Swami Vivekananda and Paramhansa Yogananda


Did Parahansa Yoganada ever speak of Swami Vivekananda? As one of, if not the first to spread Advaita philosophy to the West - I would think they would know of and build upon each other. They were even from the same area!

—Ginny, USA


I imagine Yogananda did speak of Swami Vivekananda since, as you have said, they lived in the same neighborhood in Calcutta. In fact, a number of Ramakrishna’s direct disciples lived in that very neighborhood as well. Yogananda knew several of them personally and had a very deep connection with Master Mahasaya (M, who wrote the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna).

But Vivekananda was older than Yogananda, and in fact, travelled to the United States for the first time to the conference in Chicago in the same year (I believe) that Yogananda was born, 1893. Swami Vivekananda was the ice-breaker and introduced Americans to Eastern teachings and most specifically to Vedanta. When he died in 1902 Yogananda was only 9 years old.

So although Yogananda and Vivekananda were not physically connected and taught in different times, the effort Vivekananda put out in America was a first step in introducing people to Eastern teachings.

Yogananda also had a nice connection with Swami Paramananda, who was a disciple of Vivekananda’s and who founded an ashram in 1919 in the Los Angeles area (La Crescenta, CA) called Ananda Ashrama. His life story is captured in the book A Bridge of Dreams (still available used on Amazon.com).