As announced on August 10, 2017 at our World Convocation in Los Angeles, a new edition of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons is planned for release in 2018.
The project is a comprehensive enhancement and expansion of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons. The revised Lessons were begun by Paramahansaji in the final years of his life, and he instructed Sri Mrinalini Mata to complete them according to his instructions for publication and distribution to a worldwide audience.
The new edition of the Lessons will contain a wealth of new material from Paramahansaji’s writings and classes that was not available when the current Lessons were originally created in the 1930s — including clearer and more detailed instruction on the SRF meditation techniques, including Kriya Yoga, and many other subjects. The most essential principles of the SRF path have been distilled into a more organized and focused presentation. The student will find it much easier to learn, absorb, and practice the techniques and way of spiritual living taught by Paramahansa Yogananda.
Combining all of the material authored by Paramahansaji for every earlier edition of the Lessons going back to the early 1920s — as well as much previously unpublished material — this new edition will be the most comprehensive ever offered. It will include much additional support and inspiration for those who are following the SRF spiritual path and teachings.
“The Lessons will be your life’s work,” our Guru said to Mrinalini Mata when assigning the project to her long ago. (She spoke a little about this to the attendees at SRF Convocation during one of her talks at the Bonaventure Hotel a few years ago.)
Though there are many details to be finalized and much preparatory work to be done on the new series, Mrinalini Mataji felt great joy knowing that this news would be shared with you during this Centennial year of Gurudeva’s organizational work. As most of you are aware, Guruji began in 1917 with the founding of his Yogoda Satsanga Society school in India; and that anniversary is being celebrated with many special events this year.
Indeed, the SRF/YSS Lessons were envisioned by our Guru as the primary vehicle for accomplishing the sacred mission he began 100 years ago, entrusted to him by Mahavatar Babaji and Swami Sri Yukteswar: the worldwide dissemination of India’s ancient Kriya Yoga science of spirituality for the upliftment of all humanity. As you know, the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons are unique among Paramahansa Yogananda’s published works, in that they give his in-depth instruction in the actual techniques of the highest yoga science of God-realization.
Origin and Evolution of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons
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 traveled 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 enroll for the additional series of lessons on the Self-Realization 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.
During the 1920s and '30s, Paramahansa Yogananda traveled all over the United States, personally instructing more than 100,000 people in the Kriya Yoga science of meditation and art of balanced spiritual living.
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. The series was assembled over the course of several years, from 1934 through about 1938. The early disciples with whom Paramahansaji worked on this project often had difficulty getting each new Lesson prepared and printed in time to meet the weekly mailing deadlines — particularly since the Guru was absent for a year-and-a-half long journey through Europe and India during 1935–36. Nevertheless, the series was eventually completed and remained in circulation for many years.
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 personally with Sri Mrinalini Mata (who was then a young disciple). Paramahansaji reviewed the Lessons presentation with her and instructed her in his wishes for a thorough revision. 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 result of this great responsibility, this “life’s work,” is the new edition of the Lessons.
A new member-only website will be created for audio, video, and written content that will supplement the new edition of the Lessons, giving much additional support to the spiritual efforts of SRF/YSS students.
Release Date of the New Edition of the SRF Lessons
Needless to say, the new edition of the Lessons will be a major milestone in the history of Paramahansa Yogananda’s worldwide work. In the coming months we will be sharing with you more information about the new Lessons — including the date when they will be available, once that can be definitely determined. At present, we anticipate that it will be in 2018.
The new edition of the Lessons will first be released in English. Translations into other languages will be released afterwards as and when they can be completed, but this will take a number of years. More information on the release schedule for each language will be shared as it becomes available.
We look forward to sharing periodic updates with you as we reach specific milestones in the project, and extend our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the support of your prayers for completion of the new edition of the SRF Lessons.