It brings me happiness to write about the words of Yogananda, but I don’t think that I could ever, or would ever want to do a true review of his work, as I don’t feel like I could do it justice in trying to recount what he’s said. But I will say that recently I was happy to hear that a co-worker owned a copy of “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda and had read it many times. It is one of those books that many, many people who have read it say that it has greatly affected their spiritual life. Honestly I was much more affected by transcripts of the Guru-ji’s talks. But still I understand that there is great spiritual value in “Autobiography…” because it is not just an autobiography of Yogananda himself, but a series of accounts of the many great lives that touched the Guru-ji’s. When it comes down to it, a man’s encounters all contribute toward the making of the man.
Through my own casual mention of “Autobiography…” and through the co-worker I mentioned, another co-worker and good friend of mine has been introduced to this timeless spiritual account. I look forward to hearing what he has to say about it.
To top it off, I smiled last week as I began re-reading “Autobiography…” once again, when my wife asked me which Yogananda book I would recommend to her. She has always been interested in him as a personality, as of course in the midst of my own reading, I can never refrain from reading passages of his words to her.
Yogananda’s words are either profound or witty and yet they come from the same place and ultimately reach the same place in the soul of the reader/hearer. Though it didn’t have the most affect on me, I recommended the “Autobiography…” to my wife. I thought an account of where Yogananda came from and all that he had seen and those that he had known would be a good place for her, or anyone, to start.
I always tell people “There are going to be things in the book that you may not believe. And by that I literally mean that you may question the veracity of the book.” But that is because not everybody who reads it is truly being called by the Guru. Many do find their true Guru in Yogananda by reading this book, I am sure. But not everybody. For some it will be just reading. But even for those people, I believe that “Autobiography…” has a great gift to offer.
And so I tell people “you may not believe everything you read in there”, but I also know that is okay, because when you have a spiritual experience to match the greatness of the stories held within the Autobiography, you will have attained a state beyond believing or not believing. Reading “Autobiography of a Yogi” is, of course a good first step in attaining that state.