180 of 191 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Candid biography, inspired prose, unparalled insights
Like Gandhi, Yogananda writes humbly and includes his foibles and the pratfalls he takes as he journeys through life's lessons. In fact, unless you read elsewhere about his life you won't realize how much he understates his own accomplishments while he honors other spiritual seekers and teachers he encounters.
His stories of encounters with amazing saints of all...
Published on November 8, 2002 by richardpinneau.com
40 of 54 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
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...
Published on June 21, 2007 by P. Eldring
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180 of 191 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Candid biography, inspired prose, unparalled insights,
His stories of encounters with amazing saints of all regions and religions are spell-binding, and you may find yourself (like me) devouring the whole book on your first read -- just reveling in the wonders of these true spiritual seekers. On successive readings I delved deeper into the equally fascinating footnotes, learning about the exotic realms of Indian spirituality and its unexpected parallels with the original Christian teachings of Christ, St. John, and St. Paul.
In fact, the countless strata of insights and implications that surface with repeated readings of Autobiography of a Yogi argue for spending a few more dollars on the trade paperback rather than the mass market paperback edition, since you'll want to return numerous times over the years. The Self-Realization Fellowship editions are to be preferred over others. Yogananda himself started that organization (SRF), and the award-winning quality of SRF editing and printing shines through them - in contrast to bootlegged editions printed up by renegade outfits.
In all my reading in spirituality, yoga, and comparative religion, I have discovered no work that so completely fulfills Carl Jung's prophecy that yoga science (the whole science, not just the athletic postures) will offer you ''undreamed-of possibilities'' as Yogananda's autobiography. As the author explains, 'yoga' comes from the root meaning 'union' - and he reveals, ever more deeply, the underlying oneness of Christianity and yoga, of spiritual truth and scientific truth, of the worldly and the spirituality. It will deepen anyone's own faith and sensibility -- of whatever religion (or none), of the science of matter... or mind... or Spirit.
57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book I Have Ever Read!,
This book is also a great contribution to the cause of world peace and understanding among the people of different faiths and creeds; the abstract concept of world brotherhood becomes more real and immediate a concept after reading this book. I would recommend anyone who has not read this book -- no matter what his or her creed maybe -- to order a copy right away; this may be the best investment in one's life!
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Spiritual Classic For the Ages,
This review is from: Autobiography of a Yogi (Paperback)Words truly do not do justice to this classic work by Paramahansa Yogananda who wrote one of the premiere books about the science of Yoga.
Yogananda not only helps to introduce Yoga science to the West, but also demonstrates that yoga (which means "union") is the unifying science that shows the underlying truth among ALL religions. Using many scriptural passages from both the Bible and the Hindu Bible (the Bhagavad Gita), he also demonstrates that they are saying, essentially, the same thing; the same TRUTH.
This book chronicles the life of Mukunda La Ghosh whose passion and yearning for God leads him to many saints and sages in India.
We find that it is the wish of Jesus Christ and Babaji (One of India's great masters who has been living for an untold number of centuries) that it be revealed to the world that TRUTH is universal and that it does not matter what path you've chosen (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, etc.)
Whether you are religious or not, you will find this masterfully well-written work touch you in ways that you've not dreamed of. Yogananda orchestrates chapters about the astral realms, great scientists, poets, saints (in India as well as in the West), masters, Gandhi, and others which are both moving and inspirational.
This book also reveals, for the first time to Westerners the lost science of Kriya Yoga (which means, "Divine Union"), which is a scientific technique to develop direct experience of God. Yogananda explains this technique, its history, and why it is so effective.
This is a book that can be read many times, and you will find that each time, it still has a "divine" effect. If nothing else, it will help you to ask yourself about your Self. This is one of the greatest books ever written, not only of modern times, but of ALL time.
88 of 101 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A challenge to our western way of thinking,
These stories do, however, illustrate various points of the vedic philosophy.
I believe that any person interested in religious thought will find much of value here. Many precepts of the Hindu religion are explored throughout this autobiography, and some of them shed light from a different perception upon the Christian and Judaic faiths. If a person is open to looking at one's own beliefs through another person's eyes, understanding of all beliefs may be increased. A person who does not wish to understand beliefs of another person's religion should, however, stay away from this book.
Along with the personal, spiritual autobiography and the open sharing of belief and faith are stories of many swamis and saints, and also of two of current culture and times. One chapter is devoted to noted horticulturist Luther Burbank, and his friendship with Yogananda, giving a different view of the man and of his accomplishments than that generally learned in our schooling. Another chapter is given to Mahatma Ghandi as Yogonanda briefly knew him.
This isn't the easiest book for the western mind to understand, much less accept. However, it's worth the effort.
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of experiments with Truth and Soul,
Always averse to things religious (as being arbitrarily authoritarian) and spiritual (as being delusional), I was at an initial loss to explain why this book riveted my attention. Yoga was way too 'airy-fairy' for my hard-headed mind. Somehow I was won over within a few sentences, spellbound by a spiritual author who wrote humbly, declined to adopt the self-righteousness of many a preacher, and yet related astounding spiritual events and principles - dating back to his infancy.
I was impressed to hear deep respect for the paths of all truth-seekers: of Hindus, Buddhists, Moslems, Christians, Jews; of humanists and scientists, transcendentalists and missionaries. His accounts were so personable and reasonable, his interdisciplinary insights so compelling, that I found myself questioning all materialist prejudices and weighing seriously his other-worldly claims.
During the first few chapters, in the background of my mind, I was quietly weighing explanations for this book, this mind, this spirit: was he a liar? a lunatic? or can the world really hold such miracles of life and Spirit as he depicts here? With liars and lunatics I'd had way too much acquaintance and knew: this was written by neither of these. I confronted myself: must I not overthrow my narrow, long-entrenched scientist's view of world and life, origin and death, reality and truth?
Through college and graduate school I'd always craved to meet a real leader - one who embodied Truth, exuded wisdom, lived a Gandhi-like life - that might transform this modern world. Instead I encountered feet of clay; even worse: minds of clay. So humbly did Yogananda write of himself in this autobiography (paying greatest homage instead to saints and sages of the ages) that it took me years to realize that in him I'd met the equal of any great world-teacher portrayed here (or elsewhere).
In his Autobiography and in the meditation Lessons he penned for SRF, Yogananda left a non-coercive approach to spirituality and self-development. He always asked his readers to take nothing on his word, but to *test* the principles and the methods - as he himself tested what he was given by the great teachers of India.
In both his life and writings Yogananda promoted the value of combining those highest spiritual principles held in common by Judeo-Christianity and by yoga: Devotion (love for the Creative Source of our beings) and Discipline of mind and body ("Be still and know... God").
Through his gentle wisdom, relentless love, and confident patience, Yogananda succeeds in touching every reader. I have known some minds that were closed to his ecumenism, some hearts unready for his divine affection, and many souls too solidly encased in limited ideas of mortality to receive all that he would like to have given them. I have known both materialist readers who were put off by the miraculous events vividly recounted here - and flighty readers who cared only to read about the supernatural events (escaping his incitement to enlightenment). But I've yet to meet anyone with hard enough heart and dry enough intuition that they are unmoved by his portraits of the higher possibilities accessible to human souls.
For the sincere seeker here are stories that empower lessons, insights that deepen self-inquiry, and constant prods to move beyond "spiritual experiences" to the Experience of Spirit. Yogananda always brings the reader back to disciplined (with love) meditation upon the Highest Power (and love) - explaining that through meditative mastery "even those who cannot believe in the divinity of any man may at last experience the divinity of their own souls."
[ If you want to be sure to get Yogananda's FULL story, get one of the gold-colored editions from Self-Realization (cloth 0876120826, quality paperback 0876120834, or mass paper 0876120796), not a (blue-covered) abridged preliminary version. ]
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Portal to the art and discipline of universal yoga,
The Autobiography of a Yogi is spell-binding in its graphic descriptions of spiritual encounters and yet somewhat casual about the grandest miracles and concepts. But don't be deceived into thinking that Yogananda saw the path of spiritual realization as an easy, wide-open adventure. Yoga is a *discipline* as well as an art, and the meditation techniques that Yogananda left behind in his SRF Lessons are disciplines.
The need for discipline in our pursuit of the Divinity within us flies in the face of lackadaisical, California-new-age approach of pursuing "whatever is exciting and cool" (I can take that liberty as one who was CA-born and -raised). Yogananda solidly presents the classic yoga wisdom (from his teacher) that "the way to God is not a circus," - and in the bio "Mejda" by his brother you may read how it took a while for the boy Yogananda himself to realize the spiritual inappropriateness of psychic mediumship, trance states, and similar dramatic phenomena. Both Yogananda and the current leadership of his Self-Realization society have always warned spiritual seekers to rise above mere psychic perceptions of subtle realms and to develop that discriminating intuition which develops from quiet, dedicated, inner spiritual work. The "anything goes" approach of modern explorations (personal or spiritual) has never been endorsed by master-teachers of classic yoga.
Some readers (myself included) may stumble upon the Autobiography's Chapter 26: The Science of Kriya Yoga and want to race immediately to learn the technique. I was at first sad to learn that a year's disciplined practice of more basic meditation techniques from SRF is required before one may apply for instruction in Kriya Yoga. But I eventually came to appreciate that building that solid year's foundation was an understandable prerequisite for meaningful practice of Kriya.
One acquaintance of mine could not understand why she was expected to practice *Yogananda's* meditation techniques during that first year in order to receive Kriya (she wanted to continue her TM instead). "Loyalty is the highest spiritual law," Yogananda once said. If reading his Autobiography does not inspire you with enough confidence to follow his guidance, this is probably not the right path/time for you. There are scads which welcome casual seekers.
I recommend you read the Autobiography and test it for yourself. In his Lessons, Yogananda asks students NOT to believe on the basis of his word; he asks you to TEST the practices and principles he provides... in the laboratory of your own practice. There's nothing to lose in learning to discipline your mind and offer up your heart to your Maker!
A WORD ABOUT THE PUBLISHERS: In his last years Yogananda often spoke of his complete confidence in those long-time students he hand-selected to continue - through Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) - his work after his death. He spoke especially highly of Daya Mata, who has for fifty years now succeeded Yogananda as president of the Fellowship. Her spiritual elevation and concurrent humility are evident in her dedication to guiding the SRF organization according to the instructions of its original founder. She has often said words to the effect of, "It does not matter what Daya Mata wants, it only matters what God and the master want." What makes the SRF publishers shine for me above the leadership of other organizations is their willingness and commitment to keep their own egos and personal prejudices subservient to their humility before the great yoga master who founded SRF and before the Father/ Mother/ Beloved Divine to whom he dedicated his life work. One need only read the prefaces which Daya Mata has written for Yogananda's books (e.g., The Divine Romance) to get a feel for her rare combination of wisdom and humility. The SRF Publishing Division's loyalty to the founder of this organization and his message is evident in their unswerving dedication to quality, beauty, and accurate presentation of his work in the publications they produce.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars East meets West,
This review is from: Autobiography of a Yogi (Paperback)What a great book. After years of reading Carlos Castaneda books--I've never read the Bible but plan to someday--I felt my mind open with Yogananda's autobiography.
This is because there is a one sidedness to Shamanism, which may stem from the fact that Native Americans never had a chance to reflect on their religion, and how it contrasts with Western Civilization. Yet Yogananda does just that . . .
In the context of his own life, he relays the stories, and myths, that shape his spiritual progression through life. There are some real mind blowing chapters in this book that force the reader to step back and think. However, it is cleverly interlaced with Western tradition so that any average American could read this book and not be offended.
That is the mission Yogananda's gurus sent him out to accomplish. This book is the product of that goal.
Still, my favorite part of this book is a passage about Alexander the Great. I've only heard the Western Civilization stories about his military conquests. But in this book Yogananda speaks of the one conquest Alexander could not complete, the conquest of India's spirit.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perspective of a once hard-hearted scientist,
The author is a creative genius to rival Shakespeare, a devoted Christian to rival St. Francis, an ancient Hindu sage to rival Vyasa.
There is no way to foretell how this book will affect you. I was closed-minded and closed-hearted. But no more. I can only suggest that you give it the one test that matters... to dip in with your eyes - and see how your heart responds.
If some how this book falls into your hands or beneath your gaze (as rather miraculously it did into mine), see if there isn't maybe a sign here for you - from your silently yearning soul.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is It Reality Or A Blend Of Reality And Fantasy?,
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The answers to your questions.,
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