Paramhansa Yogananda’s mission was to help usher the whole world, with greater understanding and spiritual insight, into Dwapara Yuga, the new Age of Energy in which we live. “Someday,” Swami Kriyananda wrote, “I believe he will be seen as the avatar of Dwapara Yuga.”

It was a world-changing mission, and therefore his teachings needed to be revolutionary. In some cases what he taught was well known in India but created a revolution in the West. Others of his teachings were completely new to this age. Let’s look at some of both.

1. Only God exists. God is both beyond and within all manifestation. He dreams this world into existence, and every atom and star is created from His consciousness. The goal of life is to awaken from the dream and realize our unity with Him. Why revolutionary? This ancient Vedic teaching is new to the West, which views creation as wholly separate from the Creator.

2. Daily meditation, stilling the mind, is the way to see behind the dream. Meditation consists of withdrawing outwardly directed prana (subtle energy or life-force) and focusing it at the spiritual eye, concentrating on God or on one of His qualities: light, sound, joy, peace, calmness, love, wisdom, or power. Why revolutionary? When Yogananda came to America in 1920 almost no one meditated. Now millions do so daily.

3. Prana keeps us alive, keeps us healthy, makes us magnetic, and allows us to succeed. All aspects of life are improved when we learn to control it, for to control energy is to gain control also over all things material. Yogananda taught the techniques of Kriya Yoga and the Energization Exercises to help us gain this control. He often said that the true altar is not in any church, but in our central nervous system. Why revolutionary? The importance of life-force is only now entering the fringes of science and the healing arts.

7 Revolutionary Teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi

Appreciation of the importance of karma is beginning to sweep the world and change behavior.

4. Karma and reincarnation. Every thought, feeling, and action creates a wave of energy that is destined to return to us: As we give, so shall we receive. The results of our own past actions create the circumstances and events of life. The way to free ourselves from this karmic cycle is to accept life, control our reactive processes, be even-minded and cheerful, and dissolve the ego. Why revolutionary? Appreciation of the importance of karma is beginning to sweep the world and change behavior.

5. We don’t need to leave the world. Yogananda’s mission was, in part, to help us see God in every person and activity. Why revolutionary? In the past, sincere seekers avoided worldly activity and withdrew to caves or monasteries.

6. The desire to be happy and to avoid pain is the universal motivation behind every action. Over lifetimes our definition of what makes us happy evolves. At first happiness is sought in laziness and sensuality, then in ego-centered accumulation of possessions or power. Gradually this evolves into an altruistic desire to help others and, finally, the yearning for Self-realization, which alone brings the joy we have always sought. Why revolutionary? People everywhere seek things, imagining that happiness lies outside themselves.

7. Spiritual communities provide the optimal environment for the pursuit of happiness and God. Why revolutionary? The spiritual community movement is only now starting with the Ananda communities as forerunners.

Paramhansa Yogananda’s revolutionary teachings need to be applied both culturally and personally. While these seven points only scratch the surface of what he taught, each is worth a meditation or two to see how they might apply to your life.

In the light,
Nayaswami Jyotish


  1. Dear Jyotish,
    Thank you so much for this clear, short and sharp=essential message in 7 substantial points.
    It is a breath of fresh air in our crazy, overloaded and confusing digital age.
    Yogananda and Swamiji would honor such truthful clarity .

  2. Sincerely enjoyed this e mail, thank you so much, how can i get more information on Kriya yoga???? Please help

  3. Thank you Jyotish for this important and insightful summary. A new view of the mountain peak! It is something Swamiji might have written. And probably did, through you.
    Happy New Year,

  4. Jyotish,
    Thank you for this clear and thought-provoking article. I’m sure you’re right that this only reflects a small part of the “revolutionary” things Master taught. It would be wonderful if this article was only the first in a series with references where the full explanation of the points could be found. I know I have not been with Ananda long enough to have read all of Master’s works so I’m sure to be ignorant of many of these teachings and I’m definitely here to learn. I’m working on it, but he left so much material that a guide through it is very welcome and extremely helpful!
    Blessings and gratitude,
    Pat Wolff

  5. It is SO GOOD for me to be reminded again and again of these joyful truths! Thank You, Jyotish. Your words happily reach me in our Colorado cold and snowy season!

  6. Beautiful and inspiring, Jyotish – and, in concurrence with a couple of the others, so very clear. Thanks for being an emissary of the Light.
    Happy 2015,

  7. Wow, Jyotish, wonderful. Puts things in good perspective. Thanks!

  8. Very nice article. Also a blissful Happy Birthday to Master!

  9. Dear Nayaswai Jyotish Ji,
    Happy New year :)
    Thank you for the article. We bow to the Master to guide us and take charge of us to lead us to the eternal light. We are grateful to have him and teachings that gives us happiness and Joy. Thank you Swamiji for passing us the great teachings.

  10. Dear Jyotish ji
    Thank you for this insightful and informative article.
    Happy New Year!!

  11. Thank you Jyotish ji. While Guruji was the chosen vehicle for the 7 revolutionary teachings, we Really shouldn’t forget that the teaching were chiefly orchestrated by Babaji & Lahiri Mahasaya. Just a thought.

  12. You really channeled God on this one, Jyotish. It is so well written and concise. Such an incredible reminder how great our Master is. He influenced the whole of America, and therefore Europe as well. Thank You! I will print this out and keep it.

  13. Gracias, Haber si podemos hacer una meditaci´0n conjunta León España ,Assisi L´Italia con Nevada USA

  14. Why did Paramhansa Yogananda leave India and started preaching in America ? Was he not needed in India more to alienate poverty and get rid of the caste system?

    1. In my personal opinion, Yogananda Paramhansa might have realized that he alone cannot alienate poverty in India…

      Moreover, he also might have self-assessed himself as an atman residing in a human body…

      After reaching this stage of his life, he probably would have analyzed which things are actually under his control and which are not based on the prevailing circumstances going in India before it’s independence…

      Keeping in view the above situation, through a proper soul searching, he might have sensed the right opportunity present before him to flourish as a Yogi through his spiritual teachings starting from the West…

      Also using such an approach and mindset goes hand-in hand with today’s approach of our country going from Global to Local in the best interests of our Nation…

    2. He was guided to go to America to bring his spiritual gems from the East to the West.The West was steeped in materialism.Nothing worse than a poverty of the soul! His birthplace was blessed with the wealth that
      Knowing God brings.Master went because it was his Divine assignment.Hope this helps.

  15. I want to be strong spiritual, i need extra power

  16. Many years ago i had an experience of Paramahansa Yogananda….i did not even know who he was consciously….the memory is still with me even after all of these years….It felt like such a blessing to be taken by him upward…there are no words for the experience…it feels and did feel like it was a completion of some kind for me from another time with him.
    Today i study with John Roger, who has been my way shower for over 45 years. But having never known Paramahansa consciously and having been taken by him….it was a beyond “wow” experience… led me to read his “Autobiography of a….”…..anyway, my deepest heartfelt thanks and love to him….I do feel a kinship with him that transcends….LL, Jay

    1. Jay, I recently discovered and now attend SRF. I would like some guidance, a teacher, who can help me and guide me with Masters teachings and guide me. I really want to continue down this path but don’t know how best to move forward with the teachings and the practice.

  17. It is unfortunate that many people who are members of The Ananda Church of Self Realization and its community movement – are or used to be POISONERS (people who poison people that they hate or will not tolerate near their lives!). This collective bad karma adversely affected the noble intentions of Swami Kriyananda and other sincere devotees. Still, all things considered, the original tenets of Paramhansa Yogananda defining “World Brotherhood Colonies” (Kriya Yoga Communes) are exceptionally valuable. jai Guru deva! – Thomas Hasey

  18. Excellent insight. The whole oriental philosophy or darshan in a nutshell.
    Master stroke!

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