January 31, 2011 on 10:00 am
Dear Spiritual Explorer: I am just starting on my path of spirituality. Can you recommend a book that can help me? Sam Nickel, Hartford, CT
Autobiography of a Yogi
Dear Sam: I’m going to recommend without reservation the first book anybody beginning to embark upon the spiritual path should read, and that is Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. This delightful book, Autobiography of a Yogi, tells of a young man, Yogananda, who is ripe for meeting his guru and, in a very charming vignette within the book, meets his guru, Sri Yukteswar. Following his meeting with his Sri Yukteswar, we see in Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda’s many attempts to be at the side of his revered guru, including missing school and classes and how his guru through mystical intercession, eventually helps Yogananda to pass his exams. Yogananda then continues his spiritual adventure and introduces to us the many spiritual stars of his time including Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Luther Burbank, inventor of the famous Burbank roses, Catholic stigmatist Therese Neumann and other personalities of the east and west. We are also treated in Autobiography of a Yogi to other stories full of miracles and other mysteries with various other gurus and saints. Also included within Autobiography of a Yogi is extensive material that Yogananda added after the first edition came out in 1946, with a final chapter on the closing years of his life.
When I first read this book, I was immediately enamored and fascinated, not only by the many stories Yogananda tells, but of the humble way in which Yogananda presents himself in this book. Yogananda’s book is not only a good read, but a true teaching of humility and devotion. The interesting thing about books by spiritual masters is that they are able to transmit through their words an essence that remains with us. I must have read Autobiography of a Yogi more times I am willing to admit, and will always remember it as the true classic of its genre.
Thanks for writing, Spiritual Explorer
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