During the 1930s, Paramahansa Yogananda began to withdraw somewhat from his nationwide public lecturing so as to devote himself to the writings that would carry his message to future generations, and to building an enduring foundation for the spiritual and humanitarian work of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India/Self-Realization Fellowship.
Under his direction, the personal guidance and instruction that he had given to students of his classes was arranged into a comprehensive series of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India Lessons for home study.
A beautiful Hermitage overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Encinitas, California, had been built for the Guru during his absence in India by his beloved disciple Sri Sri Rajarsi Janakananda. Here the Guru spent many years working on his autobiography and other writings, and began the Retreat programme which continues to this day.
He also founded several Self-Realization Fellowship temples (Encinitas, Hollywood, and San Diego), speaking regularly there to devoted audiences of SRF members and friends on a vast array of spiritual subjects. Many of these talks, which were recorded stenographically by Sri Sri Daya Mata, have since been published by YSS/SRF in the three volumes of Yoganandaji’s Collected Talks and Essays and in Yogoda Satsanga Magazine.
Yogananda’s life story, Autobiography of a Yogi, was published in 1946 (and significantly expanded by him in subsequent editions). A perennial best seller, the book has been in continuous publication since it first appeared and has been translated into 50 languages. It is widely regarded as a modern spiritual classic.
In 1950, Paramahansaji held the first Self-Realization Fellowship World Convocation at its International Headquarters in Los Angeles — a weeklong event that today attracts thousands each year from all around the globe. He also dedicated the beautiful SRF Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades, enshrining a portion of Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes in the ten-acre lakeside meditation gardens that has since become one of California’s most prominent spiritual landmarks.