As far as Indian culture is concerned, the greatest aspiration was living by the teachings of the Guru Gita, a mystic like Yogananda himself. Reflections of a past seemed to permeate the bewildered Yogi, for he himself believed to the incarnation of the living life force of God, a Holy Man. Through Kriya Yoga, this practice was done by simply meditating on the faceless force of energy known throughout the universe. Many Yogis are known to have retained self-consciousness without interruption through the traumatizing transition of life and death. Yogananda was born on January 5, 1893 in Gorakhpur in India near the Himalaya Mountains. In 1915, his name was happily changed to Yogananda as an enduring title from the ancient monastic Swami Order. In 1935, another guru bequeathed an additional title Paramahansa, as an achievement for further religious studies. His true name lavishly enough, was Mukunda Lal Ghosh.
Exposed at an early age to religious texts, such as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, Yogananda was inspired from an earlier age to fulfill work that had been followed by countless Yogic Masters and Mystics. The mother of Yogananda was immensely charitable and altruistic in her efforts to alleviate the burden of the poor, so much so that it caused strife in the household for the young Yogi and his eight siblings. His father was a vehement disciplinarian to his eight children. To his lighter side, however, He was often caught reading the immensely philosophical Bhagavad Gita, a Sanskrit poem delineating, the Mahabharata epic, which is the equivalent to the Hindu Bible. In fact, Gandhi was so inspired by the Bhagavad Gita so much so that he was quoted as saying, “Those who will meditate on the Gita will derive fresh joy and new meanings from it every day. There is not a single spiritual tangle which the Gita cannot unravel.”Yogananda, or Mukunda Lal Ghosh’s father met the famed and critically acclaimed Lahiri Mahasaya, the Indian saint. Later, his father would come to become a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya.
Written by: Joshua Keller