Paramahansa Yogananda’s final years were spent largely in seclusion, as he laboured intensely to complete his writings — including his voluminous commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita and the teachings of Jesus Christ in the four Gospels, and revisions of earlier works such as Whispers from Eternity and the Yogoda Satsanga Lessons. He also worked extensively with Sri Daya Mata, Sri Mrinalini Mata, and a few other of his closest disciples, imparting the spiritual and organizational guidance that would enable them to carry on his worldwide work after he would be gone.
He told them:
“My body shall pass but my work shall go on. And my spirit shall live on. Even when I am taken away I shall work with you all for the deliverance of the world with the message of God.
“Those who have come to Self‑Realization Fellowship [Yogoda Satsanga Society of India] truly seeking inward spiritual help shall receive what they seek from God. Whether they come while I am in the body, or afterward, the power of God through the link of the SRF [YSS] Gurus shall flow into the devotees just the same, and shall be the cause of their salvation….The ever‑living Babaji has promised to guard and guide the progress of all sincere SRF [YSS] devotees. Lahiri Mahasaya and Sri Yukteswarji, who have left their physical forms, and I myself, even after I have left the body — all will ever protect and direct the sincere members of SRF [YSS].”
On March 7, 1952, the great guru entered mahasamadhi, a God‑illumined master’s conscious exit from the body at the time of physical death. He had just finished giving a short speech at a banquet honouring India’s ambassador to the United States, Dr. Binay R. Sen, at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.
His passing was marked by an extraordinary phenomenon. A notarized statement signed by the Director of Forest Lawn Memorial‑Park testified: “No physical disintegration was visible in his body even twenty days after death….This state of perfect preservation of a body is, so far as we know from mortuary annals, an unparalleled one….Yogananda’s body was apparently in a phenomenal state of immutability.”
In years past, Paramahansa Yogananda’s guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, had referred to him as an incarnation of divine love. Later, his disciple and first spiritual successor, Rajarsi Janakananda, fittingly bestowed on him the title of Premavatar or “Incarnation of Divine Love.”
On the occasion of the twenty‑fifth anniversary of Paramahansa Yogananda’s passing, his far‑reaching contributions to the spiritual upliftment of humanity were given formal recognition by the Government of India. A special commemorative stamp was issued in his honour, together with a tribute that read, in part:
The ideal of love for God and service to humanity found full expression in the life of Paramahansa Yogananda…. Though the major part of his life was spent outside of India, still he takes his place among our great saints. His work continues to grow and shine ever more brightly, drawing people everywhere on the path of the pilgrimage of the Spirit.
In 2017 India’s Prime Minister, the Hon’ble Sri Narendra Modi, paid tribute to Paramahansaji during a special ceremony in New Delhi on March 7, 2017, in which the Government of India released a new postage stamp to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Yogoda Satsanga Society. The date was chosen to honour the anniversary of Paramahansaji’s mahasamadhi.
In his inspired address, the Prime Minister characterized Paramahansaji as one of India’s greatest yogis and teachers—one whose life and work demonstrated for the world the tremendous value of India’s spirituality—and praised YSS for successfully maintaining the legacy and spirit of its founder in sharing India’s ancient heritage in the modern world.