This audio edition, featuring Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley's masterful narration, contains the complete text of Paramahansa Yogananda's life story, an absorbing account of a singular search for Truth. Yogananda describes his experiences with modern-day saints and illuminated masters of India, and presents a definitive introduction to the whole science and philosophy of Yoga.
© and (P) 1996, 2000 Self-Realization Fellowship
"A superb audio translation....Extraordinary work." (Library Journal)
"Ben Kingsley's smooth, articulate performance makes the formal writing style accessible to the listener." (AudioFile)
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.
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. :)
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.
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.
Well, well. What a story. Is it all true? I am convinced that the author is truthful and has descibed his life as he truly experienced it. But I dont know if this is an objective truth.
Much of his story tracks with what other swamis have written. And after reading a few books on this subject, I have started to wonder about the way of life they describe - much of it must be true?
I found the first part of the book a little hard to enjoy (this is where an audio books helps, since it takes no effort to keep listening, even if it is less interesting). The language was too flowery and, sorry to say, boring. But after that part of the book is done, the rest is mostly fascinating.
Having completed the book and having re-listened to many parts, my understanding and admiration of this way of life and the persons that follow it has much increased. It is not at all like the religion many of us (in the west) are exposed to through the media, or our local churches/mosques/temples. IMO much more honest and principled that many religious practioners.
It has also helped me understand India much better. In the west we are raised with Socrates, Plato and Aristotle's way of looking at life. In India people grow up with stories like this (Bhagavad Gita and the Vedas). Hence a much different outlook on life.
If you are interested in such subjects, you must read this book.
"Humbling, Entertaining and Instructive"
An enjoyable book detailing Paramahansa Yogananda's life and the trials, frustrations and wisdom that was revealed to him from the likes of Sri Yukteswar and Babaji. His stories are entertaining, amusing and carry great teaching. The narrative by Sir Ben Kingsley is perfect for this book and is beautifully read by him.
This is a classic! Anyone interested in spiritual development this book is a must. Ben Kingsley, who narrates the book is brilliant.
Yes, the narration brings it to a whole new level, you can tell Ben was really enjoying this.
I really enjoyed this book, it made me look at like in an entirely different way, fans of the secret would enjoy listening to this.
It took me a little while to get into this book, but once I did I am grateful I stayed with it.
"Great biography, enlightening! Wrong narrator!"
It is a fascinating insight in to the spiritual world of India at the turn of the twentieth century. Some amazing stories and tales, and great wisdom too. A totally other world, amazing!! A real insight in to the nature of spiritual life, spiritual communties and Kriya yoga techniques.
I really did not think that Ben Kingsley was the right narrator for this book. Of course he is an incredibly well spoken great English actor but it makes the book sound really pretentious. It is delivered in a fantastical and pompous way that makes everything mono-weighted. To me it undermines the narrative as it sounds like he is over-egging it, almost like a fairy tale. I don't know who would have been better to be somebody who has a less polarising and colonial accent.
No... I got fed up of Kingsley's voice and had to have frequent breaks! It was the power of the book itself and the wisdom it contains that kept bringing me back... I would have asked for a refund otherwise!
"classic shyster story"
First the good - the narrator is good. There are some decent bits of philosophy (hence two stars at the overall rating) but not too much. This book is regarded as a classic - so you might want to give it a bit of a chance for your reading portofolio.
If you ask me - absolutely not! It is very obvious that his Holliness Yogananda is making stuff up and has no idea what he is talking. This is obvious for instance if you have a background in physics - you can clear identify this rabbit (and his deluded followers) as shysters. Or you might be familiar with some of the tricks these crookes are using to deceive people.
The irony is that he acknowledges that various sacred texts are not to be taken literaly i.e. no ghosts, demons, etc. are to be believed that exists but their stories should be taken as made-up examples to enforce some spiritual idea or concept. But then he proceeds further with even more crazy voodoo - he (or people he knows) communicate frequently over space and time with others, force actions to happen, serious wounding which heals very fast and complete, etc. And he claims all these are backed up by science, for which he skips proof obviously cause there is none and even him barely passed his academic degree. Speaking of academic degree here is his work philosophy: he avoids any work during semesters - then he goes to his guru and asks for guidance during the final exams - and he passes! What is to be taken from here? That if you skip hard work, but have a sharp guru, you can avoid sweating during the semester? Unbelievable!
"Guru Sales Manual"
Oh Dear, Oh Dear, Oh Dear. Its had its time and it is not Now. It did make me laugh though.
"The best book I've ever read or listened to"
An amazingly inspiring and beautifully uplifting book. I am going to have to listen to it again straight away. Answered so many questions that I've have regarding religion for many years. Up until listening to this autobiography I called myself an atheist.
"A golden insight into the spiritual world"
An wonderful account of how the teachings of the world's religions fuse and interconnect into a singular spiritual message and truth
Inspires to dream and try to live a purer, more meaningful life.
Excellent narration, although a bit flat at times.
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