Autobiography of a Yogi is one of the world’s most acclaimed spiritual classics. It is the life story of Paramhansa Yogananda, who is considered to be the pioneer of Yoga in the west. Marking its 75th Anniversary in 2021, the book has been translated into dozens of languages and has touched millions of readers around the world. It represents a great legacy of India’s lasting contribution of its ancient Yogic teachings to the west.
The book has stories of Yogananda’s own personal experiences on the path of Yoga and how his meetings with many great personalities shaped his life and understanding of the true nature of the self and God. This inspiring chronicle talks about his meetings with Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Luther Burbank, the Catholic stigmatist Therese Neumann, and other celebrated spiritual personalities of East and West.
“You may control a mad elephant;
You may shut the mouth of the bear and the tiger;
Ride the lion and play with the cobra;
By alchemy you may learn your livelihood;
You may wander through the universe incognito;
Make vassals of the gods; be ever youthful;
You may walk in water and live in fire;
But control of the mind is better and more difficult.”
– Autobiography of a Yogi
The book introduces the reader to the ancient science of Yoga and meditation. Yogananda talks about the subtle laws of the universe behind everyday events and so called “miracles”. It makes one fascinate and think about the mysteries of human life. Many people have claimed that their lives were turned around completely after reading this penetrating work.
Here are some of the profound quotes from this book.
“The power of unfulfilled desires is the root of all man’s slavery”
“The deeper the Self-realization of a man, the more he influences the whole universe by his subtle spiritual vibrations, and the less he himself is affected by the phenomenal flux.”
“Seeds of past karma cannot germinate if they are roasted in the fires of divine wisdom.”
“Ordinary love is selfish, darkly rooted in desires and satisfactions. Divine love is without condition, without boundary, without change. The flux of the human heart is gone forever at the transfixing touch of pure love.”
Hailed as a “masterpiece”, the book was honored in 1999 as one of “100 Best Spiritual Books of the Century.” It shares the esoteric teachings of the great saints and those from Yogananda’s personal journey to self-realisation. Reading this exemplary work would no doubt be a transformative experience for the reader.