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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

A Legacy of Self-realization

Photo: Roy Eugene Davis (Photo: Ron Lindahn)

Roy Eugene Davis

On March 27, Roy Eugene Davis, a student of Paramahansa Yogananda and founder and director of the Center for Spiritual Awareness in Lakemont, Georgia for almost 50 years, died at age 88.

 Roy Eugene Davis was 18 years old when he left his home on a farm in rural Ohio to meet his guru, Paramahansa Yogananda. It was late fall in 1949; his destination, Los Angeles, was 2,400 miles away. He had $60 in his pocket, a small suitcase and a certainty that he was following his destiny. He arrived on December 23 and was accepted for training and life as a monk shortly after.

After two years of personal training, Yogananda instructed Davis to “teach as I have taught, heal as I have healed and initiate sincere seekers into Kriya Yoga.”

For the next 68 years, Davis followed his guru’s wishes, selflessly sharing guidelines for effective living and rapid spiritual growth with thousands of people around the world.

After serving as the minister of the Self-Realization Fellowship church in Phoenix, Arizona from 1952, when Paramahansa Yogananda passed, until 1954, Davis left the monastic order. He served for two years as a medic in the U.S. Army, and after that he began his teaching ministry in America and abroad.

He began to travel and offer seminars and classes in meditation, yoga philosophy and purposeful living. Over the years, he visited 100 cities in the United States and made several trips to Canada, Japan, Brazil, Germany, Ghana, England, Turkey, Italy and India.

A prolific writer, Davis wrote for and published Truth Journal magazine for 52 years. He wrote more than 60 books in English, many of which have been translated into as many as 11 languages. His books include commentaries on the spiritual classics the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Bhagavad Gita and Shankara’s treatise, Self-Knowledge.

Davis founded the Center for Spiritual Awareness (CSA) in 1972 as the teaching department of a nonprofit corporation in Lakemont. CSA became his headquarters, and he developed the retreat facility during the ensuing years. Situated on 11 acres amid the natural beauty of northeast Georgia, the center includes six guest houses, a meditation hall and dining room complex, a book store, a domed library, the Shrine of All Faiths Meditation Temple, a library annex, offices and a warehouse.

At the center, according to his staff, “Sincere spiritual seekers find a peaceful respite from the circumstances of their daily life.” The center offers visitors “an opportunity to rediscover their own innate spiritual nature and their relationship with the larger reality commonly referred to as God.” Davis saw every aspect of the CSA facility as an extension of his ministry and himself.

Many of Davis’ students regard him as their guru, which, in Sanskrit means “dispeller of darkness” as well as “teacher.”

About him, CSA staff wrote, “His manner was gentle, encouraging, and supportive. He was always available to share, answering questions and counseling those in need. Positive and optimistic, his advice was practical, direct, and helpful.

“His teaching and ministry will continue far into the future,” they continued. “He left us with a wealth of insightful writings, the ongoing publication of Truth Journal magazine and an active retreat center staffed by longtime personal disciples and ordained ministers.”

With hundreds of hours of Davis’ audio and video recordings in its archives, the CSA ministry will continue to publish DVDs, online videos and audio presentations.

The CSA ministry continues to share Davis’ message. As its staff describes it, his message is one “of the truth of our essential nature and how to awaken fully to Self- and God-Realization in this lifetime.”


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