Paramahansa Yogananda viewed the Self-Realization/Yogoda Satsanga Lessons as the very core of the teachings he was ordained to bring to the world as a special spiritual dispensation for the coming global civilization.
In his talks and writings printed in his many acclaimed books for the public, Paramahansaji offers a wealth of practical guidance for spiritual living — how to live joyfully and successfully amidst the unceasing challenges and opportunities in this world of change. The Yogoda Satsanga Lessons are for those who want to learn to convert that inspiration into a daily spiritual practice.
The Lessons are unique among Paramahansa Yogananda’s published works, in that they give his step-by-step instructions in the yoga techniques of meditation, concentration, and energization that he taught, including Kriya Yoga.
These simple yet highly effective yoga techniques work directly with life energy and consciousness, enabling you to recharge the body with vitality, awaken the mind’s unlimited power, and experience an ever-deepening awareness of the Divine in your life—culminating in the highest states of spiritual consciousness and union with God.
Since Yoga is based on practice and experience rather than on adherence to a particular set of beliefs, followers of all religions—as well as those who do not affiliate with a religious path—can benefit from the spiritual teachings in the basic series of Lessons and the techniques taught therein. When practised regularly, these methods lead unfailingly to deeper levels of spiritual awareness and perception.
An inspiring and in-depth overview of the teachings in the Lessons is given in Paramahansa Yogananda’s introduction to the series, entitled “Highest Achievements Through Self-realization.”
As a first step, we suggest that you read and absorb the thoughts in this introductory Lesson. This will enable you to determine if you wish to go further on the journey to Self-realization by enrolling for the course of eighteen Lessons that teach the meditation techniques that prepare one for initiation in Kriya Yoga.
You may also enrol right away by following the instructions on this page under the “Apply for the Lessons” tab.
In his Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda introduced the lineage of illumined gurus behind the Yogoda Satsanga Society of India work: Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, and Swami Sri Yukteswar. He describes how these fully God-realized masters chose and prepared him to bring the lost, ancient Kriya Yoga science of God-realization to the West and spread it worldwide.
The Yogoda Satsanga Lessons in Self-realization are intended for those who wish to undertake an actual practice of the Kriya Yoga path of meditation described by Paramahansa Yogananda in Autobiography of a Yogi. He explained:
“In a book available to the general public I cannot give the techniques themselves; for they are sacred, and certain ancient spiritual injunctions must first be followed to insure that they are received with reverence and confidentiality, and thereafter practised correctly.”
Enrolment in the Lessons offered by Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (Self-Realization Fellowship), the organization Paramahansa Yogananda founded to disseminate his teachings and for the continuing fulfilment of his mission, will insure proper guidance and optimum benefit for all who wish to follow the path and practise the sacred meditation techniques he brought for the world.
During the three decades of his mission in the West, starting in 1920, Paramahansaji presented his teachings through a variety of means. In the 1920s and ’30s, he travelled all over the United States, giving public lectures in major cities from coast to coast, attended by tens of thousands. Many of these talks were printed in Self-Realization Fellowship’s magazine, and (much later) in the anthologies of his Collected Talks and Essays, available in book form for the general public.
Following his public lecture series, which lasted one to two weeks in each city, he invited those who wished to commit to a deeper study to enrol for the additional series of lessons classes on the Self-Realization (Yogoda Satsanga) teachings and meditation techniques that he conducted each night over the next several weeks. In the early years, students were provided with brief printed outline notes about the subject matter in each class.
It was in 1934 that he announced the first edition of a comprehensive set of printed lessons for home study. Here are his words on that occasion:
“Day and night for fourteen years I have been thinking how to give to the students a continuous flood of that spiritual awakening which will assure that they will never fall asleep again. So I have planned to send weekly lessons to them. They will start next week and come every week thereafter. We have been working day and night to get them started. Students in all parts of the country have asked, ‘Why don’t you give weekly lessons?’ I have at last found the plan that I know is going to free thousands of souls.”
Thus the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons were born — and they were inaugurated in India as the Yogoda Satsanga Lessons not long afterward. The series was assembled over the course of several years, from 1934 through about 1938. During his visit to India in 1935–36, Paramahansaji made arrangements for a YSS edition of the Lessons to be offered to devotees in India. Under his direction, the terminology in the Lessons was slightly adapted for Indian devotees, though the teachings and sadhana and meditation techniques were identical. These Lessons remained in circulation, with some improvements and modifications, until 2019.
In the last years of his life, the Guru devoted himself to an intense period of writing new material and review of his previously published works. Among other projects, he worked on the Lessons personally with Sri Mrinalini Mata (who was then a young disciple, and later served as the fourth president of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India). Paramahansaji reviewed the Lessons presentation with her and instructed her in his wishes for a thorough revision, noting a number of problems and defects that he wished to address. He told her to draw from the many writings and talks he had given in the intervening years since the Lessons were first compiled. “The Lessons will be your life’s work,” he said to her.
The result of that “life’s work” is the current series, completed shortly before her passing in 2017—featuring vastly improved organization and a wealth of new material from Paramahansaji that was not available for the original 1934 compilation. This new edition of the YSS Lessons is the most comprehensive ever offered, and includes much inspiration and teaching that was never previously published.
To begin, all students receive a mailing every two weeks for 9 months. The 18 in-depth Lessons (approximately 24–40 pages each) sent during this period include the preliminary steps of the Kriya Yoga science: the Energization Exercises, the Hong-Sau Technique of Concentration, and the Aum Technique of Meditation. These techniques are described in the introductory Lesson, “Highest Achievements Through Self-Realization,” by Paramahansa Yogananda.
In addition to the meditation techniques, these Lessons provide an overview of all the other most important topics in Paramahansaji’s teachings (though complete presentation of some topics is given in separate Lessons in the Supplement Series described below).
This series of 5 Lessons gives instruction in the technique of Kriya Yoga for those who qualify by having established a regular practice of the three principal meditation techniques given in the basic YSS Lessons.
Initiation in Kriya Yoga is a sacred step that involves a deeper commitment to the spiritual path of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India and the establishment of the guru-disciple relationship with Paramahansa Yogananda. The student will receive an invitation to apply for Kriya Yoga with Lesson 17.
However, even if the student decides not to apply for initiation in Kriya Yoga immediately, he or she will gain a thorough grounding in effective meditation practice and spiritualizing one’s life in the 18 Lessons of the basic series. And regardless of whether one applies for Kriya initiation, all YSS students are welcome and encouraged to enrol for the weekly Satsanga With Paramahansa Yogananda series, described in 5., below. They may also order any of the Supplement Lessons described below, after completing the basic 18 Lessons.
At any time after completing the basic 18 YSS Lessons, students are invited to order any or all of the Supplement Lessons. As with the other Lessons, these present Paramahansa Yogananda’s personal instruction, compiled from his classes and writings, for YSS students.
The Supplement Lessons contain in-depth presentations of key subjects for followers of the Kriya Yoga path to God-realization. They are grouped by topics and themes, in order to give students a deep and comprehensive understanding of subjects that are of particular interest to them.
Advanced Lessons are available for those who have received Kriya Yoga. These present Paramahansa Yogananda’s deeper instruction in many of the principles and techniques of the YSS yoga path.
This special series of Lessons is for Kriya Yoga initiates who are interested in and qualified to receive the Second, Third, and Fourth Kriya Yoga techniques.
In addition to the actual techniques, instruction in auxiliary practices such as Khechari Mudra and other advanced techniques for Kriya Yogis is imparted in these special Lessons.
Not yet available. Information will be announced closer to their release date.
This series is available to all who have completed the basic series of YSS Lessons described in 1., above.
Satsanga means “fellowship with truth.” In India’s ancient spiritual tradition, a satsanga is a gathering where the spiritual teacher meets with devotees for meditation and imparting spiritual teaching and inspiration.
“When I am gone, the teachings will be the guru,” Paramahansa Yogananda said. The mailings in this series provide all followers of Paramahansaji with a lifelong, continuous contact and attunement with the spiritual power flowing through his teachings.
Each “Satsanga” in this series is about 6 pages in length, and is focused on a specific topic, compiled from the voluminous library of Paramahansa Yogananda’s previously published writings, classes, and talks.
The Satsanga With Paramahansa Yogananda series is not studied sequentially. All persons receive the same mailing each week, regardless of when they enrol. Thus, by enrolling for this series of mailings, you will be linked in fellowship with YSS/SRF members all over the world, since through these “Satsangas” all YSS/SRF members will be focusing on the same spiritual topics together each week.
Application for Kriya Yoga may be made after completing the first sixteen Lessons in the basic series, a period of approximately eight months if the Lessons are studied without interruption as they are received on a biweekly basis.
Initiation in Kriya Yoga signifies formally establishing the time-honoured guru-disciple relationship with Paramahansa Yogananda and his lineage of enlightened masters. Kriya Yogis pledge their spiritual loyalty to the Gurus and to Yogoda Satsanga Society of India.
In Lesson 16, you will receive an in-depth explanation of the holy guru-disciple relationship, and of the spiritual duties and commitment inherent in acceptance of this relationship.
In Autobiography of a Yogi (chapter 34), Paramahansaji relates the story of how, in 1861, Kriya Yoga came to be resurrected by Mahavatar Babaji for humanity at large. He instructed his disciple Lahiri Mahasaya in the ancient science, and told him that his role in life was to teach it openly to others (as had not been done for many centuries).
At first Babaji set a very high standard for Kriya Yoga initiation. Lahiri Mahasaya then requested that Babaji relax the traditionally strict requirements for discipleship. “Be it so,” Babaji compassionately acquiesced. “The divine wish has been expressed through you. Give Kriya to all who humbly ask you for help.”
Speaking to disciples at the SRF Mother Center in 1949, Paramahansa Yogananda gave more details about this: “Although the ancient restrictions of asceticism and renunciation were waived by Babaji in order that the masses might benefit from Kriya Yoga, he nevertheless required of Lahiri Mahasaya and all descendants of his spiritual line (the YSS/SRF line of Gurus) that they impose on any who sought initiation a period of preliminary spiritual training, by way of preparation for Kriya Yoga practice.”
From the earliest years of his mission in the West, Paramahansaji began developing a systematic course of instruction in the yoga principles and techniques that would prepare serious students for initiation in Kriya Yoga according to the requirements set in place by Babaji. This course was initially taught only in classes conducted personally by Paramahansaji, and included three basic techniques whose practice he felt was integral to the full effectiveness of Kriya Yoga: the Technique of Energization, the Hong-Sau Technique of Concentration, and the Aum Technique of Meditation.
Since 1934, detailed instruction in all of the above techniques has been given in the SRF/YSS Lessons.
The spiritual path taught in the Yogoda Satsanga Lessons is individual, not institutional. The materials sent to your home are sufficient in themselves, and no organizational participation is required. However, for those who wish the support of a spiritual community and fellowship, many other (completely optional) services are offered. In addition to the printed Lessons, YSS members receive the following benefits, amongst others:
We would like to let you know that the Yogoda Satsanga Lessons and auxiliary content are available to YSS Lessons students in digital form via a proprietary app available for Apple (iOS) and Android devices. The auxiliary material is also available to Lessons students in their devotee portal account. (Please note that the digital version of the YSS Lessons are not available on the devotee portal account.)
This digital content provides many benefits when used judiciously in combination with the printed version of the Lessons. Many people have attested to the tremendous support they have received from this multimedia content; and we look forward to providing you through the Lessons app and devotee portal with an expanding array of digital offerings to help you in living a God-centred life.
The YSS Lessons (basic series) is divided into 18 in-depth Lessons(approximately 24-40 pages each), each of which students receive every two weeks for 9 months. All of the basic meditation techniques that are preparatory to Kriya Yoga are mailed by the end of this period.
Until January 31, 2021, we are offering the basic series of the YSS Lessons at a special introductory price — ₹ 600 for Lessons sent by Ordinary Post, and ₹ 1000 for Lessons sent by Courier/Special Post — substantially lower than their actual cost.
The above rates are applicable only for India. Subscription rates for Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka are INR 3,120. Lessons Students in Nepal are requested to contact our meditation center in Kopundole for subscription.
This price includes complimentary access to the digital version of the Lessons in the YSS Lessons app, and all the auxiliary content for the Lessons during your Basic Lessons series subscription period.
Special note: We are introducing the new edition of the Lessons at the lowest price we can, so that the Lessons can be available to all who otherwise may not be able to afford them. We are only able to offer this low price because of the generous support that we anticipate from many devotees of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India toward the spread of Paramahansa Yogananda’s work to people in all lands.
If you are able, we would be very grateful if when enrolling you could also consider making a donation. This will allow us to meet our general operating expenses and extend the availability of Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings to all sincere seekers.
Please allow 2 to 4 weeks for the first Lesson to arrive.
“Thank you so very much for the new Lessons, they are very helpful, I am understanding the teachings now in a better way, and feel our great Guru’s blessings.”
– S.J., Delhi
The Yogoda Satsanga Lessons are unique among Paramahansaji’s published writings in that they provide his confidential, step-by-step instructions in the yoga techniques of meditation, concentration, and energization that are described but not fully explained in his other works, which are for the general public. These advanced techniques are offered through the Lessons to all sincere seekers of truth—regardless of religious affiliation—and prepare for the Kriya meditation technique those who wish to consider a deeper commitment to this spiritual path.
The Lessons have been newly enhanced and greatly expanded, making them the most comprehensive edition ever offered. This new edition contains a wealth of previously unpublished material from Paramahansaji’s writings and classes on the YSS meditation techniques and many other subjects on how to live a spiritually balanced and successful life.
Paramahansa Yogananda welcomed those of every faith as students of his teachings. He explained that the results of practising the scientific methods of yoga he taught come not from accepting a particular belief system, but from direct personal experience of God. He did advise, however, that combining spiritual techniques of different paths produces diluted results. Steadfastly following a single path and applying its prescribed methods will take you most quickly to your spiritual goal.
Students who are already following a given faith may of course continue to participate in such forms of worship if they wish. Many persons of different religions have found great benefit, and enhancement of their own faith, by practising the methods given in the YSS Lessons. (Those students who wish to dedicate themselves wholly to the YSS path may formally take this step by receiving Kriya Yoga after fulfilling the requirements for this sacred initiation.)
As part of enrolling in the Yogoda Satsanga Lessons, you will be asked to affirm that you will preserve the confidentiality of the instructions therein. As explained above, the teaching given by Paramahansa Yogananda in the Lessons is deeper than that which he gave in talks and books for the public at large. He wrote:
“In a book available to the general public I cannot give the techniques themselves; for they are sacred, and certain ancient spiritual injunctions must first be followed to insure that they are received with reverence and confidentiality, and thereafter practised correctly.”
From his earliest years of teaching the meditation techniques of the Kriya Yoga science and their accompanying principles, Paramahansa Yogananda faithfully observed the spiritual principles governing transmission of sacred knowledge. When he put those teachings in printed form, he perpetuated that tradition of confidentiality in the Lessons Pledge that all recipients of the Lessons are asked to sign as part of the enrolment process; and that practice continues today.
We are offering the basic series of 18 Lessons at a special price of ₹ 600 for Lessons sent by Ordinary Post, and ₹ 1000 for Lessons sent by Courier/Special Post — substantially much lower than their actual cost, so that as many people as possible benefit from Paramahansa Yogananda’s liberating instructions in the new edition.
This introductory price will be available through January 31, 2021, and includes complimentary access to the digital version of the Lessons in the YSS Lessons app and all the auxiliary content for the Lessons.
We are only able to offer this low price because of the generous support that we anticipate from so many members of YSS. If you are able, we would be very grateful if you could also consider making a donation when you enrol for the Lessons. This will allow us to meet our general operating expenses and extend the availability of Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings to all sincere seekers.
If another member (12 years or older) of your family residing at the same address wishes to study and share your set of Lessons, he or she is welcome to enrol as a companionate student. A separate online Application should be submitted by each applicant, together with ₹ 300 as full subscription for all companionate privileges including complimentary access to digital content for basic series. Those living at the same address temporarily, or who those wish to receive their own set of Lessons are encouraged to enrol separately.
We encourage that Companionate students sign up for the new edition by paying the subscription fees of ₹ 300/-. They will not only be able to share the printed Lessons, but will also have independent access to the YSS Lessons App to read the digital Lessons of the basic series, and view other supplementary audio/video/written content on a complimentary basis.
The previous series of SRF Lessons originated in the 1930s — and they were inaugurated in India as the Yogoda Satsanga Lessons not long afterward. In the last years of his life, before his passing in 1952, Paramahansa Yogananda devoted himself to an intense period of writing new material and review of his previously published works. Among other projects, he worked personally with Sri Mrinalini Mata (who was then a young disciple and later served as the fourth president of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India). Paramahansaji reviewed the Lessons presentation with her and instructed her in his wishes for a thorough revision, noting a number of problems and defects that he wished to address. He told her to draw from the many writings and talks he had given in the intervening years since the Lessons were first compiled. “The Lessons will be your life’s work,” he said to her. The result of that “life’s work” is this new edition, completed shortly before her passing in 2017.
More on the history and evolution of the SRF/YSS Lessons can be found in the “Overview” section of this page.
The new edition of the Lessons is the most comprehensive ever offered, and includes much previously unpublished teaching that was not available when the Lessons were originally created in the 1930s—featuring clearer and more detailed instruction on the YSS meditation techniques, including Kriya Yoga, and many other subjects.
The new edition has been completely reorganized for clarity and ease of learning. The most essential principles of the YSS path have been distilled into a more systematic and focused presentation and sequence, so that students will find it much easier to learn, absorb, and practise the techniques and way of spiritual living taught by Paramahansa Yogananda.
The enhanced and expanded edition of the Lessons includes a basic series of 18 Lessons, each 24 to 40 pages in length, mailed every two weeks for nine months.
There is also an expanded series of Kriya Yoga Initiation lessons.
Also, a wealth of additional instruction from Paramahansa Yogananda is offered to students who complete the basic series, described in the “Organization and Sequence” section of this page.
The Lessons are also available digitally on iOS and Android mobile devices through the new proprietary YSS Lessons app. Written, audio, and video auxiliary content will be available through the online devotee portal, as well as in the Lessons app.
Other improvements in the new edition include:
At this time, the proprietary software for delivering these confidential studies is only available through our YSS Lessons app. We are exploring the possibility of making the Lessons available on computers and Windows mobile devices in the future.
However, we are planning to make the auxiliary content included with the new edition of the Lessons—written, audio, and video—available on the online devotee portal of the YSS website. It will be accessible in a browser window on all computers and mobile devices.
At present the new edition is available only in English. It is a high priority for YSS to translate the new edition of the Lessons into other languages. We will share more on the release schedule for each language as that information becomes available. (The earlier edition of the Lessons in Hindi will remain available until translation of the new edition is accomplished.)
We are offering the digital format as an additional resource but not as a replacement for the paper Lessons. Study of these sacred teachings is a powerful form of spiritual practice. An attitude of reverence and one-pointedly focused concentration is necessary to absorb fully the transforming vibration of divine truth that Paramahansa Yogananda’s words impart through the Lessons. For several reasons, digital devices are not as suited as printed material to helping you study in this focused, receptive state. Nevertheless, the digital version of the Lessons provides many benefits to the student when used judiciously in combination with the printed version (such as convenience while travelling, text searching within a Lesson, and bookmarking)
Only those who choose to enrol in the new edition of the Lessons will have access to the digital auxiliary content as part of their subscription. Therefore, if you would like access to any of the instructional videos or other auxiliary content available online, you will need to enrol in the new edition of the Lessons.
Those who are graduates of the YSS Lessons (as well as those who in the past may have completed some but not all of the Lessons) will not need to fill out another Lessons application, but will need to enrol for the new edition of the Lessons. You can enrol for the Lessons by signing in to your online devotee portal account and following the instructions given there.
Because this expanded and enhanced edition contains much new material, all students of the Lessons, regardless of whether they are graduates of the previous Lessons or new Lessons students, will receive them one Lesson at a time, to be mailed every two weeks, so that they have the proper amount of time to assimilate the content.
We are confident even if you studied the previous edition, you will find that going through the new edition, one Lesson at a time, will be profoundly inspiring and useful in re-energizing your spiritual life—and that you will also find a deeper inner connection with Paramahansa Yogananda and his lineage of Gurus.
Remember: Spiritual study—in the focused, intuitive way taught in the Lessons—is in itself a powerful technique of soul-progress and attunement with the Guru.
Yes. However, we strongly recommend that existing Kriyabans subscribe to the basic 18 Lessons of the new edition of the Lessons because of the way in which the Lessons have been reorganized and systematically presented. There is invaluable information in the basic series that is extremely helpful for practice of Kriya, as a significant portion of this information was not included in earlier editions of the Lessons. However, if you choose to receive the new edition of the Kriya Lessons without enrolling for the basic series, they will be available to Kriyabans around October 2019.
Students of the current Lessons who have not yet received Kriya Yoga will also become eligible for Kriya after eight months of study, and at least a few months of regular twice-daily practice of all the three techniques: Energization Exercises, Hong-Sau, and Aum Technique – whether they choose to transition to the New Edition, or stay with the current Lessons.
Many years ago Paramahansa Yogananda said that the new Lessons should provide followers of this path with a continuous stream of inspiration throughout their lives.
The Supplement Lessons feature valuable guidance and instruction from Paramahansa Yogananda that expand on the how-to-live principles and meditation techniques you received in the basic series of YSS Lessons, and provide a wealth of new guidance, inspiration, and additional techniques to deepen your spiritual life.
This series of Lessons includes material from previously unpublished talks and writings of Paramahansa Yogananda as well as from earlier editions of the Lessons.
The Supplement series features a wide range of topics to enhance and strengthen your practice of our Guru’s meditation techniques and how-to-live teachings, such as:
There are approximately 90 Lessons in the Supplement series. You will receive groups of four lessons every two months. If received without interruption, the Supplement Lessons continue for approximately 3 1/2 years.
You may choose between two subscription plans:
If you pay online, then you also have the option to auto-renew your subscription provided you have a credit card.
Both subscription plans include free access to digital versions of the Lessons in the YSS Lessons app. (The latest version of the app will give you full access to this content.)
You will need to first receive the full Basic Lessons series before you are eligible to enroll for the Supplement Lessons.
There are approximately 90 Lessons in the Supplement series. They range from 12 pages to 32 pages with most falling between 16 and 24 pages.
Four Supplement Lessons will be mailed every two months. To ensure timely and reliable delivery, all Supplement Lessons will be sent by special postage.
The Supplement Lessons continue Paramahansaji’s teachings on meditation and spiritual living. Those who feel they have benefited from studying the basic series will also get much out of continuing their studies of the YSS/SRF “how-to-live” teachings presented in the Supplement series.
For Lessons that have auxiliary content it will be available in the Devotee Portal and on the app.
Yes, digital versions of the Lessons will be available in the app, just like the basic series. They will be available to you two weeks after the corresponding paper Lesson has been mailed.
The Supplement Lessons series will be mailed out in sequential order (in groups of four lessons) to all those who enroll, starting with Lesson #19 (which is the next Lesson after the final Lesson in the basic series, #18).
No. The Supplement Lessons are currently only available in groups of four lessons, which will be mailed every two months.
In the coming years, the Supplement Lessons will be released in several languages.
There are many ways to organize your lessons such as binders, magazine storage bins, a box or accordion folders. We suggest you use some means to organize your YSS Lessons to protect them and for easy access. While YSS is not offering binders or other organizers at this time, they are readily available at local or online office supply retailers.