Autobiography of a Yogi Book Summary - Autobiography of a Yogi Book explained in key points
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Autobiography of a Yogi summary

Paramahansa Yogananda

The Life and Teachings of One of the Great Spiritual Figures

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    Autobiography of a Yogi
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    Early Life, Mystical Appearances, and the Amulet of Destiny

    When the little Mukunda saw a boil on his sister’s arm, he asked if he could apply the ointment she was using to treat hers because he was going to have one the next day. Incredulously, his sister refused. The boy shot back, predicting his sister Uma’s boil would grow to twice the size if his prophecy came true. The next day, Mukunda did get a boil – the scar of which he then carried for the rest of his life – and, just as he had predicted, Uma’s boil doubled in size.

    Over time, the boy came to understand that he was destined to follow a long line of famous yogis to accomplish a foretold mission. That mission had started with the prophecy of Lahiri Mahasaya, a Bengali guru who prophesied the birth of Mukunda.

    Mukunda paid intense devotion to the saint’s picture in his room. He received healing from Asiatic cholera just by staring at the picture. He often saw visions of the saint. To Uma’s astonishment, Mukunda willed a stranger’s kite toward them, and when he was challenged, willed a second kite.

    Before Lahiri Mahasaya passed on to another realm, he told Mukunda’s mother she would receive an amulet for her boy. The object would appear in her hand at the right time and would be handed to Mukunda after her death. This amulet would go on to disappear when the boy had found his guru.

    Hindu society in 1893, when Yogananda was born, was profoundly attached to the idea of an intimate believer-guru discipleship. Mukunda embraced this ideal with relentless passion, often running away from home to find his guru or seek the enlightenment and union with God that resided in the sacred expanses of the Himalayas. Somehow, he never made it. The invisible forces knew it wasn’t time.

    His father, an Indian railway administrator who slept with his wife once a year for the purpose of procreation, wondered and worried about his boy. Yet, keenly aware of the Mukunda’s devotion, indulged him.

    Before Mukunda’s mother died she gave the amulet to her older son Ananta who passed it on to Mukunda. The boy had come into possession of the amulet that would lead him to his guru – and his yogic destiny.

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    What is Autobiography of a Yogi about?

    Autobiography of a Yogi (1946) is a deeply spiritual yet light-hearted account of the life of India’s preeminent yoga emissary to the West. In this epic, Paramahansa Yogananda narrates his encounters with legendary gurus, swamis, saints, and astral beings that guided him toward the fulfillment of his mission to unite East and West under one God through the personal and scientific practice of Kriya Yoga.

    Who should read Autobiography of a Yogi?

    • Yoga devotees trying to learn more about the author’s personal journey
    • People curious about yoga and the enchanting world of astral beings and their interactions with humans
    • People of faith seeking points of contact and dialogue with different world religions

    About the Author

    Paramahansa Yogananda (1893–1952) was an Indian yogi, monk, and guru who initiated millions of American and Western devotees into Kriya Yoga. To further his mission, he founded the Self-Realization Fellowship which now runs over 500 temples, ashrams, and meditation centers around the world. Some of his books and published commentary include The Yoga of Jesus, The Science of Religion, and Living Fearlessly.

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