2021 marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of Paramahansa Yogananda’s spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi. Since its release in 1946, Autobiography of a Yogi has earned accolades in the press around the world, including U.S. publications such as The New York Times (“a rare account”) to Newsweek (“fascinating”). Now translated into over fifty languages, this work continues to resonate with people from all walks of life, including prominent figures in the fields of sports, business, academia, and pop culture — from Beatle George Harrison to Harvard scholar Diana Eck to Apple founder Steve Jobs (who had the book gifted to all those attending his memorial service).
Here are some highlights from both in print and online coverage of Autobiography of a Yogi during this special anniversary:
In January, more than thirty online news sites, newspapers, and broadcast media in the U.S. and Canada — including such outlets as WBOC-TV in Maryland, Canadian Insider, California Business Journal, and the Buffalo News — reported on the book’s anniversary, emphasizing the role of Autobiography of a Yogi in paving the way for yoga's proliferation in the West. More than one million people were reached through these reports.
In its February issue, The Eden Magazine featured an excerpt from chapter 44, “With Mahatma Gandhi at Wardha,” detailing the historic meeting between the two great spiritual leaders (during which Gandhi requested from Paramahansaji initiation into Kriya Yoga). Read more here.
The financial newswire 24/7 Wall St. in April cited Autobiography of a Yogi in a special report as one of the “20 of the Most Popular Autobiographies of All Time.” Showcased alongside such books as Helen Keller’s The Story of My Life and Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom, Autobiography of a Yogi and the other titles making the list were chosen from a selection of nearly 900 works. Read more here.
Well Being Journal featured an excerpt from chapter 30, “The Law of Miracles,” in its summer issue and referred to Paramahansa Yogananda’s “profound account of the nature of reality and what is needed to lift the veil of maya — or cosmic illusion — that seemingly separates human consciousness from changeless Reality.”
Natural Awakenings Houston described Yogananda’s life story as a “timeless work…that changed the lives of so many,” while Natural Awakenings editions for Atlanta, Phoenix, New York City, and Treasure Coast (Orlando, Florida) reported on the upcoming release of the deluxe edition of the Autobiography to commemorate the book’s anniversary.
In May, the Chicago-based monthly magazine Conscious Community observed in a review of the book that “Paramahansa [Yogananda] takes readers on a journey that illuminates the deepest secrets and paradoxes of the universe.”
In addition to celebrating this special anniversary, periodicals continue to regularly cite Autobiography of a Yogi as a trusted source for insights into the universal and practical spirituality of India. In an article about the healing benefits of chanting of the Sanskrit mantra Aum, Discover magazine quoted from the Autobiography to illustrate the universality of this sacred word: “Aum of the Vedas became the sacred word Hum of the Tibetans, Amin of the Moslems, and Amen of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Christians.”
In its Autumn 2021 issue, Kosmos Magazine began its feature on the 75th anniversary with these words: “To those who were personally acquainted with Paramahansa Yogananda, his own life and being were convincing testimony to the power and authenticity of the ancient wisdom he presented to the world. Since 1946, countless readers of his autobiography have attested to the presence in its pages of that same light of spiritual authority that radiated from his person.” Their article, with the subtitle “Making a Spiritual Effort Now,” showcases an excerpt from the chapter “Years in My Master’s Hermitage” in which Paramahansa Yogananda describes the sublime qualities of his guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, and shares his profound counsel that “Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now.” Read more here.
Various international media outlets, including the German magazines Visionen, Lebensträume, Welt der Spiritualität, KGS Berlin, and SEIN are planning to pay homage to the 75th anniversary of this best-selling spiritual classic in their winter issues.
Paramahansaji said of his Autobiography, “This book will change the lives of millions. It will be my messenger when I am gone.” The commemoration in the media of this special anniversary is a testament to that truth, and of the lasting impact and enduring importance of the teachings of Kriya Yoga, which the Guru so perfectly embodied. As he wrote in the final chapter of his monumental life story: “Had India no other gift for the world, Kriya Yoga alone would suffice as a kingly offering.”
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