Autobiography of a Yogi is one of the 20th century's best-loved spiritual classics. This book is the original edition first published in 1946. It details the life of Paramahansa Yogananda - one of India's Spiritual guru's, who is often referred to particularly in the West as, the Father of Yoga. Yogananda chronicles his life's journey and his many encounters with spiritual luminaries such as Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Therese Neumann, and many more. The result is wondrous, and profoundly inspiring." On meeting Gandhi Yogananda observed.... "The tiny 100-pound saint radiated physical, mental, and spiritual health. His soft brown eyes shone with intelligence, sincerity, and discrimination; this statesman has matched wits and emerged the victor in a thousand legal, social, and political battles. No other leader in the world has attained the secure niche in the hearts of his people that Gandhi occupies for India's millions. In 1935 Yogananda travelled to Bavaria to meet Therese Neumann, the famous Catholic Mystic who was also a stigmatic. It is said that Neumann survived without food or water and her only intake was one consecrated sacred Host a day. At his meeting with Neumann, Yogananda asked.... "Don't you eat anything?" I wanted to hear the answer from her own lips. "No, except a consecrated rice-flour wafer, once every morning at six o'clock." "How large is the wafer?" "It is paper-thin, the size of a small coin." She added, "I take it for sacramental reasons; if it is unconsecrated, I am unable to swallow it." "Certainly you could not have lived on that, for twelve whole years?" "I live by God's light." How simple her reply, how Einsteinian! "I see you realize that energy flows to your body from the ether, sun, and air." A swift smile broke over her face. "I am so happy to know you understand how I live." "Your sacred life is a daily demonstration of the truth uttered by Christ: 'Man shall not live by bread, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.'" In his foreword, Walter Evans-Wentz, the co-editor and translator of The Tibetan Book of the Dead observe; "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 account 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.
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Paramhansa Yogananda (often misspelled 'Paramahansa' Yogananda) was born on January 5, 1893 in Gorakhpur, India. He was the first yoga master of India to permanently live and teach in the West. Yogananda arrived in America in 1920, and traveled throughout the United States on what he called his 'spiritual campaigns'. His enthusiastic audiences filled the largest halls in America. Hundreds of thousands came to see the yogi from India. At some packed venues thousands were turned away nightly. A national sensation, Yogananda's lectures and books were extensively written about by the major media of the era, including Time Magazine, Newsweek, and Life. He was even invited to the White House by President Calvin Coolidge. Yogananda continued to lecture and write up to his passing in 1952.
Yogananda's initial impact was truly impressive. But his lasting impact has been even greater. Yogananda's "Autobiography of a Yogi", first published in 1946, helped launch a spiritual revolution throughout the world. His message was nonsectarian and universal. Yogananda's Guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, sent him to the West with the admonition, "The West is high in material attainments, but lacking in spiritual understanding. It is God's will that you play a role in teaching mankind the value of balancing the material with an inner, spiritual life."
Yogananda brought clarity to hundreds of thousands of people regarding the ancient teachings of India - previously shrouded in the cultural assumptions and terminology of an era long past. These teachings include the path of Kriya Yoga, which Yogananda called the 'jet-airplane' route to God, consisting of ancient yoga techniques to hasten the spiritual evolution of the student.
"The true basis of religion is not belief, but intuitive experience. Intuition is the soul's power of knowing God. To know what religion is really all about, one must know God," said Paramhansa Yogananda in the book "The Essence of Self-Realization". He further wrote that "Self- Realization is the knowing in all parts of body, mind, and soul that you are now in possession of the kingdom of God; that you do not have to pray that it come to you; that God's omnipresence is your omnipresence; and that all that you need to do is improve your knowing."From AudioFile:
More than the story of the life of Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952), this autobiography offers an insider's view of many of the great teachers, saints and traditions of yoga. Ben Kingsley's smooth, articulate performance makes the formal writing style accessible to the listener. Kingsley never falters with the Indian individual and place names. The individual case for each tape increases portability and slips into a package sized to fit comfortably on any bookshelf. The slipcase also provides an outline of chapter headings included on each tape, which is a great aid for those using this volume as a reference. Footnotes are omitted from the reading but presented in a separate chapter notes. J.E.M. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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