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The Reworked SRF Charter of 1954

A charter "is a formal document describing the rights, aims, or principles of an organisation or group of people." (Collins).

Yogananda changed kriya and the managers of the church organisation he founded, Self-Realization Fellowship, changed its charter less than three years after he lay dead in 1952. The Organisation took charge . . . In an organisation, most people adhere to the system above a lot else. It is a main group phenomenon that may affect the lives of members much, even drastically. A part of it: "Groups powerfully affect the behavior of their members via norms – implicit rules that inform people about what is expected of them. . . . Sometimes those are explicit feeling rules – expectations about the emotions that are appropriate to express." (Baron and Branscombe 2012:366)

Below is the complete text of the revised SRF charter, where the SRF directors at that time drop many central, old Yogananda ideas (called articles) for the church he founded. The charter formally governs the organisation, which lords it over members.

The verbatim SRF charter is followed by some further mentions.


We, the undersigned, being respectively the Vice-President and the Assistant Secretary of SELF-REALIZATION FELLOWSHIP CHURCH, a California corporation, DO HEREBY CERTIFY.

(1) That all the Members of said Corporation are also Directors of said Corporation: that on the 5th day of December, 1954, upon the written consent of all Members and all Directors of said Corporation, a Special Meeting of Members and a Special Meeting of Directors of said Corporation were held at the headquarters of said Corporation in Los Angeles, California; that said Special Meetings were called for the purpose of amending the Articles of Incorporation of said Corporation, and for transacting other business of said Corporation.

(2) That at said Meetings a Resolution providing for the Amendment of the Articles of Incorporation (a copy of which Resolution is set forth hereinafter) was proposed at each of said Meetings, in identically the same words and figures at each meetings; and at each of said Meetings said Resolution was adopted by the affirmative vote of the majority of the Members and Directors, respectively; that the total number of Members entitled to vote on adoption of said Amendment was ten persons; that the number of Members voting in favor of the adoption of said Resolution was eight; that no votes were cast against the adoption of said resolution at either of said Meetings.

(3) That the following is a true copy of the Resolution so adopted by vote of the Directors and of the Resolution as adopted by vote of the Members.

"RESOLVED, that the Articles of Incorporation of SELF-REALIZATION FELLOWSHIP CHURCH be, and they hereby are, amended to read as follows:

As Amended by Resolutions of the Board of Directors and the Members on December 5, 1954


That we, the undersigned, the majority of whom are citizens and residents of the State of California, have voluntarily associated ourselves together for the purpose of forming a non-profit religious corporation under the Laws of the State of California; AND WE HEREBY CERTIFY:

ARTICLE ONE: That the name of the corporation shall be "SELF REALIZATION FELLOWSHIP CHURCH".

ARTICLE TWO: That this corporation does not contemplate the distribution of gains, profits, or dividends to the members thereof.

ARTICLE THREE: That the existence of this corporation shall be perpetual.

ARTICLE FOUR: That the purposes for which this corporation is formed are as follows:

(A) To acquire, by all lawful means, both real and personal property of every kind and nature, and wheresoever situated, or any right, title, or interest in such property; and to possess, occupy, use, manage, maintain, improve, and develop such property; and to lend, lease, sell, barter, or exchange, give away, or otherwise dispose of, any or all of such property; and to pledge, mortgage, hypotecate, or otherwise encumber any or all thereof as security for any of the corporation's obligation.

(B) To act as Trustee under any trust incidental to the purpose of this corporation; and to receive, hold, administer, and expend funds and property subject to such trusts.

(C) To borrow and lend money; and to make and issue promissory notes, bonds, debentures and evidences of indebtedness; and to furnish security for the performance of its obligations.

(D) To make contracts and to do all other acts necessary or expedient for the administration of the affairs and for the attainment of the purposes of the corporation.

(E) To provide for public worship; to authorize the establishment of churches, centers, meditation groups, hermitages, monasteries, colonies, congregations, and religious retreats, in all convenient places, both within the State of California and elsewhere; and to make and enforce regulations for their guidance and government.

(F) To train, instruct, and ordain ministers of Self-Realization Fellowship Church; to train, instruct, and confirm Sisters and Brothers of a subsidiary monastic Self-Realization Order; to make and enforce regulations concerning the religious doctrines, rites, and ceremonies that may be taught and practiced by such Ministers, Sisters, and Brothers; and to make and enforce regulations for the discipline, suspension, and expulsion of such Ministers, Sisters, and Brothers.

(G) To teach, preach, and promulgate a religion known as "SELF-REALIZATION FELLOWSHIP" (Yogoda Sat Sanga), the practical aims of which include (1) the contacting of Cosmic Consciousness through prayer and meditation as taught down the ages by great masters and prophets; (2) physical, mental, and spiritual healing through prayer, through exercises of visualization of life-energy forces, and through other mental and spiritual techniques.

(H) To acquire, lease, own, possess, and operate printing shops and equipment, radio and television broadcasting equipments, cameras and motion picture equipment; and to print, produce, acquire, sell, and distribute books, pamphlets, phonograph records, and other literature; to make, acquire, exhibit, sell, and distribute drawings, photographs, and motion pictures; and to repair and broadcast radio and television programs, for the promulgation of the views and doctrines of the aforesaid religion.

(I) To conduct charitable and philanthropic activities of all kinds.

ARTICLE FIVE: That the County in the State of California where the principal office for the transaction of the business of this corporation is to be located in Los Angeles County.

ARTICLE SIX: That the number and qualifications of persons who may be admitted to membership in this corporation; the different classes of membership, if any; the property, voting, and other rights and privileges of each class of membership; the liability of each or all classes to payment of dues or assessments, and the methods of collection thereof; and the regulations for the government of the relations among members of this corporation, shall be determined, and may from time to time be changed, by the Board of Directors, and shall be set forth in the by-laws of this corporation.

ARTICLE SEVEN: All property of this corporation, whether heretofore or hereafter acquired, is hereby irrevocably dedicated to the purposes of this corporation as set forth in the Articles of Incorporation thereof; and in the event of the dissolution of this corporation, said properties then remaining shall not be distributed to nor become the property of any person, firm, or corporation, excepting only in trust for the purposes aforesaid.

ARTICLE EIGHT: That the names and addresses of the persons who are to act as the Directors of this corporation until the selection of their successors, are as follows:


Swami Yogananda     3880 San Rafael Avenue, Los Angeles, California

C. Richard Wright     3880 San Rafael Avenue, Los Angeles, California

Florina Darling     3880 San Rafael Avenue, Los Angeles, California

Karla Schramm     3880 San Rafael Avenue, Los Angeles, California

Edith D. Bissett     3880 San Rafael Avenue, Los Angeles, California

ARTICLE NINE: That the by-laws of this corporation shall be adopted by the Directors named in the Articles of Incorporation and may thereafter be amended or repealed by any means provided for in the By-laws.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF THE persons who are to act in the capacity of first Directors of the corporation have hereunto set their hands this 25th day of March, 1935.


Swami Yogananda     3880 San Rafael Avenue, Los Angeles, California

C. Richard Wright     3880 San Rafael Avenue, Los Angeles, California

Florina Darling     3880 San Rafael Avenue, Los Angeles, California

Karla Schramm     3880 San Rafael Avenue, Los Angeles, California

Edith D. Bissett     3880 San Rafael Avenue, Los Angeles, California


On this 25th day of March, 1935, before me, Chas. D. Munro, a notary public in and of the County of Los Angeles, residing therein, duly commissioned and sworn, personally appeared SWAMI YOGANANDA, C. RICHARD WRIGHT, FLORINDA DARLING, KARLA SCHRAMM, and EDITH D. BISSETT, known to me to be the persons whose names are subscribed to the foregoing instrument, and they duly acknowledged to me that they executed the same.

Witness my hand and official seal the day and year in this certificate first written above.

/S/ Chas. D. Munro
Notary Public in and for the County
of Los Angeles, State of California

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, we have hereunto set our hands and affixed the Seal of the corporation this __[5th]__day of    [December], 1954.

[M.W. Lewis]

[Orpha L. Sahly]
Assistant Secretary


[M.W. Lewis] and [Orpha L. Sahly], first being duly sworn, depose and say, each for himself or herself:

That he (or she) is one of the persons whose signatures are subscribed to the foregoing CERTIFICATE OF AMENDMENT OF THE ARTICLES OF INCORPORAITON OF SELF-REALIZATION FELLOWHSIP CHURCH: that he (or she) has read said Certificate, and knows the contents thereof; that the same is true and contains a true copy of the Resolutions therein referred to.

Subscribed and sworn to before me,
[5th] day of [December], 1954.

[Brenda Lewis Cook]
Notary Public in and for said county
and State.

My commission Expires Feb. 8, 1957.

Materialistic Aims on Top

Publicly available material. The SRF Articles of Incorporation of 1935 with the Amendments of 1954 are public documents available from the California Secretary of State (Document #162095).

The poor contrast of the documents led CANDER to retype the text and fonts of the SRF Articles of Incorporation. The articles govern the corporation today.

The original CANDER page has been down for over ten years by now, but here is the complete text with no additions, but a somewhat different layout, and fonts that probably are easier to read.

In the above article, handwritten text is marked with brackets.

The officialese language had to be unchanged. Plain English is more likeable, of course.

The reflected concerns. The concerns of the SRF Board of Directors are reflected in the articles: acquiring, possessing, and developing "real and personal property of every kind." . . . "to hold money and property in trust . . . "to borrow and lend money" . . . "to make contracts to carry out the affairs of SRF."

Further down among the articles, listed as the fifth, sixth, and seventh, we find religious purposes.

The eighth purpose is to acquire and own printing and broadcasting equipment and to sell books and other literature to promulgate the views and doctrines of the SRF.

The last corporate purpose is to conduct charitable activities.

The Organisation rises. The 1935 Articles of Incorporation were signed by Paramahansa Yogananda and fellows. The amended articles of 1954 list the purposes quite similarly, but the religious ones have shrunk. Some of them are among SRF's Aims and Ideals, though, and some are taken off the charter. — The Articles reflect how real estate development activities are a top corporate priority for the SRF. Babaji's focus, to help souls in the West also, is not really prominent in the amended articles. It suggest that an Organisation took form - a Yogananda-made one. See what the yogi's own tradition says about it - much is reflected here: [◦A Sanskrit Classics Article] (See Autobiography of a Yogi, Chap. 36).

A helpful source. The amended articles are online on other sites today, but many pages in this field disappear in time, so linking to them may get quite a bother: even pages on the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine happen to get deleted. As long as it lasts, here is the retrieved officialese article - my source: [CANDER's retyped amendment article]

Secondary to the Spirit

The source of these capsules is Yogananda for the World by Kriyananda (2012). The one he calles Guru and Master is a swami-monk, Yogananda.

Many years ago, a friend of mine worked for six months in the guest quarters at Encinitas. One day, she rearranged a few spices on a kitchen shelf. The cook scolded her heatedly, "Master would never have allowed such liberties!"- Kriyananda

A fellow monk, Bernard Cole, once said to me in confidence, "If you ask me, Old William [William the Conqueror, a mass mutilator] isn't dead yet." - Kriyananda

Master said to him one day, "For years I've listened . . . 'I am not impressed!'" - Kriyananda

COMMENT: Maybe he had not got at William's confession when about to die: "I tremble ... when I reflect on the grievous sins which burden my conscience, and now, about to be summoned before the awful tribunal of God, I know not what I ought to do. I ... am stained from the rivers of blood I have shed ... It is out of my power to count all the injuries which I have caused during the sixty-four years of my troubled life. [Confession made by William on his deathbed in 1087. Quoted by Ordericus Vitalis in The Ecclesiastical History (c. 1142)] "

There is no need to glorify a mass murderer.

The deeper a person's inner bliss, the more . . . he is interested only in what is true. - Kriyananda

COMMENT: Not only what is true, but pregnant, beautiful and so on too. Integrity is also That.

My Guru said to us, "Don't make too many rules. It destroys the spirit." SRF has patterned its development on the . . . rigid rules that have often been the norm in its monasteries. - Kriyananda

COMMENT: How many are too many? The trite Yogananda remark is too loose to be great. Then again, how loose is too loose? Skeletal norms or halfnorms may help: [Sivananda thoughts]

What would Master really have allowed in others? Almost anything! - Kriyananda

COMMENT: If you fall for that, you fall for almost anything.


Changed SRF Charter from 1954, Literature  

Baron, Robert A., and Nyla R. Branscombe. Social Psychology. 13th ed. London: Pearson Education, 2012.

Kriyananda, Swami. Yogananda for the World: Freeing His Legacy from Sectarianism. Rev. ed. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2012.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 13th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1998.

Harvesting the hay

On many pages are simple markers, brackets and some symbols. What they stand for and how they are used for academic harvesting is shown on the page that the 'Gain-Ways link below will open.

Changed SRF Charter from 1954, To top Section Set Next

Changed SRF Charter from 1954 USER'S GUIDE: [Link]  ᴥ  Gain-Ways: [Link]
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