The name, Self-Realization Fellowship, alludes to its founder, Yogananda’s, teaching that spiritual practice leads to finding God within the individual Self and, thus, Self-realization. The lessons shared by the SRF are said to allow students to become deeply aware of the Divine in their lives and connect with the unlimited power of their own minds.
The SRF was led by Yogananda until his death in 1952, when its presidency was given to Rajarsi Janakananda. It has since been led by Daya Mata and Mrinalini Mata, both of whom are women. It is said that the “new wave” of spiritual leadership is through women.
In addition to disseminating Yogananda’s teachings about Kriya yoga’s meditation techniques and spiritual principles, the SRF also runs the Worldwide Prayer Circle, a network of people who pray for individuals in need and for world peace.
Through his book, "Autobiography of a Yogi," Yogananda was responsible for introducing millions of people in the West to the benefits of meditation and India's contributions to spirituality. His intention for SRF was that it would build understanding, tolerance and good feelings between all the people in the world.