The year 2021 marked the 75th anniversary of one of the most celebrated spiritual classics, Autobiography of a Yogi, written by Paramahansa Yogananda. The book ignited a spiritual revolution and has since become a must-read book for those interested in yoga and spirituality.
Autobiography of a Yogi is a first-hand life story written by the spiritual master, Paramhansa Yogananda (January 5, 1893–March 7, 1952), who is often referred to as the Father of Yoga in the West. Yogananda’s book was first published in 1946 and touched the hearts and souls of millions of people around the world and won the honour of being one of the “100 Best Spiritual Books of the Century” in 1999. The book was further translated to over fifty languages and served as India’s ambassador to spread the ancient science of yoga to the world.
The Inside Story
Autobiography of a Yogi is a book were through his own enlightening life experiences, Paramahansa Yogananda has introduced the readers to a life of self-respect, determination, calmness, regular experience and diet. The book has emphasised the value of Kriya Yoga and has guided on methods of attaining the realization of God. While reading the book, readers will be able to get a glimpse into Yogananda’s journey on a search for spirituality and how he finally attains the same.
In the book, Yogananda narrated an inspiring account of this life, starting from his childhood when he was born in a Bengali family in Gorakhpur, India, and was named Mukunda Lal Ghosh. His book narrates his journey into the life of Paramahansa Yogananda and draws on his personal experiences. It talks about his meetings with eminent spiritual personalities of the world such as Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Therese Neumann, Luther Burbank, and others. The book also has mention his association with the nineteenth-century master Lahiri Mahasaya, who had prophesied the writing of this book. The book further narrates his family life, his encountering with sages and saints during his youth while on a journey to search for an enlightened teacher and then his 10 years of training under the sacred yoga master Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, before becoming a monk and spreading his teachings of Kriya Yoga meditation for 30 years. During these 30 years, Yogananda went to the United States and spread his beliefs which were well received. He became the first Hindu teacher of yoga to spend a major part of his life in the US. During his time in the country, he influenced a number of celebrity followers including Mark Twain’s daughter, soprano Amelita Galli-Curci, Clara Clemens Gabrilowitsch, and tenor Vladimir Rosing. He founded the Self-Realization Fellowship there and established its headquarters in Los Angeles, California. After he entered mahasamadhi in March 1952, his mausoleum was built in Palo Alto, California.
The autobiography of a Yogi also has several learnings which will benefit the readers. Some of the learnings from the book include:
- Self Realisation: This talks about our need to improve our knowledge of our body, mind and soul.
- Leading a life of happiness: which teaches us to appreciate the beauty of nature in front of our eyes without worrying about our future forever. This takeaway teaches us to live in the moment quietly and make others happy by showing kindness while speaking and offering the correct advice with sincerity.
- Living with Purpose and Being Purposeful: This teaches us about the three states of mind of a Human Being – conscious, subconscious and superconscious. Our conscious state makes us aware of our body and breath. Our subconscious mind becomes active in sleep and is associated with our mental and separates us at that time from body and breath. Finally, our superconscious state frees our mind from the delusion that our existence depends on our body and breath.
- Being in service to Others: The deeper is our self-realization, the more we can influence the universe with our subtle spiritual vibrations and less the phenomenal flux impacts us.
- The Law of Success: Using the Power of Spirit to Create Health, Prosperity, and Happiness: This includes the power of our thought, our willpower, our control over destiny, our failures, our creativity, our need for self-analysis and much more.
Really worth a Read
You will be sure to like the engaging open-heartedness, the wit and the eloquence with which Paramahansa Yogananda has narrated his life experiences. The author has explained the subtle but definite laws behind everyday life in a straightforward manner and has also given instances of extraordinary occurrences which are termed miracles. Once you start reading this book, you will be completely absorbed in his life story and will not be able to stop till the end. Once you complete the book, you will be rewarded with many life-changing takeaways which you will be able to incorporate in your everyday life and be benefitted.
The autobiography of a Yogi is one of the most enlightening as well as entertaining spiritual books and is written in an easy readable style. Its content is sure to enthral the reader, as they appeal to the aspiration and longings that remains in the heart of every man. It is a life changing book which is beyond any rating or review. It is such a book, that can answer all questions one can ever have in their mind regarding life. If you read it again and again, every time you will come across some new perspective, new meaning and answers. It will even give you an answer to what was the purpose of your being born on this earth.