3rd Annual Door of My Heart; The Sacred Chants of Yogananda

What is this life?   Flowing through my veins,  Could it be other than Divine?     Oh fountain of flame, Thy light is within me  About me, everywhere.   -Paramahansa Yogananda

Yes, we did it again!  We held another evening of “nothing but Yogananda chants!”   On January 11, 2020, near the date of Yogananda’s birthday, and a hundred years after he arrived in the United States on his first teaching mission.  Here is an excerpt from the program:

Paramahansa Yogananda  (1893-1952) was one of the most influential meditation and spiritual masters of the 20th century.  Following his arrival in 1920 to the United States from India, he made America his home for the next 32 years.  Yogananda’s mission to the West was multi-faceted. His national tours – including a stop in Minneapolis in 1927 –introduced tens of thousands of Americans to yoga and meditation.  His Autobiography of a Yogi has been hailed as a spiritual classic.  Devoutly committed to the common truths in the world’s religions, he helped advance religious pluralism in the West.

Yogananda played a key role introducing both bhakti yoga – the yoga of love – and devotional chanting to the West.  In a legendary concert at Carnegie Hall in 1926, he chanted his English translation of the 500 year-old chant, Hey Hari Sundara  (Oh God Beautiful) for almost 90 minutes.  His Cosmic Chants, a book of original compositions in English with translations of traditional Hindu chants rendered in western musical notation was a first.  Yogananda claimed that he spiritualized his chants by playing them until he went into samadhi (spiritual ecstasy).  Most of the chants you will hear tonight are drawn from this collection.

Yogananda’s legacy continues.  He is often cited as a key influence in many peoples’ spiritual journeys.  His organization, the Self Realization Fellowship (SRF) carries on his teachings and spiritual vision.





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