Yogananda’s Statement About Communities, in Autobiography of a Yogi

by Paramhansa Yogananda

From Autobiography of a Yogi, original first edition, 1946, Chapter 48

New Year’s week of 1945 found me at work in my Encinitas study, revising the manuscript of this book.

“Paramhansaji, please come outdoors.” Dr. Lewis, on a visit from Boston, smiled at me pleadingly from outside my window. Soon we were strolling in the sunshine. My companion pointed to new towers in process of construction along the edge of the Fellowship property adjoining the coast highway.

“Sir, I see many improvements here since my last visit.” Dr. Lewis comes twice annually from Boston to Encinitas.

“Yes, Doctor, a project I have long considered is beginning to take definite form. In these beautiful surroundings I have started a miniature world colony. Brotherhood is an ideal better understood by example than precept! A small harmonious group here may inspire other ideal communities over the earth.”

“A splendid idea, sir! The colony will surely be a success if everyone sincerely does his part!”

“‘World’ is a large term, but man must enlarge his allegiance, considering himself in the light of a world citizen,” I continued. “A person who truly feels: ‘The world is my homeland; it is my America, my India, my Philippines, my England, my Africa,’ will never lack scope for a useful and happy life. His natural local pride will know limitless expansion; he will be in touch with creative universal currents.”

Dr. Lewis and I halted above the lotus pool near the hermitage. Below us lay the illimitable Pacific.

“These same waters break equally on the coasts of West and East, in California and China.” My companion threw a little stone into the first of the oceanic seventy million square miles. “Encinitas is a symbolic spot for a world colony.”

“That is true, Doctor. We shall arrange here for many conferences and Congresses of Religion, inviting delegates from all lands. Flags of the nations will hang in our halls. Diminutive temples will be built over the grounds, dedicated to the world’s principal religions.”

“As soon as possible,” I went on, “I plan to open a Yoga Institute here. The blessed role of Kriya Yoga in the West has hardly more than just begun. May all men come to know that there is a definite, scientific technique of self-realization for the overcoming of all human misery!”

Far into the night my dear friend —the first Kriya Yogi in America—discussed with me the need for world colonies founded on a spiritual basis. The ills attributed to an anthropomorphic abstraction called “society” may be laid more realistically at the door of Everyman. Utopia must spring in the private bosom before it can flower in civic virtue. Man is a soul, not an institution; his inner reforms alone can lend permanence to outer ones. By stress on spiritual values, self-realization, a colony exemplifying world brotherhood is empowered to send inspiring vibrations far beyond its locale.

August 15, 1945, close of Global War II! End of a world; dawn of an enigmatic Atomic Age! The hermitage residents gathered in the main hall for a prayer of thanksgiving. “Heavenly Father, may never it be again! Thy children go henceforth as brothers!”
Gone was the tension of war years; our spirits purred in the sun of peace. I gazed happily at each of my American comrades.

“Lord,” I thought gratefully, “Thou hast given this monk a large family!”

Follow this link to the complete 1946 first edition of Autobography of a Yogi.

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