Paramahansa Yogananda founded Yogoda Satsanga Society (YSS) in 1917 to make available, in India and neighbouring countries, the universal teachings of Kriya Yoga, a sacred spiritual science originating millenniums ago in India. These nonsectarian teachings embody a complete philosophy and way of life for achieving all-round success and well-being, as well as methods of meditation for achieving life’s ultimate goal — union of the soul with Spirit (God).
As expressed in the Aims and Ideals formulated by Paramahansa Yogananda, YSS also seeks to foster a spirit of greater understanding and goodwill among diverse people and religions. Its goal is to help all to realize and express more fully in their lives the beauty, nobility, and divinity of the human spirit.
Outside of India and surrounding countries, Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings are disseminated throughout the world by Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), the organization Paramahansaji founded when he went to the West in 1920.
Today as during his lifetime, YSS makes the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda available through the printed Yogoda Satsanga Lessons. This comprehensive home-study series gives instruction in all the meditation techniques of the Kriya Yoga science, as well as in the many other aspects of balanced spiritual living taught by Yoganandaji.
YSS has four ashrams located in Ranchi, Dakshineswar, Noida, and Dwarahat. It also has nine retreats for devotees, in Igatpuri, Shimla, Chennai, Pune, Dihika, Puri, Serampore, Telary, and Coimbatore, and over 200 kendras and mandalis throughout India and Nepal.
Sri Sri Daya Mata, one of the earliest and closest disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda during his lifetime, was spiritual head and president of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India / Self-Realization Fellowship from 1955 until her passing in 2010. Sri Sri Mrinalini Mata, another of Yogananda’s closest disciples, served in these positions from 2011 until her passing in 2017. Sri Sri Swami Chidananda Giri is the current spiritual head and president of YSS/SRF.
Most YSS devotees are men and women with work and family responsibilities, who learn through the Yogoda Satsanga teachings how to balance their active lives with meditation. In Yogananda’s teachings, they find guidance for spiritualizing marriage and family life, creating success and prosperity in business and professional endeavours, and contributing in a meaningful and serviceful way to their community, nation, and the world at large.
In accord with Paramahansaji’s wishes, his work of Yogoda Satsanga Society is guided by the monastic order that he established along the lines of the ancient swami tradition of India. The monks of YSS take formal vows of renunciation and are responsible for serving the spiritual needs of Yogoda Satsanga devotees and friends.
Among the many activities and services of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India in the Indian subcontinent are:
- Publishing the writings, lectures, and recorded talks of Paramahansa Yogananda and his monastic disciples in print form and as ebooks.
- Operating ashrams, retreats, and meditation centres — including the YSS Online Dhyana Kendra — where people from all walks of life can come together in a spirit of community and fellowship.
- Maintaining a website and YouTube channel dedicated to the presentation of Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings, including video talks by his monastic disciples. YSS also maintains a social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- A magazine, Yogoda Satsanga, devoted to the healing of body, mind, and soul
- Spiritual training of monks in the YSS monastic communities
- Conducting regular lecture tours and classes, including Sadhana Sangams, at various locations. Sadhana Sangams are spiritual programmes lasting several days with intensive immersion in Paramahansa Yogananda’s Kriya Yoga meditation techniques and teachings.
- Programmes on meditation and spiritual living for children
- Offering individual spiritual guidance by letter, telephone, and in-person
- Supporting various charitable relief and welfare activities
- Guiding the work of the Worldwide Prayer Circle, a network of groups and individuals dedicated to praying for those in need of physical, mental, or spiritual aid; and for world peace and harmony.