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Autobiography of a Yogi  By  cover art

Autobiography of a Yogi

By: Paramahansa Yogananda
Narrated by: Ben Kingsley
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Publisher's Summary

When Autobiography of a Yogi first appeared in 1946, it was acclaimed as a landmark work in its field. The New York Times hailed it as "a rare account". Newsweek pronounced it "fascinating". The San Francisco Chronicle declared, "Yogananda presents a convincing case for yoga, and those who 'came to scoff' may remain 'to pray." Today it is still one of the most widely read and respected books ever published on the wisdom of the East.

This audio edition, featuring Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley's masterful narration, contains the complete text of Paramahansa Yogananda's life story, an absorbing account of a singular search for Truth. Yogananda describes his experiences with modern-day saints and illuminated masters of India, and presents a definitive introduction to the whole science and philosophy of Yoga.

©1981, 1998, 2007 Self-Realization Fellowship (P)1996, 2000 Self-Realization Fellowship
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"A superb audio translation....Extraordinary work." (Library Journal)
"Ben Kingsley's smooth, articulate performance makes the formal writing style accessible to the listener." (AudioFile)

Featured Article: 20 Best Spiritual Audiobooks for Finding Fulfillment


In our everyday lives, we are obliged to take care of certain things—we must advance in our work lives, we must progress in our social lives, and a variety of aches and pains force us to be constantly concerned about our physical well-being. With such a litany of concerns, it can be difficult to find time to work on our spiritual lives. Isn’t it time to focus on nurturing your soul and spirit? Here are the 20 best spiritual audiobooks to get you in the right headspace.

What listeners say about Autobiography of a Yogi

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • D
  • 12-27-04

Spiritually Uplifting -- and entertaining!

Many have read this book, and have come away inspired to follow the path established by its author, P. Yogananda. Others have simply been left with a fascinating story about a man who came to America in 1920 with nothing, and by the time that he left his body, had met with the President of the United States and future governor of California and established a religious path which is still standing to this very day.

Regardless of the vantage point you may be coming from, this is a delightful read, and an excellent introduction to Eastern religious thought -- the way it had been originally taught -- before it was watered down by charlatans simply looking to cash in on the "latest fad."

The audio version is an absolute delight, and Ben Kingsley's reading is inspired. This is not a man "going through the motions" to collect a paycheck. Every single word is thoughtfully and smoothly enunciated, making this a pleasure to listen to. Thus, I would highly recommend this to even those who have already read the print version.

Finally, let me recommend the following: don't listen to this while jogging, driving in heavy traffic, or while otherwise distracted. Set some time aside and listen intently.

151 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

An elegant discourse on Why?

I downloaded this book out of curiosity; I wasn't looking for enlightenment or truth. And with a length of nearly 18 hours, I didn't expect to listen to the whole thing. But I did, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I can't say it transformed my life or that I agree with what the writer believes in, but it has brought me to a deeper appreciation of another way of "right living", another way of looking at and valuing the things in our lives. It also opens a window into a certain period of time, the religious life in India from the later 1800's to early part of our century which is very fascinating to behold. Kingsley's voice is gorgeous and infuses elegance into every word and phrase. I must say, whenever road rage struck me, listening to a bit of this audiobook was always very soothing.

86 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Inspirational

A must read for anyone who is interested in spiritual teachings and religion of the east. Entertaining story of Paramahansa Yogananda's life with his guru and teaching of Kriya Yoga. If you are inspired by the teachings of Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra, you will be very interested in this book. I am now inspired to go to the Self Realization Fellowship in NYC and be initiated in Kriya Yoga myself.

71 people found this helpful

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Too rich for my mind...

I hate to say anything bad about this book. In fact, I can't. It was charming and insightful. Yet somehow -- in spite of the warm, inviting performance and presence of Ben Kingsley, and the inspiring and playful narrative -- this book just didn't grab me, and it was difficult to get through.

I will have to revisit this again in the future. Perhaps with age and experience I will grow to appreciate it more next time. :)

56 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

One of the finest books on Spirituality ever

It doesn't matter what your religious understanding is - you will be uplifted and spiritually enriched by the depth of experience, love and humility of this author.

Learn the truly great gift Jesus left for us, far beyond that understood from the Christian scriptures. Understand the true meaning of "In the image of God".

You will never see your religious training in the same light again.

55 people found this helpful

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Another Oscar for Kingsley

Others here have given appropriate praise for this timeless gem of a book.

I will instead tell you about how well it is read. Ben Kingsley gives Yogananda's words an uncanny richness and colour. In several years of Audible membership I've never been so moved by the narrator. I enjoyed Kingsley so much, I rented Ghandi [on DVD] and watched it for the 1st time in 25 years [it won about a dozen Oscars!]...from it I learned he is half Indian...which helps explain how justly he treats all the yoga terminology, all the place names, all of Yogananda's Indian terms.

Search Kingsley's name and you'll see, he has read very few books, unfortunately! He no doubt was honored to read this one, as he never misses a step.

I've read this 4 times now, it keeps getting better! And finally, thankfully, it has brought me to my own regular meditation practice. Stop reading about it and go get it!

39 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating in many ways

Yogananda talks about his life with great clarity using a writing style specific to the age at which he describes himself at each point of the book. The book fascinated me with the richness of India's social and spiritual traditions, which I wasn't previously aware of. The author is examplary in his dedication to pursuit of spiritual truth, which acts as an affirming beacon to modern spiritual seekers. Many details of yogic wisdom are explained, often in conjunction with author's life experiences. The stories about Indian masters are fascinating and often had me sitting in the car after I finished driving.

Overall, a great combination of a biography, a novel, a cultural text and a book of wisdom and spirituality all in one. I've read many spiritual books and highly recommend this one for its particular taste. Narration is superb also, one of the best I've heard.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Cult Leader and no true pure soul

First, I do yoga and have studied the Sutras and masters for years. Ananda is nothing more then a con-man. He speaks as he is an Avatar or Godlike yet he partakes in behaviors that show differently.
He teaches a "modified" version of Hinduism to give himself more power. The oppisite of what a real Guru would do. He teaches his brand as if Americans don't know the truth. Maybe 20 years ago, now he looks like a Television Evangilist.

That said, some of his words are verbatim from the Sutras and others works. So he can cut and paste thats deep wisdom.

His cult followers are some of the nicest people I have met. Just beware of those who tell you they are spiritually better then you. That is a good sign that they lack the one thing that makes them spiritual, humility.

Don't follow him follow yourself.

25 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Unparalleled !!!

This book was the end of my search for a spiritual path. It offers a theory of the workings of the universe which unlike many others has been tested and proved right by many ancient seers and modern seekers of truth, of which the author himself was one. Here many religious dogmas and new age "mysticisms" lose their grip on the open discriminative mind. Read and Think!!!

Thank You Paramahansa Yogananda...

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A well read classic

It is unfortunate that the previous reviewer would choose to lower the average rating with a joke. It is hard to read this book and not feel anything. Yogananda was a generous soul who dedicated his life to helping bring a valuable and universal teaching to all of us. Ben Kingsley gives the book a beautiful and sensitive reading. Many times I forget that it is not Yogananda himself speaking. This audiobook is highly recommended to any open minded person of any spiritual belief.

21 people found this helpful

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  • C. Cousins
  • 06-05-16

Humbling, Entertaining and Instructive

An enjoyable book detailing Paramahansa Yogananda's life and the trials, frustrations and wisdom that was revealed to him from the likes of Sri Yukteswar and Babaji. His stories are entertaining, amusing and carry great teaching. The narrative by Sir Ben Kingsley is perfect for this book and is beautifully read by him.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Miles
  • 09-22-16

Wonderful

This is a classic! Anyone interested in spiritual development this book is a must. Ben Kingsley, who narrates the book is brilliant.

14 people found this helpful

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  • derek sleater
  • 03-11-16

Amazing

Would you consider the audio edition of Autobiography of a Yogi to be better than the print version?

Yes, the narration brings it to a whole new level, you can tell Ben was really enjoying this.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I really enjoyed this book, it made me look at like in an entirely different way, fans of the secret would enjoy listening to this.

Any additional comments?

It took me a little while to get into this book, but once I did I am grateful I stayed with it.

10 people found this helpful

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  • m e n k
  • 06-11-17

Facinating.

I initally thought this book was a bit full on and so dipped in and out of it over a few months. But now having completed it I would give it 10 stars. It gave me a better understanding of our spiritual connection God and makes several references to Jesus Christ. As a Christian it opened my mind to understanding some of the questions I had about my faith.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Karl
  • 05-08-17

Life-enhancing

I'm grateful to have fortuitously stumbled across this amazing book. At worst this is a well written, enjoyable and epic book, read by an Oscar winner. At best it is the truth you have been searching for.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-28-15

A golden insight into the spiritual world

An wonderful account of how the teachings of the world's religions fuse and interconnect into a singular spiritual message and truth

7 people found this helpful

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  • Avishek Ghosh
  • 12-05-18

Enchantingly transformative

Ever since I had heard about this book, I was longing to read and intrigued to know more about Yogananda. It was unfortunate that I was unaware of his existence and his work even being born in Calcutta in a Bengali Hindu family. I guess everything has its own timing, as I now realise from his own writing.
This book was a marvelous experience that further enriched my thoughts n notions about spirituality, Hindu philosophy of religion and the cosmos and most importantly it came at a time, I was desperately seeking it. Through this book Yogananda has transparently portrayed his life, his realisation of God and his concept of divine spiritualilty existing universally in simple yet powerful words. I had some truly powerful moments where I almost could experience the divine grace which he spoke so enchantingly stirring the soul. I can fully recommend this book to all those who are seeking the higher plane, the knowledge of our existence and believe in life changing experiences. Happy listening :)

P.S talking about listening, Ben Kingsley did a fine job in reading, albeit it was really funny when he pronounced some of the colloquial words in an accent alien to the language!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Louis Raubenheimer
  • 12-13-17

A masterful account of a most beautiful life

What a wonderful tale. A must read for anyone with an interest in spirituality, eastern religion or India, its people and its colourful history. I feel nearer to God having listened to it and it has inspired me to continue my own spiritual growth with ever more dedication and discipline. Quite magical

5 people found this helpful

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  • Levi Mercury
  • 11-05-17

Narration has no character

I love this book as I read the hard copy, however I found the audible version boring as the narration had no character, he didn't switch voices it was the same monotone voice throughout. This made my mind wander and I miss parts of the story as I wasn't forced on the words. The narration didn't hold my attention. Because of this I closed my audible account. Not pleased!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Kev_F
  • 02-22-17

Great biography, enlightening! Wrong narrator!

What did you like most about Autobiography of a Yogi?

It is a fascinating insight in to the spiritual world of India at the turn of the twentieth century. Some amazing stories and tales, and great wisdom too. A totally other world, amazing!! A real insight in to the nature of spiritual life, spiritual communties and Kriya yoga techniques.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Ben Kingsley?

I really did not think that Ben Kingsley was the right narrator for this book. Of course he is an incredibly well spoken great English actor but it makes the book sound really pretentious. It is delivered in a fantastical and pompous way that makes everything mono-weighted. To me it undermines the narrative as it sounds like he is over-egging it, almost like a fairy tale. I don't know who would have been better to be somebody who has a less polarising and colonial accent.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No... I got fed up of Kingsley's voice and had to have frequent breaks! It was the power of the book itself and the wisdom it contains that kept bringing me back... I would have asked for a refund otherwise!

5 people found this helpful

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  • meredith
  • 06-29-15

Superb Insight Into Indian Life and Spirituality

This is a magical classic, the only autobiography of a prominent real yogi ,I know of in existence, who was acknowledged by both East and West in the 1930s.
It is often placed on university reading lists for Asian Studies,
it is well worth the read for the fascinating story alone.
Narration is superb. Enjoy!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Kaushik
  • 08-13-18

Mixed reaction

A book with deep rooted Indian philosophy and mysticism, as experienced in life. well written by a yogi.

Disappointed by the narration - expected much more from someone of stature like Ben Kingsley. It was difficult to endure scores of mispronunciations!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-01-18

Exciting read, many interesting concepts

I enjoyed the read.

I was eager to get into it when I had read that Steve Jobs had left a copy to all of those who attended his funeral.

It is one that requires some level of spiritual understanding, otherwise it might be a bit much.

I enjoyed his experiences and opinions about life and the Dharma.

Love and light to all

Jamie

2 people found this helpful

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  • Symon Peters
  • 05-11-18

A beautiful rendition

Inspiring work and an uplifting collection of tails from a true saints life here on Earth. Beautifully read. A blessing to all who look for greater meaning to their life here and beyond.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Richard
  • 10-08-17

A spiritual classic narrated by the very best

A modern classic telling the life story of a 20th century yogi who persists against many set backs to reach his heart felt goal to realise god. This is, however, not a propaganda piece but an account of the successes, many failures and painful lessons that transformed an eager youth into an inspirational teacher of millions in both west and east. The story is narrated by one of the very best in Ben Kingsley, who takes great care to pronounce non-English names and words correctly. An interesting story that draws the reader in, even if not seeking spiritual guidance.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mario
  • 08-12-16

Entertaining story, thought provoking theories

This is a great book! Sir Ben Kingsley does an amazing job of narrating the the life of Yogananda.
The story itself is very very interesting and the lessons convey are interwoven into the story of Yogananda's life but also explicitly told in other parts.

Some areas did become a bit dull at times but this was few and far beyond in this 12hr + book.

Would recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-28-18

Not good

Not sure what all the hype about this book. I found him to be very egocentric and attached. Skip this and read the Gita.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-19-18

This is a must read for anyone looking for connect

Great life story told by a yogi with everything that comes from experience of a yogi. amazing perspective, beautiful tool to help yourself reconnect

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-10-17

Soul shakingly impactful

At a loss for words I can only supply thanks to the author and his divine teachers. Thank you for helping me. With sincere love, thankyou.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ellen
  • 12-04-16

highly recommend, calming voice, excellent book

I loved the audio, as I found the book hard to read so I was very pleased I could finally understand this historic preservation

1 person found this helpful