Welcome to the Houston Center. The center is a part of Self-Realization Fellowship, a nonprofit religious organization with international headquarters in Los Angeles, CsA. Self-Realization Fellowship was founded in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda for the purpose of dissemination of Kriya Yoga, a definite scientific technique for attaining direct personal experience of God. Through its worldwide service and teachings, Self-Realization Fellowship seeks to awaken greater understanding of the harmony underlying all true religions, and a fuller expression in this world of the love that unites all people when they realize their oneness with God. The SRF Lessons are available to those who would like to study the teachings. The center has a number of services and activities which are listed below.
Sunday Service: Each Sunday there is a service in the chapel from 11:00 AM to noon. It includes periods of chanting, short meditations, readings from the Bible and Bhagavad Gita, and a reading taken from the writings of Paramahansa Yogananda. It is preceded by a meditation service from 10:00 to 10:45 AM.
Sunday School: Sunday school for children ages 4 to 12 is held in the Sunday school building at the same time as the Sunday service. For younger children we have a parent-infant room in the Sunday school building where a parent may attend to the child while watching the Sunday service on closed-circuit TV. On the first Sunday of the month the teen group (ages 13 to 18) meets from 11:00 to 12:00.
Bookstore: A bookstore is located off the foyer in the chapel. SRF books, CDS, DVDs, and pictures in addition to meditation supplies are available for sale. The bookstore is open between the Sunday meditation and Sunday service and after the Sunday service.
Meditation Services: In addition to the meditation held before the reading service on Sunday, there are a number of services in the chapel dedicated exclusively to meditation. Every Thursday evening a meditation services is held from 7:30 to 9:30 (7:00 to 10:00 on the first Thursday of the month). On the fourth Saturday of each month there is an all-day meditation from 9 AM to 4 PM. The chapel is open from noon to 3 PM for meditation on Saturdays when the chapel is not in use. There are a number of special meditations throughout the year — New Year’s Eve meditation, Good Friday meditation, an all-day Christmas meditation, and a special all-day meditation in early January honoring Paramahansa Yogananda. All are welcome.
Lesson Study Group: Every Monday evening from 7:00 to 8:00 there is a lesson study group in the chapel. Devotees take turns reading a paragraph from an SRF lesson. After each reading, there is a brief meditation to assimilate that part of the teaching. The study group is followed by a meditation from 8:00 to 9:00. The lesson study group is open to all SRF lesson students.
Bhagavad Gita Study Group: On the third Sunday of each month devotees meet in the chapel at 12:30 for an hour to read from God Talks with Arjuna — Paramahansa Yogananda’s translation of and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita. The format is the same as for the Lesson Study Group. All are welcome.
Commemorative Services: Eight times a year on the birthday or anniversary of the passing of one of our gurus, we hold a special service at the chapel starting at 8:00 PM. There are several short meditations, chanting, and a reading pertaining to the guru whose anniversary is being celebrated. There is a flower ceremony where each devotee places a flower and donation in front of the Master’s picture. All who are familiar with the guru-disciple relationship are welcome to attend. The service is preceded by a meditation beginning from 7:00 to 7:45 PM. The services are:
January 5: Birthday of Paramahansa Yogananda
March 7: Mahasamadhi* of Paramahansa Yogananda
March 9: Mahasamadhi* of Swami Sri Yukteswar
May 10: Birthday of Swami Sri Yukteswar
July 25: Babaji Day
Date varies: Janmashtami (Birthday of Lord Krishna)
September 26: Mahasamadhi* of Lahiri Mahasaya
September 30th: Birthday of Lahiri Mahasaya
* Mahasamadhi is the union of the soul with the Infinite during a God-realized yogi’s final exit from the physical body.
Retreats: Twice a year we reserve rooms at the Ruah Center of Villa de Matel in Houston for a silent retreat. The retreat begins on Thursday afternoon (Friday arrival optional) and continues through Sunday morning. Rooms and meals are provided on a donation basis. A number of group meditations are scheduled and SRF videos are shown. There is plenty of free time for private meditations, to stroll about the grounds, or to visit the chapel.
Social Events: After Sunday service there is a juice social in the Sunday school building. Juice and light refreshments are provided. Several times during the year we hold vegetarian potluck luncheons in the Sunday school building following the Sunday service. These events are a great way to get to know other devotees and to learn more about the Houston Center and SRF.
Young-At-Heart Group: A group for young adults and those young at heart. The group meets for various activities, such as picnics. It’s a good way to meet other young people who are on the SRF path.
Monastic Visits: Once or twice a year we are blessed with a visit of SRF monks from Mother Center in Los Angeles, CA. These visits include classes, group meditations, services, and individual counseling.
Days of Service: The care for the buildings and grounds is done by devotees on a volunteer basis. Once a month, usually the first Saturday of the month, we have a day of service where devotees work on various maintenance projects. The morning of activity is followed by a vegetarian lunch.