Brother Vishwananda, a member of the Board of Directors of Self-Realization Fellowship, which is headquartered in Los Angeles, takes part in the dedication ceremonies for the SRF Phoenix Temple’s new community hall. Photo credit: Allen Patrou
PHOENIX, AZ – On Sunday September 10, hundreds of Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) members and friends of the SRF Phoenix Temple gathered to celebrate the opening of a new two-story community hall and outdoor plaza, adjoining the temple at 6111 North Central Avenue.
The SRF Phoenix Temple, dedicated in 1973, is one of eight temples established by Self-Realization Fellowship, the international nonprofit organization founded in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda (author of the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi), with worldwide headquarters located in Los Angeles, CA. The SRF Phoenix Temple is an outgrowth of the Self-Realization Fellowship Center established in Phoenix by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1948.
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Brother Balananda, minister-in-charge of the SRF Phoenix Temple, addressed the celebrants, remarking on yoga meditation’s increasing popularity, including in the Phoenix area: “Since the arrival of our founder, Paramahansa Yogananda, to the U.S. in 1920, the interest in yoga and meditation has increased exponentially, just as he had predicted would happen. Today we are experiencing that growth as we welcome more and more truth seekers to the Phoenix Temple of SRF. The new community hall has been developed to accommodate our ever expanding spiritual family here in Phoenix.”
He explained that the SRF Phoenix Temple’s expansion project takes into consideration not only the needs of current members but also those of “spiritual seekers who are expected to find their way to this peaceful haven for the practice of Kriya Yoga in the coming years.”
Brother Balananda quoted the words of SRF founder Paramahansa Yogananda: “I have sowed the seeds of my prayers into the ether of Phoenix, and some day devotees will water them with the water of devotion and divine seeking, and they will sprout into the creation of a divine center.”
Kriya Yoga is the specific yoga meditation science that Yogananda introduced to Westerners beginning in 1920 when he came to the U.S. as the Indian delegate to an International Congress of Religious Liberals convening in Boston. Widely regarded as the father of Yoga in the West, Yogananda established his society to disseminate his yoga meditation teachings and to promote the underlying harmony of all the world’s true religions.
The vitally needed expansion for the SRF Phoenix Temple, which took approximately eight months to build, will be used for Sunday School classes, special events and meetings, and includes a commercial kitchen, bookroom, parent-infant room and lending library. Five Sunday School rooms provide a centralized meeting space for SRF’s growing youth program. Paul Ladensack of CCBG Architects led the design project, and the general contractor was Concord Construction.
The SRF Phoenix Temple offers public lecture services Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and Thursdays from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Meditation services are conducted weekly. All are welcome. For more information about the Phoenix Temple of Self-Realization Fellowship, please visit http://www.phoenixtemple.org. For more information about Self-Realization Fellowship and the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, visithttp://www.yogananda-srf.org.
History of the Phoenix Temple of Self-Realization Fellowship
In 1948, Paramahansa Yogananda dedicated the first SRF Center in Phoenix, located two blocks from the State Capitol. The Center moved to 7th Street during the mid-1960s, and again in 1969 to 6111 North Central to accommodate the growing congregation. Shortly thereafter plans were developed for the construction of an SRF Temple in Phoenix, marking the first SRF Temple outside of California as well as the first SRF temple built from the ground up. It was officially opened on February 11, 1973 and included an ashram center with two resident monks to lead weekly services as well as provide spiritual guidance to local members. Sri Daya Mata, the third president of SRF/YSS, broke ground for the temple in 1972. In order to provide facilities for the church’s expanding membership, the Phoenix Temple has just opened a new two-story community hall to host fellowship events, provide adequate space for Sunday school children and increased parking, among other needs.