Paramhansa Yogananda (1893-1952) is widely revered as one of the preeminent spiritual figures of our time. Born in northern India, in Gorakhpur, on January 5, 1893, he took formal vows as a monk of India's venerable monastic Swami Order soon after graduating from Calcutta University in 1915. Two years later, he began his life's work with the founding of a "how-to-live" school - since grown to twenty-one educational institutions throughout India -  where traditional academic subjects were offered together with the Yoga training and spiritual ideals.

In 1920, he was invited to the United States to speak at an interfaith congress of religious leaders, where he gave an historic address on "The Science of Religion." That same year he founded Self-Realisation Fellowship, an international society dedicated to, introducing throughout the world, his teachings on the age-old science and philosophy of Yoga and its time-honoured tradition of meditation; and to helping people of all races and creeds to realise and express more fully, in their lives, the beauty, nobility, and divinity of the human spirit.

During the more than thirty years that Paramhansa Yogananda lived and taught in the West, he contributed in far-reaching ways to a deepening awareness and appreciation of the ancient wisdom of the East.

"As a bright light shining in the midst of darkness, so was Yogananda's presence in the world. Such a great soul comes on earth only rarely, when there is a real need among men."

- His Holiness Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati (1894 - 1994), the Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram