Autobiography of a Yogi - Summary

Paramahansa Yogananda

Autobiography of a Yogi Book Cover


The “Autobiography of a Yogi” is a spiritual classic written by Paramahansa Yogananda, a renowned Indian yogi and guru. The book was first published in 1946 and has since become a bestseller, inspiring millions of readers worldwide. The book is not just a memoir of Yogananda’s life, but also a guide to spiritual enlightenment and a testament to the power of yoga and meditation.

Early Life and Spiritual Quest

The book begins with Yogananda’s early life in India, where he was born in 1893. He describes his childhood experiences and his early spiritual awakening, which led him to seek out the guidance of various gurus and teachers. Yogananda was particularly drawn to the teachings of Sri Yukteswar Giri, a renowned yogi and scholar who became his spiritual mentor.

Journey to America

Yogananda’s quest for spiritual enlightenment eventually led him to America, where he founded the Self-Realization Fellowship and became a popular speaker and teacher. He describes his experiences in America, including his encounters with famous figures such as Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.

The Science of Kriya Yoga

One of the central themes of the book is the science of Kriya Yoga, a powerful technique of meditation and self-realization. Yogananda explains the principles of Kriya Yoga and how it can be used to achieve spiritual enlightenment and inner peace. He also shares stories of his own experiences with Kriya Yoga and how it transformed his life.

Miracles and Mystical Experiences

Throughout the book, Yogananda shares numerous stories of miracles and mystical experiences that he witnessed or experienced himself. These include levitation, telepathy, and encounters with divine beings. Yogananda uses these stories to illustrate the power of spiritual practice and the reality of higher states of consciousness.

The Importance of Service

Yogananda also emphasizes the importance of service and selfless action as a means of spiritual growth. He shares stories of his own service work, including his efforts to help the poor and sick in India and America. Yogananda believed that service was not just a moral obligation, but also a path to spiritual enlightenment.

The Eternal Quest

Throughout the book, Yogananda emphasizes that the quest for spiritual enlightenment is a lifelong journey. He encourages readers to continue on the path of self-realization, even in the face of obstacles and challenges. Yogananda believed that the ultimate goal of life was to achieve union with the divine, and that this was possible for anyone who was willing to make the effort.


In conclusion, the “Autobiography of a Yogi” is a powerful and inspiring book that offers a unique perspective on spirituality and the human experience. Yogananda’s personal story is both fascinating and enlightening, and his teachings on Kriya Yoga and selfless service are as relevant today as they were when the book was first published. Whether you are a spiritual seeker or simply interested in learning more about the power of meditation and yoga, this book is a must-read.

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