Mukunda Lal Ghosh was born on 5 January 1893 the son of Bhagabati Charan Ghosh and Gyana Prabha Ghosh (nee Bose) in his parents house on Police Officer Road, Gorakhpur in northeastern India near the Himalayan Mountains, where he lived for his first 8 years. Bhagabati and Gyana were Bengalis of the Kshatriya caste (2nd caste originally of rulers and warriors); both became disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya of Banaras.
In 1915 Mukunda Lal Ghosh's name was changed to Yogananda when he entered the ancient monastic Swami Order. It was the same year, in June 1915, that he received his Degree (A.B.) at Calcutta University. In 1917, he began his life's work with the founding of the Yogoda Satsanga Society school in India. It was the sacred mission entrusted to him by Mahavatar Babaji and Swami Sri Yukteswar: the worldwide dissemination of India’s ancient Kriya Yoga science of spirituality for the upliftment of all humanity.
In August 1920 he sailed on the ship "The City of Sparta" for America for the first time, arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A on 19 September 1920 as the Indian representative at the International Congress, where he gave a speech on 6 October. He spent 3 years in Boston before starting on a tour of the country giving many lectures, establishing an American Headquarters on Mount Washington Estate, in Los Angeles, California in 1925. He spent all the 1920's lecturing and giving Yoga classes all over the U.S.A., the principal mission for his being in America, and became the first Swami to be officially received by the President. The principal vehicle for this mission was to be the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons, which give his in-depth instruction in the actual techniques of the highest yoga science of God-realization, and were originally created in the 1930s.
In March 1935 he had the Self-Realization Fellowship chartered under the laws of the State of California and sailed from New York on the ship "Europa" on 9 June 1935 with his Secretary Mr C Richard Wright for England. Later in the year, after visiting Europe, Israel and Egypt, he returned to India on the ship "Rajputana" arriving in Bombay on 22 August 1935, and during his stay, his guru, Sri Yukteswar Giri, bestowed on him the further religious title of Paramahansa, before his guru made his transition in March 1936.
After a 2 hour session with his guru in June 1936, Sri Yuteswar's last words were "whenever you enter the door of nirbikalpa samadhi and call on me, I shall come to you in flesh and blood, even as today" (Autobiography of a Yogi, p495). Steve Taylor equates this with the fully awakened state when "the world of form disappears all together. It dissolves into an ocean of pure spirit, which one feels is the ultimate reality of the universe .... with no concept of self". Russell Williams-51339 and Eckhart Tolle-223 refer to it as 'Universal Consciousness', and Jiddu Krishnamurti-1 as the 'otherness'.
On 23 October 1936 Swami Paramahansa Yogananda arrived back at New York on the ship "Bremen" from Southampton, England, giving his age as 42 on the typed passenger list and name Yogananda Swami G. (for Giri) and handwritten below "alias Mukunda Lal Ghosh".
In 1942 he signed a U.S. WWII Draft Registration Card when he was 49 giving his employment as President, Self-Realization Foundation; residence as Golden Lotus Temple, Encinitas, San Diego, California, and signed it Swami Yogananda. His naturalization declaration was made on 11 October 1946 at Los Angeles and was received on 26 August 1949 when he was aged 56 in California.
He assigned a project to update the all important Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons to Mrinalini Mata (Brown-62693) telling her, “The Lessons will be your life’s work”.
He left his body on 7 March 1952 in Los Angeles, California afte giving a speech at a banquet in honour of the visiting Ambassador of India, as he had predicted. Followers say that he entered mahasamadhi - [final earth exit of a great Yogi]. The official cause of death was heart failure (see Wikipedia ref.). He was buried at Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA.
In 1977, the 25th anniversary of the passing of Paramahansa Yogananda, the Government of India issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honour (Yogananda, 1946, p.571).
For a comprehensive bibliography of Paramahansa's published works see the Wikipedia reference in the Sources.
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