Paramahansa Yogananda was a 20th century Hindu Yoga master from India who immigrated to the United States to share Hindu beliefs. In America, Yogananda offered Hindu beliefs such as Self-Realization and Yoga to individuals by writing many books and also by lecturing to audiences. He played a key role in expanding Hindu beliefs to America. By spreading Hinduism principals and the practice of Yoga to America, Paramahansa Yogananda changed Hinduism in the United States forever. In 1920, at 27, Yogananda left for America, eager to share his Hindu beliefs. Three years prior to his departure for the United States, Yogananda founded the Self-Realization Fellowship.
This organization focused on sharing two of Yogananda’s main principles: Self-realization and the practice of Yoga. Self-realization is, in the words of Yogananda, “the knowing in all parts of body, mind, and soul that you are now in possession of the kingdom of God,” and yoga is meditation to train one’s brain. Once in America, Yogananda expanded his organization and today it is headquartered in Los Angeles. One aspect of Yogananda’s teachings were his writings.
Yogananda wrote a large amount of books in America and they were wanted by a lot of Americans who were seeking answers. His most popular book was his Autobiography of a Yogi. In this book, he discusses his search for spiritual enlightenment. His book also explains self-realization and yoga, the two fundamental values of his organization. In addition to writing, Yogananda also taught in lectures. In major cities of the United States, Audience members would crowd auditoriums to listen to Yogananda lecture.
Yogananda was an excellent public speaker, and his speeches would introduce many to the practice of mind-awakening yoga. Yogananda’s lectures gave the audience a better understanding of yoga. Paramahansa Yogananda didn’t change the core beliefs of Hinduism, however through his organization, Self-Realization Fellowship, his lectures and writings, Yogananda was able to spread the Hindu beliefs of yoga and self-realization.