This book gets such consistently high reviews from critics and people but I just didn't get it. It was painful to get to the next chapter because everything was so slow, disjointed, and lacked organization. I just wanted him to get to the point. I think it helps if you buy into the whole yogi magic thing from the beginning because it is hard for a skeptic to believe these things really happened - people turning invisible and appearing out of nowhere, people never eating, etc. I found myself frustrated with the feeling that the yogis were just wasting their life sitting in a room meditating. Great if it makes them one with god or whatever, but so what? I would be much more impressed if they put their efforts into helping others and being of service to those who need it.
I have no doubt that people who are way into the book, the teachings, and this yogi will get all defensive and go on the attack and say I didn't understand it, that I didn't read the book, and the other criticisms when they don't like the reviews. (I read some of the critical comments on the negative reviews - boy are these people defensive.) Book reviews are personal - either we like the book or we don't. The fact that that I didn't like this book has no effect on you - you can continue to like it.
I've known about this book for years, but never got around to reading it. The audio version is beautifully narrated, and there wasn't a dull moment. I realized that many books published more recently contain the same messages as this classic. I've since seen this author was a prolific writer and have started his book on the teachings of Jesus.
This book is on a different plane of reality from what most people are used to. I think the book is supposed to be taken literally. These events act silly occurred. It makes Scientology and alien life forms believable.
I do not know much about the teachings and tradition of Paramahansa Yogananda, and while the story was very engaging, I could not fully comperand the great wisdom others found in this book. All in all, an interesting listen outside of my "beaten path" :)
YES - it is so much easier to listen over and over again or just certain parts - while you work or wash the dishes! Audio version is a must read!
Chapter 5 and Chapter 8 - explains how kriya yoga works
If the narrator could pronounce the names and other Hindi words in the book properly.
Not if he is reading an Indian book
I have read this book before and it's an excellent book. If you are a Non-Indian then you should get the book. The narrator will be fine for you. However, if you are a Hindi speaking Indian like me the narrator is going to irritate you to no limits.
This is a heady trip on the life of a real Yogi. I found myself pausing and thinking about it on several occasions. Its humorous at times and fantastic at others. The writer knows and uses the english language very well. Ben Kingsley is a real pro.
Paramahansa Yogananda’s book is an excellent and very approachable introduction to Hindu mysticism. Having both read the kindle edition and listened to the audio version, I highly recommend Ben Kingsley’s reading of this classic story.
That said, this autobiography is not a literary or historical work; it is a scriptural work. As such, it’s mission is to persuade the reader regarding the nature of ultimate reality and how the reader might best approach that reality. However well written, it must be subjected to the same scrutiny as any persuasive writing.
The narrative structure resembles that of the gospels, charting the life of an exceptional holy man from childhood. Along the way, he encounters supernatural beings and both observes and performs miracles. With the greatest respect for Yogananda’s work as a community organizer bringing the religious perspective of India to the west, I have four specific objections to his assertions:
1. Like other yogis, Yogananda presents his religious views as “science,” which they are not. There may be some scientific evidence that meditation contributes to a positive outlook (this has certainly been my experience), but there is none to substantiate the existence of the subtle body or the astral plane of existence.
2. The effort to present Christianity as a subset of the Hindu religion is strained. Are we really to demote Jesus to the status of a prophet and accept Yogananda equivalent?
3. The accounts of of siddhas (saints) and their siddhis (paranormal powers) would have us believe that there were saints in every neighborhood of Calcutta (and by extension in India). These are not ancient reports, and if such saints and powers were as frequent as the story implies, we ought certainly to have had numerous and continuing reports from other sources.
4. The detailed description of the astral planet to which Sri Yukteswar ascended is not consistent with historical yogic writings.
The book is certainly worth hearing and the philosophical musings about universal brotherhood and non-violence should be taken seriously, but this reader requires a bit more evidence before embracing Yogananda’s view of reality.