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Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
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Reservations Contents  

  1. The Cauliflower Robbery – 155
  2. Outwitting the Stars – 167
  3. Sasi and the Three Sapphires – 179
  4. A Mohammedan Wonder-Worker (Afzal Khan) – 186
  5. My Guru Appears Simultaneously in Calcutta and Serampore – 192

15 - The Cauliflower Robbery

  1. "No to false teachings" is a dominant "melody" in this first glance survey.
  2. Just what "Lord" concept is Yogananda writing about and his followers singing to? What else lies enveloped in darkness here?
  3. Who's most dazzling? It had better be someone determined to put an end to infiltration medleys that serve bad guys.

Yogananda woke up early one morning, refreshed by the salty sea breezes and the charm of his surroundings. Sri Yukteswar: "Come, let's go to the beach." Soon: "Halt!" And to Yogananda: "You have neglected your duty in safeguarding the ashram; you must be punished."

Yogananda: "I asked Sri Yukteswar that evening to explain the incident."

My guru shook his head slowly. "You will understand it someday."

A humorous occurrence took place a few days after. A certain kerosene lamp could not be found. Yukteswar said, "Seek the lamp near the well."

Yogananda rushed there; no lamp! "Crestfallen, I returned to my guru. He was now laughing heartily." Yogananda: "In India, music as well as painting and the drama is considered a divine art. . . . Thus, (1) the Hindole Raga is heard only at dawn in the spring, to evoke the mood of universal love; (2) Deepaka Raga is played during the evening in summer, to arouse compassion; (3) Megha Raga is a melody for midday in the rainy season, to summon courage; (4) Bhairava Raga is played in the mornings of August, September, October, to achieve tranquillity; (5) Sri Raga is reserved for autumn twilights, to attain pure love; (6) Malkounsa Raga is heard at midnights in winter, for valour.

"Indian music divides the octave into 22 srutis or demi-semitones. These micro-tonal intervals permit fine shades of musical expression unattainable by the Western chromatic scale of 12 semitones. Each one of the seven basic notes of the octave is associated in Hindu mythology with a colour, and the natural cry of a bird or beast – Do with green, and the peacock; Re with red, and the skylark; Mi with golden, and the goat; Fa with yellowish white, and the heron; Sol with black, and the nightingale; La with yellow, and the horse; Si with a combination of all colours, and the elephant.

"Three scales – major, harmonic minor, melodic minor – are the only ones which Occidental music employs, but Indian music outlines 72 thatas or scales. . . . The Hindu musician does not read set notes . . .

"Hindu music . . . largely confines itself to the voice range of three octaves. [M]elody (relation of successive notes) is stressed, rather than harmony (relation of simultaneous notes).

"Because man himself is an expression of the creative Word, sound has the most potent and immediate effect on him, offering a way to remembrance of his divine origin.

Yogananda: "My guru called me to his side.

"I am pleased over your cheerful labours today and during the past week . . . you may sleep in my bed tonight."

This was a privilege . . .


16 - Outwitting the Stars

Outwitting the outwitting things - where does it take us in time?

Stonehenge, brightened photo section
Stonehenge and stars

"Charlatans have brought the stellar science to its present state of disrepute. Astrology is too vast, both mathematically [1] and philosophically, to be rightly grasped except by men of profound understanding. . . . One should not dismiss the wisdom with the 'wise.'

"In an imperfect world, there is a risk of imperfect teachings," one may mention.

"All parts of creation are linked together and interchange their influences. . .

"Astrology is the study of man's response to planetary stimuli. . . .

"A child is born on that day and at that hour when the celestial rays are in mathematical harmony with his individual karma. . . . But the natal chart can be rightly interpreted only by [the] few.

"[Man] has spiritual resources which are not subject to planetary pressure.

"The more he realises his unity with spirit, the less he can be . . . regimented by stars.

"Man is a soul . . . After deep prayer and meditation he is in touch with his divine consciousness; there's no greater power than that inward protection."

"When a traveller has reached his goal [he may] discard his maps. During the journey, he takes advantage of any convenient short cut. The ancient rishis discovered many ways to curtail the period of man's exile in delusion . . . features in the law of karma [may] be skilfully adjusted by [wise ones].

"By prayer, by will power, by yoga meditation, by consultation with saints, by use of astrological bangles – the adverse effects of past wrongs can be minimised or nullified.

"Just as a house can be fitted with a copper rod to absorb the shock of lightning, so the bodily temple can be benefited by various protective measures.

"[Helpful:] a combination of metals, but also of plants and – most effective of all – faultless jewels of not less than two carats. . . . [T]he proper jewels, metals, or plant preparations are valueless unless the required weight is secured, and unless these remedial agents are worn next to the skin."

"For general purposes I counsel the use of an armlet made of gold, silver, and copper. But for a specific purpose I want you to get one of silver and lead." Sri Yukteswar added careful directions.

"The stars are about to take an unfriendly interest in you, Mukunda [i.e. Yogananda]. [Y]our liver will cause you much trouble. The illness is scheduled to last for six months, but your use of an astrological armlet will shorten the period to twenty-four days."

I sought out a jeweller the next day . . . The following weeks were a nightmare of excruciating pain. . . But twenty-three days of torture weakened my resolution. [Yukteswar:] "Let me see; you have been ailing for twenty-four days . . .?"

"You say you have pain; I say you have none." [Yogananda:] I wear even now the heavy silver and lead bangle, a memento of that day On three occasions before I reached manhood, my family tried to arrange my betrothal. [3] I brooded . . . feeling like a goat awaiting sacrifice before the temple of triple matrimony.

A clear intuition came to me . . . I set fire to the horoscope scroll, placing the ashes in a paper bag. I put the bag in a conspicuous spot. Occasionally I told astrologers to select my worst periods. Sri Yukteswar discovered the mathematical application of a 24,000-year equinoctial cycle to our present age. [4] [But his calcualtions are much at fault.] .

Cyclic periods are postulated in ancient works like Manu Samhita 1:68 ff [Mux] and Visnhupuranam [Vim].

As for the duration of the postulated cycles, the nearest known cycle in astronomy is the Platonic Year of 25 800 years. Sri Yukteswar uses the Platonic Year as time reference for the yugas by equalling the 24.000 years scheme with the 25 800 year scheme (!). Sri Yukteswar's yuga system is defective. [More]

In the Manu Samhita [Mux] one important outlook of Swami Sri Yukteswar is confirmed: the years Manu writes about are not over-extended years, but our common years: The extended year scale in chapter 1, verse 68, is interpolated, and that is why it is put in brackets in that book. [Mux]

Master enlarged my understanding not only of astrology but of the world's scriptures. Placing the holy texts on the spotless table of his mind, he was able to dissect them with the scalpel of intuitive reasoning, and to separate errors and interpolations of scholars from the truths as originally expressed by the prophets.

Sickening eulogies that sound good at first, but prove to be untrue, had better be left unsaid. Yukteswar shows he lacks fit understanding of the the Holy Bible, demonstrating obvious shortcomings as an interpreter. Ample evidence is here: [The Yukteswar Book]

"Fix one's vision on the end of the nose." This inaccurate interpretation of a Bhagavad Gita stanza, [7] widely accepted by Eastern pundits and Western translators, used to arouse Master's droll criticism.

"The path of a yogi is singular enough as it is," he remarked. "Why counsel him that he must also make himself cross-eyed? The true meaning of nasikagram is 'origin of the nose, not 'end of the nose.' The nose begins at the point between the two eyebrows, the seat of spiritual vision." [8]

Nasikagram debate. Yukteswar's understanding of nasikagram halts perhaps. It is a traditional way of interpreting a Sanskrit term, but neither ideal nor the only way, since nasika is nose, and agram means "in front, before, ahead of, says the Spoken Sanskrit Dictionary and also Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary. The nasikagram gaze is in the Bhagavad Gita 6:13 as well. Sthirah sampreksya nasikagram svam (6:13). "Look steadily [half a metre] in front of your nose" is a good teaching.

More on nasikagram: Satyananda's guru, Swami Sivananda, understands nasikagram as "the tip of the nose", and that is a traditional way of interpreting the Sanskrit, but the Sanskrit compound (word) is neither agranasika, dristibandha, dhruva nor nasagra, all of which mean "tip of the nose". It is nasikagram, "ahead of the nose (etc. See above)." Sivananda tells that yogis have "the heart", "ahead of the nose" and "between the eyebrows" as focal points to use or recourse to. "Different strokes for different folks." [◦More]

Now, to enlarge on "about half a metre in front of (ahead of) the nose" with eyes closed or open? It would then be much like trataka, which is keeping a fixed gaze at a single point in front of the face. If you practice steady gazing (trataka) in an easy and relaxed way regularly, it could help you, says Swami Janakananda. He describes some ways of doing trataka with eyes closed or open in the book Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life (1992:106-9). The swami is a disciple of Satyananda Saraswati, who is a disciple of Sivananda (also: Wikipedia, "Trataka"; "Janakananda Saraswati").

Yukteswar derides traditional nose-gazing, but the nose is not visible; such gazing cannot be done without a mirror. Now you should know enough to maintain, "No need to be rude and denigrate."

. . .

Master expounded the Christian Bible . . . the truth in Christ's assertion. . . "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." [11]

"Thrilling, but false" - beware. There is indirect gospel evidence (John 21:25) that much that Jesus did and said along with it, was not recorded. Also, he probably said many things before he was thirty or so, during his "lost years". There are also lost lacunas (fragment pieces) in such as the Gospel of Thomas that clearly show that all his words did not remain. Finally, where would words be if the universe collapsed? We had better not be taken in by glowing demagogy.

[Yogananda:] "The Adam and Eve story is incomprehensible to me!"

[Yukteswars:] "Genesis . . . cannot be grasped by a literal interpretation . . . The tree of the nervous system bears many enjoyable fruits . . . In these, man may rightfully indulge; but he was forbidden the experience of sex, the 'apple' at the centre of the bodily garden. [14]

"Adam' is reason, and 'Eve' is feeling. When the emotion or Eve-consciousness in any human being is overpowered by the sex impulse, his reason or Adam also succumbs. [15]

Adam was the parent of Eve - "mother and father", sort of - in one of the two creation myths in the Bible. It cost him a rib unless it was replaced. Better count yours. To succumb to artful demagogy is bad. Study the first few chapters of the bible and see that Adam is man, not reason, and Eve is woman. Adam and Eve were told to procreate before the Fall too. It is in the Bible, and serves to document that Yukteswar is really a poor Bible interpreter. "Cobbler, stick to your last."

"God created the human species by materialising the bodies of man and woman through the force of his will; He endowed the new species with the power to create children in a similar 'immaculate' or divine manner. [16] Because his manifestation in the individualised soul had hitherto been limited to animals, instinct-bound and lacking the potentialities of full reason, God made the first human bodies, symbolically called Adam and Eve.

What is the difference between this and a cock-and-bull story as far as evidence goes? In one of the sayings ascribed to the guru of Yukteswar's guru. First he is asked, "Babaji, tell us please how did You become Divine?" The answer: "Since the time when the Himalayas rose up – Babaji has been on the Earth." (Antonov 2009:114)

Now, this raises the question, "Since the Himalayans rose up about 30 million years ago, give and take, at a time when monkeys were around but not humans as far as paleontologists know, was Babaji a human then?"

Adam and Eve may not have existed as a main group of people either. After all, their offspring married others. For all that, the myth is taken literally, despite human evolutionary genetics and paleonthology findings from far away and further back: a 2014 poll reports that 56% of Americans believe that "Adam and Eve were real people", and 44% believe so with strong or absolute certainty." (Wikipedia, "Adam and Eve")

Many believe as they are told, basically. It is not always good for them. Get informed to counteract grossly dumb beliefs about a couple where the man was the parent of the woman - "mother and father", sort of, and the grandparent and parent of her children with him too. That is what one of the two creation myths in the Bible tells. The narratives are in the first three chapters there. It cost First Man a rib to get a partner, unless it was replaced. Better count yours.

Now, to succumb to slob demagogy is not classy. Study the first few chapters of the bible and see that Adam means man, not reason, and Eve means woman (life). "A wife wakes life". Note how Adam and Eve were told to procreate before the Fall too. It serves to document that Yukteswar is no good Bible interpreter.

"God, or the divine consciousness [mind was] present within the first created pair . . . [T]ouch sensations . . . would enmesh humanity in . . . the way of brute procreation . . . ., Yukteswar said.

Basically, Yukteswar puts a spin on an old story, disregarding that Eve and Adam were made with organs fit for sex and breeding - and commanded to procreate even before the Fall.

Ask yourself the sooner the better, "Is Yukteswar on a wild goose chase again?" Don't get dumbfounded: since then, Yogananda has established a society with no to sex for singles, and mimimal sex for married couples. [Sex in Yogananda's fellowship]

. . .


17 - Sasi and the three sapphires

  1. The man that is counselled to wear gems and other sorts of jewellery, might need to recover.
  2. Fit labour-saving measures may include influencing the deep minds of others - even transgressing there - which is far from recommendable for good guys.
  3. The wearing of this and that bangle against coming ills can be understood as one of the ancient cherished means to outwit righteous, jolly good retributions too - which could in turn make others suffer for it according to "To do good to a bad man that does not reform, might equal doing harming good people around that one."

    What is more, if the outer world is designed or "set" for a blend of lawful retributions and awards, what might bangles do to such balances in unwise wearers? Could they prevent just redressing and promote deeper imbalances in time?

    It may be different with persons on a decent, onward and upward path, and who suffer from karmic ills that threaten their lives. If wearing bangles and gems help them to better their health and live longer and do more for their progress - doing many good deeds as well - then a bangle or a good gem might do good on all levels - on the surface and deeper and so on.


"Because you and my son think so highly of Swami Sri Yukteswar, I will take a look at him." The tone of voice used by Dr. Narayan Chunder Roy implied that he was humouring the whim of half-wits. I concealed my indignation, in the best traditions of the proselyter.

My companion, a veterinary surgeon, was a confirmed agnostic. His young son Santosh had implored me to take an interest in his father. So far my invaluable aid had been a bit on the invisible side.

Dr. Roy accompanied me the following day to the Serampore hermitage. After Master had granted him a brief interview, marked for the most part by stoic silence on both sides, the visitor brusquely departed.

"Why bring a dead man to the ashram?" Sri Yukteswar looked at me inquiringly as soon as the door had closed on the Calcutta sceptic.

"Sir! The doctor is very much alive!"

"But in a short time he will be dead."

I was shocked. "Sir, this will be a terrible blow to his son. Santosh yet hopes for time to change his father's materialistic views. I beseech you, Master, to help the man."

"Very well; for your sake." My guru's face was impassive. "The proud horse doctor is far gone in diabetes, although he does not know it. In fifteen days he will take to his bed. The physicians will give him up for lost; his natural time to leave this earth is six weeks from today. Due to your intercession, however, on that date he will recover. But there's one condition. You must get him to wear an astrological bangle; he will doubtless object as violently as one of his horses before an operation!" Master chuckled.

After a silence, during which I wondered how Santosh and I could best employ the arts of cajolery on the recalcitrant doctor, Sri Yukteswar made further disclosures.

"As soon as the man gets well, advise him not to eat meat. He wo not heed this counsel, however, and in six months, just as he is feeling at his best, he will drop dead. Even that six-month extension of life is granted him only because of your plea."

The following day I suggested to Santosh that he order an armlet at the jeweller's. It was ready in a week, but Dr. Roy refused to put it on.

"I am in the best of health. You will never impress me with these astrological superstitions." The doctor glanced at me belligerently.

I recalled with amusement that Master had justifiably compared the man to a balky horse. Another seven days passed; the doctor, suddenly ill, meekly consented to wear the bangle. Two weeks later the physician in attendance told me that his patient's case was hopeless. He supplied harrowing details of the ravages inflicted by diabetes.

I shook my head. "My guru has said that after a sickness lasting one month, Dr. Roy will be well."

The physician stared at me incredulously. But he sought me out a fortnight later, with an apologetic air.

"Dr. Roy has made a complete recovery!" he exclaimed. "It is the most amazing case in my experience. Never before have I seen a dying man show such an inexplicable comeback. Your guru must indeed be a healing prophet!"

After one interview with Dr. Roy, during which I repeated Sri Yukteswar's advice about a meatless diet, I did not see the man again for six months. He stopped for a chat one evening as I sat on the piazza of my family home on Gurpar Road.

"Tell your teacher that by eating meat often, I have wholly regained my strength. His unscientific ideas on diet have not influenced me." It was true that Dr. Roy looked a picture of health.

But the next day Santosh came running to me from his home on the next block. "This morning Father dropped dead!"

This case was one of my strangest experiences with Master. He healed the rebellious veterinary surgeon in spite of his disbelief, and extended the man's natural term on earth by six months, just because of my earnest supplication. Sri Yukteswar was boundless in his kindness when confronted by the urgent prayer of a devotee.

It was my proudest privilege to bring college friends to meet my guru. Many of them would lay aside – at least in the ashram! – their fashionable academic cloak of religious scepticism.

One of my friends, Sasi, spent a number of happy week ends in Serampore. Master became immensely fond of the boy, and lamented that his private life was wild and disorderly.

"Sasi, unless you reform, one year hence you will be dangerously ill." Sri Yukteswar gazed at my friend with affectionate exasperation. "Mukunda is the witness: do not say later that I did not warn you."

Sasi laughed. "Master, I will leave it to you to interest a sweet charity of cosmos in my own sad case! My spirit is willing but my will is weak. You are my only saviour on earth; I believe in nothing else."

"At least you should wear a two-carat blue sapphire. It will help you."

"I cannot afford one. Anyhow, dear guruji, if trouble comes, I fully believe you will protect me."

"In a year you will bring three sapphires," Sri Yukteswar replied cryptically. "They will be of no use then."

Variations on this conversation took place regularly. "I cannot reform!" Sasi would say in comical despair. "And my trust in you, Master, is more precious to me than any stone!"

A year later I was visiting my guru at the Calcutta home of his disciple, Naren Babu. About ten o'clock in the morning, as Sri Yukteswar and I were sitting quietly in the second-floor parlour, I heard the front door open. Master straightened stiffly.

"It is that Sasi," he remarked gravely. "The year is now up; both his lungs are gone. He has ignored my counsel; tell him I do not want to see him."

Half stunned by Sri Yukteswar's sternness, I raced down the stairway. Sasi was ascending.

"Mukunda! I do hope Master is here; I had a hunch he might be."

"Yes, but he does not wish to be disturbed."

Sasi burst into tears and brushed past me. He threw himself at Sri Yukteswar's feet, placing there three beautiful sapphires.

"Omniscient guru, the doctors say I have galloping tuberculosis! They give me no longer than three more months! I humbly implore your aid; I know you can heal me!"

"Is not it a bit late now to be worrying over your life? Depart with your jewels; their time of usefulness is past." Master then sat sphinxlike in an unrelenting silence, punctuated by the boy's sobs for mercy.

An intuitive conviction came to me that Sri Yukteswar was merely testing the depth of Sasi's faith in the divine healing power. I was not surprised a tense hour later when Master turned a sympathetic gaze on my prostrate friend.

"Get up, Sasi; what a commotion you make in other people's houses! Return your sapphires to the jeweller's; they are an unnecessary expense now. But get an astrological bangle and wear it. Fear not; in a few weeks you shall be well."

Sasi's smile illumined his tear-marred face like sudden sun over a sodden landscape. "Beloved guru, shall I take the medicines prescribed by the doctors?"

Sri Yukteswar's glance was longanimous. "Just as you wish – drink them or discard them; it does not matter. It is more possible for the sun and moon to interchange their positions than for you to die of tuberculosis." He added abruptly, "Go now, before I change my mind!"

With an agitated bow, my friend hastily departed. I visited him several times during the next few weeks, and was aghast to find his condition increasingly worse.

"Sasi cannot last through the night." These words from his physician, and the spectacle of my friend, now reduced almost to a skeleton, sent me post-haste to Serampore. My guru listened coldly to my tearful report.

"Why do you come here to bother me? You have already heard me assure Sasi of his recovery."

I bowed before him in great awe, and retreated to the door. Sri Yukteswar said no parting word, but sank into silence, his unwinking eyes half-open, their vision fled to another world.

I returned at once to Sasi's home in Calcutta. With astonishment I found my friend sitting up, drinking milk.

"Mukunda! What a miracle! Four hours ago I felt Master's presence in the room; my terrible symptoms at once disappeared. I feel that through his grace I am entirely well."

In a few weeks Sasi was stouter and in better health than ever before. [1] But his singular reaction to his healing had an ungrateful tinge: he seldom visited Sri Yukteswar again! My friend told me one day that he so deeply regretted his previous mode of life that he was ashamed to face Master.

I could only conclude that Sasi's illness had had the contrasting effect of stiffening his will and impairing his manners.

The first two years of my course at Scottish Church College were drawing to a close. My classroom attendance had been very spasmodic; what little studying I did was only to keep peace with my family. My two private tutors came regularly to my house; I was regularly absent: I can discern at least this one regularity in my scholastic career!

In India two successful years of college bring an Intermediate Arts diploma; the student may then look forward to another two years and his AB degree.

The Intermediate Arts final examinations loomed ominously ahead. I fled to Puri, where my guru was spending a few weeks. Vaguely hoping that he would sanction my non-appearance at the finals, I related my embarrassing unpreparedness.

But Master smiled consolingly. "You have wholeheartedly pursued your spiritual duties, and could not help neglecting your college work. Apply yourself diligently to your books for the next week: you shall get through your ordeal without failure."

I returned to Calcutta, firmly suppressing all reasonable doubts that occasionally arose with unnerving ridicule. Surveying the mountain of books on my table, I felt like a traveller lost in a wilderness. A long period of meditation brought me a labour-saving inspiration. Opening each book at random, I studied only those pages which lay thus exposed. Pursuing this course during eighteen hours a day for a week, I considered myself entitled to advise all succeeding generations on the art of cramming.

The following days in the examination halls were a justification of my seemingly haphazard procedure. I passed all the tests, though by a hairbreadth. The congratulations of my friends and family were ludicrously mixed with ejaculations betraying their astonishment.

On his return from Puri, Sri Yukteswar gave me a pleasant surprise. "Your Calcutta studies are now over. I will see that you pursue your last two years of university work right here in Serampore."

I was puzzled. "Sir, there's no Bachelor of Arts course in this town." Serampore College, the sole institution of higher learning, offered only a two-year course in Intermediate Arts.

Master smiled mischievously. "I am too old to go about collecting donations to establish an AB college for you. I guess I shall have to arrange the matter through someone else."

Two months later Professor Howells, president of Serampore College, publicly announced that he had succeeded in raising sufficient funds to offer a four-year course. Serampore College became a branch affiliation of the University of Calcutta. I was one of the first students to enrol in Serampore as an AB candidate.

"Guruji, how kind you are to me! I have been longing to leave Calcutta and be near you every day in Serampore. Professor Howells does not dream how much he owes to your silent help!"

Sri Yukteswar gazed at me with mock severity. "Now you wo not have to spend so many hours on trains; what a lot of free time for your studies! Perhaps you will become less of a last-minute crammer and more of a scholar." But somehow his tone lacked conviction.


18 - A Mohammedan Wonder-worker

  1. A truly great man or woman may show that not all that is called wonder-work, is much to brag about.
  2. If ruthlessness or hardheartedness escalates in some miracle-working hick, it is not haphasardly - much was allowed to go wrong first.
  3. The mature Fjord horse is used as a therapist - wonderful!

"Years ago, right in this very room you now occupy, a Mohammedan wonder-worker performed four miracles before me!" Sri Yukteswar smiled reminiscently. "The name of the fakir [1] was Afzal Khan. He had acquired his extraordinary powers through a chance encounter with a Hindu yogi who asked him to fetch some water quickly.

After the yogi got the water, he said, 'You have brought over from the past some seeds of destructive tendencies . . . use this life to reconcile your yogic accomplishments with the highest humanitarian goals.'

After instructing the amazed boy the yogi disappeared.

Afzal faithfully followed his yoga exercise for twenty years. By then it seemed he was always accompanied by a disembodied spirit that could fulfil the fakir's slightest wish.

Afzal began to misuse his powers. Whatever object he touched and then replaced would soon disappear. "He visited large jewellery stores in Calcutta from time to time, representing himself as a possible purchaser. Any jewel he handled would vanish shortly after he had left the shop," told Yukteswar. He rose from his seat and walked to the balcony. "A friend of mine asked Afzal to come here. My friend also invited about twenty neighbours, including myself. I took the precaution of not wearing anything valuable. Afzal looked me over inquisitively, then remarked:

"'You have powerful hands. . . . 'Fill a pot with Ganges water near the front of this house.'

"Babu, [3] one of my friends in the room, was wearing a heavy antique gold watch and chain. The fakir examined them with ominous admiration. "'You have five hundred rupees in an iron safe. Bring them to me."

"The distraught Babu left at once for his home. On his return, he was wearing a smile of relief and no jewellery.

"'When I commanded Hazrat as directed,' he announced, 'my watch came tumbling down from the air . . . I locked the heirloom in my safe before rejoining the group here!'

Afzal offered to supply a lunch!

"'Let's order the most expensive dishes,' Babu suggested gloomily. 'I want an elaborate meal for my five hundred rupees!" All the food was delicious. The Mohammedan could summon the atoms of any object from etheric energy. But such astrally-produced objects cannot be long retained. Afzal still yearned for worldly wealth of durability."

"I never saw Afzal after that day, but a few years later Afzal published a confession. As recalled by Sri Yukteswar, it was as follows: "I, Afzal Khan, am writing these words as an act of penance and as a warning . . . I became drunk with egotism, feeling that I was beyond the ordinary laws of morality. [But one day I met an] unimpressive old cripple [who] straightened himself; his body instantly became strong and youthful. He said, 'I see with my own eyes that you use your powers, not to help suffering humanity, but to prey on it like a common thief! . . . No longer shall you be a terror in Bengal!'

The first-old-then youthful straightened cripple regarded Afzal with silent compassion. "Devote yourself wholeheartedly to divine understanding in the mountain solitudes.'

"Farewell, world! I go to seek the forgiveness . . ."

* Centred is far better than 'cosmic', and happiness is higher than love. Yogananda teaches the latter part of it, he too. Accordingly, a "happy heart" is the thing to go for over and above romantic intrigues.


19 - My master, in Calcutta, appears in Serampore

What is talked of below, is telepathic transmission and body transference.

  1. If a sister says: "Train me, I want to get fatter!" she is hardly ideally happy.
  2. A sister may feel all right and live happily within harmonious, well established limits.
  3. Yogananda's oldest brother Ananta after he had asked here-is-how-to-die" Yogananda to be his guru, while Yogananda's sister got the body fat she desired.

"I am often beset by atheistic doubts. Yet a torturing surmise sometimes haunts me: may not untapped soul possibilities exist? Is man not missing his real destiny if he fails to explore them?"

These remarks of Dijen Babu, my roommate at the Panthi boarding-house, were called forth by my invitation that he meet my guru.

"Sri Yukteswarji will initiate you into kriya yoga," I replied. "It calms the dualistic turmoil by a divine inner certainty."

That evening Dijen accompanied me to the hermitage. In Master's presence my friend received such spiritual peace that he was soon a constant visitor. The trivial preoccupations of daily life are not enough for man; wisdom too is a native hunger. In Sri Yukteswar's words Dijen found an incentive to those attempts – first painful, then effortlessly liberating – to locate a realer self within his bosom than the humiliating ego of a temporary birth, seldom ample enough for the Spirit.

As Dijen and I were both pursuing the AB course at Serampore College, we got into the habit of walking together to the ashram as soon as classes were over. We would often see Sri Yukteswar standing on his second-floor balcony, welcoming our approach with a smile.

One afternoon Kanai, a young hermitage resident, met Dijen and me at the door with disappointing news.

"Master is not here; he was summoned to Calcutta by an urgent note."

The following day I received a post card from my guru. "I shall leave Calcutta Wednesday morning," he had written. "You and Dijen meet the nine o'clock train at Serampore station."

About eight-thirty on Wednesday morning, a telepathic message from Sri Yukteswar flashed insistently to my mind: "I am delayed; do not meet the nine o'clock train."

I conveyed the latest instructions to Dijen, who was already dressed for departure.

"You and your intuition!" My friend's voice was edged in scorn. "I prefer to trust Master's written word."

I shrugged my shoulders and seated myself with quiet finality. Muttering angrily, Dijen made for the door and closed it noisily behind him.

As the room was rather dark, I moved nearer to the window overlooking the street. The scant sunlight suddenly increased to an intense brilliancy in which the iron-barred window completely vanished. Against this dazzling background appeared the clearly materialised figure of Sri Yukteswar!

Bewildered to the point of shock, I rose from my chair and knelt before him. With my customary gesture of respectful greeting at my guru's feet, I touched his shoes. These were a pair familiar to me, of orange-dyed canvas, soled with rope. His ochre swami cloth brushed against me; I distinctly felt not only the texture of his robe, but also the gritty surface of the shoes, and the pressure of his toes within them. Too much astounded to utter a word, I stood up and gazed at him questioningly.

"I was pleased that you got my telepathic message." Master's voice was calm, entirely normal. "I have now finished my business in Calcutta, and shall arrive in Serampore by the ten o'clock train."

As I still stared mutely, Sri Yukteswar went on, "This is not an apparition, but my flesh and blood form. I have been divinely commanded to give you this experience, rare to achieve on earth. Meet me at the station; you and Dijen will see me coming toward you dressed as I am now. I shall be preceded by a fellow passenger – a little boy carrying a silver jug."

My guru placed both hands on my head, with a murmured blessing. As he concluded with the words, "Taba asi," [1] I heard a peculiar rumbling sound. [2] His body began to melt gradually within the piercing light. First his feet and legs vanished, then his torso and head, like a scroll being rolled up. To the very last, I could feel his fingers resting lightly on my hair. The effulgence faded; nothing remained before me but the barred window and a pale stream of sunlight.

I remained in a half-stupor of confusion, questioning whether I had not been the victim of a hallucination. A crestfallen Dijen soon entered the room.

"Master was not on the nine o'clock train, nor even the nine-thirty." My friend made his announcement with a slightly apologetic air.

"Come then; I know he will arrive at ten o'clock." I took Dijen's hand and rushed him forcibly along with me, heedless of his protests. In about ten minutes we entered the station, where the train was already puffing to a halt.

"The whole train is filled with the light of Master's aura! He's there!" I exclaimed joyfully.

"You dream so?" Dijen laughed mockingly.

"Let us wait here." I told my friend details of the way in which our guru would approach us. As I finished my description, Sri Yukteswar came into view, wearing the same clothes I had seen a short time earlier. He walked slowly in the wake of a small lad bearing a silver jug.

For a moment a wave of cold fear passed through me, at the unprecedented strangeness of my experience. I felt the materialistic, twentieth-century world slipping from me; was I back in the ancient days when Jesus appeared before Peter on the sea?

As Sri Yukteswar, a modern yogi-christ, reached the spot where Dijen and I were speechlessly rooted, Master smiled at my friend and remarked:

"I sent you a message too, but you were unable to grasp it."

Dijen was silent, but glared at me suspiciously. After we had escorted our guru to his hermitage, my friend and I proceeded toward Serampore College. Dijen halted in the street, indignation streaming from his every pore.

"So! Master sent me a message! Yet you concealed it! I demand an explanation!"

"Can I help it if your mental mirror oscillates with such restlessness that you cannot register our guru's instructions?" I retorted.

The anger vanished from Dijen's face. "I see what you mean," he said ruefully. "But please explain how you could know about the child with the jug."

By the time I had finished the story of Master's phenomenal appearance at the boarding-house that morning, my friend and I had reached Serampore College.

"The account I have just heard of our guru's powers," Dijen said, "makes me feel that any university in the world is only a kindergarten."



Chapter 15

[1] Puri, about 310 miles south of Calcutta, is a famous pilgrimage city for devotees of Krishna; his worship is celebrated there with two immense annual festivals, Snanayatra and Rathayatra.

[2] The 1939 discovery of a radio microscope revealed a new world of hitherto unknown rays. "Man himself as well as all kinds of supposedly inert matter constantly emits the rays that this instrument 'sees,'" reported the Associated Press. "Those who believe in telepathy, second sight, and clairvoyance, have in this announcement the first scientific proof of the existence of invisible rays which really travel from one person to another. The radio device actually is a radio frequency spectroscope. It does the same thing for cool, nonglowing matter that the spectroscope does when it discloses the kinds of atoms that make the stars. . . . The existence of such rays coming from man and all living things has been suspected by scientists for many years. Today is the first experimental proof of their existence. The discovery shows that every atom and every molecule in nature is a continuous radio broadcasting station. . . . Thus even after death the substance that was a man continues to send out its delicate rays. The wave lengths of these rays range from shorter than anything now used in broadcasting to the longest kind of radio waves. The jumble of these rays is almost inconceivable. There are millions of them. A single very large molecule may give off 1,000,000 different wave lengths at the same time. The longer wave lengths of this sort travel with the ease and speed of radio waves. . . . There is one amazing difference between the new radio rays and familiar rays like light. This is the prolonged time, amounting to thousands of years, which these radio waves will keep on emitting from undisturbed matter."

[3] One hesitates to use "intuition"; Hitler has almost ruined the word along with more ambitious devastations. The Latin root meaning of intuition is "inner protection." The Sanskrit word agama means intuitional knowledge born of direct soul - perception; hence certain ancient treatises by the rishis were called agamas.

[4] SAT is literally "being," hence "essence; reality." Sanga is "association." Sri Yukteswar called his hermitage organization Sat-Sanga, "fellowship with truth."

[5] "If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light." - Matthew 6:22. During deep meditation, the single or spiritual eye becomes visible within the central part of the forehead. This omniscient eye is variously referred to in scriptures as the third eye, the star of the East, the inner eye, the dove descending from heaven, the eye of Shiva, the eye of intuition, etc.

[6] "He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? . . . he that teacheth man knowledge, shall he not know?" - Psalm 94:9-10.

[7] Folklore of all peoples contains references to incantations with power over nature. The American Indians are well-known to have developed sound rituals for rain and wind. Tan Sen, the great Hindu musician, was able to quench fire by the power of his song. Charles Kellogg, the California naturalist, gave a demonstration of the effect of tonal vibration on fire in 1926 before a group of New York firemen. "Passing a bow, like an enlarged violin bow, swiftly across an aluminum tuning fork, he produced a screech like intense radio static. Instantly the yellow gas flame, two feet high, leaping inside a hollow glass tube, subsided to a height of six inches and became a sputtering blue flare. Another attempt with the bow, and another screech of vibration, extinguished it."

Chapter 16

[1] From astronomical references in ancient Hindu scriptures, scholars have been able to correctly ascertain the dates of the authors. The scientific knowledge of the rishis was very great; in the Kaushitaki Brahmana we find precise astronomical passages which show that in 3100 BC. the Hindus were far advanced in astronomy, which had a practical value in determining the auspicious times for astrological ceremonies. In an article in East-West, February, 1934, the following summary is given of the Jyotish or body of Vedic astronomical treatises: "It contains the scientific lore which kept India at the forefront of all ancient nations and made her the mecca of seekers after knowledge. The very ancient Brahmagupta, one of the Jyotish works, is an astronomical treatise dealing with such matters as the heliocentric motion of the planetary bodies in our solar system, the obliquity of the ecliptic, the earth's spherical form, the reflected light of the moon, the earth's daily axial revolution, the presence of fixed stars in the Milky Way, the law of gravitation, and other scientific facts which did not dawn in the Western world until the time of Copernicus and Newton."

It is now well-known that the so-called "Arabic numerals," without whose symbols advanced mathematics is difficult, came to Europe in the 9th century, via the Arabs, from India, where that system of notation had been anciently formulated. Further light on India's vast scientific heritage will be found in Dr. P. C. Ray's History of Hindu Chemistry, and in Dr. B. N. Seal's Positive Sciences of the Ancient Hindus.

[2] The blessing which flows from the mere sight of a saint.

[3] One of the girls whom my family selected as a possible bride for me, afterwards married my cousin, Prabhas Chandra Ghose.

[4] A series of thirteen articles on the historical verification of Sri Yukteswar's yuga theory appeared in the magazine East-West (Los Angeles) from September, 1932, to September, 1933.

[5] In the year A.D. 12,500.

[6] The Hindu scriptures place the present world-age as occurring within the kali yuga of a much longer universal cycle than the simple 24,000-year equinoctial cycle with which Sri Yukteswar was concerned. The universal cycle of the scriptures is 4,300,560,000 years in extent, and measures out a Day of Creation or the length of life assigned to our planetary system in its present form. This vast figure given by the rishis is based on a relationship between the length of the solar year and a multiple of Pi (3.1416, the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle).

The life span for a whole universe, according to the ancient seers, is 314,159,000,000,000 solar years, or "One Age of Brahma."

Scientists estimate the present age of the earth to be about two billion years, basing their conclusions on a study of lead pockets left as a result of radioactivity in rocks. The Hindu scriptures declare that an earth such as ours is dissolved for one of two reasons: the inhabitants as a whole become either completely good or completely evil. The world-mind thus generates a power which releases the captive atoms held together as an earth.

Dire pronouncements are occasionally published regarding an imminent "end of the world." The latest prediction of doom was given by Rev. Chas. G. Long of Pasadena, who publicly set the "Day of Judgment" for Sept. 21, 1945. United Press reporters asked my opinion; I explained that world cycles follow an orderly progression according to a divine plan. No earthly dissolution is in sight; two billion years of ascending and descending equinoctial cycles are yet in store for our planet in its present form. The figures given by the rishis for the various world ages deserve careful study in the West; the magazine Time (Dec. 17, 1945, p. 6) called them "reassuring statistics."

[7] chapter VI:13.

[8] "The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness." - Luke 11:34-35.

[9] One of the six systems of Hindu philosophy. Sankhya teaches final emancipation through knowledge of twenty-five principles, starting with prakriti or nature and ending with purusha or soul.

[10] Sankhya Aphorisms, I:92.

[11] Matthew 24:35.

[12] Matthew 12:50.

[13] John 8:31-32. St. John testified: "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (even to them who are established in the Christ Consciousness)." - John 1:12.

[14] "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die." - Genesis 3:2-3.

[15] "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. The woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." - Genesis 3:12-13.

[16] "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it." - Genesis 1:27-28.

[17] "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." - Genesis 2:7.

[18] "Now the serpent (sex force) was more subtil than any beast of the field" (any other sense of the body). - Genesis 3:1.

[19] "And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed." - Genesis 2:8. "Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken." - Genesis 3:23. The divine man first made by God had his consciousness centreed in the omnipotent single eye in the forehead (eastward). The all-creative powers of his will, focused at that spot, were lost to man when he began to "till the ground" of his physical nature.

Chapter 17

[1] In 1936 I heard from a friend that Sasi was still in excellent health.

Chapter 18

[1] A Moslem yogi; from the Arabic faqir, poor; originally applied to dervishes under a vow of poverty.

[2] My father later told me that his company, the Bengal-Nagpur Railway, had been one of the firms victimized by Afzal Khan.

[3] I do not recall the name of Sri Yukteswar's friend, and must refer to him simply as "Babu" (Mister).

Chapter 19

[1] The Bengali "Good-by"; literally, it is a hopeful paradox: "Then I come."

[2] The characteristic sound of dematerialization of bodily atoms.


Autobiography of a Yogi chapters, Paramahansa Yogananda, Literature  

Ak: Click on "Literature" for data.

Antonov, Vladimir, comp. How God Can Be Cognized: Autobiography of a Scientist Who Studied God. Tr. Mikhail Nikolenko. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace, 2009.

Jananakananda, Swami. Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life. Rev. American ed. Boston, MA: Weiser, 1992.

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