I downloaded this book out of curiosity; I wasn't looking for enlightenment or truth. And with a length of nearly 18 hours, I didn't expect to listen to the whole thing. But I did, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I can't say it transformed my life or that I agree with what the writer believes in, but it has brought me to a deeper appreciation of another way of "right living", another way of looking at and valuing the things in our lives. It also opens a window into a certain period of time, the religious life in India from the later 1800's to early part of our century which is very fascinating to behold. Kingsley's voice is gorgeous and infuses elegance into every word and phrase. I must say, whenever road rage struck me, listening to a bit of this audiobook was always very soothing.
Many have read this book, and have come away inspired to follow the path established by its author, P. Yogananda. Others have simply been left with a fascinating story about a man who came to America in 1920 with nothing, and by the time that he left his body, had met with the President of the United States and future governor of California and established a religious path which is still standing to this very day.
Regardless of the vantage point you may be coming from, this is a delightful read, and an excellent introduction to Eastern religious thought -- the way it had been originally taught -- before it was watered down by charlatans simply looking to cash in on the "latest fad."
The audio version is an absolute delight, and Ben Kingsley's reading is inspired. This is not a man "going through the motions" to collect a paycheck. Every single word is thoughtfully and smoothly enunciated, making this a pleasure to listen to. Thus, I would highly recommend this to even those who have already read the print version.
Finally, let me recommend the following: don't listen to this while jogging, driving in heavy traffic, or while otherwise distracted. Set some time aside and listen intently.
A must read for anyone who is interested in spiritual teachings and religion of the east. Entertaining story of Paramahansa Yogananda's life with his guru and teaching of Kriya Yoga. If you are inspired by the teachings of Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra, you will be very interested in this book. I am now inspired to go to the Self Realization Fellowship in NYC and be initiated in Kriya Yoga myself.
It doesn't matter what your religious understanding is - you will be uplifted and spiritually enriched by the depth of experience, love and humility of this author.
Learn the truly great gift Jesus left for us, far beyond that understood from the Christian scriptures. Understand the true meaning of "In the image of God".
You will never see your religious training in the same light again.
I hate to say anything bad about this book. In fact, I can't. It was charming and insightful. Yet somehow -- in spite of the warm, inviting performance and presence of Ben Kingsley, and the inspiring and playful narrative -- this book just didn't grab me, and it was difficult to get through.
I will have to revisit this again in the future. Perhaps with age and experience I will grow to appreciate it more next time. :)
Yogananda talks about his life with great clarity using a writing style specific to the age at which he describes himself at each point of the book. The book fascinated me with the richness of India's social and spiritual traditions, which I wasn't previously aware of. The author is examplary in his dedication to pursuit of spiritual truth, which acts as an affirming beacon to modern spiritual seekers. Many details of yogic wisdom are explained, often in conjunction with author's life experiences. The stories about Indian masters are fascinating and often had me sitting in the car after I finished driving.
Overall, a great combination of a biography, a novel, a cultural text and a book of wisdom and spirituality all in one. I've read many spiritual books and highly recommend this one for its particular taste. Narration is superb also, one of the best I've heard.
This book was the end of my search for a spiritual path. It offers a theory of the workings of the universe which unlike many others has been tested and proved right by many ancient seers and modern seekers of truth, of which the author himself was one. Here many religious dogmas and new age "mysticisms" lose their grip on the open discriminative mind. Read and Think!!!
Thank You Paramahansa Yogananda...
Others here have given appropriate praise for this timeless gem of a book.
I will instead tell you about how well it is read. Ben Kingsley gives Yogananda's words an uncanny richness and colour. In several years of Audible membership I've never been so moved by the narrator. I enjoyed Kingsley so much, I rented Ghandi [on DVD] and watched it for the 1st time in 25 years [it won about a dozen Oscars!]...from it I learned he is half Indian...which helps explain how justly he treats all the yoga terminology, all the place names, all of Yogananda's Indian terms.
Search Kingsley's name and you'll see, he has read very few books, unfortunately! He no doubt was honored to read this one, as he never misses a step.
I've read this 4 times now, it keeps getting better! And finally, thankfully, it has brought me to my own regular meditation practice. Stop reading about it and go get it!
Of all the books I have ever read or listened to, this is the most beautifully written (and narrated!), AND the most life-changing. The prose is exquisite, the author saintly in his wisdom and open heart, and the message of spiritual values, beliefs, conviction, acceptance and insight, life-changing. I had never really thought of yoga beyond a workout, but this book has changed my perspective and understanding beyond recognition; my eyes have been opened to a spirituality that, within itself, contains all others and gives meaning to life - now THAT'S what the world needs! Cannot recommend it enough.
It is unfortunate that the previous reviewer would choose to lower the average rating with a joke. It is hard to read this book and not feel anything. Yogananda was a generous soul who dedicated his life to helping bring a valuable and universal teaching to all of us. Ben Kingsley gives the book a beautiful and sensitive reading. Many times I forget that it is not Yogananda himself speaking. This audiobook is highly recommended to any open minded person of any spiritual belief.