Autobiography of a Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda

Autobiography of a Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda

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Last updated on April 27th, 2023 at 08:45 pm

The spiritual master Paramahansa Yogananda was a great yogi and saint. In this blog, we will learn about the incidents related to his life. His famous book is ‘Yogi Kathamrit’ (An Autobiography of a Yogi) which is a best-selling book as a spiritual autobiography. So let us know about Paramahansa Yogananda and his famous book.

Autobiography of a Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda

Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) was an Indian yogi and spiritual teacher who is best known for introducing yoga and meditation to the Western world through his book “Autobiography of a Yogi”.

Born in Gorakhpur, India, Yogananda was interested in spirituality from a young age and became a disciple of the yoga master Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri.

In 1920, he traveled to the United States to attend an international congress of religious leaders in Boston and eventually settled in Los Angeles, where he founded the Self-Realization Fellowship, an organization dedicated to disseminating his teachings on yoga and meditation.

Yogananda’s teachings emphasized the universality of religion and the importance of the direct personal experience of the divine. He taught techniques of meditation, yoga, and spiritual living as a means of attaining inner peace, happiness, and spiritual realization. He also taught the concept of kriya yoga, a form of yoga that involves the use of specific breathing techniques and meditation practices to awaken the spiritual energy within.

Yogananda’s book “Autobiography of a Yogi” is considered a classic of spiritual literature and has been translated into more than 50 languages. It has inspired millions of readers around the world, including many notable figures such as Steve Jobs, George Harrison, and Elvis Presley.

Yogananda passed away in 1952, but his teachings continue to influence spiritual seekers around the world. The Self-Realization Fellowship, which he founded, has centers and meditation groups in many countries, and his teachings continue to be disseminated through books, lectures, and other media.

Early Life of Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda

Yogi Paramhansa was born on 5 January 1893 in a Bengali family in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. His childhood name was Mukund Lal Ghosh. His father’s name was Bhagwati Charan Ghosh who was working in the Bengal Nagpur Railway on the equivalent post of Vice President.

Yogananda was the fourth child of his parents. Yogananda inherited the qualities of yoga and spirituality. His parents were disciples of the great Kriya Yogi Lahiri Mahasaya. Sri Yukteswar Giri was Yogananda’s guru.

Lahri Mahasaya’s prediction

Lahiri Mahasaya, who played a major role in the revival of Kriya Yoga in modern India, blessed Yogananda early in his childhood by saying to his mother, “Little mother, your son will become a great yogi. Like a spiritual engine, he will be a soul to many souls.” He will be taken to the kingdom of God.

Educational Life and Spiritual Journey of Paramahansa Yogananda

In his youth, Mukunda (Yogi Paramhansa Yogananda) went to many sages and saints with the hope of attaining God. At the age of seventeen, he met Sri Yukteswar Giri and became his disciple. He received a rigorous education in yoga and spirituality for ten years in the ashram of Shri Yukteswar Giri.

While taking education in the ashram, Shri Yukteswar Giri Ji told this young disciple that he has to take the science of ancient ‘Kriya Yoga’ to the whole world including America, and God has chosen him for this work.

How Mukunda Lal Ghosh became Paramahansa Yogananda

In 1915, Mukund completed his graduation from the University of Kolkata. After that, his guru initiated sannyasa according to the sannyasa tradition and named him Yogananda (one who attained bliss through yoga). Thus the desire of Bliss to dedicate life to the love and service of God was fulfilled.

The beginning of the work of spirituality around the world

Yaganand ji established a school in 1917. This school was opened for boys and named this school “How to live life”. With the establishment of this school, Parmanand’s journey of spiritual life began. Modern education was also provided in this school along with the education of yoga and spiritual ideals.

The Maharaja of Qasim Bazar provided his summer palace in Ranchi to Parmanand to run the school. This palace was 250 miles away from Kolkata. Once Mahatma Gandhi came to see this school and was very impressed. Gandhiji said, “This institution has deeply touched my heart.”

Paramahansa Yogananda’s departure to America

One day in Ranchi school, when Yogananda was engaged in meditation, he had a divine realization that he had to start his work in Western countries. This is the incident of 1920, so he immediately reached Kolkata and from there he came to seek blessings from his Guru Yukteswar Giri ji after receiving an invitation to represent India in the International Assembly of Religions to be held in Woston. His guru said it was the right time and “all the doors are open for you. Otherwise, you will never be able to go now.”

Before going to America, Yoganand ji also took the blessings of Mahavatar Babaji. Mahavatar Babaji is Mrityunjay Paramguru, who re-established Kriya Yoga at this age. Babaji said to Yoganand ji, “It is only you who I have chosen to spread Kriya Yoga to the Western world.

Many years ago I met your Guru Yukteswar at the Kumbh Mela and then I told him that I would give you Kriya Yoga, the scientific method of God-realization, which will eventually spread to all countries and it will help in establishing harmony among nations by giving man a personal transcendent experience of the Infinite Supreme Father.” 

Swami Yogananda reached Boston in September 1920. He gave his first lecture at the International Conference of Religious Liberals on the topic of “Theology”, which was enthusiastically listened to by those present there. Yogananda founded the SRF (Self-Realization Fellowship) to spread his teachings on India’s ancient science and philosophy of yoga and its age-old meditation tradition.

The first SRF meditation center was started in Boston with the help of Dr. M. W. Lewis and Mrs. Alice Hasee (who later became Sister Yogamata), who later became lifelong disciples of Yogananda.

In 1924 AD, Yogananda Maharaj visited America and gave spiritual speeches. Arriving in Los Angeles in early 1925, he established the International Headquarters of the Self-Realization Fellowship on Mount Washington, which later became the spiritual and administrative center of his workplace.

Yogananda is a forerunner of Yoga in Western countries

From 1924 to 1935, Yoganandji traveled extensively and gave lectures. During this time he lectured in many of America’s largest auditoriums—from Carnegie Hall in New York to the Philharmonic Auditorium in Los Angeles—that were packed with audiences. The Los Angeles Times wrote: “There was a wonderful sight in the Philharmonic Auditorium when thousands of people … were told to return an hour before the start of the lecture because the 3000-seat hall was completely filled.”

Yogananda had one goal and that was to establish the underlying ideological unity of the Dinian religions and to emphasize the learning of globally important methods for gaining direct personal experience of God. Yogananda Maharaj used to teach the method of Yogakriya to the disciples of Yogananda who were deeply interested in Yogakriya. Initiated more than one lakh women and men in Kriya Yoga. Yogananda spent nearly three decades in Western countries and spread his teachings.

Major American Disciples of Yogananda

Many of America’s leading businessmen, scientists, and art figures became his disciples—such as Luther Burbank (horticulturalists), the inventor of the Kodak camera—George Eastman, Amelita Galli Kurchi—the famous opera singer, Leopold Stokowski—orchestral director, and prominent literary figure. Edwin Markham whom the leading man was involved in.

Seeing Yoganad’s fame, in 1927 AD, then US President Calvin Coolidge invited him to the White House for a meal. The American President took an interest in Yogananda’s teachings after seeing his fame in the newspapers.

Yogananda went on a visit to Mexico in 1929, the neighboring country of America, where he spent two months spreading his spiritual and yoga practice. Thus he planted the seeds of the future of his work in Latin America. The then President of Mexico, Emilio Portes Gil, was impressed by him and became his lifelong disciple.

By the 1930s the desk of Yogananda had a long list of disciples. Among these disciples were his confidant disciples who later played a key role in the expansion of Yogananda’s Realization Fellowship work. And after his death carried forward the Kriya Yoga mission.

Yogananda had chosen two of his main successors during his lifetime. who took over as the president of his organization. These two prominent persons were Rajshree Janananda who came in contact with Yogananda Maharaj in 1932 (Kansas City), and Sri Daya Mata who had come in contact with him only a year earlier.

Other Major Western Disciples of Yogananda

1- Mrs. M. W. Lewis
2- Gyanmata ( Seattle 1924)
3- Tara Mata ( San Francisco 1924)
4- Durga Mata ( Detroit 1929)
5- Anand Mata ( Salt Lake City 1961)
6- Shraddha Mata (Tacoma 1933) and
7 – Shailsuta Mata ( Santa Barbara 1933)

 Yogananda’s early lectures and classes were not written down, but after 1931, when Shri Daya Mata took over Yogananda’s international organization, he did the pious task of penning down hundreds of Yogananda’s lectures and classes very faithfully. Through this work, the spiritual knowledge of Yogananda ji was preserved in writing so that future generations could learn from him. Later published by Self Realization Fellowship.

Yogananda’s return to India-1935-36

On realizing the death of Shri Yukteswar Giri, who was Yogananda’s guru, in 1935, Yogananda traveled by ship and car through Europe, Palestine, and Egypt and reached Bombay, so that he could have the last darshan of his Guru. Shri Yukteswar ji died on 9 March 1936.

During this, while living in India, he visited many cities of his native land and met all the famous Indian personalities of that time like –

  •    Mahatma Gandhi
  •    Renowned Scientific Physicist – C.V.Raman
  •    Spiritual Guru Maharishi and
  •    Happy Mother

The highest spiritual title ‘Paramhansa’ was conferred by Shri Yukteswar ji before his death. The swan is considered a symbol of spiritual wisdom i.e. Paramhansa (the best swan). The title of Paramhansa is given to a spiritual person who has realized himself with the Supreme Soul and has reached the ultimate state of oneness.

While living in India, Yoganand ji established many ashrams and schools with the establishment of Yogda Satyasanga Society, where yoga and meditation are taught along with religious activities. After that, in 1936 he returned to America and remained there till his death.

Beginning of Spiritual Writing

In the 1930s desk Paramahansa Yogananda worked out his lectures and focused all his attention on writing so that he could pass on his message to the generations to come. The knowledge and teachings that his disciples had acquired from Yogananda culminated in a wide series of Yogada Satyasanga Pathsala under his guidance.

Rajarshi Jankananda, a dear disciple of Yogananda, built a beautiful ashram for him in the area adjacent to the Pacific Ocean in Encinitas, California. While living in this ashram, Yogananda wrote many of his books and started the retreat program which continues even today.

His most prominent book is ‘Yogi Kathamrit: Autobiography of a Yogi’ which has sold millions of copies worldwide.

Yogi Kathamrita: Autobiography of a Yogi

This is the most famous book among the books written by Yogananda Paramhansa, in which Yogakriya has been described. His sole purpose in writing this book was that through Yogakriya, people from all over the world could attain spiritual knowledge through yoga practice.

Through this book, he wanted to establish peace in the place of unrest spread all over the world. In this book, the subject of Mahavatar Babaji has been described in detail. In this book, he has described Yogakriya as the process of reaching the heights of life at the rapid speed of an aircraft.

The life and spiritual qualities of Mahavatar Baba ji are described in the book Autobiography of a Yogi –

Mahavatar Babaji was the guru of Yogananda, under whose guidance Yoganandji took education and went on a world tour to propagate Yogasadhana.

The sannyasis and sadhus who had received knowledge from Mahavatar Baba ji reached the peak of spirituality and yoga during their lifetime. The disciples of Mahavatar Babaji brought the Ganges of knowledge to the whole world.

The main disciples of Mahavatar Babaji were Paramhansa Yogananda, Siddhanath and Shyamacharan Lahiri, etc. Babaji is also addressed by other names like – Shiv Gorakshak Babaji, Maharishi Matang, Nagraj Babaji, etc. Mahavatar Babaji was the greatest guru of modern times.

The disciples who attained knowledge under Babaji’s shadow showed the people the path of love and salvation with the light of their knowledge. There is a popular fact about Mahavatar Baba ji that he lived for 5000 years. But it is impossible to believe it.

The description of Gandha Baba

There is also a reference to Gandha Baba in the autobiography book of a Yogi. The importance of Surya Vigyan has been shown in this context. Gandha Baba was a famous Siddha of Bengal. All the people of Bengal had faith in Baba. Gandh Baba is known for his miracles. Gandha Baba used to reveal any smell, or object in a moment with the help of Surya Vigyan.

Gandh Baba used to do his miracles with the help of Surya Vigyan. Gandha Baba had obtained knowledge from Siddhashram. Gandh Baba had acquired knowledge of Surya Vigyan along with Yogakriya. Gandag Baba took the education of Yoga and Surya Vigyan far and wide. The full name of Gandha Baba is Paramhans Vishuddhanand. All his miracles are described in detail in this book.

A description of the main hymns of Yogananda in the autobiography of a Yogi

1- Reputed Tradition – In this hymn, Paramhansa told that Yogakriya is superior to all the activities of the world because through Yogakriya one can reach every height of one’s life.

2- Personal Experience- In this book personal experience is also described in the autobiography of Yogi. Yogananda Paramhansa ji has tried to prove on the basis of his personal experiences what were the reasons behind the success of all the great people who have become. The personal experience of all those successful people is shared in this book. In this book, Yogananda has also described the secret powers.

The Last Years and Mahasamadhi of Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda spent his final years largely in seclusion, during which he worked hard to complete his writings—including his detailed commentary on the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita and the Four Gospels of Jesus Christ, and previously published books. , such as Whispers from Eternity and a review of the Yogda Satsang texts.

During this time he also did a great deal of work by taking Sri Sri Daya Mata, Sri Sri Mrinalini Mata, and some of his closest disciples, as well as providing them with spiritual and organizational guidance, so that after his departure from this world, he could continue his worldwide work. keep moving forward

Guruji told him:

“My body will not last, but my work will go on. And my soul will never die. Even after my departure, I will work with you all for the salvation of the world with the help of God’s message.

…Amarguru Babaji has pledged to protect and guide the progress of all true SRF devotees. Lahiri Mahasaya and Shri Yukteswarji, who have renounced their bodies, and I, even after leaving my body—will always protect and guide all the true devotees of YSS-SRF.”

On March 7, 1952, Paramhansji entered Mahasamadhi (the conscious departure of a God-realized master from the body at the time of death). He had just finished delivering a short speech at a banquet hosted in honor of Dr. Binay R. Sen, Ambassador of India to the United States.

 At the time of leaving his body, an extraordinary incident happened. According to a certified letter signed by the Director of the Forest Lawn Memorial Park: “Twenty days after his death, no disease of any kind was seen in his body.…As far as we know from the mortuary’s history, the mortal remains of the body. The state of such perfect protection is unparalleled.… The dead body of Yoganandji was in a wonderful state of immutability.”

Years ago, Paramahansa Yogananda’s guru, Swami Shri Yukteswarji, referred to him as an embodiment of divine love. Later, his disciple and first spiritual successor, Rajarshi Janakananda gave him the title of Premavatara.

The organization established by him in India, the ‘Yogda Satsang Society’ of India, through its meditation centers, has been keeping his ideals alive. Some of these “ideals and objectives” are as follows:

To free man from three kinds of suffering—physical disease, mental disturbance, and spiritual ignorance.

To encourage “simple living, high thinking”, and to propagate the spirit of fraternity among mankind by teaching them the eternal basis of their unity – relationship with God.

Victory over evil by good, sorrow over joy, cruelty by kindness, and ignorance over knowledge.

To serve mankind in the form of one’s own greater soul (Parmatma).

Paramhans Ji’s life was like a bright sun whose light is spreading all over the world, and removing the ignorance and darkness of many people. At the end of the book Yogananda Maharaj made these utterances:

“The sublime work of Kriya Yoga in the East and in the West has only just begun. May God make it known to all that there exists a definite, scientific method of enlightenment to eradicate all human suffering.

“Like brilliant gems on the earth, I often think with gratitude while sending waves of love to the Kriya Yogis scattered all around:

Some precious gems from the knowledge base of Paramhans ji:

 “Everything can be delayed, but don’t let your search for God be delayed.”

“Happiness lies in pleasing others and giving pleasure to others, leaving aside personal selfishness.”

“The more deeply you meditate and the more willingly you serve, the happier you will be.”

“We say that God is not visible to us, but in fact, He is visible in this great manifested universe. God is not just a thing – he is everything.”

(Yogada Satsang Society of India) with excerpts from an article.

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