The Indian man behind the yoga scene in AmericaNergal Scott
On June 21, when the world celebrates the Worldwide Yoga Day for a second yr in operating, yoga fanatics around the globe should bear in mind Paramhansa Yogananda, who did greater than anybody else to take the traditional science past India’s shores.
If the UN determined to honour June 21 yearly because the yoga day, the first credit score for this should go to Yogananda, who went to the US in 1920 and taught yoga and meditation for over three many years to many 1000’s of Individuals at a time when yoga was an odd phrase.
Yogananda returned to India on a brief go to simply as soon as – when he taught Kriya Yoga to Mahatma Gandhi at Wardha. He went again to the US on the urging of his guru, passing away there in 1952 below distinctive circumstances.
It was in 1946 that Yogananda revealed his path-breaking “Autobiography of a Yogi”. Very quickly, it was recognised as one of many 10 finest non secular classics of the 20th century. No different guide maybe has carried out extra to propagate yoga and spirituality. It has been translated into 21 languages and offered thousands and thousands of copies.
This yr marks the 70th anniversary of “Autobiography of a Yogi” – which continues to be a finest vendor within the religious class and has pushed hundreds of thousands on the religious path around the globe.
Yogananda was born right into a spiritually inclined household on January 5, 1893 in Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh) as Mukunda Lal Ghosh. He was the fourth of eight youngsters and confirmed an early inclination for the self-realization path. His guru, Yukteswar Giri, goaded him to graduate and later ordained him as Yogananda. “Some day you’ll go the West. Its individuals will lend ears extra receptive to India’s historical knowledge if the unusual Hindu instructor has a college diploma,” was the guru’s counsel.
Three years after founding the Yogada Satsanga Society of India (YSS) in Ranchi in 1917, the younger Yogananda sailed to Boston to participate within the Worldwide Congress of Religions. His mission was to unite the East and West by religious understanding, to indicate the underlying unity of all religions. He travelled extensively within the US and captivated tens of millions along with his talks on yoga and meditation — thus laying the foundations of yoga within the West that has at the moment catapulted into the Worldwide Yoga Day.
Yogananda was not ritualistic. He spoke secular language and by no means imposed his concepts on others. Within the US, he underlined the non secular and cultural heritage of India and held lessons on balanced dwelling — utilizing yoga as a medium. Lastly, nevertheless, it was the “Autobiography of a Yogi” that put Yogananda on a religious pedestal the place he stays even immediately.
On March 7, 1952, at an occasion at Biltmore Resort at Los Angeles attended by India’s ambassador to the US, Yogananda gave what turned out to be his final speak – and vastly memorable. “I’m proud that I used to be born in India,” stated the ochre-robed swami with flowing hair. “I’m proud that we now have an amazing ambassador representing my non secular India. I’m very proud as we speak.”
And after studying out just a few traces from his poem “My India”, Yogananda slid to the ground, a beatific smile on his face. He had handed away. The shocked Indian ambassador, Binay R. Sen, who noticed Yogananda’s remaining moments, paid wealthy tributes: “He was born in India, he lived for India, and he died with the title of India on his lips.”
The Indian authorities issued a postage stamp in his honour means again in March 1977. Sadly, in contrast to Swami Vivekananda, Yogananda does not determine in schoolbooks the best way he deserves to. Prime Minister Modi should pay his homage to this nice yoga guru on June 21.