What is the Voluntary League of Disciples?
The Self-Realization Fellowship Voluntary League of Disciples is a lay disciple order formed of SRF/YSS Kriyaban disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda who take a pledge to:
a) structure their daily lives around the program of sadhana (spiritual discipleship) he gave; and
b) to give freely of their time and resources to advance his mission for the spiritual upliftment of our awakening global civilization.
What are the basic requirements to join the Voluntary League of Disciples?
Membership in the Voluntary League of Disciples is open to all SRF Kriyabans who are 16 years of age or older and who have practiced the Kriya technique for at least one year. They must also have studied (or be in the process of studying) all 18 of the basic series of the SRF Lessons (the series released in 2019) as well as the Lessons 1-5 in the Kriya Yoga series released that same year. Members must also commit to and sign the Voluntary League of Disciples Pledge. For more detailed information, please visit the Requirements page.
How do I join?
If you meet the eligibility requirements, simply login with your member portal credentials to get started. You will be asked to answer a few questions about yourself and to take a pledge of commitment to the spiritual ideals of the Voluntary League of Disciples (see page 41 of the Handbook).
Is it necessary to join the Voluntary League of Disciples in order to receive Kriya initiation and be a disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda?
No. Initiation in Kriya Yoga precedes and is entirely separate from membership in the Voluntary League of Disciples. All SRF/YSS Kriyabans have equal standing as disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda regardless of whether or not they decide to take the additional step of joining the Voluntary League of Disciples.
Is membership in the Voluntary League of Disciples a requirement for volunteering one’s services to SRF or YSS?
No. Many volunteer positions at SRF ashrams, temples, centers, and meditation groups are open to all. However, certain positions (such as committee chairpersons, Sunday school teachers, etc.) are open only to Kriyabans.
If you wish to volunteer your services, but without joining the Voluntary League of Disciples, please register in the online SRF/YSS Volunteer Portal.
Can lay disciples serve as ministers of SRF?
SRF lay disciples may be appointed to lead meditations and devotional services in temples, centers, and groups, including kirtans; and to organize and lead study groups on the SRF teachings.
Members who are spiritually qualified may be appointed as lay service leaders, or may be asked to represent SRF by speaking at schools, colleges, or other institutions.
In the early years of his work, prior to the growth of the SRF monastic order, Paramahansa Yogananda appointed a few lay ministers to speak in SRF temples and centers, as well as some lay meditation counselors. Dr. M. W. Lewis, Dr. Lloyd Kennell, Mr. Oliver Black, Mrs. Kamala Silva, and others were among them. As more devotees entered the ashram as monks and nuns in the later years of his life, the Guru began to assign ministerial duties exclusively to monastics, in keeping with his ideal that the primary representatives of his teachings be vowed renunciants. At present, in keeping with Paramahansaji’s directive, most ministerial teaching and counseling is assigned to SRF and YSS monastics.
I am a Kriyaban, but I don’t wish to or cannot join the Voluntary League of Disciples. Does this mean I am less of a disciple?
Whether or not one wishes to join the Voluntary League of Disciples does not diminish one’s commitment to the SRF path and his or her relationship with the Guru. Joining the Voluntary League of Disciples is completely optional, and Kriyabans should not feel obligated to take this step. As mentioned in the Handbook and in the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons, inner attunement with the Guru can be cultivated in many ways. The Guru accepts lovingly and unconditionally the disciple’s every effort to live the spiritual life.