PURPOSE OF SRF CENTERS AND MEDITATION GROUPS
"Kriya Yoga, the scientific technique of God-realization, will ultimately spread in all lands, and aid in harmonizing the nations through man's personal, transcendental perception of the Infinite Father." - (from SRF Center Bulletin No. 86, pages 6-7)
Thus promised Mahavatar Babaji, who ordained Paramahansa Yogananda to make the teachings of Kriya Yoga available to all humanity through the instrumentality of Self-Realization Fellowship.
Our Guru knew the role that the Self-Realization teachings were destined to play in the new age. He was not interested merely in promoting intellectual theories or philosophical speculation about God; nor did he wish to create an organization based upon the weak foundation of temporary public enthusiasm. Instead, his goal was to establish Self-Realization Fellowship on the unshakable rock of spiritual realization, so that it would stand the test of time and be able to accomplish its divine mission for generations to come. And he envisioned Self-Realization Fellowship centers and meditation groups playing a vital role in that mission — in three principal ways.
1. To Bring Together Truth-Seeking Souls for Group Meditation
Gurudeva often declared that groups of deeply meditating devotees create a powerful spiritual magnet that attracts other sincere souls to God. That is why he stressed that the primary purpose of such groups is to bring together truth-seeking souls to search for and find God — through application of the divine law of united concentration and meditation as taught by Self-Realization Fellowship. As each devotee thus strives to develop a deep, personal relationship with God through meditation, he or she is contributing in the highest way to maintaining the strong spiritual foundation established for this society by Paramahansa Yogananda.
The foremost spiritual duty of center and group members, therefore, is to meditate deeply and to manifest divine peace and harmony in all their daily activities. When our thoughts, actions, and all other aspects of our lives become filled with the consciousness of God and Guru, we automatically convey Their spirit to others.
There is a little village in Europe where rose perfume is manufactured. The fragrance of the perfume permeates the workers' garments, and when they leave the factory in late afternoon to return home, they carry with them the scent of roses. This fragrance wafts throughout the entire village, filling the air with its delightful scent. So it is when we meditate deeply every day — the holy vibrations of God and Guru permeate our consciousness. Then, as we go into the "village" of activity, striving to live and move and have our being in that peaceful, meditation-born spiritual vibration, we naturally exude Gurudeva's spirit to others so that they feel through us his unconditional love. In this way, we can best spread the message of Self-Realization Fellowship.
Our Guru said,
"The news of God-realization spreads by itself. That is why group meetings to practice the techniques of meditation are vitally important. Group meetings strengthen the individual Self-realization that one has acquired in private at home. Group meetings give a new awakening to members and impel them to seek the group instead of its having to seek them."
2. To Hasten the Spiritual Progress of Each Member
In the preceding quotation, Paramahansa Yogananda points out the second great purpose for which SRF centers and groups are founded: to hasten the individual progress of each member. "Those who wish to perfect themselves," he said, "are urged by the Masters to keep in close association with others of similar nature in order to strengthen their right aspirations." Participation in the spiritual activities of the group helps to inspire each devotee to make a greater effort, and to protect him or her from distractions to spiritual progress. The united strength of the group helps each member find the strength and courage to overcome indifference, devotional dryness, restlessness, procrastination, discouragement, and doubt — obstacles that confront every sincere meditator at one time or another.
Gurudeva has told us:
"Group meditation is a castle that protects the new spiritual aspirants as well as the veteran meditators. Meditating together increases the degree of Self-realization of each member of the group by the law of invisible vibratory exchange of group magnetism."
3. To Serve the Work of Self-Realization Fellowship
The third purpose of SRF centers and groups around the world is to support the Self-Realization Fellowship International Headquarters (the Mother Center) in its efforts to spread Paramahansa Yogananda's teachings to all lands and peoples. Centers and groups do this in a variety of ways -- the first and foremost of which is to serve as a center where devotees can come together to build their lives around the aims and ideals of SRF, as discussed above* In addition, there are many opportunities for members to serve in different capacities in the centers and groups. Group members also serve by introducing interested truth-seekers to the Self-Realization teachings; by helping to distribute the writings of our Guru to public libraries in their area; and by supporting speaking tours by ministers from the Mother Center.
To bring together truth-seeking souls for group meditation;
to hasten the progress of each individual member; and
to serve the work of Self-Realization Fellowship
— these are the purposes of SRF centers and meditation groups. By always keeping in mind these high ideals set forth by Paramahansa Yogananda, members can greatly aid in the fulfillment of the divine mission of our Guru and Paramgurus.