Serenity and The Lake Shrine

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Serenity is the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.

There’s a location in Southern California that grants these feelings. The Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine is a ten-acre site with a spring fed lake and a garden filled with flora and fauna of trees and flowers from around the world. Swans, ducks and koi roam the lake. The Fellowship Lake Shrine was dedicated by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1950 in Pacific Palisades, bordering the city of Malibu. 

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The site honors the five principal religions of the world with the Court of Religions. The site includes the symbols of these religions: a Cross for Christianity, a Star of David for Judaism, a Wheel of the Law for Buddhism, a Star and Crescent for Islam, and the Sanskrit character Aum for Hinduism. Paramahansa believed “We must recognize the unity of mankind, remembering that we are all made in the image of God. There must be world brotherhood if we are to be able to practice the true art of living. This shrine is dedicated to all religions that all may feel the unity of a common faith in the Fatherhood of God.” The grounds includes the Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial which enshrines a portion of Gandhi’s ashes. Unfortunately, the Memorial was closed during my visit. It also includes a museum that houses some of Paramahansa Yogananda work along with your usual gift shop with arts and crafts from India.


Paramahansa once lived on the house boat that sits in the lake today while the site was being constructed. The house boat was transported from Lake Mead to the Lake Shrine in the 1940’s and he often sat in prayer and meditation for hours, deeply communing with god, here.


Atop a hillside, above the waterfall, sits a life-size statue of Christ.


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The reproduction of a 16th century Dutch windmill was already on the grounds when the lake was acquired and once held services here and was used as a chapel after the dedication of the Lake Shrine.


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Across the lake from the windmill is the Golden Lotus Archway constructed of copper and covered with a golden finish. In India the stately lotus flower is a symbol of divine unfoldment which is the awakening of the soul to its infinity potential.


Group meditation and yoga classes are provided by the fellowship. But, the majority of the visitors come here to see the magnificent grounds and to meditate. People congregate along the lake praying, meditating and even painting inspired by the serene atmosphere of the lake.

There’s not many places better for meditation in Southern California than The Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine. One can conjure the feeling of deep peace and inspiration here. This site is the definition of Serenity.