Date of Award

12-2006

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Comparative Religion

First Advisor

Dr. Nancy A. Falk

Second Advisor

Dr. Frank L. Gross

Third Advisor

Dr. Carol S. Anderson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

The focus of this research is a field study of the Kalamazoo Meditation Group (KMG). KMG is one meditation circle among about five hundred that are part of the worldwide organization, Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF). Chapter One introduces these groups and their historical context. Chapter Two summarizes the formative years of the organization's founder, Paramahansa Yogananda. Chapter Three starts with Yogananda's arrival in America from his homeland of India and follows the highlights of the founding and history of SRF to the present day. Chapters Four and Five provide a summary of the organization's beliefs and precepts as set down by Yogananda. Chapter Six looks at the beginnings of KMG, the building of its temple, some of its strengths and challenges, and changes that have occurred in the group. Chapter Seven looks at the organization of KMG, its services and how they are conducted, and some of the social aspects of the group. Chapter Eight focuses on viewpoints of the people of KMG. The first part of this chapter asks what KMG means to its members while the second half shows how its path has affected their lives. This work ends with a concluding summarizing chapter.

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