Autobiography of a Yogi changed my life. Really, it did. There is a power in that book that is far beyond the ordinary. Paramhansa Yogananda said to Swami Kriyananda on their first meeting, “I put my vibrations into it.”

I read it when I was at one of the natural transition points in life, the changeover from school to adulthood. My studies had been a dry hole, never quite giving me the answers I was looking for. From my teens I was interested in the nature of consciousness, and as I grew older I studied psychology, hoping to find something that would show me the far horizon of human potential. I probably couldn’t have articulated it at the time, but I was looking to unravel one of man’s deepest questions: What is the purpose of life? I soon realized that what I was looking for lay far beyond the scope of school or psychology—that barren landscape (for me, at least) of lab rats, mental illness, and shallow sociological conclusions.

Nayaswami Jyotish with Autobiography of a Yogi - Share Your AY StorySo, the day after my last college exam, I left Minneapolis for San Francisco, where I hoped to find a more supportive environment. My quest for expanded consciousness did not lie down the psychedelic streets of the hippie movement, but rather with the budding spiritual milieu. When in October 1966 I was “by chance” given a copy of Autobiography of a Yogi, it was a life-changing event for me. As I began reading, it seemed at first to be just one more in a long line of thought-provoking books. But as page after page resolved the very questions I had so long been asking, the book ascended from mere literature to scripture.

There were many things that I had a hard time accepting during that first reading, many things my doubting mind had to put on a shelf. But I had a deep underlying certainty that what Paramhansa Yogananda wrote was absolutely truthful. This was not someone teaching boring theories or secondhand concepts. What was written on those pages came from his personal experience and actual realization. Above all, it was Yogananda’s transparent goodness and love that changed me. I wanted to experience what he wrote about, and he held out not only a vague hope, but the promise that someday I could. He showed how I could be a scientist conducting experiments in consciousness, and that my mind would be the laboratory. This I could relate to. This I could try. And so I have.

When I say that book changed my life, I mean it literally. Here are a few of the most important changes:

I moved from despair to hope, from someone with no clear direction in life to someone who now had a goal. Yogananda had showed me a pathway that I yearned to follow.

I changed from being an agnostic to someone who accepted that a Divine Intelligence was guiding everything.

I came to accept many things that my education, environment, and youthful cynicism had believed impossible. That book expanded not only the limits of human consciousness, but more importantly, my potential. Since that first reading I have found many saints and yogis who have had the same experiences. If they can, so can I. So can you.

Yogananda opened my heart, which until then had been dry and aching.

Most important of all, the book led me to Swami Kriyananda, my lifelong guide, mentor, friend, and supporter. He gave my life a spiritual and practical direction that started the day I met him, just a few months after Autobiography of a Yogi had shaken me awake. Swamiji’s guiding hand continues to this day. I am grateful beyond the power of mere words to express.

I have long known that my experience is not unique, and that thousands of others have also had their lives changed by Autobiography of a Yogi. Is this also true for you, dear reader?

In deep gratitude,

Nayaswami Jyotish

16 Comments

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  1. Pranam Ji

    Thanks for the Inspirational sharing, which Assures us to Practice what is Proven in Simple and Profound way.
    I am Happy and staying Blessed through the Technic, Tools and Satsang of Anandha Sanga .

    With Gratitude
    R Sundararajan

  2. Every time I open the AY to consult a chapter, or to simply look for guidance and inspiration, it is there as fresh as the day it was written and it’s application to my life and to those I seek to help is endless. It has changed my life for the better in innumerable ways.

  3. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,

    So lovely it is to read your experience with Autobiography of a Yogi.

    As you had mentioned, Master similarly had some interesting things for us 🙂

    How joyful to be connected with Master’s family. This book that had sparked such a spiritual revolution.

    In Masters Joy,
    Prem

  4. It is also very much true for me dear friend. Some things came at different times, yet I can so deeply relate. Namaste

  5. Reading Autobiography of a Yoga changed my life also. He was so sincere, dedicated, disciplined and in love all the time!! I never could get that “clearing my mind” thing down. Tried it many times at the Ananda Village retreats in Nevada City. The best I can do for myself is to take long walks outside in nature. I also read “the Third Eye” and once again was amazed at the sense of humor and relaxation in all of the
    great ones. I am privileged to have been a part of their beliefs!

  6. It appears that it is my own experience being narrated. I read the book around the same time and after start, I could not afford to stop reading. Since then I have read two more times and it is like a fresh flower every time.I had read it in India after an English professor in Agra university had given to me as a present. Ever since it is the best companion I have. I came to Canada in 1989 and continued to follow the Books advice. Since the introduction to this book, my etre approach to life has changed and I have recommended to many yo read and digest.

  7. I have read that book already.

    A great history and a wonderful spirit… I’ve visit his foundation in California.

  8. The change started for me just looking at the front cover and reading the back cover, in 1969. It was a few years before I actually read the book, but the transformation, the vision of the Real world and its endless possibilities, had already begun for me.

  9. Though I am not old enough to have any great experiences. But still this book changed my life in innumerable ways that I am ever grateful to Yogananda ji to have written it.

  10. It is very very true to me as well. One day my co-staff( a doctor) asked me casually whether I read the famous book ” Autobiography of a Yogi”. Which till then I did not hear of. The next week I was to travel to UK to meet my daughter and grand children. She brought me a copy of it and gifted for. I read it in London. Till then I was looking on sadhus and other monks in India, as time pass people. But this book has changed my openion and lead me to start meditation. You are so lucky guruji and guru maa that you got a guru in the form of a guide and ventilated your life. I am still trying to learn meditation taking my guru Sai baba as my guide and guru. I am hopeful some day I too will succeed i.e.. my guru’s kind glance will fall on me and I will emerge as a changed personality with true meditational power. I am awaiting for that day hopefully. Thanks for ur experiences sharing with me. With warm regards. Veerender

  11. I am buy book ,reading and I was totally and deeply in love with the eyes of the every word and sentence on the page. That was enough for me to not keep the book the down until I finished it.
    I was initiated into Kriya Yoga and I continue to practice the teachings . Japan is every day ,every hour time tired but make it a point to gift this book to everyone who have made a difference in my life,

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