Autobiography of a Yogi: Summary

Topics: Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Paramahansa Yogananda Pages: 8 (2861 words) Published: November 13, 2008
In 1946, the book simply titled Autobiography of a Yogi was published. It was written by a hitherto unknown saint from India named Paramahansa Yogananda. Paramahansa Yogananda was an Indian Yogi who left the shores of India in 1920 to teach God realization to people of the West. In this inspiring book, he describes his meetings with miracle performing yogis in India such as the levitating saint, a tiger fighting swami, a yogi who bilocates and other great saints search for a guru, and his encounters with leading spiritual figures such as Therese Neumann, the Hindu saint Sri Anandamoyi Ma, Mohandas Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel Prize winning physicist Sir C. V. Raman, and noted American plant scientist Luther Burbank, to whom it is dedicated. With superb writing skills that match that of a professional writer, Yogananda describes with characteristic humour, his childhood struggles towards attaining God realization and difficulties he faced with his family's opposition to his spiritual pursuits. His description of running away to the Himalayas in his childhood in search of God cannot help but touch a chord in the reader's heart. Yogananda also gives a good life sketch of his great guru Sri Yukteshwar who trained the former in Kriya Yoga and encouraged him to go to the West to spread the teachings to Yoga. Amelita Galli-Curci, one of the most famous opera singers of the early twentieth century, said about the book: "Amazing, true stories of saints and masters of India, blended with priceless superphysical information–much needed to balance the Western material efficiency with Eastern spiritual efficiency–come from the vigorous pen of Paramhansa Yogananda, whose teachings my husband and myself have had the pleasure of studying for twenty years."

The value of Yogananda's Autobiography is greatly enhanced by the fact that it is one of the few books in English about the wise men of India which has been written, not by a journalist or foreigner, but by one of their own race and training--in short, a book about yogis by a yogi. As an eyewitness recountal of the extraordinary lives and powers of modern Hindu saints, the book has importance both timely and timeless. To its illustrious author, whom I have had the pleasure of knowing both in India and America, may every reader render due appreciation and gratitude. 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. Another chapter describes the law of miracles. It details how light is the only true reality – something that Albert Einstein proved later. The book also mentions details of Mahavtar Babaji and how he materialized an entire palace in the Himalayas to satisfy his disciple Lahiri Mahasaya's desire. Many other fascinating incidents are also described in the book one of them is the resurrection of the ‘dead' Sir Yukteshwar and his visitation to his beloved disciple Yogananda in a Bombay Hotel. In this chapter the resurrected Sri Yukteshwar vividly describes the astral world and its fascinating aspects and life in the astral planets.

It starts with Yogananda’s early life and the miraculous events that seem indigestable initially but slowly starts to make sense as you move on. By the time you finish the book, you will have nothing but an immense respect for a Yogi who was highly erudite, philosophical, warm with his words, spiritual and who has mastered the art of Kriya Yoga learnt from his Gurus.

The book is more of Reasoning, Belief, Gods, Goddesses, Saints, Scientists, Telephathy, etc. Above all its about searching God by way of Self Realization through the art of Kriya Yoga. And when there is mention of God, the author makes sure to encompass all the religious preachings with the same fervour as he does with his own.

There are so many things that are well explained, scientific as well as spiritual. One may not be...
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