Bay Area Temple

The Bay Area Temple is composed of members and friends of Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), a worldwide nonprofit religious organization founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1920.

The aim of Self Realization Fellowship is direct communion with God in meditation through the practice of Kriya Yoga, an ancient and sacred scientific technique of meditation.

Our temple serves sincere seekers in the greater Bay Area offering regular weekly inspirational reading and meditation services that are open to the public. The temple provides a meeting place for members to share and practice the teachings of SRF and to serve our Guru’s work together.

For location and directions, please click here.

For details about our regularly scheduled services and activities, please visit the Temple Calendar.

The slideshow of the Walnut Creek site is available here: Slide Presentation.

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SRF Northern California History

PY_PFA_bottom10_+Paramahansa Yogananda first visited the San Francisco Bay Area in November 1924. He lectured and taught classes in San Francisco at the Palace of Fine Arts, the Scottish Rite Auditorium, and in Berkeley at the Shattuck Hotel and the University of California. He returned to the Bay Area several times between 1924 and 1949, speaking to capacity audiences on the underlying unity of the world’s great religions and his methods for attaining a personal relationship with God.YoganandaLutherBurbank_top20

Yogananda frequently met with famed horticulturist Luther Burbank, the man he called “an American saint,” at his home in Santa Rosa, California. Burbank was one of the various prominent world figures of the day that became a devoted student of Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings; he was initiated into Kriya Yoga. Yogananda’s spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi, is dedicated to the memory of Luther Burbank.

In 1949, Kamala Silva, a devoted SRF member, moved to Northern California and began searching for a permanent home for the growing number of SRF members in the Bay Area. The group initially met in the Sheraton Palace Hotel in San Francisco, then moved to various locations in Oakland and Berkeley.

Richmond Temple

In 1974, a church and three acres of surrounding property overlooking Wildcat Canyon in the Richmond Hills were purchased, and the Self-Realization Fellowship Richmond Temple was born.

Over the next 38 years, the Temple and grounds were transformed by devoted Richmond Temple members into a spiritual oasis. Self-Realization Fellowship has continued to grow in Northern California with Centers and Meditation Groups in San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Marin, and Los Gatos.

Berkeley Temple

In 2008, a geotechnical report commissioned by Self-Realization Fellowship determined that a surface trace of the North Hayward Fault ran adjacent to the Chapel directly through the Richmond Temple property, resulting in stress to the building. Faced with a difficult decision, the Richmond Temple congregation voted to begin a search for a new home.

On March 7th, 2012 the congregation moved to the Berkeley Temple at 3201 Shattuck Avenue, in Berkeley.

Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda was born Mukunda Lal Ghosh on January 5, 1893, in Gorakhpur, India, into a devout Bengali family. As a young boy, his deep desire for God prompted him to seek out many of India’s great saints and sages in the hope he would meet a God-realized master who would one day guide his spiritual search. At seventeen, he met and became a disciple of the great Jnanavatar(“incarnation of wisdom”) Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, and spent the next seven years in Sri Yukteswar’s ashrams in Serampore and Puri, India. In 1915, after graduating from Calcutta University, Mukunda took formal vows as a monk of the ancient Swami Order and was given the name Yogananda—bliss, ananda, through divine union, yoga.

In 1920, the young swami set sail for America to serve as India’s delegate to an international congress of religious leaders convening in Boston. His speech, The Science of Religion, was so well received he remained in Boston and began lecturing and teaching on the East Coast.Yogananda_-.png In 1924, he embarked on the first of several lecture tours he made across the United States, speaking to capacity audiences in the largest assembly halls of the day on the science of Kriya Yoga. In 1925 Yogananda established the international headquarters of Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) in Los Angeles, California, the non-profit spiritual organization that disseminates his teachings throughout the world. During his thirty years in the West, he personally initiated more than 100,000 students into Kriya Yoga.

The photograph by which Yogananda is best known to spiritual seekers around the world was taken at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco in 1924 by Hugo Schreiber,  hotel staff photographer.

Master and Ma_captionDuring the following years, Yogananda lectured extensively throughout the United States and met many of the disciples who would help him build his work for the ages, including Rajarsi Janakananda, Sri Daya Mata, Sri Mrinalini Mata, Dr. and Mrs. M. W. Lewis, and Sister Gyanamata. After Sri Daya Mata entered his ashram in 1931, she began recording Yogananda’s lectures, classes, and informal talks to preserve his teachings for generations to come.

But for one brief return to his homeland in 1935-36, Paramahansa Yogananda spent the remainder of his life in the United States building his work—lecturing, teaching, and writing. He also compiled the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons , a home-study course of his teachings. Today, many of his books—including Autobiography of a Yogi , God Talks With Arjuna , his interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita, The Second Coming of Christ , his interpretation of the Bible, and Scientific Healing Affirmations —are acknowledged classics of spiritual literature and used as texts in many colleges and universities. 

lake shrine PY_+Paramahansa Yogananda passed away on March 7, 1952. The spiritual and humanitarian work he founded in the West almost 100 years ago has been guided since his passing by disciples who directly received his spiritual training: Rajarsi Janakananda (1952 – 1955), Sri Daya Mata (1955 – 2010), and currently, Sri Mrinalini Mata. Monks and nuns of the SRF Order serve in the Fellowship’s ashram centers and Temples; conduct lectures, classes, and retreats around the world; and provide spiritual counsel to SRF students and members. Today, Self-Realization Fellowship has more than 600 temples, retreats, ashrams, and meditation centers worldwide.

To learn more about Paramahansa Yogananda and the work of Self-Realization Fellowship, please visit the SRF website.

Self-Realization Fellowship

Paramahansa Yogananda founded Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) in Boston in 1920, shortly after he arrived in America. In 1925, Yogananda established SRF’s international administrative headquarters atop Mt. Washington in Los Angeles, California, to disseminate his teachings and carry on his spiritual and humanitarian work. Today, SRF has more than 600 temples, retreats, ashrams, and meditation centers around the world.

When Yogananda returned to India in 1935, he established the headquarters for