American Meditation Society
   The American Meditation Society was founded in 1976 by Purushottam Narshinhran Valodia (March 3, 1932–May 17, 1988), also known as Gururaj Ananda Yogi. Its teaching is focused on MEDITATION.
   Drawn as a child to spiritual concerns, the guru ran away from his home in Gujarat at age five to visit temples. He wandered from village to village for six months, until found by his parents. As he wandered, he discovered that the temple gods were lifeless and did not speak to him. Con-tinuing his search into adulthood, he eventually discovered that what he sought lay within himself. After SELF-REALIZATION, he set about to become a spiritual teacher in the West.
   He moved from his native Gujarat to South Africa and became a successful businessman. In 1975, he retired from business to become a full-time spiritual teacher, founding the International Foundation for Spiritual Unfoldment in 1975. By 1976, the organization had spread to nine coun-tries in the British Commonwealth, Europe, and America, where the American Meditation Society was founded that year in California.
   Gururaj Ananda Yogi taught that his path is not a religion, but the basis that underlies all religions. His teaching is to awaken each individual to the same reality that he discovered, primarily through the practice of meditation. The society offers courses in meditation and the intonation of sound during meditation. During his lifetime, students would send pictures of themselves to Gururaj, who would meditate upon the pictures and hear each person’s unique sound in the universe, which became the student’s personal mantra for meditation.
   Further reading: Ted Partridge, Jewels of Silence (Farmbo-rough, England: St. Michael’s Abbey Press, 1981); Savita Taylor, The Path to Unfoldment (London: VSM, 1979).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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