50 Paramahansa Yogananda Quotes

“Mankind is engaged in an eternal quest for that “something else” he hopes will bring him happiness, complete and unending. For those individual souls who have sought and found God, the search is over: He is that Something Else.” 

Paramahansa Yogananda

You’ll find a wealth of rich advice for living from Paramahansa Yogananda’s words and the legacy he leaves behind.

Paramahansa Yogananda had a significant influence on the popularity of the teachings of yoga in the West in the 20th century.  His teachings have had a profound effect internationally so let’s look at some of his most powerful words and explore:

  • Who is Paramahansa Yogananda?
  • What did he teach?
  • His wise words on practicing yoga and living in the world
  • Noteworthy Paramahansa Yogananda quotes
Paramahansa Yogananda profile

Who is Paramahansa Yogananda?

Mukunda Lal Ghosh was born in India in 1893 and from a young age showed a keen interest in spirituality.  Under the tutorage of his Guru Sri Yukteswar Giri’s he became one of the 20th century’s most influential international yoga teachers – Paramahansa Yogananda.

He arrived in America in 1920 providing a new vocabulary for the spiritual teachings of India that were inclusive of all religions.  His teachings have become the stuff of legends!  His impact was far-reaching and has stood the test of time.

Yogananda founded the Yogoda Satsanga Society in India and The Self-Realization Fellowship in America to provide teachings on:

  • the science of Kriya Yoga meditation
  • the underlying unity of all true religions
  • the art of balanced health and well-being in body, mind, and soul
Paramahansa Yogananda teaching yoga

what did Yogananda teach?

Yogananda’s vision was to teach the principles of How to Live and make practices relevant and accessible to Westerns who were barely familiar with meditation at the time.  He challenged perceptions of religion and drew parallels between Christianity and Indian ideology stating that they were in fact not separate but part of universal Oneness.

His most famous book the memoir Autobiography of a Yogi (1946) received worldwide recognition and is regarded as one of the all-time classic books for spiritual seekers.  It has been translated into over 50 languages and is considered “The book that sparked a spiritual revolution” (Yogananda.org).  The book has found its way into the hands of Elvis Presley, Steve Jobs, Virat Kohli, Andrew Weil, and George Harrison.

So let’s look at some of the best words of wisdom to live by from Yogananda.

Paramahansa Yogananda's self realization fellowship sign

Paramahansa Yogananda Quotes for Everyday Living

Be as simple as you can be; you will be astonished to see how uncomplicated and happy your life can become.”

“Do not do what you want, and then you may do what you like.”

“Every tomorrow is determined by every today.”

“Forget the past, for it is gone from your domain! Forget the future, for it is beyond your reach! Control the present! Live supremely well now! This is the way of the wise.”

“Learn the art of right living.  If you have joy you have everything.”

Live quietly in the moment and see the beauty of all before you. The future will take care of itself.”

“Read a little. Meditate more. Think of God all the time.”

“You must not let your life run in the ordinary way; do something that nobody else has done, something that will dazzle the world. Show that God’s creative principle works in you.”

woman meditating on a purple beach

“The power of unfulfilled desires is the root of all man’s slavery”

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

“Before embarking on important undertakings sit quietly, calm your senses and thoughts, and meditate deeply. You will then be guided by the great creative power of Spirit.”

“Having lots of money while not having inner peace is like dying of thirst while bathing in the ocean.”

“You have come to earth to entertain and to be entertained.”

“The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.”

Paramahansa Yogananda Quotes on Relationships and Community

“Kindness is the light that dissolves all walls between souls, families, and nations.”

“There is a magnet in your heart that will attract true friends. That magnet is unselfishness, thinking of others first; when you learn to live for others, they will live for you.”

“When you learn to live for others, they will live for you.”

Paramahansa Yogananda eating with gandhi

“Be afraid of nothing. Hating none, giving love to all, feeling the love of God, seeing His presence in everyone, and having but one desire – for His constant presence in the temple of your consciousness – that is the way to live in this world.”

“Brotherhood is an ideal better understood by example than precept!”

“Making others happy, through kindness of speech and sincerity of right advice, is a sign of true greatness. To hurt another soul by sarcastic words, looks, or suggestions, is despicable.”

Many people excuse their own faults but judge other persons harshly. We should reverse this attitude by excusing others’ shortcomings and by harshly examining our own.”

Paramahansa Yogananda Quotes for Exploring Yoga and Spirituality

“Attachment is blinding; it lends an imaginary halo of attractiveness to the object of desire.”

“God is simple. Everything else is complex. Do not seek absolute values in the relative world of nature.”

“Ordinary love is selfish, darkly rooted in desires and satisfactions. Divine love is without condition, without boundary, without change. The flux of the human heart is gone forever at the transfixing touch of pure love.”

person vibrating and becoming a fractal

“If you don’t invite God to be your summer Guest, He won’t come in the winter of your life.”

“If you permit your thoughts to dwell on evil you yourself will become ugly.”

“So long as we believe in our heart of hearts that our capacity is limited and we grow anxious and unhappy, we are lacking in faith. One who truly trusts in God has no right to be anxious about anything.”

“I am the Cosmic Ocean of sound and the little wave of the body vibration in it.”

“Stillness is the altar of spirit.”

“In waking, eating, working, dreaming, sleeping, Serving, meditating, chanting, divinely loving, My soul constantly hums, unheard by any; God, God, God!”

“Persistence guarantees that results are inevitable.”

“Seeds of past karma cannot germinate if they are roasted in the fires of divine wisdom.”

“Since you alone are responsible for your thoughts, only you can change them.”

Paramahansa Yogananda quotes being written

“Retire to the center of your being, which is calmness.”

“The wave is the same as the ocean, though it is not the whole ocean.  So each wave of creation is a part of the eternal Ocean of Spirit.  The Ocean can exist without the waves, but the waves cannot exist without the Ocean.”

“To work with God’s happiness bubbling in the soul is to carry a portable paradise within you wherever you go.”

“Your Spine is your Body’s Battery. Keep it Charged!”

“Yoga is, as I can readily believe, the perfect and appropriate method of fusing body and mind together so that they form a unity which is scarcely to be questioned. This unity creates a psychological disposition which makes possible intuitions that transcend consciousness.”

“The human mind is a spark of the almighty consciousness of God. I could show you that whatever your powerful mind believes very intensely would instantly come to pass.”

“The kingdom of God is just behind the darkness of closed eyes, and the first gate that opens to it is your peace.”

“The reflection, the verisimilitude, of life that shines in the fleshly cells from the soul source is the only cause of man’s attachment to his body; obviously he would not pay solicitous homage to a clod of clay. A human being falsely identifies himself with his physical form because the life currents from the soul are breath-conveyed into the flesh with such intense power that man mistakes the effect for a cause, and idolatrously imagines the body to have life of its own.”

Paramahansa Yogananda meditating

“The master never counseled slavish belief. ‘Words are only shells,’ he said. ‘Win conviction of God’s presence through your own joyous contact in meditation.”

“The more deeply we perceive, the more striking becomes the evidence that a uniform plan links every form in manifold nature.”

“You may control a mad elephant;
You may shut the mouth of the bear and the tiger;
Ride the lion and play with the cobra;
By alchemy you may learn your livelihood;
You may wander through the universe incognito;
Make vassals of the gods; be ever youthful;
You may walk in water and live in fire;
But control of the mind is better and more difficult.”

“The soul must stretch over the cosmogonic abysses, while the body performs its daily duties.”

“The Body melts into the universe. The universe melts into the soundless voice The sound melts into the all-shining light And the light enters the bosom of infinite joy.”

“The body is literally manufactured and sustained by mind.”

woman meditating by a beach with incense

“The deeper the Self-realization of a man, the more he influences the whole universe by his subtle spiritual vibrations, and the less he himself is affected by the phenomenal flux.”

“The entire universe is God’s cosmic motion picture, and that individuals are merely actors in the divine play who change roles through reincarnation; mankind’s deep suffering is rooted in identifying too closely with one’s current role, rather than with the movie’s director, or God.

“TO EVERY THING there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

“You do not have to struggle to reach God, but you do have to struggle to tear away the self-created veil that hides him from you”

“’World’ is a large term, but man must enlarge his allegiance, considering himself in the light of a world citizen…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.“

If you’re hungry for more than just Paramahansa Yogananda quotes, then check out his biography and teachings and get yourself a copy of Autobiography of a Yogi.

Sarah Williams

Sarah Williams

Sarah is a Brighton-based yoga teacher and teacher trainer with a passion for teaching self-inquiry and rest.

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