SRF Makes Changes After Yogananda’s Passing

Facts not commonly known

In 1956, SRF removed from Autobiography of a Yogi the miraculous photograph of Lahiri Mahasaya and replaced it with a painting of Lahiri. There was no indication a switch had been made. It wasn’t until 1998 that the actual photograph was returned to the book, and the painting identified.

In 1958, on the advice of pundits who said Paramhansa Yogananda did not spell his title correctly, SRF created a new signature for Yogananda. Ever since, Yogananda has “signed” his name, “Paramahansa.” It wasn’t until 1981, in a publisher’s note in Whispers from Eternity, that SRF explained that a change had been made.

Paramhansa Yogananda did not put a picture of Krishna on the altar, nor did he mention Krishna separately when he prayed to the line of gurus. Instead, he would say “Babaji-Krishna,” since Krishna is a former incarnation of Babaji. Years after Yogananda died, SRF put Krishna on the altar and began to name him separately in the prayer.

In the picture of Sri Yukteswar that Paramhansa Yogananda put on the altar, Yukteswar is looking to his left. Years after Yogananda died, SRF reversed Sri Yukteswar’s picture so that he would look toward the center of the altar. The two sides of a face represent different aspects of a person’s nature, so to reverse a photo changes both the look and the vibration.

Paramhansa Yogananda put his own picture on the altar as an impersonal recognition of his role in the line of gurus. He is the “last in the line”; so he placed himself at the end. Years after he died, SRF switched Yogananda and Yukteswar. Perhaps this is when Yukteswar’s face was reversed as well.

Paramhansa Yogananda often wore a Christian cross. Rajarsi also wore a cross that Yogananda had given him. Photos of Rajarsi wearing that cross have been removed from recent editions of the SRF book about Rajarsi. In fact, it appears that the cross itself has have been removed from photos of Rajarsi. At the Lake Shrine dedication, Yogananda wore a small gold cross. Recent prints of the color portrait of him taken that day no longer include that gold cross.

During Paramhansa Yogananda’s lifetime, discipleship was offered as a separate initiation from Kriya, and people could take Kriya initiation as often as they wanted. Now SRF no longer offers discipleship, except combined with Kriya, and Kriya initiation itself can only be taken one time.

Many lines were deleted from the poem Samadhi in Autobiography of a Yogi and have never been restored.

The introduction to Cosmic Chants, which includes instructions on how to chant and the specific effect of many of the chants, was removed and has never been restored.

Whispers from Eternity was edited so radically as to be an entirely different book. A letter approving the changes, supposedly from Paramhansa Yogananda, was included in the foreword. Swami Kriyananda, who was part of SRF at the time, states unequivocally that Yogananda did not write that letter.

SRF has made a vast number of changes to Autobiography of a Yogi since Paramhansa Yogananda died; changes that alter such essential elements of his teachings as Kriya Yoga, the monastic vs. the householder life, and communities as an ideal lifestyle for householder devotees. A great many of the changes make it seem as if Yogananda himself gave more emphasis to SRF as an institution than he actually did.


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