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The Life of Yogananda: The Story of the Yogi Who Became the First Modern Guru (Hardcover)

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He was called "the 20th century’s first superstar guru" (Los Angeles Times), and today, nearly a century after he arrived in the United States, he’s still the best known and most beloved of all the Indian spiritual teachers who have come to the West. Now, finally, Paramahansa Yogananda has the authoritative biography he deserves.Yogananda, considered by many to be the father of modern yoga, has had an unsurpassed global impact thanks to the durability of his teachings, the institutions he created or inspired, and especially his iconic memoir, Autobiography of a Yogi.Since its publication in 1946, that book has sold millions of copies and changed millions of lives. But it doesn’t tell the whole story.Much of Yogananda’s seminal text is devoted to tales about other people, and it largely overlooks the three vital decades he spent living, working, and teaching in America. Huge chunks of his life—challenges, controversies, and crises; triumphs, relationships, and formative experiences—remain unknown to even his most ardent devotees. In this captivating biography, scholar and teacher Philip Goldberg fills the gaps, charting a journey that spanned six decades, two hemispheres, two world wars, and unprecedented social changes. The result is an objective, thoroughly researched account of Yogananda’s remarkable life in all its detail, nuance, and complex humanity.But this is more than a compelling life story. "Yogananda would, I believe, want any book about him to not only inform but transform," Goldberg writes. "It is my hope that readers will be enriched, expanded, and deepened by this humble offering." That is sure to be the case for both Yogananda enthusiasts and those who discover him for the first time in these illuminating pages.

About the Author


Philip Goldberg grew up in Brooklyn and now lives in Los Angeles. A professional writer for more than 40 years, he is author or co-author of some 25 books published in more than a dozen languages. He is also a skilled public speaker, a workshop leader, a spiritual counselor, and the co-host of the popular podcast Spirit Matters. He blogs at Huffington Post and Spirituality & Health, and contributes to other publications. His most recent book prior to this one—American Veda—chronicles the impact of India's spiritual teachings on the West; it was named by Huffington Post and Library Journal as one of the top 10 Religion books of 2010. Website: philipgoldberg.com

Praise For…


"Philip Goldberg sheds new light on the incredible story and illuminates the forces that made Yogananda a spiritual teacher and role model for the ages."
— Deepak Chopra, M.D., author of The Healing Self

"The Life of Yogananda is a profound and exquisitely written account of the life of one of the most renowned spiritual masters of our time, and is essential reading for anyone on a spiritual path. My experience is that, in a mysterious but unmistakable way, this book pulsates with the very presence, blessing, and transmission of Yogananda’s limitless wisdom and grace. With insight, clarity, and his own depth of consciousness, Philip Goldberg takes you on a virtual pilgrimage that will uplift you, inspire you, and illuminate your own journey of awakening."
— Dr. Barbara De Angelis, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Soul Shifts and The Choice for Love

"The long sought and much anticipated synthesis of East and West has yet to fully materialize, although there have been some very profound moves in that direction. It is therefore entirely appropriate that Philip Goldberg delivers a thoroughly readable biography of perhaps the first, and to date the most influential, integrator of Eastern and Western philosophical traditions, the remarkable Yogananda, in The Life of Yogananda: The Story of the Yogi Who Became the First Modern Guru. With any attempt at summarizing the life of a stunningly great person, the endeavor itself is fraught with difficulties, but Goldberg takes a very common-sense approach, including aspects of Yogananda’s life that seemed truly divine and deeply inspired, as well as those that were all too human. The result is a brilliant account of what history will recognize as one of the most significant lives of the 20th century. The question is, when Yogananda himself had already written the wildly popular and very widely read Autobiography of a Yogi, do we really need this new book? Does it justify itself? I believe that it does, very much so. Sympathetic yet critical, the book brings to light an enormous number of facets of Yogananda’s life, times, spiritual realization, culture clashes, and personal dimensions, all of which shed a huge amount of information not only about Yogananda and his own spiritual search, but also about the deeper synthesis of East and West that is still lying in humanity’s future. I highly recommend you read this book, and get a profound reminder of what the spiritual search is all about."
— Ken Wilber, author of The Religion of Tomorrow

"In this intensely researched book, Phil Goldberg describes the deep commitment and tireless effort of Paramahansa Yogananda to bring the spiritual teachings of India to the West. He reveals the many obstacles that Yogananda had to overcome in order to bring a light into the darkness."
— Krishna Das, Chantmaster and author of Chants of a Lifetime

"The Life of Yogananda is a precious dive into the life and times of America’s most famous yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda. Anyone who has read the classic Autobiography of a Yogi, written in 1946, will thrill to the untold story of Yogananda’s life written in this graceful, insightful biography. It is a worthy companion to Yogananda’s masterwork, informed both by Philip Goldberg’s scholarship and by his deep spiritual practice."
— Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., author of Minding the Body, Mending the Mind and Seven Paths to God

"With spiritual elegance and integrity, Goldberg provides an intimate portrait of the life of Yogananda, the trailblazing guru of North American yoga’s influential early years. Through engaging stories and unique perspectives, Paramahansaji shines through this biography as an enlightened master and creator of a great spiritual legacy."
— Michael Bernard Beckwith, founder of Agape International Spiritual Center and author of Spiritual Liberation

"Paramahansa Yogananda is probably the dominant figure behind the Western Yoga movement and its spiritual roots, the veritable father of Yoga in the Western world, living and teaching in America for more than three decades. Philip Goldberg presents a detailed and informative biography of the great master."
— Dr. David Frawley, D. Litt., director of American Institute of Vedic Studies and author of Yoga and Ayurveda

"This exceptionally written, wise, profound biography of one of the 20th century’s greatest spiritual pioneers is essential reading for all those who want to understand deeply the growing marriage between Eastern and Western spirituality. I am so moved by and grateful for Phil Goldberg’s humble mastery of tone and truth in this marvelous book."
— Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope and co-author of Savage Grace

"In his latest book, The Life of Yogananda, Philip Goldberg has masterfully assembled for us a colorful tapestry of stories detailing the intricacies and complexities that comprise the life of Paramahansa Yogananda. Goldberg’s work enables us to understand Yogananda as both mundanely human and extraordinary, while providing us with a detailed inside understanding of this remarkable human being and spiritual leader who has, and will continue to, inspire generations of spiritual seekers. This is a must-read for all who have read Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi and wish to better understand the story behind one of the world’s most remarkable human beings."
— Richard Miller, Ph.D., author of Yoga Nidra and the CD iRest Meditation: Restorative Practices for Health, Resiliency, and Well-Being

"The Life of Yogananda is a tremendous gift: a chance to meet from the ‘outside’ the spiritual genius we met on the ‘inside’ in Autobiography of a Yogi. The Autobiography shared what was important to Yogananda; Phil Goldberg’s biography shares why Yogananda is important to you. If you’ve read the Autobiography, you must read the biography. If you haven’t read either, you must read them both."
— Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of Holy Rascals

"Yogananda was more than just a popular guru who brought Indian spirituality to the United States. He was also a spiritual genius in the art of living, and his impact and legacy transcend the traditional divides of race, ethnicity, nationality, politics, and religion. In The Life of Yogananda, Philip Goldberg meticulously peels back the mystical layers in order to reveal the man behind the myth. By doing so, Goldberg continues his extraordinary work as our foremost chronicler of Hinduism in the United States.’’
— Varun Soni, Ph.D., Dean of Religious Life and Vice Provost for Campus Wellness and Crisis Intervention, University of Southern California

"When I was 15, Ram Dass gave me a copy of Autobiography of a Yogi and the gates of the universe opened. Yogananda’s account of his spiritual journey emboldened me to commence mine. Now, all these years later, Phil Goldberg has compiled the stories behind the stories! What a treasure."
— Mirabai Starr, author of God of Love and Caravan of No Despair

"This book is a gift for anyone interested in the yogic journey. Deeply informed by Phil Goldberg’s years of practice and study, it explores the life of one of the great spiritual masters of the 20th century. Yogananda’s work has had enormous influence on the development of yoga and spirituality in the West, and continues to influence us to this day. In this new biography, Phil offers us a full portrait of an extraordinary man. Merging Yogananda’s own autobiographical accounts of his life with the accounts of his friends and students, this gives us a delightfully written, juicy, and inspiring portrait that takes us right into the heart of the yogic experience."
— Sally Kempton, author of Meditation for the Love of It and Awakening Shakti

"Learning who Yogananda was historically can help us to understand who he is spiritually. As with all great spiritual masters, understanding who Yogananda is spiritually helps us to understand who we deep down really are and are called to be—namaste! For me personally, the significance of this book’s account of Yogananda seeding the ancient wisdom of yoga into our Western culture and religious traditions reminds me of my experience of being with Thomas Merton at Gethsemani in the 1960s. Merton told me he practiced yoga. He showed me some yoga postures and gave me a copy of Dechanet’s Christian yoga, which helped me to integrate yoga into my own spiritual practices. When I was in the monastery with Merton, the Benedictine monk Bede Griffith was living as a sanyasi in his ashram in India, as was his teacher, the Benedictine monk Abashiktananda, whose book The Hidden Christ of Hinduism deepened my own understanding of the underlying unity that permeates all the world’s great religions."
— James Finley, Ph.D., core teacher at the Center for Action and Contemplation, author of Merton’s Palace of Nowhere and Christian Meditation

"With The Life of Yogananda, Philip Goldberg has placed himself as a premier historian of American yoga. First he gave us American Veda, tracing the complete trajectory of India’s influence on the American mind, and now, in this excellent biography of Paramahansa Yogananda, he brings into sharp focus the complex life of America’s first guru. This is an important book and I couldn’t put it down."
— Dana Sawyer, professor emeritus of religion and philosophy, Maine College of Art; author of Aldous Huxley: A Biography and Huston Smith: Wisdomkeeper

"The story of experiential, meditative, ‘Eastern’ spirituality in the West just doesn’t exist without Yogananda; yet the story of Yogananda, in anything like a full telling, hasn’t existed till now. Philip Goldberg, with the clear eyes of the diligent scholar and the open heart of the passionate, lifelong spiritual voyager, is the right person to tell it."
— Dean Sluyter, author of Fear Less and Natural Meditation

"When I was informed about the author’s intention to write this book, I knew that gathering information from reliable sources almost seven decades after the subject’s passing would be a major endeavor. The result is satisfying. It is enjoyable to read, presented in a clear, forthright manner, and is fair and honest."
— Roy Eugene Davis, direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda and founder of Center for Spiritual Awareness

"The Life of Yogananda: The Story of the Yogi Who Became the First Modern Guru is the book admirers of Yogananda and scholars of Yoga alike have been waiting for. It is a fascinating and inspiring account of the trials and tribulations, successes and indomitable spirit of this remarkable yogi. His achievements are such that religious culture, across nations and traditions, continues to be informed and influenced by his unique vision—whether acknowledged or not. This book tells the story of how he accomplished the extraordinary and, thereby, transformed millions of mundane lives into ones worth living."
— Rita D. Sherma, Ph.D., director and associate professor, Shingal Center for Dharma Studies at Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley


Product Details
ISBN: 9781401952181
ISBN-10: 1401952186
Publisher: Hay House Inc.
Publication Date: April 24th, 2018
Pages: 360
Language: English