Return to India (1935-36)

In 1935, Yogananda returned to India for a last visit with his great guru (right). (Sri Yukteswar passed away on March 9, 1936.) Traveling by ship and automobile through Europe, Palestine, and Egypt, he arrived in Bombay in the summer of 1935.

During Yogananda’s year-long sojourn in his native land, he gave classes and Kriya Yoga initia­tion in cities throughout the subcontinent. He also enjoyed meetings with Mahatma Gandhi who requested initiation in Kriya Yoga; Nobel‑prize‑winning physicist Sir C. V. Raman; and some of India’s most renowned spiritual figures, including Ramana Maharshi and Anandamoyi Ma.

It was during this year that Sri Yukteswar bestowed on him India’s highest spiritual title, paramahansa. Literally “supreme swan” (a symbol of spiritual discrimination), the title signifies one who is established in the ultimate state of union with God.

While in India, Yogananda secured the permanent foundation for his work there, Yogoda Satsanga Society of India. From its headquarters (bottom left) in Dakshineswar (on the Ganges near Kolkata) and the original ashram in Ranchi, the society continues to thrive to this day — with schools, ashrams, meditation centers, and charitable works throughout the subcontinent.

In late 1936 he returned to America, where he remained for the rest of his life.