Why is “Paramhansa” spelled two different ways?


With all respect due, May I ask why the name Paramhansa Yogananda is also spelled Paramahansa? I find on your site and some others it is spelled the first way and then on the site which is dedicated to his foundation Self Realization Fellowship it is spelled the latter way.

Thank you for any explanation you might afford me.

—No name, no country


Dear Friend,

When Swami Yogananda, as he was called when he first came to the United States in 1920, returned to India in 1935 – 36, his guru, Sri Yukteswar bestowed on him the spiritual title: Paramhansa.

Upon his return to the United States, he asked that everyone use that title before his monastic name, Yogananda. In all announcements to the public about this name change it was spelled without the middle “a.” Indeed, his signature always appeared that way, right up until he left his body in 1952. In the original 1946 edition of Autobiography of a Yogi he spells it without the additional “a.”

Some time after his death, various members of the organization he founded, Self-Realization Fellowship, upon advice from a pundit in India, decided that Paramhansa misspelled and should be spelled with another “a” in the middle: Paramahansa. Thus the confusion was introduced at that time and has continued to this day.

Ananda Sangha and its founder, Swami Kriyananda, prefer to spell his name as Yogananda himself did. If you want to read more about the details of this matter, please go to this website.