Singleton and Goldberg, “Introduction,” 3.

25 Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, The Holy Science (Ranchi, India: Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, 1963), 51.

26 Torkel Brekke, “Conceptual Foundation of Missionary Hinduism,” Journal of Religious History 23, no. 2 (June 1999): 203–14; quotes on 203–204.

27 David Crumm, “Conversation with an Eastern Voice, Now Part of America's Spiritual Culture,” Read the Spirit, accessed September 6, 2017,

28 Wendell Thomas, Hinduism Invades America (New York: Beacon Press, 1930), 140.

29 Waghorne, “Beyond Pluralism,” 231.

30 Ghosh, “Mejda:” The Family and Early Life of Paramahansa Yogananda (Los Angles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1980), 119; Swami Satyananda, “Yogananda Sanga (Paramhansa Yoganandaji As I Have Seen and Understood Him),” in A Collection of Biographies of 4 Kriya Yoga Gurus (Battle Creek: Yoga Niketan, 2004), 183; and Sailendra Bejoy Dasgupta, Paramhansa Swami Yogananda: Life-Portrait and Reminiscences (London: Yoga Niketan, 2006), 12.

31 Satyananda, “Yogananda Sanga,” 181.

32 Swami Satyeswarananda, Kriya: The True Path (San Diego: Sanskrit Classics, 1991), 150.

33 Richard Seager, “Pluralism and the American Mainstream: The View From the World's Parliament of Religion” Harvard Theological Review 82, no. 3 (1989): 301–24.

34 International Congress of Free Christians and Other Religious Liberals, New Pilgrimages of the Spirit: Proceedings and Papers of the Pilgrim Tercentenary Meeting of the International Congress of Free Christians and Other Religious Liberals (Boston: Beacon Press, 1921), 7.

35 Alter, Yoga in Modern India, 32.

36 Swami Yogananda, Science of Religion (Calcutta: Kuntaline Press, 1920), 56.

37 Ibid., 54–56.

38 Ibid., 30–31, emphasis in original.

39 Ibid., 29–30.

40 Swami Yogananda, “Watching the Cosmic Motion Picture of Life,” East-West, May-June 1928, 3–4.

41 Paramhansa Yogananda, The Master Said: A Collection of Paramhansa Yogananda's Sayings and Wise Counsel to Various Disciples (Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1952), 119. Anne Feldhaus, Connected Places: Region, Pilgrimage, and Geographical Imagination in India (Gordonsville, VA: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 5, 7.

42 Gregory Singleton, Religion in the City of Angels American Protestant Culture and Urbanization, Los Angeles, 1850–1930 (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1979).

43 Wade Clark Roof, “Pluralism as a Culture: Religion and Civility in Southern California,” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 612, no. 1(July 2007): 82–99; reference on 86–87.

44 Vachel Lindsay, The Art of the Moving Picture (1915), reprinted in David L. Ulin, Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology (New York: Library of America, 2002), 48.

45 “Sou’ by Sou'west,” Los Angeles Times, January 28, 1900, IM29.

46 Quoted in Kevin Starr, Material Dreams: Southern California through the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 135.

47 “Los Angeles a Microcosm,” Los Angeles Times, December 15, 1908, II4.

48 “Hindus are Coming South,” Los Angeles Times, September 25, 1907, I3; “Hegira of Hindus,” Los Angeles Times, September 27, 1907, I1; “Influx of Hindus: Thousands from Vancouver Now Employed on Western Pacific in California,” Los Angeles Times, November 10, 1907, II11; and “The Secret of the Green Turban,” Los Angeles Times, November 22, 1907, II4.

49 “A Hindu Problem,” Los Angeles Times, April 8, 1910, II13. Indians’ unwillingness to doff their turbans in a courtroom provided a key symbolic marker of their inability to assimilate. See “People of the Coast,” Los Angeles Times, Jan 30, 1907, II4; “Hindu's Turban Sign of Guilt,” Los Angeles Times, April 28, 1913, II2; “Judge Scalps Hindu,” Los Angeles Times, February 17, 1914, I12; and “May Wear Turban,” Los Angeles Times, May 19, 1916, II9.

50 The image of the yogi as magician and imposter was a well-established theme in Europe as well. See Singleton, Yoga Body, 64–70.

51 “State Prosecutors Ready for Psychic Inquiries,” Los Angeles Times, November 16, 1924, 14.

52 According to Donald E. Pitzer, around the turn of the century, “the focus of much of America's communal utopian experimentation shifted” to the West Coast, “where all manner of religious and social causes found a sympathetic hearing.” “Introduction,” in America's Communal Utopias, ed. Donald E. Pitzer (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997), 10.

53 Robert V. Hine, California's Utopian Communities (New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 1953), 165–66.

54 John E. Baur, The Health Seekers of Southern California, 1870–1900 (San Marino, CA: Huntington Library Press, 1959), 48, 93–96.

55 Both quotes are from David Sloane, “Landscapes of Health and Rejuvenation,” in Companion to Los Angeles, ed. William Deverell and Greg Hise (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 449.

56 For example, May 23, 1926, K24; May 6, 1928, L26; July 1, 1928, K26; and September 9, 1928, K26. The column had a similar tone when Harry Ellington Brook covered it. See, for example, September 24, 1922, XI22.

57 Barclay L. Severns, June 26, 1923, II14.

58 See, for example, “Hindu Royalty as Los Angeles Guests,” Los Angeles Times, July 29, 1919, II3, and “The Orient Contributes a Fashion,” Los Angeles Times, October 10, 1915, VII8.

59 “News and Business,” Los Angeles Times, March 25, 1901, I2. Vivekananda's death only earned a terse obituary in the Times. See “Obituary,” Los Angeles Times, July 25, 1902, 2.

60 “Pagan Worship in the States,” Los Angeles Times, August 14, 1910, I7.

61 See “Obituary,” Los Angeles Times, July 25, 1902, 2.

62 “‘Christ, the Messenger:’ Swami Vivekananda's Views on the World's Redeemer, Los Angeles Times, January 8, 1900, I12. See Carl Jackson, Vedanta for the West: The Ramakrishna Movement in the United States (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994), 108–109.”

63 Jackson, Vedanta for the West, 50–56.

64 Farquhar, J. N., Modern Religious Movements in India (New York: MacMillan, 1915), 296.

65 Professor Guy Carleton Lee, “The Field of Fresh Literature—What Authors are Saying, Doing, and Writing,” Los Angeles Times, October 22, 1905, VI15O. Another ad called him the “Henry Ward Beecher of India,” comparing him to one of the late nineteenth-century's most famous evangelical preachers. See Los Angeles Times, January 29, 1911, IV1.

66 “Baba Bharati Bids Farewell,” Los Angeles Times, June 22, 1907, II6.

67 “Good-Goods and Now Brahmins,” Los Angeles Times, June 4, 1910, II10.

68 Rose R. Anthon, letter to the editor, Los Angeles Times, March 2, 1914, II5.

69 Levinsky, Sara Ann, A Bridge of Dreams: The Story of Paramananda, a Modern Mystic, and His Ideal of All-conquering Love (West Stockbridge, MA: Lindisfarne Press; New York, 1984), passim, provides numerous examples of such women who were followers of Swami Paramananda.

70 Marchand, Roland, Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920–1940 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), 271–73.

71 Bush, Gregory W., Lord of Attention: Gerald Stanley Lee and the Crowd Metaphor in Industrializing America (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1991), 5.

72 Hedstrom, Matthew, Rise of Liberal Religion: Book Culture and American Spirituality in the Twentieth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 25.

73 “Book Review: The Man Nobody Knows,” East-West, May-June, 1926.

74 See Jain, “Muktananda” on Mumbai-area guru Muktananda, who launched Siddha yoga in 1956, and Urban, Hugh B., Zorba the Buddha: Sex, Spirituality, and Capitalism in the Global Osho Movement (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2016) on Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who started teaching in India in the 1960s before becoming infamous in the United States as sex-guru “Osho” in the 1980s. Yogananda was never as blunt as Osho, who recognized that he was part of a “marketplace” and claimed to “sell enlightenment.” In Selling Yoga, Jain has also analyzed more broadly the emergence of counterculture-era American postural yoga through a capitalist framework. In Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion (London: Routledge, 2005), 2, Jeremy Carrette and Richard King apply this model to contemporary yoga in a handwringing attempt to “uncover what amounts to a silent takeover of ‘the religious’ by contemporary capitalist ideologies by means of the increasingly popular discourse of ‘spirituality.’”

75 “City College Unveiling—A Swami Comes to Town—Arkansas Travelers Arrive Here—Honored by France,” New York Tribune, November 18, 1923, 11. Singleton, Yoga Body, 64–70. See later discussion.

76 “Appeal of Luther Burbank for the Work of Swami Yogananda,” East-West, November-December 1925, n.p.

77 Time Magazine, February 20, 1928, 26.

78 In 1928, Sid Grauman invited Yogananda to a Hollywood Association of Foreign Correspondents dinner in honor of Carl Laemmle. Samuel Goldwyn, D. W. Griffith, William C. DeMille (the older brother of Cecil B. DeMille), actress Delores Del Rio, and “dozens of other screen luminaries” were in attendance. “Los Angeles News,” East-West, July-August 1928, 25.

79 Miller, Vincent J., Consuming Religion: Christian Faith and Practice in a Consumer Culture (New York: Continuum, 2005), 79.

80 Joan Wight, A Trilogy of Divine Love (Beverly Hills: Joan Wight, 1992), 173.

81 Mary Peck Stockton, A Testimony of Love and Devotion: My Life Journey with Paramahansa Yogananda (Portland, OR: Tamaltree Books, 2015), 28.

82 For revivalists as popular dramatic performers, see Nathan Hatch, Democratization of American Christianity (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989).

83 R. Laurence Moore, Selling God: American Religion in the Marketplace Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 106–12; on commoditized religion, see 119.

84 Lyle Dorsett, Billy Sunday and the Redemption of Urban America (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 95.

85 Moore, Selling God, 186–87.

86 See Matthew Avery Sutton, Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007), 76.

87 Thomas, Hinduism Invades America, 171.

88 “Student Throws Away Crutch at Swami's Healing Meeting,” East-West, January-February, 1926, 31.

89 See Los Angeles Times, November 7, 1925, A2.

90 William Leuchtenburg, Perils of Prosperity, 1914–32 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958), 197–98.

91 Clark Davis, “Corporate Reconstruction of Middle-Class Manhood,” in The Middling Sorts: Explorations in the History of the American Middle Class, ed. Burton J. Bledstein and Robert D. Johnston (New York: Routledge, 2001), 201–16; for Los Angeles see 205–06.

92 Paramhansa Swami Yogananda, Your Praecepta (Dakshineswar, India: Yogoda Sat-Sanga Press), n.d., S-I, P 17, 4. See also Swami Yogananda, “Who is a Swami?” East-West World Wide, January-February 1926, 16.

93 This definition is a paraphrase of Julia Horne, “Cosmopolitan Life of Alice Erh-Soon Tay,” Journal of World History 21 (3) 422, which is in turn adapted from Kwame Anthony Appiah, Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2010).

94 On the growth of home economics in the midst of the early twentieth century's consumer culture, see Carolyn M. Goldstein, Creating Consumers: Home Economists in Twentieth-Century America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012).

95 Yogananda reprinted a 1927 Mussolini speech, lauded national dietary plans, and proclaimed that a “master brain like that of Mussolini does more good than millions of social organizations of group intelligence.” “Benito Mussolini on Science and Religion,” East-West, May-June 1927, 10; November-December 1927; Swami Yogananda, “An Interview,” Inner Culture, February 1934, 3, 25. Yogananda offered his admiration for Hitler's decision to leave the League of Nations. See “Christmas Message to the Nations of the Earth,” East-West, December, 1933, 25. The month after the Nazi government announced the Nuremberg Laws, Yogananda expressed enthusiasm for “the German awakening—a new Germany,” Inner Culture, October 1935, 23. (Note: East-West magazine changed names several times. Inner Culture was its name during much of the 1930s.)

96 Swami Yogananda, “Three Recipes,” East-West, September-October 1927, 22.

97 Swami Yogananda “Recipes,” East-West, March-April 1930, 22.

98 Inner Culture, May 1934, 30.

99 Inner Culture, September 1935, 32; Inner Culture, January 1935, 30.

100 Swami Yogananda, “The Balanced Life: Curing Mental Abnormalities,” East-West, November-December 1925, 20–21.

101 Swami Yogananda, “Three Recipes,” East-West, November-December 1927, 27.

102 See Swami Satyeswarananda Giri, Kriya: Finding the True Path (San Diego: Sanskrit Classics, 1991), 145–46.

103 This can occasion some confusion. The ads Foxen cites in “Yogi Calisthenics,” 519, refer to the full yoga correspondence course (as the bottom of the ads makes clear), rather than the 1923 Yogoda booklet she explicates throughout her article.

104 Yogoda or Muscle-Will System of Physical Perfection, Boston: Sat Sanga, 1923.

105 He seems to have borrowed the exercises themselves from the Danish physical culturalist J. P. Muller, who made a similar pitch about the ability to practice these exercises in the midst of a busy life in the modern world. J. P. Muller, My System: 15 Minutes Exercise a Day for Health (London: Link House, n.d.). His childhood friend and ashram partner, Satyananda, reports Muller's influence, although with some imprecision. See Satyananda, “Yoga Sanga,” 244. Singleton, Yoga Body, 131–32, exaggerates the centrality of muscle control in Yogananda's overall routine.

106 Satyeswarananda, Kriya, 258.

107 Foxen, “Yogi Calisthenics,” 502 fn. 6, 519.

108 Von V. Pittman, “University Correspondence Study: A Revised Historiographic Perspective,” in Handbook of Distance Education, ed. Michael G. Moore, 3rd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2013), 22; Otto Peters, “Most Industrialized Form of Education,” in Handbook of Distance Education, ed. Michael G. Moore, 2nd ed. Mahwah, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates, 2007), 58–59.

109 See John T. McFarland, Benjamin S. Winchester, R. Douglas Fraser, J. Williams Butcher, eds., Encyclopedia of Sunday School and Religious Education (New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1915), 23–24.

110 Carl T. Jackson, “New Thought Movement, and the Nineteenth Century Discovery of Oriental Philosophy,” Journal of Popular Culture 9, no. 3 (Winter 1975): 539.

111 Yogi Ramacharaka, Correspondence Class Course in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism (Palmyra, NJ: Yogi Publication Society, 1903), n.p.

112 For the founding of the correspondence school, see Echoes from Mount Ecclesia, June 1914, 1–4; quote on 3. On the topics for the course, see Mrs. Max Heindel, Birth of the Rosicrucian Fellowship: The History of its Inception. Reprint ed. Mt. Ecclesia: The Rosicrucian Fellowship, 2012 [1923], n.p.

113 Ramacharaka, Correspondence Class Course, n.p.

114 Satyeswarananda, Kriya, 280.

115 Your Praecepta, S-I, P 7, 2.

116 The content of the original lessons is difficult to fully reconstruct. This analysis is based on the Praecepta lessons, a consolidation and enlargement of the lessons that was begun in 1934 and completed in 1938, which provide the most complete, sequential presentation of extant materials.

117 Your Praecepta, S-I, P-12, 4; S-V, P 109, 2; S-V, P 109, 2; and S-I, P 3, 3.

118 Ibid., S-I, P 1, 3; S-V, P 150, 1.

119 Foxen, “Yogi Calisthenics,” 518.

120 Your Praecepta, S-V, P 105, 4; S-VII, P 166, 4; S-V, P 107, 3, S-V, P 107, 6; S-V, P 130/4; and S-I, P 7, 3.

121 Ibid., S-I, P 7. p. 3, and S-I, P 5, p. 4; and S-I, P 26/3, 3.

122 See Andrew J. Nicholson, Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010), 36.

123 Your Praecepta, S-VII, P 181. 4.

124 Stuart Ray Sarbacker, “The Numinous and Cessative in Modern Yoga,” in Yoga in the Modern World: Contemporary Perspectives, eds. Mark Singleton and Jean Byrne; and Stuart Ray Sarbacker, Samadhi: The Numinous and Cessative in Indo-Tibetan Yoga (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005). On the coining of “the numinous,” see Rudolf Otto, The Idea of the Holy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1923).

125 Edwin F. Bryant, Yoga Sutras of Patañjali: A New Edition, Translation, and Commentary (New York: North Point Press, 2009), 472, 254, 169, 171. On a somewhat different interpretation of the Yoga Sutras’ theism, see Gerald James Larson, “Introduction to the Philosophy of Yoga,” in Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, vol 12, eds. Gerald James Larson and Ram Shankar Battacharya, 91–100, 136–147.

126 Nicholson, Unifying Hinduism, 182.

127 Brenda Lewis Rosser, Treasures against Time, 6–7, 47, 53.

128 Swami Kriyananda, Paramhansa Yogananda, 203–210; Gorsuch, Paul, ed., I Became My Heart—Stories of a Disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda: Leo Cocks (San Diego, CA: Contact Approach Publishing, 2013), 72.

129 Weber, Max, Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology, eds. Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978), 246–49.

130 Aymard, When a Goddess Dies, 152.

131 “Guru's Exit,” Time, August 4, 1952, 59; “Funeral Rites for Yogananda Set for Tuesday,” Los Angeles Times, March 9, 1952, 18; “Religious Leader Dies: Paramhansa Yogananda Stricken at Dinner for Indian Envoy,” New York Times, March 9, 1952, 92.

132 Faye Wright letter to Self-Realization Fellowship Members, March 19, 1952, in author's possession.

133 Kriyananda, Swami, The Path: Autobiography of a Western Yogi (Nevada City: Ananda Publications, 1977), 548, and Kamala, The Flawless Mirror (Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 1992), 195. On posthumous encounters with the guru in dreams, see Aymard, When a Goddess Dies,186–87.

134 “Visions of the Guru,” Self-Realization Magazine, November 1952, 43.

135 Kriyananda, The Path, 548.

136 Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, Memorial Service: Sri Daya Mata, President and Sanghamata, SRF/YSS (Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2010), accessed May 1, 2016,

137 Swami Achalananda, “In Memoriam: Sri Sri Mrinalini Mata (May 8, 1931–August 3, 2017): A Special Message From the Yogoda Satsanga Society of India/Self-Realization Fellowship Board of Directors,” Self-Realization Fellowship (August 4, 2017), accessed October 20, 2017,

138 “Locations,” Self-Realization Fellowship, accessed April 25, 2016,

139 Cited in Self-Realization Fellowship, “Prime Minister of India Meets With YSS Monks,” News (April 4, 2016), accessed November 3, 2016,

140 “PM Releases Commemorative Postage Stamp on the Occasion of the 100th Anniversary of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India,” Narendra Modi (March 7, 2017), accessed March 20, 2017,

141 About Self-Realization Fellowship, Self-Realization Fellowship, accessed December 10, 2017,

The title is drawn from Yogananda's description of the purpose of his East-West magazine: “An Illustrated Bi-Monthly Magazine Devoted to Spiritual Realization; Development of Body, Mind and Soul; Practical Metaphysics, Hindu Psychology.” See cover, East-West, Nov–Dec 1925.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Religion and American Culture
  • ISSN: 1052-1151
  • EISSN: 1533-8568
  • URL: /core/journals/religion-and-american-culture
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed