Paramahamsa Yogananda was born on 5 January 1893 in the holy city of Gorakhpur, in the foothills of the Himalayas. His mission in life was to fill the lives of all people with love. His parents, both disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya, created the ideal environment for his physical, mental and spiritual development. His beloved mother, whom he lost at the age of eleven, had been lit by the light of love for the divine mother. In 1910 he met his guru Swami Shri Yukteshwar in Benares. Thus his years of searching for a spiritual master to shape his life were over.
Although he did not feel the need for an academic title, but rather wanted to become a monk, he finished his university education at the behest of his master and graduated in philosophy in 1915. Shortly thereafter he was ordained a monk of the Giri Order by his beloved Master. In 1917, together with Swami Satyananda, he founded an ashram and a school in Ranchi. In 1920 he received an invitation to attend the Congress of Religions in Boston. At the request of his Guru and with the blessing of Babaji, he travelled to the USA. Yogananda was one of the first pioneers from India to open people to a new concept of spirituality. He described the authentic Kriya Yoga and yogic lifestyle in such an accessible and beautiful way that many people from the West then and now feel attracted to it.
Paramahamsa Yogananda was blessed with extraordinary creativity and power. His whole life was, as he himself said, a whirlwind of activity. As a brilliant speaker, talented composer of numerous spiritual songs and gifted author, he is recognized worldwide. Probably the most famous of his numerous books and publications is the “Autobiography of a Yogi”, translated into many languages. His strong will, his dynamic personality, his divine love and his high spiritual level still encourage and inspire thousands of people today to lead a spiritual life.