The purpose of Self-Realization Fellowship is to disseminate a knowledge of definite scientific time-tested techniques of yoga meditation for attaining direct personal experience of God. Meditation is the founding principal that India’s ancient philosophy of Yoga is based on. The goal of yoga, which literally means “union", is to unite our individual consciousness or soul with the infinite, eternal Bliss or Spirit, which is also known as God. Meditation has been at the heart of India’s philosophy of yoga science since ancient times. In order to achieve bliss consciousness, it requires patiently dedicating oneself to this practice of meditation, preferably done twice daily, with the promise that when we finally unite ourselves with cosmic consciousness we will be freed from all kinds of suffering.
Raja Yoga, or “royal yoga', is the science of God-realization. India’s Sanatana Dharma, which means “Eternal Religion”, are scriptures that have been handed down for millennia, and is the esoteric teaching which underlies all true religions. It is a step-by-step method outlining a way of life that will lead to a perfect unfoldment of the body, mind and soul. It is based on the foundation of Kriya Yoga, which includes pranayama or life force control. In the Bhagavad Gita, the sage Patanjali states in his Yoga Sutras to avoid the wrong actions; the Yama, and to do the right actions, known as the Niyama, that are necessary in order to reach complete union with God.
Kriya Yoga was lost to humanity for centuries but was revived for the modern age by a line of great yoga masters, the Gurus of Self-Realization Fellowship; Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Sri Yukteswar, and Paramahansa Yogananda. This line of venerable gurus chose Yogananda to bring the science of Kriya Yoga to the West, and then to disseminate it worldwide. In order to accomplish this, he established Self-Realization Fellowship in 1920 when he arrived in America.
Yogananda wrote the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons giving specific instruction for the daily techniques such as the Energization Techniques, the Aum Technique, the Hong Sau Technique and the stages of Kriya Yoga to teach the meditator how to withdraw the life force (prana) from the sensory and motor nerves, known as pranayama or life force control, and how to send it to higher centers in the spine and brain. The inwardly withdrawing prana withdraws the consciousness from the external world into the infinite, eternal Bliss or Spirt. In the Bible, Psalm 46:10 states “Be still and know that I am God” and by the daily practice of these techniques Kriyabans learn how to still the restlessness of the body and mind so they can, with practice, experience bliss consciousness and truly know and become one with God.