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Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, is one of my very earliest and favorite books. This book gave me an insight to Divine Love, Master – disciple relationship and Simplicity. Of course it was a great introduction mysticism involved behind the yoga journey. This was no ordinary book depicting a ordinary life rather a extraordinary book depicting the important life history of Sri Paramahansa Yogananda.

 Who is  Paramahansa Yogananda?

Autobiography of a yogi

Autobiography of a yogi

Paramahansa Yogananda (Bengali: পরমহংস যোগানন্দ) (5 January 1893 – 7 March 1952), born Mukunda Lal Ghosh (Bengali:মুকুন্দলাল ঘোষ), was an Indian yogi and guru who introduced millions of westerners to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his book, Autobiography of a Yogi.

Born: Mukunda Lal Ghosh: 5 January 1893
Gorakhpur, (present day Uttar Pradesh, India)
Died: 7 March 1952 (aged 59)
Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, California.
Nationality: Indian
Founder of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India
Order Self-Realization Fellowship Order: Guru Swami Yukteswar Giri
Philosophy Kriya Yoga



 Yogananda was born in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India, to a devout family. According to his younger brother, Sananda, from his earliest years young Mukunda’s awareness and experience of the spiritual was far beyond the ordinary. In his youth he sought out many of India’s Hindu sages and saints, hoping to find an illuminated teacher to guide him in his spiritual quest. Yogananda’s seeking after various saints mostly ended when he met his guru, Swami Yukteswar Giri, in 1910, at the age of 17. He describes his first meeting with Yukteswar as a rekindling of a relationship that had lasted for many lifetimes.

Yogananda wrote down his Aims and Ideals for Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society:

  • To disseminate among the nations a knowledge of definite scientific techniques for attaining direct personal experience of God.
  • To teach that the purpose of life is the evolution, through self-effort, of man’s limited mortal consciousness into God Consciousness; and to this end to establish Self-Realization Fellowship temples for God-communion throughout the world, and to encourage the establishment of individual temples of God in the homes and in the hearts of men.
  • To reveal the complete harmony and basic oneness of original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ and original Yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna; and to show that these principles of truth are the common scientific foundation of all true religions.
  • To point out the one divine highway to which all paths of true religious beliefs eventually lead: the highway of daily, scientific, devotional meditation on God.
  • To liberate man from his threefold suffering: physical disease, mental inharmonies, and spiritual ignorance.
  • To encourage “plain living and high thinking”; and to spread a spirit of brotherhood among all peoples by teaching the eternal basis of their unity: kinship with God.
  • To demonstrate the superiority of mind over body, of soul over mind.
  • To overcome evil by good, sorrow by joy, cruelty by kindness, ignorance by wisdom.
  • To unite science and religion through realization of the unity of their underlying principles.
  • To advocate cultural and spiritual understanding between East and West, and the exchange of their finest distinctive features.
  • To serve mankind as one’s larger Self.

Read Online

You can also read this book online.

Book Organization

Bhaduri Mahasaya - Levitating saint

Bhaduri Mahasaya – Levitating saint

Swami Pranabananda - saint with two bodies

Swami Pranabananda – saint with two bodies

Soham Swami, Tiger Swami

Soham Swami, Tiger Swami

The autobiography of a yogi, in short starts with background of his family, so mystic experiences of the author through great yogic saints. Among them are  The Saint With Two Bodies, A “Perfume Saint” Displays His Wonders, The Tiger Swami, The Levitating Saint. These chapters are very interesting for the readers to know about the great powers our yogis but the author strictly warns against the exhibition of these yogic powers for mundane purposes, since these will be great hindrance for the path of self journey.

Sri Yukteswar

Sri Yukteswar

Then the author meets his spiritual master, Sri Yukteswar. Sri Yukteswar Giri is the monastic name of Priya Nath Karar, the guru of Satyananda Giri and Paramahansa Yogananda. Sri Yukteswar was a Kriya yogi, a Jyotisha, a scholar of the Bhagavad Gita and the Bible, an educator and an astronomer. WikipediaBorn: May 10, 1855, SeramporeDied: March 9, 1936, PuriGuru: Lahiri MahasayaBooks: The Holy Science.

A bright student, he passed the entrance exams and enrolled in Srirampur Christian Missionary College, where he developed an interest in the Bible.This interest would later express itself in his book, The Holy Science, which discusses the unity behind the scientific principles underlying Yoga and the Bible. He also attended Calcutta Medical College (then affiliated with the University of Calcutta) for almost two years.

After leaving college, Priya Nath married and had a daughter. His wife died a few years after their marriage, and he  eventually was formally intitiated into the monastic Swami order as “Sri Yuktesvar Giri” (note: thus ‘Sri’ is not a separate honorific, but part of his given name). “…many follow the usual procedure (for writing or saying someone’s name informally) and drop the “Sri” and say only “Yukteswar”, but this is not correct. If one wants to put a “Sri” at the beginning as in the prevalent fashion, then his name would look as: “Sri Sriyukteswar Giri”.

Lahiri Mahasaya - Guru of Sri Yukteswar

Lahiri Mahasaya – Guru of Sri Yukteswar

Mahavatar Babaji

Mahavatar Babaji

In 1884, Priya Nath met Lahiri Mahasaya, who became his Guru and initiated him into the path of Kriya Yoga Sri Yukteswar spent a great deal of time in the next several years in the company of his guru, often visiting Lahiri Mahasaya in Benares. In 1894, while attending the Kumbha Mela in Allahabad, he met the Guru of Lahiri Mahasaya, Mahavatar Babaji, who asked Sri Yukteswar to write a book comparing Hindu scriptures and the Christian bible.Mahavatar Babaji also bestowed on Sri Yukteswar the title of ‘Swami’ at that meeting. Sri Yukteswar completed the requested book in 1894, naming it Kaivalya Darsanam, or The Holy Science.

Autobiography of a yogi, then runs through various experiences of the swami and his master’s miraculous performances. The master has a blissful meeting with Mahavatar babaji by the grace of his guru. Then swami establishes Self realization fellowship, a society for people’s training towards self realization.

Final words on Autobiography of a Yogi

  • People in the path of mystic should not miss this book
  • All my students will be given an assignment on this book, I take this that seriously
  • This book will save many from the bogus gurus who lived and living and mis-leading in the name of Yoga
  • The author is directly from a disciplic succession and hence very authentic
  • Its so interesting you will will never put the book down

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