Autobiography of a Yogi (Biography)

The Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, takes the reader on a journey into the spiritual adventures of Paramahansa Yogananda. The book begins by describing Yogananda’s childhood family life to his search for his guru, Yukteswar Giri,[4] to the establishment of his first school, Yogoda Satsanga Brahmacharya Vidyalaya[5] to his journey to America where he lectured to thousands,[6] established Self-Realization Fellowship[7] and visited with Luther Burbank,[8] a renowned botanist to whom this book is dedicated. The book then takes you on Yogananda’s return visit to India in 1935 where he encountered leading spiritual figures such as Therese Neumann[9] in Bavaria, the Hindu saint Ananda Moyi Ma,[10] Mahatma Gandhi,[11] Rabindranath Tagore,[12] Nobel Prize-winning physicist Sir C. V. Raman,[13] and Giri Bala, “the woman yogi who never eats.”[14] The reader then returns to the West with Yogananda where he continues to establish his teachings in America including writing this book.Paramahansa Yogananda

The preface was written by Walter Evans-Wentz, an Oxford scholar of anthropology, a writer who was a pioneer in the study of Tibetan Buddhism and an author of The Tibetan Book of the Dead and Tibet’s Great Yogi Milarepa. In the preface he wrote, “His unusual life-document is certainly one of the most revealing of the depths of the Hindu mind and heart, and of the spiritual wealth of India, ever to be published in the West.”

Yukteswar Giri, Yogananda’s guru, told him about a significant prediction made by Lahiri Mahasaya, Yukteswar’s guru.[16] Yukteswar heard him say, “About fifty years after my passing,” he said, “my life will be written because of a deep interest in yoga which the West will manifest. The yogic message will encircle the globe, and aid in establishing that brotherhood of man which results from direct perception of the One Father.” In 1945 fifty years after Lahiri Mahasaya’s passing in 1895, the Autobiography was complete and ready for publication.Paramahansa Yogananda

In 1999, Autobiography of a Yogi was designated as one of the “100 Most Important Spiritual Books of the 20th Century” by a panel of theologians and luminaries convened by HarperCollins publishers.According to Philip Goldberg, who wrote American Veda, “… the Self-Realization Fellowship which represents Yogananda’s Legacy, is justified in using the slogan, “The Book that Changed the Lives of Millions.” It has sold more than four million copies and counting …”Autobiography of a Yogi is the most popular of Yogananda’s books and SRF has published the book into 45 languages.Paramahansa Yogananda

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