Paramahamsa Yogananda (1893-1952) is the first realized monk in the line of Kriya Yoga masters who went to the West. After being initiated into monkhood in 1911, he was invited to speak at the World religion conference in 1920 as the first Indian realized yoga master.
After fifteen years of ceaseless work in the US, he returned to India in 1935. During this stay he met big personalities like RamanaMaharshi, Anandamoyi Ma, Kashimoni Devi (the holy wife of Shyamacharan Lahiri) and Mahatma Gandhi. He understood the universal importance of Kriya Yoga as the scientific base of all religions. In 1935 Yoganandaji initiated Mahatma Gandhi and some of his disciples in Kriya Yoga at the Wardha ashram. When Yogananda stayed in Kolkata (1935) he initiated Hariharananda into the second Kriya. His GurudevShri Yukteswarji granted him the highest title a monk can achieve: Paramahamsa.
A lot of people learned about Kriya Yoga via Yogananda’s “Autobiography of a yogi” (publisher Ankh Hermes), the famous book that has been translated in more than fifty languages. Millions of copies were sold. Besides this autobiography he wrote many inspiring books like “Whispers from Eternity”, “ The Divine Romance” and ‘ The Second coming of Christ”. These spiritual masterpieces show his enormous talent and deep experiences of the Self. In the US Yoganandaji founded some ashrams and initiated more than 100.000 people in Kriya Yoga.