Autobiography of a Yogi

yogananda_pic1.jpg

Do you remember I mentioned ‘autobiography of a Yogi’ a few blog posts ago?
Well to start off I’ll say, the first thing that can be called a reaction from me was, ‘Oh, what rubbish’. How is it possible to believe that the Author, Paramhansa Yogananda, was cured by a major illness when he was young just by looking at the picture of his Guru and praying earnestly?

Then come a string of Saints, one could levitate; one could be at 2 places at the same time, and the other slept like say for only 2-3 hours per day. He tries to explain everything scientifically, giving scientific proofs, words from great men and stuff. But still, it is not completely believable. My friend asked me to read it with an open mind, and trust me, I have. But this stuff is so damn over the top.

All said and done, some of his scientific theories are worth pondering over and mentioning too.
His guru, teacher, could send thoughts and receive thoughts from anyone if he wanted to, and this he says can be achieved through ‘Kriya Yoga’ and meditation and something else which I don’t seem to remember or follow.
The scientific explanation he gives is interesting enough. He says every living being emits some Unknown rays. Telepathy, second sight, clairvoyance are some of the examples. Scientists have devised a radio-frequency spectroscope which can catch these rays emitted by living beings. One can act as a transformer or receiver just like the device. The author says his master could read anyone’s thoughts, dead or alive. And that dead people also emit rays. It is because body is nothing; it is the soul which remains even after one is dead. He describes bodies as unadorned skulls. Just loved that metaphor.

The entire book revolves around ‘Kriya Yoga’. This is what keeps coming up in the book every now and then. The author describes it as a science. He believes that every human being in this world has to undergo many births to reach God. And yeah, well, that is our primary goal. One thousand Kriyas practiced in 8 1/2 hours gives the Yogi, in one day, the equivalent of one thousand years of natural evolution.

The book also mentions many similarities between Christ’s teachings and what is written in the ancient Vedas. He cites examples which are believable enough.

He mentions the saint Therese Neumann who saw the last hours of Christ before he was crucified. She used to bleed at places where Christ was nailed and tortured every Friday. I think that is called Stigmata. The author says he could attune his thoughts to the saint’s and could see the last minute of Christ’s death as she saw it. Also he mentions a woman called Giri bala who went without eating anything for more than 50 decades. The explanation she gives is simple and scientific.
The nourishment is derived from the finer energies of the air and sunlight, and from the cosmic power that recharges the body through the medulla oblongata.
hmm…well….

Okay, everything else aside, one thing I have gained from reading the book, I think, is to be open to ideas and miracles. As I have mentioned before I do believe in one God, but I never believed in Yogi’s or saints or Sadhus. But now I do believe that there were people, at least in Ancient times, though a handful, who were not fakes.
I won’t ever look at an ancient Guru’s photo and hide a smirk.

After almost 2 months of reading the book in parts when I read the last page and closed the book, I had to close my eyes to digest what I have read. I have a great respect for Paramhansa Yogananda for what he has done to spread Yoga in the East and the west. I have not been converted into a fan or a follower but I wont be averse to read any of his writing again.
I could almost feel him looking at me serenely from the front page of the book. I am surprised myself.

The pic below is of his Guru’s Guru’s Guru Mahavatar Babaji.

babaji.jpg

Following is an extract from some website.

Mahavatar Babaji is a remarkable person who it is claimed is 1,800 years old, still alive today and maintains the form of a young man. He is only accessible to extremely devoted followers who are prepared to seek him out in a wild part of the Himalayan forests. He will occasionally materialize in the homes of his followers and is considered to be the guru of all gurus. Yogananda describes him also as the guru of Lahiri Mahasaya, whose home we visited in Varanasi. Yogananda writes of him:
“The Mahavatar is in constant communion with Christ; together they send out vibrations of redemption, and have planned the spiritual technique of salvation for this age. The work of these two fully-illumined masters–one with the body, and one without it–is to inspire the nations to forsake suicidal wars, race hatreds, religious sectarianism, and the boomerang-evils of materialism. Babaji is well aware of the trend of modern times, especially of the influence and complexities of Western civilization, and realizes the necessity of spreading the self-liberations of yoga equally in the West and in the East.”

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26 thoughts on “Autobiography of a Yogi

  1. I may have to read that book and see what these scientific explanations actually are. I remain skeptical though as to the existence of telepathy, levitation and living for an awfully long time.

    The ability for the body to heal itself is well documented as is the effect of placebo on the curative process. I think that this is how faith healing works. I’m afraid I don’t see a miracle here.

    The 2-3 hours sleep thing though is acceptable. Many people cope with very little sleep with no ill effect. Both Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher claimed to sleep for only 5 hours per night. I typically sleep for between 5 and 6 hours per night so I’m sure that some people require less.

    Who knows though. Maybe reading this book will change my mind.

  2. I really think you should read the book. I would love to hear your viewpoints on it.
    I doubt it will change your mind Hover, but you certainly won’t be as skeptical as you are now.

  3. Hey Hemanshu, there is a sale going on in Crossword. You’ll get the book for 100, say 90 after discount, that is if you are into buying books.

    Hover: Yes, maybe you are right. You better not read it for you might come out with a super criticism post. On second thoughts maybe I’ll love to read it.

  4. Thanks for the tip Violet.. I’m a Crossword member too, it’d probably come cheaper.. I would rather read it for free if I can (considering how I may totally not like it or find it too unbelievable).. why don’t you lend it to me?

  5. Its upto everone self how they digest. Did gravitational energy came into picture when Netwon discovered? It is there from time immorial. There are lot of things to be known. Was Swami Parahamsha Yoganada a fool??? Was Vivekananda a fool?? when they are preacing the truth. Nobody asked to apply your brain here. It is to expereince the truth. So spread the message of love, simplicity and truth. Be good, be kind and be compassionate. Try to be a good human being first. Other things comes automatically.OM NAHAM SHIVAY

  6. Ajit: No body here is suggesting that Yogananda or Vivekananda were fools. We are just trying to understand their prospective here. It’s not about using brains, its about not accepting anything on face value.

  7. I think an open mind can clear a lot of things. I have read the great book and being a practising doctor I can safely say that it’s the best book ever written in its genre. I think everyone’s focused on miracles whereas they are only milestones in the ultimate spiritual journey and evolution. If you study evolution we’r evolving from simple to complex which would be continuous till we reach ultimate complexity, GOD. You can keep on analysing it but it won’t take you anywhere. Can you describe a feeling in words? Maybe yes, but there’s always a difference in actuality and words. Similarly, discussion and reading about Kriya Yoga won’t take you anywhere until you actually practice it.

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