75 years of Dakshineswar

“It is through the wish and the blessing of Lahiri Mahasaya and Babaji that I have been able to acquire a most beautiful place right on the banks of the Ganges at Dakshineswar, our Yogoda Math. It is about twenty minutes from Calcutta, and is a great asset to our work. I am very happy about it.”

Gurudeva Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda wrote to Rajarsi Janakananda from Calcutta during his visit to India in 1935 – 36, “You would be pleased to know that I have been working incessantly for creating a permanent centre in Calcutta, the crown city of Bengal, and I think I am almost successful.” Even amidst his tour through the length and breadth of the country during that period, Gurudeva made time to personally visit a number of properties in and around Calcutta in search of a suitable site. However, as he had soon to return to U.S.A., he could not finalise the matter. It was only in 1939 that the present site — with its fine orchards with fruit trees and flowering plants on the bank of the Ganges — was finalised and purchased on October 9, 1939 from Sri Nando Lall Koruri, a zamindar who besides being a noted merchant of Calcutta, also was a disciple of the eminent Kriya Yogi Sri Panchanan Bhattacharya (a disciple of our Param Param Guru Sri Sri Lahiri Mahasaya).

Later, Paramahansaji wrote in his Autobiography of a Yogi, “A stately Yogoda Math in Dakshineswar, fronting the Ganges, was dedicated in 1939. Only a few miles north of Calcutta, the hermitage affords a haven of peace for city dwellers. The Dakshineswar Math is the headquarters in India of the Yogoda Satsanga Society and its schools, centres, and ashrams in various parts of India.”

Daya Mataji speaks in an informal satsanga with ashram residents and devotees, Dakshineswar. Sri Sri Mrinalini Mata can be seen on her left.
Sri Daya Mata conducts a Kriya Yoga initiation ceremony in the Dhyan Mandir of the YSS Math in Dakshineswar, 1964. Swami Shyamananda is seen on the right.
His Holiness Sri Jagadguru Shankaracharya Bharati Krishna Tirtha of Govardhan Math, Puri, and Sri Daya Mataji, during the Shankaracharya's visit to Yogoda Satsanga Math, Dakshineswar, May 1959

Ananda Moyi Ma and Daya Mataji, 1961

Over the years Yogoda Satsanga Math has been blessed by the visit of a number of direct disciples of Gurudeva, including Sri Sri Daya Mata who was our Sanghamata and President for over 55 years, and current Sanghamata and President Sri Sri Mrinalini Mata. Sri Ananda Mata, Sri Sailasuta Mata, Sri Uma Mata, Sri Mukti Mata, Swami Anandamoy, Swami Bhaktananda, and Swami Bimalananda were among other direct monastic disciples who graced the place with their physical presence. Their inspiring satsangas and Kriya Yoga initiations have kept alive the torch of yoga sadhana imparted by our beloved Gurudeva. Devotees visiting Dakshineswar even today receive much spiritual blessing and become more steadfast in their quest for the Divine.

Sri Anandamoyi Ma during her visit to the Yogoda Satsanga Math grounds in 1958 expressed her joy on seeing the activities of Yogoda Satsanga Math.

Sri Shankaracharya Jagatguru Bharati Krishna Tirtha of Govardhan Math in Puri (whose historical visit to U.S.A. in 1958 was sponsored by SRF/YSS) visited Yogoda Satsanga Math in 1959 and met Sri Daya Mataji. He had much appreciation for the work done by YSS and SRF.

Lotus Pond, Yogoda Satsanga Math, Dakshineswar

Lotus Pond, Yogoda Satsanga Math, Dakshineswar

Many other spiritual personages have been drawn to visit Yogoda Satsanga Math, having read Paramahansa Yoganandaji’s Autobiography of a Yogi, or having come to learn of this tranquil place. Some of their heartfelt words of appreciation are reflected in such spontaneous utterances as: “one of our most significant pilgrimage places,” “holy Vrindavan grounds,” “a heaven on earth,” ”a spiritual sanctuary by the Ganges,” “a place with tapovan-like ambience,” “a place of silent serene splendour inconceivable just beyond its gates,” “a place of unusual ambience that spiritually impacts the heart and the Soul.”

On March 7, 1977, it was on the holy grounds of Yogoda Satsanga Math at Dakshineswar that a special function honouring Sri Sri Paramahansa Yoganandaji’s exemplary life and contribution to mankind was conducted with the release of a stamp and first-day-cover by the Government of India. The programme was presided over by the former Ambassador of India to the United States, Dr. Binay Ranjan Sen and the then Postmaster General, West Bengal Circle, Sri S. K. Ghosh. On this occasion Dr. Sen, spoke about the most unusual experience of witnessing Yoganandaji passing into mahasamadhi, immediately after Paramahansaji concluded his talk with his poem on his beloved India. This took place at a banquet in Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles on March 7, 1952. Dr. Sen added: “One can only feel that people like Yoganandaji give new enrichment to human life….Men like him never pass away….he lives in the hearts and minds of millions of people who felt inspired by his message. He will live on for all time to come….Paramahansaji is truly a star who can guide our destiny.”

On the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee of the establishing of Yogoda Satsanga Math at Dakshineswar, Yogoda Satsanga Society of India will be conducting a number of programmes.

Inauguration Ceremony of the stamp issued in honour of Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda by the Government of India, March 7, 1977, at Yogoda Satsanga Math, Dakshineswar. Dr. Binay Ranjan Sen, former Ambassador of India to the U. S. and chief guest, is speaking. (Left to right) Swami Shantanandaji, Sri D. N. Jatia, and Sri Banamali Das.

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