Early Life and Spiritual Search

Young Paramahansa Yogananda

Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda was born Mukunda Lal Ghosh on January 5, 1893, in the holy city of Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. From his earliest years, it was clear that his life was marked for a divine destiny. According to those closest to him, even as a child the depth of his awareness and experience of the spiritual was far beyond the ordinary. In his youth he sought out sages and saints, hoping to find an enlightened guru.

It was in 1910, at the age of seventeen, that he met and became a disciple of the revered sage Sri Sri Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri. Sri Yukteswarji was one of a line of exalted gurus with whom Yoganandaji had been linked from birth: Sri Yogananda's parents were disciples of Sri Sri Lahiri Mahasaya, guru of Swami Sri Yukteswarji. When Yoganandaji was an infant in his mother's arms, Lahiri Mahasaya, had blessed him and foretold: "Little mother, thy son will be a yogi. As a spiritual engine, he will carry many souls to God's kingdom." Lahiri Mahasaya was a disciple of Sri Sri Mahavatar Babaji, the deathless master who revived in this age the ancient science of Kriya Yoga. Mahavatar Babaji then revealed the sacred Kriya to Lahiri Mahasaya, who handed it down to Sri Yukteswarji, who taught it to Paramahansa Yogananda.