Newspaper Accounts of Yogananda in London
Inner Culture, March 1937
The newspapers and illustrated weeklies in London and India devoted a great deal of space to Swami Yogananda’s presence in their lands. Mr. Wright, who accompanied Swamiji, came back loaded with newspaper clippings about Swamiji’s work and lectures in various places.
The “London Star”
“I managed to squeeze into Caxton Hall before the overflow invaded the Press table. The occasion was an address on God by Swami Yogananda, Yoga master. Hall, floor and balconies were crammed. For an hour-and-a-quarter attention was held by a remarkable piece of reverent entertainment. I have heard few equals of the Swami as an orator. There was not a syllable of rant or unintelligible metaphysics. His character-acting of a socially distracted lady trying to practice meditation as the Swami ordered would have brought down any house. At the end of 75 minutes, the Swami, apparently not the least fatigued, left to address the over-flow meetings. Next Tuesday the Swami will speak at Whitefields Institute in support of the World Fellowship of Faiths. The president of the British National Council is our old friend, Mr. George Lansbury. The world president is the Maharaja Gaekwar of Baroda.”
“Sunday Graphic,” London
The Sunday Graphic of London (September 27, 1936) had the following feature article by its columnist, Gordon Webb:
“In a quiet room, high above the clamour of London’s traffic, a famous Indian mystic, one of the master-minds of Yoga, gave me a remarkable demonstration of his powers. He was the Swami Yogananda, who now plans to organize a Yoga center in Britain. In yesterday’s demonstration the Yogi proved that he can (1) Stop his heart beating for a brief period; (2) Stop his pulse at will, or lower his blood pressure; (3) Control his sense of touch, or eliminate it entirely; (4) Switch off the energy from any part of his body.
“Dark-eyed, youthful-looking, the Swami told the history of his study and mastery of Yoga, the mysterious power of the East which he is now adapting to the varying conditions of the western world. ‘I studied Yoga in my childhood days,’ he said, ‘but it was not until I was profoundly moved by the death of my mother when I was a young man that I brought my powers to their full pitch. Here in the western world you are burning up all your energies. You do not find real happiness. You die young. We in the East have learned much from you, but in this matter of leading a balanced life, you have much to learn from us. By concentration and relaxation I can do with two hours’ sleep out of the 24. There is no reason why anyone who will give an hour and a half every day to deep concentration cannot do the same. When the heart is quieted consciously every other part of the body is rested with incomparably more benefit than in a deep sleep. It is this rest which prolongs life.’
“The Swami has the appearance of a man in the early twenties. At home it is unusual for him to work less than 16 hours a day, addressing clubs, churches and societies, attending to his vast correspondence, interviewing his followers, and directing the headquarters of his fellowship in Los Angeles. In addition, he spends long hours in intense meditation. He makes no preparatory notes for his addresses, but speaks with complete spontaneity. He claims that he is himself living proof of his teaching that anyone who faithfully follows his doctrines can attain complete self-mastery and remain young even in old age.”