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Finding God through YogaParamahansa Yogananda and Modern American Religion in a Global Age$
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David J. Neumann

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469648637

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469648637.001.0001

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The Founding of a Home for Scientific Religion

The Founding of a Home for Scientific Religion

Swami Yogananda and Southern California’s Spiritual Frontier, 1920–1925

Chapter:
(p.65) Two The Founding of a Home for Scientific Religion
Source:
Finding God through Yoga
Author(s):

David J. Neumann

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469648637.003.0003

This chapter traces Yogananda’s early years in the United States. The chapter begins by examining the conference that brought him to the U.S. and his presentation on “the Science of Religion,” placing both in the context of an intramural Protestant debate that offered competing answers to the epistemological challenges modernity raised for the universalistic claims of Christianity. A cross-country road trip in 1924 took Yogananda to Los Angeles, which quickly became his national headquarters. Southern California played an important role in fostering Yogananda’s ministry at a time when American racism stirred racism and Orientalism among white Americans. The nation’s new “spiritual frontier,” the region was an ideal space for a new religious movement, a relatively tolerant center of religious diversity that had already fostered Hindu movements by the time Yogananda arrived. He made Mount Washington his headquarters, which quickly become part of the sacred landscape to his followers.

Keywords:   science of religion, Southern California, spiritual frontier, Los Angeles, racism, Orientalism, religious diversity, Hindu movements, Mt. Washington, sacred landscapes

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