Customer Reviews: Autobiography of a Yogi (Self-Realization Fellowship)
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Showing 1-10 of 68 reviews(1 star). Show all reviews
on August 18, 2015
This is the third time I've attempted to read this book. And once again, I only made it to the middle before I started skimming, and then put the book down entirely, dumbfounded by the acclaim it receives. The first time I attempted to read the book I had heard someone in a college Hinduism course recommend it. Couldn't finish it then. The second time was an ex-girlfriend who was into yoga, who said it changed her life. Couldn't finish it. And this time it was thanks to having read that Steve Jobs regarded the book so highly he had it distributed at his funeral. a total loss.
The book details this guy's life, and his mostly repetitive meetings with various Indian guru's, all who had eyes that sparkled and shone, and whose countenances radiated God-nature and brought peace, or flower-smells, or something else, to whoever was there.
Though I'd like to appreciate this book, I would need a guru to explain it to me.
99 comments|12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 21, 2007
We had read a copy of Autobiography of a Yogi from the library (8th Edition; published by SRF). We loved it! We wanted a copy of our own and ordered this version, not realizing it was totally without the photos, index, and footnotes. Also, the information about Self-Realization Fellowship is missing. The text appears to be the same, so someone just wanting pure text might be okay with this, but we are back to ordering the genuine article published by SRF.
1717 comments|65 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 4, 2015
The type is so small it can barely be read. I did not want it.
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on January 18, 2015
I'm really disappointed with the layout of this version of the book. I have requested to send it back. It is typed in a layout of one continuous chapter. There is no index page either so you don't even know how many chapters there are or on what page to find them. Not very pleasing for the eye to follow. Very small print too
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on April 14, 2015
I really don't understand the appeal of this book. It was recommended to me by my psychiatrist after someone close to me died. He said it really helped another client of his deal with a similar loss. I suppose if you were gullible enough to believe all the stories of bi-location, levitation, magic odor-manifestation, and so on, then you might find some comfort in the spiritual claims and assumptions of the author. But if the author is telling the truth, then India is brimming with spiritual masters breaking the laws of physics for anyone to see. I just couldn't buy it. And a little research into the author's life revealed him to be your typical guru/cult-leader type, big ego, lots of false prophecies, all the usual stuff. He did seem to be mostly harmless, however. No child molestation or financial pyramid schemes that I could find.

Now, I want to be clear that I have nothing against Hinduism or the Indian culture. Genuine Hinduism is one of the most varied and rich cultures in the world. I just think Yogananda was the first person to begin the Westernization of Hinduism. People seem willing to believe almost anything if you say it came from, or happened in, India. I think this book ultimately fails in its aim to bring Hindu wisdom to the West, since it is so riddled with nonsense that it runs the risk of turning the less credulous reader off the subject entirely.
22 comments|13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 27, 2014
The print is too small....
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on September 25, 2015
Even though I admire Budhism mostly because it inspires me for its spiritual teachings, mindfulness techniques, yoga exercises, I was so very disappointed with this Yogi autobiography because I felt like I was reading an unbelievable esoteric book.
I also felt fooled since I bought it because at the end of Steve Jobs biography "Becoming Steve Jobs" this Paramahansa Yogananda book was mentioned because it was given to all his friends at his funeral.
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on July 8, 2015
To me this book seemed like just another tall tale that leaders of religious cults back in India successfully sell to many people. I feel this is a poor representation of spiritualism and sagely wisdom of yogic teachings. I tell myself, after all, this is an autobiography and continue reading, suspending disbelief. But the author contradicts his own reasoning from one chapter to another. I consider myself a philosophical person and can believe in magic, superstition, the supernatural, etc. Even then, I could not get past the incoherence and lack of logic.
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on June 2, 2010
This is not Yoga!!

The first prerequisite for Yoga is to have Vidya, or an intellectual base arrived at by reasoning, though in the final culmination Vidya is left behind. Yoga is an intelligent search for the truth. It doesnt depend on fanciful fables and claims.

And Yogananda really does stretch our credulity!! It starts with him remembering himself as a fetus when he knew all languages and finally selected the one he was hearing as his mother tongue and his first memories right after he was born. The claims keep getting more and more astonishing, beginning with minor miracles like controlling his kite as a child, to fantastical claims like Yogis who never eat, become invisible, fly through the air and do just about anything that Superman does, and much more! There's a photograph of Yogananda standing alone with a caption, "Yogananda standing with his master, who did not care to be photographed, so he made himself invisible." It requires a very strong gullibility to accept this. If anyone wants to become invisible or fly, they should go, not to a Yoga teacher, but to David Copperfield. Miracles run amok - there is the "vast palace of dazzling gold" studded with "diamonds, pearls, sapphires, and emeralds of great size and luster" amidst "landscaped gardens" instantly materialized by the redoubtable Babaji, his guru's guru's guru, right in the middle of a Himalyan mountain one night, and then dematerialized again once it had served its purpose. Towards the end, we hardly react when his Guru comes back from death and recounts his many travels in space after death where he has one amazing adventure after another.

I am surprised that people in the West still seem to like this book. Many reviewers write about how they have learned about a 'different culture' and a 'different way of thinking' from this book, as if in India we are quite used to seeing our Yogis flying through the air and so on.

I must make it clear that I am not belittling the book in entirety, it has a childlike purity which makes it a compelling read. Yogananda's transparent sincerity, ability to laugh at himself and his genuine love for god and his thirst for spirituality is all too apparent, and his account of his spiritual quest is often touching and revelatory. This is what gives the book its charm and power. Some of the passages deserve to be counted among the most illuminating accounts of mystical experience ever. But all too often, his eagerness to discover god and people on the spiritual path strays into descriptions of fantastical and unbelievable anecdotes.

It would be quite natural for anyone who first comes into contact with Yoga through this book to develop a strong cynicism about Hinduism and its practises, including Yoga. But this is not Yoga at all. To learn about Yoga, I would recommend reading Swami Vivekananda and Ramkrishna Paramahansa, these were great teachers who also achieved relevatory experiences through Yoga but certainly never made such incredible claims. Yoga is not all about magic and fable that this book makes it out to be.

I am sorry if this review offends anyone who has found this book inspiring. I can understand people being inspired by Yogananda's profound love of God which is so transparent in this book, and which did not fail to move me, but I would like to make my own stand for reason in following the path of Yoga.

..P.J.Mazumdar, author of "The Circle of Fire"
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on February 9, 2016
Useless. Read it only if you believe in magic. The yogi continues to narrate magical instances which sound unbelievable. No way to confirm, no proof, believe it if you want to. I did not relish.
33 comments|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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