Self Realization Fellowship

November 11, 2000

Source: The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

On November 11, 2000, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution reported that the "Self-Realization Fellowship is not a religion, but a nonprofit organization that seeks to help followers find deeper levels of spiritual awareness through meditation and kriya yoga. These techniques are based on practice and inner experience rather than a particular set of religious beliefs. 'We honor all paths,' says Atlanta coordinator Randy Bundy, a member of SRF since 1973. The Atlanta chapter attracts members from as far away as Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina. Founder Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952), an Indian yogi, came to Boston in 1920 for an international religious conference and settled in Los Angeles in 1925, when he founded Self-Realization Fellowship...An Atlanta group was begun in 1971 by Mary Lou Edwards, who had met Yogananda in 1945 and became a student. At first the group met in members' homes and offices; in the mid-'90s it rented space in a Dunwoody office building...The Atlanta center will celebrate the opening of its first independent building this weekend...The budding lotus leafs on the roof of the new building represent the opening up of a soul to God...During regular services, SRF members initiated in kriya yoga take turns reading texts by Yogananda. Often these are commentaries on the biblical Gospels or Bhagavad-Gita. The readings are interspersed with prayers, chants and short periods of meditation. The Sunday meditation service allows for a longer silent meditation, lasting about a half-hour. Twice a month, the Atlanta center offers an extended meditation: three back-to-back, one-hour services. People accustomed to evangelical worship styles may be startled by the quiet at SRF services. 'Peace is palpable when people meditate together,' says Bundy...No instruction on meditation and kriya yoga is offered at the Atlanta center. A comprehensive three-year series of lessons for home study, prepared by Yogananda before his death, is available through mail. Cost is less than $1 per weekly lesson."