Autobiography of a Yogi (1)

Paramahansa Yogananda as depicted on the cover...
Paramahansa Yogananda as depicted on the cover of Autobiography of a Yogi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the month of October, I would like to share with you some quotes and passages from the book Autobiography of a Yogi which shares the life of Paramahansa Yogananda ( January 5, 1893 – March 7, 1952). It was written by Paramahansa Yogananda and details his life long search of the Divine from childhood. As I type this, I’m only about slightly more than half done but felt it would be nice to share some of the passages which caught my attention (and that of my highlighter) 😉

Interesting back story: A practitioner I met once some time last year suggested that I get this book as she intuited some connection between this Yogi and myself…something to do with life lines…ahem, I’ve forgotten the exact information obviously..hehe. So, my sister kindly ordered the book for me via the Violet Flame where she works and it arrived promptly with no hassles what-so-ever, that is to say the hassles sort of began when the book reached my hands. Excitedly flipping through the book I was full of expectations to have this great DING moment multiplied a gazillion times because well….I was CONNECTED with this guy, right?!?

As usual…nothing of that sort happened. I couldn’t get through the first 3 chapters without falling asleep and try as I could I found it boring and the language! Oh! The English language of the 1940’s …it was not very friendly to me. So, sadly and secretly quite gladly I just left it sitting on my bookshelf …occasionally my eyes would sweep past it and I’d wonder….

Until a few weeks ago when an invitation knocked on my door…that door called “Let’s read about the Yogi”. So…I took it out of the cupboard, dusted it off, looked at it heaving a large sigh and settled on reading the book…hoping I wouldn’t hit that sleep inducing wall again. And you know what??!!?? That’s right! I flew past the first 3 chapters, I flew past a few more chapters and I could UNDERSTAND what I read!! And I didn’t fall asleep either!! In fact, I’m enjoying the book! So yea, guess it was just time for me to read it now…instead of before 😀

I’m planning to go through the parts to share in order of their appearance in the book.

From Chapter 5:  A “Perfume Saint” Displays His Wonders

Click image for source: leztahdarkknight on deviantart
Click image for source: leztahdarkknight on deviantart

I have long exercised an honest introspection, the exquisitely painful approach to wisdom. Self- scrutiny, relentless observance of one’s thoughts, is a stark and shattering experience. It pulverizes the stoutest ego – part of the discourse between Paramahansa and a sadhu.

The human mind, bared to a centuried slime is teeming with the repulsive life of countless world – delusions. Struggles of the battlefield pale into insignificance here, when man first contends with inner enemies! No mortal foes these, to be overcome by a harrowing array of might! Omnipresent, unresting, pursuing man even in sleep, subtly equipped with miasmic weapons, these soldiers of ignorant lusts seek to slay us all. Thoughtless is the man who buries his ideals, surrendering to the common fate. – part of the same discourse as above.

Ostentatious display of unusual powers is decried by masters. The Persian mystic, Abu Said, once laughed at certain fakirs (Muslim ascetics) who were proud of their miraculous powers over water, air and space. “A frog is also at home in the water!” Abu Said pointed out with gentle scorn. “The crow and the vulture easily fly in the air; the Devil is simultaneously present in the East and the West! A true man is he who dwells in righteousness among his fellowmen, who may buy and sell, yet is never for a single instant forgetful of God. On another occasion the great Persian teacher gave his views on the religious life thus: “To lay aside what you have in your head (selfish desires and ambitions); to bestow freely what you have in your hand; and never to flinch from the blows of adversity!” – Paramahansa’s thoughts on the “wonder-workings” of the Perfume Saint as such which though awesome to experience really don’t serve much spiritual purpose. It’s basically to teach us that when we use the powers within us it should not be done for entertainment purpose but instead to help enhance the evolvement of ourselves and those of others.

From Chapter 6: The Tiger Swami

If the master allows himself to be commanded by a servant, the latter becomes autocratic; the mind is similarly enslaved by submitting to bodily dictation

Click image for source
Click image for source

This quote reminds me of Albert Einstein’s quote : “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” To me it seems to fit very well with the teachings the like of Edgar Cayce’s readings; the mind is important but the intuition, the seat of wisdom within us is as or more important than the mind, while our bodies, the vehicles of our spirit, that which is governed by the 5 senses is just a manifestation of spirit and mind.

“Yes. He was smiling. “But there are many kinds of tigers; some roam in jungles of human desires. No spiritual benefit accrues by knocking beasts unconscious. Rather be victor over the inner prowlers.”

From Chapter 7: The Levitating Saint

In “The Over-Soul”, Emerson wrote: ” A man is the facade of a temple wherein all wisdom and all good abide. What we commonly call man, the eating, drinking, planting, counting man, does not, as we know him, represent himself, but misrepresents himself. Him we do not respect; but the soul, whose organ he is, would he let it appeared through his actions, would make our knees bend….We lie open on one side to the deeps of spiritual nature, to all the attribute of God.” – appears in the footnote expanding on the premise of the superconscious

“You go often into the silence, but have you developed anubhava ( Actual perception of God). He was reminding me to love God more than meditation. “Do not mistake the technique for the Goal.”

“The divine order arranges our future more wisely than any insurance company.”

21 thoughts on “Autobiography of a Yogi (1)

  1. Very interesting Shree, I enjoyed the back story here. What was the metaphorical knock on the door? I agree that timing does matter, I thought I had this very book hidden in a desk drawer for about twenty some odd years so I rummaged through and found some very strange items and a book called I Love You written by Swami Muktananda. Wrong Swami but it looks good so I will go through it. It is from the 1980s. I know I have seen the book you are reading. Frankly I read so much that I forget all I have read. He does look a bit like you 🙂

    Looking forward to finding out your connnection to him.

    xx Linda

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    1. Hmm…Swami Muktananda sounds familiar! The knock on the door was basically a suggestion from the person leading us in a class that I am taking that we read the book as it talks about Alchemy. So…I decided, here’s the direct invitation to read the book..so lets do this!!

      Am not too sure about the connection…I may be able to ask someone about it as I am going for a session some time in late October! Will let you know then 😀

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    1. Thanks Monika!! He’s an adorable character for sure..though I did get a wee bit uncomfortable with the idea presented about the way to self enlightenment was in Kriya Yoga…though, he does balance it by saying that it is the concepts and principles of yoga which are important…in a way 😉

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        1. I have a feeling that different people feel differently about this Monika. What I mean is that to some extent I understand where they are coming from. My sister to some extent feels the body as restrictive at times…she sounds like a Yogi when she gets into those moods! LOL!

          I feel it too…just slightly, and not all the time. Rarely in fact. Like the body weighs me down…I want to fly! Then again it could just have been me stuffing my face and feeling sluggish..lol.

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  2. Sometimes he has a Christian flare which is a bit weird for me but I used to go to The Self Realization Center in Malibu a lot. Its around a man made lake and very peaceful and beautiful. I have this pocket sized cards with his sayings that I recently took to work and read.

    (¯`✿´¯) (¯`✿´¯)
    *`•.¸(¯`✿´¯)¸.•´ * *Ḻ✿ṽ℮
    *✿*.` •.¸.•´*✿*• .¸¸.`•´¯✿

    Sindy

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    1. Ha! You know it’s not so weird for me because my mom was from a Hindu family and my dad a Catholic family. So my sister and I were brought up exposed to both. It just goes to show that regardless of what religion one belongs to, underneath it all the Universal messages are the same! Had an opportunity to read the book by Mathew Fox called One River Many Wells, awesome book as he brings the Universal knowledge from the ancient religions and the “new” religions together…

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  3. I sometimes think Shree, that those knocks on the door come only when our minds are ready to receive the gifts .. I know in the past in the 80’s I read a book from my spiritual friend, who just raved about its contents, I dismissed it as being quite fanciful and nonsense at the time of reading.. Only to read many years later to totally comprehend its message and understand its deeper meaning… So I agree with you, you are now ready to hear its message..
    It appears that within its pages are great messages
    I totally understand this particular Quote
    “The human mind, bared to a centuried slime is teeming with the repulsive life of countless world – delusions. Struggles of the battlefield pale into insignificance here, when man first contends with inner enemies! No mortal foes these, to be overcome by a harrowing array of might! Omnipresent, unresting, pursuing man even in sleep, subtly equipped with miasmic weapons, these soldiers of ignorant lusts seek to slay us all. Thoughtless is the man who buries his ideals, surrendering to the common fate. – part of the same discourse as above.”

    We are living in a delusional world… as our illusions of reality are based on that which we learn via our viewing through the lenses of others namely the Media..

    Wishing you a good week my friend xox Sue

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    1. Thank you Sue for your comment! It’s true…a lot of times certain things just don’t resonate with you until it is time..and then there are times when the same thing gives a completely different meaning!

      That quote which you liked is a loaded one isn’t it? The true battle is that within us as we try to discern the truth of ourselves and all the things which have piled on us…it’s sometimes so easy to just not care and carry on in a sleepless state…but to what end?

      Have a wonderful week to wise Sue 🙂

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  4. I’ve had the opposite thing happen. I remember thinking “Ada” by V. Nabokov was my favorite book when I was around twenty. The other day I hauled it off the shelf and I couldn’t understand any of it. I don’t think it was him. I think I’m getting stupider.

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    1. Hello murr! Thank you for stopping by and commenting 🙂
      LOL..I don’t think it’s you becoming stupider! It’s just that you have transcended the message or content of the book…the other thing could be that you are “taking a break” and then the next time you take the book out, it will show you another whole new dimension!!!
      🙂

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