Video and Audio

Yogananda Visits New York

Paramhansa Yogananda
July 9, 2020

We are very happy to offer you (in collaboration with the University of South Carolina) this original video footage of Swami Yogananda visiting New York City in 1923.

Phil Goldberg describes the moment in his acclaimed biography The Life of Yogananda: The Story of the Yogi Who Became the First Modern Guru, pages 117-118:

“The falling of leaves in 1923 marked the beginning of expansion. In November, Yogananda lectured on 'Concentration and the Cure for Nervousness' for the Applied Psychology Club in Worcester, about 40 miles west of Boston. Admission was $.50. (...) Prominent New Yorkers showed up on November 24 for his Gotham debut, whose midtown environs were jumping with jazz and bootleg liquor. A classified ad for the event—right next to one for Al Jolson, 'the world’s greatest entertainer,' who was pictured in blackface—shows Yogananda in a turban and says he’ll be speaking on 'the sensational discovery of everlasting youth.' Mrs. Southwick would also speak and a violinist would perform. Tickets were $1 to $3. A spread about coming events in the New-York Tribune showed Yogananda walking on a city street in a long robe and turban, his wavy hair flowing over his right shoulder to his chest. With him are four Americans in unlikely garb: Indian-style flowing fabrics and head scarves for the three women, and a turban for the man in an overcoat. They are identifed as Mrs. Southwick, Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Smith, and 'Sister Yogomata.' The headline reads: 'A Famous Swami Comes to Town.' It was surely an eye-catching scene, even in a city where eye-catching scenes were commonplace. In attendance at Town Hall was Margaret Woodrow Wilson, the daughter of the former President, who became Yogananda’s student.”

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