Selected as one of "The Hundred Best Spiritual books of the Century," this acclaimed autobiography presents a fascinating portrait of one of the great spiritual figures of our time. With engaging candour, eloquence, and wit, Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda narrates the inspiring chronicle of his life — the experiences of his remarkable childhood, encounters with many saints and sages during his youthful search throughout India for an illumined teacher, ten years of training in the hermitage of a revered yoga master, and the thirty years that he lived and taught in America. Also recorded here are his meetings with Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Luther Burbank, the Catholic stigmatist Therese Neumann, and other celebrated spiritual personalities of East and West.
Autobiography of a Yogi is at once a beautifully written account of an exceptional life and a profound introduction to the ancient science of Yoga and its time-honoured tradition of meditation. The author clearly explains the subtle but definite laws behind both the ordinary evens .of everyday life and the extraordinary events commonly 2- termed miracles. His absorbing life story thus becomes The background for a penetrating and unforgettable look at the ultimate mysteries of human existence.
Considered a modern spiritual classic, the book has been translated into more than twenty languages and is widely used as a text and reference work in colleges and universities. A perennial best-seller since it was first published over sixty years ago, Autobiography of a Yogi has found its way into the hearts of millions of readers around the world.
SRI SRI PARAMAHANSA YOGANANDA ( 1893-1952) is widely regarded as one of the preeminent spiritual figures of our time. Born in northern India, he went to the United States in 1920, where he taught India's ancient science of meditation and the art of balanced spiritual living for more than thirty years. Through his acclaimed life story, Autobiography of a Yogi, and his numerous other books, Paramahansa Yogananda has introduced millions of readers to the perennial wisdom of the East. Today his spiritual and humanitarian work is carried on by Yogoda Satsanga Society of India/Self-Realization Fellowship, which he founded to disseminate his teachings throughout India and worldwide.
It is difficult for one to appraise or pass critical judgment upon the literary work of a friend. His personality, alive in every line, quite fills the mind and overshadows details of technique. Indeed I shall not attempt to discuss the poetic craftsmanship displayed in Songs of the Soul, but shall speak only of the deep impression made by the message of obvious sincerity.
This collection of verses is clearly the revelation of one who has searched his own soul and found therein something akin to those forces of eternity which bring forth life and love, death and sorrow, the material universe and spiritual verities. These are poems of introspection. To be sure, incidents of physical life and action are from time to time narrated and material beauties of nature are described, but always for the purpose of bringing out their influence upon the soul and its development, or of indicating the play of forces that bring all the details of the universe into being, order their progress from birth to destruction and marshal them in an endless evolution beyond human grasp and knowable only by the Almighty Unknown.
The poet dedicates his work to God, the Almighty, the all-pervading spirit of good and love. Those who know Swami Yogananda know that to him the Spirit of good that rules the universe and that works through all nature and the soul of men, is a very real thing. It is immanent, all-pervasive, ever-present. With It and in It he lives; with 1 t he communes, as part of Ir. The poems set forth experiences of the soul in touch with the Great Reality, God Everywhere. A sense of the constant, enveloping presence of the Almighty Spirit is the first and most notable impression of the poems.
Next comes the oft-repeated message of the growth or evolution of the individual spirit and its increasing oneness with the eternally good as it grows. There is also the assurance of immortality or the never-ending forward march of the soul. Through the poems is a feeling of yearning to know God more fully, to see Him more clearly and to comprehend Him, followed by the wistful conviction that He cannot be discovered by the objective methods of science, but can only be partly detected within one's own soul, and that God is not fully knowable; He is known by the peace and quiet in a soul in harmony with Him; He is to be but partly apprehended, never fully comprehended. The poems are the expression of one who, through long meditation and inner concentration, has explored his own soul and now re-counts his spiritual experiences.
Some poems are more theological. They deal with the problem of eternity, cosmic organization and mighty forces that control the destiny of all living things. Here are introduced also accounts of the contact of the individual soul with cosmic forces. The feeling is distinctly oriental and mystical and the verses presuppose an acceptance of the principles of reincarnation.
Other poems, notably "Om," "In Stillness Dark," "Nature's Nature," "My Kinsmen," and "At the Fountain of Song," have a distinct difference from ordinary verse.
They are psychological poems, describing truth as glimpsed psycho-physiologically. A domain that poetry has little touched upon is here opened.
Then there is a collection of the short incidental poems of travel, portraying nature as the manifestation of a divine art.
The underlying nobility of spirit that pervades the whole work should appeal to all who are capable of response to things beyond those which are merely material and physical. Surely all good men of all races and creeds can join in admiration for and acceptance of a message of love and spiritual growth.
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