The power of unfulfilled desires is the root of all man’s slavery. ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Indian yogi and guru Paramahansa Yogananda (1893–1952) was born into a devout Hindu family, and took to the spiritual path at an early age like a duck to water.
In 1920, Yogananda went to the United States to teach yoga and meditation. He stayed for the rest of his life, albeit with a visit back to India 1935–1936 to see his guru, Sri Yukteswar.
Yogananda was very influential among American seekers. His life story, Autobiography of a Yogi (1958) was popular.
In the days leading to his death, Yogananda hinted that his time had come. He spoke at a banquet on 7 March 1952. Yogananda’s talk ended with: “I am hallowed; my body touched that sod.” Upon uttering these words, his body slumped to the floor. His followers thought Yogananda committed mahasamādhi: intentionally shuffling off the mortal coil.
Mortician Harry Rowe received and interred Yogananda’s body. He wrote in a notarized letter:
The absence of any visual signs of decay in the dead body of Paramahansa Yogananda offers the most extraordinary case in our experience. No physical disintegration was visible in his body even 20 days after death. No indication of mold was visible on his skin, and no visible drying up took place in the bodily tissues. This state of perfect preservation of a body is, so far as we know from mortuary annals, an unparalleled one. No odor of decay emanated from his body at any time.