Special services are held each year to honor the Self-Realization Fellowship gurus. They commemorate significant life events of each of the gurus. There are eight such services annually and are celebrated by SRF groups throughout the world.
Each commemorative ceremony consists of prayers, short meditations, chanting, readings on the life and teachings of the master who is being celebrated, and a flower ceremony. The service lasts approximately one hour. For those who wish to prepare spiritually for the ceremony, there is an hour-long meditation preceding the commemorative service. This meditation is open, and one can come and go quietly at any time.
Devotees are asked to bring a flower, which will be used during the flower ceremony. It is a symbol of devotion to God and the SRF Gurus. In addition one is asked to bring a monetary donation in an envelope as a symbol of loyalty and faithfulness to the cause of Self-Realization Fellowship. These donations are forwarded to Mother Center (International headquarters in Los Angeles, CA) for the sharing of these sacred teachings with truth-seeking souls.
These ceremonies are sacred and a beautiful expression of devotion toward the Gurus of Self-Realization Fellowship. Paramahansa Yogananda said the following of the birthday of a master (which applies to all the special days):
“Celebration of the birthday of a God-realized soul should not be belittled as a merely social ceremony. It is a deeply spiritual occasion on which the vibrations of blessing from an illumined master are stronger than on other days in the year, because in the astral world, also, a celebration is taking place. Devotees who attend these birthday ceremonies with the right attitude will reap spiritual benefits and will find their high resolutions strengthened.”
All are urged to attend these beautiful and spiritually uplifting ceremonies. They are an integral part of the many reading and meditations services provided by the Houston Center.
The annual commemorative services are:
• Birth of Paramahansa Yogananda — January 5th
• Mahasamadhi of Paramahansa Yogananda — March 7th
• Mahasamadhi of Swami Sri Yukteswar — March 9th
• Birth of Swami Sri Yukteswar — May 10th
• Babaji Day — July 25th
• Janmashtami (Birth of Lord Krishna) — Aug/Sept (based on lunar calendar)
• Mahasamadhi of Lahiri Mahasaya — September 26th
• Birth of Lahiri Mahasaya — September 30th
In addition, we hold an all-day Christmas Meditation on a Saturday in December commemorating the birth of Lord Jesus. In early January there is a second all-day meditation honoring the birth of Paramahansa Yogananda. The meditations include periods of readings pertinent to the occasion as well as special music. Periods of meditation last from 30 to 45 minutes.