The Lake Shrine was formally opened to the public on August 20, 1950, coinciding with the thirtieth anniversary of Paramahansa Yogananda's work in America. Lieutenant Governor of California and Mrs Goodwin J. Knight (left) assisted Yogananda in the dedication, which was attended by 1,500 people (above).
Paramahansa Yogananda designed the Golden Lotus Archway (above) as a "wall-less temple." In India the lotus flower is a symbol of divine unfoldment--the awakening of the soul to its infinite potential.
As part of the ceremonies, Yogananda dedicated the Gandhi World Peace Memorial -- the first monument in the world to be erected in honor of Mahatma Gandhi, architect of India's freedom through nonviolent means and greatest apostle of peace in this century.
"Alone among great leaders, Gandhi has offered a practical nonviolent alternative to armed might," Yogananda said. "The nonviolent voice of Gandhi appeals to man's highest conscience. Let nations ally themselves no longer with death, but with life; not with destruction, but with construction; not with hate, but with the creative miracles of love."
During the dedication, a portion of Gandhi's ashes, encased in a brass and silver coffer, was enshrined in a thousand-year-old stone sarcophagus from China. The ashes had been sent to Yogananda by an old friend, Dr. V.M. Nawle, a publisher and journalist from Poona, India, who knew of the deep spiritual bond between the two great men. Following the dedication of the memorial, Dr. Nawle wrote:
"Regarding Gandhi ashes, I may say that [they] are scattered and thrown in almost all important rivers and seas, and nothing is given outside India except the remains which I have sent to you after a great ordeal. You are the only one in the whole world who received Gandhi ashes outside India."