Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 13 April 2013.Phone: 781-894-9664
The Boston Meditation Group of Self-Realization is comprised of members and friends of the worldwide Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), which was founded in 1920 by spiritual leader Paramahansa Yogananda. Paramahansa Yogananda first arrived in the United States from India in 1920, when he came to Boston to speak at the International Congress of Religious Liberals as India’s delegate. His address to the congress, on "The Science of Religion," was enthusiastically received by the audience. Residents of Somerville, including Alice Hasey and Dr. and Mrs. Minot Lewis, were among the first members of the Boston Meditation Group in the pioneering years of Paramahansa Yogananda’s worldwide mission. In 1924, Paramahansa Yogananda left the East Coast to head westward, eventually establishing the international headquarters of the SRF in Los Angeles, California. Since the establishment of the SRF, the fellowship has spread to fifty states and sixty-six countries. In Boston, the group has experienced a steady growth over time and now has thirty-five to forty members in attendance at weekly services.
Beliefs and Mission
In explaining the process of self-realization, Paramahansa Yogananda stated: "Self-realization is the knowing--in body, mind, and soul--that we are one with the omnipresence of God; that we do not have to pray that it come to us, that we are not merely near it at all times, but that God's omnipresence is our omnipresence, that we are just as much a part of Him now as we ever will be...All we have to do is improve our knowing." The primary aim of the SRF, as described by Paramahansa Yogananda is “to teach the individual man the way to personal contact with God.” In keeping with this goal, Paramahansa Yogananda aimed to spread Kriya Yoga in the West. Kriya Yoga is a sacred scientific technique of meditation that is over 5,000 years old and allows a practitioner to climb up the “spiritual ladder.” Paramahansa Yogananda wrote: “The life force, which is ordinarily absorbed in maintaining the heart action, must be freed for higher activities by a method of calming and stilling the ceaseless demands of the breath.” Thus, the group believes that, regardless of your religion, yoga can unite you directly with God. The SRF also adheres to Paramahansa Yogananda’s belief that God exists “equally and impartially” in every human being, regardless of his or her religion, race, gender, or other common distinctions. As a result, members of the Boston Meditation Group of SRF, much like the SRF as a whole, come from a range of diverse backgrounds. The SRF website states: “Through our worldwide service, we seek to foster a spirit of greater understanding and goodwill among the diverse people and nations of our global family, and to help those of all cultures and creeds to realize and express more fully in their lives the beauty, nobility, and divinity of the human spirit.”
For more about the aims and ideals of the SRF, please visit http://www.yogananda-srf.org/aboutsrf/aims_ideals.html.
The Boston Meditation Group of SRF currently rents the bottom level of the building at 751 Main Street in Waltham. The group’s space includes a central lobby, a large room for meditation and services, a Sunday school room, and a shop, which sells books, recordings, magazines, incense, calendars, meditation beads, and a variety of other devotional objects.
Plans for Expansion
In 2006, the Boston group began to consider purchasing property for a permanent location. Since that time, a building committee was formed, which is now in charge of managing donations and other move-related logistics. As the center continues to grow, the committee is searching for a site with adequate space and an appropriate, quiet, centrally-located setting for meditation.
The Boston group holds a variety of spiritual services throughout the week, including meditation services, prayer services, inspirational services, reading services, kirtan chanting, and Bhagavad Gita readings. Once a month, the group holds a day-long silent retreat that is open to all members. Additionally, services are held throughout the year to commemorate the birth or Mahasamadhi (conscious final exit from the physical body) of a Guru. Each summer, new members of the SRF are initiated at a nationwide convocation in Los Angeles, an event that usually brings together over 6,000 members from around the world. In addition to spiritual services, the Boston group holds four to six social events throughout the year and takes on community service projects. Past community service projects have included sending Christmas presents to children living in poverty in the Waltham area, as well as the establishment of a fund that provides books and school supplies for sixty children in India each year.
The Boston Meditation Group of SRF is headed by a managing council, comprised of a secretary, a coordinator, a treasurer, and two members-at-large. The council is elected democratically each year and council members can serve up to three years in any one position. The managing council works closely with the “Mother Center,” the SRF headquarters in Los Angeles, which provides guidelines to ensure the proper dissemination of Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings. Council members meet as a group once a month and also serve as liaisons to various sub-committees, which coordinate all logistical matters related to services and building maintenance. All council and committee members are volunteers.