The following describes my encounter with Autobiography of a Yogi and is excerpted from From a Caregiver’s Point of View (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/428823). This coming December will mark the 70th anniversary of the first publication of Yogananda’s book:
A visit I made to an intentional community in Assisi, Italy at the end of 1988 was notable for various reasons, principally a fortuitous discovery made partway through a period of silence one evening. I was passing the time browsing a collection of books in a room that doubled as a common room and library. People read or relaxed in there undisturbed. One particular tome bore a cover familiar to me from past random browsings in theosophical bookshops in and around Melbourne. Interestingly enough, given my interest in Eastern spirituality, I had never leafed through the book.
The passages I went on to read set off alarm bells. I made sure to commit the title and author’s name to memory, so I would be able to consult it again in future. Three months later, hunkered down in a library elsewhere in Europe, I transcribed an excerpt of two or three pages, one that for me contained stellar insights.
Several months would pass before I read Autobiography of a Yogi from cover to cover, but the experience added weight to that first impact. The book posited truths on every page. I never doubted that for a second. And yet it was anything but a humourless, stodgy read. How timely this encounter at the stage I had reached on a spiritual quest that had lasted years.
In due course I read more of the writings of Paramahansa Yogananda. A burgeoning interest in his life and work gained headway in North America. I attended meetings offering a précis of his life and teachings in New York City and on a blue-sky Los Angeles Sunday months later explored the transcendent Lake Shrine Temple at Pacific Palisades. No longer could I ignore what my intuition had been telling me since bringing the book down from the shelf in Assisi: that, if I dared follow, with Yogananda’s guidance I would one day find my way home.