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||It has been suggested that Self-Realization Order be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since July 2012.|
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2012)|
The Self-Realization Fellowship is a worldwide spiritual organization founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1920 and based in Mount Washington in Los Angeles, California. It is registered in California as a religious organization.
Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) continues disseminating Paramahansa Yogananda's teachings, including Kriya Yoga, a form of yoga the group claims originated millennia ago in India. SRF publishes Yogananda teachings of home-study lessons, writings, lectures, and recorded talks; oversees temples, retreats, meditation centers, and monastic communities bearing the name Self-Realization Order; and coordinates the Worldwide Prayer Circle, which it describes as a network of groups and individuals who pray for those in need of physical, mental, or spiritual aid, and who also pray for world peace and harmony.
Self-Realization Fellowship has over 500 temples, retreats, ashrams, and meditation centers around the world. In California there are temples in Berkeley, Glendale, Hollywood, Lake Shrine, Fullerton, Encinitas and San Diego. In Arizona there is a temple in Phoenix, Arizona. Retreat centers are located: in Lake Shrine, Pacific Palisades, CA, in Encinitas Retreat, Encinitas, CA, in Hidden Valley Ashram, Valley Center, CA (for men only), in Greenfield, Virginia, and in Bermersback Retreat, Germany, There are meditation centers located in 54 countries. SRF also has a sister organization in India called Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, founded by Yogananda in 1917, and headquartered in Dakshineswar (near Calcutta). Yogoda Satsanga Society oversees 180 Kendras, Mandalis, Retreats, Ashrams throughout India and Nepal which includes meditation centers, 21 educational institutions, and a variety of charitable facilities.
SRF's mission is to become a world-wide religion, according to the SRF Articles of Incorporation. The society means to foster a spirit of greater understanding and goodwill among the diverse people and nations of the global family and help those of all cultures and creeds to realize and express more fully in their lives the beauty, nobility, and divinity of the human spirit, which mission it intends to fulfill through worldwide service. Yogananda's Aims and Ideals for his organization SRF/YSS.
- To disseminate among the nations a knowledge of definite scientific techniques for attaining direct personal experience of God.
- To teach that the purpose of life is the evolution, through self-effort, of man’s limited mortal consciousness into God Consciousness; and to this end to establish Self-Realization Fellowship temples for God-communion throughout the world, and to encourage the establishment of individual temples of God in the homes and in the hearts of men.
- To reveal the complete harmony and basic oneness of original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ and original Yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna; and to show that these principles of truth are the common scientific foundation of all true religions.
- To point out the one divine highway to which all paths of true religious beliefs eventually lead: the highway of daily, scientific, devotional meditation on God.
- To liberate man from his threefold suffering: physical disease, mental inharmonies, and spiritual ignorance.
- To encourage “plain living and high thinking”; and to spread a spirit of brotherhood among all peoples by teaching the eternal basis of their unity: kinship with God.
- To demonstrate the superiority of mind over body, of soul over mind.
- To overcome evil by good, sorrow by joy, cruelty by kindness, ignorance by wisdom.
- To unite science and religion through realization of the unity of their underlying principles.
- To advocate cultural and spiritual understanding between East and West, and the exchange of their finest distinctive features.
- To serve mankind as one’s larger Self.
In 1935 Yogananda created the State of California legal document Articles of Incorporation for his organization Self-Realization Fellowship. In this document it states all of "...the purposes for which this corporation is formed."
Daya Mata was head and President of Self Realization Fellowship from 1955 to 2010, after succeeding the previous president, Rajarsi Janakananda. In the accompanied material to one of their books, SRF states:
Central to Paramahansa Yogananda's teachings, which embody a complete philosophy and way of life, are scientific techniques of concentration and meditation that lead to the direct personal experience of God. These yoga methods quiet body and mind, and make it possible to withdraw one's energy and attention from the usual turbulence of thoughts, emotions, and sensory perceptions. In the clarity of that inner stillness, one comes to experience a deepening interior peace and awareness of God's presence.
On January 9, 2011, Self-Realization Fellowship announced Mrinalini Mata, as its new President. She is "one of the close disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda personally chosen and trained by him to help guide his society after his passing," and had held the position of vice-president since 1966. Paramahansa Yogananda took up residence in Encinitas, California in the later years of his life. A hermitage and temple were built there. It was at the SRF Encinitas hermitage that Yogananda wrote his famous Autobiography of a Yogi.
Many people are touched by Yogananda's SRF teachings and want to support it. According to Straight Arrow Press in the United States the "proceeds from the January 14, 2002 reissue of George Harrison's 1970 song My Sweet Lord will go to the Self-Realization Fellowship, a California organization that promotes the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda. Yogananda, who established the fellowship in 1920 spread his philosophy of yoga and meditation, is best known for his Autobiography of a Yogi. He was frequently cited by Harrison as an important spiritual influence."
Ravi Shankar had met the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) founder Yogananda in the 1930's and gave his first U.S. concert at the SRF Encinitas Retreat, Encinitas, California in 1957. On visits to Los Angeles, George Harrison would spend time at the SRF retreat in Encinitas, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, which was only three miles from Ravi Shankar's home. The SRF organization strictly honored its members' privacy which George appreciated.
Elvis Presley reportedly visited the Self-Realization Fellowship in the late 1960s, commenting to Brother Paramananda, a monk who had left an acting career to devote his life to the fellowship, "Man, you made the right choice. People don't know my life or that I sometimes cry myself to sleep because I don't know God."
Elliot Miller of Christian Research Institute (CRI), which is run by Protestant Evangelical Christians, believes that SRF promotes a kind of New Age Hinduism in Christian garb.
Philip Goldberg, author of the book American Veda, wrote that hundreds of thousands of seekers have taken to Yogananda's teachings because they have improved their lives.
There was a 12 year long, legal litigation over copyrights of Yogananda's teachings from 1990-2002. This litigation was between SRF and Kriyananda (aka Donald Walters) and Kriyananda's Ananda Church of Self-Realization.
See also 
- "About Self-Realization Fellowship".
- "Self-Realization Fellowship International Headquarters".
- Worldwide Prayer Circle
- Self-Realization Fellowship - Online directory of all temples, centers, groups, and circles
- "Yogoda Satsanga Society of India".
- Articles of Incorporation
- Los Angeles Times
- "Aims & Ideals of Self-Realization Fellowship as Set for by Paramahansa Yogananda, Founder".
- "Millionaire president of yoga society dies". Los Angeles Times (Feb. 21, 1955). Rajarsi 
- Paramahansa Yogananda. Autobiography of a Yogi (2009). ISBN 978-0-87612-079-8
- Landsberg, Mitchell (January 12, 2011). "Self-Realization Fellowship elects Sri Mrinalini Mata as new leader". Los Angeles Times.
- Self-Realization Fellowship: Encinitas Temple
- Appleford, Eliscu, Saraceno (Feb. 14, 2002,Issue #889). "Harrison still giving to charity". New York: Rolling Stone LLC.
- Green, Joshua M. (Jan, Feb, March 2006 Issue). "George Harrison's Spiritual Life". New York: Hinduism Today.
- Sahagun, Louis (August 6, 2006). "Self-Realization Fellowship Celebrates 60th Anniversary of 'Autobiography of a Yogi'". Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Times.
- Miller, Elliot (Elliot Miller). "Swami Yogananda and the Self-Realization Fellowship". Christian Research Institute.
- Goldberg, Philip (2012). American Veda. Harmony; 1 edition (November 2, 2010): 109.
- Doug Mattson (October 30, 2002). "Jury: Copyrights violated by church". The Union (Grass Valley, CA).
Further reading 
- Sreenivasan, Jyotsna (2008), Utopias in American History, ABC-CLIO, pp. 16–23, ISBN 9781598840520
- Wessinger, Catherine (1995), "Hinduism arrives in America: The Vedanta Movement and the Self-Realization Fellowship", in Miller, Timothy, America's Alternative Religions, SUNY Press, pp. 173–190, ISBN 9780791423974
- Williamson, Lola (2010), Transcendent in America: Hindu-Inspired Meditation Movements as New Religion, NYU Press, pp. 55–79, ISBN 9780814794494