Los Angeles: More than 25,000 spiritual seekers representing 138 countries signed up for the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) World Convocation (August 14–20), a week-long immersion in the Kriya Yoga teachings of Sri Paramahansa Yogananda.
For the third year in a row, the SRF Convocation was offered entirely online and free of charge, and for the first time it was offered through a Convocation app. Sri Paramahansa Yogananda started the annual Convocation over 70 years ago.
“In past years we needed a huge 30-story hotel to accommodate the World Convocation… and now we can conduct it in a space as small as my hand,” said Brother Chidananda, president of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India.
A celebration of divine friendship, the global gathering was a chance for participants to expand their study and practice of yogic principles, connect with fellow participants, engage in group meditations, and watch live-streamed How-to-Live
While a few of the meditation technique classes were open only to students of the SRF Lessons, most events were open to the general public, including the evening classes taught by SRF monastics. Topics aimed to fortify spiritual life in practical ways.
“What’s needed is a new scientific science of spirituality for our modern times,” said Brother Chidananda.
He pointed to the liberating power of Kriya Yoga, an advanced Raja Yoga technique that deals directly with energy and consciousness, and enables one to perceive, from the very beginning of one’s efforts, glimpses of the ultimate goal — conscious union with the inexhaustibly blissful Spirit. “[Kriya Yoga] can be a very, very powerful technique… to visualize yourself casting all your baggage, the unwanted psychological and emotional baggage and debris, into that purifying light in the brain, in the spiritual eye,” said Brother Chidananda.
“Never forget what a tremendous contribution is made by deeply meditating Kriya yogis. As [Paramahansa Yogananda] said: ‘Change yourself and you will change thousands.’
In his talk on How Everyday Thoughts Can Change Our Lives, Brother Prafullananda talked about the impact that scientific techniques of meditation and affirmation can have on one’s ability to transform life’s obstacles through positive thinking.
“Our thought patterns make a difference,” he said. “What we’re thinking changes the outer situation…. Just as negative thoughts bring about negative conditions, so positive thinking brings about what we do want. Learn how to go deep into these meditation techniques. That’s the way we can create the positive blueprint.”
Convocation coincided with Janmashtami, honoring and celebrating the birth of the great avatar Bhagavan Krishna, whose teachings are part yogic path of Self-Realization.
“Krishna played many roles during his lifetime,” said Brother Kamalananda. “In his childhood he was a simple cowherd, eventually becoming the king of Dwaraka. He was also a warrior, a diplomat trying to broker peace, a charioteer for Arjuna during the Mahabharata war, a spiritual guru for his many disciples. His life is an inspiration to all because he showed that no matter what one’s outer role, one can attain and maintain divine consciousness.”
The classes encouraged attendees to keep up their sincere efforts of regular meditation, study, and right living. “The blessing of Divine inspiration is always available to us, but feeling inspired requires our receptivity,” said Brother Satyananda in his talk on Renewing Our Spiritual Enthusiasm. “This means actively keeping faith and hope alive in our hearts, even during times of struggle and uncertainty.”
Convocation classes and meditations will be available for several months.