‘Learn to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; and to love your neighbour as yourself. You do not need any other commandments if you follow those two.’
Paramahansa Yogananda and the Path of Kriya Yoga
Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, Founded by Paramahansa Yogananda
My Life with Paramhansa Yogananda, Talk by Swami Kriyananda (2009)
Podcast: Selected Teachings for Meditation — Kriya Yoga
Journey to Self-Realization: Collected Talks and Essays on Realising God in Daily Life (1997)
Paramahansa Yogananda
In Summary

A collection of essays and speeches on how to attain God consciousness by the man who would become known as the Father of Yoga in the West.


When Paramahansa Yogananda set foot on American soil, the impact sent tremors throughout the spiritual landscape of the New World. He would become not only the first prominent Indian teacher to make this migration but also the first to receive a personal invitation from the White House. His teachings drew the attention of many great figures, such as Luther Burbank, Henry Ford and Mahatma Gandhi, and the organisations he founded to spread the practice of Kriya Yoga would continue to attract thousands of followers, establishing over 700 retreat centres, ashrams and meditation circles across the globe.

Yogananda was a prolific writer as well as a teacher and the Review of Religions claimed his works were like ‘nothing before… in English or in any other European language’. While most prominently known for the breath-taking saga of his life, a journey immortally transcribed in Autobiography of a Yogi (1946), many of his more specific teachings have been lovingly preserved through the tireless work of his loyal disciples. In this present volume, various speeches and essays are collated from the great guru around the subject that is, perhaps, more central to Yogananda’s teachings than any other: the pathway to God realisation.


Do you want to experience true joy – a joy against which every earthly pleasure you have ever experienced pales in comparison? According to Yogananda, such joy is possible but only for the spiritually perseverant and wise. The problem is that while such bliss is fully attainable – achieved simply by realising our unity with God – the veil of maya and illusion trap us in a cycle of earthly suffering. We become attached to material pleasure, endlessly seeking fulfilment through worldly delights in one incarnation after another. Yet nothing, not wealth nor family nor romance, will ever satisfy the cravings of the human heart. We are divine beings, and only by realising our divine origin and end will we ever be set free from this endless stream of suffering.

Creation is a product of God’s play (what is called Lila), but in this free play of the Divine, God allows for us to freely choose to reflect the divine laws in ourselves or reject them, creating the ignorance that leads to all the world’s suffering. In other words, we only suffer because we ignorantly believe our bodies and our present experiences define who we are. Yogananda asks us instead to see the world as a movie. When evil occurs in a film, we are not bothered since we know it is all unreal. We can enjoy the movie for what it is, both the good and the bad. For the unawakened, though, the world is more like a nightmare. Amid these dreams, we suffer tremendously and only experience relief when we awaken to discover the truth – that none of it was real. In the same way, one day we will all wake up and realise that no harm has actually been done to us – at least, not to our true, divine selves. By recognising this world as a dream and God as the only true reality, we develop self-realisation and alleviate our own suffering.

By uniting our consciousness with God’s, we free ourselves from all worldly attachments. We receive the one, infinite joy that underlies and surpasses all others: God realisation. We attain the one delight we can never lose. While we still perform our ‘role’ in the divine play, we do so with a sense of lightness, knowing that the world and its troubles bear no hold on our true self. We likewise recognise that thought creates matter, opening us up to power over the material world. The spiritually astute have been known to perform feats that might be deemed magic, yet these feats are merely the products of freeing ourselves from identification with the body.

While the West has surpassed the rest of the world in technological innovation, its successes have yet to bring the planet one step closer to the happiness we all desire. Inventions like modern medicine, the aeroplane and improved farming techniques have benefited millions, yet the deepest longings of the human spirit remain unfulfilled. Despite its great knowledge, the West has much to learn. Deep within the heart of India, an enclave of spiritual wisdom remains preserved: a science superior to any found within the halls of European academia. This is the science of kriya yoga. Through meditation, we are slowly loosened from the bonds of karma, liberating our minds to experience the world shrouded behind maya’s ever-encompassing embrace. While gurus can teach God realisation and devotees speak of its glories, we can only know it personally through intuition – knowledge through direct experience. Our highest aim is the awakening of this inner experience of oneness with God, and the only offering we can present on this altar is a will submitted to achieving this in our own life.


Millions have found inspiration from Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi. Indeed, at Steve Jobs’s memorial, copies were distributed to every attending guest, 500 copies in all. And by one count, the work has been sold over four million times. Yet while rich in accounts of India’s spiritual titans, the text has left many clamouring to discover what further wisdom these figures could offer the world.

As such, collected volumes, such as Journey to Self-Realization, are perfect for those who have been moved by the guru’s remarkable story, yet desire to dive deeper into the teachings that formed him into one of the most influential yogis of the 20th century. This volume specifically will be prized by those seeking wisdom on the nature of God, the cosmos and our place within it – or, better yet, our unity with it.

Further Reading By This Author

Outside of his bestselling work Autobiography of a Yogi, dozens of other texts exist either from Yogananda’s own hands or as recorded by his disciples from his talks and essays. These include the two-volume translation and commentary on The Bhagavad Gita entitled God Talks with Arjuna and The Divine Romance, a set of essays to which Journey of Self-Realization is a follow-up.

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