The Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

Summary
  1. Mukunda experiences a miraculous recovery at a young age and after that is set on pursuing a spiritual life. This book walks us through that journey, what he learned from his master Sri Yukteswar, the benefits of meditation/yoga and striving to attain enlightenment. Beautifully written and inspiring book
Key Takeaways
  1. Born in 1893 near the Himalayas
  2. Since childhood his family followed a guru. He was miraculously saved by this guru when he had a fatal illness and after that he sought to be a yogi. He later learned this same guru had spiritually baptized him and predicted he would book a yogi
  3. Plants have feelings and respond to how we treat them
  4. True love has no boundaries, no conditions and does not change
  5. The wise treat all as equals as they see the striking similarity amongst all men
  6. Staring fear in the face dampens or removes that fear
  7. Be comfortable with your money and situation. Extravagance will only bring discomfort
  8. Speaks about his guru’s influence on him, how he worked in the spiritual realm and how much he taught him
  9. The unfailing composure of a saint is impressive beyond any sermon 
  10. What one cannot find from within one will never find from the outside
  11. Wrath springs only from thwarted desires
  12. The more bliss one feels during meditation the closer one is to God. Desire for material things is endless but this bliss would never be given up. Outward longings drive us from bliss within and these false pleasures only impersonate true happiness
  13. Tells of the incredible works his master confers
  14. Following yogic principles does not require one to be a recluse. It can actually enhance performance, relationships, happiness and more by helping you focus on what’s important, removing fleeting pleasures and attains mental detachment from things and results
  15. Complete unity with spirit and total awareness is the goal
  16. Kriya yoga helps unite the body, mind and spirit and accelerates this process through deep breathing, focus and mantras
  17. Devil = maya = illusions
  18. Yogananda was told early on in his journey that his purpose was to bring kriya yoga and his master’s other teachings to the west
  19. Humility is god-like
  20. Spent time in America in 1920 to spread the teachings of his master and established the Self Realization Fellowship
  21. Describes some of his time with Mother Theresa and Gandhi
  22. Speaks to the importance of forgiveness, universal and uncompromising love and nonviolence in Gandhi’s and everyone’s life
What I got out of it
  1. Very powerful book which inspires one to reach for one’s full spiritual potential. The descriptions of some of his, his master’s and other spiritual sage’s feats are hard to believe but point to a higher plane that is available to everyone if one is devoted to reaching it