Posts Tagged ‘paramahansa yogananda’

My Interview with Philip Goldberg on His Book, “The Life of Yogananda”

March 30, 2018



Philip Goldberg

Welcome Phil, thank you for joining us today.
Hey, it’s good to be with you, Phil. Double Phil.

Allow me to introduce you. Philip Goldberg is the author of American Veda, which explores how the spirituality of India seeped into the cultural bloodstream of America. He co-hosts a spiritually themed podcast, leads American Veda Tours through India, and blogs regularly for popular media sites. His latest book, and the subject of our conversation today, is The Life of Yogananda, which is a biography of Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi.

(Click here to order your copy of The Life of Yogananda.)

Phil, why did you choose to write a biography of Yogananda, whose iconic autobiography has been read by millions of people?
I’m sure you will appreciate that that is the most commonly asked question I’ve had in the last few years as I worked on the book, and the answer is there’s an awful lot about Yogananda’s life that is not in his iconic memoir. Especially his life after he left India and came to America, where he would spend just about the rest of his life.

I did a page count of Autobiography of a Yogi, and it turns out that less than 10 percent of the book is about his years in America, and there are portions of those years that he summarizes in a sentence or two that in fact lasted four or five years. So there’s an awful lot that people don’t know about Yogananda if all they’ve ever read is Autobiography of a Yogi, and I wanted to fill the gaps.

What do you see as Yogananda’s place in the overall spiritual history of the western world?
It’s immense, actually. You know, when I first read Autobiography of a Yogi, at the risk of giving away my age, it was 1970, and it had a big impact on me and a big impact on my whole cohort of young spiritual seekers that were just then discovering Indian philosophy and the practices that come from the yogic repertoire, like meditation. The Beatles had just gone to India, and not long before that, the whole interest exploded.

Autobiography of a Yogi was probably the most borrowed and most often ripped-off book among that cohort of youngsters doing all that spiritual exploring. Falling in love with India, falling in love with practices like meditation, and with gurus like Yogananda. He was of course long gone by then, but the autobiography was a big deal, and launched millions of (more…)

Soaring Beyond the Heavens

December 3, 2016

I love this soul-stirring quote by Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi.

Reading it not only calms me, it sets my spirit soaring! Yogananda was a master at painting beautiful word pictures that were also imbued with spiritual inspiration and joy, joy, joy!

Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda

In the airplane of your visualization, glide over the (more…)

A Heartwarming Message from Daya Ma on Her 100th Birthday

June 11, 2015


This photo was taken at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine Temple on January 31, 2014. Why is that date significant? It is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sri Daya Mata, who served as the beloved president of SRF from 1955 until her passing on November 30, 2010.

Sri Daya Mata

Sri Daya Mata

On the night before Daya Ma’s guru, Paramahansa Yogananda, left this world, he told her, “When I am gone, only (more…)

Larry Reavis: From Fundamentalism Through Atheism Toward Self-Realization

September 9, 2014

Larry Reavis

Larry Reavis

I moved to Encinitas on November 29, 2010, but it is my great misfortune that I was not able to meet fellow Encinitas resident and Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) devotee Larry Reavis before he passed away on December 31, 2011 at the age of seventy-five. (SRF was founded by Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi.)

However, I was still able to get to know Larry through this impressive video biography he left behind. With amazing visual effects and frequent scriptural, literary and religious references, it details his lifelong spiritual journey, from encountering Paramahansa Yogananda in 1947 through his fundamentalism and atheism phases to his ultimate quest for self-realization.

Click here to read Larry’s extensive writings about his life and spiritual journey.

Like Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, Larry’s magnum opus will entertain and edify, yet remain incomplete. He was planning to write and record more episodes when death came calling.

With the permission of Larry’s wife, Joie, who I was privileged to meet and interact with in Encinitas, I am happy to present Larry’s twenty-one-part video series here. It is sure to engage, entertain and enlighten you!

Per the wishes of Self-Realization Fellowship, Larry does not reveal any specifics of the meditation techniques he discusses. For more information on those techniques, visit the SRF website.

LARRY’S BIO: Larry Reavis, Ph.D., studied engineering before getting a doctorate (Ohio State, 1967) in Social Psychology. As a professor, he began doing home inspections when he and the Director of Southern Methodist University’s Institute of Urban Studies signed a contract with the Dallas Department of Housing and Urban Rehabilitation to survey 10,000 homes. As a master electrician, plumber, class-A building contractor, renovator, home inspector, public speaker, author and video producer, he founded his own company, Homexam, Inc. in 1986.



LARRY REAVIS (2 OF (more…)

Alan Pritz: Give Yourself to God

September 23, 2013

Alan Pritz

Alan Pritz

Alan Pritz is a spiritual and meditation teacher, author, musician, life coach, consultant and a personal friend. Here is an inspiring essay he wrote for

by Alan Pritz

Given 30 seconds to say what is most important in life, it’d be simple: give yourself to God.

God gets a mixed review, obviously a favorable spin from religious or spiritual types, but still one with vague undertones of uncertainty. The advice I gave sounds good but what does it really mean, why is it important, and how should one go about doing it?

Let’s cut to the chase. Life on earth isn’t easy. Even when wealthy or healthy, people may be miserable. With no way to know what’ll happen one minute to the next, control and security are illusory. Money, power, fame, sex, etc. promise happiness but inevitably disappoint because they lead nowhere. And more, they distract us from (more…)

Start the New Year Off Right with the “Inner Reflections” Calendar

December 21, 2012

inner-reflections-calendar-srfAfter relying on a Franklin Planner for fifteen years, I’m transitioning to the Inner Reflections engagement calendar. It’s far less expensive and gives me enough space to write all the notes I need. Plus, it’s gorgeous! Every two-page spread has the coming week laid out on one side and a beautiful nature photo on the facing page accompanied by an inspirational quote by Paramahansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi. Works for me! If you’d like to order a copy for yourself, click here.

If you’re interested, here is more info about the Inner Reflections calendar, courtesy of the publisher, Self-Realization Fellowship:

A one-of-a-kind collection of striking visuals and inspirational quotations, the 2013 edition of Self-Realization Fellowship’s award-winning INNER REFLECTIONS engagement calendar is now available. Featuring stunning scenery from the natural world paired with soul-soothing insights and words of encouragement, this spiritual calendar is a long-time favorite among consumers and retailers internationally—and it is a continually sought-after holiday gift item.

The calendar’s enduring quotes by Paramahansa Yogananda are suitably matched with breathtaking images from the world’s top nature photographers. Striking scenery—from the serene waters of the Caribbean to magnificent waterfalls of Iceland to a vast stretch of the Milky Way—is accessible with the turn of a page. For example:

• A palm tree stretches out horizontally atop white sands, its fronds seemingly aimed toward the sea’s turquoise waters in Virgin Islands National Park, St. John: “In the solitude of my inner silence I have found the paradise of unending Joy.”

• A polar bear lies back in (more…)

Prayers from a Master

May 3, 2012

In recognition of the National Day of Prayer, I offer four brief prayers offering comfort and inspiration from the pen of Paramahansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi and the founder of Self-Realization Fellowship. These excerpts are from Yogananda’s book, Where There is Light.

O Divine Teacher, let me realize that though the gloom of my ignorance be age-old, with the dawn of Thy light the darkness will (more…)

Yogananda on the Ever-New Joy of Meditation

March 7, 2012

Paramahansa Yogananda in 1926 (Courtesy of Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, California)

Sixty years ago today, on March 7, 1952, Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi, experienced mahasamadhi: the act of consciously and intentionally leaving one’s body at the time of death. The experience could not have been better scripted in terms of event, people and timing. I still marvel about the perfection of it all. Click here to learn how it all unfolded.

Meditation is the cornerstone of Yogananda’s teachings. Click here to learn more about the techniques of meditation taught by Self-Realization Fellowship, the worldwide spiritual organization Yogananda founded in 1920.

In honor of  the anniversary of Yogananda’s passing, I’d like to share a few of his quotes on meditation. The books from which they’re taken are Self-Realization Fellowship publications.

Through meditation one can experience a stable, silent (more…)

A Block Away

February 19, 2012

Paramahansa Yogananda's Hermitage

Hi, everybody! I made a quick three-minute video to show you where I live and what I’m a block away from: the Self-Realization Fellowship temple and Paramahansa Yogananda‘s Hermitage and (more…)

Paramahansa Yogananda’s Inspiring Message for the New Year

December 31, 2011

Paramahansa Yogananda in 1924 (Courtesy of Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, California)

Indian yogi and guru Paramahansa Yogananda gave these remarks on New Year’s Eve, 1934, at the International Headquarters of the society he founded, Self-Realization Fellowship. Yogananda’s timeless wisdom is as fresh and relevant today as it was seventy-five years ago. May his words help you begin the new year with hope, joy, empowerment and determination.

by Paramahansa Yogananda

Make new determinations as to what you are going to do and what you are going to be in this next year. Set a program for yourself; carry it through, and you will find how much happier you will be. Failure to keep to your schedule of improvement means you have paralyzed your will. You have no greater friend and no greater enemy than yourself. If you befriend yourself, you will find accomplishment. There is no law of God preventing you from being what you want to be and accomplishing what you want to accomplish. Nothing detrimental that happens can affect you unless you sanction it.

* * *

Let nothing weaken your conviction that you can be whatever you want to be. There is no one obstructing you unless it be yourself. Though my master Swami Sri Yukteswarji again and again told me that, it was hard to believe it at first. But as I used the God-given gift of will power in my life, I found it to be my savior. Not to use the will is to be inert like (more…)

The Wisdom of Swami Sri Yukteswar

September 12, 2011

Paramahansa Yogananda as a young man

In Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda recalls when, as a teenager, he followed his own whim instead of the wisdom of his guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar. An excerpt:

“Please permit me to go to the Himalayas. I hope in unbroken solitude to achieve continuous divine communion.”

I actually once addressed these ungrateful words to my Master. Seized by one of the unpredictable delusions which occasionally assail the devotee, I felt a growing impatience with hermitage duties and college studies. A feebly extenuating circumstance is that my proposal was made when I had been only six months with Sri Yukteswar. Not yet had I fully surveyed his towering stature.

“Many hillmen live in the Himalayas, yet possess no God-perception.” My guru’s answer came slowly and simply. “Wisdom is better sought from a (more…)

An Eye-Opening Ritual in Encinitas

August 22, 2011

Yesterday, for the first time in over three months, I was once again able to tour Paramahansa Yogananda‘s Hermitage on the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram grounds in Encinitas.

This is me in my favorite spot in Encinitas, standing on the Hermitage lawn with nothing but the ocean in front of me

The Hermitage, where Yogananda lived for more than a decade in the late 1930s and 1940s, is where he wrote much of his spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi. The Hermitage (more…)

Your Vastness I Glimpsed

July 3, 2011

Life becomes simpler and more joyous when you surrender to divine will and ask to serve as an instrument of God, humble and steadfast. Vowing to live so that when others see and hear you, they see and hear God, is a tremendously liberating choice. Petty concerns and worries drop away and peace becomes your dearest friend.

Realizing that God is just behind every breath you take and every thought you think is an epiphany of epic proportions. Paramahansa Yogananda conveyed this realization brilliantly in this brief but powerful poem.


Your vastness I glimpsed
In the skies of quietness.
Your joy I tasted
In the fountains of (more…)

Do Not Pray to God

March 21, 2011

J. Oliver Black with his guru, Paramahansa Yogananda

I like this nugget of spiritual wisdom from J. Oliver Black, a direct disciple of  Paramahansa Yogananda who lived in Michigan. Yogananda honored Black with the title Yogacharya in a special ceremony of initiation in 1951. The Sanskrit word Yogacharya is an ancient spiritual title that can be translated as “yoga teacher,” although it carries more significance and authority.

In the following one-minute video, Black recalls a suggestion from Yogananda that immediately added more power and energy to (more…)

The Great Cauliflower Robbery

March 9, 2011

Swami Sri Yukteswar

Today, March 9, 2011, marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the mahasamadhi of Swami Sri Yukteswar, the beloved guru of Paramahansa Yogananda. Mahasamadhi is the act of consciously and intentionally leaving one’s body at the time of death. One of my favorite Swami Sri Yukteswar stories from Yogananda’s spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi, is excerpted below. It illustrates beautifully that even God-illumined saints enjoy a good practical joke now and then!


“Master, a gift for you! These six huge cauliflowers were planted with my hands; I have watched over their growth with the tender care of a mother nursing her child.” I presented the basket of vegetables with a ceremonial flourish.

“Thank you!” Sri Yukteswar’s smile was warm with appreciation. “Please keep them in your room; I shall need them tomorrow for a special dinner.”

I had just arrived in Puri to spend my college summer vacation with my guru at his seaside hermitage. Built by Master and his disciples, the cheerful little two-storied retreat fronts on the Bay of Bengal.

I awoke early the following morning, refreshed by the salty sea breezes and the charm of my surroundings. Sri Yukteswar’s melodious voice was calling; I took a look at my cherished cauliflowers and (more…)

Only Love Can Take My Place

March 7, 2011

Fifty-nine years ago today, on March 7, 1952, Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi, experienced mahasamadhi: the act of consciously and intentionally leaving one’s body at the time of death. The experience could not have been better scripted in terms of event, people and timing. I still marvel about the perfection of it all. Here is an account of Yogananda’s final hours from the book, Finding the Joy WIthin You by Sri Daya Mata, one of his foremost disciples who would later serve as president of Self-Realization Fellowship, the worldwide spiritual organization founded by Yogananda in 1920, for fifty-five years.

Paramahansa Yogananda in 1926 (Courtesy of Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, California)

Near the end of Gurudeva’s life, he was preparing to receive the Indian ambassador, Dr. Binary R. Sen (who was to come the foollowing morning to visit Guruji at our Self-Realziation headquarters). Guruji called the disciples into the ashram kitchen and said, “Today we will prepare curries and Indian sweetmeats for the ambassador.” We cooked all day long, and Guruji was in a state of great joy.

Late that evening, he called me to him and said, “Come, let us take a walk.” The ashram is a large three-story building. As we walked down the third-floor hall, he paused in front of a picture of his guru, Swami Sri Yukteswarji. He gazed at the picture for a long time, eyes unblinking. And then very quietly he turned to me and said: “Do you realize that it is just a matter of hours and I will be gone from this earth?” Tears flooded my eyes. Intuitively, I knew that what he said was to come to pass. A short time earlier, when he spoke to me of leaving his body, I had cried to him, “Master, you are the diamond in the ring of our hearts, and of your society. How can we carry on without you?” With such sweet love and compassion, his eyes like soft pools of divine bliss, he answered, “When I am gone, (more…)