Influences

Paramhansa Yogananda and Anandamayi Ma

Paramhansa Yogananda and Anandamoyi Ma

When Paramhansa Yogananda came to America in 1920 and began teaching what he called “original yoga and original Christianity,” he also introduced another concept that was quite strange and new to most Americans: love of God as Divine Mother.

Yogananda was a child of Bengal, where God is most often worshiped as the Divine Mother in different forms. From a young age he was surrounded by friends and guides who loved God as the Divine Mother.

Some of them were personally very close to him, such as Master Mahasaya (the “Blissful Devotee” of Autobiography of a Yogi) and Anandamoyi Ma, the Bengali saint. Others inspired Yogananda through their lives or poetry, including the mystical poet Ramprasad Sen, and Sri Ramakrishna. An early influence was Yogananda’s mother, Gyan Prabha Ghosh.

Reading about their lives, along with their poetry and teachings, can inspire one’s own search for God, as they did for Yogananda.

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